Monday, December 8, 2014

Valerie is here

My bright eyed bushy tailed little lady

My little mermaid and her first modeling job at one week old. 

This blog post is almost 6 months overdue.  I feel having 3 kids one and under, moving 2 weeks after her birth and having a husband who is working a crazy schedule right now, maybe buys me some time.  But I really wanted to write this story down, or what I remember of it because it was a healing VBAC birth, I didn't even know I needed healing.  But boy I am so thankful for little lady and the birth she allowed me to have. Please pardon all the pictures. Note birth story follows.  

The twins a week before Valerie's birth picking GMA up at the airport

I was so worried on whether my mom, who graciously gave up all of her yearly vacation, would make it to Georgia in time.  Having babies who were born at 34 weeks really made me a nervous wreck.  Luckily, mom made it and enjoyed a whole week with us before I had to be induced with Valerie.  My Dr. felt comfortable letting me try for a VBAC up to 41.5 weeks but then it would be c-section.  I was thrilled to find a Dr. who was so on board with my desire to try for a VBAC.  I know that many doctors do not always feel this way and especially with births only 15 months apart.   However, my Dr. in Kansas (who delivered the twins) knew we wanted more kids and on his end made sure even with an emergency c-section I would be a great candidate for VBAC.  

At about 38 weeks I started to make great progress. Baby had descended and was at a -1, I was dilating and effacing. I remember my Dr. saying he was on call that weekend and probably expected to see me.  The nurses started laughing and joking about how I wouldn't be back for my next appointment.  Sure enough I waddled back not once, but twice.  My Dr. seemed so surprised at each appointment. My doula was going out of town on Friday June 13th.  And my mom was flying back the following Tuesday on the 17th and baby needed to be out by the 16th, or it was a c-section.  All of those factors combined with the fact that we were moving on the 28th of June.  And if I was going to have a c-section I needed more than one day with an extra set of hands (plus I wouldn't have been out of the hospital and David was in an Army school meaning no time to take off) I knew we needed to schedule an induction.  I was terrified of it, and many people are of the mindset that one medical intervention seems to led to more interventions.  

My Dr. and I decided on heading to the hospital on the 11th of June for an induction.  I did not want a Friday the 13th baby and I really wanted to be sure my doula could be there with us for the birth.  My Dr. wasn't going to be on call until the night of the 12th, but he said the other doctors would all be aware of my decision to VBAC.  I kissed the babies good night, told my mom good luck, and David and I headed to the hospital.  We got there and there was no Dr. orders on file.  At this point I was at 4, baby was at a zero and I was 75% effaced.  The nurses decided to give me a small dose of pit and see what happened.  I slept and by the morning I was at a 5.  The new on call Dr. was not very VBAC friendly.  He decided to up my pit some more.  By this time the contractions were really coming and the only relief I got was from sitting on the exercise ball while my doula/David applied pressure on my back. The fetal monitors would move and it would look like Valerie was in distress.  The nurses were all great with it, but this Dr. had a fit every time even though after the contraction her heart rate would be fine.  He came in the room and said I needed to get back in bed and stay there or the next time it was a c-section.  I tried for 3 hours to manage the contractions in bed (which is hard and pit contractions stink).  By this time it was 4 pm on the 12th of June.  The dr. came back and checked me and I was only at a 7.  I was devastated, wore out, and upset with this Dr. who seemed to disagree with my VBAC choice and voiced it.  I told my doula I wanted pain relief, I think I was more mentally exhausted than anything and it was interfering with my body doing the job it needed to do.  We agreed to stadol and I had one dose of that, I got to an 8 before the relief wore off.  In hindsight, I wish I would have known how close I was, had my dr, on hand, fought the urge.  At that point I asked for an epidural.  We had been at the hospital for over 24 hours, I knew the clock was ticking and being stalled at a 7 and 8 for almost 5 hours at this point was painful.  Those are some wicked contractions.  I couldn't move to ease the pain and I knew I still had to push.  

At 8 pm that night my Dr. got there I was still at a 8.  He came in this his larger than life laugh, and kept joking about no baby.  Immediately I felt my whole body relax.  I got the epidural shortly after that.  At 10 pm I was at 9 almost a 10 and was told to let them know when I felt the urge to push.  The nurses all kept saying you will know.  At 11 pm I started complaining that my left hip was killing me with each contraction.  Everyone kept asking if I felt the urge to push, I would say no, but my hip is really bothering me.  Finally my doula told the nurse I was feeling the urge to push and she checked me sure enough I was ready.  She said I had a feeling the hip thing might have meant you were ready.  

At 11:50 pm my Dr. came in and gave the go ahead for some practice pushing.  I did a few of these and then they called him back in and at 12:59 am on Friday the 13th (also happened to be a full moon) our sweet Valerie Ann was born.  She weighed 7 pounds 15 ounces (I think she would have been more but she had meconium in the womb) and 20 inches long.  The Dr. immediatly said that she had the strongest lungs he had ever heard and we knew then that Valerie, which means strength/valor, was the perfect name choice.
Valerie and her dad right after birth, no wires how amazing
My doula and I, she was amazing and without her I am not sure I would have had a VBAC. 

Leaving the hospital 36 hours after birth
 We left the hospital together, she only left my room once and that was 12 hours after she was born.  She had no wires, I was able to nurse her and hold her right away.  I had no idea how wearing and emotionally haunting my NICU birth had been.  She is the perfect little lady for us.  There are times now almost 6 months later when I get overwhelmed by the miracle she is.  I look back at all the pain, and heartache we had with infertility, pregnancy loss, premature birth and NICU time and am simply beyond thankful for her blessing.  If I knew that all those things would lead to this I would do them over again and have handled with so much more grace.  Simply put Valerie, and her sisters, were worth it all 100 times over again.  
My spunky, happy, life of the party little lady
Oh baby!

My mom Ann, and her sweet little namesake

The twins playing with their sister for the first time. 

One week old

One month old 

3 months old

The chaos that surrounds here, she fits right in. 

This picture gets me every time! Valerie surprised by the photo bomb.

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