Saturday, January 30, 2010

Five Scheduled Births: Baby #4

Another birth story. This one was pretty unique, so I hope the details don't gross you out because I'm going to include them.

#4 was due January 26, so through the pregnancy I told myself "sometime in February" just to be realistic. Good thing, too, because once again I did not go into labor on my own. I had another easy pregnancy. I was a little more sensitive to smells and food: I could cut up raw chicken, but I couldn't stand to smell or even touch a cold flour tortilla. Funny how those change with each pregnancy. We moved into our house a few months before she was born, and I spent the last minutes of my pregnancy cleaning like mad so I would have a clean home to bring my new baby to. Dr. Baird didn't make me wait to go a week overdue, because we all knew it wouldn't make a difference. Instead, he let us work the birth into our weekend plans. So at 3:00 on Friday afternoon of January 30, Kent and I dropped off the girls at their grandparents' home to spend the night. We borrowed some movies to watch during my labor and grabbed a late lunch on our way to the hospital.

All my previous labors were started by prostaglandin. However, to cut costs, the hospital no longer offered that as an option unless a mother was at least a week overdue. So by 4:45 I was hooked up to pitocin. Rumors of pitocin had always scared me. I'd heard stories of hard and fast labor that had no results, so I'd always been glad to avoid that IV. But guess what? I like the pitocin better than the prostaglandin. Now I had a dial on the medicine and the nurse would turn it down or up to keep the labor even, which was not an option with prostaglandin gel. At 10:00 p.m., after finishing "Young Frankenstein", I was finally to three centimeters and Dr. Baird said he would come in to break my water. By that time, the contractions were coming every 30 seconds, so I asked for an epidural--and it was a good one! By 10:20 I was free from pain and even my ribs felt tingly! The next time my nurse came in to check dilation, she couldn't: the amniotic sac was bulging out! I guess that is a rare occurrence because the nurses called each other in to come see it. I asked for a mirror and the only one they could find was a full-length, oval dressing mirror. The sac looked like a blue water balloon. When my doctor came, he gave me the option of delivering the baby inside the sac and keeping it intact, but at the time that sounded too strange and I declined. (I would choose otherwise now because that would be really cool!)

The atmosphere in the room was very calm. My doctor broke the sac and I got her head out in one push. Though I couldn't feel the pain, I could feel my body contracting and working with my pushing so that I didn't have to put a lot of effort into it and we took things slowly. Dr. Baird suctioned her nose and mouth, and then Kent finished the delivery. (Those are his hands holding the pasty baby.) Being able to watch the delivery in the mirror and having Kent so involved made it all a great experience. She was born at 11:45 p.m.

The baby gave a strong, short cry and Kent held her for a few moments before handing her over to the nurses. She just looked around and then smiled at her dad. She was my biggest baby at 8 lbs. 11 oz. and 20 inches long. I didn't tear at all, which may have been due to the amniotic sac slowly stretching things out. The baby nursed well and then slept and slept. Someone tested her blood sugar once at the hospital, and it was fine, so they let her sleep and didn't bother me to feed her.

(Warning: gory details.) When I delivered the afterbirth, Dr. Baird showed me how the cord attached to the placenta and the placenta to the amniotic sac. I touched the bag and was amazed how strong it was, although once I punctured it, it tore easily. It is simply incredible what the body does to make and birth a baby!

We went home Saturday night when she was almost 20 hours old. At 4:30 a.m. on Sunday, I woke with an ache and a tender spot in my leg. When it started feeling very warm, Kent called a friend of mine in the ward to watch the girls, and he took me and the baby to the ER where they did an ultrasound of my leg to check for a clot. Fortunately, it was only a damaged artery--my first varicose vein, a condition that worsened with my last pregnancy. We happened to be in the ER when some priesthood holders brought the Sacrament around. That was a special blessing for me to be able to take the Sacrament in that tiny exam room with Kent and two nurses, because it was several weeks before RSV season waned and I felt okay about taking that baby to Church.

Before we left the hospital the first time, we reviewed our list of 20 or so names. Neither of us was particularly attached to any name, and we had told my single sisters that we wouldn't use any names they loved. But my middle sister refused to tell us her favorite girl's name because she was sure we'd love it once we heard it. We started flipping through the hospital's name book and guess what? We used both my sisters' favorite names: Gwenyth Sarai. The combination of her names make her our "blessed princess White". She was an easy baby from the beginning--so easy that I found myself waking her up to eat at night!

From my journal:
"[#4] eats well, sleeps well, loves baths, and is content to just look around and be nice when she's awake. She is already a daddy's girl and always smiles for him. I am so thankful that the delivery went well, that my baby is healthy, that I feel good,...and that such a sweet little person. I wish I could hold her and enjoy [the faces she pulls] and her sweet little sighs all day. The girls all love her dearly. Our family has been and is truly blessed."

All of that still holds true. Happy birthday sweet six-year-old!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Look What I Got For My Birthday!

Spring and summer, when the sun warms the air and the greens things are back, are my favorite seasons. But I do love a fresh, billowy layer of snow highlighted by morning sunshine. When I woke to this yesterday, I spent the morning singing "It's a Marshmallow World" in my head.

The rest of the day was pretty perfect, too: low-key and relaxing. Kent and I took #3 on her eight-year-old date to Temple Square on Friday, and my parents kept all the kids overnight. So I spent Saturday in a clean house with friends that came to a Relief Society Birthday Brunch followed by a Book Club meeting. I didn't mean to host anything on my birthday, but that's how it worked out and I really loved it! One of my dear friends sewed for me a "Happy Birthday" banner. (I'll add a picture of it later.) That was the perfect gift. I realized this year that I'm really uncomfortable receiving gifts; I'd prefer to spend time with those I love than to receive things. Maybe it's that I feel I have to reciprocate at the same level, and I never think I can because I am so bad at picking gifts. Yesterday I also realized that a homemade or simple gift is perfect for me. Another friend brought me a steaming jumbo muffin--again a perfect gift because she took time to show she had thought of me. Next week, two other friends are taking me somewhere to do something, and I'm looking forward to the fun surprise. All day I got lots of hugs and generally felt very loved.

After the friends went home, Kent took me to a movie (Sherlock Holmes) and dinner (Five Guys Burgers). Again, perfect because those were both things I'd been wanting to see/eat, and the cost wasn't extravagant. At the last minute, I decided I wanted to spend my birthday money from relatives on a down coat. So he took me shopping, which he really dislikes, and we found a good deal on a good coat. We picked up the kids (more hugs all around) and headed home for some snuggling on the couch while we caught up on the sitcoms we missed this week. Lots of low-key love. Thanks for the cards and hugs and friendship and love from everyone. It was all perfect.

P.S. #5 gave me a good laugh for my birthday. After his sisters presented me with cards and a book, he started throwing a fit because he was so upset that he had nothing to give me. Then he suddenly ran down to my parents' basement. A few minutes later he returned with a gift wrapped in his PJs: my mom's "Twilight" DVD! How thoughtful of him.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Happy Twelfth Night

The hustle and bustle of this past Christmas season were overwhelming for me, and I had to let a few things drop. So instead of the annual Christmas letter, I'm putting together a Twelfth Night Blog Post...which I've worked on for three days and I'm still a day late with it! It will have to do. Here's a quick recap of our 2009. If our blog is new to you, you can follow the links within this post to see the full stories, and bookmark this blog to keep up with us in 2010.

Kent continues to work at A Child's Hope Foundation organizing work projects in Mexico for volunteers. Our family joined him last week for the final work group of the year and we discovered that his "work" is mostly driving around and giving directions. He said he would have liked to put work gloves on and build something, but I think he was perfectly content to check out the great restaurants of Baja in between delivering goods to orphanages. He is also working with some partners to establish a small business process analysis and IT implementation consulting thing. (Can you tell I'm not sure what he does exactly?) His highlights in 2009: Besides discovering a love for the demolition derby, Kent started exercising! He plays racquetball weekly and started a workout on a mini trampoline. I considered embedding a video of his morning bouncing, but decided that YouTube would probably block the video.

#1 discovered a love for water. She spent the summer swimming, water sliding, and tooling around on a makeshift raft up Provo Canyon. Even the freezing water at the beach last week didn't stop her from wading in and learning to boogie board in the waves. Her Christmas highlight was getting a real, working MP3 player.

#2 One moment she is my sweet substitute mother for #5, and the next she is a rocking out diva. Grandma and Grandpa also gave her an MP3 player to rock out to, but she was more ecstatic about the electric toothbrush wrapped with it. It was quite entertaining to hear her shriek with excitement and run to the bathroom to brush her teeth on Christmas morning!

#3 just turned eight and is looking forward to being baptized in a few weeks. She loves to find loopholes in any system and felt her Mexico vacation was fulfilled when she bought herself a coconut, which didn't do much to warm her shivers. (I thought if I didn't pack swim suits, my kids wouldn't get in the December Pacific. Their five soaked and shivering bodies proved me wrong.)

#4 is five-years-old and loving Kindergarten. I was really proud of her for sticking up for a picked-on kid in her class yesterday. She is a kind soul, and an ambitious photographer. She keeps us giggling. I expect this clip of her tap dancing with a major wedgie will be great footage at her wedding some day.

#5 is a talker! And contrary to what he would have you believe in this photo of him "cleaning", he is also a mess maker, a gross-outer, and a "territory marker". But he's three, so we'll let his cuteness outweigh his other traits...for now.

As for me (Mary), my life passes away like this photo, and I enjoy some gourmet snacks along the way. Oh, and the other 364 days I didn't spend on the beach, I got down and dirty with my kids, worked on gardening or blogging about it, conquered wakeboarding, had fun with friends (I finally biked down the Provo River Trail), started a book, chopped off my hair, learned about patents for the invention I'm finally going to develop, and went to a lot of Church meetings. In summary, my life is really a lot like this post. I am truly blessed in many ways.

Here's to another exciting year and decade!