Wednesday, May 31, 2017

stats for Alex


height: 28.75 inches (13th percentile)
weight: 18 lbs 15 oz (3rd percentile)


height: 33 inches (13th percentile)
weight: 23 lbs 6 oz (4th percentile)


height: 36 inches (10th percentile)
weight: 27 lbs 0 oz (7th percentile)


height: 38.5 inches (12th percentile)
weight: 31 lbs 0 oz (10th percentile)


height: 41.8 inches (21st percentile)
weight: 34 lbs 6 oz (11th percentile)


height: 43.25 inches (12th percentile)
weight: 39 lbs 3 oz (11th percentile)

stats for Jakob


height: 27.75 inches (13th percentile)
weight: 20 lbs 0 oz (9th percentile)


height: 33.5 inches (23rd percentile)
weight: 26 lbs 10 oz (31st percentile)


height: 36.6 inches (18th percentile)
weight: 31 lbs 0 oz (44th percentile)


height: 39.5 inches (22nd percentile)
weight: 34 lbs 3 oz (33rd percentile)


height: 41.5 inches (16th percentile)
weight: 37 lbs 13 oz (31st percentile)


height: 43.75 inches (17th percentile)
weight: 43 lbs 13 oz (36th percentile)

Tuesday, January 3, 2017


I need to make this blog a priority in 2017. I love looking back at the blog and reading all my memories about the kids.  But it seems like since Max was born the world just got a bit busy!!

So here are some bullet points to start of our year…

Jakob and Alex were in the playroom this AM telling each other to “get the emails out” of their pretend cell phones.
Jakob has the tendency to rush into our bedroom EVERY morning and ask “Is it morning yet?”  It could be 1:30am or 8:30am.  The other morning Jake rushed into our bedroom and I was in the bathroom (a 4 year old does not care).  I immediately told Jake “Mommy is already downstairs.  You can go down.”  And Jake responds with “I know Mama.  I just wanted to say Good Morning to you.”  Be still my heart.  (even if I was sitting on the toilet)
Max LOVES to eat.  There is literally not a food that the kid won’t eat.  Most babies are just starting to consume solid foods at 6 months old and Max acts like he has been eating for months.  His favorite is definitely yogurt of any kind.   He still drinks a TON of milk each day.  About 34oz.  He gets mostly breast milk but also the occasional bottle of formula.  I am still pumping.  I plan to be done in the next month.  We have travel plans beginning in March of this year and I do not want to pump on vacation.
Max can roll over (front to back and back to front).  Max can sit unassisted for several minutes at a time and he is also really good at putting weight on his feet.  I truly believe Max is just days away from doing some sort of army crawl.
Max is an OK sleeper and does OK with daily naps.  We attribute his lack of perfection in this area to being Baby #3 and have multiple distractions during the day.  Max typically take 2 naps a day.  His best nap is in the AM where he will typically sleep anywhere between 1 – 3 hours.  He will also nap in the afternoon but it is usually just a 30 minute cat nap.  Because of the not so great nap schedule Max typically goes to bed about 6:30pm.  We simply cannot keep him up longer.  Max will drink about 6 oz at 6:30pm and then Kara does a dream feed of 4 oz at 10pm.  Max will then proceed to wake-up every 3 hours or sleep all night.  It’s a crap shoot.  So for example the night before Max slept from 10pm – 8am.  BAM!  But last night Max woke-up at 12:30am (drank 5 oz) and 5am (drank 4oz) and got up for the day about 8am.  He sleeps in his crib in a sleep sack but we tend to let him sleep in a “bouncy” seat if he happens to wake-up after 3am.  It often takes him a bit of time to fall back to sleep and the bouncy seat prevents him from rolling over in his crib and getting pissed off at the world.  We have an ocean light-up toy in his crib that we got for $3 from the thrift store.  It is a lifesaver!!!  The kid loves that toy.
Max loves the Fisher Price Jumperoo toy.  The kids could bounce all day.  It’s probably cause his legs are ALWAYS moving.
Max also loves Jake and Alex.  He typically does great in the car because he just sits back and watches the Jake and Alex show.  We call Jake and Alex a couple of old men because they have conversations all the time that begin with “Do you remember that one time…?”
Max loves his feet.  His obsession with his feet could also explain why we do “naked baby time” each night during fussy time.
Jakob is obsessed with anything Power Rangers.  My favorite is to sneak a peak of Jakob watching Power Rangers from our bedroom.  He will bounce around the bed the entire time with his Power Ranger sword and recite all the words and do all the actions.  I don’t understand a single thing about that show.
It also warms my heart to hear Jakob, in the car, sing all the songs on the radio.  Kara has a kid friendly Spotify playlist that she listens to basically on repeat.  All the songs have been screened to be kid friendly.  My favorite is to hear Jake go, “Mommy.  What song is this?”
The boys also love to listen to books on tape in the car.  We managed to get all the way to PA without a peep at Thanksgiving because the boys were drawn into The Mouse and The Motorcycle.  It was great!
Jake and Alex are doing amazing in school.  I hope they never lose their excitement for school.
Things are not always peaches and roses on our end.  Jake and Alex can throw their fair share of temper tantrums.  The temper tantrums usually only arise when either does not feel great.  But we got a heck of a temper tantrum from Jake the other day at Meijer.  Kara and I make a fairly amazing tag team and we do our best to talk Jake and Alex down whenever a temper tantrum is boiling up.  Jake was adamant that he would not be leaving Meijer without a “big” toy as opposed to the Thomas Mini we were planning to buy both Jake and Alex.  I had pulled Jake aside during the check out process in order to continue the conversation and decision making process but to also make sure the temper tantrum didn’t start until we were able to leave the store.  I saw Kara finish the check out process and so I gave Jake one more option to make a decision (1) you take home the Thomas Mini without getting upset or (2) you get nothing.  Jake was still adamant about the big toy so it was time to leave and let the temper tantrum work itself out.  So out to the parking lot we go.  I was essentially dragging Jake to the front of the store all while wearing Max.  I got to the front of the store where Kara took Jake and I pushed Alex out in the cart.  You would have thought we were kidnapping Jake.  We got to the car where Jake decided to take my full can of open pop and spill it all over the van.  Kara and I continued to remain calm but now we have a screaming 4 year old all while I’m pulling out the wipes and paper towels to clean up the van.  It was a mess.  Who thought it was a good idea to have a 3rd kid?
Also Max has the best spiked hair in all the world!


Friday, October 14, 2016

on feeding Max

I went into my pregnancy with Max wanting nothing more than to establish an exclusive breastfeeding relationship at least during my maternity leave.  I never got a chance to allow Jake and Alex to latch as I was simply overwhelmed with taking care of preemie twin newborns when the time came to try a breastfeeding relationship.  I instead began to exclusively pump from the day Jake and Alex were born and over the course of their first year of life I was able to almost exclusively provide Jake and Alex with breast milk.  I was proud of this accomplishment but I longed so greatly for a breastfeeding relationship with a baby.  It is also immensely hard to exclusively pump for a baby and I longed to avoid this time commitment with Max.  So I wanted to try my best to establish a breastfeeding relationship with Max.  But things don’t always go as planned…

Max had an extremely difficult time latching in the hospital.  He had swallowed a ton of amniotic fluid during his journey into this world and as a result he was “vomiting” a lot during the first 48 hours of his life.  I was also a hormonal mess in the hospital and spent much of the first 48 hours of Max’s life crying over EVERYTHING.  I worked several times with a lactation consultant but we ultimately decided to “spoon” feed Max expressed colostrum until he could get all the amniotic fluid out of his belly.  So I had the nurse bring me a pump in the hospital.  We eventually, after about 12 hours post birth, introduced a bottle to Max and I gave up on forcing Max to work on latching.  He needed a break and I also needed a break.  We also gave Max a pacifier.  Max was also a very big boy at birth.  And at the end of our hospital stay I was having a very hard time keeping up with my hungry little boy.  It was the last day of our hospital stay and Max had drank all the breast milk I had on hand.  He was grumpy and I was in tears.  I did not want to ask the nurses for formula (a post for another day) so I just decided to try the boob one more time.  It was more out of desperation.  And BAM … Max latched on to the boob like he had been doing it for years.  He spent the next 60 minutes feeding at the breast.  And every minute of it was amazing.  I just watched my little boy in amazement.  We were actually in the process of being discharged when Max decided to begin his breastfeeding relationship.  So we told the nurses to F-off until we were done.  I was not interrupting this moment.  I left the hospital bound and determined to breastfeed my little boy.  But things don’t always go as planned…

We found ourselves in a bit of a medical crisis when Max was only 5 days old (see previous post) and all we were told was that we needed to make certain that Max with eating an adequate amount of food every 2 – 3 hours.  The stress levels escalated to levels previously unknown in our household.  One of the greatest stressors with breastfeeding is that there is no way to know how much breast milk a baby is getting at the breast.  So we immediately went to bottle feeding Max expressed breast milk.  This was the only way we could guarantee his health.  And honestly had Max ended up with the health condition the physicians anticipated then bottle feeding was the only way we could actually guarantee Max’s life.  That’s how serious it was during those long weeks.  So I simply continued to pump on a very rigorous schedule.  It was fine.  I knew how to be an exclusive pumper.  And I knew that Max was getting all his nutritional needs met.  I just assumed that when we got the all clear with Max’s health I would go back to letting Max breastfeed.  But things don’t always go as planned…

It took weeks and weeks for us to get the all clear on Max’s health.  And when we finally did get the all clear I was back to working fulltime at work.  I had been exclusively pumping for about 8 weeks and because of that my body was producing an overabundance of breast milk on a daily basis.  It would have been a struggle for both of us to work on getting Max to latch again at the breast.  And so I decided that our breastfeeding relationship was over.  I was at peace.  The time I spent breastfeeding my son would never be taken away from my memory.  And I once again become an exclusive pumper for my child.  My new goal was to build up a freezer stash that would allow for me to wean Max around 9 months old and simply use the freezer stash until about 12 months.  But things don’t always go as planned…

I started to run out of freezer space much faster than I ever imagined in my brain.  I was, at my highest, pumping about 74oz of breast milk a day for a baby that only drank about 30oz of breast milk.  Those numbers have decreased to about 64oz a day now as I have reduced from pumping 8 times a day to only pumping 5 times a day.  We got to a point where I was going to have to start dumping out breast milk because we literally had no room in our freezer.  Plus we would be running against the “best use by date” of the frozen breast milk.  It turned my stomach into knots to think about dumping all that milk down the drain.  I began to contemplate donating the breast milk to a stranger.  But then a couple of very dear friends expressed a need for extra breast milk for their precious little ones.  And so before I could blink I was shipping some frozen breast milk across the country and a local friend was also dragging a big cooler across town to stock up.  And magically about 1000oz of frozen breast milk was now being used as a supplement for two other precious babies.  And my heart could not be happier.  I cannot even explain the emotions that overwhelmed my heart as I received pictures of these sweet kiddos drinking their bottles of breast milk.  All that had felt that I had “lost” in my inability to breastfeed Max long term had melted away in an instant.  So in the long run my feeding plans did not go as planned.  It went much better!


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

birth story

Our induction was scheduled for 8am on July 8th.  I wish I could say I slept soundly the night before the induction.  I did not.  But then again I'm not sure I was able to sleep soundly (or comfortably) for the last 4 weeks of the pregnancy.  I was in constant discomfort.  Between the near constant (but unproductive) contractions and the hip pain I was more then ready for Baby Max to make his grand entrance.  I never imagined that we would actually make it the induction date.  I was 39w1d.

We got the boys off to Grandma and Grandpa's house in the AM and then we promptly showed up to the hospital about 30 minutes early.  What can I say?  I was afraid of getting stuck in traffic!  Kara and I sat in the parking lot discussing how our lives were about to change AGAIN!  We also both took guesses ... Kara thought Baby Max would be born at Noon (so sweet) and would weigh 9lbs 1oz.  My official guess was Max would be born at 7pm and would weight 8lbs 5oz.  We walked into the hospital (one final time) and so many feelings rushed through me.  How many times had I waddled into this hospital during the pregnancy?  I remember the walk to L&D at 16 weeks where Kara and I were convinced we were going to lose this pregnancy.  And now here we were about to meet our little baby boy.  There was no looking back.

The L&D floor was very quiet upon our arrival and they were waiting for us!  My hospital band was sitting on the front desk.  (cue the S&IT about to get real moment!)  We got all checked in (i.e. financial paperwork) and then we were directed to our L&D room.  Our nurse for the day was Chelsea.  We immediately took a liking to Chelsea and for that I was extremely grateful.  I always get nervous that I'm not going to match well with the L&D nurse and that would make for a very unpleasant (and LONG) experience.  Chelsea immediately caught on to our personalities and went with it for the duration of our L&D experience.  I got all changed into my wonderful hospital gown (with some assistance from my very knowledgeable wife who apparently took Hospital Gown 101 in college) and then we waited for Chelsea and Sarah (another nurse) to come into the room to get the show on the road.  Chelsea worked through all the "paperwork" while Sarah worked to get my IV done.  I think I made Sarah a bit nervous because I asked her a thousand times if she was "good" at putting in an IV.  But in the end Sarah did a great job and got the IV on the first attempt.  I was also put on the contraction monitor and baby boy was put on the monitor to track his fetal heart rate.  I was just a bit nervous (wink) so of course my blood pressure was sky high.  We got through all the "paperwork" and then Chelsea checked me for the first time prior to starting on the Pitocin.  I was STILL only about 3cm - 4cm dilated so I was extremely glad we were doing an induction now.  I had been having days and days of painful braxton hicks contractions and obviously the contractions were nonproductive and doing nothing to prepare my body for labor.  I think Baby Max was in my belly for the long haul.  We then had to wait for the resident OB on the L&D floor to come in to approve the start of the pitocin.  The plan, as set by my OB, was to begin on a very low dose of pitocin to see if my body responded in any manner.  The dosage of pitocin would be increased about every 30 minutes.  The resident OB finally came in about 9:30am and made certain I did not have any questions.  I did not.  So it was game time.  Let the induction begin...

I was having very sporadic contractions when I first got to the L&D floor but the contraction monitor on my belly was not really picking them up at all.  So Chelsea had to mess with the contraction monitor several times before the monitor began to actually register my contractions.  I thought for a moment I was losing my mind.  On the lowest dose of pitocin my body did not really do anything at all.  So Chelsea would "sneak" in about every 30 minutes and up the pitocin dosage.  I would always respond with "Geeze.  Thanks. I appreciate it." when she came into the room to up the dosage.  I promise I never became the crazy screaming pregnant lady and in fact I kept my humor about the whole situation and tried to embrace every moment.  This was going to be the last time I ever got to have a L&D experience.  It was about an hour into the process when I looked at Kara and I was like ... "Yep.  Now these are contractions!"  I had never really experienced "true" contractions with Jakob and Alex as my water broke spontaneously and as soon as we got to the hospital I was given an epidural.  I had definitely not experienced any pitocin induced contractions prior to today which many folks say are much more painful than contractions not induced by medication.  The contractions were extremely low in my uterus, like the world's worst menstrual cramp, and the contraction would wrap around my lower back like my entire back was being squeezed by a vice.  I was getting uncomfortable on the bed so I asked Chelsea if I could get up and move around a bit.  Plus we were quickly learning that Baby Max did not like staying on the fetal heart rate monitor unless I was laying on my left side.  There were multiple occasions during the entire induction process that my room would fill up with a boatload of nurses because Baby Max's heart rate would drop extremely low (often between 40 bpm - 60 bpm).  The fetal heart rate became a concern during the L&D process.  I never panicked though as I knew I had a wonderful team of nurses and physicians watching all of us.  I just kept silently begging a higher power that this experience would not end in a c-section.  I was finally able to get out of bed to labor.  I would alternate between bouncing on the exercise ball during a contraction or standing up and "swaying" through a contraction.

I would also always have Kara do counter pressure on my back during a contraction.  That would help a lot.  Kara and I were left alone during most of the "labor" part which was very calming and peaceful.  The calm in the room (i.e. silence) helped make the entire "labor" phase tolerable.  Chelsea had actually adjusted the fetal heart rate monitor, on my belly, for Baby Max when I initially got out of bed to "labor". That fetal heart rate monitor became the bane of my existence during my contractions.  I kept telling Kara "I need this monitor off of my belly.  It is becoming more painful then the contractions. I need it off NOW."  I literally felt as if I was being stabbed in the belly with the monitor during each contraction.  But I also knew it was important to monitor Baby Max's fetal heart rate during each contraction and for ONCE Baby Max was actually staying on the monitor.  The last thing I wanted to do was complain about the fetal heart rate monitor.  I ended up working through active contractions for about 3 hours.  And as a side note (especially for other pregnant ladies) ... My contractions never followed a "normal" pattern or at least a contraction pattern as I understood to be explained by my OB.  I would have a "very painful contraction" which would last a minute and then "almost" disappear but the contraction pain would never go completely away. The "very painful contraction" would then be followed by two "somewhat painful contractions" about 30 seconds apart and 30 seconds long before the series of contractions would end and I would get about a two minute break before the cycle started again.  My contractions followed a somewhat similar process the entire time.  ... I always made Kara laugh because I could watch the monitors and every time a new series of contractions was getting ready to start I would go "OH BOY!" and then proceed to close my eyes and put my hands over my head (no idea why I did this) and I would enter a different world.  I was never a screamer during active labor but I was definitely a "hummer" and for some reason I kept humming "When The Saints Go Marching In" (I'm a strange creature.).  It was my way of focusing the pain somewhere other than my body.  My "OH BOY!" was always Kara's cue to jump on the counter pressure on my back.  So as I mentioned we labored without an epidural for about 3 hours.  It was about 1pm, our nurse was at lunch, and the nurse covering by room came in to do the "What is your pain level?" and let me tell you I was now at a good "8 or 9" pain level.  The nurse indicated that it might be time to get my epidural.  I thought that sounded like a perfectly wonderful plan.  I was starting to get very tired during the contractions.  I could also tell that my body was starting to fight hard against the contractions.  Chelsea came back from lunch and did another cervical check and I had not really progressed at all, I was still a good 3cm - 4cm.  I'm not going to fib.  I panicked a ton.  I thought my lack of dilation would mean (1) it was too early for me to get the epidural and/or (2) Baby Max was just too big to move down into the birth canal.  Chelsea made a call to my OB (they were in constant contact with one another all day long via cell phone) and my OB immediately agreed to let me have the epidural and then proceed with breaking my bag of water.  The OB thought that I would only dilate once my water was broken.  The OB also thought I would dilate very fast too.  I had to have an entire bag of fluid, via IV, before I could receive the epidural so this was started right away to speed up the process.  It was also at this time that I told Chelsea that I could not stand the pain from the fetal heart rate monitor any longer and she needed to readjust it ASAP.  And of course Chelsea responded with "Why didn't you let me know earlier?" and I said, "Baby Boy actually stayed on the monitor.  You don't make your son mad on his birthday."  But then when Chelsea took the fetal heart rate monitor off my belly her eyes grew very wide and she responded with "Oh God!  Kara please don't come look at this."  Needless to say the fetal heart rate monitor left a very good bruise on my gigantic belly!  Chelsea was finally able to make the call to the anesthesiologist and request my epidural.  We only waited about 10 minutes for the anesthesiologist to arrive to our room.  There was a nursing student in the room with us for a good portion of my labor process.  It was this student's very first day on an L&D floor.  So of course the anesthesiologist jumped all over the opportunity to let the nursing student watch the epidural (from a safe seated position in a chair).  I'm all about teaching the future generation of nurses but the anesthesiologist took it upon himself to narrate the entire epidural process.  So imagine ... I was having active contractions.  I was told NOT to move an inch because "big ass needle going into my back".  I was in a God awful seated position while arching my back.  Did I mention I was having painful contractions?  AND the anesthesiologist was narrating every step of the epidural process.  ... Needless to say I was holding onto Chelsea with all my might and trying not to pass out from the narration going on behind me.  I finally whispered to Chelsea "I really need that man to stop talking NOW." but thankfully all was done and the epidural was securely in place.  I had survived the process.  I laid back down on the bed and within minutes I felt like a million dollars.  I had not been this pain free for the last 10+ weeks.  It pure bliss.  Like the best drunken buzz EVER.  And per Kara I kept repeating the same phrases over and over again ...

"You should really offer these to all pregnant ladies at home.  Like you should be able to get them prior to labor."
"Who in their right mind does not get an epidural?"
"No really I can't fell a damn thing.  Am I giving birth?"
"Let's have a party."
(and my favorite) "Thank You Epidural Man."

I feel like this epidural was a bit "stronger" then the epidural I had with the Jakob and Alex.  Perhaps it was just how my body reacted to the drugs this time around.  But I literally could not even lift my legs up.  They were like rocks.  This time, however, I could still "feel" the contractions (also different then with the boys) but the contractions simply felt like braxton hicks contractions.  I could deal with that.  No problem.  The resident OB came in about 30 minutes later to FINALLY break my bag of water.  I had been waiting for this moment the entire pregnancy.  It did not disappoint.  It was the most bizarre feeling in the world.  It felt like someone poured several buckets of water out of me.  I could immediately breath again.  And my stomach literally deflated in size.  I definitely was carrying around a lot of fluid!  The fluid was perfectly clear which was great.  I labored on my left side after the epidural as Baby Max still did not like for me to be in any other position.  It was only after a short time that I began to feel my contractions again but only on my lower right side.  Chelsea told me to give a holler if I found myself breathing through the contractions again.  I noticed within minutes that I was actively working my way through a contraction again with a rousing rendition of my song.   The anesthesiologist had given me a patient controlled button to use to dispense more medicine should I need it.  I don't think that damn button ever did a thing for me! I eventually told Chelsea that I was struggling through the contraction pain so she called the anesthesiologist back into the room to take a look.  Because I only felt the pain after the OB resident had broken my bag of water the anesthesiologist thought that the catheter in my back had simply moved out of place when I was rolled over onto my back to have my bag of water broken.  The anesthesiologist adjusted the catheter in my back and also gave me a "boost" of more medicine.  And within minutes I was feeling like a million bucks again.  Thank You Epidural Man!  It was also during this time that Baby Max started to have some regular drops in his heart rate during each contraction.  His fetal heart rate always seemed to come back up after a contraction but he was definitely struggling a bit on the decent down the birth canal.  The nurse gave my OB another call and it was decided to put internal monitors on both Baby Max (to measure his fetal heart rate) and on me (to measure the actual strength of my contractions).  This meant we could get rid of the monitors on my belly.  I was OK with this all.  The monitor for Baby Max was attached to his scalp and the monitor for me was attached to the inside of my uterus.  The resident OB came in to place the monitors.  There was no pain in doing this procedure as I could not feel a thing with the epidural.  I did however fell like a beached whale anytime I had to move around in that bed.  Did I mention how numb I felt?.  I felt a lot of calm and peace once I knew the physicians and nurses were getting a 100% accurate read on Baby Max's fetal heart rate.  I continued to labor on my left side for about another hour.  I was not in any pain.  My blood pressure on the other hand began to drop VERY low.  This was actually the first sign that I was entering the transition phase of labor.  But then at one point my room filled with about 5 different nurses and I got a feeling that perhaps my blood pressure was getting just a wee bit too low.  My blood pressure was consistently hovering around 80/50 and for a person with a normal blood pressure of 120/80 I was beginning to feel some side effects.  Let's just say I wouldn't be getting up to try and walk across the room anytime soon.  They moved my blood pressure cuff to my leg and started to monitor it every 5 minutes instead of every 30 minutes.  It was also during this time that I got extremely nauseous and I could NOT stop my body from shaking uncontrollably.   All of these were signs of transition in labor.  Both the nausea and the body tremors were not new to me as I also experienced them both during the transition with Jakob and Alex.  I never did throw-up during labor.  The body shakes also ended as soon as I got through transition phase of labor.  It was about 3pm when Chelsea came back in to check me again ... I was fully dilated!  Max was still very high up in the birth canal though and so it was time to "labor down" just like I did with Jakob and Alex.

So I remained on my left side and Chelsea shoved a giant peanut ball between my legs to open up my pelvis and encourage Baby Max to follow the light and find the exit!  I remained like this for what felt like an eternity!  It was also during this time that I began to feel my contractions on my right side again.  I think "pissed off" would understate how extremely frustrated I got at that point.  I mentioned the pain to Chelsea again but because I was so close to delivery the anesthesiologist wanted to back down on my epidural.  So I found myself in a different world as I went through the labor down process. It was rough.  But I knew that we were only a short time away from meeting our little boy.  I attempted a "practice push" about two hours after I began the labor down process.  It was about 5:30pm.  My OB was technically no longer working for the day and as is the case my delivery should have been transferred over to the OB on call for the weekend.  That was not my OB but an OB with another practice. But my OB was adamant on being the one to delivery Baby Max.  And while I would have totally understood if the OB on call was the one to deliver Baby Max I was so excited to actually have my OB present for Baby Max's birth.  It was such a great experience.  She was absolutely wonderful and I feel like we came full circle in the care I have received from her beginning in December 2011 when I got pregnant with Jakob and Alex.  So I attempted my first "practice push" and of course Baby Max had a major deceleration in his fetal heart rate.  My stomach dropped a bit.  How was I going to push this baby out if Baby Max didn't do well during a contraction?  My OB gave instructions to hold off any pushing until she was able to arrive at the hospital.  The OB needed to be in the room to make any quick decisions should Baby Max continue to show signs of distress.  My OB was waiting for her husband to get home from work and planned to be at the hospital no later than 6pm.  Not a problem!  So we all just kind of hung out for about 30 minutes.  I started to feel an increased pressure to push about this time.  So needless to say the 30+ minutes of waiting were somewhat intense for me.  However, I don't feel as if the pressure ever became "unbearable" as I had remembered it so vividly with Jakob and Alex.  I was also beginning to get stressed out because I did not know if I was physically going to be able to push for a long time like I did with Jakob and Alex.  I noticed as soon as the pressure to push came about that the pain I was feeling on my right side was gone.  Yay! I now wonder if the pain, the second time around, was simply Baby Max trying to make his way down the birth canal.  It was about 6:15pm when my OB wandered into the L&D room.  It was time to start pushing.  My OB told me to once again try a practice push.  I was able to move Baby Max down a bit more into the birth canal but again Baby Max showed signs of distress with a steep drop in his fetal heart rate.  My OB looked at me and told me that while she was confident I was going to be able to have a vaginal delivery she wanted me to know that it might require the use of forceps.  I just wanted Baby Max to arrive safe and sound.  My OB made a call up to the NICU unit to have a nurse come to our room for the delivery of Baby Max.  I really tried my best to not panic.  I did not want Baby Max to go to the NICU but I was confident in the decisions being made by the team around me.  And I felt included and up to date on all the decisions that were being made in regards to Baby Max.  So once the nurse from the NICU arrived in the room it was GAME TIME!  I would wait until I got a contraction, which I could still feel, and then I would do a series of 3 pushes each contraction.  No one in the room actually counted during the contraction which I LOVED.  My wonderful team of supporters would just scream at me to keep pushing and I could take a breath whenever I needed to do so.  I initially had Chelsea and Kara holding my legs to help me push but Kara was really trying hard to get pictures of the actual birth so the other nurse Sarah (who we met in the AM) offered to take over so Kara could get all the pictures!  Sarah had come into the room to assist with Baby Max after the delivery.  It was during this first contraction that I realized everyone in the room was super excited.  What I didn't realize was they could already see the top of Baby Max's head.   I pushed through another set of contractions and again the room was all jazzed up!  Baby Max still did not like the contractions but his fetal heart rate was not dropping as low as it had been previous to my OB arriving for the delivery.  I also kept oxygen on my face in between contractions to help bring his heart rate back up.  I swear during contraction #2 it finally registered when someone actually said, "I see his head." so of course after contraction #2 I finally asked the room, "Hold up.  You can already see his head?" and I got a resounding "YES!".  My OB offered me a look and I jumped at the opportunity ... There was the top of Baby Max's head.  HELL YES I COULD DO THIS!!!  So contraction #3 arrived and I again pushed with all my might and realized, from watching in the mirror, that Baby Max was going to be here very soon.  I glanced at the clock after contraction #3 and made a comment to Chelsea "I planned this all along.  I wanted to make sure the baby arrived before you got off work at 7pm."  It was like 6:43pm at the time.  And then on contraction #4, after only 15 minutes of pushing, out popped Baby Max's head!  And then his shoulders got a bit stuck ... This was the only moment of panic in the room. It was the only time I could feel a bit of fear from the nurses and my OB.  I knew Max was a big boy and this was his opportunity to prove it to us all.  My OB turned Max a different direction and the nurses pushed as hard up on my legs as possible and I pushed with all my might and out popped Baby Max (who proceeded to tear me apart with that single shoulder move).  And suddenly my precious baby boy was screaming up a storm on my chest.

It was 6:46pm.  (Do you remember that I guessed 7pm?) I lost my mind.  It was this moment that I had longed for for over 4 years.  A healthy newborn baby plopped on my chest the moment after delivery.  I could not hold back the emotions.  It was all like a dream to me.  Max was doing wonderful and as a result never left my chest for the first two hours of his life!  It was perfection.  And I drank up every single moment of our time together.   I never even noticed the delivery of my placenta or my OB stitching me up.  I had a 3rd degree tear that was a result of Baby Max's shoulders getting stuck.  My OB was done with everything within an hour of arriving into our room.  It was a perfect delivery!  I simply could not ask for more.  My recovery had been okay considering the 3rd degree tear.  I am now 2.5 weeks out from delivery and I actually feel fairly normal now.  I continue to take it slow and not overdue it too much.  But that is hard with preschoolers in the house.