birth story - part four

 read birth story parts one, two and three.

update: i added a few photos after digging through disks and disks, i found the right ones:)

brandon decided to try to get some rest in the super comfortable hospital chair they provided for him, while my mom took over "coaching duty". i remember leaning over the counter and just praying that the hard part was almost over. i wasn't ready to give in yet, but i was getting more and more tired as the night drug on. i mean, they don't call it labor for nothing:)

the nurse came in to check my progress for the first time since 11pm when i was at four centimeters dilated.  it was 4am by this time and i had jumped up to 8 centimeters dilated. good news, folks! i was happy to hear that i had made progress. there were too many horror stories rolling around in my brain of women who have regressed during labor. right after the nurse said "8 centimeters" brandon leaped out of the chair in a half awake daze and exclaimed, "8 centimeters?!" like he didn't believe it would happen this fast.

i started to feel like i had to go to the bathroom (number one:)). i really hadn't gone in a few hours which is an unruly amount of time in the world of a pregnant person. i think by the way i was acting, coupled with how far along in my labor i was, the nurse was weary of letting me sit down to use the bathroom. i recall her saying, "i've only had to deliver two babies over the toilet and yours is not going to be my third." which grossed me out entirely, like i was one of those teenage girls on prom night who have their babies in a high school bathroom stall. ew.

my bathroom feeling proved to be right and things went quickly after this. carolyn had rotated with my mom and was now in our room. somehow i had made it from the bathroom to the bed. at this point in my labor, things moved so fast that everything is hazy. it was so surreal. i literally felt like i have having an out of body experience. carolyn later told me that the nurse seemed all calm and collected, until she checked my progress and i was at 10 centimeters and i really needed to push. it was go time! except no one was ready since things moved so fast. the nurse kept telling me not to push yet, but there was no controlling it. my water broke right then, while i was suffering through contractions and literally trying to hold my baby in. um...that wasn't fun.  the nurse got on the phone and called my doctor in a huge hurry. brandon was on my left and carolyn was on my right and all of a sudden, there were eight other strangers in the room. i knew i was close at this point.

my sister, my husband, the nurse and the doctor were all so encouraging. brandon was a calming presence and would hold my hand and help me breathe. carolyn was right by my face and would say things like, "you're almost there....you're doing so good". the nurse and Dr.Lines were both calm and peaceful, but efficient. i remember almost pleading with Dr. Lines "am I almost done?" and she smiled and said, "almost done" in her matter of fact doctor voice. three pushes and 19 minutes later, at 5:04 am, we welcomed our beautiful Peyton Jane into the world! it was an experience like nothing i have ever had. they took her over to the corner of the room to weigh her and wrap her up, and i waited anxiously to see her little face.  i was freezing and shivering, so someone brought me a warm blanket. thankfully, carolyn had her camera with her (i have no clue where mine was hiding the whole time...maybe in the pocket of my bag with all the loofahs??) and was able to catch the very first shots of our little princess. these pictures were taken ever before i saw her.

first breaths of life.
 it seemed like forever (but actually it was about three minutes) before they brought her to me and was able to kiss her tiny face. she had the sweetest little pout and the chubbiest cheeks. brandon and i just stared and stared at her in disbelief. we did this? she's ours? we have a child?

our first picture together.
holding on to daddy's shirt. already her protector:)

brandon laughed that she was born on 9/19/09, because he cannot remember dates to save his life, so she made it easy for him. my mom, jenny and carolyn all came back into the room and just marveled at how much she looked like brandon.

the marvelers. (a dark room, sans flash = poor quality photo...but the moment was captured, nonetheless!)
 carolyn had been updating a few of my close friends via text throughout the night and sent out the last text that she was here. "blue eyes, blonde hair and beautiful" were her exact words. we were all so tired, but i wanted nothing to do with sleep. i just wanted to stare at her. brandon became the master swaddler, but that little monkey would worm her tiny, little arms out the top of the blanket every time. she still hates to have her arms trapped:)

our lives changed dramatically the minute that little girl was conceived. i carried her for nine long months, wondering whose eyes she would have, or what color hair God would give her. i would sit and dream about who she would look like and what she would become some day. on september 19, 2009, she came into my life and shook it to the core. i never knew i could love someone so much. i think that every day.



birth story - part three

following the jalapeno episode, i was exhausted. i had no idea what time it was and didn't want to know. i instructed brandon not to tell me, because i didn't want to feel discouraged if it was earlier than i thought. in my head, it felt like only a few hours had gone by, but in actuality, it was about 3 am, which is why i didn't want to know the time.
my mom and sister had gotten to the hospital about an hour after we did, and brandon's mom got there shortly after them. i knew that i wanted to include these women in my labor experience, but had no idea how or what they would be doing. my memory comes and goes with details, but what i do remember is how amazing my husband was, once he got his footing.
immediately after getting to the hospital, brandon was annoyingly chatty. asking me questions and talking non- stop. he was obviously nervous and even a little a frustrated at the fact that he couldn't do anything. during contractions, that last thing i wanted to do was answer a slew of questions being thrown at me. at one point, mid question, i just had say "shhhhhhhhhhh" until he stopped. it was until he asked, "what do you want me to do" for the 17th time, that i had to say, "just. SHUT. UP." and then he got it. it was like something clicked in his brain and he figured out his role. one by one, he would shuttle my mom in and my sister out. and then send carolyn back to waiting room, to send jenny in to help. i really only needed one other person in the room and brandon deemed himself the "task manager." he was the one who would delegate each responsibility. he made sure to tell each person helping that i wanted it quiet. he showed them what part of my back where i needed the heating pad. he had a purpose and was in control of it. he's always been a leader and this was the perfect way for him to help, but also remain sane. it worked out great for everyone.

i am so thankful for carolyn, jenny and my mom, who spent their night helping and supporting me, while we all waited to meet our sweet, little girl.

i am most thankful for brandon. it was a bit rocky in the beginning, but you figured out your role and you were an amazing coach and partner. this was our first time at this and neither of us knew what we were doing, but together, we made it through. that night, you proved just how strong you become in times of high stress. it's no wonder you were such a good Marine:) i love you so much!

throughout my pregnancy, the thing i was looking most forward to at the hospital was the jetted tub. the house that we were renting at the time only had a shower, and i am definitely a bath person. so into the tub i went. brandon sat on the floor next to me and held my hand through contractions. i enjoyed the tub, but at this point in my labor, all i really wanted to do was to MOVE. walk, sway, breathe became my mantra.



stay tuned for the big moment:)


birth story - part two

see  birth story -part 1 here.

we got home and i was exhausted from walking all over town. i sat down at the computer to mess around on facebook while brandon made me some spicy, labor inducing dinner.
since our last appointment at the hospital, i figured out what contractions actually felt like and they seemed to be happening pretty frequently at this time. they didn't hurt, but more of a tightening of my entire stomach on a semi-consistent basis.

over the next hour, the pain started to set in. about every 20 minutes, i would have a slightly painful feeling during each contraction. i quickly realized that they were becoming consistent. i told brandon, who immediately didn't believe me. other than the obvious feelings of pain i was having, i had another "feeling" too. a mother's intuition, if you will. i knew tonight was the night and i was happy, excited, terrified, nervous, anxious....just to name a few. we timed a few more and called the number that our doctor gave us. the nurse we spoke with had me lay on my left side, and gave me specific instructions to time how long each contraction was, from beginning to end, how much time in between and tally how many times the baby moved. seriously? i can barely remember my address these days....this is a lot to ask of a very frazzled, pregnant lady!

we got through the next hour and things were getting crazier by the minute. i tried to take a hot shower to ease the pain a little (since at the time, we were living in a house that didn't have a tub...ugh), but the hot water ran out on me mid-shower, so i had to get out. annoying. by this point, it was 10pm at night and we called the doctor again, since contractions were getting closer and closer. i was so thankful that Dr. Lines was on call this weekend and we were able to speak directly with her. she told us to come into the hospital at 11pm. i finished packing my over night bags, grabbed random items i thought i needed (like three different types and textures of loofahs??! what was i thinking??) and had brandon call my mom. i can't re-call much of the phone calls, probably because of some pretty painful contractions that were happening. in fact, now that i think about it, i had brandon call my friends hannah and rachel too, to fill them in, because i was at the point of "i can't talk right now....too. much. pain......".
i remember haphazardly cleaning up the house before we left. throwing shoes in the closet, putting dishes in the dishwasher and pausing in between to lean over the kitchen counter to breathe.

our trip to the ER was a quick 5 minute drive, thankfully. there must have been quite a few emergencies in ames that night, because out of the seven parking spots that were meant for ER patients, the first six were taken. brandon dropped me off at the door, so i didn't have to walk. but i didn't want to walk in alone, so i waited outside the door for him to park. there was a group of drunk college kids that walked past me as i stood there with my giant belly and equally giant stack of pillows. i'm pretty sure they laughed at me, but at that point, acting cool in front of some dumb ISU guys was at the bottom of my list.

we got inside and walked straight to the labor and delivery floor. the nurses were expecting me, since i had already spoken with Dr. Lines and they led us to the very back corner room. the biggest, renovated room on the floor! it was nice, because that was the room that i would be delivering in and staying over night in. we didn't have to schlep our 5 bags and 16 pillows to multiple rooms. phew.

after changing into the glamorous hospital wear, brandon and i just sat there and looked at each other like, "what do we do now?" the nurse came in to check my progress and i was 4 centimeters dilated. so i had b call my mom and sister, so they could get their booties up to ames. this baby is coming soon!

my next thought was my birth plan. do they know it? will it be honored? am i going to wish i never made one?? i asked the nurse (whose name i forgot and wish i remember!) and she said it was in my file and all doctors and nurses have access to it. my birth plan was simple. i wanted things to be as relaxed as possible. no lights, no noises and please, no questions. i did not want to be asked if i wanted anything for my pain. my goal was to labor as long as i could without medical interventions. i made it very clear that i would be the one to ask if i needed anything. and everyone followed it beautifully. my nurse was amazing. she was so patient, calming and helpful. she showed brandon how to rub my back, since i was having a lot of back labor too. she waited for my contraction to end before ever saying anything. she just had this calming presence that made me feel at ease. i was very thankful for her.

about an hour after getting to the hospital, i started to feel nauseated. this is pretty normal for women in labor, but i feared the worst. i had jalapeno poppers for dinner...please, God, don't let them come back up. but they did:( twice. and to this day, i still think it's one of the worst parts about my labor experience. the burning of my throat took my mind off of the sharp stabbing pain in my abdomen for a little while. and poor brandon. he was trying his hardest to help me...but i laugh now, thinking back to our conversation between heaves. he had his shirt covering his his nose and mouth and was frantically asking me if i brought any spray. no, babe. i brought enough loofahs to share with the 7th floor, but i must have forgotten my body spray.  but thankfully we made it through that few minutes and i vow never to eat jalapenos while pregnant.


gear up for part three...coming soon!


birth story - part one

today is my beautiful daughter's second birthday. i can't even begin to explain how much my heart bursts with love for this little girl. she has changed my life in ways that are unexplainable. for the past two years, i would occasionally think back to the week that i finally got to see her face for the first time. this birth story might be two years late, but i know in 20 years, my memory will fail me even more and i will be thankful for writing this post.

note: this story is LONG...and will have multiple parts.  i may jump around a bit and it all may be complete randomness. but i am remembering every detail and writing it down for my own sake. just a warning :)

one day old

one year old
two years old

in 2009, the third week in september was one of the longest weeks of my life. the waiting game was at an all time high. my due date was scheduled for september 17th, but....is a due date ever really right on the money? nope. and this was torture for my husband. he likes to be in control of every situation and have a plan for everything. at a moment's notice, i could go into labor and our lives would turn up side down. the countdown was down to the single digits and we were anticipating labor at any moment.

a little background: brandon was still in school at the time and working part time at diamond vogel paint store. i had been working as a supervisor at child serve and chose to work right up to my due date and even if no baby came on the 17th, i decided to start my maternity leave anyway. the plan was to take all 12 weeks off and then go back to work. that WAS the plan. unlike my military husband, i don't always like to stick to the plan:) more on that later.

months before the baby was born, i knew that i wanted to share my birthing experience with my sister, carolyn. i wasn't sure of all the details (where she would be, what she would be doing), but i knew that she needed to be there. carolyn had flown into des moines on a tuesday night and my dad drove her up to ames the next day. i cut out of work early to hang out with her as our "last time" as sisters before i became a mommy. the last month or so of my pregnancy was somewhat of a interesting time for me. i had a lot of "lasts" that i felt the need to grieve. my last christmas before i had a child. the last nap time before having a newborn to interrupt. my last date with my husband before we knew each as "mommy and daddy" and not just husband and wife. i clung to the alone time i spent with brandon as if it was my last. i would cry when he would leave to go golfing or go to work and felt sad that our "time" together was ending. i blame it all on the hormones. anyway...that wednesday, seemed like the beginning of the end of the last alone time i would get with my sister. looking back, it seems so silly, but i really had no idea how much a baby would shake up the dynamic of my life.

the plan for wednesday was to go to one of my last appointments at Doran Clinic. carolyn, brandon and i all ventured into the check up room, where they hooked me up to a machine to check for contractions.
as a first time preggo, i had no idea what the heck a contraction felt like. everyone kept asking me if i had been feeling any contractions and i would excitedly exclaim, "no! i can't feel a thing!", like it was some kind of accomplishment. little did i know that i had been having mild contractions for weeks and just thought it was the baby moving around in there. we all sat in that room, watching the numbers on the machine tell us that i was contracting. it was surreal. in brandon's head, contractions meant labor, so he was ready to hop on over to the hospital. sorry buddy, it's not that easy. my doctor told me all the signs of labor and basically told me to go home and wait. WAIT?! that's all we've been doing!! she also told me that she was on call this weekend, so if i were to go into labor, she would be able to deliver my baby. this made me all the more ready to have this baby! i trusted Dr. Lines and felt so comfortable with her. i wanted so badly to have her there with me, during one of the biggest and scariest moments of my life. i think i looked calm and collected on the outside, but my head was running a mile a minute and my emotions were on high.

so, we went home and went on the longest walk of my life. we showed carolyn our neighborhood and even drove to a new part of town, just to get a change of scenery. we had literally been on 12 walks that week
already....a new route was definitely appreciated.  i remember feeling so slow compared to the non-pregnant people in the group and was struggling to keep up the whole time. a funny thing that happened during our walk, was that there was a little girl riding her bike with her dad down the street. they passed us and we overheard the little girl tell her dad " that girl in the blue shirt is pretty....but FAT". i just love the truth speaking mouths of children. carolyn and brandon laughed hysterically and i just sulked. we made our way home to start dinner and possibly one of my last meals before i give birth. again with my never ending feeling of "lasts". brandon made parmasan crusted salmon and it was delicious. we all sat around the table and joked that it could be my last meal while my baby was on the the inside. following the meal, i insisted on getting gelato. in the car ride over, brandon called his mom and made her think that we were at the hospital. he loves to tease his mom and he had been doing the same joke for the past 3 weeks. jenny got her hopes up EVERY time:)

the next day, my due date came and went. it was my last day at work and i went out the lunch to panera with my boss. i remember her telling me how quick and easy her labor was and i just sat there praying i would have a similar experience. i headed home, feeling weird that my maternity leave had started, and my baby was no where in sight. i think we had a fire in the fire pit that night and just sat around waiting. carolyn filled me in on some natural ways to jump start labor, such as taking a shot of castor oil, but i opted to not take it to such extremities yet:) the last thing i wanted was a bad case of diarrhea and still no baby.

friday, september 18th. brandon skipped his classes, and my mom came up to ames to take everyone out to lunch. i picked our favorite restaurant, the cafe, and ordered the mac and cheese, which was amazing. we sat in a booth by the bar and my baby belly was so big, i could barely squeeze in! after lunch, brandon drove us around ames and tried to find the bumpiest roads in the city to drive down. he was determined to meet this baby and would go to great lengths to do so! mom and carolyn decided to go back home to des moines to wait untilbaby peyton made her move. little did they know...they'd be driving back up to ames later that night!

to pass the afternoon, brandon and i took ANOTHER walk. we walked/waddled toward down town ames to pick up some groceries to make dinner. brandon had the great idea to make jalapeno poppers for me for dinner. he was definitely bound and determined to jump start my labor...even at the expense of all my taste buds:)

stick around this week to hear more of the story....the jalapeno poppers might be back in the story later:)