Friday, April 4, 2014

One Week of Crosby

Our littlest Lincoln has been with us for one whole week already! We're just loving every single second of this little nugget.

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He's super mellow. I totally thought he'd be feisty, but nope. Totally chill. I've always said this child would surprise us forever (from conception on!) and he's proving me right.

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He sleeps in 3 hour chunks and we often even have to wake him up to nurse him at night. He's a champion eater and has already surpassed his birth weight in his first week. He still looks teeny tiny to me though, thank goodness!

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We couldn't leave the hospital for awhile because he was refusing to pee and now he's peed on us more than we can count. And our sheets. And his clothes. And our couch. Basically, the kid has definitely figured out how to pee.

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Maxton and Bennett have adjusted so far beautifully! They love to hold him and are always asking if Crosby will be with us. They want him to come everywhere with them! Max even asked to have Cros sleep with him so he could "snuggle him all up". These boys are my life. I adore each and every one of them.

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While we've enjoyed our easy going baby to the fullest, we've also been on an emotional ride this week. In the hospital, we were told that Crosby had a heart murmur. We were told this is SUPER common and it's probably nothing and would go away on its own. Our pediatrician listened to it and said the same thing, but still wanted us to have a cardiologist listen to be sure. We saw the cardiologist on Wednesday and they thoroughly checked out his little heart just to be sure it was nothing to be concerned with. It turns out it was. Crosby has something called Aortic Valve Stenosis. I would try to explain it, but that would be ridiculous because I'm still learning all about it. Essentially, for now, his heart if functioning wonderfully. That will not always be the case. We have to keep a close eye on his heart and he will eventually need surgery to repair or replace his aortic valve. We're not sure when or how he will be affected yet. We're told that people live full, long wonderful lives with this disease. Of course, we were devastated and it's sort of flipped our little world upside down. We're trying to do minimal research so as not to get too freaked out and we're just focusing on what we need to do for Crosby right now. Which is make sure he's eating well (sometimes babies with this disease have a hard time gaining weight - so far Crosby is not) and is loved by us (duh). He'll see the cardiologist every couple of months and we should know more about his particular condition over the next 6-12 months.

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Unexpected heart condition aside, we're hanging in there. I'm emotional and I'm exhausted (despite the good sleeping infant!) We've had to modify our adoption timeline significantly based on Crosby's needs, so we've been dealing a bit with the logistics of that. And I know that as each cardio appointment approaches, I'll be panicked. But, I'll figure out how to be strong for my son. I'm sure soon I'll know more about Aortic Valve Stenosis than I even need to and I'll know Crosby's mannerisms so well that I'll be able to spot a symptom a mile away.

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In the meantime, we're just loving our kid. Ritchie and I agree that there's a spark to his eyes. This kid is special.

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We couldn't love you more, Crosby! This past week has been one of the best in my life getting to know you! Thanks for sneaking into our lives and hearts. I'm SO glad you did.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Crosby's Birth Story

Crosby's birth story, with a little name story thrown in the mix, is long and filled with little details that I want to remember forever. Pardon the length and pictures of my hugeness. This is his story... 

I was due on March 13. However, from the beginning there was a question as to whether I was actually due then or the 20th or somewhere in between. Anyway, according to my original due date, I was 42 weeks and 1 day when I went in to get this show on the road. I wasn't thrilled with being induced and I was very leery of medical interventions. But, I agreed to show up bright and early at 6 a.m. and discuss my options for induction.

We showed up at ten minutes to six and they let us know they needed to clean the room and we'd be taken back to our room shortly. Over 30 minutes later, I was super antsy and frustrated that I wasn't even admitted yet! They brought us back shortly after that. We were in room 602.

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They hooked me up because they wanted to do monitoring to make sure everything was looking good with the baby and see if I was in labor already. Around 7 a.m. the midwife who I had scheduled the induction with and really trusted did an exam. She explained to me that his head was dropping just a bit far forward on my pelvic bone rather than on my cervix. I was still considered a tight 2 and 50% effaced. So... no change all week. But, at least I knew why. She didn't want to break my water without him in the correct position, so she offered me the option of misoprostol, a medication that helps to soften the cervix and slightly dilate or a catheter with a bulb that is inserted and is supposed to help you dilate to about 4 cm. We were left with those options with some time to decide since they needed to continue monitoring.

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I got on the birth ball and tried to move him into position on my own.

The midwife who would actually deliver me, Jennifer, came in around 8:10 to talk to me more about how I wanted to proceed. I was originally thinking I wanted to avoid all medications, therefore I'd go with the catheter method. However, Jennifer explained to me that they often send people home with the catheter in place and have them return 12-24 hours later to see how they had progressed. I couldn't fathom waiting any longer at that point. I was there, I was mentally committed, I needed to just have this baby today. So, I opted for the misoprostol. They would give it 4 hours to work its magic and then we'd see where to go from there. She inserted it around 8:45 a.m. and said that I was 2.5 cm and 75% effaced.

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My birth team was, of course, Ritchie, but also Kim, one of my closest friends.

About 15 minutes after they put the medicine in, I began having regular contractions - 3-5 min apart that were totally manageable. I would breathe a bit, but could still talk and laugh and continue our name search. Through the 4 hours we mostly just looked for baby names.

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We played around writing names on the board seeing how they looked. About a week prior, we had completely ruled out Finnley. I had started having concerns weeks prior about the name Finnley being too feminine and I kept coming across little girls named Finnley everywhere. Then Ritchie and I kept hearing "Ben" when we'd say "Finn" or vice versa and at one point Ritchie looked at me and said, "Are we seriously going to do this our whole lives?" The answer was no. No, we were not.

He was Samson for a few days after that, but Ritchie couldn't stop saying, "Sampson" the way they say it in the movie Half Baked and just couldn't get on board. We really tried to come up with something that we LOVED that followed our rules, but ultimately we loved the name Crosby (it was just randomly thrown out there along with Foster, Sawyer and Tucker) and therefore we decided to just get over the whole rule thing and pick a name we loved. It was pretty liberating actually. We continued to discuss names up until really active labor and the only other one we came up with was Tytus, but Ritchie just didn't love it... Dragon made the cut for awhile though. We'll call him Cros, so he'll have a nickname, but it definitely doesn't fit our rules, and I guess that's just fine!

At 1:45, Jennifer came back in to see what the medicine had done for me. I was 3 cm at 90% effaced and he had dropped beautifully into the right position! She asked me if she could just "massage" my cervix some to see if that might stimulate more of a steady labor pattern. She stretched me to 4 cm by doing that and then left me to labor for awhile.

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By 2:10 the contractions were getting longer and stronger. I had to lean against Ritchie or Kim and have my butt and upper legs massaged through them. Some time before 3pm, Jennifer came back in to see how things were progressing. It was obvious at that point that I was in active labor and she felt like she could just let me keep going without breaking my water or doing anything else. I decided I wanted to get in the tub. The contractions were feeling much more intense.

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At 3:30 I got out of the tub. I loved the water for the contractions, but my legs and feet kept cramping because of the position I had to be in. I got out and began leaning against Ritchie and bending forward in low, long moans. I got a lot of breaks in between contractions. I'd often have a weak one, then a 3 min break and then a really strong one. I was still talking in between contractions, but I had gone from making jokes and really holding conversations to asking my midwife (who hung out in there with us for awhile) questions about "how much longer" and "is this normal?" and the occasional, "this is bullshit!" I kept looking at the clock. I was SO pissed that it was taking longer than an hour. When you shoot your second kid out in an hour and a half, you get pretty pissed that you needed to be induced and now it's taking what feels like FOREVER to get to the pushing part for your 3rd.

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Do you see my nurse and midwife laughing in the background there? I love this picture for that reason. This was maybe 1 hour before he was born? They were hanging and making jokes and encouraged Kim to take a pic of my belly. It's stretch marked and large and I certainly don't feel "beautiful" looking at it, but it IS beautiful. It's holding life. I'm so glad I have this picture. Kimberly took all of these pictures and I treasure them all.

My midwife was so amazing. She was so encouraging. I definitely questioned my ability to continue on with a natural delivery. I kept asking if I should just get the epidural. She kept insisting that I could do it, that I was doing wonderfully. Everyone insisted on that, in fact. My support that day was incredible. I highly suggest that anyone who wants a natural labor have a strong support system in place.

Things get fuzzy for me at this point. I know I eventually moved over to the bed to be checked - that was shortly after 5pm. I was 8 cm. I felt really, really defeated at that point. I hadn't even been through transition yet? I was REALLY not sure I was going to make it. My midwife suggested breaking my water at that point because she thought it would make it all faster for me, but I kept wavering. Mostly because I knew it would be more intense, but also because I wanted to try to keep things as natural as possible. She ended up having to run out of the room before I could say yes, so my water stayed in tact for the time being. Because I had just been checked, I was laying down in the bed and because I was in transition, I refused to move. So, I laid there and pretty much bitched and moaned through every. single. contraction. I BEGGED the nurse for an epidural at that point. Whiny, whimpering words while I looked deep into her eyes, begging her to save me from this pain. I didn't look at Ritchie or Kim, just the nurse. I knew she had the power. I also knew it was too late. I didn't have an IV, so they would have had to administer an IV, give me fluids and get the anesthesiologist into the room. The baby would be here by then. But, oh, I wanted it. Of course, I'm very glad I didn't get it, but I'm telling you all of this because I think it's assumed that if you choose to have a natural child birth that you are "strong" and whatever else. I think it's VERY common for women to "cave" and request an epidural even though they really don't want one.

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This is what transition looked like. It sounded VERY loud. Think a tarzan like cry... that's what my noises reminded me of.

I had a few (5 maybe?) contractions in the bed like that before the midwife came back and I started yelling things like "PRESSURE!!!" and Kim snapped this picture of the clock when I started pushing:

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5:27 pm

The midwife apparently said (according to Kim) "Let's just see what happens" with my pushing. And 2 very loud and very painful pushes later and he was out. He was born at 5:29 pm. Those two minutes were SO insanely intense. I can't describe it. With Ben, I felt him very slowly emerge. Crosby sort of catapulted out of me it felt like.

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He was handed straight to me.

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And I immediately fell in love. That's never happened with me. I've written before about how I fall in love with my babies over time. It was different this time. I was overcome with love and really couldn't stop looking at him. He was very blue and I really wanted him to pink up and cry because I couldn't stand the thought of them having to take him. They let him stay with me and he did get pink and start crying and was just... perfect.

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My first time nursing him.

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I eventually let Ritchie hold him :) What a proud dad he is. We have a picture with a smile similar to this with him holding each of the boys on the day they were born. I'm going to frame all 3 of them together one day. I'm in awe of this man and the dad and husband he is. I love him more and more with each child we have together.

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After an hour they weighed and measured him and we got all ready to go to our recovery room and rest.

I felt so amazing afterwards. I was SO insanely happy that I had achieved a natural hospital birth with no drugs and minimal intervention. For an induction, I was really pleased. The nurses and midwife were all so supportive and I was able to birth the way that I believe is right for me and my babies. And THAT is what the experience should be.

And, Crosby? Our little surprise, in SO many ways. We're just all so in love with him. He's special, this one. I couldn't be happier that our family planning didn't work out the way we intended and that he's a part of our family. He belongs with us. Our littlest Lincoln.

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Crosby Robert Lincoln 
March 28, 2014
5:29 PM
7 pounds 12 ounces 
20.5 inches long 

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