Saturday, April 30, 2016

Maren is 1

Today is Maren's birthday. That did not feel like one year. I still think of her as my little baby, but she's not a baby anymore. At one year old she is:
-Crawling really fast
-Standing up on her own
-Walking along furniture
-Taking a few steps with her push toy
-Sleeping through the night (yay!)
-Eating and eating and eating - her favorite baby food is sweet potatoes. She won't eat any green baby food like peas or green beans. She loves to eat anything mom and dad eat.
-Growls like a dog for food - she growls more than Sadie. She even barks sometimes
-Playing, exploring, learning, and laughing

We love our sweet girl

I caught her mid sneeze

I love my babies!

This is her excited face

Of course Gavin wanted me to take a picture of him too

Learning to walk

This girl will not keep headbands on

I finally wrote down her birth story. It only took me a year. I still haven't even written Gavin's yet (sorry Gavin). Don't worry - there aren't any graphic details.

With Maren being due on May 13, I purposely scheduled my end of the year concert early so there wouldn’t be any issues. I scheduled the concert for April 30, a good two weeks before the baby was supposed to come. Gavin came 10 days early, so I figured Maren would be similar. But Maren taught me a lesson – she does things on her schedule -  not mine. This is the story of the baby who couldn’t wait to get here and caused me to miss my own concert.

April 29 – 6:30 PM – I started noticing contractions. This time I actually knew what they were so it only took a few to realize what was going on. They were about 30 minutes apart so I knew labor was still far off. I went to bed early, with contractions still half an hour apart.

April 30 – 6:30 AM – I woke up early because I was too uncomfortable to sleep. I took a warm bath to try to alleviate the pain. Contractions were about 10 minutes apart. Morgan wanted me to take the day off from work, but I couldn’t. It was the last rehearsal before the concert that night and we needed to practice with our pianist.

7:30 AM – I left for school. The plan was to work until lunch, then take the rest of the day off and relax until the concert. I texted my mom that I thought I might be in labor and my contractions were 10 minutes apart.

8:00 AM – School started. I had my high school choir first. We warmed up and started rehearsing. I wasn’t planning on saying anything about my labor because I didn’t want anyone to worry. We made it through a few songs before I felt bad about the pained expressions I was making. I told my students, “I’m not making faces at you because you sound bad – I’m making faces because I’m in labor.” They freaked out. Half of them wanted me to leave and go to the hospital. The other half (mainly just the boys) wanted me to stay and have the baby at school. I told everyone I was fine and we should just keep rehearsing. My good friend Jillea was there because she was our pianist. I’m SO glad she was there or I might have ended up doing what the boys wanted and having a baby at school. She wasn’t convinced that I was fine so she started secretly timing my contractions.

8:30 AM – We finished running through all our pieces. Jillea told me my contractions were about 6 minutes apart and that I should go to the hospital. I really didn’t want to go. I had been working so hard on this concert and so had my students. I wanted the baby to wait until the concert was over. I couldn’t just leave. Jillea and I debated back and forth for a while, my students siding with Jillea that I should leave. Since I wasn’t listening to anyone, Jillea called Morgan and told him what was happening. Morgan finally talked sense to me by asking, “What’s more important in the long run? This concert or our daughter?” So I finally reluctantly agreed to leave.

9:00 AM – Since I wasn’t planning on being gone, I had to hurriedly pull together some substitute lesson plans for the rest of the day. Jillea then drove me home where her husband Andrew met us. Andrew and Morgan gave a priesthood blessing. Morgan quickly packed a bag for Gavin (Jillea and Andrew watched Gavin while we were at the hospital) and for me.

9:45 – We left for the hospital. It was a 30-minute drive. I timed my contractions the whole way and they were consistently 5 minutes apart.

10:15 – We go to the front desk of the hospital and tell them I’m in labor. An older lady immediately springs into action, gets me into a wheelchair, and takes me to Labor and Delivery. I get changed, they set up a fetal monitor and start measuring my contractions. They are still 5 minutes apart. The nurse tells me that she’ll check to see how dilated I am and that I might have to wait a while before anything happens. She checks and finds out I’m already dilated to an 8 (for those who don’t know, 10 is fully dilated). She said, “You’re having a baby now. I’m going to go get the doctor.” When Gavin was born, I went to the hospital not actually knowing I was in labor. When they told me I was having the baby right then, I cried. I wasn’t ready for it. This time was so different. I knew it was happening. I had already accepted that I wasn’t going to be at the concert. So this time when the nurse said I was going to have a baby, I said, “Let’s do this.” While we were for the doctor, the nurses biggest struggle was monitoring the baby. Maren would not hold still, so they kept losing her and would have to move the monitor around to find her again. I was strangely calm through this whole thing. I was having strong contractions 3 or 4 minutes apart but I didn’t even cry out. The nurses were shocked by how relaxed I seemed. I just remember being freezing cold. They had to get me socks and a heated blanket because I was shivering like crazy.

The head nurse asked if I wanted an epidural. I already knew that I didn’t. The epidural was the worst part of Gavin’s birth. It took them an hour to get then needle in a good spot, and then it didn’t even work so they had to do it again. The second time was a little faster, but it still didn’t work all the way. I ended up having Gavin half naturally. This time I decided I didn’t want to go through the awful pain of getting an epidural. I already knew I was capable of a natural birth so I went with the route that was less painful. Plus, there is a mild painkiller given through the IV so I just figured that would be enough. The nurse tried to start my IV but missed. Just as she was starting it the second time, the doctor came in and said there wasn’t time for an IV – he was going to break my water. So I ended up having Maren completely natural. Not a drop of painkillers. It wasn’t what I expected, but I actually loved it.

11:30 AM – The doctor broke my water. Last time my water broke before I got to the hospital, so it was weird to have it broken for me. It was a really cold and gushing feeling. Then I started pushing. Pushing is the worst part of labor. It’s so painful. With Gavin, I was half drugged so I didn’t scream at all, I just cried. This time, there was no crying. Only screaming. I felt bad for Morgan and the doctor because I screamed loudly on every push. But luckily, Maren came fast. I only ended up pushing for 23 minutes.

11:53 AM – Maren is born. The doctor (very roughly) handed her to me and I held her on my chest. I absolutely love giving birth (I’m a weirdo, I know) because it is the coolest sensation. You go from extreme agony to extreme bliss in one second. Once you’re holding the baby the pain isn’t noticeable and all you care about is the precious baby you are meeting for the first time. Anyway, I had only been holding Maren for about 5 minutes when she peed on me. I survived 16 months without Gavin ever peeing on me, but Maren pees on me 5 minutes into her first day! The took Maren to get cleaned and weighed. While she was on the scale, she pooped. The doctor said, “Well at least we know everything works.” I guess she came so fast because she really had to go to the bathroom. Then they gave her back to me and Morgan and I got to have some private family time to adore our new baby.
Later in the day, Andrew and Jillea brought Gavin to meet his little sister. He was only 16 months old at the time, so he was too young to understand what was going on. He didn’t care about the baby at all. He only cared about the remote on my hospital bed. Morgan went home that night so he could stay with Gavin. Maren slept the entire 24 hours we were in the hospital. She wouldn’t even wake up to eat. She ate a little in her sleep, but that’s it. The nurses and I tried and tried to wake her up, but she wouldn’t have it. I guess labor wore her out too. I’m glad she slept because I got to sleep a lot too. The great thing about an un-medicated birth is that the recovery time is much shorter. I was up and walking about 6 hours after Maren was born, and I felt like mostly myself after 24 hours.

I’m glad I ended up having a completely natural birth. I am so proud of myself for doing it. It is something I never thought I would be able to do and something I was terrified of doing. But I did it, and I did a pretty good job. I’m still sad that I didn’t get to see my students perform. I wanted to watch their hard work pay off. But at least my high school choir has a good story to tell. And I will probably tease Maren forever about making me miss the concert.