Life is A Journey...Come Follow Our's

Thursday, May 16, 2013

She's Here...Alana Marie Pope

Well she finally made her grand debut 1 week late weighing in at a mighty 6 pounds 10 ounces and 18 1/4 inches long.  She is absolutely perfect.  A gift from God.  The perfect addition to our family.

I was so scared about adding another child to our family.  I had heard the horror stories about the older siblings not wanting anything to do with their mothers, but Alana's addition to our family (aside from newborn sleep patterns) has been beyond smooth.  I'd even venture to say that having a 2nd child is a much easier adjustment than just having the first.  When Quinn was born, he challenged everything I knew life to be.  I was a planner who liked to be on the go.  WOW did he make that difficult.  I had to reclaim/recreate my identity and how I did things, but with Alana, I knew to expect to accomplish next to nothing, to set my priorities and to keep them minimal, and to go with the flow a lot more.  Life these past 3 weeks (with mom and Kristie my awesome mother in law for 2 of the weeks) has been beyond fabulous.

Enjoy a few photos and if you're interested, my birth story that follows!

Alana's Nursery

Shabby Chic...LOVE

Alana Marie Pope -- Hours Old

Daddy's Little Girl

Sweet Love For Her Momma

3 Days Old...On Our Way Home

All Set To Go! 

Our Family of 4!!

Quinn Reluctantly Holding Alana

12 Days Old 

Sweet Girl and Her Momma

Born Friday, April 26, 2013 at 11am
6 pounds 10 ounces and 18 ¼ inches long

Alana was due by my calculations on Friday, April 19th and by the doctor’s calculations from the original ultrasound on Sunday, April 21st.  I had an amazing pregnancy which allowed me to work out the entire time – trail running through 35 weeks and running at least 1-2 times per week (4-6 miles at a time) through 38 weeks.  I worked out hard up to her due date and once the due date passed decided just to start walking (mostly). 

I went to the doctor the Tuesday after her due date with hopes of being able to have my membranes stripped to induce labor but found that I was still dilated to a 1 and 50% effaced, where I had sat since 37 weeks despite having contractions.  I was fine with this until the doctor started talking about “our plan.”  He told me that Alana was healthy and fine and he was okay with me to wait until 42 weeks but that they only induced on Mondays and Tuesdays which meant I’d have to be induced the following week at 41w3d.  I understood the reasoning and agreed to set up the appointment just in case even though it stressed me out so badly.  The idea of using Pitocin to induce labor ruined my plan of having a drug free labor and meant I’d be tied down to bed…NO THANK YOU!

I decided I was going to try alternative treatments to help induce labor naturally and immediately after my appointment (40w4d) I went to the chiropractor and went to my first acupuncture appointment.  Though they didn’t induce labor, I was finally able to get a good night’s sleep.  Wednesday passed with no baby and Thursday the 26th arrived with me so sad and stressed out that the baby was transverse that I was up at 2:30 in the morning.  I headed out to the gym wishing I could run 10 miles and feel like myself again, but instead jumped on the elliptical for 45 minutes, stopping to go to the bathroom 3 times.  It felt so good to have some endorphins in my body and to visit with friends. 

Later that day, Mom and I took Quinn to daycare and headed out for another acupuncture session and for pedicures.  The lady was so good and thorough with my massage…it was fabulous.  We headed home for a nap and for a 3 mile walk before going to pick up Quinn from daycare.  While at home, the cleaning lady, who is from Ecuador, was telling me that since it was a lunar moon that evening that she just felt I’d have a baby that evening.  She felt my stomach and assured me she was head down and told me to relax and not worry.

We took Quinn to Grandma Celine and Grandpa Vern’s house and I was just not feeling right.  I was irritable and uncomfortable but doing my best to put on a good face.  As soon as we got home, I started bouncing on the exercise ball in hopes her head would help my cervix efface.  I played with Quinn despite contractions that were 8-10 minutes apart just in case this would be the last time I would have only mother-son time.  We tried to go to bed around 10pm and I was determined to sleep through contractions but after 30 minutes, knew that wasn’t going to happen.  I labored by myself, mostly on the exercise ball, until 3am when I woke Brad up.  I don’t think he even knew I was in labor.  I really wanted him to get some rest because if this labor was going to be anything like that of Quinn, it was going to be a long and exhausting day.

Around 4:30 I called my doula, Jessica King and decided that even though my pain levels were low, my contractions were close enough that she’d make the 45 minute drive up to Bella Vista.  She arrived at the perfect time because the coping mechanisms I had been using (hanging over the exercise ball and sitting on the toilet, crazy enough, mostly) were starting to no longer work.  Jessica and Brad worked wonders together keeping me comfortable using all kinds of different strategies from deep leg massages to foot massages to hip presses and squats for the next few hours.

I remember telling Jessica around 7am that I felt like I could throw up.  I had read in my Lamaze book that when you near or enter the transition phase of labor that nausea sometimes accompany it.  Because I had just read it, I figured it was the power of suggestion rather a true feeling of nausea that I was feeling.  I “knew” there was no way I was any further dilated than a 3 or a 4 because with Quinn my contractions were so much more intense and when I went to the hospital with him, I was only a 3 or a 4. 

Quinn woke up shortly after 7am calling for me.  I, remaining calm, went to get him, cuddled with him and carried him out to the living room with us.  I just really wanted him to be around and also did not want to scare him at all.  He and I have such a strong relationship and he is genuinely concerned for me all the time that I knew I could very easily traumatize him.  That said, I was extremely collected and calm throughout my entire labor.  We watched a little of the movie Cars with me excusing myself a few times because “my belly hurt” and around 8am decided it was probably time to go the hospital. 

The drive to the hospital was nowhere near as bad as our ride when I was in labor with Quinn.  Don’t get me wrong, the contractions were intense and about every 2-3 minutes apart but I was able to lean against a hard ball in the small of my back and it made them very bearable.  When we were halfway to the hospital the app that Brad was using to time contractions on his phone alerted us that we were “entering transition.”  I just scoffed at it knowing there was no way I was that far because I was feeling too good.

Much to my surprise, once we arrived at the hospital they checked me and told me I was at a 7!!  I could not believe it.  I was really tired and knew that this was a crucial moment because if they told me I was only at a 3 or a 4, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to continue enduring the contractions for 8-10 more hours.  At a 7 though, I did a quick calculation and realized that I’d have my baby here in about 3 hours!  I had a sudden burst of new energy and knew I would make it!   I called Dr. Schmitz to tell him and I could tell he was surprised by how far along I was.
While the contractions were much more intense, I stayed very positive, polite, and calm.  I kept reminding myself to “relax your brain, relax your body” – a phrase I had been telling myself for months would be my mantra.  I worked on letting my stomach hang out.  Jessica and Brad were amazing and my nurse Stephanie was so supportive of whatever experience I wanted to have sitting on the floor, finding me a squat bar, etc. 

At some point around 10:15am, I told Jessica that I felt Alana’s head.  She screamed for Stephanie who came in and checked me and to our amazement, I was at a 9.5!!  They called Dr. Schmitz who arrived very soon after.  He told me I could handle the contractions in any position I’d like but that he’d prefer me to push on my back because it would be easier for him to help prevent tearing and for the safety of the baby during delivery.  I had no problem with this at all and quickly geared up to start pushing.

Pushing was so painful but I kept reminding myself that it was “pain with a purpose.”  I knew that it would be short lived and that my sweet baby girl would be in my arms in no time at all.  No cursing – just a loud “FUDGE” to express my pain levels – and the end was in sight.  I pushed once or twice and felt Alana crown.  Dr. Schmitz instructed me to push but I told him no, that I couldn’t.  There was such a burning sensation that I was certain I was going to rip really badly.  I knew I could not push.  I waited through 2 contractions with Brad and Jessica pushing on my hips with strong counter pressure and finally was told that this baby was not going to come unless I would bear down.  I pushed one more time and out came the most perfect baby girl I had ever seen.  Dr. Schmitz put her directly on my stomach, waited for the cord to stop pulsing, and she got all cleaned up and I learned that I need NO stitches (SCORE!).  My prize was here, I could not believe it.  My legs were shaking like crazy.  It was quite scary but I later learned that it was the effect of the adrenaline burst that accompanies labor.   All I knew was that our lives had been changed and this baby girl was mine.  She was beautiful with a head full of hair, olive skin, and a crazy level of alertness.

I later learned that Dr. Schmitz was key in orchestrating my perfect birth story.  He had hand selected the perfect nurse for me who was with just me my entire labor.  He knew my birthing plan and did everything he could to make it a reality.  He had told the nursery nurses “this is what she wants and this is how we’re going to do things so get on board” I was later told by one of the attendants.  I am so incredibly grateful to him and the nurses at the hospital.  My labor experience was better than I had ever imagined and my baby girl was more perfect than ever as well.


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