Thursday, September 24, 2015

Family Update

Cody: is still working his cute little tush off. I don't know if he ever stops. He is in charge of the Deacons at church, up at 5:15 for work everyday, home at 5 to take care of the girls when I have voice lessons or need help because I'm so exhausted from my day (which is everyday, I swear). He is currently building me an entertainment center from scratch and about 50% done after working on it for one day (it was a lonnnng day of working on it, but still. One day.) He taught the girls how to dive this summer and loves being in the pool with them.

Stacey: is putting my much loved planner to good use. I feel like I have a million +1 things to do everyday and am constantly thinking, " I should blog about that..." but never find the time to actually do it. Trying to balance 4 kids, 2 in school, 1 in preschool, being the primary chorister, on the PTA board, room mom for first grade and kindergarten, having to decorate the bulletin board, keep up with the house, appointments for everyone all the time (doctor, dentist, hair, car, dog, etc)...It's kind of exhausting. I've been trying to eat "cleaner" which means our whole family is eating cleaner and I'm really enjoying it so far. I also started crossfit up again recently and my love for it has not gone away! I still kind of hate all things cardio (the first time I did a 1000m row and after the 7 min it took thought, wow! Ok, great workout...see y'all later...too bad I had 53 minutes left!), but lifting is so good for me. Really, doing any of it is just super empowering and therapeutic. Even though my body doesn't look any different yet, I feel more confident about it already because it can do hard things. And while I'm trying to do those hard things (like 50-40-30-20-10 double unders and sit-ups), I literally am telling myself, "I pushed 4 babies out of my vagina. I am hardcore. Don't stop." TMI? Sorry.

Chloe: In first grade and loving it! She loves her teacher, is making new friends, and feels more confident. She still says every Sunday night that she doesn't want to go to school on Monday, but once she gets back into the routine, she's happy. She is playing soccer, taking piano lessons and just started gymnastics. Her coach said (About her and Preslie) that she's very talented, that she takes direction extremely well and is focused and does exactly what the coach says. She said both she and Preslie should be moved up to the competition team within a month. She just started playing the drums and is loving that! She also just lost her first tooth and the second is on it's way out! We're working on standing up for herself and telling people what and how she thinks. She is becoming much more brave and said she saw a girl by herself on the playground and Chloe asked her to play with her and her friends, and I was so proud. She is very sensitive and has a hard time when people around her make choices she doesn't agree with. She's told me a lot of times that people in her class say "Oh my..." So we talked about what you can do in that situation. I told her that if someone is doing something she's uncomfortable with, she can always tell them she doesn't like when they do or say X and see what they say. I told her that by standing up for herself in that way, it just might make the other person more aware of what their doing and help them to make a better choice. She said today that a girl in her class kept saying it, and she said, "I was just about to tell her I don't like when she says that, but I was really scared. So I told myself I would say it the next time she said it, and then she didn't ever say it again." :)

Preslie: is in Kindergarten and loving it...kinda. I think she loves it while she's there, but I thought she'd have a lot easier time than she is so I was a little surprised. She says when she goes in the morning she's sad because she misses me, and I honestly thought she'd be all, "peace out." and be sad to come home, but it's been opposite. However, when she does come home we have about 30-45 minutes of straight heck breaking loose - I think she is so reserved at school and holds a lot of things in - which isn't like her at all...So when she gets home and feels comfortable, it's easy to just have a huge release and we all need to work on that together a little bit more. She also is in soccer, piano and gymnastics. Preslie is really, honestly, talented at pretty much everything she tries. She picks things up really fast and her piano teacher especially was telling me about how impressed she was with her piano talent. She had one song that spanned two pages in her piano book (just one note at a time, easy songs) and Preslie said, "This song takes too long to play both pages one at a time. I'm going to play it at the same time." She played both left and right hand at the same time (not the same notes) and did the whole thing perfectly. Her teacher said, "She definitely shouldn't be able to do that yet!" She also just started playing the guitar and is picking it up super fast.

Charlotte: started preschool and I wish it was more than once a week! She LOVES preschool (once a week for 2 hours) and her little friends there and her amazing teacher. She loves having a space to herself. She adores Maggie and is such a cute little mommy to her. She turns her "baby voice" on as soon as she sees her, and always wants to hold her, see her and hug her. I love having Charlee home with me during the day - she is the perfect little sidekick, always says the funniest things and wants to be a helper (sometimes). Most of the time, she thinks she can't do anything and wants everything done for her. She is constantly saying, "I can't," which is one of my biggest pet peeves and then she gets in big trouble :) The other day we were walking through Target, and all of a sudden she said, "St. Thomas! And another St. Thomas! Another St. Thomas!" I was so confused and asked what she saw and she pointed to Thomas the Tank Engine. I was cracking up :) I also see SO much of Preslie with her. She follows everything Preslie does and has all her expressions and mannerisms down to a T.

Maggie: just went to the dr today - her stats: 25 inches long - 71%, 42.4 cm - 91%, 15.3 lbs - 69% She is definitely our biggest baby and I love it! Her hair is starting to look more and more red and I can't wait until it gets longer and we see its true color. She is a master roller from her back to her front and has rolled front to back a couple times, but not as often. A lot of times she just gets stuck on her tummy and cries :) She has dimples on both cheeks - not super obvious, but getting more obvious every day. She loves being held and wants to be held all the time, which I'm mostly ok with, except for all the millions of things I need to be doing ;) She drinks 5 oz of formula at every feeding - about every 3 hours, and wakes up once at night and only for a few minutes and then is back to sleep. She loves eating her hands and fingers and also her binky - but she doesn't care about it as much as her sisters did.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Postpartum Day 4

When I had Chloe and Preslie, it was easy for me to feel a little right away. I think a lot of that came from all the drugs that were coursing throughout my system when I delivered them. They pumped me so full of so much stuff that it took a long time to work it's way out and it was really hard for me to bond with my new babies. Luckily I've never had to deal with postpartum depression very long - I usually feel funky and weird for a couple weeks at the very most and then things go back to normal.

After having Charlotte, I was on a birth high for a good two weeks. I was so instantly in love, so extremely happy and so proud of myself for carrying, delivering and making this tiny, perfect little baby by myself with no drugs during labor (except pitocen of course) that I had no problems with postpartum depression at all.

I expected to feel the same as I had with Charlotte after I had Magnolia. I was having her naturally, except under even better conditions. I had a midwife this time instead of a doctor who was going to yell at me (like with Charlee), I was delivering at a hospital that was known for their amazing, natural births that are surrounded by good feelings, unicorns and love. I knew no one would tell me I couldn't do things that I wanted to do, and the decision making and planning would be up to me.

After I had Maggie, though, it was hard to have those amazing feelings right away. I think because my birth went so differently than I had planned that right afterwards I was just a little shaken up and it took a while to process emotionally and mentally. The night after she was born, the nurses came in to take my vitals at 4 am, and quickly left. I couldn't fall back asleep for at least an hour, even though both Maggie and Cody were sleeping, because I just kept replaying everything that had happened in my mind. I just needed to process it all and really figure out what had happened. 

That being said, I didn't necessarily feel depressed - again, just weird and different than normal. I was happy to be home and with our whole family. I was happy my mom was there to help me. Maggie refused to nurse, though, which kind of started steam rolling all these very sad feelings. I kept thinking that if she was my last baby, and she refused to nurse, I would never, ever get that chance again. And because I hadn't really nursed Chloe or Preslie, I had only one chance to nurse and I wanted more! Maggie wouldn't even TRY to nurse - I would offer it to her and she would just start screaming. She was hungry, but she still wouldn't even try and we didn't know why. For the first couple of days, I would hand express and spoon or finger feed her, but she was still starving. I didn't want to pump because I feel like that fueled the problems I had had with Chloe and Preslie, but I didn't have a choice. She needed to eat and by day 4, I was completely engorged. So I pumped.

And I couldn't get any milk. 

None. Not one drop. 

I was pretty beside myself. I think I cried the entire day. I felt like everything was against us and nothing was working in our favor and why couldn't we just have one little bit of luck? Why was this happening when this had never happened with any of the other girls? I've always had an over-abundance and I was even thinking this time that maybe after awhile, I'd figure out milk donation because I was 100% positive I would have extra to go around.

Both Cody and my mom tried encouraging me the whole time, that no matter what, we would feed Maggie and she wouldn't go hungry and the rest of our girls had had formula and they were all fine. 

But it didn't feel fine. I just felt devastated. 

We took Maggie to the chiropractor that afternoon. I had had a few other women tell me that because my labor was so fast and intense, she might be all out of alignment and nursing might be painful for her to have to twist and be in different positions. They said a lot of times the baby is adjusted and like magic, they nurse perfectly.

Only the chiropractor said Maggie wasn't out of alignment. At least not enough to prevent her from nursing or cause her pain in any way.

So I cried some more. I cried on the drive home, I cried after getting home. I cried on the phone with three different lactation consultants. I cried after we got home and I tried nursing again, only to be met with screams. I cried when I was feeding her formula. I cried when I was trying to pump and nothing was coming. I cried because I was so engorged and in so much pain and there was nothing I could do. I cried sitting on the bathroom floor thinking about how I was never going to have this experience again in this life and how I shouldn't have weaned Charlotte when I did because I'd never be able to do it again. I cried in the shower when I was trying to get something to come out and it helped a tiny bit but not enough. I cried because the tiny bit of milk that I got to come out was now going down the shower drain instead of to my baby.

It was a pretty draining day.

Then it got even worse.

Around 10:30, we decided to go to bed. My mom had already gone to bed and Cody was changing Maggie. He asked me to get him a diaper from our bedroom. I brought him the diaper and all of a sudden had extreme, sudden eye pain. I thought maybe something was in my eye - even though my actual eye didn't hurt, but behind my eye, in my head. I started going towards the bathroom to see if there was something in it. By the time I reached the bathroom door, my right arm was totally numb. By the time I reached the sink, my right leg was completely numb. I looked at myself in the mirror for about one second until I started calling for Cody to come help me because I couldn't stand anymore.

He quickly came in the bathroom where I was trying to sit/falling on the floor. By that time, I could no longer talk without completely slurring everything. It was so scary. Cody kept asking if he should call 911 and what should he do? In my mind I was thinking - No, don't call 911! I'm sure I'm fine, I don't need 911 - we don't have things happen to us that require 911. But of course I couldn't get any of that out because I couldn't really talk.

Maggie was crying this entire time and I was mostly just worried about her. I kept saying, "Get my mom. Help Maggie." But it was coming out like - Geeeetttt my mommmmm. Maaaaggggie. Hellllllppp Maaaaaggggggie.

Cody ran up to wake up my mom and was running all over the house, checking on me, then running to see if the ambulance had gotten there, then making sure Axel was outside, and on and on. My mom said she's never seen him run so fast (I don't know if she's ever seen him run anyway?) trying to make sure everything was ok with everyone.

When Cody left to get my mom, I started feeling better and just dizzy. I slowly sat up and just hung out, sitting on the bathroom floor. My mom came in holding the baby and all of a sudden, I started feeling that way again. This time it was a lot worse. My right arm and leg were spasming but I still couldn't feel them, I definitely couldn't talk correctly, and my head and eye hurt so badly. I thought I was having a stroke. My mom helped me lay back down on the ground and I was looking at her holding the baby when I thought, "My poor baby. She's 4 days old and she'll never know how much I love her or ever remember me." Then I looked at my mom and thought, "She is going to have to deal with losing 2 daughters. I never thought she'd have another kid die, and I can't believe it's going to be me."

I was pretty scared, but mostly just sad for everyone else. When I started having those thoughts, I started having a hard time breathing. Then I started freaking out even more. I kept saying, "Help me. Mom, I can't breathe. Help me, I can't breathe." But of course it sounded like, "Hellllllpppp meeeeee. Mommmmmmmma I caaaaaaan'tt breeeeaaathhheee.

Finally the ambulance got there and a bunch of emts. They started asking me a bunch of questions, What city are we in? Who is the president? What's today's date? And I knew them all right away in my mind, but I couldn't get them out very well. Then I started getting scared that I was going to be one of those people that my brain works perfectly, but I can't communicate and no one knows that I understand and I'm just a "vegetable" my whole life and everyone will end up not talking to me and leaving me alone all the time.

Seriously it was a very scary and depressing little while.

Some of the ENT's started asking my mom questions like if I've ever done anything like this before, if I had been drinking, etc. I know they probably have to ask those questions, but it was making me so frustrated. I wanted to say, "Yeah, I do this all the time. I totally have time for this. I just need all the extra attention and I love paying ridiculous amounts of money to ride in ambulances to a hospital that is maybe 2 minutes away."

Of course, none of that was said...Probably a good thing I still couldn't talk at that point.

Long story short, we got to the hospital, I started feeling better again. They did 2 EKG's - one on my bathroom floor and one in my hospital room - both normal. They did a CT scan in the hospital. I was really scared about doing that because I get claustrophobic, but luckily it was just a head CT and I didn't have to go in all the way - but I still kept my eyes closed the whole time. Everything came back normal so they ordered a CT with iodine to look to see if I had had a brain aneurism.

I've watched Grey's long enough to know I better not have, because Derek Shepherd has lost quite a few of those, and if Derek can't save them, I was a goner. I was also scared about the iodine, because my sister had an allergic reaction to that and I really didn't want that to happen to me. They put benadryl in my IV to help with that and then did the iodine. The woman said it would make me very hot and make me feel like I peed my pants. It was so, so weird feeling the medicine go into my IV SO quickly, then starting at my head getting extremely hot and working it's way quickly down my body. It definitely felt like I peed, and I was so scared! No worries, I didn't.

That CT came back normal as well. By this time it's about 3 am and the doctor said the next test was a lumbar puncture. I had been sleeping off and on for awhile and was feeling better, so we said we just wanted to leave. They discharged us with papers saying I had been treated for "A Headache.".... However, because I had the test with the iodine, they said I couldn't nurse for 48 hours.

Start over with the depressed feelings.

We have a friend who is a medical resident who said he thinks it sounds like I had an Atypical Migraine. Apparently they are a lot different than regular migraines and present as a stroke. Luckily I definitely didn't have a stroke and haven't had any of those symptoms since then (except for a headache pretty constantly).

Also, miraculously, the next morning I woke up feeling fine about not being able to nurse. I really felt like whatever is supposed to happen, will happen, and she really will be ok even if she can't nurse. Now, since then, I have still cried about it and it makes me very sad to think it really may not ever work (we still to this day are working on it. She will nurse probably once a day (or less) but for the most part is only on formula. When I pump, I still only get about 1/2 oz - 1 oz. usually only out of one side), but I'm definitely not as stressed as before.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Magnolia Quinn

Our little one has finally arrived. I was beginning to think I might be pregnant forever, but she's now almost two weeks old and I kind of can't believe it. 

My due date was May 13, 2015. I don't really believe in due dates, only "due months" but my midwife, Kathleen, had told me (at 33 weeks along) that the baby was very low and when she decided it was time, she was "going to be coming very fast." I also hate being checked, and don't really see the point in it since dilation can change so quickly and doesn't guarantee anything anyway, so I usually ask to not be checked. At 33 weeks I was in a car accident with a semi, so they checked me because I had had to go to the ER with never-ending contractions. She said I was a 3.5-4 then. Even though I know that didn't mean anything, like I said, I have walked around at a 3.5 for weeks with my other kids, I was still a little excited that she said she was so low and I was already dilated that much. 

At 38 weeks, I asked to be checked again just to see what had been happening. The baby was SO low and my belly looked so weird because of it, I was starting to get worried she would be early and we wouldn't have anyone here to watch the girls. A different midwife, Allison, checked me and said the baby was very high and I was "maybe a 1." 

I was pretty disappointed. I decided I really, really didn't like that midwife :)

Cody's mom was coming on my due date, and the day before that I had my 40 week appointment. I had a different midwife, Amy, check me again and told her what had been happening. She said I was a 3.5 for sure and maybe the baby had moved last time, causing the cervix to not be as stretched, but she said she was definitely low. She said she could feel my water was bulging out - which I took to be a good sign that it would break any day!

Tami got there and we got to go out to dinner, go to the Stockyards, and watch Pride and Prejudice just waiting for the baby to come. Cody and I would walk every night after the girls went to bed and time my contractions. I have never been able to go into labor on my own and I have been praying this whole pregnancy that my body would figure it out and my labor would start without pitocin. When we would go on our walks I would have regular contractions ever 2-3 minutes apart the whole time we were walking, but I could almost always walk through them and talk through them and I knew they weren't really doing anything. When we would get through with our walks, they would stop. 

Charlotte was 4 days late, and my water had broken in the middle of the night. I kept hoping and praying that every time I woke up to pee in the night my water would break like it had with her. No such luck. We got closer and closer to Tami leaving (May 19) and still no baby. I started feeling really guilty because I really thought we would've had a baby sometime when she was there! On Monday morning (May 18), after walking and being active all weekend, I decided to call the midwife to see if I could just come in and be checked and see if I had made any progress. I wanted to be able to tell Tami that SOMETHING was happening and her coming wasn't (yet) in vain! 

The midwife, Kathleen, told me that because I was 5 days past due, I needed to come in and have the baby observed to make sure she was ok and they could also check me then. However, I had to go to the hospital to do it because they didn't have the equipment to monitor me in the office. I felt pretty silly going to the hospital when nothing was happening - they checked us in and kept asking what was happening and why we were there (Kathleen said she would call and tell them we were coming but I'm assuming she didn't), and I just kept saying, "The midwife told me to..." Because I wasn't having any contractions and I knew I wan't in labor! They got me all set up and started monitoring the baby and my contractions. After a while the nurse came back and said I had been having pretty non-stop contractions, but they were so small they definitely weren't doing anything. However, the baby was doing great so that was nice to hear. 

Finally the on-call midwife, Lindsay, came in (so many different midwives!!) and checked me. She said I was... 3.5. She told us that we could get induced that day or any day that week, or we could go home. She told me some different induction options (balloon -which she said wouldn't work on me, a pill that could start contractions but could only be administered every 4 hours and then nothing else could be done, or pit) and left Cody and me alone to talk about it. 

We eventually decided (after a lotttttt of talking and me crying) that I would get induced that day. We both came to the realization that my body just doesn't go into labor on it's own and will probably always need a little jump start. I could've waited until 42 weeks (the longest they'll let you wait) and I'd probably still be pregnant right now. My body just needs a little extra help and that's ok...even though it didn't seem ok to me then!

They took me to my room in the hospital and the nurses came in and started bustling all around to get me started. Then Cody started having second thoughts about me getting induced and the whole questioning myself about induction started again..

We kept going with it and my nurse got me on an IV. I swear I hate IV's so much. They kept saying I didn't have any good veins (FIRST time in my life I've ever heard that) and finally found one - the nurse found it in my arm by feeling for it with her eyes closed. Because it was so deep, she kept apologizing even before she started (sure made me excited about what was coming...) and afterwards was saying, "I'm so sorry, it was so low I had to dig around for it a bit." ... Thanks.

Lindsay said they would start the piton on a 2 and go up by 2's every thirty minutes, which meant I would be getting two drops of pit every hour, except every 30 minutes I would go up by 2..So at 11:30 am they started me on 2 drops every hour. At noon they wanted to increase it to 4 drops, but because my body is so sensitive to these drugs, I wanted to go up by 1, and not necessarily every hour. (Does any of that make sense?) The nurses were so kind to really do whatever I wanted and go at my own pace. I knew that labor could go ask slowly or (basically) quickly as I wanted it to - by seriously increasing the pit- but it scares me so much because of the terrible experience I had with it when I had Chloe. When I had Charlotte, I handled it well and I was only on a 2 then, so I didn't want much more than that. However, because my water hadn't broken yet this time I knew I would need more.


They started me on the pit and kept increasing it throughout the day. I had Erica, my friend and photographer there to take pictures and Cody was there taking good care of me. It was nice to move around and be able to eat anytime, although I would've loved to not be hooked up to monitors or an IV. 

The contractions kept getting stronger as they kept increasing the pit drip. My nurses were great and young, which I was happy about. Something about having a nurse that's my same age, in my same stage of life, was kind of comforting. My nurse, Nyssa (Nice-ah) spent some time in our room just talking to us about our other kids and our town and schools and it just seemed normal. Then there was a shift change and we got a new nurse, Becky. She was an older lady, which at the time I was kind of sad, but mostly was worried because I asked when I could get in the tub (which I wanted to do SO badly this whole time) and she said, "They like you to wait until you're at least six sonometers dilated." ....Sonometers?? You mean centimeters? However, I think it was just a slip because she ended up being really fantastic as well. 

I kept joking that I wanted to have the baby before 8 pm because it was the season premier of Bachelorette that night and I didn't want to miss it. Also, I really liked Lindsay and wanted her to deliver me. Nyssa had said that at 7 pm they switched and it would be Allison that would be on call to deliver. I know this sounds awful, but I really, really didn't want Allison to deliver me just because when she had checked me all those weeks ago I had left being so mad, so I knew I needed to step up the pit drip. Around 6 pm I was at a 6 of pit and did not want to go past that.

Finally after waiting around and "laboring" alllll day (my contractions had gotten to the point that I needed everything to be quiet during them, and would lean over on the bed while Cody rubbed my back. I would have to really concentrate during them, but after they were over could go back to talking and joking and moving. Also, I labored mostly on the birth ball) the midwife came in to check me. By this point it was 7:30 and Lindsay was gone. I was pretty sad she wouldn't be delivering me, but couldn't really do anything about it at this point. Allison came in to check me and had a student there who she had do all the talking. Wendy (the student) checked me and said I had progressed to a....3.5! 

Seriously?! I had been doing this all day and nothing had changed? I was so disappointed. She and Allison told me that because they hadn't done anything they couldn't reverse (like breaking my water), that we could go home if we wanted, or we could continue to up the pit drip. I had no idea what we wanted to do, so they said they would all leave for 10 minutes to give us time to think about it. Allison, Wendy, Becky and Erica all left to let Cody and me talk it over. 

As soon as they left I told Cody I needed to go to the bathroom. The entire end of my pregnancy, my tailbone has hurt so badly. Sitting was so painful because the baby's head was pushing on my tailbone and it felt like it was broken. So sitting on the birthing ball and being in the hospital bed all day long had been awful. When I got off the bed, I realized I was leaking. I sat on the birthing ball because I had a contraction right away, and was leaking and bleeding a little bit. I tried going into the bathroom and had another contraction that I had to stop and hold onto the sink. I remember at that point it was really painful and I told Cody, "This is just miserable!" I was starting to get scared that things were really moving and this was really happening now and was I really ready to have a baby?! 

I finally got to the toilet - seriously the best laboring place. Afterwards I told Cody that the toilet is my "laboring happy place." Everyone should labor on the toilet. It felt so good to not have anything pushing on my tailbone I should've been sitting there all day!! After being on the toilet for probably 1 minute, my contractions started getting really bad. Cody kept coming in asking if I needed help and saying we needed to decide what we were going to do, but I was in so much sudden pain from the contractions I couldn't think about anything else. All of a sudden I realized I was sweating - I had one drop of sweat that rolled down my face and that never happens to me. I get sweaty if I'm really working out or hot, but I never have sweat that rolls down my face. After I realized I was sweating, I also realized...I was pushing! I had my hands between my legs and was pushing down on the toilet seat to lift myself up and was totally bearing down. 

I started to get really freaked out because not even 10 minutes ago I was only a 3.5 and now I was pushing. I thought about a video I had seen online of a lady that had birthed in a birth center that started pushing at a 5, but the midwife had to really help her through it and I was thinking if I was pushing alone at a 3.5 I was going to tear like crazy and it would be awful. I started yelling for Cody and he came running in. When he came in I was sweating like crazy. It was rolling down my face so much it was like someone had dumped water on my head. I told him to get a hair tie for me but of course he didn't know where they were and neither did I so he grabbed some towels to try to cool me down. I yelled at him that I was pushing and he asked if he should get the nurse and I said yes. He ran out again to push the button and just then Becky came in. He told her I was pushing and she rushed into the bathroom. I had another contraction and was pushing really hard - I didn't care about anything, there was so much pressure I just had to push. All of a sudden there was a big pop and my water broke. It was such a sudden relief I honestly thought the baby had come out at the same time! I was so scared she was in the toilet! Luckily she hadn't :) Becky pulled the little cord by the toilet that calls for help and just started screaming, "Help! Help!" Two other nurses bolted in and they all helped me get back to the bed. I made it to the foot of the bed before having another contraction - not quite as strong anymore and had to stop but I was leaking everywhere so I said, "I'm making a mess!" and Becky made me keep walking. I told her I couldn't move but she told me I could and keep walking. 

During this, Cody had texted Erica to come back, but couldn't get ahold of her. I thought for sure she would miss it all! He called her a couple times and texted and I don't know when, but all of a sudden she was there along with Allison, Wendy and about 5 nurses I had never seen. I was laying in the bed, which had been the most uncomfortable and painful the entire day during contractions, but every time I said I wanted to move they said she was coming too fast and I couldn't. I kept saying I wanted to get in the tub, but again they said she was coming too fast and they didn't have time to fill it up. Finally someone just turned the water on I think to appease me, which actually did make me feel better, but then after about a minute the turned it off. I remember thinking - That much water will not be enough for me!! Too bad I never got to get in. 

Allison said she was going to check me and told me to tell her when my contraction was over so she could. I appreciated that so much. When I had Charlotte, I had a nurse come in that I had never seen before that said she was going to check me. I was right in transition and said no, no because I didn't want anyone touching me. She was so rude and said, "Fine, then I'll check you during a contraction." So I felt obligated to let her check me then instead of waiting until I could handle it better. When Allison actually asked, I felt so respected and like this really was my process and they were here for me. I wasn't an inconvenience - I was important and my feelings mattered. When my contraction was over, I told her and she said I was an 8. I remember thinking I would have time to go get in the tub then because I still had two centimeters to go (ha! it always takes me about 2 seconds to go from an 8-10), and when I suggested it they again said no, we didn't have time and she was coming right then.

After a minute of laying on my right side they told me I needed to roll over to my left. I'm assuming it had something to do with the baby or umbilical cord but I remember thinking, "I can't even roll over in the middle of the night in my own comfortable bed with this giant belly and you want me to do it now!?" Luckily I made the trek :) but when I rolled over I was so close to the edge we all thought I was going to fall off the bed. Wendy told me to scoot back but I was holding onto the bars near the top for dear life (80% because of pain 20% to not fall off), so Allison said I was fine and not to make me move again, which I also really appreciated.

I am a loud, loud laborer. Making low, moaning sounds always helps me really have more power in the labor process, even though it's kind of embarrassing. This time around, I was really, really loud. The one contraction I had after my water broke before I was in the bed wasn't too painful compared to the ones on the toilet, but by the time I got on the bed, they were awful. So, so painful and because my water had broken and my pit level was a 6 (Becky had turned it off in the bathroom, but it was still all in me) they were SO hard and intense and seemed never ending. I couldn't wrap my mind around what was happening and how to get in control of my body and how to relax during them like I had with Charlee. I kept grabbing onto Cody's neck and his shirt and literally trying to pull myself up on him. In my mind, the bed was hurting me and I had to get away from the bed. Cody kept telling me to take deep breaths and Allison kept asking me if I could hear her and to STOP pushing. Apparently, unbeknownst to me, I had been pushing forever and didn't stop in between contractions - probably because there was so much pressure and pain and I was still kind of freaking out that this was even happening this way instead of the calm, relaxed way I had in mind. Allison ended up being the perfect midwife for what I needed at that time. She was super calm, very relaxed and in control of the whole situation. I ended up being really happy she was there and loving the way she did things!

Allison had me reach down to feel the baby crowning. I honestly thought the head had to be out by now. When I felt and she was just barely crowning, I was a little discouraged, but even more determined to get this baby out! They kept talking about how much hair she had and that was exciting to feel. We've never had a baby with hair!

 When I had Charlotte, I very distinctly remember pushing the head out, taking a second to rest, then pushing out the shoulders and the rest of the body just followed. This time I felt like the baby was the shape of a brick. There was no break in between and after getting the head out there was no little breather before pushing out the shoulders - it just all felt like solid, painful mass. That being said, I only pushed probably a total of 4 times at most and she was here! I told them that I had wanted to deliver her myself, so her head came out (and I also remember thinking- Oh, hi, "Ring of Fire!" Nice to see you again.) and then her shoulders and they had me reach down, grab her and pull her up onto my chest.

I loved that I was able to be the first person to ever hold her - that no one gave her to me, but that I did this for myself and after carrying her for almost 10 1/2 months, I should be the first person to "actually" carry her. I wish I had gotten to do that with all of my kids!

She was finally here. Little Magnolia Quinn was born and I was so happy to be done! From the time my labor started getting intense - around 7:45 pm, to the time she was born was only about 30 minutes. She was born at 8:18 pm - fashionably late for the bachelorette premier. She's so my child.

After having Charlotte I remember feeling immediate, intense relief. With Maggie, I still felt so much pain even though I hadn't torn at all. I felt like another baby was trying to come out! I think because the labor was so fast that my body was just kind of like.....what the h just happened here.

After holding her for a long time and then having Cody hold her, they weighed and measured her (8 lb 3 oz - my biggest baby!! they just keep getting bigger each time! and 19 3/4 long). I got the baby shakes pretty much right away and went from sweating and being insanely hot to being absolutely freezing cold, so they loaded me up on hot blankets and that helped with the shaking also.

After a while we tried nursing, which Maggie was super not into and still isn't into to this day! At first I thought it was mostly because she was delivered so quickly and had amniotic fluid left in her tummy (which she did) and she didn't feel that great (which she did) but all of that is for another post.

Cody and I talked about the birth a lot afterwards. It was kind of traumatic for me just because it was so crazy, but really amazing all at the same time. Cody said that he was tearing up the whole time because the whole process is just so amazing. I'm so in love with birth and even though right afterwards I said for sure we're done having kids, I already feel like I really love being pregnant (for the most part) and I really love labor and birth! Cody said he just loves that we had Charlotte and Maggie naturally because it's so much more real and authentic than getting an epidural (in my birth experiences only - not comparing to anyone else's). In my epidural experiences, I just sit there and push her out and I'm done. Doing it naturally for me is a lot harder and an actual "labor" - a labor of love. ;)

It's now been 13 days and I'm seriously so in love with little Maggie Q. It gets easier to figure out babies the more you have, and I feel like we've figured each other out pretty quickly. I can usually tell right away what she wants/needs and know her "schedule." (She always cries right after eating for a few minutes, eats every 2 1/2-3 hours, is hard to burp but if you massage her lower back it helps, etc.)
The girls absolutely adore her, too. Charlotte is her biggest fan and always, always wants to hold her, hug her and kiss her. I can't imagine life without her!!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

New Orleans Day 5

Our final day in New Orleans started around 4:30 am when we got ready to head back to the airport. When we got onto the shuttle that was taking us to the airport, we realized our flight had been delayed again until 10:30. Which meant we were going to be about 4 hours early when we could be sleeping. Cody called American Airlines to see if they had anything earlier, and they told him they had actually canceled our flight and we weren't scheduled to leave until 12:30! Luckily the nice lady got us on the 10:30 flight, but we also had to change Tami's tickets because she was also supposed to leave that morning 10:30. We could've found someone else to watch the kids while she went to the airport, but there wasn't really a safe way to get our car back - parking it without locking it and leaving the keys under the seat? No, thanks. I don't need a stolen car on top of our crazy trip home.

After sitting in the airport for hours we finally got on our flight (in first class!) and headed home. I was excited to have first class seats only because they were so much more comfy than any of the other seats. We didn't get anything special since the flight was only like an hour long, but my bum was honestly so sore from those airport seats and it was nice to have some extra cushion!!

We made it back to the airport and were greeted by Tami, Charlee and Preslie (Chloe was in school), and Preslie's fever. That started our month-long-family-sharing-illness. Charlee had pink eye (that same day - I took her to urgent care where I waited forEVER to see a doctor. Finally the dr came in when I was putting Charlee's coat on her to leave because I couldn't handle it anymore. I could see her on her computer for so, so long and I'm sure everything she was doing was important and fantastic and world-saving. But I felt like it was rude. Anyway.)

Charlee had pink eye, Preslie had a fever (for a week) and pink eye, we all had colds, and the girls were throwing up from coughing so hard. I went to the dr 5 times in a week.

However. New Orleans was amazing. We had a blast and when we got home I was wishing I could go back!! Thank you, Tami, for coming to stay with our girls so we didn't have to worry about them at ALL while we were away! You're the best!

Monday, February 2, 2015

New Orleans Day 4

Sunday was our last and final day in New Orleans (or so we thought). I felt like we still had so much to do and was feeling a little stressed to getting out and getting the day started. We first had breakfast at The Grill which is a little diner in the French Quarter. It had great reviews on yelp, but we were a little surprised when we went in and there were two long bars with barstools for seating and that was it! The waiters were also the cooks and you got to watch them all do their thing and make and bring you your food. Cody got a waffle with one egg and hash browns. I ordered pancakes with a side of bacon and orange juice. We ended up getting his waffle, two eggs, a HUGE plate of hash browns, pancakes, two sides of bacon, juice, and four pieces of toast. We were confused, but just decided to go with it and figured we'd have to pay like $20 more than we were originally expecting. When we went to pay our bill we realized our waiter/chef only charged us for the waffle, pancake and juice. That was it! It was crazy.

After breakfast we went to grab a couple souvenirs, took a couple pictures, and then realized…we didn't have anything else to do.

St. Louis Cathedral

All I really had wanted to do was buy a few things and once we had done that we wished we had gotten an earlier flight because we didn't have any plans. We decided to take a street car to City Park and see what was down there. I'm so glad we did! City Park is this big, beautiful park with museums, a sculpture garden, a botanical garden (that was closed), and even a small amusement park! When we got there we rented a tandem bike (the first time either of us had been on a tandem bike for probably 20 years) and rode around the park. It was a pretty nice day - not as cold as it had been, so it was so nice to be outside and seeing all the sites of the park!
These trees were just massive and all over. They were so gorgeous. This park is one of the 10 largest parks in the entire country. It also has the largest collections of mature oaks in the country - some of the trees are over 800 (!!!!) years old. 

Cody was in landscape photographer heaven. We would ride like 10 feet, stop and take pictures for a few minutes. Ride another 10 feet, stop and take more pictures. I didn't mind stopping at all because I loved just sitting and looking at everything and taking it all in!

We found this little pond with all these ducks and geese. We were the only people around and it was so fun to just sit and watch them (while Cody took pictures). 

We had only rented our bike for an hour, so we had to move from one place to another pretty fast (after stopping so much to take pictures). We hopped on the street car back to the french quarter and went to get some lunch. We went to this grocery store called Verti Marte that apparently has an amazing little deli in the back. We ordered a philly cheesesteak to share from this guy (which I thought was just ok), and then probably 12 teenagers walked in. They all wanted a catfish sandwich and the guy started freaking out about why they all wanted catfish and what was the deal with them wanting catfish? He then started telling them no one could order anything hot because the grill was closed until 4 pm. …Except it WAS 4 pm. So these poor kids were like, "I heard the catfish sandwich is really great here…" 

Not one to just stand around when I think people are being treated unfairly, I started yelling at the guy (from behind all these kids that were all taller than me, so he probably never saw me) JUST GIVE THEM THE DANG CATFISH. YOU SELL IT, WHY DOES IT MATTER IF THEY ALL WANT IT? MAKE THE FLIPPING SANDWICHES. …Cody had left by this point to wait outside since it was SO tiny and there were so many people in there. Then the guy kept yelling about the grill being turned off until 4, so we all started yelling - IT IS 4!! OPEN THE GRILL! One kid looked at me and was like-Do you come here a lot? Do you know this guy? I was like..oh, no. I've never been here. 

Finally my sandwich was done and I left because I was claustrophobic and couldn't handle it anymore. I'll never know if those kids got their catfish…

After we ate and really didn't have anything to do and no hotel to just sit and watch tv at, we went to Jackson Square to people watch and hang out. When we had gotten back from City Park to the time we were done eating our food, it had gotten REALLY foggy. I was starting to get worried we wouldn't be able to fly out in the fog, but Cody kept reassuring me it would be fine and wasn't a big deal. (However, I remembered that one time Amy tried coming to visit us in CA and there was fog in Long Beach so she couldn't land…)

The fog made everything kinda spooky and I kept thinking about all the ghost stories we had heard from our tour. 

We made our way back to our hotel, grabbed our bags and made our way to the airport. Our flight was supposed to leave around 7 and get into LAX at 9. We kept trying to talk to Tami about keeping the girls up verses getting my neighbor to come over after they were in bed to watch them while Tami came to get us from the airport. We decided to have her put them to bed (luckily), and our flight kept getting more and more delayed because of the fog. We didn't know what we were going to do if our flight got in at 11 or midnight - we couldn't really ask someone to come stay with the girls that late, but we also felt bad about making Tami get them all up to bring them to the airport. Eventually they announced that our flight had been canceled. So we, along with the other 100 passengers, tried to grab a hotel before anyone else so that we could sleep for 3 hours before having to be back in the airport. We got a room at the DoubleTree and finally, after not knowing where they were picking us up, got on shuttle. When we got to the hotel, they give you a cookie when you check in. We got up to our room, and I decided I needed more cookies. I went back to the front, told the nice man I was really pregnant and had a rough night and needed more cookies. He only gave me 2 more, but I was happy with the results. He was happy I wasn't in labor. 

We finally went to bed around midnight, only to wake up at 4:30 to get ready for our 6 am flight. It was a crazy day!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

New Orleans Day 3

Saturday, January 10 was Cody's birthday! We celebrated by sleeping in late (again!!) and going out for breakfast to Cafe Du Monde. By the time we got there it was around 10 am, and the line was SO long. It was insane. Luckily, we knew that you don't have to wait in line because that line is only to get a table (I don't think most of the people in line knew that…). We cut through and got in the much, MUCH smaller line that was in the back of the cafe. We were probably 6 in line, as opposed to 200th! We grabbed our beignets and some hot chocolate and made our way to Jackson Square to eat on the steps.
A lot of people have been asking us to rate Cafe Du Monde against Cafe Beignet. I know that everyone LOVES Cafe Du Monde, and they were super yummy, but they weren't as big and fluffy as the ones from Cafe Beignet - 2 of mine were SUPER crispy and overdone, so I was kind of sad about that. However, there was more powdered sugar than Cafe Beignet (a big plus) AND the order came with 4 instead of 3 (for both me and Cody..maybe that's normal? it says you get 3 but they throw in an extra every time?), so we were both happy about that. I couldn't eat all of mine, but Cody finished it off for me and we were both happy and full.

While we were sitting on the steps, this car pulled over in front of us and these three guys with a bunch of tv camera equipment got out. They started putting it all right next to us and when they got unloaded, sat down. I started talking to the guy sitting next to me and asked him what they were working on. He said they were filming a Canadian children's cooking show and there are two kids getting the week of their life in New Orleans working with a bunch of chefs. We asked him about other things he's done, and he told us a few (all international so we didn't recognize anything); he said he had flown straight from a project in Canada to a project in Ireland to this project in NOLA. I asked if he had a family and he said no, only a fish. Which may or may not still be alive. 

So. If anyone lives in Canada and sees a children's cooking show filmed in New Orleans, think of us.

After our breakfast we went to check out the French Market. It was near Jackson Square and was basically a farmers market, shops and a flea market all rolled into one. Farmers markets and flea markets are on my Top 10 Favorite Things list, so we were excited to go check it out. 

I also bought a real, bona fide mardi gras mask there!

We walked around the markets, finding some junk stores that were amazing and made me want to move there just to shop at them.

We went to St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. It is the oldest cemetery in New Orleans and hosts some famous dead people such as Marie Laveau, Delphine LaLaurie (awful woman) and someday, Nicolas Cage. Apparently he paid whoever is in charge to move historical plots OUT of the cemetery to move his giant, gaudy pyramid in. Personally I think it's a nod to National Treasure, but that's just me. Basically everyone in NOLA hates Nicolas Cage and although the government has taken his homes away from him (in NOLA), they can't take his burial plot. And everyone wishes they could.

The offending tomb

After we walked around the cemetery, we went back to the hotel to relax before our ghost tour that night. We met our tour guide outside the St. Louis Cathedral and toured all the French Quarter learning about the spirits that haunt the place.
The back of the Cathedral at night

Me as a ghost

From Jackson Square looking on

 She told us about a hotel that is full of little boy spirits that watch Cartoon Network in people's rooms at night, a theater with spirits that you can hear crying or singing, the most haunted home in NOLA (which was owned by Delphine LaLaurie- who made it the most haunted home by all her horrible deeds - and later Nicolas Cage) and more. It was really interesting! Cody thought it was kind of boring, but I love a good ghost story so I loved it. 
LaLaurie Home - you should look her up. Or don't. She was seriously awful.
Close up of the St. Louis Cathedral - there are a even a few ghosts haunting this place!
After our tour we went to celebrate Cody's birthday with a fancy dinner! We went to K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen. It was this cute, little restaurant that you could watch the chefs while they worked. Well, we could at least because we were seated by them. 
We got to talk about the tour and I told Cody some ghost stories from when I was little and how freaked out they made me (and maybe still do? thanks a lot, mom!). They brought us the most amazing bread basket full of different rolls and we ordered. Cody got the Blackened Louisiana Drum ("Fresh Drum Fish from Louisiana Waters Seasoned and Blackened in a Cast Iron Skillet and Served with Drawn Butter, Potatoes and Veggies) (someone needs to edit their menu and tell them every other word doesn't need to be capitalized). I was deciding between Duck and Shrimp Dulac (Julienned Duck Breast & Shrimp in a Sauce of Leeks, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Shiitake & Oyster Mushrooms and Duck Glaze and Served with Pasta) and Blackened Twin Beef Tenders with Debris ("Twin Beef Tenders Seasoned and Blackened in a Cast Iron Skillet and Served with Debris Sauce, Potatoes and Veggies). The waiter said absolutely the beef tenders. And I know we all know this already, but it was amazing. I was literally almost in tears eating my dinner it was so good. Cody loved his food as well, but I don't think he was in tears about it :) 

My leftovers. Which you can absolutely bet I asked to take home (with extra bread of course) and I ate it in the airport right in front of 50 people. No shame. 
I told our waiter it was Cody's birthday. I didn't expect anything from it since it was a nicer place, but he said we could either get free drinks or a free dessert. That was a pretty easy (and obvious) choice. Cody picked Chocolate Hill (Homemade, Rich Chocolate Bundt Cake with a Chocolate Ganache Underneath and White and Dark Chocolate Drizzled on Top) (again with the capitalization)
And it was really, really yummy...

After dinner we went back to the hotel to grab my Mardi Gras mask (when else will I ever get to wear it??) and headed out to Bourbon Street to collect some souvenirs for our kids. I'm pretty sure I may be the only person in the history of the world that's ever uttered that sentence. Again, Bourbon Street is disgusting - strip clubs and bars along the whole thing, but luckily it was freezing so there weren't too many actual naked people. We did see one however - I wanted to give her a lesson on why you should respect yourself and not to let people make you feel like you're just a body and nothing more…but I didn't. Because I was running away. 

Also, because it was so cold, most people were just throwing beads and not expecting "anything" from it. (Except for one like 60 year old man that wanted everyone to flash him. He was nasty) We had 3-4 people throw us (me) beads and I think my mask helped! One girl saw me and said, "Ooh I like her!!" and threw me some giant green beads. I was so excited! 

We finally got back to our hotel around 12:30 or 1 in the morning. I think it was a pretty great day and a good birthday!! (Oh, I also surprised Cody with a go pro that morning! He's been loving using it on his airplane and flying it around the neighborhood)


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