Friday, February 20, 2015

Peter Lawrence Bosscher

You've no doubt heard the news via phone call, text, Facebook or email, but our blog wouldn't be complete without a nice long post about little Peter!

On Wednesday, February 11 (8 days past my official due date), we all woke up, a bit disappointed that there wasn't any baby action in the night, but with a "distract and enjoy" plan of going to the beach after naps. The beach was lovely and although there wasn't a long shore line for me to "walk the baby out," I did walk a bit, feeling some contractions, but nothing intense or regular. 

We had dinner and then drove the windy, 35-minute drive back to Campbell just in time for the girls' bedtime. At 8:30, the girls were in bed and I told Nate and my mom that I feel a bit different tonight, although I'm not making any promises that this is it. I turned on an episode of Call the Midwife, a great BBC drama about midwives in a poor part of London in the 1950's. Over the next hour or so, my contractions quickly went from 9 minutes to 3-4 minutes apart. They were also more of the "brace yourself and breath" type contractions, so I was pretty sure it was time. I texted my doula, Tracie and Nate put our stuff in the car. Around 10:30, we were back on highway 17, headed back to the beach.

Two days earlier, I was 3.5 centimeters dilated, so I had great hope that when we finally checked into the hospital, things would move faster than Cora and Louisa's births. Tracie arrived shortly after we did and immediately started massaging my back during contractions. My acceptance of her hands-on approach helped Nate to immediately get involved, either supporting my body weight as I tried to find the best position for each contraction or applying pressure to my lower back. During my other labors, I don't think my contractions ever got closer than 4 minutes apart, whereas this time they seemed to be about 60 seconds apart.

Shortly after settling into our room, I was six centimeters, which was music to my ears. Things moved so quickly that there was no need to talk about pitocin, and around 1:15 am, I begged for drugs. You don't really want drugs, do you? Nate asked. Yes, I do, I mean, no I don't really, but I do! was my answer. My midwife, Timmi, who happened to be on-call for births only on Wednesdays, said I have an idea. Let's do an exam to check your progress. She announced that I was 9.5 cm dilated, then paused, and said okay, you're complete!

WHAT?! Crazy. Amazing! Hallelujah! Too late for drugs. Crazy fast labor. I was super-excited. The pushing wasn't easy, and I was not quiet about it, but it only lasted about 15-20 minutes. I couldn't stop saying oh baby, baby, whoa, whoa as I held our little (big, actually) slimy baby. Everyone else was apparently very concerned about my blood loss, but I couldn't care was over and I wasn't totally exhausted. In-fact, I felt something of a runner's high from the shock of how quick and intense it all was.

Peter spent the first two hours of his life on me, teaching himself how to nurse. It was a beautiful distraction from the aggressive pushing the nurses were doing as they were trying to stop my bleeding. Removing some clots and giving me pitocin got everything under control and we were left in peace around 4:15 am.

My mom brought Louisa and Cora around 11 am the next day. Later Louisa told me, Mom, on the way to the hospital, I was so excited to see Peter, I could hardly stand it. I smiled, then she asked, what does 'stand it' mean? Oh Lou, I love listening to you talk.

Both Louisa and Cora are totally in love with him and whenever they see him, they touch his head and call him by name; Baby Peter according to Lou and Didi (i.e. baby) to Cora. I think he looks a lot like Louisa did when she was born and my guess is that he'll have light brown hair, possibly with some red. Nate's hoping for blond hair so we have one of each.

We took advantage of every last minute we were allowed to stay at the hospital. No, the beds were not nearly as comfortable as our bed, but room service, cable t.v. and really sweet nurses made for a pretty relaxing stay. Plus, they were closely monitoring my blood pressure, which was totally normal throughout my entire pregnancy until after delivery. The same thing happened with Cora and after a week or so, it was fine again. At my last check on Wednesday, it was down to 130/87, which is still high, but much better than the 150s/90s they were seeing in the hospital.

We came home from the hospital on Valentine's Day and my mom prepared a sweet little party for Peter's "zero" birthday. The last three pictures perfectly describe Peter's first week at home. I really did forget how much newborns sleep and love to be held. The last two pictures were from his afternoon sun time little way to encourage more night-time sleeping. The first few nights he was  waking to nurse every 1-2 hours. Whoa. Exhausting. But last night was a lot better and we're hopeful that he'll follow in his sisters' footsteps and be a good sleeper. Either way though, we're thrilled you're finally here little mister!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Last Place You Look

I'm truly not going crazy with every overdue minute that passes, but it is fun to read about and try to induce labor, old wive's tales or not. Most of them I find harmless and actually healthy, so I've been checking things off the list.

Here's what I've done:

Tuesday (39 weeks): foot massage with my good friend Heather
Thursday: ate an eggplant sandwich
Friday: ate another eggplant sandwich
Saturday: prenatal yoga; pineapple smoothie
Sunday, Monday: pineapple smoothies
Monday: induction massage (heavy on the feet pressure points!)
Tuesday (40 weeks): pineapple smoothie; swimming laps
Wednesday: prenatal yoga; pineapple smoothie, pedicure with foot massage
Thursday: induction acupuncture; pineapple smoothie; ate (somewhat) spicy black bean soup

Then there are a bunch of things I've done daily, like sitting on a yoga ball, dancing, walking, drinking raspberry leaf tea, cleaning and organizing. I've also heard that eating extra salt can help because you actually want your body to retain fluid. So I've been trying to enjoy salty things. And constipation is a labor killer, or so an acupuncturist told me when I was pregnant with Cora, so extra fiber and aloe vera juice (a gentle, natural stool softener) have been on my daily menu. You might be wondering what I think about evening primrose oil. I took it from 38-40 weeks (half the recommended dose of 1000 mg per day) but stopped when my midwife told me I was almost fully effaced. It seems to be well documented that EPO won't induce labor, but it will prepare the cervix by thinning/effacing. The only thing I won't try is castor oil. I've heard it just wrecks you.

Yes, of course there is a rumor about sex, but because this is a family blog, I won't recall when or how often we've tried that.

Nate asked me today if I'll swear by acupuncture if I go into labor tonight. It made me think of a funny story from a family friend who was looking all over the house for something and when she finally found it, she exclaimed, it's always in the last place you look! That's how I feel about my induction's going to be the last thing I try. May blogging about induction be the last thing I try!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Au Naturel, Little Mister?

I'm not sure I should actually try to articulate these thoughts on what could be the eve of our baby's birthday, but I want to. What I want to think through and share is why a natural childbirth is important to me this time around. The danger in doing this publicly is that I could offend someone who doesn't find it important. Another danger is that I'll read this after choosing drugs and feel guilty. The benefit, though, is that perhaps when the going gets tough, as I know it will, I might feel compelled to fight a little bit harder.

It's funny though. I don't regret choosing an epidural with Cora for a few reasons. First, I don't think there were any negative effects to her or me. Second, I'm glad to have experienced birth both ways. And third, well, let's be honest: from 5:00 until 10:03 am the morning of her birth, Nate got to rest and I felt like I was floating on a super-comfy cloud.

So why do I feel stubborn about avoiding drugs this time? I guess I want to see/confirm what my body is capable of and to push back, very privately, against the notion that a laboring woman is sick and births must occur quickly and on schedule. I want to know if my body can birth this baby without pitocin, something I have yet to do. And to me, accepting pitocin causes my mental strength to diminish pretty darn quickly and is the point during my labor with Cora that I adamantly requested the epidural.

I haven't been thinking about all of this for very long. We do have a doula and we have been planning to use Hypnobirthing since September or October, but when I thought about epidurals and other common interventions, I sort of brushed if off, saying hopefully not, but we'll see.

But just today, I went to a prenatal yoga class that really brought "interventions" to the front of my mind. The class was half discussion/education and half yoga. I've purposely avoided this type of prenatal yoga class since my pregnancy with Louisa, feeling that I was too informed for something so first-time-pregnancy-related. I love how God humbles me while providing for me. My mom arrived last Wednesday night, so I wouldn't have been able to go to this particular class last week. And obviously I wouldn't have gone to the class if I had the baby on time or early. But he's comfy in there, I'm looking for things to fill my days, and my mom was here to watch the I went...and what an amazing blessing it was.

A literal blessing. In all the classes I've attended with Nanci, my awesome yoga instructor, I've never seen her give a blessing to someone who most likely won't be back for another class before she has her baby. She didn't mention it on Saturday, which I thought for sure would be my last class, nor did she do it for Charity the Saturday before, when she knew she'd be induced on Monday. So anyway, I just totally see it as a God thing...a way for him to give me patience and peace (two things I've been praying for a ton) as I prepare to meet this little Mister.

I wouldn't guess that Nanci is a Christian even, but her blessing felt so prayer-like that I was able to bask in the moment in the same way I did last week at my Bible study when they prayed for me, the delivery and the baby. And she prayed for all the things I'd choose in an ideal birth: patience, strength, courage when things get tough. She prayed that the baby would be born and be able to come right up on my chest and nurse right away, which is a very vivid, beautiful memory I have from Louisa's birth. I'm not often moved to tears by things like this, but I was so touched, surrounded by 10 or so pregnant ladies, being led in prayer by a pretty awesome yoga instructor that I only met five months ago.

This beautiful yoga experience, followed by a wonderfully relaxing pedicure, really helped get me through post-due-date-day-one.

With all this being said, I feel like I also need to acknowledge that while I want to remain a bit stubborn, I can't write off interventions altogether, because I don't know what turns the birth will take. If the baby is in danger, the birth plan goes out the window and I follow my midwife's recommendations, whether it be pitocin or a c-section.

See Where Our Pictures Were Taken