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Thursday, April 12, 2012

The One With No Regrets

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Have you ever done something, something big, then thought back on it afterwards and wished this or that was different. Even if you weren't planning on ever doing that thing again you'd say to yourself *if* I ever did, I do it like to...

That's how my birth stories have been. Maybe not even all of them. But for sure the last couple. After #5 we were sure we were finished having babies and I knew I'd never "do" labor and delivery again but I still had thoughts about a part or two I wished I had done differently.

Well, the long story short is we were not done after #5. The Lord saw fit to bless us with #6. Our surprise, our bookend, our "good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over". And here was my opportunity to do or not do all the things I had thought back with the other ones. Here was my opportunity to have no regrets. And I did it. I walked this pregnancy and birth the way I had hoped and can look back on it now without wondering what it would be like to do this or that.

Here's the story for anyone brave enough to read it all the way through. I don't think I'm too graphic but I am long-winded, try talking to me in person - I talk a lot.

I can't start this story at the hospital. Or even the day I was in labor. This story has to start at the beginning.

I figured out I was pregnant in July. Most other people would have figured it out sooner but I was in a bit of denial and kept waiting and waiting. Being tired is not a real symptom to me...I'm always tired. I remember one day going to the bathroom constantly and thinking that was really strange. Then the next day I took #2 to Cub Scout day camp and when I got out of the car the ligament in my hip sent a shooting pain up my side, a true pregnancy sign for me. After #2 was all checked-in to camp I took the younger boys and made a quick stop at Walmart for a pregnancy test.

I was so surprised when the test came back positive, even digging it out of the garbage to look again :). I spent some of the afternoon printing pictures and making a little surprise for Mr. Wiedz. When he got home from work that evening I gave him an egg carton I had cut in half (so there were six egg slots) where I had put a picture of each kid, in the sixth slot I put my due date. He opened it and said, "how cute." Then he looked a little harder and practically dropped the carton. Since I wasn't joking we just stared at each other for a moment and he basically just shrugged his shoulders, what a blessing!

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I spent much of the early months in what Mr. Wiedz affectionately calls a fog. And he was right. I couldn't really concentrate on anything, I have never been so sick without being sick in my life. I was tired and didn't have any energy and didn't feel good. Not a great way to go through the day with five other children.

After the beginning months I was able to come out of the fog and join the rest of the world and I really had an uneventful pregnancy.

Now we've gotten to the eventful part! It's funny how no matter how many children I've had and that none of them have been born earlier than 39 weeks I always get antsy at around 37 weeks. Antsy like it should be any day. Antsy like thinking that those braxton hicks have the potential to become the real thing. I haven't really gotten all "nest-y" in my last few pregnancies but this time I did. I cleaned out the freezer. I made homemade furniture polish and polished the tables. I made cookie dough to store in the freezer. I made banana bread for the freezer. I organized meals that would be ready to cook when we needed. I knitted. I sorted. I stored. I nested.

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I started going on walks. Walking helped bring about favorable labor conditions with my older boys and it was a part I skipped with #5. I walked through the flower farm a couple times. When I was 38 weeks I walked around what is called Coburg Bottom Loop. A long walk for me at 5 miles. #1 came with me and the whole thing was difficult. My stomach muscles didn't like it. My uterus didn't like it. The baby didn't like it. Mr. Wiedz called to check on us when we were about 3 miles in and I didn't turn down his offer to come pick us up! I spent the rest of that Saturday (March 3rd) afternoon having mild contractions. I went to bed hoping that contractions would pick up - they didn't.

On Tuesday (March 6th) we came home the homeschool group's gymnastics time and we cleaned up the house real quick and got ready for our evening. #3 started vacuuming but handed off the vacuum part-way through, so I finished. While I was vacuuming I was thinking maybe my mom and I could take a couple of hours to go to the yarn store. I put the vacuum away and went to find Mr. Wiedz to get his opinion. Before I could bring up the yarn store he told me #3 was in the bathroom with a stomach ache. #1 was also complaining of her throat hurting.

#3 started throwing up right after his first complaint of an upset tummy.

A couple of girls on #1's basketball team had had strep throat so I was convinced they both had that. Did you know that vomiting is a clearer symptom of strep throat in little kids? They don't often complain of a sore throat but will throw up. I called the doctor to get them an appointment with the after hours clinic. By the time #3 got into the doctor he was throwing up every 15 minutes or so. #1 was tested for strep, negative. The doctor suspected a stomach virus for #3 and since he was so sick suggested an anti-nasea medication administered with a shot. He got the shot and stopped throwing up. I slept with him that night so I could help if he was sick again and he was more comfortable in our bed and our bed only sleeps two comfortably so Mr. Wiedz got the couch. He was so achy and fever-y for the rest of the night...let's just say the couch was the best choice if you were wanting to actually sleep. But other than feeling a little weak and being a puny bug watching tv all day, #3 felt better on Wednesday. And #1 felt fine.

Wednesday (March 7th) was a good day. We got a lot done. I had my mid-wife appointment. I was 39 weeks and 3 centimeters but so soft she couldn't "strip" my membranes. My mom and #1, who had come with me to the appointment, went to the yarn store and my mom took us out to dinner. Everyone went to bed and slept so well. Mr. Wiedz painted my toenails, a tradition.

So I was ready to get this show on the road on Thursday (March 8th).

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I don't remember what I did that morning. I think Mr. Wiedz ran some errands and when he got home #1, my mom, and I went to Costco "one last time". When I got home from that and got everything put away I was ready for my walk in the flower farm. Mom and #1 came with me for that too. Mom made it one "lap", the ground is really uneven and it was quite muddy too, she returned home to wait for us. #1 talked and danced the whole time. #1 was scheduled to play in her last winter season basketball game that evening. She had broken her finger 3 weeks before in a game and hadn't played in a game since. I was trying to figure out when to feed everyone dinner and when we would need to leave. During my walk I decided we should eat before and that meant as soon as possible. Mom helped me cut up a whole boat load of delicious fresh fruit and veggies for making a mega salad. Mr. Wiedz talked to me and decided that since #3 still shouldn't go out and I should be taking it easy too, he would take #1 to her game. I agreed if he took #5 too.

While #1 ate her dinner she started mentioning not feeling well. This part is difficult because I remember being the worst mother ever for telling her she was fine and possibly just a tad nervous about playing since it had been so long and she needed to buck up and get ready for her game. Mr. Wiedz finally let her just decide if she was going to go or not, she chose not and laid down. Not long afterward she ran to the bathroom to lose her dinner. I went in to rub her back and hold her hair out of her face. All she said was "I'm so glad I didn't go to my game". She would have been running down the court at that exact moment had I continued to push her...poor thing.

After we got her settled in the spot her brother had vacated a couple of days before - on Mr. Wiedz's side of the bed - the rest of us settled down for a basketball-free evening. Just to have #5 start throwing up in the middle of the living room. Now typically my 2 year olds freak out when they throw up. Being the first time he'd been sick since he was an infant all my other kids scream and thrash since they can't figure out what is happening to them. But #5 just calmly threw up and then went about his business. For the rest of the night we kept him on a stack of towels since he had no aim; he would be sick, we'd change the towel and he'd go back to sleep.

So Mr. Wiedz and I divided again, Mr. Wiedz on the couch to watch over #5 and me in our bed with the other sick-y.

I don't remember if I was having contractions that night as I went between sick kids and as I tried to settle down for sleep myself. I think I was. Though they were not painful or regular. I think I probably went to bed like I had on Tuesday, hoping but figuring I would wake up like normal in the morning.

I woke up about 2:30am. I was still having contractions and they were still not very much of anything. I walked laps down the hall and through the living room. #5 woke up and I cuddled him in my bed until he fell asleep again so I went back to walking laps again. He kept waking up and I kept cuddling him in different places through the house and kept contracting. At some point I figured this was "it" but also knew I had a long path ahead of me. I cuddled with #5, I laid down, I walked, I sat in the "front" room and read.

Mr. Wiedz woke up and since I was already using my contraction timer app we both knew that this was "it". That sent Mr. Wiedz into his nesting mode. More laundry was done that day than any other in history. He scrubbed everything in this house. #5 woke up that morning feeling right as rain. #1 stayed in bed feeling puny but otherwise ok. She was nervous I would have the baby while she was still sick and she wouldn't get to be there afterward but really she still wasn't feeling well. I knew I had a long time to go. I walked more living room laps and sat and swayed and otherwise just puttered around being completely unproductive...unless you count laboring as productive.

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As we moved into afternoon my friend came to help Mr. Wiedz. She had been at the birth of all the boys (missing #1's birth only because we were in California at the time) but was willing to miss it this time to help with the big kids and was willing to be barfed on if it came to that. What a friend. I was definitely having regular contractions by this point. I could still talked and visit in between and when I changed positions I would have a longer break between contractions so I was still figuring on a LONG labor.

Mr. Wiedz and friend started to get dinner plans in order so I figured I should make my own plans for the evening. I called my mom and told her to take it easy for the evening and go to bed early. I figured I would be going to the hospital sometime in the middle of the night. My plan was to lay down for a nap then before it got dark I would go on another walk, say good-night to the kids, then concentrate on making this labor "happen".

I did go lay down. I was relaxing and having an extra couple minutes between contractions because they were still taking a break when I changed positions. Mr. Wiedz came into our room to check on me. I was telling him that I didn't think I had it in me to do another labor like #5. If I was going to need to go the pitocin route again I was thinking I would just get an epidural too and let the meds do all the work. One of the theories behind my difficult labor with #5 was that my uterus has gotten tired. Not being as young as I once was. So I figured if that was going to be the case I'd just go with it.

As we are talking I have my first contraction since laying down. I shut my eyes to try to relax through it. Mr. Wiedz stop talking and gives me some "space" to go through the contraction. My water breaks! In all my pregnancies my water has never broken on its own. My eyes shot open and I said, "my water broke" and started giggling. I couldn't believe it. Luckily since we were having puking kids in our bed we had taken the down comforter and down feather bed off so I hadn't ruined anything. Mr. Wiedz called friend in and they got towels laid down and started cleaning up and helping me stand up and change. This is about 4:30pm.

Mr. Wiedz thought it was time to go to the hospital. I disagreed. I figured I still had a long time to go and would still go for my walk and wait for the contractions to get difficult. I will admit the contractions started getting pretty close together at this point but I could still talk and feel pretty normal between them. We agreed that Mr. Wiedz would just call the midwives and see what they said. Once he got ahold of a midwife (about 5:00pm) they thought I should get to the hospital...Mr. Wiedz was happy to be right.

I kissed all the kids good-bye and Mr. Wiedz loaded up my stuff in the truck (about 5:30). On the way to the hospital Mr. Wiedz called my mom and let her know we were headed that way. I will say riding in the truck in labor was no fun. I had never been in labor while driving down the road and that was really uncomfortable! The hospital people got me to a room and checked in really quickly and we started getting all the monitors and whatnot going. The nurse got an iv started and I was checked. (about 6:00pm) At that point I was 6 centimeters and was still contemplating an epidural since I thought this was going to take the rest of the night. The midwife thought maybe I should try going to the bathroom since it had been awhile since I had. Mr. Wiedz and the nurse helped me accomplish that, I got back in bed and the midwife checked me again. I was completely dilated on one "side" and about an 8 on the other. Just a little bit longer and I start pushing. Screaming might be a better way of describing it. I don't remember pushing really but I remember blood curdling screams that surprised everyone - I've never screamed like that before - my throat even hurt afterward.

At 7:14 little miss #6 was born.

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After all the intial hospital stuff and beautiful bonding with my new baby girl she got a bath and I got a shower and we all got moved to our recovery room. Here is where the decision to have the baby in the hospital instead of the birth center comes in. I had wanted to have the baby in the birth center, it is so beautiful and home-like. Once "we" start talking about my tendency to bleed a lot and that this is my 6th baby and I have babies on the larger size I am no longer a good canadate for using the birth center but I had already decided that I would use the hospital anyway. In the birth center you go home in 4-6 hours, the hospital stay is 2 days. With all we have going on (without sickness) at our house I just wasn't sure I was up for being home so quickly. Add sickness to the mix and I knew it would be better to be away for a couple of extra days. Not to mention that if I got sick, we figured the hospital would be be the best place to be.

Mr. Wiedz and I settled down for a nice quiet night with our new little darling. Mr. Wiedz made his bed in the hosptial window/couch area they set up for that and I slept between feedings, vital checks, diaper changes and uterus massages. I thought the night was going really well, well for feeling like I had been hit by a truck. Around 4:30am I sat in bed feeding #6 and felt weird. I wanted Mr. Wiedz to be close. I woke him up and asked him to sit next to me and hold my hand. #6 finished eating and after sitting there for a minute I handed her to Mr. Wiedz in a quick rush because I was going to be sick. He ran out in to the hall and called a nurse. I tried to be sick while laying down but that hurt my stomach so bad I had to turn in fetal position. Luckily in all that time the nurses had a chance to get into the room and get me a container. And especially lucky was that my midwife was still in the building and ordered the anti-nausa medicine to be administered into my IV.

Just a few hours later we found out that my dad and sister Sue who went home to relive friend of big kid duty got puke duty in the bargain too with #2 and #4 finishing out the family of stomach virus suffers in the wee hours of the morning.

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I did spend 2 nights in the hospital, I have usually only spent 1 night but all the aforementioned sickness and general craziness of our house made a 2 night stay really the best decision for us. And on the 11th we brought our wee one home to "join the crazy" and it's been bliss ever since. Well, I'm choosing to see the bliss over the piles of dishes and laundry, through the tiring baseball/tee-ball/basketball/dance/scouts  schedules and amidst the sibling issues of being together all. the. time.

So things I did this time that I always wondered about...

...I didn't find out the gender during the pregnancy. I have every other time so nothing against it but I'm so happy I have the frantic moment of waiting for someone to look, of hearing it's a girl! and laying there just repeating it over and over. It's a girl! It's a girl! It's a girl! Also precious is hearing Mr. Wiedz on the phone telling #1 she had a sister.

...Staying at home for as much of my labor as I could. With #1 and #5 contractions started on their own but I went to the hospital SO early and was there for 24+ hours before they were born. With the boys I was induced and had pitocin with a few of them. I always wished I had stayed home and got to the hospital farther along and ready to really just have a baby. I accomplished that. Actually, had I had my way I would have likely delivered in the car in a parking lot somewhere. :)

That's about it. If you read all the way to the end you deserve a prize. This was a marathon post that took days to write and I am sure will take days to read.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Well, I read it in one sitting and it is a beautiful story! I love all the details you included - leading up to the birth and the day of and how you reflected on what you would do different and that you did all those things! Sorry everyone was so sick - that must have been hard, but the stay in the hospital was wise! She is really beautiful! Congrats, again!