Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Nora Story

As many of you all probably know, NORA LYNN has arrived!! We could not be more thrilled as a family to welcome this precious, beautiful and amazing little girl into our clan - she fits so well into our lives I already can't remember what life was like without her.

I'm going to give some "brief" details of the birth so if you just want to see pictures, keep on scrolling! haha :) I say my description will be "brief" in quotes because those of you who read this blog regularly, know that I am not capable of writing something quick or short - everything is long winded, so settle in to your chair and get ready for a story!

With Logan, we did a scheduled c-section because the doctors suspected he was so big. Jason was 9lbs 12oz when he was born and given the size of Logan's head and body in the womb, the doctor was worried he would be 10lbs or more at birth. So having him at 39 weeks, I never experienced any sort of labor - no contractions, he never even dropped and in fact he was so comfy where he was in my body that they had to vacuum him out during the surgery! With all of that, my surgery recovery was amazing and we were planning on doing another c-section with Nora because it just seemed like the way to go.  But at my 24 week appointment, my doctor had other plans. She suggested we attempt a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) at first, I laughed at her and said I'd think about it, but I had no intention of thinking about it. But over the next week it's all I could think about - there seemed to be a lot of benefits to a vaginal birth; I'd be home quicker (1 or 2 days in the hospital as opposed to 3 or 4), I'd be up and moving around quicker, I could pick up Logan whenever I pleased (I wouldn't be able to do that for a couple of weeks with a c-section) and I could walk up and down our stairs whenever I wanted (again, that wouldn't be possible for a couple of weeks with a c-section). Aside from all of the recovery reasons, there were also some health reasons to do it; I'd avoid major surgery, I'd be more capable of carrying a third pregnancy if we did a VBAC, if I need to have abdominal surgery in the future for some reason there would be less risk. So with all of those reasons thrown into a hat, I made the decision to go for the VBAC and after a little convincing, I had Jason's full support which was great.
Cut to 40 weeks and I'm more pregnant than I've ever been and showing no signs of delivering Miss Nora any time soon. At my 40 week check up, I was only dilated 1cm at the most - bummer. That was on a Wednesday, so on Friday Jason suggested we hit up a local pizza restaurant that had an item on their menu called the "Prego Pizza" and legend has it that whatever is on that pizza somehow kick starts labor for women. At that point, I was up for anything as I was feeling pressure to get this baby out the way we had intended rather than via a c-section which was scheduled as a backup plan for Wednesday 4/10.
The description of the Prego Pizza is this; The masterpiece had thirteen different toppings including extra onions and extra garlic. The pizza was loaded with fresh vegetables and six types of meat. Those of you who know me, know that being experimental with my food is NOT my forte and that the maximum amount of toppings I have on my pizza at at any time is TWO - Canadian Bacon and Pineapple! So to say I was hesitant about trying this pizza is an understatement. But much to my surprise (and delight) it was SCRUMPTIOUS! I ate over 1/2 of the pizza easily! So we headed home that night and just waited. Around midnight, I headed to bed, disappointed that the prego pizza obviously hadn't worked (I was expecting immediate results). Cut to 4 hours later and my disappointment was proven premature!.

That's right, I was woken up around 4am by some odd pains - it felt like Nora was head banging against my pelvic bone - awesome. I headed into the bathroom and googled "Rhythmic Pelvic Pain contractions?" because I had no idea...I couldn't find a definitive answer so I went back to bed. But 45 minutes later, I was awoken again and this time I was 90% sure what I was feeling was contractions. I headed downstairs, and pulled up my "Contraction Tracker" app on my phone (Yes, there's an app for that) and sure enough, what I was finding was that I was having very consistent contractions 5 minutes apart. I waited about 30 minutes before heading up stairs to let Jason know what was up. We couldn't call the hospital until I'd been having contractions for at least an hour, so after telling him I thought I was in labor i told him to go back to bed until I called the hospital. 30 minutes later I was still having contractions and decided to go ahead and call the hospital. I was told to wait until my contractions were 2 minutes apart before coming in. So we waited. We both took showers, I (against doctor's orders) ate some cereal (I was STAAAARVING), and hung out with Logan once he woke up. It didn't take long until my contractions were getting VERY strong and were quickly approaching the 2 minutes apart mark. I told Jas we should head out as soon as possible to get Logan to Auntie and Uncle's. By this point, my Mom had already purchased her plane ticket to come down and was scheduled to arrive in Oakland around Noon.
We dropped our little man off, said our goodbyes and then headed to the hospital. At this point my contractions were pretty unbearable and Jason and I started joking about how we were probably already at 6cm given how much pain I appeared to be in and my high tolerance for pain. I remember thinking almost immediately "What is wrong with women that do this without drugs? I want that epidural NOW"...yes, those were my thoughts before we were even IN the hospital.
Once we were in the triage area, the nurse hooked me up to the monitor and was immediately impressed with how strong my contractions were. He did an internal exam and then delivered some bad news; we were NOT 6cm along...we were barely 1.5cm. Not-Good. He said that he wasn't sure what would happen next; either I would be sent home or I would be sent outside to walk for 2 hours...I looked at Jas and told him I couldn't do either of those. I was ready at that point, to demand a c-section if they were going to send me home. The Dr told me that if that's what I wanted to do, they would support it but they did not want me to head in that direction strictly based on pain because they would begin to manage my pain once I was admitted. Luckily, because I was going for a VBAC the Dr wanted to keep me close and decided to admit me so I could be monitored. However, because I was a VBAC they didn't want to give me an epidural until I was 3cm along because they saw that as meddling and with a VBAC situation they want to stay out of it for as long as possible until Mother Nature has a chance to progress things. So what they were able to do was give me some pain meds - oh glorious pain meds (it must be noted that I do have a very strong pain threshold, but that I have NEVER known pain like these contractions. This was the worst, gut splitting, made me want to vomit, couldn't get comfortable pain I'd ever known  it was UNBEARABLE). The meds only lasted for 30 minutes and basically made me feel like I was drunk; which was actually NOT how I wanted to be feeling during contractions because I felt totally out of control. But the pain meds did something and by the 2nd dose, I was dilated to 3cm - EPIDURAL TIME! YAHOO!
Next, the nurses moved me to my final labor and delivery room and told me that the anesthesiologist was just outside my room ready to give me an epidural (I was expecting to wait an hour at least for this!) so in came Jeremy and did his magic quick quick quick and I was feeling almost perfect...I say almost because something went wrong and my right side wasn't completely numb. They rolled me on my right side and said that by doing that, the epidural would gravitate to that side and numb me up. Within 2 hours my left side was totally numb but I was feeling contractions on my right side - feeling contractions that were TWICE as intense as they were when we first arrived (Please re-read that section above where I note that those initial contractions were the worst things I'd EVER felt in my life!). I called my nurse in to see what was going on, and he immediately looked at my face and said "Umm...ya, you look very stoic right now. You aren't even pronouncing syllables...I'm going to get Jeremy back in here..." and that's just what happened. Turns out, the epidural didn't work the first time. When they put it in, there was something blocking the catheter so it kinked down and didn't supply any  medicine to my right side - yikes! they redid it and I immediately felt AMAZING. Seriously, I felt like I was sitting in cloud of lovely and got a kick out of people looking at the contraction monitor and saying "Woah! That was a big one" as I sat there pain free. Seriously, I have to say it again- WHY WOULD YOU GIVE BIRTH WITHOUT DRUGS?! THEY ARE AMAZING!
At that point, I was dilated to 6cm and my water had broken so it was just a waiting game - a comfortable waiting game. I tried to take a nap a few times, but I just wasn't feeling like sleeping! We had the most amazing nurse who would come in our room and hang out and he was just hilarious and so much fun. At one point, Jason and I felt bad because he was spending so much time with us, we were certain he was neglecting his other patients! Haha - but he was so great and definitely made the day that much better.
Around 7pm we got a new nurse, Kourtney, and she began to tell me what should happen next. She said I was at 7cm at that point and that soon I would start feeling like I needed to go to the bathroom (#2). She said when that sensation began to call her because it would mean pushing was just around the corner. Even though she told us these last 3 cm go the quickest, we still figured we had HOURS of time before anything happened. So Jason and his Mom headed across the street to grab some dinner. I didn't say anything at the time, but from the moment Kourtney was telling me what I was going to start feeling, I had started feeling it. I chalked it up to me being a head case and just THINKING I was feeling what she was describing rather than actually feeling it...but I KEPT feeling like I had to go to the bathroom and it wasn't going away. So I called Kourtney, she came in and sure enough, I was at 10cm and we were ready to go! Just one problem...the hubs was NOT IN THE ROOM! She told us to call him and to have him come back ASAP - she said he had at most 10 minutes before we started pushing. So my Mom called Jas, they had just sat down and she told him to come back NOW! Omigosh, that was the LONGEST 10 minutes of my LIFE waiting for him to walk back in the room! The minute I saw him I think I shouted "I NEED TO PUUUUUSH!" so that was it, it was GO TIME. According to the doctor's notes, I started pushing at 7:45 and omigosh, pushing is no joke. Someone told me earlier in the day that for a first time vaginal birth, pushing can last up to 2-3 hours...within 1 minute I knew THAT was not going to be ok with me! There was no way I had the stamina to keep that up! It was so intense and exhausting. And for someone like me, who is very goal oriented, it was beyond frustrating to have no definitive end point of the whole process. I had no idea where Nora was, how close she was to coming out or when I could stop pushing! I wanted to hear someone say "We see her head!" or hear Kourtney call the doctor and say "She's coming, get in here" but none of that was happening. So what did I do? I gave myself a goal. I told myself I was going to push 12 more times and then I'd be done...luckily for everyone involved, that's what happened!
At 8:09, 24 minutes after I started pushing, Nora had arrived! She came out HUGE and purple but cried soon and her color evened out. I could NOT believe how large she was. I kept asking "How much does she weigh??" my dr had convinced me she was maybe at most 7lbs and when I saw her, I KNEW she was way more than 7lbs! Once they got the scale working, the final numbers were in:
Weight: 9lbs 6oz (5oz bigger than Logan!)
Length: 21" (1/2" bigger than Logan!)
Head: 14.5" (1/2" SMALLER than Logan, but honestly, she came out vaginally so her head may have been shaped a bit differently and therefore measured smaller)
I was in total and utter shock that she was that large, it was crazy! When they brought her to me it was amazing. I didn't get to hold Logan for over 2 hours when we delivered him so being able to cuddle with and feed my daughter within MINUTES of delivering her was pure heaven. Though, with that said at some point after delivery, I looked at Jason and said "Umm...ya, Bbay #3 is coming out via c-section!" I've since changed my mind about that, but in the moment I was so over the VBAC.
What is most amazing to me is that within MINUTES of pushing like crazy, screaming like an animal and going through the craziest physical act I've ever been through, I look like a totally normal person in all of our pictures. Not sweaty, not red faced; just a totally normal person eating dinner, talking with people and holding a baby - whaat?! The human body is AMAZING. In all of our post delivery pictures with Logan I just look out of it in my opinion.
So THAT is our story of how Nora entered this world! We had a successful VBAC, had an amazing SHORT stay in our hospital (Delivered Saturday night, discharged Monday afternoon) and then began our life at home as a family of 4!
Nora is just a little over 1 week old and she is doing awesome. We went in for a weight check on Wednesday (4 days after birth) and she was up to 8lbs 12.6oz (all babies lose weight after birth and are "allowed" to lose up to 10% of their birth weight which would have put Nora down to 8lbs 6oz - so to say she's doing well in the weight dept is an understatement). We have her 2 week appointment on Monday and I wouldn't be surprised if she was up to 9lbs 12oz if not more. Homegirl is an EATER and has already gone through one growth spurt (we think) which is crazy.
Aside from her weight, she's just an easy baby - I thought Logan was easy but so far she is redefining easy. She currently wakes up once at night because she is on a 4 hour eat cycle - so she's been going down between 10 and 11, then up between 2 and 3, down again between 3 and 4 and then up again between 7 and 8. It's crazy. I remember with Logan getting up every other hour for weeks. He would stay awake for hours at night - so to have her not be doing that is just weird to me (But I am NOT complaining!).
Big Brother Logan is adjusting well - he has his off days but I feel that's more because of his age rather than the fact that he has a sister. He adores Nora and is so sweet with her, I love it. He always kisses her head, pats her back when I burp her and is just really loving and amazing with her, it's great.
Jason's back at work as of yesterday and while i was very nervous about trying to manage 2 kids without him (He was an awesome help with Logan - they would go to the park, out to run errands; poor Logan is probably hating his lack of activity these last 2 days more than anything), it's been going quite well. Both kids have gotten up between 6:45 and 7 each morning which is helpful (There was one night when we first got home where I had just gotten back to bed at 5:45 and Logan came in at 6:30 and since Jason and I had already agreed he could sleep in that morning I was a mess until nap time). We've just laid low - watched a lot of TV while I'm feeding Nora, but played a lot withOUT the TV when she's sleeping. We ALMOST went to a park this morning but it's "really" cold here right now and SUUUPER windy so park time isn't too much fun for us.
My Mom arrives on Saturday for a week to help out which will be great. I'm hoping she can help me with meal planning, maybe cooking some meals to freeze and letting me do some trial runs of making dinner while having 2 kids and hopefully provide me with some tips on how to do it better and faster! She did it for years with 3 little ones, so I'm sure she'll have some tips on how to manage it all with 2!

So that's our story - here are some photos of the day and days after!

The Prego Pizza - Where it all began

Trying to rest after the epidural started working

Our amazing nurse Michael

Grammie, Baba & Great PawPaw

All smiles thanks to the drugs!

Ready to meet my girl!

She's here!

And she's huge!

Seriously, the thighs!!

Her weight!

Pure bliss

All of our stats

Food! Glorious food!

So happy to have his baby girl in his arms!

Happy Grammie

Our glasses say "It's A Girl!" a gift from the hospital

Happy Papa Laub and Baba Blakeman

Our little laubster showing us how big he can be!

So cozy!

Proud Papa

Smiling Baby


Everyone says Nora looks like Jas - but here she is holding a picture of ME when I was a newborn

Logan showing off his big brother skills

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Nora Laub - Fashionably Late

So here we are...OVERdue....Homegirl's due date was Wednesday and while we're only 1 day beyond that, from my Dr appointment on Wednesday, it doesn't look like our little lady is coming home any time soon. So we're waiting...we do have a C-Section scheduled for next Wednesday if I don't go in to labor on my own before then, HOWEVER, that doesn't mean that Jas and I aren't prepared to take measures into our own hands.

Exhibit A: The Prego Pizza.
Oh yes, you read that right, a PREGO PIZZA. There is a local pizza parlor in Walnut Creek that has something they call a Prego Pizza. Legend has it that if a pregnant woman orders this pizza she will go into labor within hours. Worth a shot!

Exhibit B: Long Walks
We haven't started these yet (I've been sick and I'll get to that in a moment) - but assuming I get healthy soon, I plan on walking a lot this weekend.

Exhibit C: Being Induced
Technically this CANNOT happen unless I'm at least 3cm dilated by my Tuesday appointment. Something about there is a lot of research showing that women who are trying for a VBAC delivery that get induced before they are at least 3cm dilated have a higher risk of uterine rupture (Doesn't that sound delightful?). So, I will go in at 10:30 on Tuesday for another check and if I'm at least 3cm then I'll be sent upstairs to get induced! If I'm not that far along, then it's back home to to prepare for surgery. Woo!

All of these things are contingent upon the need for me to feel a whole heckofa lot better than I do now. Since last Saturday I've been sick. It started with a nasty sore throat, then moved to my sinuses and is now resting uncomfortably in my ears and's awwwwesome. So, while I would love to meet Nora, I'm actually pretty ok with her staying put until I'm better. I can honestly not imagine going through labor feeling the way I'm feeling.

So for now, it's a waiting game...aside from being sick, I actually feel really good pregnancy wise - which is weird. I would think, most women at this point are screaming "GET THIS CHILD OUT OF ME!" but I'm not there yet...I'm not overly swollen, I can still get around relatively well and ya, I'm feeling oddly ok. I'm kind of hoping something will change in the next 72 hours; either I start feeling better, or I start feeling SUPER uncomfortable so that I have some motivation to get this baby out, because right now - having her safe inside is fine by me!

Here is a pic of me from tonight -40 weeks and 1 day prego and then 1 comparing tonight with what i looked like at 38 weeks with Logan...I can't tell if I'm bigger in one pic over the other but my belly is just different.