Thursday, October 3, 2013

Welcome Elise Kathleen!

She's here! She's here! And we couldn't be more excited.  It's no surprise that this tiny little girl has captured our hearts already.  She's a BEAUTY!

Her arrival was somewhat surprising -- despite the fact that I had on and off again contractions for a week {ha}. I joked with my friend {and doula}, Andra, as I was talking with her in the middle of the night trying to decide if I was in labor that we SHOULD NOT have more babies, simply because I never know if I'm in real labor. But, nonetheless, I was and we had a baby.

Here is Elise's birth story: {it's long}

Monday was a normal day and I did normal things. We got new windows, I watched a friends little boy, my friends came over and hung out, Benjamin went to school, I took a long walk... I really had no clue labor was coming {aside from wanting to be in labor already}.

I was half asleep when I felt/heard a "pop" on Monday night.  It was about 1:15am. I thought it was weird, got up and went to the bathroom.  And then laid back down. Around 2:30am, the "pop" happened again.  I got up and went to the bathroom and noticed a little blood when I wiped.  That made my head start spinning a little and I laid back down to think and rest.  While I was laying there, I had a few low contrations that were burning a little.  They weren't "normal" and so with the blood in mind -- I called Andra and we processed labor happenings.

SO, it was about 3am at this point and I had decided we would be going to the hospital because I was getting a little shaky and the blood made me think dilation was starting.  Also, because I was shaky and bleeding when I went to the hospital with Benjamin -- and I was 9cm.  I was trying to avoid having a baby in my bathroom, but not being at the hospital for too long.

I go to the kitchen and make Benjamin's lunch, get things together and write out a morning "to-do" list for our friend who was coming to stay with the boys until they woke up.  I woke up Patrick and told him that I thought we should go to the hospital soon because of everything.  Even though, at this point, my contractions were still 5 minutes apart {ish} and I wasn't in discomfort at all.

Tony arrives to stay with the boys, we shuffle off to the hospital and hope that we are having a baby! I'm still not contracting to badly and barely notice some of them.  We get to the hospital and they admit us to triage to check me out and such.  Andra gets to the hospital and we all talk and joke around while waiting for 45 minutes for the nurse to check me.

The triage nurse comes back and checks me -- I'm at 7cm and my water had indeed broken {remember the "pop"!} and it broke more when she checked me.  Finally we move to a birthing suite and by then my contractions are starting to get more regular and a little stronger.  This was around 5am.  I move around, sway my hips, have the monitors on for a few minutes, sit in a chair, move a little more -- normal labor stuff.

Around 6am {I think} Leanna -- my midwife -- comes in and checks me again.  Still at 7, but everything is super stretchy and she broke a little more of the water bag.  She also moved my cervix around a little. At that point my contractions picked up significantly.  I sat on the tolilet to labor a little -- it's such a comfortable and helpful labor position -- and Leanna sits down with me.  Patrick and Andra hang out too and we all talk and joke a little.  Finally Leanna leaves for a bit and I move around a little more.

Around 6:45am, she checks me again and I'm an 8 -- but I'm feeling more pressure and want to push.  With each contraction I push a little and it feels much better.  I remember Leanna saying {gently and firmly}, "Ashley. If you want to push this baby out -- you're going to need to push with more intensity during these contractions because they are not strong enough to do it for you."  That was helpful to me and at that point, I knew I was getting close.  I was laying on the bed, but at this point turned and labored in a squatting position on the bed -- with my head facing the top of the bed.  With each contraction, I would squat back and that moved things right along.  In fact, Leanna told me she was going to step out of the room for a minute and when she did, I had another contraction and told Patrick, "The baby is crowing. I am just going to push her out now." I don't remember saying much more than that once labor got intense.

I think a stir of things happened when Patrick called the nurse -- but my back was to the world and I was in labor land. I had one more contraction squatting and that was it.  We were ready.  I turned around and laid down -- it was more comfortable and, honestly, it made me a little more confident -- to push.  Pushing started and it was more painful this time that I remember with the boys. Leanna was so great at calmly instructing me and helping me and my body with each push and rest. I could hear Patrick telling me I was doing great. It was calm -- even though I felt like I was making a lot of noise with each push.

As her head came out a little, Leanna said, "we are at her eyebrows", and with another push "we are at the ears, you're doing great. Baby is almost here!" That visual was so helpful to me because I could imagine where she was and what I was doing.  I was reciting parts of Psalm 18 and Psalm 145 over and over at this point.  I started losing it mentally a little and got tired very quickly.  I thought several times, 'I can't do this anymore.  I don't want to ever do this again.' But I was just so close.

With a few more intense pushed our baby girl rushed into the world at 7:22am! I remember her body feeling so long coming out and my body feeling instantly, and gratefully, less full. I opened my eyes to see Leanna pull all of her out of me and then lay her on my body.  I loved feeling her on the outside of my belly and not inside :) She cried instantly and only randomly once she was on me. She calmly laid on me as they did a little testing and cleaning.  I held her and cried a little and could barely look around the room.

I looked at Patrick and smiled. And then closed my eyes to take it all in. It was a sweet moment.  She had dark wavy hair and once I looked at her face I little more I saw just how much she looked like Andrew! She felt small, but long.  We laid skin to skin while they cleaned everything up.  Her cord was SO long! I'm surprised it wasn't wrapped around her.  After it was done pulsing, Patrick cut the cord and she was free.  My placenta looked great and my body was finally empty of this pregnancy -- in the most beautiful way possible.

After a bit, when the rush seemed to quite down and I felt a little more clear, I pulled the baby up to nurse.  She latched well and aggressively! And she hasn't stopped :) After she nursed for a while, I was getting uncomfortable laying -- so they took the baby and weighed and measured her.  I was able to go to the bathroom and walk a little before laying down again.

And then we waiting to go to our overnight room.  We rested and talked -- just Patrick and I -- and took turns holding our little girl.  I ordered and ate breakfast and had several vital checks.  Then around 10:45am, we headed up to our new room.

It was a sweet delivery and enjoyable, really.  Different than the boys, but still such a pleasure to have the experience of bringing a child into the world with the power God gave my body.  I love how each child has a different story and how it has reflected them so much. God is so thoughtful in all of the details -- and birth stories are no exception!

We are so overjoyed and blessed to welcome Elise Kathleen McBride. 
She was born at 7:22am on October 1st, 2013.
She weighed 7 pounds, 15 ounces and measured 21.5 inches long.

She's already a joy and a blessing.  The boys love her and we are home settling in and trying to rest and find a new normal.  Thank you for your prayers and encouragement -- before pregnancy and during.

Our sweet Elise is just another gift we didn't deserve, but are overjoyed to receive!  God is mighty and loving and gives incredibly good gifts -- praise HIM with us, as He has done good things and we are filled with joy!

In triage.


Our baby girl is here!

Andra and us.

Me and my girl!

Daddy and his girl.

Weighing and such...


Such a sweeeeeeet Elise.



Three treasures! {And the first time the met her}

My loves.

Going home! B was adamant about staying in the room and walking down with me. I love that boy!


Abbie James said...

This is so beautiful! Made me cry. So happy it went as you wanted, and what a strong, brave woman you are! She's just lovely. Praise the Lord for his many many blessings!

heather said...

So many hugs for you! All the pics are so gorgeous, but I think my fave is the one right after you had her, where you're still in that in-pain-but-also-relieved place and Patrick is right there with you. Makes me wish I had a picture in the middle of labor with our boys! In the middle of the pain and meditating on Scripture, and concentrating on breathing, there is so much you forget. But I remember clearly how strong and supportive and *present* my husband was in every moment, right there with me. So happy for the experience you had! Congratulations on another sweet miracle! One of these days we *will* get our broods together! :o)

young wife&mom said...

yeah!! she's beautiful!

Jason Thompson said...

That was great. Love and miss you guys!