Miss Gemma: A Birth Story

Well, our little miss Gemma is now about 2.5 weeks old and life is more tired, magical, and meaningful than I could have ever anticipated. Our little girl coming into our family is such a wonderful blessing.

It was Thursday, Dec. 3rd around 7 pm at Walmart, when I started to think Gemma might be coming soon. Her due date was Dec. 12th and so when I started feeling a contraction in my back, I got excited, but not too excited. I didn’t think I would actually have her early, but the back contractions felt different.

I told Sam that these contractions were different and that things might be progressing. He had me time them. The contractions kept up for about 30 minutes, but were completely irregular, even though they were stronger than any contraction I had experienced this pregnancy. It wasn’t the real deal.

We got home, put Parker to bed, and had just got settled into bed ourselves, when my first definite contraction hit. It was 11:20pm. It was really strong and I remember feeling and thinking… wow. If this isn’t real, then, that was the biggest Braxton Hicks contraction of my life. In my gut, I knew it was real. But knowing that I had false contractions at Walmart, made me hesitant to say this was the real deal.

5 minutes later. Boom. another strong one, lasting about 1 minute. Then the next contraction happened about 3 minutes after, then 2 minutes. By this point, I was trying to orient myself and start to get ready to go to the hospital. We had already texted Sam’s parents to get them to come stay with Parker.

The next half hour was comical and painful all rolled into one. I was pacing back and forth, trying to get ready for the hospital, while Sam was calling family to get things arranged. He ended up getting me ready too, because I couldn’t think straight at ALL. Good thing I had already packed my hospital bag. My contractions were getting steadily stronger though and coming every 2 minutes. We ended up having a friend in our neighborhood run over to stay with Parker, because we couldn’t wait for family any longer. I felt a big urgency to get to the hospital.

We got to the hospital around 12:05 on Dec. 4th. They got me checked into a room and started asking me this long list of questions about my medical history, the medications I take, etc… all while I’m having contractions every 2 minutes. Finally I stopped the nurse and was like, “I’m having strong contractions every 2 minutes or so, can we speed things up?”

Then she checked me. She checked me, extremely fast {I often feel like she checked me too quickly}, while I was having a contraction. Then said “you’re a 4.”

That was the most disappointing news and so critical in what happened during labor.

Before going into labor, I had decided I wanted to try going naturally. With Parker I had gotten to the hospital at a 5, and so hearing that I was a 4, while having very strong contractions was super discouraging. I was already tired and I just didn’t know if I had it in me to go naturally.

15 ish minutes later, Enter my Midwife. I told her I was having really strong contractions, but that I was really discouraged. I asked her to check me again. She said, “they just checked you. I don’t think you’ve changed much in the last 10 minutes.” Logically, I agreed with her. How could I have changed so much? In my gut, I felt differently though.

When she said she wasn’t going to check me, I decided I would get an epidural. The pain was just so much, and I had been told I was at a 4. I thought I would die, if I went all the way.

So they officially admitted me, got me in a labor & delivery room, hooked me up to everything, and ordered the epidural. Throughout all of this, I’m having painful contractions, but I’m trying to shrug it off. I’m only a 4! I can pull myself together and do this, Marla! Then they start to give me the epidural. I distinctly remember them starting to put the needle in as I started having a contraction. I told them, “I’m having a contraction!” They said, “Try to sit still!” And so I tried. But at that point, I was shaking and trying my absolute hardest to stay still. It was one of the hardest things I have done by myself to sit so still and be in so much pain.

I laid down after the epidural and started to feel it work, but at the same time, I still felt the contractions. After trying to turn me to make the epidural spread, and still feeling the contractions, my doctor said she would check me.

She checked me and then got a surprised, but business-like look on her face. She told the nurse “I feel a bulgy bag and a lip.” Then she looked at me and said “We’re gonna have a birthday party!” I was so tired at this point, that this completely confused me. I said “What?” Then she repeated what she had just said. I still didn’t understand, so I said “What am I dilated to?”

You’re a 9 1/2. 

A 9 1/2??? I had just had my epidural minutes ago. I had just convinced myself that I was at a 4, and that I had a couple hours to sleep while I slowly dilated.

Not so. She immediately called everyone in and got the room ready.

13 minutes later. Gemma was in my arms.

Gemma Jean Gale

1:58am. 8 lbs 2oz. 19.5 in long. 
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What a whirlwind. I remember that was the phrase of the night between Sam and I. It had been about 2 1/2 hours since my first contraction and now we were holding our new baby girl. I could hardly wrap my mind around it. With Parker I had hours of time to think about him coming and preparing myself that he would be there. With her, we were given quite the surprise.

I remember the relief I felt wash over me when my midwife told me I was at a 9 1/2. Everything all of a sudden made sense. The intense pain I had been feeling was actually intense pain! I wasn’t at a 4, I was practically complete. I didn’t feel so silly, like I had before. I felt like the nurses thought I was silly. There I was breathing heavily, shaking, and having such a hard time, when everyone thought I was at a 4. To hear that I was going through transition while they were trying to give me an epidural and sit still, made me feel so much better. I was hurting like crazy… and for good reason! It all made so much more sense and I felt stronger, knowing I had done more than I realized.

During the whole process, I was so grateful for Sam. While I felt like everyone else thought I was a wimp, I could see in Sam’s eyes, that he new I was more progressed than I was. He told me early on that he thought if I was progressing quickly that the contractions could be really intense. He made me feel like I was strong, even when I felt weak. He was there for me the entire time, helping with pressure points. During the labor, I felt more than ever that we were a team. He was helping me get through the pain. We were connected and I felt his support so strong. He was the only one I wanted by my side and I felt stronger whenever he was right next to me.

Now, 2 weeks later, we are still so thrilled. She is growing well and we are adjusting and trying to get some sleep. It is special to be with an infant that is so new and so pure. And it was amazing to experience, again, the moment of welcoming a new child into the world.

We love you, Gemma, and are so grateful you are in our family.

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37 Weeks. She’s getting ready!

Well, this is just a short update for those that are interested. It’s crazy how fast & slow a pregnancy can go. I feel now like the time is flying by. My sister-in-law is getting married tomorrow and it seems like each week there is something to look forward to! Last week we threw her a bridal shower and this week we are getting the food prepared and the decorations set. It is exciting and I feel grateful that I can think about her and less about how uncomfortable I feel 🙂

Today I went to the doctor and things are progressing. At 36 weeks, I was 1.5cm dilated, 50% effaced.

Today, at 37 weeks, I am dilated to a 2, 60-70% effaced, and a -1 station, meaning that she has “dropped.” Funny enough, the other day I looked at my stomach and thought, “she looks lower”… apparently I’m not going crazy. She is lower, and much lower at that. Who knows how fast things will progress though. She could sit this low until her due date.

How far along? about 37 Weeks (36 weeks & 6 days to be exact :))
Baby is: about 6 1/3 lbs and 18 1/2 inches long
Total weight gain/loss? +15 lbs- 20 lbs
Maternity clothes? Um, definitely. Sam’s clothes a lot, too.

Here are most of the pics I’ve taken from this pregnancy… to see the progression. It’s crazy. I remember at 21 weeks feeling like I had a total “bump”. Funny to think about!

PicMonkey Collage

Stretch marks? Yes, a couple around my hip bones and a couple new ones on my stomach. The ones on my hip bones are the deepest colored though.
Sleep? Sleep is difficult. I wake up a lot to re-position. But, that’s life and I guess preparation for when she comes.
Best moment this week? My brother, his wife, and his 3 month old little girl came to stay with us this last week. It was my favorite thing to see Parker react to their girl. He kept saying “She’s so cuteeee! I love her! I want to kiss her! I want to hold her!” It made me happy to see how much he loved her and I imagine he’ll be similar with our little girl.
Miss Anything? Feeling comfortable is something I miss. I get so uncomfortable sitting down for any period of time over like 5 minutes and I’m short of breath a lot.
Movement? Movement is slowing down. I actually got worried and they did a little stress test today at the doctor. She is healthy, just less wiggly than when she had more room.
Food cravings? Not really strong ones.
Anything making you queasy or sick? Not really.
Have you started to show yet? Yes. Yes, definitely.
Gender? IT’S A GIRL!
Labor Signs? Yes. I’ve been getting contractions here and there and felt the same sharp pains around my cervix, just like I did with Parker. But, nothing is consistent, so it’s definitely just helping my body get ready.
Belly Button in or out? Out. Out. Out.
Wedding rings on or off? On. Depending on what I’m eating and how hydrated I am, I’ll sometimes take it off. But, most of the time it is still on.
Happy or Moody most of the time? Hmm, it definitely depends. I’m more moody than I used to be, but I’m happy too.

Well, there ya have it. I feel like my body has started prepping sooner this time than with Parker, but who knows what that means. All I know is that this little girl will probably be here within the next 3 weeks, and I’m happy about that! Parker came on his due date, so I’m just hoping she doesn’t go past hers. 🙂

Our First Bumpdate- 28 weeks

Well, I’ve always said “better late than never”, and I think this scenario really takes the cake. I’ve never done a bumpdate questionnaire for either Parker or our little girl, and here we are 3rd trimester through this second pregnancy and I just up and decided, why not? So, here ya go.

Funny, I always like reading the bumpdates of other’s I know, but for some reason thought if I did one for myself, people would be so bored they’d scroll through or pick their nose. Why?? I don’t know. Well, today I’m just ignoring my fear of boring people and am going out on a limb that maybe one of you, besides myself will enjoy this. So let the questions begin…

How far along? 28 weeks- 3rd trimester, baby!
Baby is: 2.25 lbs & 14.8 in. (approx)
Total weight gain/loss? +15 lbs. {sidenote: I’m actually really proud of myself for this… my 1st pregnancy I was weighing myself all the time. I was so caught up on being a certain size that I was monitoring myself all the time. This pregnancy, I’ve loosened up & it has been so much better!!! I just weighed myself this morning, but I hadn’t in a couple weeks. Anyway, hooray for focusing more on how I feel and less on stressing about weight gain. This is progress for a girl like me who has obsessed too much about being skinny, for too much of my life.} and now I move on….
Maternity clothes? Yes. Oh, and my husband’s t-shirts.Gah! Why is it so hard for me to buy t-shirts that fit me? Or just maternity clothes in general??

I haven't even been taking pictures of myself, so I snapped these, but sorry I'm wearing lazy, around the house clothes. Real life.

I haven’t even been taking pictures of myself, so I snapped these, but sorry I’m wearing lazy, around the house clothes. Real life.

Stretch marks? Not any new ones that I’ve noticed. But, I have noticed that as I get bigger, the ones from Parker’s pregnancy are deepening in color once again. But just like weight gain, I’ve been paying a lot less attention this time around, so I’m not quite sure.
Sleep? Sleep is good. I fall asleep when I turn off the light and then wake up, what feels like a second later. {Can I say weird dreams though, anyone???!} Pregnancy always makes my dreams crazy.
Best moment this week? Well this is the hardest question! I have no idea, I feel like it is all the sweet things Parker is saying to me and how much love is in his heart. He’s constantly telling us how much he loves things and how cute people are. I cannot begin to explain how blessed we feel to have him as our little boy.
Miss Anything? My pre-pregnancy clothes. I miss being able to get dressed more easily. Now I feel like I try something on and it looks weird, I try something else on–it looks weird too. And then 10 minutes later I’m settling on something that looks the least weird. {Clothing is the bane of my existence right now.}
Movement? A ton. She is one wiggly girl who seems like she can never get comfortable.
Food cravings? Not really strong ones.
Anything making you queasy or sick? Not really.
Have you started to show yet? Yes.
Gender? IT’S A GIRL!
Labor Signs? Umm not real labor, but Braxton Hicks contractions have been almost getting out of control. Two days ago, I got about 20 sets of them in the space of just 2 hours. But, oh well, apparently that can happen, and apparently drinking more water can help them not be so strong.
Belly Button in or out? Half out, but almost completely out.  It depends on if I’m breathing in or out.
Wedding rings on or off? On. It’s actually really lose right now, probably because the colder weather.
Happy or Moody most of the time? Happy!!! 🙂

Well, there it you have it. I’m feeling just really blessed right now to have some time to get ready for this little girl. I’m starting to realize that although this is my second, that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m prepared. I just realized last week that we have no changing table for her or a place to put her clothes (even though her clothing is practically non-existent). Anyway, it’s just interesting how there is still much to do. I’m feeling less apprehension for labor and for her arrival, but I’m busying myself with getting ready and dreaming of life with our little girl.

life and thoughts as of right…now.

I have a lot of simple thoughts today, but I felt like writing it out.

I used to want my blog to get big, I had blogger goals and felt motivated to write and reach them. Now, that just sounds like a pain and instead writing to keep up with family and friends sounds beautiful, relaxing, and simple.

I remember when I started writing, I was surprised that family and friends actually read my blog, but whenever they did it meant so much–so much more than when others read my blog. So really, it’s just great to keep in contact. Plus, I love reading my friends blogs. Not just because they are great bloggers, but mainly because I just love ’em. So whoever actually reads this, thanks! Let me know if you have a blog, because then I could stalk you and gawk over how wonderful you are. 🙂

In other news, graduating has been such a relief. In the last week I feel like my stress has started to fall off, just like the leaves falling off the trees outside. It’s becoming more and more ingrained in my soul that a slow life is beautiful. Slow living doesn’t lack meaning or miss being involved with things, it simply enjoys the moments and packs in even more meaning. I feel so much more at peace just taking a slower pace to life and I feel like a better mom, a better wife, and a better version of myself. What a confidence boost! I can clean the house and cook a meal and be a happy person. Tada! Anyway, if you’re contemplating slowing life down more, I highly recommend it. And my husband loves it too. Win, win!!

Anywho.

Another thing I’m soaking up, is this fall weather. Fall is warming my heart x100 this year. Probably because I’m in the final stretch of my pregnancy and I’m just so excited to share the holidays with my family.

I can’t wait to make a wreath– like a cute burlap one to hang on my front door. Like this one.

Burlap fall wreathEven though, I’m not that crafty, it sounds like so much fun. Any tips? I want a cute flower in it too, or a bow… basically I just want it to look homey.

I’m so excited to make pumpkin cookies and breads with spices galore. Like these. Mmm, why do I have such a sweet tooth?? Let’s blame baby girl 😉

pumpkin-chocolate-chip-cookies2I’m excited to pull out my jackets and cuddle my husband and son when we walk outside. {Also, does this not look super cool??} I feel like it’s genius. People are so smart to create these things.

Belly to baby sweater

I’m seriously beaming whenever I look at the mountains and see the slight tint of orange and reds appearing. The best ever.

I can’t wait to go get a pumpkin, carve it out, let Parker feel the ushy-gushy seeds, and then put a candle inside and watch him light up! Sidenote: Isn’t watching and experiencing with your kids, the most satisfy and joyful thing ever?

Oh, and I can’t wait for Thanksgiving and all the yummy food, great family, a family {WEDDING}, and just sitting around enjoying the peace of fall. Ahhh…

Oh, and I’m really excited to meet our little girl and celebrate Christmas and then snuggle through the winter. Preferably while watching the snowfall, and of course probably telling Parker to not tackle her or pull her around or sit on her.

Of course, each of these events will probably be accompanied by a good amount of crying, tantrums, whining, and telling Parker to “please not jump off the couch,” but that’s life folks and I feel like I’m slowly learning to accept that life can still be beautiful and dang good when there is crying intermittently.

Anyway, there’s a little window into my soul as of right now. I’ll probably be blogging whenever I feel like it, but probably with no schedule. If you want to know when I post, because I might not always put my posts on facebook, then just subscribe with an email and you’ll get a little email saying that I wrote some sort of something. But, also, feel free to just meander over whenever you feel like it 🙂

Happy FALL!!!!!

What I hope I will do different for Baby #2

Even before we got pregnant with this second baby, I wondered how I would do it all over again; the sleepless nights, the teething, the sleep training, the nursing. I struggled a lot with postpartum depression with my first and so that was on my mind a ton, too. How would I prepare my family, what would I do differently, how could I prevent the onslaught of crazy emotions, and most of all–how could I make this next experience better.

Not that having Parker was bad, but it definitely was hard. A lot harder than I expected. The emotions and depression threw me and my husband for a loop. Not only was it hard to see myself in that condition, but I think it was harder for my husband to see me like that–to try to help, but not quite know what to do.

So what will I change, what will I do differently this time around? Really–what has my first baby taught me:

What I hope I will do different

1. Fill that Prescription. Like yesterday. I noticed with Parker that I was struggling. I was anxious a lot, I was frustrated a lot, and then I started having feelings of “I just want to run away” or “my family would be better off without me” or “can’t I just get out of here?!” I also started having feelings of wanting to hurt myself and my baby, which in my right mind, would not be there. Basically, I should have jumped in my car first thing and went to my doctor. DON’T wait for that 6 week appointment. That’s just 6 week’s of downright crazy. Don’t wait until you have all the signs and symptoms that every website lists. Just know if you are feeling worse and then talk to your doctor. You don’t have to be on the prescription forever, I definitely wasn’t, but it will sure help in the beginning while you’re getting used to almost no sleep, taking care of another human, and trying to wrap your mind around all the crying. Again, this is for me. It may not work for everyone, but this is for me.

2. “This will not last forever.”– Probably the most important thing I’ve learned is that these stages really do not last forever. I remember crying to my mom that I was worried I would hate motherhood, because my 3 week old was just not leaving me feeling fulfilled or happy. {Not completely surprising}.

977824_10200800162741418_611722807_oThe stages of waking up every 3 hours at night or sitting in the mothers room for almost the entire church block, or being up with a teething baby DO END. They are so short. I almost have forgotten about them already, which is crazy, because they seemed never-ending at the time. But really, they pass. Soon you are getting a full night’s rest, you are sitting in church with your hands empty listening to a lesson while he’s playing in nursery, and then during the day your baby is playing with toys in the other room entertaining themselves. And then… to top it off they hug and kiss you and tell you gushy things like “I love luuu, mom!” It’s wonderful. So believe that things will change for the better, and that most likely you’ll love motherhood. There’s a reason why lots of people have multiple babies!

3. Get a routine, but let it slide- sometimes. I love routines. I thrive on them and so does Parker. He likes to know what he can expect and so do I. I like that he naturally settles down for nap when I tell him I’m grabbing a vitamin and milk… because he knows he gets to read stories and then rest. I like that I can depend on when to get things done and when to meet people for something due to being predictable. And I like having time to myself and with my husband. It just works for me.

923247_10151641119126763_1750822069_nBut, I’ve also experienced a whole lot of stress and anger (embarrassed about that) when my routine is thrown off. I’ll sit there frustrated that he isn’t in bed, even if we are doing something fun. I’ll worry that the routine will never be the same…. yaddy, yaddy, yada. But, really, it will work out. He’ll make up for it some other day that week, or he’ll take a longer nap at some point, or… he’ll teeth the next night and be up all night and then we’ll be zonked the next day. Whatev. It’s just life. So when you get handed a fun opportunity and it’s not going to be an everyday thing. Do it. Break the routine. Make a memory. And just.have.fun.

4.Thank my husband MORE and have less pity parties. Man, even though he didn’t birth the baby or carry the baby, he sure did do a lot. For me, it was easy to get into this mind set that everything was about me during pregnancy and after birth. I wined a bit, lets be honest. Granted my hormones were wacky and I was healing like no body’s business, BUT, he was doing so much too. I wasn’t the only one sleep deprived, I wasn’t the only one trying to make sense of everything that had changed.

268806_10151641119191763_2021570266_nI wish I would have realized that having a baby is a family matter, even more than I did, and that my physical scars would heal quickly.  I wish I would have thought more about my husband, instead of feeling bad for myself. From working to PAY for the babe, to being there when I went crazy. From calling my mom FOR ME at 1 in the morning, because he knew I needed to talk to someone, to loving me and telling me I was enough, over and over and over. He really was a champ. I wish I would have pulled myself out of my pity parties more and bonded more with him.

Overall, I’m just excited for another baby. I’m so grateful for what my 1st has taught me, and I can only imagine this one will teach me a whole lot more in so many different ways.  I’m excited to try the whole process again, hopefully with a little less stress than before. It’s amazing how experience can change us and teach us. Although, here’s to trying it out with having a 2 1/2 year old. We’ll see how that goes… and hopefully take it in stride.

What have you learned from your kids?… How’s that for a loaded question? 🙂