Category Archives: Hannah

Hannah’s Birth Story

Our sweet girl is here! She arrived on a beautiful, hot, sunny Seattle day – two and a half weeks early at 5:11 p.m. on Sunday July 22nd, 2018 after eight hours of labor. We are so loving our first days as a family of four and I’m excited to share and document the story of her arrival.

Just after I laid down to go to bed on Saturday night I felt a really strong contraction and then my water broke! Earlier that day I had a really upset stomach and had an extremely strong nesting urge and just had an inkling she was coming soon. Alex was out at a bachelor party when my water broke so he hurried home – thankfully I had warned him earlier in the day that I wasn’t feeling well and to puhlease take it easy! Not really wanting to go to the hospital quite yet since I wasn’t having consistent contractions we decided to wait it out at home, get some rest and hopefully be able to see Ben in the morning.

By about 8 that morning my contractions had tapered off and we decided to head to the hospital since nothing was really happening on its own. Of course they admitted me, agreed that nothing was happening on its own {I was only dilated to 1 cm} and told me they were going to start me on a low dose of Pitocin to augment labor.

I was in grave denial at this point that a) this baby was going to be born really soon and b) that I was getting Pitocin. So far in my pregnancy every doctor has told me that Pitocint was off the table because I was doing a trial of labor after cesarean {TOLAC – also known as VBAC}. I had to completely change my mindset, and thankfully my doctor helped explain it in a very understandable way why she was putting me on Pitocin, and wrap my head around the idea that Hannah was on her way out. Nothing was happening naturally, so it was either Pitocin or c-section. I opted for Pitocin. We quickly called our doula, Mercedes, to come meet us at the hospital and she was there by 9:30.

I quickly got “settled” into a birthing suite and hooked up to an extremely low dose of Pitocin at 9:00. The doctor told me that at the most I’d go up to 14 on the Pitocin scale and that a low-risk pregnancy would go up to 30. The Pitocin definitely kicked things off almost immediately and the contractions started becoming more regular.

Just after our doula arrived at 9:30 baby girl’s heart rate plummeted – something we had all too much experience with during my time in the hospital when I was pregnant with Ben. A bunch of nurses rushed in, I got put on oxygen and a minute or two later she recovered. Needless to say, my hopes of a VBAC were quickly waning if she had a decel that quickly into the Pitocin. They backed off for 30 minutes and then hooked me back up at 10.

I was in early labor for a couple hours. I had a fine time coping with the labor pains, didn’t much enjoy throwing up a lot, but was able to get through it ok. Around 11 or 12 the doctor came in to check my cervix and I was 3 centimeters dilated. She said that baby’s head was very, very low but my cervix was not in the right position yet. I had a long ways to go.

Baby ended up having another big heart deceleration and the doctor made me change into a hospital gown. I knew she was preparing for an emergency c-section. Also, the whole labor I wasn’t allowed in the birthing tub because of the heightened risk that I was under.

The next couple hours are hazy and the details get foggy. I did lay down in bed to try to get some rest since I never really went to sleep the night before. Once I woke up the contractions were stronger and stronger. I did a lot of supported swaying on Alex and the birth ball and found distraction in deep breaths and just tried to relax as much as I could.

I think around 2:30 or 3 or so the doctor came in and confirmed I was still only at 3-4 centimeters. After a series of more very intense contractions I announced I was having trouble coping with the idea of being in this much pain for so much longer since I had so much farther to go. I made the decision to get an epidural to help manage the pain. I was feeling really defeated – normally I have such a high pain tolerance and I couldn’t believe I was throwing in the towel after only making it to 4 centimeters, but if it was this agonizing now, I couldn’t imagine hours and hours more.

The anesthesiologist was extremely prompt and came in within about 10 minutes {maybe around 3:45?}, placed the epidural and then the doctor came in to check me again. She was flabbergasted when she realized I had dilated to 10 centimeters – it was almost time to start pushing! At 4:00 the doctor made the call to have me labor down {basically sit and wait and let the baby drop down the birth canal} for 30 minutes and then start pushing.

I couldn’t believe it when I heard the doctor say I was at 10 cm – no wonder I was in so much agony – I made it through active labor and transition in about an hour. I learned in our birthing class that typically the faster your labor progresses the more intense it is. Also, because my water had already broken, I didn’t have any cushion to help take the contractions. I was elated to hear the news and it made me feel much stronger that I had fully dilated on my own, which is something I had hopes of being able to do. Our “birth plan” was to have an outcome of a healthy baby and a healthy mama – the rest was up to the baby and the doctor. I had come into the hospital being open to the idea of an epidural depending on how things went; I didn’t have terribly strong feelings either way, but I did want to get through as much of an unmedicated labor as I could.

My 30 minutes of laboring down turned into 45 when the nurse and the fellow had a miscommunication. Though I had an epidural I still was having enormous pressure and the feeling that I needed to push. I’m not sure when they turned off the epidural, but they definitely did pretty quickly. So, this 45 minutes was absolutely, positively not a complete walk in the park. I will say, I am very glad I got the epidural and it really helped carry me through the finish line.

At about 4:45 the doctor came in and was surprised I hadn’t started pushing. She got everything set up and around 4:50 or 4:55 I started pushing. The baby’s head was extremely low and after three rounds of pushing the doctor was wondering why she wasn’t out yet, come to find out that I had a very full bladder that was blocking the baby’s exit. After that got taken care of, all it took was one more round of pushing and out she came! Our baby girl was born at 5:11 p.m. on Sunday July 22nd.

She went straight to my chest and and was screaming her little lungs out. I knew she was strong and fierce in utero and she proved it right away when she arrived. Her apgar scores were 9, 9 and 9. We were able to delay clamping the umbilical cord and I was able to see the placenta, which was so incredible. She weighed 6 pounds 11 ounces and was 19 inches long.

The “golden hour” with our sweet girl really was golden. I got to hold her for a full hour before the nurse did any measurements or cleaned her up. It was sheer bliss. She opened her little blue eyes just after she calmed down and stared right at me. I loved those first few moments snuggling with her and then the experience of being able to nurse her. She’s pretty much a natural – she got it right away. I think she and I are going to be a pretty good team.

Right when she arrived we knew she was a Hannah Maxine. Alex picked her name – Maxine, her middle name, is after his paternal grandmother. Maxine was sharp as a tack, extremely strong and didn’t take anything from anybody. Hannah is really just a name Alex liked {I like it too :)} and thought it fit well with Ben’s name and pictured our little Hannah with pigtails hanging out of her ski helmet charging down the mountain and thought it was a perfectly fitting name for our girl.

Hannah weighed 6 pounds 11 ounces and was 19 inches at birth.

Hannah’s arrival was smooth and steady and so very emotional for us. We are so, so very grateful to have been able to have a “normal” experience with my pregnancy and Hannah’s birth. We are over-the-moon with our sweet little girl and are so delighted to be a family of four.

 

Our First Week as a Foursome

Baby Hannah is officially a week old! We have been loving our time together this past week. These are the days I wish I could freeze time – or at least have a camera crew follow us around recording this special time for our new family of four.

After Hannah was born our hospital stay was very short-lived. We got discharged about 27 hours after she arrived. Our initial day in the hospital was crazy. Alex got up with the sun, ran home to take Jackson to the park and play ball and be back home before Ben woke up so they could go through Ben’s morning routine together and Alex could explain that his baby sister was born.

Then! Alex brought Ben to the hospital to meet his baby sister. Throughout my whole pregnancy, and especially near the end, what I was most excited for was seeing Ben as a big brother. He has such a sweet, loving and caring personality and I figured he’d nail it. So far, I was right. Ben knew just what to do and it completely melted my heart.

It was really emotional for me leaving Ben when I headed into the hospital because I knew that was the last time I’d see him as an only child. Then when I saw him for the first time in his “World’s Best Big Brother” t-shirt the next morning he looked like a giant. I swear he grew up overnight. He must have been preparing to become a big brother.

Hospitals are no place for super active two-year olds, so Ben’s visit was pretty short. Alex brought him back home to spend the day with Stacey, our au pair, and then came right back to the hospital, just in time for the revolving door of our room to start moving. I swear we had someone in our room every 15 minutes. It was impossible to get a nap in or have a moment to enjoy some cuddles with Hannah.

Later in the day we found out that Hannah’s and my blood types were different – I have a negative blood type and she’s positive – and that they found some of my antibodies in her cord blood. Without going into the nitty gritty of it – this can be a prime setup for jaundice, so we had to stay a couple extra hours to do some blood work and check her bilirubin levels. Poor girl had to get her heel pricked twice because the samples on the first prick clotted. We were getting so nervous that she’d have to stay in the hospital for a few extra days and do photo therapy. Thankfully, per the whole Hannah experience, her levels were totally fine and we got discharged around 9:30 that night. We were waiting on pins and needles for about 5 hours awaiting that news!

Our first night at home with Hannah was so sweet. She was awake a ton – she was cluster feeding a lot in the middle of the night for the first four nights, so we got to have a lot of sweet cuddles and bonding time. I think the cluster feeding helped my milk come in really quickly, too, which is great. Now, nine days in, she mostly eats every 2-3 hours with a good 4-hour stretch overnight.

It was the sweetest thing when we all woke up on Tuesday morning at home together as a family of four. Ben was so excited to see his baby sister at home and wanted nothing but to sit with her and give her hugs and kisses. He was so sweet with her.

Alex is home for two weeks while we adjust to having Hannah and we decided we wanted Ben’s weekdays to be as normal as possible, so Stacey is still on with Ben mostly full-time. We are giving her a break at some point every day to have some one-on-one time with Ben while Hannah is asleep so that he knows he’s still special. I had so much fun playing in our backyard water park one day with him and Alex took him on a super fun outing to REI another day, which he won’t stop talking about!

We spent every morning last week in the doctor’s office checking in on Hannah’s {non-existent} jaundice. The doctors wanted to keep a very close eye on her skin and eye color and her weight. I keep saying I think Hannah looks like a little peach – her skin is such a beautiful pink and she’s got little baby fuzz all over still. No sign of jaundice! Hannah only lost 6% of her body weight, which is great, and by Friday of last week {five days after birth} she was back up to 6 pounds 8 ounces {her birth weight was 6 pounds 11 ounces}. She got the all-clear on Friday and we were discharged into the world! We’ll be back at the doctor at the end of this week for Hannah’s 2-week checkup.

Last week I swear Ben’s growth and maturity skyrocketed. He looks gigantic, feels super heavy and is becoming such a big kid. He started wearing underwear, singing the days of the week and he climbed out of his crib and opened the door to his room. It was a big week for him! Needless to say, a big boy bed is on its way. He’s been nailing it with potty training – a lot of people warned us about regression, but he’s actually made very noticeable progressions in the last week. We are so proud of that little boy!

Hannah is an absolute dream – she is so calm and content. It’s been fun the last few days to see her little eyes be open more and more throughout the day. Her umbilical cord stump came off over the weekend so now we can start tummy time. I think it will be really neat for Ben to be able to interact with her while she’s hanging out on her belly. Hannah is eating and sleeping really well and loves being all cozily swaddled or snuggled up in someone’s arms.

Alex and I have been commenting on an almost daily basis how different the experience with Hannah has been from our experience with Ben. The delivery was completely different {birth story coming soon!} and bringing home a one-day old baby, versus a 26-day old baby was so, so different. We missed out on the initial first few weeks with Ben and are so enjoying the experience with Hannah. The middle-of-the-night cluster feeds, frequent trips to the doctor and all of the cuddles and love have been so meaningful for us and we’re so grateful to have our sweet girl at home with us.

My recovery has been a breeze. Right after Hannah came out I instantly felt like a normal person again. No heartburn {!!!!!!!!!!!} and I just felt not pregnant. Really, it was instant. I was bed-bound for a few hours waiting for the epidural to wear off and be able to feel my legs again, but otherwise, it’s been a walk in the park, especially compared to a c-section. I’ve been choosing my chairs wisely, as it’s been uncomfortable to sit on hard chairs, but thankfully by day four that’s been really manageable. We’ve been getting out for long walks pretty much every day and it’s just the best!

So far our time as a family of four has been filled with joy and an abundance of love for our new dynamic and our new addition. Hannah has provided a calming presence and our hearts are just overflowing when we see how much Ben loves his baby sister already. We are so, so happy.

Baby Hannah is Here!

Our sweet girl, Hannah Maxine, arrived yesterday on July 22nd. She was so ready to be born she arrived two and a half weeks early. She’s absolutely perfect and we’re smitten. We are adjusting to life at home with two kiddos and I think we’re going to love being a family of four!

I’ll post Hannah’s birth story shortly!