Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Finn Amos Arrived! (2 months ago)

So here is another birth story. Because I like them to be recorded. You don't have to pay attention, I'll try to do some general family posts soon! Let me start with the part where I was sick for the first few months of my pregnancy... It wasn't morning sickness, though.

Starting in March, I went from a cold to bronchitis. I had wheezing from a lot of mucus in my lungs and thus a wet cough and grossness to spit out after each coughing fit. I had a couple rounds of different antibiotics and daily use (or rather nightly use) of a nebulizer for my wheezing. And actually my wheezing is still lingering as a late night and early morning and allergy season thing. But in a much milder form. grateful it's basically gone after an initial 3 months of snails pace improvement.

Other than that lovely experience (read sarcasm here), I had a fairly uneventful pregnancy. I gained hardly any weight the entire pregnancy (I wasn't skimping on meals snacks or desserts!). I started at 124 lbs. and weighed 136 lbs. at the end. With every other pregnancy I was within a pound or two of 150. I was riding my bike with trailer attached to pick up Liam and Owen from school, which is a 2.5 miles (round trip) 5 days a week. But I also rode my bike when I was pregnant with Caden to pick up Liam from preschool which was a 2 mile round trip. So, basically, I don't know why I gained so little.

I chose a birth center this time partly because of my annoying last experience when I had Caden at the hospital and partly because I had kinda been wanting to go to a birth center since my first pregnancy and never had yet. I had a good experience for my prenatal visits and for my birth. At least as good as you can get for an unmedicated birth.

Staring in September, I attended an online illustration class (SmArt School) that finished up on December 4th. The baby was due to arrive Dec. 13th, so I thought it would all work out perfectly even if he came a week early like the last two did. The class kept me very busy. Whenever I wasn't taking care of my kids needs I was making art or planning art. I loved it. Nathan was a huge support (he pushed me to take the class in the first place), he didn't complain about the state of our home (messy) or about doing dinner laundry and dishes so I could continue to work.

The day before baby 5 made his big entrance.

So, now for the birth part. On Wed., Nov. 19 I had bloody show. (I had also started getting more frequent medium strength contractions several days before that.) I had been feeling for a long time (for weeks) like the baby was going to be ready to come soon. However, I was a little concerned, because I wouldn't be 37 weeks pregnant until the 22nd and I would have to go to the hospital if the baby came before then.
I had my prenatal appointment on Thu., Nov. 20 and I was "a stretchy 2 or 3 cm." since the next Thursday was Thanksgiving we planned for me to come in again on Monday to see how things were going. I had contractions on and off all day Friday. I started having some pretty strong contractions that night around 8 or 9pm and they continued  every 10 to 15 minutes for several hours so I called the "labor cell" for the birth center at 1am Saturday morning. I was officially 37 weeks now so I felt better about the idea of being in labor because I wouldn't have to go to the hospital. The head midwife answered the phone and listened to my explanation, then told me to try laying down and going to sleep and if that didn't make the contractions ease up then I should call back.  So, I went to sleep and they went away.
I had contractions all day, after I woke up on Saturday, but they were pretty wimpy and inconsistent. Sunday and Monday were also wimpy. At my appointment on Monday I was still about 3 cm. so we set an appointment for a week later. But I didn't have to wait that long!
On Tuesday my contractions made a comeback and started building in intensity. My game plan was to focus on completely relaxing my body of all tension and to keep my mind peaceful and free of fear. I called Nathan mid day because I decided I needed him home to care for the boys so I could focus. I got a call from a mom friend from church asking if there was an "achievement days" activity that night (I'm in charge usually), I let her know it wasn't until next Tuesday. The whole time I was on the call I was feeling antsy. I needed to hang up before I had another contraction!
As it got later in the evening, I thought we should call the midwife but was afraid to hear it was a false alarm. I was rocking and swaying, leaning on Nathan through my contractions and humming or sometimes laying down very relaxed or kneeling very still. My contractions were quite strong (and every 5-8 minutes) and I changed positions often. Finally, around 8pm, I made the call. The midwife that I liked best (I like them all though!) answered the phone and after hearing what I had to say said she would meet me at the birth center in an hour. Since we had a 40 min drive we used the extra 20 to get a babysitter.
Because it was the week of Thanksgiving we were concerned about finding someone who could watch the boys for us. Our usual babysitter was out of town. We had made a couple tentative calls earlier just to check availability and both had small children and their husbands were out of town, so no good. So, we thought to ask my friend who had called earlier about the activity and lucky for us she was willing and available! She came by a few minutes later and she took them off our hands. Caden was a little worried about the situation but he calmed down and was good to go after a minute.

So, we loaded ourselves in the van an headed to the birth center. My contraction spaced out a little for the car ride. We arrived just before the midwife. After she came we went in and picked one of the rooms to labor in. Nathan held or rubbed me while I labored on a ball or standing. My contractions remained slower and even became a milder intensity. I was afraid maybe this was going to turn into a false alarm. The midwife checked me and I think I was a 8 that could easily stretch to a 10.  When her labor assistant arrived she checked me again (it was 10pm) and then suggested I try laying on my side for a few contractions. Holy cow! All of the sudden my contractions were really really strong, painful even! I tried to stay relaxed and I started moaning through the contractions. Two contractions laying on my left side, then two laying on my right. I was moaning and whimpering and evening crying a little. Then she checked me again and said I could push now (10:30pm). I was sooo ready to be done! So, Nate helped support on my left side. I pushed. The midwife had me put my hands just below my knees and tuck my chin to push. I remember between once between contractions foggily thinking about how I didn't want to be holding a crunch position while resting and so I let go of my legs to flop back on the pillow. I guess it looked rather abrupt because the midwife asked me if I was okay. I told I was just tired. The next contraction came and I was back up and pushing. When his head finally popped out, there was a giant gush of amniotic fluid that soaked Nathan, the midwife, and the assistant! when his head came out I honestly couldn't tell if his body had come out too or if he was still half in there! He was still half in. The midwife asked Nate if he wanted to catch the baby, but I said "No, don't move!" I needed him to keep supporting me. One more painful push and baby was out and on my chest. The cord was very loosely wrapped around his neck and was also really long. his APGAR scores were 9 and 10. After a while I pushed out the placenta and eventually we clamped the cord and then they weighed and measured him. He measured 19.5 inches long and weigh 6lbs. 9oz. (almost a pound and a half less than Liam was!) but he was just a few days shy of 3 weeks early.

So, after a total of 9 minutes of pushing and only 30 minutes of truly painful labor, I had my baby in my arms! I'm not sure exactly when the less intense laboring actually started it was too gradual to tell for certain but basically that whole day was mild and medium discomfort levels. But it really was the best I could have hoped for!

So happy I'm done!

Yes, there is a reason I look tired.

After eating Nate took him to be weighed and measured.

Nate also held him while I showered.

So after a shower, a couple hours rest, and a final decision on his name, we left the birth center at 12:30am and took our little Finn Amos Shirley home. My friend kept the boys most of the next day, so Nate and I got to spend the day alone together with Finn.

I was feeling carnivorous after all that, so we went to Nona Blue and picked up a nice big blue cheese burger and some baby back ribs to enjoy at home.

So nice to wake up in the morning to this little bug finally on the outside.

 That afternoon the boys met their new brother, they all loved him of course!

The next day we had Thanksgiving at home with only our family. It was very nice... except when Caden and Ronan got fevers and vomited once each! We asked them to avoid contact with Mommy and Finn until they were better. Anyway, otherwise a nice holiday!

All these photos were taken the day after he was born.

He's so soft and fluffy!

September-November 2014


We all were drenched on the way home from school. It's a lot of fun. 
The boys love it when it happens.

Sometimes, Liam get's an audience while he does homework.

Caden will not take regular naps, but there are days when I can tell it will be a nightmare if he doesn't have one. Sometimes he falls asleep on his own. Other times, I have to tuck him in when he has turned into a basket case.

Ronan turned 4. He wanted balloons for his birthday.

I love this kid's smile. And he's so sturdy!

He wanted berries on his cake.

And whipped cream.

Liam got to go to the Maker Fair with Nate.


Pirates, pretend sleeping.

I needed naps. Also, I couldn't stand to have my belly covered!

Caden sleeping for real.

We decided to put a sandbox on our front porch to give the boys an alternative to digging in the neighbors yard.

Cutie snuck down stairs after being tucked in bed. 
How are we supposed to resist that sweet little arm around the neck?

Sometimes, I just have to laugh when I see how they decide to sleep.

When the room is a disaster, "the dragon game" is the go to motivator. We rake the toys into a pile and Daddy or one of the boys is nominated to be "the dragon" defending his hoard while "the dwarves" try to steal away his treasures and put them away.

This time, Caden was the dragon.

Owen got a little to bouncy on the bed and we hadn't put caps on the posts yet.

Caden was a knight for Halloween.

Ro was a space ranger. Liam was a dwarf. Owen a ninja turtle. Nate was a bearded seaman.

And I was a pregnant witch.

With an awesome duct tape witch hat!

Then there was Trick-o-treating...

and enjoying their booty...

and a sticky mess to deal with!


This was a major part of my every day life since September when my class started.

My mini art station that is taking over the family room.

We've been able to be pretty consistent with the bed time routine lately. Mostly thanks to Nate's diligence. We watch an illustrated scripture story on the iPad, each boy gets to  read one verse in the scriptures and then we brush teeth and have family prayer. This is the usual bedtime transport.

I think soon Nate will be splitting it into two smaller trips most of the time.

These guys get to take naps together. I'm not sure which one I"m more jealous of!

Cabbage leaf hats for our entertainment.

These guys wanted to make some body art before we went to pick up their brothers.

Caden loves his baby brother.