All about Alexandra

Be warned, this post uses birth/new born baby terms ... you've been warned! Also, I will have to write this over a series of attempts so please pardon any jumping around, typos, missing punctuation and anything else that isn't quite right.

On April 14, 2014, I woke up at 3am. After wondering why I was wide awake I realized I was having pretty consistent contractions. After laying in bed for a bit I finally decided to start timing the contractions around 4am. Mind you I was almost a week late and had thought it was, "the day," several times in the last few weeks so I was almost reluctant to start timing. From 4am to 5am my contractions were 8 minutes apart with out fail. At that point I decided to get out of bed. I had an overwhelming desire to pace back and forth in our living room. After the pacing I noticed that my contractions were closer, now every 5 minutes. At this point in time I did everything I could think of to make them stop. Like I said, I had may false alarms leading up to this point and wanted to make sure this was not one of them. I drank a lot of water, laid down, sat down, walked, sat on my exercise ball. All of which seemed to not only keep the contractions going but also made them stronger and last longer. Maybe this was after all the real deal. I decided to text my mom. She was already planning on heading up at 11am but I now felt maybe she needed to leave a bit earlier. With having a previous c-section and not knowing what to expect from a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarian) I wanted my parents to be on their way sooner than later. We decided they would head up around 9am, after the rush hour madness. This way I also would get to spend more time at home.

I continued to time my contractions, through out the morning they were every 3-5 minutes and would last anywhere from one minute to three. In between contractions I would hurry around the house and get a few last minute things done ... trimmed my nails, got things ready for my parents, used far too many sticky notes leaving Karoline instructions ... I also made sure to get down a bowl of cereal, good thing I did, I wouldn't eat real food again for 48 hours.

Before my parents made it to our house I made sure to get in a picture with Karoline. Darn post pregnancy emotions, I'm getting all teary just writing about this. I wanted to have one last picture with her as an only child. Side note, worrying about Karoline has been one of the more difficult things about having another baby. More on that later.
One last picture with my girl.
After my parents got in and got settled there were a few minutes of light heartedness and then Tim and I headed out the door. When I had called the doctor about 30 minutes prior they said it was time to come in.

Tim drove quite quickly to the hospital, even though there really was no hurry. I was fine, other than the fact that I had been drinking so much water that I really, really needed to find a bathroom the second that we made it into the hospital. Thankfully, I found a bathroom quickly after we spent two trips driving through the entire parking garage with no luck. Thank goodness for free valet that your husband finally decides is something that would be ok for our new truck.

We made our way to labor and delivery. I got dressed into one of the lovely hospital gowns (with Karoline I wanted to wear my own, this time I knew better, the less of my own clothes I wore the better-less laundry when I got home). After getting dressed I was hooked up to be monitored and checked for any dilation. I was 2 cm and 80% effaced (look that up if you don't know what it means, it still is confusing to me and I have two kids). Two lousy centimeters! However, it was a start. They were trying to decide if we would be sent home or admitted to wait out the labor process. We were admitted, I think probably because I had the previous c-section. I was given an IV, after two failed attempts on my left arm I ended up with one of the worst placed IV's on my right (dominant) arm. It wasn't quite high enough on my arm. So, this meant I could not bend my hand upward at all. I have to admit this was one of the worst parts of my hospital stay. I was so annoyed with it the entire time. Given the option to do it all over I would have had them try again. Live and learn.

After being admitted I was sent to walk. I would walk up and down a hallway that I found that did not have any doors. Just a bunch of comfy looking chairs and tables. Tim would sit in the middle of the hallway and I would pace back and forth. Trying to move fast enough that I would end up back by him for contractions. That wasn't always the case but it gave me a goal and an objective to the never ending pacing. I would walk for an hour and then go back and would be monitored for an hour.

Time was funny during that day. It seemed as though it went very quickly and yet very slowly all at the same time. Our doctor was so kind and came to the hospital after a full day of work at the office to check on us. At this time I was 4 cm ... great, 12 hours down and still only 2 more cm! At this point she broke my water. She had high hopes that we would have the baby by the end of the day. She was however not the doctor on call, however she would be the following day. I had heard from other women that after your water was broken that things usually sped up and got a bit more intense.

It was back to the hallway for more walking and monitoring. At some point in the next few hours I got to the point where Tim applying pressure to my lower back really helped get through the contractions. Finally some pain, I thought for sure we were getting somewhere. When the nurse checked me she said I was about a six! Woohoo, not long now and we would have a baby. I really had been hoping for the birthday of 4/14/14, I have a bit of an infatuation with numbers. Anyway, not long after being told I was a six things started to get a little painful. My contractions were every few minutes and they were lasting just as long some times. Tim was rubbing my back so hard that it was starting to become raw. When the doctor that was on call came in to see me things were definitely a bit on the painful side. He checked me for himself and told me that I was not a six, he did say however that the numbers were all subjective to who was checking you. I was actually still only a four. That did it, the wind was out of my sails. I had been awake since 3am and it was now 20 hours later and I was still only a four. A lousy four. Not to mention in this time frame the babies heart rate was also dropping at times, thankfully it would pick right back up (Karoline's heart rate dropped and never came back up, thus leading to an emergency c-section). I was tired, I wanted to sleep. My goal was to have this baby naturally and I knew that in order to be able to do that I needed to rest. So, in the midst of the hour of being monitored when the contractions were strong and hard I decided I wanted an epidural. I pushed the nurse call button and waited for what seemed like forever for her to come in. Then after informing her I wanted the epidural I waited for an eternity for the anesthesiologist to show up. Tim later informed me that it was literally minutes that I was having to wait. Pain sure does play some funny tricks on your sense of time. Anyway, I got the epidural and felt almost instant relief. My attitude was completely different. I tell you what, an epidural is an amazing advancement in medicine. To the women who have had babies naturally, I salute you. I do have to admit though, I fell like I could have done it if it weren't for the hour of having to be monitored while sitting in a bed. Sitting/laying is not conducive (for me anyway) for managing pain. If I had the ability to know that my babies would not have ever been in danger I would have tried for an all natural birth at a birthing center.

Over the next few hours Tim and I tried to get some rest, that was near impossible. I would sleep for about 45 minutes at a time or less, there's that time element again, it really was lost even though I was starring right at a clock straight in front of my hospital bed. Tim slept a bit. I was thankful that I hadn't woken him up until almost 7am that day. Around 3am (almost 24 hours into labor) the on call doctor came in and checked me again. I was still at a four. He asked me if I was ready to make the decision to have a c-section. In his opinion my labor was stalling out. I was given the option to try a bit of pitocin. Pitocin is used very sparingly on women who have had a c-section before, it can make contractions too strong and cause the uterus to rupture. I was not ready to give up, I had come this far and wanted to make sure I gave it every last effort. Not only that but I was not completely comfortable with the on call doctor. I don't know what it was but I had to trust my instincts. There was something I just did not like. I knew that in just 4 hours my doctor would be on call, I just had to make it four more hours.

The pitocin didn't set well with the baby, the nurses were constantly having to shut off the pitocin in order to keep the babies heart rate up.

At 7am my doctor was there, I heard her voice in the hall and I had such a huge sigh of relief. She came in, checked me, still just about a five. The look on her face as she explained to me that it was my choice to continue laboring made my choice all that more easy. She made it known that I could definitely continue to wait it out and that we might make some headway. But, more than likely even if she checked me again it would still be the same situation and we would most likely end up with a c-section. Our doctor and nurse left the room and Tim and I had a decision to make. We decided to go with the c-section. I had been in labor for 27 and a half hours.

I called my mom, we got our things together and after 28 hours of labor we were wheeled back into the operating room at 8:22am to meet our baby.

When we got into the operating room I started to pray and give thanks. I was crying, literally tears just streaming down my face. I hoped that Tim knew they were happy tears and not that I was upset that I had decided to go with the c-section after all that time. All of the nurses kept asking if I was ok, I was, I told them. Happy tears, that was all. I was praying for the baby to be safe, I was giving thanks for all of our blessings, I was naming off so many different blessings in my head and I just wished Tim would have been holding my hand at this point in time, but I could see him that was also a blessing.

Once he took his place by my head he was able to hold my hand. Our doctor started the procedure and was so sweet, checking on me the entire time. At 8:52am our baby was born. Thank the Lord that this baby decided to be vocal from the get go. I heard cries even before I knew if the baby was a boy or a girl. Karoline was not so vocal and definitely gave me a good scare until I heard her first cry. Tim looked over the curtain, he says he saw the baby from the back and almost announced that the baby was a boy, until they turned the baby around and he excitedly told me, "It's a girl!!" Alexandra Elizabeth Reed was born at 8:52am. She weighed 7lbs 15oz and was 19.5" long. I was in complete shock. This pregnancy was completely different from day one, I really though this baby was going to be a boy. I of course was not disappointed in anyway. However, I was still very very shocked. Tim left my side to be by the baby. It's funny, even when I refer to Karoline's birth I still refer to her as "the baby." Not knowing the gender for 9 months makes it hard to use a gender term when talking about the pregnancy or birth. My first question when Karoline was born was if she had all of her fingers and toes. Who knows why that was what I was wondering. Except that was all I could see from where I was laying with her. This time I wanted to know if her name fit her. Tim said it did. Funny what the first thing is that comes to you mind when you're lying on an operating table.

I have to add a quick note about choosing a name for this little peanut. When we picked Karoline I knew there was a princess named Karoline spelled with a K. So, in picking another girls name I knew it had to be another princess name. Thus, we found Alexandra. We had also talked about wanting this baby to feel just as special even though she was not the "first" girl. So, she was given my middle name. Not only did I need another princess name but I wanted a name with the same amount of letters for this baby. Call me crazy, I just call it being a numbers nerd. Anyway, both of my girls have 22 letters in their names: Karoline (8) Christelle (10) Reed (4) ... Alexandra (9) Elizabeth (9) Reed (4). And yes, if we would have had a boy he would have the same amount of numbers in his name as his dad. And yes, I may or may not have already come up with a third girls princess name with 22 letters as well, just in case.
Alexandra Elizabeth Reed
7lbs 15oz, 19.5"
Born 4/15/15 at 8:52am
I heard them checking on the baby and doing all of the measuring and poking and prodding. Looking back on it as I write this is the only time I've had any sort of desire for a natural birth. I truly wish I could have known the overwhelming love that comes from your baby being placed on your chest for the first time. None the less my baby was brought over to me by my husband and that was just as special in a different way. I got to hold her and look at her for a short time. Alexandra and Tim went to the recovery room while I was on the operating table waiting to be sewn up. This time of waiting felt like forever. With my previous c section I had staples. This time it was stitches. I prefer the stitches even though it did seem they took a little bit longer. When I was finally done and they wheeled me into the recovery room I saw my husband with his shirt off holding our baby skin to skin. My heart melted. I was so glad he was able and willing to provide that closeness for our baby girl when I couldn't.
Daddy and his girl.
My beautiful baby.
The rest of the day was a blur. I was able to hold my sweet baby girl and feed her. We were informed that there really was a very slim chance that Alexandra would have been able to be born via VBAC even if I would have labored for another day. Come to find out she was trying to decent a bit crooked. It's awfully hard for a cervix to dilate properly when a baby is not in the right position. Who knew. At least I tried. Through out the day I would fall asleep mid sentence and just had a horrible time staying awake. I suppose being up for 29 hours and being in labor will do that to ya. My parents brought Karoline to meet her new baby sister. That was very sweet. My brother also made it up to meet Alexandra on her birth day. Something that I will never forget, I really appreciated him making the drive just to spend an hour or so with us.
Thankful for this bunch.
I got myself out of bed and into the wheel chair only 6 hours after having my c-section. The days in the hospital felt extremely long but short at the same time. Really, time is such a funny thing when you have a baby. Either way we were able to go home when Alexandra was just about 48 hours old. I'm very thankful that both her and I were healthy enough to leave. Being there is nice in that I didn't have anything to do. But, at the same time there's nothing like being in your own home.

Today Alexandra is 3 weeks and 2 days old. I've been able to shower every day since her birth, something I'm very thankful for. I'm hoping to find more time to blog about our time at home. But in short I'll say this for now, babies are a blessing, especially when they are good sleepers!