Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Charley's birth story

Back to blogging!  Inspired by the birth of a sweet baby girl.  Charlotte Lane Copeland was born on Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 1:04 pm.  She weighed in at 7 lb 12 oz and measured 21 inches.  She is a beautiful baby.  Of my 4 babies, Charley's birth story is by far the most dramatic.  Here's how it went down - all the gorey details so beware.

On Friday night, the 2nd, Will and I were getting ready to go to a dinner party.  We had a babysitter coming to watch the kids.  Before we left I went to the bathroom and I had lost my mucous plug.  With my other babies, that was the first sign that this child would be heading out in the next day or two.  I told Will, who was kind of thinking "yikes", as was I.  We went on to the dinner party and the night went by with no action.  But I had this growing feeling of anxiety that something was going to happen any minute.

Not so.  The weekend passed by uneventfully.  Will was on night call so we were glad to get through Saturday and Sunday.  Monday came and went.

Around 2:30 in the morning on Tuesday I woke up.  I was having contractions here and there but nothing regular.  I was sick to my stomach but I had been feeling a little nauseous from anxiety since Friday night.  I didn't feel like laying in bed so I got up and just started going through a giant stack of papers that had been on my to-do list.  Will woke up about 5:30 and sat with me.  I was continuing to have contractions but still nothing regular.  I would have some 3 or 4 minutes apart and then 15 minutes apart.  Some of them were really intense and some not so much.  My 39 week prenatal appointment was scheduled for 9:00 that morning so we decided to go to that.  We were going to take the 3 kids with us but then Will convinced me that we better go ahead and leave them with Laura Shotts (our dear friend and neighbor) to be safe.  We tossed our hospital bags in the car just in case too.

Before we left Liam asked me, "Mom, will you cry when the baby comes out?"  I said, "Oh no, baby, I don't think so."  What I didn't know was that the right answer was, "oh yes.  I will cry.  A whole lot."

We got to the appointment and I was having hard contractions.  I checked in at the front desk and then started pacing the waiting room.  They called me back and I was seeing one of the midwives that I hadn't met before.  I told her that I had been contracting all morning, and I thought maybe she should check my cervix to see where I was at.  I was having trouble reading my body and gaging where I was at based on my sporatic contractions.  She was making small talk about how she liked my glasses and I was thinking, "Do you hear what I'm saying lady? I'm in labor.  Check my cervix!"

She checked me, got this strange look on her face and said, "We have a problem."  (Note to midwives/OB's:  Don't check a woman's cervix and then say, "We have a problem.")  I started to cry (crying #1) because I had known in the back of my mind all morning that something was off.

The midwife said that I was fully dilated.  My bag of waters was bulging but not broken and she couldn't feel the baby's head.  She did a quick ultrasound to check the position of the baby and discovered that she was transverse - laying sideways in my belly instead of head down in my pelvis.  So I was 10 centimeters dilated but wasn't feeling an urge to push because Charley wasn't in position to come out.

She quickly stuck me in a wheel chair and sent me over to labor and delivery.  A midwife that I new and really liked, Judi, was waiting for me there and I was glad that she was on to deliver.

In the past I've labored in my own gowns from home but I hadn't brought my bag in and at that point I didn't want Will to leave me.  So I put on one of the hospital gowns.  Ugh.  At that point I felt like a patient instead of a laboring women going through the normal and natural process of birth.  (That's right, I also hug trees and don't shave my legs.)

I became a patient really quick after that.  I layed down on the bed, felt a big swelling sensation and then POP my water burst all over the bed. Then very quickly the room was packed with people - the chief OB resident, an OB consultant, a couple of anesthesia people, a few nurses.  The sequence of events is fuzzy for me, but it seemed as if everyone in the room wanted to see how far they could stick their arm up my woman parts.  It was horrible.  I was crying (crying #2) and they kept checking to see what they could feel.  They obviously couldn't feel the baby's head, as hard as they tried.  They did an ultrasound to see what was down there.  Now that my water had broken their chief concern was that the chord would fall out and get pinched, cutting off the baby's lifeline.  From what they could see on ultrasound, the chord hadn't prolapsed and Charley was laying oblique - sort of caddy corner with her head by my hip.

Everyone started telling me all of the risks that lay ahead of me and baby and that the next step was for me to get prepped for a c-section.  Then they wanted to try to do an external version.  If they could turn the baby and get her down in my pelvis then I could have a vaginal birth.  If not, I would go straight to a c-section.  They suggested I get an epidural now so that it would already be in place in the event I had to have a c-section.  If I didn't get the epidural then they would have to put me under general anesthesia to do the c-section.

I kept hearing C-SECTION, C-SECTION, C-SECTION.  Do you understand your risks? What do you want to do?  Do you want us to try the version?  Do you want the epidural?  Do you want morphine in your epidural? Can we go ahead and hook up the IV?

Anesthesia started sticking my hand and getting fluids going.  I was laying there, totally overwhelmed and looking at Will to speak for me.  He was super calm.  After three uncomplicated, natural births I couldn't get my head around how this was spinning out of my control.  I was thinking, "Wait, wait, wait.  I have written a beautiful birth plan.  I don't think I made enough copies for you all but would you like to read it?  It involves no IVs, epidurals, or c-sections.  As a matter of fact, right now I should be in my birthday suit relaxing in a warm tub of water as I calmly hum through contractions with my labor coach and midwife."

Thankfully everyone but Will and Judi left the room so we could think for a minute.  I asked if I could just stand up and see if Charley would drop into my pelvis on her own.  Judi told me again about the risks of the chord prolapsing.  She thought the best thing was to get the epidural and go for the version with hopes that it would work and we wouldn't have to do a c-section.  Will was saying the same thing.  He prayed over me and Charley and then called in the 47 people waiting outside our room.

I started to cry (crying #3) when they rolled me in to the OR.  It felt scary and way out of my comfort zone.  Will kept talking to me to keep me calm.  I think I would have paniced if he hadn't been so steady and calm.  Love that man.

After the epidural was put in they were ready to try the version.  Will was sitting on my right and said to be prepared for things to happen really fast if the version wasn't successfull.

The version was successfull!  The doctor pushed on my belly and got Charley to drop down in my pelvis and she stayed there.  It went from chaos to calm.  I went back to the labor and delivery room.  I didn't feel the urge to push yet so Will and I walked around the hospital for about 45 minutes.  I never really felt the urge to push but finally just decided to go for it.  Judi came in and after 10 minutes of painful pushing, Charley was born!  And of course I was crying - but tears of joy.
It's the best thing in the world when that baby finally comes out - so many emotions.  So glad to have her in my arms.  So happy that she's healthy.  So stinkin' relieved that labor is over.  Our midwife Judi was great and we had a really good nurse too.  Our nurse said that she had worked there for 7 years and had never seen a baby turn successfully.  So we were that much more thankful that everything had gone so well... and I must say, although I wished them away at first, thankful for the medical team that helped make it happen.  We moved on to recovery and by supper time Will's mom had flown in from Little Rock and brought the rest of our little offspring up to the hospital.

meeting Charley
 3 sisters
One sweet brother
 family of 6
This girl is precious and we are at home now loving her and learning about life with 4 kids.  Will's mom was here for a week and now my mom and dad are here through Thanksgiving.  I'm so thankful for their help.  I'm thankful to God for the sweet gift of Charley and I thank him so much for my family.  I also plea to Him to give me super mom powers when all of my company leaves and life carries on!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

the graduate

Liam is a preschool graduate! One of the first of many milestones that he will accomplish in his school years.  We give Kingdom Kids Preschool two thumbs up.  His teachers were fantastic and did a great job praising and correcting him.  (I was glad to not be the only one doing the praising and correcting everyday. Worth the cash dished out!)  He looked forward to going everyday and learned a lot.  A great first step into his school years!
 love this booger
mine's that studly kid wearing the orange shirt in the middle
 a little singing...Liam was the best one...and I'm not biased
 diploma time
 support from the sisters
 funny paper grad hat they passed out after graduation
 a little refreshment after the grueling 1/2 hour ceremoney :)
 Liam and his classmate Lucas
big hug for his teacher Mrs. Kehl

Liam is a super sharp kid and approaches school (and life) with gusto.  Mrs. Kehl praised him on his eagerness to learn and positive attitude. (valedictorian material if you ask me.)  The assistant teacher, Mrs. Patterson, said he always came to school with a smile on his face.  I love to hear good things said about him.  It makes me think... ok, I can push him out of the nest a little and he won't crash.  Time to push him out a little more into kindergarten.  

In September he will step into the world of public school and start kindergarten at Washington Elementary.  He will go half days Monday through Friday.  That is if we can survive the summer together.  Battle of the wills continues on with this child.  I can tell you how it ends.... I WILL WIN.  I've got some serious parenting strategies up my sleeve...prayer, prayer, and a little more prayer.  Watch out child...  

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

birthday girl

Happy 1st birthday to our sweet Harper Claire!  She turned one on Monday.  Her first year has breezed by so quickly.  I don't want her to grow up so fast!  I nursed her for the last time today too.  Feeling a little sentimental...  
Harper Claire - April 9, 2011

I still remember the pain it took to bring that child into this world.  But of course worth it!  She is a jewel and we had a great day celebrating her.  Will took the day off and we had some fun family time.  The Shotts joined us for dinner and cake.
 storytime in the morning (wearing her new outfit from Pa and Nini)
pizza with Daddy for lunch
 Party time!
 smash cake
 Mom, enough pictures.  Hand me the flower.
 What is this?
 A little more
 A lot more
 Me likey
 Birthdays are the best
 All done and quite happy
 washing off her little frosted self
 new Toms from Pops and Nana
playing with her present from Zeke, Laura and Evie

I love you Harper Claire Copeland.  And the latest development in her life - one that she is unaware of - Harper is going to be a big sister!  Will and I saw the sweet little heartbeat of Harper's baby bro/sister today.  We are so excited!  Baby due Novembr 10th.  Fourth and final...I think...

Monday, April 9, 2012

a happy Easter

I love having my family together on Easter.  Will has had to work the past two years on Easter so I was pretty thankful to have him home this weekend.  It would have been great to be with grandparents too but that's not in the cards when you're across the country from home.  I feel a twinge of sadness when several of my friends are with their parents celebrating Easter.  However,  I LOVED having our little fam of five together.  We colored eggs on Saturday night.  The kids get totally into this.

We tucked the kids in and I played Easter bunny - which I love.  I get my love for basket/stocking stuffing from my mom.  She always made us the best Easter baskets and Christmas stockings.  It's fun to think of little things for each kid that will surprise them.  Passing on the good memories!

This weekend Liam said, "I know you're the Easter bunny."  I said, "How do you know?"  He said, "Because you hide the eggs."  I'm not really sure what he meant by that but I said, "You're right, but isn't it fun to pretend?"  Will couldn't believe that I didn't try to keep up the ruse that the Easter bunny is real, but Liam didn't seem to care... and I can guarantee you that if Liam doesn't believe, nobody in our house will stand a chance to believe.  That bubble has been burst.  Hayden was actually put at ease when she realized the scary giant bunny from the grocery store wasn't really going to sneak into her house to fill up her basket.
Shoes and treats for all

Sunday morning the kids checked out their baskets and then we made the mad dash to get ready in our Easter best for church by 9:30.  People up here don't seem to care much about dressing kids up in new spring clothes for Easter - part of the low maintenance midwest I guess.  And you better believe there is not a single smocked jumper on any kid up here.  For one thing, it's still kinda cold in April.  I think on Sunday it was in the 50s and super windy.  I still put my girls in matching dresses and sandals.  A tiny piece of home.  
Silver sandals and goldfish!  Thanks Easter bunny.... I mean Mom.
matchy matchy
Hayden - 3, Harper - 1, Liam 4.5
It looks like a warm spring day but Harper's face tells the truth.  A cold wind can make you frown.

We went home and Will grilled some yummy steaks for our Easter lunch.  I made potato casserole, asparagus and chocolate peanutbutter pie.  Everyone napped and then we had a little egg hunt in the backyard with a few friends who didn't have extended family in town.    

Liam and his buddies - Ezra, Jude and Ethan
checking out their loot - a massive sugar rush ensued
 Evie and Laura

 Harper cleaning up fallen treats.  I fished several jelly beans out of her eager little mouth.

The kids had a big time.  They eventually crashed from their sugar high.  Will and I promptly put them to bed and then stayed up late watching a movie... because Will had Monday off of work too!!  Vacation day for Harper Claire's birthday.  More to come...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Big boo boo and spring in MN

Harper suffered a bloody injury today.  It was 9:45 and I was running late getting ready for church.  I was supposed to teach Liam's Bible class at 10:30.  Will was at work.  I was putting my make-up on for church when I heard a loud cry and walked out into the living room to see blood dripping down Harper's head and face.  This picture doesn't really do the moment justice.
I didn't know where all the blood was coming from and I was trying not to freak out.  Apparently Hayden had rammed Harper with her metal shopping cart.  And Hayden has had a bad track record with being too rough with her little sister.  I was saying, "Oh Hayden!!!! What have you done!!  Do you see this blood!!"  I was trying to take a picture of Harper's head to send to Will and I accidently got this one of Hayden.  She was obviously remorseful for her offense.  
Will looked at the picture I sent him and of course said it was fine and not to worry about it.  I was thinking, "you may be a neurosurgeon but I'm a mom and someone needs to look at her!"  But we went on to church with Harper looking like a head banger.
And she of course was fine and didn't skip a beat.
I still went by the hospital after church just so Will could lay eyes on her and give me a more official word that she didn't need a stitch or two.  

In other news... it's spring in Minnesota!  I love spring here.  It was a mild winter this year but spring is still so refreshing.  I never appreciated the four seasons until I moved here.  A little spring action...
Como Zoo in the cities

building train tracks on the deck
 a little spring wardrobe
 walk to McDonalds for ice cream.  Hayden sporting her new Crocs.
 fuzzy head Harper
 swimming lessons at the Y...Instagram pic
 sisters eating cheerios

Harper playing with the very weapon that took her down today
 Liam wears this shirt every day that he posssibly can regardless of the weather.
"The Thing" is his favorite.  ??
Easter bunny at the grocery store.  Liam was the only one excited and Hayden kept a safe distance at all times.
the Momma store...The kids aren't really saving up tickets for dates with Dad or movie nights.  In this picture Liam bought a plastic snake and two Airheads.  So guess what Hayden bought...  she didn't go for the cute little pink pot with the daisy seeds inside or the animal coloring book.  She got a rubber spider and two Airheads.