That Time the Parents Got It Right

I must share a story that happened just a few days ago… before I forget, and our victory is swallowed up in the chasm of the oh-so-many and varied parenting moments we go through each day.

Our My plan was to take all the girls to the YMCA and go swimming. I’ve been internally lamenting not being able to take Eleanor swimming more often. I know we didn’t take Madelynn much when she was that little but it still feels like something we should be doing more of. We didn’t go much this summer, because we were busy preparing for Emma and then we spent a lot of time getting to know her and her needs. I guess you could say I felt a slight Mommy Guilt (dun dun dun) because maybe Elly missed out on a few things since Emma came along. (Hint: This will be a recurring theme in life, I’m sure.)

Although we could have handled all three among the two of us, I wanted it to be good one-on-one time with each child, so my plan was to have Emma go to the childcare for a bit while I swam with Elly and Ryan with Madelynn; I figured we would switch after an hour or so.

We got to the Y and placed Emma in the childcare area. Then the rest of us went into the Family locker room. That place has huge lockers and changing rooms, but we still felt really cramped and weird. There was water on the floor in our changing room so we were all “Don’t put your clothes on the floor! I’ll hold her while you do that! Wait! Okay now you go!” It was, quite simply, a circus.

Once the four of us had swim gear on and were ready to go, I felt so excited. I held Elly and got ready for some FUN FAMILY TIME! HURRAH!

And then. We go out to the pool, and apparently there are swim lessons during that time, and the pool isn’t open for families to swim because it’s just swim lessons and they need the whole pool. I GUESS. (Even though it was like three toddlers and they barely took up 1/4 of the area of the pool. WHATEVER.)

It was completely my fault, because I had checked the times the YMCA itself was open, and the times for child watch being open, but I had neglected to look at the pool schedule. Well, I felt horrible. I knew it was all my fault and I felt like crying. I felt like I got everybody hyped up for this exciting thing that now wasn’t going to happen and it was because of me. However, I took a deep breath and slowly walked back into the locker room.

That’s when the crying started–Madelynn’s. Oh boy, she cried. I knew, I knew, I knew that she had every right to cry and scream and be super mad about what had just happened. I wanted to cry and scream myself. I also thought about times in the past when she’s been upset about something and we’re too busy or tired to just let her cry and be mad. Many other times in my life as her mom I’ve lectured her, ignored her, or even put her in timeout because I didn’t want her to be upset about something.

But this time, we got it right. She cried and said she didn’t understand. “I want to go swimming! I want to be in the swim lessons!”

And I just kept saying, “It is totally okay to be upset. I understand because I am upset, too! I’m so mad that we can’t go swimming. I thought we could but we can’t right now.”

At one point, Ryan went over to her and just sat with her. We both kept repeating, “We know! It’s so frustrating. We’re mad, too.”

I started getting Elly and myself changed out of our swimming suits. They could still go play in the childcare for a while. It’s one of their favorite places to play. When we mentioned this to Madelynn, she was having none of it. So we patiently let her cry some more.

We just sat there for a while.

Finally I made an indirect comment about the huge slide in the childcare area. Then, she finally came out of her tantrum and said, “I love that slide.”

I looked at Ryan. Steady, steady… “Well, you could go play there for a while I guess.” (Never mind that we mentioned this at least twice just a few minutes ago.)

“Really? Great!”

And away she went.

I know this seems like a very small victory. However, I feel it was huge. We listened to our child, let her have a very normal and understandable emotion, and supported her (instead of demanding that she not feel what she was feeling).





Breastfeeding, But Not Nursing

It’s official: I’ve been lactating longer now than I ever have before. I’m at 12 weeks postpartum today, and I’m still pumping breastmilk 5-6 times a day. I’m making about 30 ounces a day (average) and Elly eats slightly less than that. I’m not sure how many feedings we do each day—I’ve not been keeping track of that—but every time she shows hunger cues at all, we offer her about 4-5 ounces of breastmilk in a bottle. More often than not, she only take 3 ounces or so.
Elly Grace had a wonderful and fast entrance into the world, making her appearance only two hours after my first difficult contractions started. She really flew out of the birth canal—I think the pushing stage lasted about five minutes. Because of this fast descent, she did not have what most babies have when they come lower and lower down, the compression on the lungs that helps them expunge mucus and learn to breathe properly. The first few days of her life, Elly was very “mucousy” (my word) and had a difficult time breastfeeding (when she wanted to eat at all, which wasn’t often). I think this contributed to her not being able to latch properly, and general frustration for all.
I didn’t know how to help her those first few days, although I’d read about five different books on the subject of breastfeeding. I tried different holds, tried pumping before and after, all sorts of things. I think, during the first 24 hours, she latched/sucked twice while we were at the hospital. But every time after that she wouldn’t do it, I would get really freaked out and frustrated. I wasn’t really worried about her. I know babies’ stomachs are small, especially during the first week after birth, and I knew she wouldn’t starve. But I didn’t know what to do when she cried. She would fuss, and I would try to nurse her, and she couldn’t or wouldn’t latch, and then there was nothing to be done. There are so many “rules” if you want to breastfeed that I felt trapped. I should try to keep getting her to latch, but I wanted to give her a pacifier, hold her, rock her, shush her, calm her, anything but try to put her to the breast again—which would upset her. Anyway, the first couple of days were pretty well torturous. Every time she cried, I cried. Every time she wouldn’t latch, I blamed myself.
The first day after I had Elly—Saturday–we were in the hospital. All the nurses tried to help us. Then the midwife tried to help us. Then a lactation consultant tried to help us. All gave us good advice: Skin-to-skin contact, let her try to latch on her own, do what works for you. I was really uncomfortable, I had just given birth, I’m shirtless basically all day while people come in and out, nurses, doctors, a few visitors. Also, her nails. OMG, her nails. Ryan and I have been saying since that first day, “Do the babies have large talons?” (Napoleon Dynamite paraphrase/quote.) I tried to cut her fingernails, I ended up cutting her fingers, and she screamed, and I cried. Worst mother ever.
The second day—Sunday—we were home. All night she fussed and cried and wouldn’t latch and all night Ryan and I swore and yelled and tried to get her to calm down and tried to get each other to calm down. At around 4 a.m., I finally told Ryan to go to the store and buy a nipple shield, a manual pump, and some formula. We gave her a few mL of formula, feeding her from a small medicine cup. This seemed to calm her. We tried to get her to latch with the nipple shield; it didn’t work. These two things were, at the time, my last resorts. I never wanted to even try with the shield, because of my history with it when I breastfed Madelynn (maybe I’ll write that story someday). I didn’t want to use formula, but I wasn’t totally averse to it, either, especially the second day. I knew I had plenty of time to keep trying to breastfeed. My mom was here and she found us a good article online about what to do when the baby won’t latch. It was helpful to know there were other feeding options besides going straight to formula, bottles, etc. The advice was to keep trying to latch at every feeding time, to watch for early hunger cues, and to feed baby in a nontraditional way (avoiding the bottle) until breastfeeding could be established. We tried cup feeding, cup/finger combination feeding, finger/syringe combination feeding, and finger/SNS (supplemental nursing system) feeding.
Monday arrived and we could finally go to Carle medical supply to get our free breast pump. (Thanks Obamacare!)
I began pumping every 2-3 hours.
I pumped and pumped, and we finger/syringe fed her. We had her two-day checkup, five days after she was born. She had lost more than ten percent of her birth weight at that time. (Elly was born weighing 9 lbs 2 oz, and when we left the hospital 24 hours later, she was 8 lbs 9 oz. At this appointment, she was down to 8 lbs 1 oz.) The doctor recommended we “supplement.” We continued feeding her my breastmilk as we had been. The next day I had an appointment at the Carle Breastfeeding Clinic. The consultants were good, and one of them got Elly to latch for about five minutes, and then they sent us home with a bottle and told us to use it because she needed to be gaining more than she was and our alternate feeding methods were not working well. So we began with the bottle. She was still getting only breastmilk at that point. We hadn’t given her formula since that second day home. I was making plenty of milk for her and even had some leftover. Supply was never an issue.
I still tried to latch her, but she wouldn’t. After the two times in the hospital, she latched ONCE since we had been home, and a few days later, once, and weeks after that, just once more. So she had latched five times in the first eight weeks. (Just this week, she latched on for a good 3 minutes. It was fine, for me and for her, but she wasn’t really trying to obtain food at that point. I think slowly but surely we’ll get more comfortable with “practice latching” and then let her try when there is milk there.)
I went to the Carle breastfeeding clinic one other time, and also had two visits from a private lactation consultant (who was awesome, but $$$). The LC diagnosed an upper lip tie and posterior tongue tie. She feels that having them taken care of would help with latching. We saw an oral surgeon here in town who said he couldn’t see a tongue tie, and admitted there was a lip tie but he wasn’t keen on revising it. He seemed to think I was silly for wanting to try to breastfeed, or for thinking the ties have anything to do with the inability to breastfeed. We opted to get the lip tie revised. This consists of having the frenulum snipped using a cold laser. The entire process takes no more than five minutes. Elly did great and seemed fine before and after the procedure. She seemed to take the bottle a little better after the revision was done. I believe she was having a hard time making a good seal on either bottle or breast, since she wasn’t able to flange her lips in quite the right way.
I’m still hopeful that she can latch and perhaps even learn to eat at the breast.
For now, though, I’m exclusively pumping. It’s not what I set out to do when we thought about having another baby. I wanted to breastfeed her directly, and I’m disappointed that it’s not working right now. I’m glad that I can provide her with breastmilk, though, which is nutritionally the best thing for her (and, oh yeah, it’s also free). Scheduling around my pumping sessions is somewhat of a pain. I think in a couple of weeks I may be able to drop a pump and eventually get to 4 or even 3 pumps per day.
I’m not sure that I have a set goal on how long I want to keep pumping and/or trying to breastfeed. I felt like maybe a year would be how long I’d want to pump. However, at this point I am trying not to really set goals but just to live in the moment. I know that what I have going right now is working, even if it is slightly inconvenient. (Everything about having a baby is inconvenient, so that’s okay!) I think I will just set small goals as I go. Making it to 12 weeks is HUGE for me!
Elly is gaining weight wonderfully and is very healthy. She naps all day long, sometimes short naps of 20 minutes and sometimes longer naps, for an hour or more. Usually there is one long stretch of about 4 hours that she is in the crib at night, and maybe another of about 3 hours. (Ryan is doing the nighttime parenting so that I can focus on pumping and sleeping. *Amazing husband alert!*)
This is a great age for baby, who is becoming more of a “real baby” than a newborn/infant. She smiles at me a lot, and recognizes Daddy and Madelynn too. She has begun cooing when in a happy mood. We have little conversations. She wiggles and stretches but still loves to be swaddled and snuggled.
It’s been fun having a baby again, but we’ve been in “survival mode” all this time so far. I feel like we’re slowly coming out of that and into the more routine/structured, and FUN phases.
Madelynn loves being a big sister, and doesn’t seem to mind that I ignore her nearly all day to take care of the baby. She loves to hold Elly, and she tries to calm her by clapping or singing (which majorly annoys me, actually, as I have a crying baby and a loud preschooler to deal with then). We haven’t seen a bit of jealous between them (yet). I think Madelynn will be more and more helpful as they both grow.
Elly has begun a sympathy cry whenever she hears Madelynn starting to have a fit. Thankfully those have been few and far between lately!
And that’s our update for now. In general, we’re doing really well. I’m thankful for a good milk supply, a healthy baby and happy older child, MANY AWESOME FRIENDS who have helped with taking care of Madelynn, cooking us meals, offering support for breastfeeding, letting me cry, etc… and for a super-amazing-supportive husband.
Life is amazing.

*~ Elly’s Birth Day ~*

Prodromal Labor Begins

The story starts five weeks before the actual birth, when I began having contractions. I knew these were not the same as Braxton Hicks. They hurt lower, and were definitely more than uncomfortable. They felt exactly like I remember the very first ones with Madelynn to be. (With the twins, I sort of skipped those early contractions, and jumped straight into active labor.) Along with these “early” contractions, I was having other labor signs such as extreme irritability, and some very loose stools. These were some of my signs. I know my body and my labors enough by now to KNOW that I was in the early stages of labor. I began to text “my people” and asked them to pray. The baby would have been premature at that point, but still at almost 36 weeks, she may not have even needed NICU time. I was hoping that if I were to go into active labor, she may not need more than a few days in the hospital. I went to sleep that night, hoping the contractions would go away, but fully expecting to wake up in the middle of the night in active labor. We packed a hospital bag and made a plan for a friend to come to our house to be with Madelynn. However, I slept a full eight hours and was decidedly NOT in labor the next day.

This Goes On For Weeks

I thought it was just a fluke, but now my “labor radar” was on and would not shut off. Every twinge of pain, every little ache, and I would start fantasizing about the birth to come later that day. Every two or three days, I would have those “early but real” contractions, even having to breathe through some of them. I became the most irritable woman on the planet and lashed out at my family on a daily basis. I was too tired to go anywhere with my daughter, and restless and bored, feeling stuck at home. I often texted my people, informing them that this time I really felt like I was in labor. I was on pins and needles, and knew that “any day” could be the day. Yet I would get terribly discouraged when, every day, it was not the day.


Elly was often NOT in optimal birthing position. She was sideways for much of my pregnancy, breech at my 32 week ultrasound, head down at 35 weeks, and diagonal at 37 weeks. We had an External Cephalic Version done, and it was successful. She was moved into head-down position by a doctor. However, three days later, Elly was sideways again! At that point, one of our care providers actually suggested that a planned c-section would be “safest” for the baby. We also considered another ECV along with induction, to make sure she was head down for birth. I didn’t ultimately feel peace about proceeding with those things, though. I wanted my baby to be born safely, of course, but I still thought there was time and room for her to get into the right position, for labor to begin spontaneously, and for birth to happen naturally. Daily I battled indecision and thoughts of elective induction. Especially after I passed my due date, I wanted to be DONE WITH THIS PREGNANCY so badly.

That Said…

I really am glad that I went the full 40 weeks (and then some)! It feels really nice to know beyond any doubt that she was done cooking and ready to come out, and did, on her own!

More Waiting

My friend Eleanor had been in town for two and a half weeks, helping us around the house and with Madelynn, ready to step in as a doula or just stay with Madelynn if we needed to leave at a moment’s notice. She helped me deal with the emotional/psychological aspect of the end of the pregnancy so well. There is a reason she is my best friend! I believe that she was meant to come at exactly this time… no one else really knows me as well, and could be as uplifting, as this friend who I’ve known as a spiritual sister and kindred spirit for over 15 years now! Wow! I don’t really know what to call her role: prenatal doula? Every pregnant woman should have one. I also think this took some of the pressure off “the husband” who, as a practical and reasonable man, simply could not relate to my rambling, wondering, worrying mind at this time (though he did try and I appreciate him so much)!

On April 23, Eleanor went back to Boston, and my mom flew in from Montana. I was now 40 weeks PLUS a few days. I kept dreading the future, thinking I would be pregnant at 41 weeks, and 42, and then we’d really have to consider induction…

But Then

On Friday, April 25, I had an appointment with the midwives. There was an ultrasound and a non-stress test to check that baby and I were both healthy. Elly and I passed with flying colors. The ultrasound was great; the tech was fast, but answered all my questions. (Sometimes they don’t tell you what’s going on: “You’ll have to talk to your provider about it…”) I specifically asked about:

  • the look of the placenta: did it look healthy, or like it was starting to ‘break down’?
  • the cord: was it wrapped around her neck at all? Was it long or short?
  • the fluid level: too high? too low? getting lower?
  • and, of course, the baby’s position.

Everything checked out great, and a myriad of fears I had were lifted away. Elly was head down and low. Her fluid levels looked “good” (and I didn’t ask for the specific number), the cord was long but nowhere near her neck or face, and the placenta looked healthy. I began to have more faith in letting birth happen spontaneously. The NST was a breeze; we just had to be monitored (heart rate) for a few minutes. I met with the midwife afterward, who was very positive and encouraging.

I went home and took two capsules of Evening Primrose Oil (supposed to help soften the cervix in preparation for labor) and drank Raspberry Leaf Tea. Mom and Madelynn went to the park, and I began organizing some cloth diapers and last-minute things in the hospital bag. Then, we all had lunch and took naps. Ryan came home from work, and Mom made dinner. I ate and took more EPO and drank tea. I thought we should settle in and get ready for a nice, relaxing weekend. The marathon through town was the next day, so we looked up the route so we could be prepared for roadblocks if I went into labor. It was a cool evening, and I thought a walk in Meadowbrook Park sounded good. After eating, I began to feel “funny” but I ignored it and we drove to Meadowbrook. It is about 5 minutes by car. By the time we got there, I was in active labor. It was 6:34 PM.

I was having a pretty heavy contraction, and then knew I had to go to the bathroom (more loose stools!). I knew enough to make Ryan go in with me. Sure enough, after relieving myself, I had a contraction so painful I could not stand up off the toilet. I stayed on it and breathed through, and Ryan stood in front of me, so I could sort of lean on him. Hey, labor isn’t necessarily glamorous! The toilet became my favorite place to be. But, I was not going to have a baby in a stinky park bathroom. “Call Shannon!” (our friend and doula), I commanded my husband. He did, and even then I still said something like, “Well, this MIGHT not be real labor…” (I think I was so used to thinking that by that time, it was hard to admit this was really it.)

Ryan and Shannon agreed we would meet at the hospital, ASAP. So we slowly walked back to the cars, having contractions all the way. Ryan had driven his car, and my mom was driving mine. We had two cars with us because of the car seats being in the back seat. Now the problem was that Madelynn did not want to get in and go! We had promised her a park date and riding her bike, and now we were getting back in. I offered to let her stop and get ice cream, and in we went. We stopped at Dairy Queen. My mom ran in to get milkshakes for her and Madelynn. Nothing for me, thanks! (Again, a sign I am in labor–turning down ice cream?) I stood up in the DQ parking lot and breathed through contractions. Then we thought we should call Labor and Delivery… (Duh…)

At this point it was about 7:15 PM, contractions were 2 minutes apart and lasting not quite one minute. It was tough to get through them but I was doing okay. After calling L&D, they told us to come through the Emergency Room exit. I did not want to do this because I knew it would mean me going up to the 10th floor by myself while Ryan parked and Mom parked. I cried and said I didn’t want to do that, but men bringing a wheelchair rushed outside to greet me, so what choice did I have? It was fine. They sped me up the staff elevator (so much faster) to 10. The labor nurses were ready for me but the room wasn’t. They were cleaning the room. So, I am alone, and there is no room for me! By then I was really struggling through contractions, so I just leaned over the nurses desk and closed my eyes and breathed. Then they let me in the room. I went straight for the toilet and closed the bathroom door. I know typically they would want to do a cervical check and place an IV, but I wasn’t having it. I also wasn’t putting on the gown they handed me on my way into the bathroom. I simply took off my pants and shirt and continued laboring on the toilet. One nurse timidly knocked on the door. “Michelle…? If you feel like you have to start pushing, please let us know…” (Ha! I thought. There are worse things than delivering on the toilet.)

Ryan, Mom, and Madelynn came into the room and Shannon was there soon after. Mom and Madelynn hung out in the room while Ryan and Shannon joined me in the bathroom. I then started to realize this was a smaller room and would be hard to labor in if I needed room to move. The shower was small, etc. They said they were cleaning the bigger room and we could transfer to it soon. I do not remember the walk in between rooms. But I do know that there was a nurse who was assigned to me, and she was great about leaving me alone. She asked for my birth plan, and respected it down to the letter… and I was VERY specific about what I did and did not want. She did try to use the doppler a few times to get a read on the baby’s heart rate. She was mostly unsuccessful but still left me alone. I am grateful for that. I could feel the baby moving quite a bit, and I was not worried about her.

Toilet, Shower, Toilet, Shower

The next little bit, I know contractions were getting stronger and closer together. It felt like there were no breaks in between. One minute I was on the toilet, and then a contraction would hit (my back would start hurting like crazy) and I would want to be in the hot shower. Then I’d feel like I had to pee so back to the toilet we’d go. And as you can imagine, I was totally nude by that time. Here’s the cool thing about natural birth… you just stop caring about unimportant things like clothing.

The Midwife came in–it was Ellen–and she respectfully asked that we do a vaginal exam to check the baby’s position. Even though I knew she had to be in the right position or labor would not be moving along so well, I consented and off we went to the bed. She proclaimed, “I feel a head!” and I went back to the bathroom. I think she knew I did not want to be made aware of my cervical changes but I found out later she held up nine fingers to the nurse. So I was 9 cm at that point, and I think about 20 minutes later I gave birth. The crazy thing is that if I would have heard at that point that I was 9, I actually would have been discouraged! That’s how hard it was to get through the contractions at that point. I was at the “I can’t do it” stage, and hearing that I still had 1 cm to go (and who knows how long until the actual delivery) would have upset me during that time. THIS IS WHY I DIDN’T WANT CERVICAL CHECKS. (Laboring women can be so unreasonable.)

Ellen told me to let her know when my water broke. And I labored a few more minutes in this surreal state–I was not looking forward to the pushing stage. Let her know when my water broke? Was she expecting that to happen soon? I so didn’t want to push… but I talked to Shannon about how I should push. Initially I thought I might want to do a squat position for birth, but I really couldn’t maneuver it at that point, nor did I feel like trying. So I thought hands and knees might work. I had been on the bed in that position for one contraction earlier so I knew I could at least get there.

Soon After

I was on the toilet and felt a small pop, gush of warm fluid, and pressure. This is the first time I felt my waters break and that they were “allowed” to break naturally. I was happy about that! But scared because, “Ellen! It broke, it broke, it broke!” and I knew pushing was soon to follow. I stood up from the toilet and could not get comfortable. Shannon told me I was just saying “Oh no oh no” at this point and I remember feeling a little out of my mind.

And then immediately felt like I had to poop.

And you know what that means, people. Time to push out a baby.

“The bed, the bed, the bed!” I yelled, and we all rushed to the bed where I climbed up onto my hands and knees.

Scream Your Baby Out

And the screaming began. As much as I wanted a calm, natural birth, what I got was a fast, intense, screaming-my-head-off natural birth. I had been telling myself the mantra “breathe your baby out” for weeks, to prepare for a long, hard pushing phase like I had had with Madelynn. I wanted pushing to come naturally, and happen on its own timeline. This felt like a roller coaster ride I wasn’t ready for! I didn’t expect her to come out fast. All I could think was that this was the worst pain ever, in all my life, in anyone’s life, terrible, awful, why do we want natural births so badly anyway, owwww!

Sorry, but that is me keeping it real.

And meanwhile, Madelynn is still in the room. I could hear her–above my own screaming and five people trying to calm me down–saying that she wanted to get out of the room. My mom, however, was mesmerized and wanted to watch her new granddaughter be born. I whipped around and screamed “Mom, get her out of here!” And they left. Then, more screaming from me. At one point I yelled “Somebody Help Me!” At one point I tried to crawl up the bed and away from the pain. At one point, I lifted my leg to try to flip over onto my back, reasoning that I was in too good of a position, and I wanted this part to slow down and hurt less.

But, I finally gave in and just tried to push and get it over with.

I remember a lot of pain, and then suddenly I was holding a baby.


Ellen had caught her and passed her through my legs to me. I don’t remember that part. I just looked down and there she was. I noticed that she had a good amount of vernix and my first thought was, you weren’t late after all. I think I was in shock. I am holding a baby. It didn’t seem real. No matter how often I go through it, I just forget that pregnancy, labor, birth, and all of our thoughts and discussions and worries lead to THIS. My new baby in my arms. I had almost forgotten that this is what it is all about. New life. Warm, squishy baby.

Eventually I was guided to lay on my back on the bed. The cord was not clamped or cut, per my birth plan. The baby did not leave my arms, except I think Ryan held her for a minute. Oh, and soon after she was born, she pooped meconium on me–just like Madelynn had! When that happened with Madelynn, the nurse swooped in and took her away from me, cleaning her up, wrapping her in a blanket, weighing her. I didn’t hold her again for 10 minutes. But with this one, they just put some towels and blankets over us. We were a mess! A happy, undisturbed mess. Wonderful! The placenta took about 30 minutes to come out. Ellen was patient and waited, and didn’t tug or offer me any meds to help it along. She said I had a tiny tear, but nothing she would even measure, and I didn’t need stitches. Finally, the placenta was out. Ellen placed it in a bowl and we just hung out, all lotus-birthy, for about another half an hour. I tried to breastfeed a little bit. Finally, I thought we could start getting cleaned up, so I gave permission for the nurses to cut the cord, weigh the baby, administer vitamin K, etc. I had guessed maybe Elly weighed about 8 lbs 3 oz, others guessed a little higher, but all of our jaws dropped when the scale went higher than nine pounds. She was 9 lbs 1.8 oz (so they round up to 2). Wow! Amazingly, she was bigger than her sister. Of course she was a week later than Madelynn had been, too.

She was born at 8:38 PM. I had a two-hour labor (after five weeks of start-and-stop early labor).

Welcome to the world, Elly Grace!

EllyEleanor Grace Gossett

9 lbs 2 oz, 22.25 in.

April 25, 2014

8:38 PM

39 Weeks (!!!!) with Baby 2

Subtitle: How To Drive a Pregnant Woman Crazy

I’m very excited that today marks 39 Weeks for this pregnancy! Baby can come anytime and she is officially full term. (Some say 37 or 38 is full term, but I think 38 completed weeks is really full term–and here we are.)

I have been not wanting to complain too much during this pregnancy. We feel so happy to be pregnant again and having this baby. It happened quickly for us this time and we are really thankful about that. However, there have been little things throughout the pregnancy, aside from the usual aches and pains, that have been weird and annoying to me. I had plantar fasciitis, carpal tunnel, a large (unexplainable) abdominal cramp, yeast infection, and the baby has been transverse (sideways), (i.e., NOT head-down) for the majority of the pregnancy.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been having contractions. More than Braxton Hicks, but only slightly more intense. What I would consider very early “real” labor contractions. It started one night when I was just hours from being 36 weeks pregnant. I thought for sure I was going to be having the baby a few weeks early. That was both exciting and scary. We packed our hospital bag, updated our support people, and went to sleep. I FULLY expected to wake up in active labor and ready to head to the hospital. Next morning, I woke up to find that I was not about to have a baby. These contractions began happening regularly every two to three days. EACH TIME I really think I’m going to be going into labor. Each time, I am wrong. It’s enough to drive a pregnant woman crazy, I tell you. Friends have now reassured me that this is a normal pattern for a not-first-time labor. This could go on for WEEKS, they say.

Now, the baby’s position. She has been sideways most of the pregnancy. It’s really weird. We haven’t been able to get a good ultrasound picture, even, because of her weird position. At times, she has been fully breech, but she never stays in any position for long. By 35 weeks, though, she was head down. I was excited that she was in the optimal position for a natural birth. Two weeks later, she was no longer head down. In fact, I could clearly feel her head near the top of my uterus. Again, she seemed to move quite a bit, and I would feel her all over the place. The consensus has been that I have a “distended uterus” because of recently carrying twins, and that baby just has so much room to move, she continues to do so.

At my near-39 week midwife appointment (this past Thursday), the midwife did a quick ultrasound to make sure, and yes, that was baby’s head near my ribs on the left side. We talked about some options for this. I had done my research, and since I was already doing some exercises, chiropractic care, and other “tricks” to get her head down, I was ready to move forward with a more aggressive approach to try to turn her, namely an ECV (external cephalic version). I spoke with the doctor who would perform this attempted baby-turning, and I felt really comfortable with her and with the procedure itself. I knew it would probably hurt quite a bit, and it DID, but I was prepared. I will write a separate post on the procedure, but for now I’ll just say that it WORKED. Elly Grace is head down. I just hope she stays that way, until she is ready to be born!


37 Weeks with Baby 2

37 Weeks now with this baby and I have so much that I was going to say over the past few weeks that I’ve now forgotten (of course). Around the 28-week mark I started to really feel an emotional connection and since then I have been bonding more with the baby. I have had two times now where I’m laying down and she kicks or moves, and I think to myself in a very real way “that’s my baby in there.” Maybe it sounds simplistic but it is a huge emotional rush for me. This past week I’ve felt hormones that were really overpowering. When I’ve felt those hormone rushes I feel like I’m going to either burst out crying or start laughing and not be able to stop. It’s weird being able to analyze those feelings. Usually when I feel those overwhelming rushes, the baby has a foot in my ribs.

Up until about two weeks ago, she was moving quite a bit, alternating between a weird diagonal position and a breech position (butt-down). Now, though, she is head-down, which is where she is supposed to be! It is a lot more comfortable carrying her that way, also. Although sometimes my pubic bone has been quite irritated by her recent growth and head-down status. Still, I think she is going to stay in this position and that makes me excited for her birth. I was starting to prepare mentally for some big decisions about having a breech baby, but now I don’t have to worry about that.

We had an ultrasound at 32 weeks to re-check her heart because they couldn’t get clear pictures of it at the 20 week ultrasound. All is well with that. They estimated her at 4 lbs and 12 oz. For 32 weeks, that seemed big to me, but then the percentile they gave us was 39th… so they’re actually thinking she’ll be less than average (and less than what Madelynn weighed at birth). At last week’s midwife appointment, Ellen said she is guessing her at about 7 pounds right now. (Or did she mean that she guesses she’ll be 7 pounds at birth?) Eh, anyway, it doesn’t really matter to me. She’s growing fine based on the measurements of my uterus.

Last week I had a “false labor” episode. I was trying to be nonchalant about it, but after how quickly I went from a few contractions to this-is-real-labor-we-have-to-get-to-the-hospital-NOW status LAST TIME, Ryan and I wanted to be prepared. I didn’t really feel that bad, but I was definitely having a few labor signs. We alerted some of our support people and started packing our hospital bag. I decided to just try to go to sleep, and so we did. I was kind of excited. I was just one day away from 36 weeks along then, which would have been a very respectable late preterm (possibly no medical issues at all). BUT, I knew it just wasn’t time, and I as Ryan and I started to go to sleep I whispered to him (through a few tears), “I’m not ready yet…” and he nodded and hugged me and we went to sleep, thinking we might be waking up anytime and needing to head out. However, we slept till morning and I woke up feeling nothing but the urge to pee!

Since that little episode I’ve been on pins and needles thinking every little twinge might be real labor starting. But, so far so good, and we will probably make it to April after all, which makes me happy. I honestly don’t think I’ll be thrilled if I go over my due date (the 19th) but if I do, I will take it as it comes. What else can I do? I have to believe the baby will come at the right time.

Oh, and we have announced her name:Name Reveal

23 Weeks with Baby 2

Well… I sure have missed a few updates, now, haven’t I? I never was very consistent with updating and if you know me, I’ll be even less so when the baby gets here. So enjoy this lovely update while you can.
Baby Girl 2 is doing great. I still have moments where I forget I am pregnant because this has really been the easiest pregnancy ever in the history of all pregnant women. I am sooooo grateful for that! That said, I still have moments (hours) where I encounter some of the less-joyful aspects of pregnancy, and then I am reminded that although I seem to have easy pregnancies in general, sometimes it is just a little wearing on a person to be growing another person (or people) inside.
The second trimester has hit, and with it comes THE HEARTBURN. I get heartburn after eating almost anything that is even slightly acidic or spicy. As long as I stay away from those triggers, I’m usually fine. I sort of forgot this and made a spicy meal this week. It wasn’t even THAT spicy because we Gossetts really can’t take the heat, but combined with the heavy tomato sauce in it, I was not happy after eating it.
I’ve also been having bouts of insomnia and (the following day) tiredness, but we’re making it through. Ryan as always is super-Hubby and super-Dad, and thankfully his busy season at work is done so there will be less stress for him in general. Madelynn’s been rolling with the punches. We talk about or to the baby every day. I just keep thinking it’s surreal that she will actually be here at some point. It probably feels like forever to Madelynn, too. We’re excited but nervous as we think about what adding another child means. In Ryan’s words, it’s “just going to be terrible” at first, and then we’ll adjust. Wise and realistic thinking, isn’t it? Madelynn has promised to be a good helper, and I’m sure she will try but I’m preparing myself for either sibling rivalry or some form of acting out. No one is perfect.:-)
Good news is we had another ultrasound of the baby recently and everything is looking good. She’s still a girl.:-) They said she was measuring right on (50th percentile) at this point. To me that seems small, and I know that sounds silly, but I am used to big babies! Probably just the first of many times I need to remind myself not to compare the kids.
Hopefully I will update again and I can share more of my ramblings.