Thursday, April 14, 2011

the birth story

Harper Claire Copeland made her appearance at 9:24 am on Saturday, April 9th, 2011! She is so precious and perfect! 7 lb. 15 oz., 20 3/4 inches.

I'm going to give the gorey labor details so skip this part if words like mucous plug gross you out.

On Friday, Will took me and the kids to Culver's for dinner and then headed to work for the night. The kids and I came home and did a little cleaning to get ready for Mom and Dad. They had left Little Rock that afternoon, planning to stop halfway in Kansas City for the night and drive on into Rochester Saturday morning. I was so excited to have them in town but part of me was thinking, "oh my word, what if they get here, stay a week and there's no baby!" I was praying that once they were in town this cervix of mine would just relax already.

I got the kids in bed, watched a little tv, piddled around the house a little more and then got ready for bed. When I went to the bathroom I saw that I had lost my mucous plug. I called Will and shared the happy news. He was ecstatic. (sarcasm) So in my mind I was thinking, "this is good. something's going to happen in the next couple of days."

I got in bed around 11:30, and about 12:30 I felt Harper move and thought I felt my water break. When I stood up I KNEW that my water had broken. I called Will and he got ready to head home. I called Mom too and let her know that we would definitely have a baby this week. What perfect timing! Thank you Lord!

After packing some last minute things for the hospital, I got back in bed to try to get some sleep. Will got home and got in bed, but I was starting to have contractions and couldn't sleep so I got up and walked around the house. My contractions weren't very regular - every 7 minutes, 5 minutes, 8 minutes, 3 minutes - but I was pretty uncomfortable, having to stop and focus to get through them. By 4:30 am, I told Will that I thought we should go to the hospital. He called Laura Shotts and she came over to stay with the kids. Thank you Laura!

We got to the hospital about 5:30 am. A nurse took us to triage first. She asked me if I wanted an epidural and I almost punched her. Will saw the wild look in my eyes and scrambled for the birth plan. (We had Liam and Hayden naturally, and that was the plan for Harper too. And I'll admit, I get a little crazy about any hospital person that messes with me.) The midwife came in, checked my cervix and I was 5 centimeters dilated. 5 centimeters! Crap, I was thinking. With Liam I checked in to the hospital at 8 centimeters and with Hayden I was 9 1/2 centimeters. Will said he was thinking the same thing. I thought I was having contractions harder than 5 centimeter contractions!

We were moved to a labor room with a tub and I labored for about 3 hours - 3 hard hours. At some point an anesthesiologist came in and wanted to check my airway. What?? Apparently it's standard procedure at Mayo for each patient to have their airway checked. I was probably about 7 centimeters dilated and in the throws of hard labor. I wasn't speaking but I was thinking, "stay the heck away from me and my airway." My hot labor coach/husband came to the rescue and said thanks but no thanks. The anesthesiologist insisted, but Will insisted more and finally appeased her with, "why don't you come back later." I love that man. He is my rock in labor - speaks for me, protects me, encourages me.

The last hour or so of labor I was in the tub. I hadn't labored in water with my first two so that was new. I'm not sure it helped that much with the pain but it was something to do to pass time. I started to feel like I wanted to push so I got out of the tub and Lisa, the midwife, checked my cervix again. She said I was almost 10 centimeters but had just a little rim of cervix left. She said getting on my hands and knees would help.

After a couple major contractions on my hands and knees I started pushing. I pushed on all fours for a little while with no progress. Lisa moved me to a squatting position - still not much progress. Then I leaned back in the traditional semi-reclining position. Harper was coming down some but just not staying down. Lisa suggested I lay on my side and pull my legs back. I have never moved around so much trying to push a baby out. The pain was outrageous. I'm a very quiet laborer, as in totally silent. But when I had to move around to push there was definitely some whimpering and crying. I told Will to pull it together and quit his crying. (ha ha) Lisa thought pushing on my side would help Harper get out from underneath my pelvis. She was right. Finally, at 9:24 am, after about an hour total of pushing, that sweet baby girl came out.

Come to find out, Harper was sunny-side up. Babies ideally come out face down, which allows their heads to mold to the birth canal. If they are face-up their heads can't really mold and it's harder to get them out. One of the midwives also told me that it can make labor more intense. I guess that's why I felt like my contractions were stronger than 5 centimeter contractions when we got to the hospital. Lisa said that when Harper crowned she was face up and then she turned her little head down on her own and came right out. So amazing! There is nothing like the feeling of that baby coming out and finally being in your arms. The pain is gone and some say their memory of the pain is gone, but I can't seem to shake that memory yet. Of the three, Harper's delivery was by far the hardest. But of course SO worth it.

In her daddy's arms for the first time

Harper nursed for about 45 minutes after she was born. I didn't have to have stitches this time around - which was awesome. Harper was weighed and measured and then wanted to nurse again. She's a nursing champ. We moved to our recovery room by noon, and Zeke and Laura brought the kids up to the hospital to meet their baby sister. Liam was so excited. Hayden was a little unsure. I think she prefers Happy Meals over baby sisters.
Laura played a major part in giving me peace of mind through it all. I knew my kids were in good hands. Thank you so much Zeke and Laura!

Mom and Dad were at the hospital by 1:30 that afternoon. I can't get over the perfect timing!
This is our wonderful midwife. I'm not sure I could have pushed Harper out without her guiding me through it. I had great nurses too. My experience at Mayo over all was really good.
Dressed for home
We were discharged Sunday morning and headed home to a full house. Home sweet home!
No shortage of love in this house! I'm so thankful to God for the blessing of Harper. To Him be the glory!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

tender-hearted and hard-headed

Liam is an amazing mix of his parents. I won't say which one of us gave him his tender heart and which the hard head. However, he has been blessed with both.

Yesterday morning Liam watched the movie Homeward Bound. It's an old movie that I remember watching as a kid. Towards the end of the movie, the golden retriever Shadow falls into a hole and can't get out. You don't know if he makes it out until the very end when he comes limping out of the woods and reunites with his little owner Peter. Well, after Shadow falls in the hole, next thing I know Liam's looking up at me with tears welling up in his eyes and pouring down his face. He cried all the way through the end and kept crying afterwards. It was the sweetest thing. And he didn't quite know what to do with how that movie made him feel. He'd never cried over a movie before. Then of course our dog Lucy was the great love of his life for the day. So much for me trying to get rid of her any time soon....

Here's Hayden singing a little number and at the end you can hear Liam asking for Lucy:

video

So we let Lucy inside to play and have a treat...
His face says it all
Oh Lucy we hope you never fall in a hole

a little treat - licking out a peanutbutter jar

Poor Liam followed his emotional morning with an emotional afternoon. Will gave him a haircut, and Liam HATES haircuts. He fights it and fights it and fights it somemore.

Many many tears, a very frustrated daddy, and over 2 HOURS later the haircut was complete.

Hayden was just strolling around in the midst of Liam's weeping and knashing of teeth.

FYI...I am still pregnant. Mom and Dad have decided to go ahead and come up on Saturday. YAY!!!! I've had major anxiety this week with Will being gone at night, having random contractions, waiting for labor to start so I can tell everyone to start making the drive from Arkansas. And it's just not like me to be so anxious! Now that I have a for sure day of Saturday to look towards I'm feeling more calm. So come on down Harper!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

time flies when....

Yoo hoo....I'm back in the blogging world. A little recap of the past year - oh how time flies!

Time flies when you're...
ON VACATION!
June trip to beach in Galveston, TX with the Copelands
the Copeland crew
Will's wonderful grandparents

DAD IS IN REMISSION!
In July Mom and Dad came to visit and he was pretty sick. It was hard to see him like that. But in August we got the good news that he is cancer free and doing well! Praise God for healing!

As sick as Dad was in July, I was so glad he and mom made the trip. How I miss them!

PREGNANT!

August brought the big news of Copeland baby #3. I had great intentions of taking pictures every week but that didn't last long. This was the first and only, taken at 6 weeks.

In November we bought a surprise cookie cake for the kids and told them that blue icing meant boy and pink meant girl.
video

Liam had been saying all along that he wanted a girl. He got his wish!

And the preparation began for Harper Claire.

My friends from my Side By Side Bible study gave me a baby shower for Harper. Laura Shotts had this awesome cake made!
Matching outfits for Hayden and Harper. Hayden is SO excited to be a big sister.

I took this picture today. Harper at 39 weeks! Me plus 45 lbs. Yikes. Thinking about the exercise required to get back to my August body already makes me feel out of breath.

SURVIVING WINTER!

We got 60 inches of snow from December through February - half of that in December alone!
And we got our first snowblower right before a giant blizzard that brought nearly 20 inches in a day!
Needless to say we had a white Christmas. This was our 2nd annual Christmas Eve picnic under the tree.
Will's family came to our snowy house for the holidays.

KIDS ARE GROWING UP!
In February we took our second annual winter trip to Little Rock and celebrated Hayden's 2nd birthday with a big princess party.
Hayden is so precious and thus far has been EASY to raise!! She's happy, easy-going, and so loveable. And oh how she loves Liam. Every night when she prays, the first things she is thankful for is Bubba.

(this picture was taken today. we had snow less than two weeks ago, but it looks like spring is finally here!!)
The 20 month gap between them seems less and less as they get older. They play together so much more now than a year ago - with loving and fighting mixed in. They are so different from each other but Hayden tries to be just like Liam.
Buzz Light year and the Bumblebee Transformer
NEVER a dull moment with Liam. I wish I had kept up with blogging this year because the stories to tell about this boy are priceless and too many to remember. One of the latest...I let him go to the bathroom by himself at the public library. Trying to give him a little freedom. Next thing I know he's calling me to wipe him. And what do I find in the boy's bathroom? Liam had pooped in the urinal. Liam and freedom - a dangerous combination.

Hayden had her adenoids removed this past Wednesday. She was a big snorer and mouth breather with a constant drippy nose, giant tonsils and huge adenoids. We're waiting on the tonsils and want to see how she does with just her adenoids removed. The surgery went great and she was back to doing her thing the very next day.

The night before Hayden's surgery, Liam headed to his first sleepover at his friend Luke Fermin's house. He was super pumped and did great - after calling his momma at about 9:45 that night - and then he gave into sleep for the night. Bless Luke's mother.

SURVIVING 2ND YEAR OF NEUROSURGERY TRAINING!
These pictures were taken in January after we had made it through two quarters of Will being on the chief jr. service. It's hard to explain what it's been like, but the term "single parent" that was thrown at me before training began became much more of a reality. I think I can say that it's been the toughest year of my life. Blogging went by the way side and I've been in survival mode. There's alot to say about that... but now it's nearly 1 am, I am having some serious Braxton Hix contractions, Liam is crying downstairs about a rash that's bothering him and Will's working nights this week. AND A COPELAND STORY CONTINUES!!!