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Now the birth of Jacinda was on this wise...

Jacinda is over three months old and I have not chronicled her birth on the blog. Bad Mommy!

In case you missed our whole vasectomy reversal experience and the fertility treatment it took to get pregnant, you can catch up here. So we started 2015 knowing we'd gotten pregnant, but it was all very new and very uncertain, so we only told a very few, very close people, at first. Then the pukes and exhaustion set in, and we felt more confident telling more people. Once I had an ultrasound at 7 weeks and saw a healthy heartbeat, the RE (reproductive endocrinologist, Dr. Griffin at Boston IVF) said that the chance of miscarriage was less than 5%, so we opted to tell the kids. We really needed them to be on board with everything because I was falling asleep all the time and gagging from all sorts of odors (garlic, meat, soap, toothpaste, breath, cheese...).

Florida, in May / 6-ish months along

The kids were shocked but soon warmed up to the idea of a new little sibling. Truman wanted a boy and was somewhat disappointed when we learned we were having a girl, but once he calculated the age difference (once the boy would be Truman's age now, Truman would be leaving home!) he realized it didn't really matter much.

The pregnancy went pretty smoothly for the most part. In the third trimester, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, so that meant I had to start seeing a perinatology clinic on top of my regular OB. At first, I was able to keep my blood sugar numbers in check through diet alone, but after a few weeks my fasting numbers went up so I had to take a small pill at bedtime. Fortunately, it never got any worse than that, and I had no complications from it other than having to go to the doctor twice a week, poke my fingers four times a day, and pay for a lot of extra ultrasounds.

Because of the GD, there are two risks - that the baby will grow too large for a vaginal birth, and that the placenta will start to deteriorate - that make doctors want to deliver the baby 39 weeks. Since my previous children came at 39, 36, and 37 weeks on their own, I thought that would be no problem, but as the days of August dragged on, it seemed more and more likely I'd need to be induced.

It turned out that 39 weeks exactly fell on a Saturday, and my doctor said since she was the on-call OB that weekend, I could go in to be induced that day, if I wanted. Figuring it would be nice to start David's paternity leave on a weekend to stretch it out more, we said okay, and on the morning of August 29, we checked into Labor & Delivery. Being my fourth child and third at this particular hospital, we felt we had a pretty good idea of what to expect, although I was a little nervous about being induced.

It was strange to arrive and not be in labor at all! We were taken to our room, and they started asking me the 4,000 questions and typing the answers into the computer. I wasn't crazy about my assigned nurse but at least I didn't have to see her a lot. My doctor, Susan Leinenbach, came in at 7am, earlier than planned because another of her patients had already gone into labor that morning. She broke my water, which I've had done before, and then they started an IV with Pitocin by 8am. I was not having any contractions or any pain.

They kept telling me that if I wanted to get an epidural, I'd need to tell them early because, being a weekend, it might take 45 minutes for the anesthesiologist to come. They said this to me so many times, I started to get a little paranoid about it. How bad would the pain get? When I started to feel the contractions - still by no means terrible, but increasing - at around 10am, I said okay, let's order the epidural, fearful of how bad they might be by 10:45.

Due to being induced, I had an IV going into my right arm. I had a blood pressure cuff on my left arm. In effect, I was strapped to the bed. This gave me very little mobility or chance to use positioning to alleviate my pain at all. The anesthesiologist arrived about five minutes later! The administration of the epidural was the most painful one I've ever had. I had epidurals with all three of my other kids, and a spinal anesthesia during a surgery, but this was just awful. It hurt far more than the contractions. And took forever, it felt like. Finally, it was in, and I laid back. Everything was okay for a couple of minutes, then I started to feel like my arms were really far away from my body and going numb, and I couldn't hear clearly - everything sounded muffled. My vision got dark around the edges and this was starting to freak me out. The nurse laid my bed totally flat and increased the rate on my IV fluids. I was very afraid of losing consciousness and my blood pressure got pretty low. After a little while, it improved, but it was still scary and an epidural side effect I never experienced before.

A little more time went by and not much progress so they gave me a "jellybean" to put between my knees. It looked like a Twinkie and a Minion had a giant baby. But, it must have helped, because the next time they checked, around 2pm, I was at 6cm. My mom brought our kids over to the hospital to visit and David had gone to the cafeteria with them all to get some lunch. While they were gone, I began having a lot more pain, more intense with each contraction. I tried to use this quiet time to really visualize my cervix opening, and by the time they returned, I was in tremendous pain. The nurse pushed a button that was supposed to give me another 'big shot' in the epidural, and this did absolutely nothing to touch the pain. My mom decided to take our kids back home.

By 2:30 the pain was astronomical. They checked me again and the baby was on her way down. I suddenly had a strong visual of a compact car trying to exit my body. I know that sounds crazy but that is exactly how it felt - like a Honda hatchback trying to leave my body, something way too huge for the opening available!

They called Dr. Leinenbach and said she'd be there in ten minutes. I remember thinking, ok, I can start pushing at 2:40, then.... and the next ten minutes were awful. I was strapped down on both sides so all I could do was turn on one side or the other or lie on my back (the worst). The pain did not go away between contractions. I could not bear to be touched or talked to in any way. Suddenly the room filled with nurses in full safety gear but they were all keeping a three-foot distance from me. I didn't realize it at the time, but Jacinda was so nearly born they grabbed a random OB from the hall and had him standing in the room too in case she just came flying out. I never even noticed him there. I was begging the nurses to help me, to tell me what I could do to alleviate this pain, and they offered me absolutely nothing. They were worthless at the time I most needed help. I remember seeing 2:41 and yelling that they lied about ten minutes, then at 2:43, the doctor came in. I started pushing and she was out at 2:49 - face UP, just like Lucy was 12 years ago. A face up baby hurts 10,000x more than a face down baby! The epidural doesn't touch that pain at all. But at least I was able to push Jacinda out in six minutes where it took me 2 hours with Lucy!

Jacinda was marvelous. I was so happy. I have never gone from such terror and pain to such tremendous joy in one moment. They placed her on my chest and her little tongue was sticking out. The hospital encourages an hour of skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth so she was not taken away to be weighed, cleaned, or anything else. She still had bits of blood dried in her hair. They put a hat on her and a blanket over both of us, but that was all. She cried very little! She was so quiet. I think that was the biggest benefit of the immediate skin to skin - the baby was so much calmer and quieter and well adjusted to having just been born than with the others, when they were whisked away and wiped off and given injections and eye goop right away.

just after birth: 7lb 1oz pure perfection

with Dr. Leinenbach

We only stayed at the hospital one night. A lot of things had changed since we had our other kids. For one thing, there is no nursery. They not only "encourage" rooming-in; you have no other option. This was fine for us, but I do remember a time when Truman was born that I was going to be alone and wanted to take a shower and sent him to the nursery. They also won't bathe the baby until they are at least 4 hours old now, and we had to request they do that. Overall, I just really hate being in the hospital. They come in at all hours of the day and night to check your vitals or draw blood. No one seems to talk to anyone else. Someone would come in and ask if I had a breast pump already. Someone else would come in and ask the exact same question ten minutes later. The paperwork for the birth certificate asked for our occupations. Bizarre stuff like that. So we were more than ready to leave the next day! 

Jacinda was great at breastfeeding right from the start and so that was good. I've done both breast- and bottlefeeding with all my children and don't mind using bottles/formula, but like giving them the benefits of breastmilk to start with, and it's so much easier when they latch easily! 

snuggle bug, first week home

Leaving before she was 48 hours old meant we had to return to the hospital for some government-mandated blood tests. She also needed her bilirubin levels checked a few times. We got so dang tired of going back to that stupid hospital. But she overcame her jaundice, although remained small. She didn't regain her birth weight until 3 weeks old.

None of the gestational diabetes or my advanced maternal age seemed to have any negative effect on her; she was neither too big nor too small. My diabetes has gone away completely since her birth, thankfully. 

Having a fourth child has been very challenging at times - the lack of sleep and feeling stretched too thin to meet everyone's needs has definitely taken a toll on both of us - but the good outweighs the bad a hundredfold. 

Everyone has had to learn to be more patient. I am not as grumpy being awoken at 3am as I was with my older kids. David has said the same thing; probably this is due to our understanding of how fast this all goes by and wanting to enjoy it while it lasts, even though it's hard. Also all the expense, pain, and work it took to make this little person causes us to appreciate her even more. Even at 3am. Her siblings have all stepped up to help take care of her, and she's made us all become more thoughtful about others' needs. 

We named her Jacinda Sharon after our moms. My mom's name is Cindy (Cynthia) and we wanted to name her after my mom without doing a total copy of the same name. Sharon is David's mom's name. We tossed around a lot of name ideas - moms, grandmas - and this felt right. Jacinda is a variant of Jacinta (Hyacinth), which is a flower, and my name is also a flower, so there's that connection too. 


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