Monday, April 25, 2011

Little Miss Hazel

We are happy to announce the arrival of:

Hazel Ann Stoddard
Born April 16, 2011
1:13 p.m.
7 lbs 16 oz
21 inches

She is now almost 10 days old (where did it go!) and we can hardly imagine life without her. She is a very sweet baby and now that we are working through our feeding issues, she is even better!

The kids love having her around. Sarah and Eliza hold her every chance they get. Samuel likes to look at her, and David is pretty oblivious to her other when he points to her and says "baby!" I think he likes having her around. No jealousy issues (yet!).

She still sleeps most of the time, but wakes up a bit to show us that she still needs us.

I may be biased, but I think she's awfully cute...and so part of our family. It is always amazing to me how familiar they are when these little ones get here.

For those interested in all the "details" of her birth (it is a little long), read on... For those who would rather not read it all, there's no more pictures, but thanks for stopping by!

Having 3 of my 4 kids come 10 days early, I figured this baby would come anywhere between April 5th and 9th. Though my bet was either on the 8th or 10th. All of these dates passed without any sign of baby coming. I went to my weekly Dr. visit on the 15th so ready to not be pregnant anymore. I was barely dilated to a 2, but asked my Dr. to strip my membranes hoping that would spur something along.

I was planning on a VBAC delivery, praying that I would not have to have another Cesarean. I didn't think my family could handle the recovery (or me either for that matter!)

The rest of the day went pretty normal, I was just super tired, but that was normal too. That night at about 7:00, we were just getting dinner ready when David was being a bit grumpy. I picked him up and was holding him, talking to Jeff, when all of the water broke. Not just a trickle, but a big gush. I grabbed the phone and called the Dr office, only to find out that they had another doctor covering for them that night...urgh!

We headed over to the hospital. I was so nervous. Last time my water broke, I ended up with a C-section. I was praying all would go well. I didn't have any contractions until I got up to the Labor and Delivery room. I hoped it would progress quickly. I was happy though that labor was starting on its own.

All night long, we worked through contractions, nothing really getting any regularity. I felt like I was having transition contractions fairly early on, but I think their intensity was heightened because my water had broken and there was no cushioning.

Somewhere in the middle of the night, baby's heart rate dropped to 90. They came in, put me on oxygen, and moved me around and her tones went back up (phew!). The anesthesiologist came in and talked to us about the possibility of a cesarean...had us sign the form, etc. He said he was superstitious though and if we signed it, chances were we wouldn't end up in the OR again. I prayed that he was right.

After more hours of labor, walking around, bouncing on the ball, working through still-irregular contractions, I had finally progressed to a 7. I was so happy to hear it, as previously
I had gone from a 7 to delivery in less than an hour. But, the cervix was behind baby's head and she still had to descend further.

I had mentioned to the nurses when I arrived, that Dr. Lennon (my awesome and amazing OB) might come in if they called him. They couldn't get a hold of him the night before, but by the morning, they did call again and he said he would come in...hooray! After being in labor all night, I felt revived with new energy, knowing that Dr. Lennon can work miracles.

That morning change of shift, brought more than one miracle. My labor and delivery nurse changed and the one that came in was absolutely amazing. She helped me into positions to get the baby to come down, and suggested so many different laboring techniques and positions.

Dr. Lennon came and assessed everything, determined that the baby was semi-posterior (hence all the horrible pressure and pain in my back during contractions) and figured that I needed a small drip of pitocin to help my exhausted uterus be more effective with contractions. After he checked me though, and tried to turn baby a bit, she rolled onto her cord and her heart rate dropped...dramatically.

Back on oxygen, changing positions, and having medicine pumped into my IV, I was almost sure that I was headed for another C-section. Dr. Lennon and my nurse, however stayed pretty calm. After what seemed like forever, her heart rate regained its normal rhythm and we all breathed a sigh of relief. I think with a different doctor and a different nurse though, they would not have been so patient.

We had to wait for baby to regain a normal rhythm for 30 minutes before we could start pitocin. The nurse told us that babies are really resilient and can handle holding their breath for about 5 minutes at least a couple times. Her heart rate kept taking dips over the next little bit, but my fabulous nurse kept changing my position to keep her heart rate up. She also gave me an amnio transfer to give baby a little more cushioning, which seemed to help.

I had Jeff give me a blessing as every contraction hurt so bad and we were worried about baby's heart rate. After that blessing, her heart rate stayed stable and we were ready to get things really going. I never asked for an epidural, as one of the side effects is lowering blood pressure, which can lead to fetal distress. I think that the epidural was a huge contributing factor to my Cesarean last time, so I was determined to have the baby as naturally as possible to avoid complications.

They administered small amounts of pitocin and within a few minutes I think I might have asked for a less painful way of doing things if I would have had time to think about it. But every ounce of my energy was focused on getting through each contraction. Jeff was an awesome coach and I think I must have at least bruised his hands (though he won't admit it) from squeezing them so hard. My nurse had me up on my hands and knees, sitting on the ball, leaning against the bed, and all kinds of positions to try to alleviate the back labor. I think that hour and a half was the most painful and physically exhausting thing I have ever been through.

I began to feel pressure in the right place and I got back on the bed, ready for delivery, I was finally stretched to a 10 and the baby had dropped into position, at last.

Pushing is always harder than I think it will be, I was already so exhausted, it took all of us...Jeff, my nurse, Dr. Lennon, and part of me (I almost remember it as kind of an 'out of body' experience) to deliver, but 4 pushes later and she was born.

I was so happy to hear that first cry. All the nurses in the room oohed and aahed about how cute she was. I just looked at Jeff and he said, "She's OK." The next thing everyone noticed was that there was a knot, a true knot in her umbilical cord. One of the nurses commented that she was truly a miracle baby. I agree.

Soon, I got to hold her and I just remember how beautiful she is and thinking that every bit of that 18-hour labor was worth it.

The next day I got up and I could walk, I wasn't in much pain, and I was almost normal! So different from my last delivery where it was weeks and weeks before I felt like I would be normal again.

I'm so glad I had my great doctor, my wonderful nurse, and my amazing husband to help me through that labor and to keep me out of the OR. Jeff commented that I probably needed to be in labor all night so that we could get the right team for the hard part and the delivery. I agree.

The horrible labor is starting to fade into somewhat of a bad dream. I'm convinced that the Lord helps us forget how hard it is, so that we will have more kids. That's good though, as I don't think we're done.

Little Miss Hazel is here, she is healthy and happy and so perfect in every way.


Jason said...

She is precious, Raelyn! Wish I could be there to see her in person! Congratulations! Your growing family is just beautiful all around.

Juventa said...

Yeah!!!! I'm glad the labor was successful, though painful. I'm so happy for you!

Mom of 6 said...

It's always interesting to hear the story again. I don't think you told me about the knot before. That's one serious miracle that she made it through as well as she did. I love the photo of her yawn. What a sweet little girl. I can't wait to meet her!

Jaron said...

Way to go on the natural birth! I couldn't have done it. By the way, she has your triangle mouth.

Holly said...

Congratulations!!! She is so adorable! I love the pic of her yawning too :) Your strength amazes me. I can't imagine myself working so hard to avoid a c-section. I'm glad it payed off and your recovery has been so swift~a great blessing to both you and your family.

Olivia said...

she is soooo cute! congrats!! Sounds like a long, tough labor, but like you worth it! I'm glad to hear everything is going well. Let me know if I can do anything for you :)

Stephanie said...

Congratulations! I'm so glad it all worked out for you! Love the pictures and update!

Ruth said...

She is very cute. I like the picture of her yawning.

Marsha said...

Congratulations RaeLyn!!! I'm so glad your baby is here and that the long wait is over. I loved reading the birth story. What an awesome team you had! I didn't have anything like that the two times I went natural, that would have been so nice. It sounds like they were so supportive and I'm glad you didn't have to have a C-section. Way to go on getting throught that posterior labor and delivery. I KNOW it is brutal! I'm so glad we forget! :) When it was over for me, I said, "I'll never deliver another child!" But within a few days I was saying, "I think I want to have another one." :) Bless your little family. I LOVE her name too. So cute and original!

Wilson Family said...

She is beautiful, I love her name too. Sorry I haven't responded yet thanks for keeping me updated. Good luck on your move I hope everything goes well. My kids and I are now living in Utah so when you come to visit send me an email I would love to see you