Monday, May 21, 2018

Ivy Sue Tappana

40 Weeks
The due date was April 27th, 2018. That day came and went. And so did the next day, and the next day, and the next day...

And soon I was four days overdue.

In past pregnancies, I wouldn't have minded being overdue because I didn't get too uncomfortable, or experience many of the problems other pregnant woman complain about at the end. This pregnancy was very different. Sleep was hard to come by, I was nauseous often with terrible heartburn, my ligaments HATED me, and the mental game of waiting was getting to me most of all. I was just done. So by the time Tuesday rolled around, I was getting desperate.

That morning, I woke up with some contractions happening. Not wanting it to turn into false labor like the previous Tuesday, I tried everything I could think of to help keep them going strong. Bouncing on a yoga ball, moving around, eating more pineapple, and much much more. They were coming every couple of minutes and lasting about forty-five seconds. Sounds pretty serious, but I knew it wasn't real labor yet so I turned on my labor playlist and sang and walked and breathed through the contractions, going on with my day.

By naptime, I was exhausted and super emotional. I couldn't stop crying. The week before, the same thing had happened and at naptime my contractions slowly went away. I was terrified of it happening again but knew there was nothing I could do about it. As I tried to rest, the contractions slowed down to ten minutes apart, and then to only occasional, and by 4:00 pm they disappeared completely. I cried about being pregnant for forever. Depressed, emotional, and worn-out, I went through the motions of dinner and evening activities, went on a long walk with the family hoping it would help jump-start something, and finally laid down in bed at 10:30 pm, exhausted.

As I drifted towards sleep, I realized that I was having contractions every ten minutes again, lasting around a minute. They weren't too intense, and I was able to sleep between them as I timed them on my tracker. About an hour later, they were still ten minutes apart but lasting longer and I couldn't sleep through them anymore. I noticed I had to focus on my breathing and talking myself into relaxing as they peaked. Around midnight, the contractions were about six minutes apart and I started getting shaky and nauseous. This is usually a sign that I'm in transition, so I started to get pretty nervous. I got up and tried walking around to see if movement changed anything and to distract myself. I did NOT want to go to the hospital and only be at a three, or worse, have the contractions stop again and be sent home.

Finally, at 1:00 am I called the midwife to let her know I was going to the hospital. I remembered how terrible it was to labor in the car with Kendrick and I did not want to go through anything too painful during the half hour drive, so I was ready to get it over with before the contractions were unbearable. I expected to have to try to prove that I was in actual labor to the midwife, considering my contractions were still about six minutes apart, but she just said she would meet me there. (Later, she said that she could hear in my voice that I was progressing pretty far. I had no idea!) I called my mom to come stay with the other kids, woke up Brigham, and by 1:30 am we were on the road.

Laboring in the car was as torturous as I remembered, and I breathed a sigh of relief as we pulled up in front of the hospital around 2:00 am. The people in the emergency room wanted to make me sit in a wheelchair as they took me to labor and delivery, but there was NO way I was sitting down again through contractions. They refused to let me go without a wheelchair, so I told them they could push an empty one next to me as I walked. Walking next to someone pushing an empty wheelchair was somewhat amusing, as we made our way through the hospital.

Checking into triage, I was by myself while Brigham was busy parking the car still, and they were patient with me as I had to take breaks and stop talking often to make it through contractions. The nurse handed me a robe, and when she came into check on me I still was in my clothes kneeling on the floor, breathing through the pain. Suprised, she said she would check back in a couple minutes. I went to the bathroom and Brigham was waiting when I got back to the room. He was able to help me get into my robe.

At this point the contractions were intense. I wanted to try and go without an epidural this time, but planned on using laughing gas the hospital offered for laboring mothers. I changed from kneeling on the floor to kneeling on the bed, clutching the back of it as I moaned and breathed heavily through each contraction. I remember thinking the next few thoughts:

"I wish they would hurry up and check me in so I can get to my room and get some gas and air - I don't know how much more of this I can take."

"I'm probably only dilated to a six and it's going to get much worse than this and this is unbearable!"

"Hurry up!"

"Where is my midwife? She should be here and fix all of this and take care of me."

"I can't do this anymore. I don't want to do this anymore. But I can't say any of those things because I'm not in transition yet and you're supposed to say that when you're in transition."

I really really wanted to sob during each contraction because, man, they hurt, but it took too much effort and so I sorta just cried a sort of whimpering and the end of each one. The midwife had arrived, and both her and the nurse's words of encouragement helped me stay sane. They told me how good I was doing and to keep breathing like I was. Each time I started to whimper they would offer more encouragement and tell me to breathe. I was lucky to have my favorite midwife, Amy, on call and I was SO happy she was there.

Amy realized I was progressed much farther than I did, and as the baby moved down the birth canal, she somehow knew by the way I reacted. She explained to me exactly what was happening as it did, and I am still surprised at how she knew. I felt all this sudden shifting and dropping, and then pressure. "That's the baby moving down the birth canal. You're ok, you've got this," Amy encouraged. And then she turned all business-like and turned to the nurse, "I think I need to check how far she is and we need to get her to her room."

Suddenly, the room turned into a whirlwind of commotion and what seemed like a bunch of people were moving around me and shifting things and talking and moving into action. I don't really know the details of what happened because I was trying to make it through each contraction. Amy checked me and I was dilated to a NINE. As in one centimeter away from pushing this baby out.

Part of me was relieved. I had made it and there was no turning back now; I couldn't get an epidural even if I wanted it! And I was in real labor, not only dilated to a four or five. I was surprised that I was making it through transition. I thought it was going to be SO much worse. Don't get me wrong, it was terribly terrible, but I had imagined it getting even worse than that. Part of me was ticked off - I wanted laughing gas and because everything was happening so fast I knew there was no chance I was getting it. I was still in triage! Another part of me was terrified. Did I really want to do this without an epidural? I was still deathly afraid of the ring of fire they talk about when you're pushing the baby out, and any other unknown pain.

But as all those emotions flooded me, they left just as quickly because suddenly everything within my body screamed push and that's all I could focus on. I said, "I need to poop!" and Amy calmly reassured me, "No, that's the baby still moving down, ready to be pushed out." I screamed and yelled on my hands and knees with each contraction as I pushed my baby out. I asked them to take my socks off, as my water hadn't broken yet and I didn't want my socks ruined by blood and birthing fluids. Brigham and the nurses found it comical that I would worry about my socks as I'm pushing out a baby, but for some reason it really mattered to me and they quickly stripped my socks off.

Amy told me how great I was doing with each push and how I was doing everything right which really helped. I felt like a mad woman as I yelled and pushed, but I couldn't help the sounds coming out of me. It was just so intense! After one big push, it felt like a big explosion of fluid and my water broke. Amy soon told me that she could see about a dollar-coin amount of my baby's head. It felt like MUCH more than that should be showing and everyone laughed again as I exclaimed, "That's it!?" I didn't find it very funny.

Within minutes of me being checked, discovering I was at a nine, and then me pushing, I was being rolled from triage into a delivery room. I didn't even know what was really happening because I was just screaming and pushing. I'm sure I caused quite a scene through the halls of labor and delivery. I didn't even care. I hope I didn't traumatize some poor laboring mother.

Once in my actual room, they wheeled me up next to the bed and asked me to transfer over. I was right in the middle of a contraction, felt super annoyed, and completely ignored them. Later, Brigham told me, "It took you a LONG time to move to the other bed when they kept asking you to." And countered, "BECAUSE I WAS PUSHING OUT A BABY!" Eventually, I did gently scoot over to my permanent bed to finish giving birth.

By this time I was SO close to being done. I said to Amy, "Am I pushing too hard? I don't want to tear. Please help me not tear." We had already discussed how my biggest disappointment from previous births were doctor practices that led to stitches, so Amy knew what it meant to me. She reassured me, "Nope, you're doing it just perfect. Keep pushing just like you are. I'll let you know when to stop pushing." So I kept pushing hard and within seconds she was ordering me to stop pushing and to pant instead.

This was the torture of all tortures.

While the head was crowning, it did burn some, but nothing like I had read or imagined. Now, as Amy told me to breathe it burned and felt awful. I panted and tried not to writhe in agony. It felt like hours of panting and at one point I exclaimed that I needed to push! If only to get some relief. Amy said, "No, keep breathing, ha-ha-ha-ha." Obediently, I panted some more and cried and wished with all my soul that this part could be over. (It turns out that Ivy was born with her hand up by her head. The midwife had to pull her hand and arm up and out so that the baby wouldn't lift her elbow as I pushed the rest of her out and cause some serious tearing. Amy had to do this very carefully, which is why I had to pant and not push for what seemed longer than normal.) Ten labor years later - which translates to probably about a minute - she told me to push again. I was happy to oblige and out came my baby at 2:27 am!!

As soon as the baby was out I waited for someone to tell me if it was a boy or a girl. We had waited to find out and I was dying to know. I waited and waited and waited, not understanding why no one was saying anything but not able to muster the energy to ask. Finally, Brigham asked, "Do you want to know what it is?"


"It's a girl!"

I was so so happy. I knew it was a girl; I didn't know why I had doubted so much (oh wait, because Brigham kept saying he had the strongest feeling it was a boy)! I was able to turn from my hands and knees onto my back and they laid her on my chest.

I expected to just feel relief and joy once the baby was out - and I did feel relief - but I didn't expect how uncomfortable I still would be. With an epidural, you don't feel any of the after-birthing parts, and now I was feeling them all! I was still having contractions, the umbilical cord was pulling on all my sore and sensitive lady parts, stinging and bothering me, and I couldn't stop shaking! I was SO miserable. Ivy was crying, crying, crying on my chest and there was nothing I could really do to help her because I was trying to calm my body down, and she was just stressing me more. I remember thinking to myself that I wanted an epidural just for this part because of how terrible I felt.

Thanks to the awesome work of Amy, I didn't tear and only had a small scratch that didn't need any stitches. After cutting the cord and delivering the placenta, I was finally able to convince everyone to let Brigham take Ivy and do skin to skin with her. As soon as he had her skin to skin, she calmed right down which lowered my stress and I focused on just getting through the contractions and the unbearable shaking that lasted for about an hour and a half after delivery.

I know reading it sounds long, but it was so fast. I arrived at the hospital and a half hour later delivered my baby. They didn't even have time to put an IV in. My midwife explained that because my birth was so fast, the hormones were still working their way through me and that was why I was shaking so much and so uncomfortable. Ugh, I hated it! Then she joked about how funny it is when her paperwork takes longer than the delivery.

After Ivy stopped crying and the shaking and contractions slowly subsided, I finally felt the rush of joy and confidence. I kept saying, "I did it! I can't believe I did it!" I was so proud of myself. I marveled at the human body and what my body is capable of doing. I was in labor for only four hours before the baby arrived, with no pain relief. What a whirlwind! I am strong! I can do hard things! It was not fun, but not as bad as I thought it was going to be. I quickly gave my thanks to Heavenly Father and cried tears of happiness.

Brigham gave me Ivy and I marveled at my new baby girl. She is all Tappana again. I told Brigham that we can't have any more kids because he only makes one kind. Of course I think my kids are adorable, but I was really hoping for a baby that had more Nelson genes. I'm afraid the Tappana genes triumphed again. So I snuggled my Tappana baby and settled into the hospital.

Ivy weight 7 lbs 3 ounces and was 20.5 inches long. Long and lean! She has the longest fingers, feet, and toes I have EVER seen on a newborn.

I tried to take a picture, but it really doesn't do her monkey toes justice.

The hospital was a long, exhausting couple of days. I really wanted to get out of there, and because we had her in the middle of the night, it made for lots of interrupted sleep with doctors and nurses checking on us at all hours of the night and early morning.

They took forever getting to Ivy's first bath, waiting for her temperature to be only 0.2 degrees higher than it was. But she finally got all cleaned up about twelve hours after she was born.

She didn't like the transfer or sudden shock of her first bath, but she quickly settled in and relaxed in the warm water, which is what she still does today.

She was even more snuggly once she was all clean and smelling the way only newborns do.

Ivy slept and slept and slept in the hospital, rarely wanting to wake up and eat. I was hoping that not having an epidural would help her not be so sleepy as my other newborns, but it seems that it was just being born causing the long sleeping and not the drugs.

Ivy has the same dimpled chin that Lydia does and she looks like a strong mixture of Lydia and Ammon. Sometimes I don't know who she looks like more.

My parents brought the kids in after school on May 2nd, the day Ivy was born, so they could meet their new sister.

Lydia was eager to hold her new sister right away - she had been praying for a girl! Ammon didn't want to hold her, but you could tell he was enchanted as he couldn't help but keep touching her. It was so tender. Kendrick wanted nothing to do with me or with the baby, but actually did better than I expected by letting Brigham hold both him and Ivy at the same time.

I have such a beautiful family - I'm so lucky.

Not only did Ivy sleep, but boy did she poop! I've never laughed so hard as I did when Brigham was changing her diaper at one point. The nurses had already changed about three of the meconium diapers that are nasty and hard to clean. Brigham thought he had escaped this time. However, Ivy pooped again and he went to clean her up. As he held her skinny legs up and wiped her bum, she suddenly grunted and pooped this long slimy blackish-green amount of stuff and I laughed as Brigham exclaimed in distaste. After that happened, he went to clean her bum again and as he wiped, she did the same thing again! He told her she better be done - as she slept soundly through all of this - and attempted to do a final clean up...only to have it happen again. This cycle repeated itself until the mound of wipes and poop grew on the diaper to quite a large amount, and I was hysterically wiping tears of laughter from the bed beside them. I didn't know such a little body could hold so much poop in it! The pile of poop and wipes was massive! Brigham was so concerned that he called the nurse in to check on the amount of poop. The nurse did admit that it was quite a bit, but assured Brigham there was nothing to be worried about. I just giggled. To watch newborn Ivy sleep through her ever-growing stack of poop and wipes as she horrified Brigham: priceless.

That night was another long one with more exams and interruptions and hours spent sweating on the super uncomfortable hospital bed.

But I'll always remember the tender moments, just Ivy and I as I nursed her and got to know my fourth baby. I also felt so much better recovery-wise than I had in past pregnancies. Not tearing and not being hooked up to anything or having to wait for the numbness to wear off was amazing! I was ready to go.

We were eager to leave the next day, and I took lots of pictures of Ivy in her going home outfit as we waited to finally be discharged.

Ivy had such good color and although she has a hat on in most of these pictures so you can't tell, she had plenty of dark hair. Especially in the back. She probably was born with the most hair out of all of my kids.

As we were waiting to leave, she finally opened her eyes for a bit to say hello. It was hard work for her!

We finally were discharged! Ironically they once again didn't even offer me a wheelchair on the way out of the hospital after just giving birth, though they insisted on me riding in one when I arrived and didn't want to. I don't get that place.

So we were off to be a family of six. I can't believe that I have four children. That blows my mind. I always wanted to be a mom, but never really could picture myself where I am now. I'm so grateful to my midwife for her work and help to have the birth experience I wanted, and to my husband. Brigham told me he was really scared for me to have it naturally and he thought it would be much more terrible with me screaming and crying hysterically. Instead, he thought it was one of the most beautiful experiences to watch and expressed how impressed he was. That really touched me.  Afterwards, I felt sort of embarrassed by my yelling while I pushed, but he said it was so natural and amazing. He's always so supportive and positive and kind to me. I love him. I'm grateful to my parents for their help and encouragement and support with my other children. And to everyone else for their love, kind words, and service.

And that's my crazy birth story. I love this little girl, Ivy Sue Tappana born May 2nd at 2:27 am.  I can't believe I did it naturally and at how primal, spiritual, and wonderful the creation and birth journey is. I'm so blessed to take part of the life-giving process with my Heavenly Father and I thank Him for it daily. There is truly no greater blessing in my life. Welcome to our family Ivy, I love you!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Tappana Times: Spring in April

April was the month. The month that baby number four was due. And since I had to make it until the end of the month, I tried to keep busy.

37 Weeks at the beginning of April

We spent a lot of time outside on walks, enjoying the GORGEOUS blossoms and springtime blooms.

During spring break, I put the kids to work, teaching them how to clean out the fridge. And we worked on their community service project by picking up garbage around the neighborhood.

They earned their day at the Pacific Science Center. At the IMAX theater, the boys both fell asleep while the girls and I enjoyed our educational Amazon film.

I did spend some time washing and putting away baby clothes, marveling at how tiny a human can be.

Kendrick seemed to be preparing for the new baby, as well.

We had plenty of piano triumphs, with Lydia performing in her first piano recital.

Lydia's teacher and others comment on how gifted she is at the piano. I realized this long ago and we decided to invest some money towards her talent and get her real piano lessons from someone who is more qualified than me. She has progressed so quickly since her lessons began six months ago, and I love hearing the skill flow from her fingertips and watching her joy as she plays. She played superbly that night and I'm so proud of her.

Ammon also passed off his first piano book.

Always a fun achievement!

We spent a fun evening out at Kanaskat Palmer - one of our favorite places - enjoying a picnic dinner, hiking, and rock-throwing.

It was getting harder to distract myself from my impending due date, but luckily my brother came into town with his girlfriend, and they brought me along to spend the day in Seattle and at the aquarium.

Because my due date was the day before Brigham's and my anniversary, I wanted to have the baby either a week early or a week late in order to have the birthday as far from our anniversary as possible. I began eating pineapple to prepare and did a lot of exercising and labor induction tricks the week before. But to no avail.

40 weeks

It was soon my due-date and I was a full forty weeks.

On my actual due date, I tried to keep my spirits up with a busy-ish day.

I went to boot camp and got a due-date, belly-bump picture with my favorite ladies.

Bought more pineapple.

And tried unsuccessfully to have a good nap.

That night my family planned to go see the new Avenger's movie. I had zero desire to see it and wanted Brigham to be able to go with everyone, so I said I would stay home with the kids. Feeling pretty sorry for myself about having to spend my due date night alone at home with the kids, I was touched when my grandma called and wanted to have dinner and rent a movie together, her treat. She figured I was having a pity party, and wanted to help. She's so thoughtful and kind to me at times. I love her.

So, that's what we did. The kids watched Ferdinand the Bull upstairs while Grandma and I watched The Darkest Hour downstairs after some delicious Cafe Rio. A fine due date evening if you ask me.

As my due date passed, it was our anniversary the next day and we stuck to our gaming tradition and managed to fit in an epic Arkham Horror game.

We won.

And then April ended and I was still pregnant. No April baby, and it seemed that I would be aiming for a week late. April Fools on me!