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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Avery vs Harper

Harper is almost 3 weeks old now and I still cannot tell who she looks like! She definitely resembles her sister, and to see just how much she does, I decided to put some photos up of Harper and Avery at the same age.
Birth announcements

 Avery on her birthday 7lb 7oz

Harper on her birthday 9lb 5oz

Avery and me after 12 hours of labor and 1 hr 45 min of pushing

Harper and me after 5 hours of labor and 15 minutes of pushing

Avery on her way home 2 days after birth

Harper on her first car ride 24 hours after birth

Avery, 1 month old

 Harper, 1 week old

Avery, 8 days old

Harper, 2 weeks old

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

And Harper makes 4!! My (LONG) birth story

Exactly 40 weeks after we found out we were happily expecting our second baby, we are now officially a family of 4!
Harper Joy Klingensmith rapidly made her debut into this world on her due date, May 11 2012 at 9:31 in the morning.
Here is my birth story:
After being told by nearly everyone that has more than one child that the second and third baby often arrives sooner and faster (and sometimes bigger!) than the first, I was pretty frustrated when weeks 38 and 39 passed me and my growing belly by. (Avery was born 3 days before her due date after a 12 hour labor.) A few promising doctor's appointments reassured me that I was indeed dilating and effacing (1cm 50% at 38 weeks; 2cm 80% at 39 weeks) so I was expecting labor to come...eventually.
I did a few things at home to speed up the process at 38 weeks. I drank literally gallons of red raspberry leaf tea which is supposed to encourage the uterus to contract. I also took 2000mg of evening primrose oil tablets a day and I tried to walk and eat spicy food as much as I could. I had my membranes stripped at both my 38 and 39 week appointments, and my due date appointment which was actually the day before.
At that last appointment they gave me a non-stress test which consists of an ultrasound to measure amniotic fluid levels (mine were well within normal limits) and monitoring of baby's heartbeat and my contractions. All was frustratingly normal! I made an appointment to be induced at the hospital at 41 weeks, Friday May 18th which was the soonest my midwife would schedule it. I was disappointed and had given up trying anything, and decided to use the extra week to spend time with Avery and get other errands done. Well, Harper had different plans for me!
The morning of May 11th, I woke up at 4:30am with some contractions, which I had been having on and off for weeks and hadn't really timed before. Well, I went to the bathroom and then laid back down, noticing another contraction. Exactly 8 minutes from the first. Hmm. They were like strong cramps but not sharp or really painful, more uncomfortable. I stayed in bed for an hour, dozing in between each one and waking up exactly 8 minutes later. Since I was awake I decided to call the nurse at the hospital and see what she thought. As I was speaking to her, she heard me having a contraction and said I might as well come on in considering we live about 40 min away, it was my second baby, and I was due that day. She said the worst-case scenario was they would monitor me and send me home if nothing was happening. I decided to take a shower first and give myself more time to keep track of them. I woke Alex up and he got Avery ready while I was in the shower. Boy, did they kick up a notch then! He saw me doubling over in the shower and I asked him to look at the clock a few times...4 minutes apart now. And they hurt pretty bad.
So in the car we go! I have contractions every 4 minutes on the drive and I am definitely in pain during them, but in between I feel incredible relief. We check in around 6:45 and by the time they check me I am 3.5cm 80% effaced. They asked  me to walk around the L&D ward for an hour and then they will check me again. So, Avery and Alex and I walk around, while I am leaning over and gripping the handrail every 4 minutes. My mom is on the way to pick up Avery and around 8 she arrives, braids my hair, and Alex walks her and Avery down to the car. While they are gone, I am still contracting, waiting for the nurse to check me and I am in EXCRUCIATING pain and they seem to be coming every 2 to 3 minutes. She finally comes to check me just as Alex is walking back in, and I was at 5cm with a "bulging bag of water". They decided to admit me (duh!) and I immediately asked for the epidural. The nurse informed me that I need to have 1 L of fluids in through  my IV before I can get it. She started my IV immediately, I felt my water bag break during a DOOZY of a contration, while the best doctor EVER, Dr Cantu, came in to check me. She informed me that I was now 8cm dilated 100% effaced. She asked the nurse where anethesia was and she told her about the fluid, said I was less than half-way there. The doctor said "Forget about the fluid, let's get her some pain mediation." I could have kissed her if I wasn't in so much pain! She told me to let her know if I felt the need to bear down and at that moment I am curled up sideways gripping the side rail of the bed and I yell "I need to push!" She checked me and says, "Honey, you are complete and the baby is right here. I am going to break your water (apparently there are 2 bags, only a smaller, first one had broken before) and you are going to push this baby out." I said to her, very, umm passionately "NO!! I cannot push this baby out without drugs! I pushed for almost 2 hours with my first daughter, I can't do it!" She calmy said "Honey, yes you can. I promise you she will be out in 2 pushes. You can do this!" She later told me the panicked looked in my eyes when I realized this was happening right NOW AND WITHOUT ANY PAIN MEDICATION, was priceless. I clearly had no choice in the matter and at 9:20, I got my legs in the stirrups, the bottom half of the bed falls away and all the amazing nurses in the room yell at me to PUSH!! And I did, with almost all of my might (I was TERRIFIED) and I felt the baby coming out! It was/is an incredible, and of course terribly painful, feeling. But compared to the complete lack of feeling I had with Avery because of the epidural, it was sort of amazing to feel my effort actually doing something. While I am taking a break between contractions, I feel like I am going to throw up so they hand me a sick bag, and they take the opportunity to coach me to stop yelling so loudly (umm, yeah, I was yelling and cursing and whimpering like they do in the movies, not my finest moment!) and use that energy to PUSH!! So I did, and her head is out! I can feel that it is out! It feels like a relief but then it felt like I needed to push again, so I did and then at 9:31, 2 pushes later as promised, MY BABY GIRL IS BORN! And I survived! And I actually felt AMAZING! I absolutely can not believe I did that and lived to tell the story. I was as much in love with my daughter as I was in complete disbelief that had all just happened! I hadn't even updated my Facebook yet!! The whole thing could not have gone any further from my "plan" if I had tried.

So, the million dollar question: would I do it again unmedicated? Without even a second thought, my answer is ABSOLUTELY NOT. Although there are many many pros to having a natural delivery, such as a super fast recovery (I had only 2 Motrin following delivery), minimal tearing (I had one 1st degree tear, requiring only 1 stitch), and a very alert baby (Harper had/has zero problems with latching or nursing in general, and we were nursing within 30 minutes of her birth), I joked with the doctor that I would move into the hospital at 39 weeks with my next one and have a continuous flow of medication until my baby is born. I was so scared during the delivery, and I'm sure poor Alex was frightened as well. It was a complete 180 from the delivery room during Avery's birth, which was calm and empty until she was crowning.
That being said, I cannot believe how good and clear and aware I felt immediately after Harper was born. I remember commenting to the nurses that the hour or so following Avery's birth was blurry and I don't recall parts, but I felt so present this time. I didn't miss a single thing. And I walked to the bathroom an hour later. Our bodies are so incredible and I have a new found respect for mine, to say the least!
Thanks for reading this far! As your reward, here are some pictures from that amazing day. Enjoy



Our big baby! 9lb 5oz, 20.5 inches long

Avery finally gets to meet Harper, after reading all those Big Sister books. She is doing great with her! She is either very sweet to her, wanting to share things with her (toys, pretzels, etc)
or she is indifferent. I'll take it!

Me and my sweet baby girls!

Family of 4

Nana was amazing with Avery while we were in the hospital,
though I think Avery wore her out!
Harper Joy, so loved!!

Harper wanted to make sure the current Queen of the Castle received her well,
so she got her an awesome "sibling gift", a Mini Kick Scooter!

Avery loves her present from baby sister

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The week of fun for Avery!

With baby Harper's impending arrival (any day now!) Alex has been SO helpful and wanting to be around us that we have taken advantage of the family time and filled our days with fun!

It all started last Wednesday with a trip to the Sea Life Aquarium with Avery's best buds, Aubrie and Connor.

That evening we had Heather, Dave and little Lily McDonald over for dinner and to stay the night. The next morning we went to the Wild Animal Park out in Escondido (which was closer to our hospital than our house, so we weren't worried). The girls had a great time and we got a lot of walking in, and enjoyed spending time with our friends.

Avery and Lily on the tram at the WAP

Silly girl

We have had some great weather,
so we went to the beach to fly our kite and play in the sand!

Hold on tight!

In continuing the week of fun, we took Avery to Legoland! I bought a season pass to Legoland/Water Park/Sea Life Aquarium 2 weeks ago, and we went with my mom and Avery had a blast! Alex hadn't been since Halloween and half the park was closed, so Avery and I were excited to bring him with us this time.

The water park at Legoland is SO FUN and perfect for Avery's age!
Avery and I were free with my pass and Alex was only $15.

The tower to the left of them does this below every few minutes!

Woah that's a lot of water!

Time to go home and Avery was NOT ready to leave!

We have had so much fun hanging out with our best girl and giving her all the love and attention we can before we rock her world and bring her little sister into our family. As excited and ready as I am to have another baby, and as thrilled as I am for Avery to grow  up with a sibling, it is a little sad to know that our lives will never be the same VERY soon!

I am due Friday (in 3 days!!) and while things seem to be progressing, I am still pregnant and my next appointment isn't until Thursday (May 10th) morning. I will update the blog again then (if I don't get sent straight to the hospital, which is what I am hoping will happen!)

Final belly pic, 39 weeks:

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Baby Harper update

I had my 38 week check up yesterday (Tues May 1) and I was really hoping I was dilated to at least 1 cm so my midwife could "strip my membranes" which is basically loosening the water bag from the uterine wall and is thought to kick start labor. In order to ensure I was in fact dilated, on Monday I began drinking LOTS of red raspberry leaf tea (which supposedly causes contractions) and taking 2000mg of evening primrose oil gel pills (which is supposed to soften the cervix) and eating pineapple (another way to soften the cervix).

Turns out my efforts were successful! I am 2cm dilated and 60% effaced. She did strip my membranes, which is VERY painful, and sent me on my way. When I had this procedure done with Avery, I had her the next day! However I was a week further along than I am now, and I also bled a LOT which I think helped things along. My next appointment isn't until May 10th, the day before my due date so I am hoping I don't make it!

I am continuing my efforts and plan to add a lot of walking to that even though I have lots of leg pain, by going to the Sea Life aquarium today, the Wild Animal Park Thursday, and possibly Legoland Friday or Saturday! We also want to spend as much quality time with our little girl before we turn her world upside down and make her a big sister!

Avery loves poking my now outie belly button back in
and watching me giggle and squirm like I am the Pillsbury Doughboy. Fun times.