Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Birth Story: Aspen Ann Larkins

Aspen's birth story really started long before we got to the hospital because it was completely affected by my state of mind. Overall, my pregnancy was pretty easy. I never threw up. I barely had any swelling. I only got slight nausea in my first trimester and normal tiredness. I was able to exercise throughout my pregnancy (5-6 days a week including running a half marathon at 13 weeks) and had no complications. At the same time, I am just one of those women who doesn't like being pregnant. I just don't, sorry. In addition I wanted so badly to go into labor naturally on my own because I knew that would help my changes of delivering naturally, but that didn't happen. Ultimately, I wanted a healthy baby and a safe delivery, and I very much got that so although nothing went as I planned, I am still so grateful for that.

Aspen's due date of September 5th came and went. I had an appointment 5 days later on the 10th. I thought for sure they were going to tell me that I should be induced but they didn't. They said both me and the baby were doing fine despite the fact that I was not showing ANY signs of labor. At this point of almost 41 weeks of pregnancy I was done so when my doctor suggested trying gels to soften my cervix I decided to go for it. They told me to be at the hospital at 2 that afternoon. I thought it was going to be something quick and I would go home and then labor would start, but no. It took 5 hours and I was so exhausted by the end of it and it didn't appear that it was doing anything. The next morning I decided I was exhausted and uncomfortable and didn't want to go to work anymore ( I was also sick of all the questions I was getting). Justin also took off and we hoped that labor would start any day. It didn't. I had an appointment Monday morning and once again, I was expecting them to tell me I needed to be induced. I had my bags all ready to go to the hospital. They didn't say that. Both me and Aspen were doing fine and so my doctor said it was up to me. I could either not do anything and potentially go to 42 weeks, I could try pitocin, or I could try cervadil. I was so exhausted and upset that I even had to make this decision. I wanted my body to do what it was supposed to do on it's own, but at the same time I knew that being so exhausted and upset was not good either. Also, since I started my maternity leave, I didn't want to waste any more days without the baby so I decided to try cervadil. They scheduled me to go into the hospital that night. I thought it would be good because the cervadil needs to be in for 12 hours and you have to be in bed so I figured I would be sleeping most of that since we were doing it overnight. We checked into the hospital at 6 p.m. on Monday night and they started the cervadil at 7 p.m. Justin and I watched "Tammy" on the iPad and face timed with Everly before trying to get as much sleep as possible. The next morning, Justin went home and fed the dogs and I was able to get up and take a shower since the 12 hours were up. At around 8:30 in the morning they checked me and I was dilated to a 2-3 and having contractions but feeling good so it seemed like the cervadil did what it needed to. After that we got to face time with Everly again who went to work with my mom for a little bit. At 9:45 my doctor came in and suggested breaking my water to move things along. I was nervous about contractions getting too strong too fast, but I was also anxious so we did it. From about 10:30-12:15 my contractions started getting stronger and stronger and I was working really hard to focus and breath through them. I thought I was doing well but when they checked me at 12:15 and I was only at a 5 I started to get worried. I was getting exhausted both physically and emotionally and in the back of my mind I knew that there was a clock running before they would have to do a c-section because my water had been broken. I did not want a c-section. I very much believe that any way you have a baby is amazing, but I knew that the recovery would be much more difficult with a c-section so I wanted to avoid that if possible. I knew that pitocin would help move the labor along but I did not want to even attempt those contractions without an epidural so at around 2 I got an epidural. Once again, it took forever for me to get the epidural because I had to wait an hour for them to give me fluids before I could even get it. That sucked. Then, once I finally got it, it didn't work. They kept asking if my feet were starting to get tingly and they weren't. I could still move them. My blood pressure was starting to get high (shocker) and I was so done at this point but at 2:30 they tried the epidural again and it took. Once the pain from those contractions started to die down I just felt so much relief. I was definitely slightly disappointed that I was unable to go without one, but I knew that it was not good for anyone for me to dwell on that so I really didn't. After the epidural they started a small dose of pitocin to help move things along. We also tried resting on different sides to help move her down because she was still pretty high. At about 5 p.m. I was at a 9-10 so we started pushing. This was much different for me than with Everly because I could still feel the contractions starting and so I knew when to push on my own. With Everly I could not feel anything and so I pushed when they told me to. I felt like I wasn't pushing as hard as the doctor's wanted me to but all of the sudden it just happened and with one push I felt her head come out and then the next push the rest of her body came out. Aspen Ann Larkins was born at 5:34 p.m. on Tuesday, September 16, 2014. She was 8.9 lbs and 20 inches long (a pound more and inch shorter than Everly but also 2 weeks later than Everly).

Although, most of my birth plan didn't happen, I was able to hold Aspen immediately and I just felt an overwhelming amount of relief when I did. I know I was crying and shaking from the epidural but I was just so happy to have her and that it was over. We waited about 10-15 minutes to cut the cord and we also delayed all newborn procedures for an hour. We nursed in that time and she did pretty good. We also were able to bathe her in our room so she never left us and I was happy about that. After that my mom came in with Everly for the first time. Once again, this did not go as planned. Everly had gotten a mosquito bite (which she is allergic to) so she was on benadryl and totally out of it. She wanted nothing to do with me or the baby and about 2 minutes after entering our room she fell asleep on Justin. Poor girl! After that my mom took her home and then we got a visit from my 3 sisters and their husbands/boyfriends and also my nephew Cameron (Teddy went home with Grandma and Everly).

The first night went pretty well in the hospital and we actually got a couple stretches of 2-3 hours of sleep. I even had to wake Aspen up to feed her. The next morning my mom and older sister came by again while Cameron was at school. Teddy got to see the baby and was very sweet when he wasn't trying to destroy the room and eat all of my crackers. We gave Everly her present from Aspen (Abigail book and tea set) and Aspen her present from Everly (Piglet stuffed animal). Around lunch one of my other sisters stopped by to visit and later in the afternoon Justin's oldest sister Christ and our niece Berkley stopped by to visit. Early Wednesday evening the hospital provided us a "celebratory" steak dinner (it was gross but cute) and then after that Aspen had some testing done that you can only do after they are 24 hours old. Once we got the results back from those that everything was okay, we headed home.  Aspen is now two weeks old and when I look back on this experience as I write this, I really have no regrets or bad feelings about how everything happened. I feel like I have had less "baby blues" then I did with Everly (probably because I am not a new mom) and I am just so happy to have her here and healthy. Jusitn goes back to work today, though, so that will be the true test of how well I handle life with 2 kids!

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Last photo as a family of three and Everly leaving with Grandma as we checked in. 

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Facetiming, movie watching, and book reading while we waited for the cervadil to work. 

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Our first moments with Aspen. 

One pound heavier than Everly and one inch shorter. 

Happy Aspen is here! 
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Poor Everly and Aspen with her Grandma. 

First photo as a family of four with a drugged up toddler :(

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Aspen with Uncle Tony and Aunt Krystyn and kisses from cousin Cameron.

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Being held by her godfather Uncle Doug, her Aunt Katy and Katy's boyfriend Alex. 

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Exchanging gifts. 

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Meeting cousins Teddy & Berkley (not pictured) and Aunt Christi

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Celebratory dinner before heading out. 

Aspen in her going home outfit. 

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