And Then There Were Three

  Wow. It's been a crazy couple of weeks, and I have a very valid-and adorable-reason for not updating. A reason of the newborn baby variety! Allow me to start from the beginning..."the beginning" in this case being 40 weeks and 4 days pregnant. Because OF COURSE I once again went past my due date.

  My mom came to visit on August 13th, and in my mind I'm thinking, "This is perfect. My back pain is now at the 'unmanageable' point, and this is my third baby, and while I certainly don't believe I'll deliver early, I'm hoping for my due date at this point. That way, mom will be here to watch Tony and Alessandra, Will can take me to the hospital without any issues, and my mom will get to see her new grandbaby." Well. I'm sure I don't need to tell you what happened. Naturally, the 15th (my due date) came and went, and on August 17th, my mom unfortunately had to make the trip home to Wisconsin. I was so discouraged, and in so much physical pain, and I was slowly entering panic mode because Will was scheduled to leave on August 31st for Fort Irwin, CA for 5 weeks of training. Not to mention, the baptism was scheduled for August 29th. To say we were beginning to stress is probably the understatement of the year. I went in on August 19th for an appointment with my midwife, and voiced all of my frustrations and concerns. Seeing as how a membrane strip spurred me into labor with Alessandra, my midwife offered to do the same since I was already over my due date. I happily agreed, she did her thing, and I left her office already beginning to feel some fairly strong contractions.

  I stopped by Fort Carson to relieve a very exhausted looking Will from Alessandra Babysitting Duty, and I had three more intense contractions right there in the parking lot. (Picture this, if you will. Lunch time on a crowded military base, a veryvery pregnant woman clutching her belly and moaning her way through contractions in the parking lot while soldiers in my husband's platoon walk by gaping at me. Not my finest hour). Will was becoming increasingly concerned, and he cautiously suggested that he talk to his commander and come home for the rest of the day, because this could very well by the real deal. I was about to tell him not to worry, I'm sure I had plenty of time, when "OHMYGOSH I NEED TO REMEMBER MY BREATHING MY FREAKING LOWER BACK IS KILLING ME AAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHH."

  Suffice to say, Will told his commander he was pretty sure I was in labor, and he was sent home.

  I was pretty sure it was going to be another fast labor, like Alessandra's, and I wanted to be prepared. I made sure all of the things I wanted to take to the hospital were packed up, I texted my doula and let her know that I wasn't in active labor yet, but we would probably have a baby within the next 12 hours, and I got to work on getting this thing going. I did the Miles Circuit. I bounced around on the birth ball (and updated Instagram...thanks for all the prayers, everyone!), kept myself hydrated, and took a walk around the neighborhood with Will and the kids.
Last belly shot!
  By nightfall, I was cranky. I was having intense contractions every 10 minutes, but this had been going on all day, and the contractions didn't seem to be going anywhere. I was exhausted (not having slept very well the night before, and unable to relax knowing that another contractions would be coming up soon). Will put the kids to bed, and around 9:00, he called Madison over in hopes of just getting me to relax. I put some relaxing essential oils in the diffuser in my room, put Gregorian chant on my iPad, and attempted to relax as Madison rubbed my back and used the rebozo wrap to take the pressure off my hips. I eventually drifed off to sleep, and Madison told me that she was going to go back home, but she was on standby if I needed anything. For the next couple of hours, I woke up frequently to contractions, and then fell asleep again. 

  Until 4am. It seems as though the second the clock struck 4, I jumped out of bed, feeling the contractions coming one on top of the other, and shook Will awake. "We have to go to the hospital and we have to go NOW," I begged him, as Will flew out of bed like a man possessed and began running frantically around the room. I was no longer aware of anything "normal;" getting dressed, trying to figure out what in the world we were going to do with Tony and Alessandra, packing the remaining items in the car, etc. I knew with a sinking feeling I was experiencing back labor (because degenerative disk disease isn't quite painful enough). I was swinging my hips back and forth, moaning and breathing my way through contractions, but I just couldn't relax. It felt like someone was shooting a nail gun into my lower back, and tears actually came into my eyes when I thought of the long car ride I had ahead of me. 

  To be honest, I remember very little of what happened next. I knew at one point, Madison showed up at our house (while I was actually yelling at the contractions to leave me alone while standing next to Will's car in the driveway), and she stayed at our house until her friend, Karissa, could show up to watch our kids. Will made it to the hospital in record time, with me crying and yelling my way through the contractions. At one point, Will was convinced I was about to deliver the baby, so he called the hospital and told them he needed someone out front with a wheelchair. Once we arrived, I was silently making a deal with myself; "okay, they're going to check me once I get up to the room. If I'm fully dilated-and I MUST be, because I can tell I'm in transition-I'm going to tough it out and not ask for an epidural, because I know I can do this. If I'm not fully dilated, well, I'll see how far along I am and take it from there." The nurse checked me, and cheerfully informed me that I was at....a five. A FIVE???!!!! I didn't ask, I yelled, "please get me an epidural! I can't last through one more contraction! My back is being ripped in half!" The nurse informed me that she had paged the anesthesiologist, but he was tied up with another patient and I would have to wait a little longer. 
Pictured: Me.
  In the meantime, Will and Madison arrived, and Madison immediately set to work trying to calm me down and take some of the pressure off my lower back. At this point, I was crying, practically scaling the walls in pain, and cursing my body for giving me both a long labor AND a posterior baby. The anesthesiologist finally arrived, and I was thrashing around so much Will had to put his entire body weight on me and forcibly hold me down. (Side note-I'm sure I was an absolute favorite of the medical staff that morning). I kept having contractions one after another, and at one point, I started pushing my way through contractions. Wait a minute, why was I pushing, I was only dilated at a five...The epidural finally, FINALLY kicked in, and according to everyone in the room, I started apologizing profusely to everyone there. "I'm so sorry, Madison! I'm so sorry, Will! I failed!" I don't really remember this part, but apparently everyone just kind of backed away and gave me the, "...okay, crazycakes" look. My midwife came in, checked me and told me that I was fully dilated (hence the pushing during the placement of the epidural), and congratulated me on making it so far with my terrible back pain and back labor. At that point, I could still feel the contractions, but they weren't nearly as severe, and Madison helped me through them. Megan (my midwife) suggested that I lay on my left side, and we got some essential oils and Gregorian chant filling the room. 

  I remember finally feeling ready to push, and since it happened to be the shift change, my second midwife appeared, and things started to pick up. I didn't push for very long, and I remember both of my midwives encouraging me, and Will saying he could see SO much hair, and the baby was almost here, just one more push...
Yep. Definitely worth it.
  I couldn't even process what was happening; I could only focus on the beautiful baby who was placed on my chest. I heard Will say, "It's a boy!" and I thought, "AHA! I knew it all along!" Then my other midwife, Jolene, gave Will kind of a strange look and suggested he check again. Will looked between the legs, and said, "Wait! I mean, it's a girl!" And now I'm all, "What? A girl? We have another daughter? I was wrong again??" We were just in absolute awe over our healthy, beautiful baby girl. I stared at her, kissed her face, and exclaimed over her full head of hair while Will told the nurses we were naming her Gianna Maria (after Saint Gianna Beretta Molla and the Virgin Mary), and once the cord was cut, I passed our new daughter over to Will.
True love. *
   Later in the day, Will went home to pick up the kids, and he brought them back to the hospital to introduce them to their new baby sister. They were both over the moon with excitement (Alessandra was slightly jealous, but still enamored with baby Gianna), and we managed to get some great pictures. I spent the night at the hospital after sending Will home with the kids, snuggling and nursing our precious new baby. There's just something so special about those first 24 hours; the newness, the awe, the newborn smell, the overwhelming love...it's truly impossible to describe, but every new mother knows this feeling. The moment Gianna was placed on my chest, I thought my heart was going to burst. This beautiful little soul whom I had carried for (over) nine months, through a physically painful pregnancy and long labor, was finally here. We had prayed for her, worried over her, all the while without knowing anything about her at all...and she finally arrived, and she is ours. It's truly indescribable.


  Despite my sadness at the thought of saying goodbye to Will so soon after the birth of his second daughter, I can't even begin to describe how blessed we have been with all the help that was bestowed upon our arrival back home. Our good friends came over on Friday evening to meet the baby and bring us food. On Monday, our dear friend Jessica flew in to Colorado to stay with us for a while as a nanny/postpartum doula. Our longtime friends Chrissy and Jared flew IN FROM GERMANY (trust me, that warranted capitalization) to stand up as godparents for Gianna's baptism last weekend. The amazing women from our Catholic Women of the Chapel group organized a meal train for our family, which is awesome because I once again totally bombed the whole "prepare a months worth of frozen meals prior to baby's arrival!" thing. I am grateful beyond words to everyone who prayed for us, offered their help, visited us, brought us food and gifts...we are so blessed. Thank you, thank you, thank you, from the bottom of our hearts. 
 
 




Comments

  1. Love you and love your little girl already. Nice job, mama.

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  2. Gorgeous! Love the story. Can't wait to see you again.

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  3. Intense doesn't even begin to cover it -- yikes!!

    And she is so beautiful, and your choice of names is perfection :) congratulations!!

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  4. Congratulations!! I love her name :)

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  5. Finally just read your birth story---- time escaped me in the midst of my crazy, busy household. Congrats, again. Loved reading this about Gianna's entry into the world. Another great story. Hope your back is on the mend .... or will be soon. Think of you all often. Love, Maureen

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