And then there were seven

I have been wanting to sit down to record some just have not had a moment to do so. Well, I probably have, but I don't think about it until just a minute before the quiet ends. It's quiet now, and I probably won't remember everything I've been wanting to blog, but at least Amelia's birth story if my memory hasn't already changed it.

Amelia was due on March 21st, and we were certain that this was indeed an accurate due date, based on date of conception which was known, unlike Joseph whose due date we still wonder about. There were lots of things that played into our thoughts and opinions on what we would do if she hadn't arrived by that time. 1. Jakob's confirmation date was March 28th. 2. At 37 weeks, she measured 7 lbs, 13 oz, so we projected she would weigh 10 lbs at full term. These were the top two things on our minds. My mom was planning to come on the 22nd, so we thought maybe she was holding out for mom. There were lots of things that were going on the week before her due date, so it's not like it was inconvenient to wait. We opted for an induction on the 23rd, just because it would guarantee we would be out of the hospital in time for confirmation, even with a schedule change, C-section, longer hospital stay, etc.

My mom arrived Sunday afternoon and we still had things going on, so we weren't all home and settled really until after the kids went to bed that night. The plan was that she and I would go to the hospital by 7:30 Monday morning and Tim would take the kids to Nancy's at around 9:00 and then we would be ready to go and have a baby by noon! At around midnight, I woke up with a cramp as I rolled over and began having contractions that were about 5 minutes apart. I timed them for about a half hour at which point Tim came to bed (from the chair in the living room in which he had been sleeping since about 10:00). I told him and we continued to monitor them until about 1:30...still consistantly 5 minutes apart, but not strong. I wanted to continue to stay home and see what progressed, but Tim insisted that we go to the hospital since I was Strep B positive and needed antibiotics before delivery. We scrambled to find someone who was available at such wee hours of the morning and finally reached Darryn Werner who was able to be at the house by a little after 2:00, so off to the hospital we all (Tim, mom and I) went.

By the time we got to the hospital, my contractions had stopped, I was still 3 cm dilated, with no other indications of progression or the baby being remotely ready to come. Dr. Hayes wasn't on call until 7:00, so we had to just wait. The antibiotic was started around 3:30. Since I'm allergic to Ancef, I had to take Vancomycin, which is a pretty heavy antibiotic. It made me itch which alarmed Tim, but we found out that it was a normal reaction.

By 7:30 (shift change), the nurse checked me at 4 cm, still no other progression. This would change the scheduled induction procedure though, so we were still at a stand-still. Dr. Hayes was in surgery until around 9:30 at which point, he checked me at 5 cm, so we decided to start pitocin. Not too big a deal, except that it meant being tied to an IV pole. The contractions became consistant again, but not strong. The rest of the morning and much of the early afternoon is kind of a blur as far as progression...Shannon came and visited with us a while, Tim and my mom had some time to chat with each other, we disconnected the pit and went for a 20 minute power walk to try to get the baby to come down. The walk worked, at least to bring her down, but it completely stopped my contractions, so we hooked the pit back up and turned it up.

We were sure that after such a long day, we would certainly have a baby by 4:00. No such luck. We did have some severe weather though. We were evacuated into the hallway for an hour due to a tornado warning, so we pulled out a table and played a card game. When that was done, the nurse checked me again at 6-7, so at least I was progressing, but by this time, I was also frustrated because it was almost time for a shift change again! At the change we got the same nurse that we started with at 2:30 that morning...Carrie. We turned up the pit again and decided that at 8:00 we would call Dr. Hayes and tell him to come in and break my water. That is just what we did. I was at 8 cm. At this point, my mom was feeling like she should go get the kids from Nancy's as we had already modified their schedule, but we weren't about to let her go after she had been there that long. She was with us because she had never really experienced a live birth...even though she had three of them!

A little after 8 pm, Dr. Hayes broke my water...I think there may have been 20 lbs worth!! There sure was a lot. This still didn't help the baby come down enough and he was worried about cord prolapse, so he was trying to get her head to come down first (manually, which really was NOT fun!) Her heart beat decelerated to the point that they had to use an internal monitor and put me on oxygen. When all was said and done, I made the comment that I thought everyone who said they would pray for us had forgotten and Dr. Hayes just said, "No, I'm certain they were praying, because that's probably the only thing that saved you from delivering your 7th child via emergency C-section." This delivery was definitely different from any of the others! I'm sure my mom was thinking we were nuts for doing this, because I'm sure it didn't look at all comfortable, and there certainly wasn't any amount of modesty about any of it! Finally after turning up the pit to a level that made the contractions virtually unbareable, I knew it wouldn't be long. When contractions get to that point, a baby is on the way! I really had a hard time pushing her down and didn't have the urge to push (just to fart!!!!) I hate that part!

When that urge to push finally came, it didn't take long...maybe 5 minutes...3-4 pushes. The cord was wrapped around her neck, so the delivery went in little stages...head, remove cord, shoulders...ahh! I've always said there are not words to describe that feeling of getting those shoulders out...what a HUGE relief! She was finally here!!! 9:24 to be precise. I caught a glimpse of my mom (between fighting back my own tears of pain) trembling with tears in her eyes. Shear overwhelming amazement I'm sure. How could anyone not be emotional when witnessing such a true miracle as the birth of a new baby! Amelia was in my arms for a very short period before they took her to "pink her up" a bit and get her to cry. 9 lbs, 11 oz was the official birth weight. I think this may be the first time Dr. Hayes has been so far off with his "guesstimate". He said high eights.

We decided in retrospect that the long day had a kept our kids safe between Seward at Grandma's and at Nancy's during the severe weather. A tornado touched down a mile or two from our house and we're not exactly sure the path it took as we had some really weird wind damage at our house as well as a power loss for a short period of time.

We left the hospital at 10 pm on the 24th...about 12 hours later than I really wanted to, but it worked out ok too. My mom stayed through the morning of the 29th. My dad and my grandparents came on the 27th for Jakob's confirmation, so they all at least got to meet little Amelia! The events of the rest of the week, and the following week all must wait for another blog. Seven is sure challenging...especially during tax season! Probably no more than 2 or three or 4, 5, or 6 were, but just challenging. I've been through the gammet of emotions...overall, I am overwhelmed by how blessed I am, from seven beautiful, healthy children to parents and in-laws who are willing to lend a helping hand, even at number seven to make things a little easier for me. She is here, she is healthy, she is beautiful, she is loved!! There is never a time that someone isn't asking, "Can I hold her, can I burp her, can I take her?" Although no one ever says, "Can I change her?" What's up with that????

I can honestly say it makes me very sad to think that I may never again have the pleasure of feeling a growing baby moving inside of me, or the excruitiating pain of delivering a baby followed by the rush of emotions of total love to hold a brand new baby in my arms and nurse her, or even the warmth of that tiny little body curled up into a little ball lying on my chest or in my arms. Not that we're saying never, but seven seems like a good number. As rewarded and blessed as we feel, we're also tired, stretched at times, and tired! Maybe in five years or so? Maybe. I wish I could bottle up all of these physical and emotional feelings and just open up the bottle every now and again. Children truly are a grand blessing from God.