Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Birth Story of Ruth Aina

Little Ruth Aina turns one in just a few days! I decided that in honor of that event I'd post this story which I typed up almost six months ago. This has to be one of those 'better late than never' cases, right? I have loved looking back at the stories I wrote of Sarah's birth and of Sam's birth (and have wished for one of James' birth), so I'm glad I have this one, too. Here it is:

Six and a half months can leave the memories somewhat fuzzy, but I'll do my best to recreate the day our beautiful Ruth Aina joined our family.

'Good Parts' Version (for those who would like to be spared the not-so-pretty details):

I was induced on my due date, February 28th, because I was suddenly measuring big at my appointment the day before. Big turned out to be an understatement, and "little" Ruth made her grand entrance at 6:05pm amid gasps from all the nurses. She weighed 10 pounds 8 ounces and was 21 inches long.

The Whole Story (I won't get too gory, but if you don't like birth stories, now's your chance to stop reading. Also, it's long. Like super long.):

Overall, this pregnancy went more smoothly than my previous one. I didn't have nearly as much back pain (with Sam, I had physical therapy every week for the whole second half of the pregnancy) or swelling. I just felt huge. And heavy. Really huge and heavy. As the end of the pregnancy approached, I prepared myself to once again go past my due date. Although I was definitely ready physically to not be pregnant anymore, I was definitely NOT ready to be a mother of four. The house was a disaster, I hadn't really gotten any of the baby stuff ready, and I was sort of panicky about being responsible for four little humans.

On Thursday, February 27th, I headed to my 40 week check up. This is the appointment where I usually set my induction date, and I was preparing myself for that discussion. What I wasn't prepared for was, "I'm not comfortable with how big you are measuring. If you had gestational diabetes, we'd be talking c-section right now, but since you don't, we can get you in to be induced tomorrow morning." Whaaaaa?!? I had just had an ultrasound to verify that I was measuring big, and they estimated that she was 9 lbs 13 oz. (Side story - As you can see from above, they were off in their estimate. All night after my appointment I told myself that they were probably off. I'd heard that ultrasound measurements can be off up to 2 pounds in either direction. I figured the baby would end up being right around Sam's size (8lbs 15oz). I never dreamed they would have UNDER-estimated her size.) 

I'm not quite sure how I got home from that appointment, but I was pretty much freaking out by that time. I was worried about everything. The state of the house. The size and health of the baby. The idea of going natural--as was my plan--even while being induced. The fact that I no longer had 5 more days (ish) to prepare myself physically and mentally. On and on and on.

Two people saved me from spiraling out of control. The first one is Paul, who hugged me about a million times that night and told me everything would be ok. The second one is my mom, who got online and bought a plane ticket as soon as she heard the news and landed in Portland that night at 11:00pm. Knowing Paul would be with me every second of the process and my mom would be with my kids back at home helped me forge on, not exactly bravely, but forge on nonetheless.

Biggest belly ever! Yikes.

The next morning we needed to check in at the hospital at 9:30am. I was grateful it wasn't too early. This gave us a chance to drop James off at school, go to the store for hospital snacks, pick up our traditional pre-baby Jamba Juice (usually I'm in labor during that part), and head to the hospital. 

Issues popped up almost immediately when upon getting me all set up and hooked up to monitors the nurse discovered that the only pregnancy I was connected to in my records was Samuel. I guess they aren't used to patients having babies so close together...heh. We couldn't really get started with anything until they got that figured out, so Paul and I ended up watching shows on my laptop while being serenaded by the sweet sound of our baby's heartbeat on the monitor for about an hour and a half.

Once the nurse and several tech guys figured out the glitch, the doctor came in to break my water. I really hoped to avoid pitocin if I could, so the plan was to start things off this way. All morning, the nurse had been saying things like, "Oh, you'll definitely have this baby by noon." If only. Because the baby had not engaged yet, the doctor couldn't reach to break my water. Pitocin it was. 

Now I know that for some women pitocin brings on contractions hard and strong and fast, but that wasn't the case for me. I just got a few wimpy contractions every 10-15 minutes or so. They kept upping the dose, but nothing really changed. The contractions hurt, but I could tell they weren't real ones. Sure enough, after several hours on pitocin, I had progressed roughly half a centimeter. Sigh. So much for having a baby by noon!

I should make a small note at this point regarding monitoring. One of the things I like about going natural is that I can be monitored intermittently. I don't have to be attached to any machines. Unfortunately, as soon as pitocin entered the picture, the hospital required me to be on the monitors continuously. Despite the nurse's assurance that I should move around however I wanted and that she'd worry about the monitoring, I just felt tied to the bed. Every time I even shifted my position in bed, the monitor would get messed up and the nurse would have to come in and fix it. I didn't like that part at all. So yeah, here is my unsolicited advice to you future pregnant ladies contemplating childbirth without an epidural: don't be induced if you can help it.

At about 3:15pm, the doctor came back in to see me and to actually for reals break my water. It was incredibly painful, but she was ultimately successful. **GROSSNESS ALERT** And boy was there a lot. Part of why I had been measuring big the day before on my ultrasound was because my fluid levels were a bit higher than normal (this was another reason why I suspected their weight estimate was high). The water just kept flowing out of me. It was comical. The nurse would come over to help clean me up a bit, but then she'd check and it would still be coming out. I swear, it lasted a solid 5 minutes. Paul and I both got a good laugh out of that.

It was about this point when the nurse started saying things like, "Now we're moving. I'm sure you'll have a baby in your arms within the hour." Please note: never say this to a woman in labor. If you're following along with our timeline, you'll know that Ruth was born just under three hours from the time the doctor broke my water. Those three hours were the LONGEST of my life.

I was in so much pain. Just when I was convinced I couldn't handle another contraction, another one would hit and prove me wrong. It was so frustrating to be hearing the nurse say, "You'll be done within the hour, I promise!" while at the same time progressing (what felt to me to be) agonizingly slowly. Each time I was checked, I'd only be one more centimeter dilated.

After one of these depressing checks, I asked if the baby was posterior. The doctor said, "Oh, I didn't check, would you like me to?" I was getting pretty angry by this point, so I'm pretty proud that I kept myself from yelling at her, "WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DIDN'T CHECK?!" and instead calmly said, "Yes, please." This same thing happened when I was in labor with Sam (with a different doctor). I'm not sure why doctors don't check for this automatically, especially with women who don't have epidurals. There are positions women can use to help move the baby. Knowing the position of the baby is valuable information!

Ruth wasn't completely posterior, but she was basically sideways and stuck against my pelvic bone. This was keeping her from engaging and slowing my labor. At this point a few things happened: 1. I got pretty depressed and started crying and asking everyone to stop lying to me (I know I was being irrational, but basically every time anyone said something about how soon it was going to be over, I said, "Stop lying to me!"). 2. I made a deal with my nurse that if I was still only one centimeter more dilated in a half hour (at 5:45pm), she'd call the anesthesiologist. And 3. I asked the nurse if there was anything I could to to encourage the baby to move and engage.

Worst 30 minutes EVER. The nurse's tricks for moving the baby, while effective, were incredibly painful. The only good thing about it was that I has happy to be taking some action. I was also very happy to have a deadline for the pain.

Thirty minutes passed. It was 5:45pm. The nurse checked, and sure enough, I had only progressed one more centimeter. Here's roughly how our conversation went:

Me: "Okay, call the anesthesiologist."
Nurse: "I know I said I would, but I promise you are SO close to being done this ti..."
Me: "No. You promised. Call the anesthesiologist."
Nurse: "You are so close. You are just so close to being done."
Me: "No. You are lying to me. Call the anesthesiologist."
Nurse: "I know I've been saying this the whole time, but it really is different this time."
Me: "No. Call."
Nurse: "Okay."

But (as you may have guessed if you are following along with our timeline), the nurse was right. It was different this time. The next contraction completed my dilating, and the room burst into action. Suddenly, the bed was broken down, tables of tools were uncovered, nurses swarmed, and a new doctor came in. Apparently, the anesthesiologist came to the door, saw that it was too late, and left somewhere during that time.

Turns out, six women gave birth that hour at the hospital. This was a stroke of luck on my part because the doctor that was supposed to be on call for me was the same one that delivered Sarah. And I didn't like him one bit. Thankfully, he was busy delivering another baby at the moment I needed a doctor, so a different one came in. This one is affectionately known as the "Mommy Whisperer" around the hospital. He was amazing. He was just what I needed to get through the next 15 minutes.

At 6:05pm, Ruth made her entrance into the world. I think my chart says that there were officially 9 minutes of pushing. Normally they put babies straight onto the mommy's tummy and then measure and weigh after an hour of skin to skin time. When Ruth appeared, the doctor and nurses all audibly gasped. Someone said, "Umm...we need to weigh her." Our beautiful baby weighed 10 and a half pounds! I couldn't believe it. When they put her on my belly I was shocked at how heavy she felt.

The proof!
With Sarah and Sam, I felt amazing immediately after giving birth. This time I felt like I had been turned inside out. My body was shaking, and I felt like it was on fire. The nurse offered some IV meds, and I accepted. They kicked in almost immediately, and I was able to fully enjoy my new, beautiful daughter.

It took us a little while to figure out her name. We hadn't been able to find a middle name we liked before she was born, so once we got to our recovery room, Paul sat down to really find one. Aina means love and harmony. We both loved it right away, and announced to our families that Ruth Aina was here and we were all happy and healthy.

Paul and I look back at those couple of days in the hospital very fondly. We were relaxed and peaceful. We enjoyed our one on one time with Baby Ruth before we brought her home to the chaos of three older siblings. It was a huge blessing to have those happy days of calm following two of the most stressful days I've ever had.

A happy family of SIX!

Her older siblings loved her immediately:

I can't believe it has been a year since our Ruth Aina became part of our family! She is a joyful baby girl, and I can't imagine life without her.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Back to School for James - Then and Now

There are certain moments in family life that are perfect for starting new traditions. One of these moments was last fall when James was getting ready to start kindergarten. Paul and I had several conversations about what we wanted "back to school" to feel like in the Peterson family. Some things were a given: back to school father's blessings, new school supplies, new clothes. 

Other than the obvious, though, we thought we'd start a couple simple but fun traditions that the kids could look forward to each fall. One thing we started was dates with mommy and daddy. Separately, Paul and I each took James out on a little one-on-one date to do something fun. We know as the kids grow up, special time alone with them will be something they remember. And having this tradition means it will happen at least once a year. 

The other thing we decided on were video interviews that we can look back on over the years and watch them grow up.

Here is James as a little kindergartner last September:

And here he is now! James starting first grade:

I sure love this boy.

Friday, September 5, 2014

A Video Filled Update

Hello family and friends!

Well, at least this time it was less than 10 months between updates! We had a pretty good summer filled with ups (finally getting our back yard finished!) and downs (a solid month in there where at least one of us was sick). Perhaps I'll get back on the blogging train and update on some of that stuff.

For today, here's an update on each of my kids:

Ruth is a happy, chubby baby. She's already six months old (what?!), and is still near the top of the charts in weight and height. In the last couple weeks she has pretty well mastered scooting. Now if only she'd stay still long enough to figure out how to sit up!

Sam is hilarious when he is in a good mood. He babbles all the time, but hasn't really started talking much yet. He started nursery in May. He loves milk and Pentatonix videos. He's a true mommy's boy, and I can't get enough of his cuddles.

Sarah suddenly seems all grown up. She is thrilled to be starting preschool in a couple weeks, and loves to tell everyone--strangers at the store included--about it. She still loves dancing. One of her favorite things to do is make up songs and then dance around while singing them. I'll have to get a video of that sometime. in first grade. (Whaaaa?!) We're just finishing up the first week of school, and he is adjusting wonderfully. Unlike his mother, who has to resist the urge to hold on to him and not let go every morning. He loves school, and so far is handling the transition to his Spanish Immersion school quite well! I have a video interview we did of him a couple days before school started, but I realized that it's on Paul's phone instead of mine. I'll have to post that one separately. For now, here are a couple first day of school pics that most of you have already seen on Facebook:

Time continues to pass too quickly. The daily struggle of trying to live and cherish these precious moments while fulfilling all the mundane day to day requirements of four little people is ongoing. I sure love them, though. The heart's capacity to love is awesome.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Some Stuff Happened

Wow. I fell off the blogging train in a major way. Our life suddenly turned pretty crazy after I last posted in June of last year. So many things happened in the last ten months. See for yourself:

First, this happened:

So, I spent the summer battling first trimester fatigue and yuckiness. Dealing with an unexpected pregnancy while still nursing a 7 month old baby is a whole different experience than my other pregnancies. We'll just leave it at that.

Meanwhile, this happened:

It was the first time we attempted the drive down to Southern California, and it was certainly long, but we had a good time. We visited family, checked off two more baseball stadiums (San Diego and San Francisco), met Kathleen, went to a very special Angels game, visited Grace's grave site, went to Disneyland, and enjoyed our time together.

After a summer filled with good intentions and not a lot of adventure (see first picture), this happened:

I'm still not sure how it's possible that I have a kindergartner! James has absolutely loved school, and continues to blow us away with the progress he's made with his math and reading.

Also, because of previously mentioned kindergartner and impending baby #4, this happened:

Paul was hesitant to make this particular jump, but I can say now after having it for six months, it is pretty awesome. Yep. I've embraced the minivan.

In October, this happened:

It was a happy day! It was wonderful to be together as a family, and see the love and support coming to the Petersons and the Westbrooks as John and Kathleen got married.

Also this little guy turned one:

He liked his cake a little bit. ;) Samuel has been so joyful to have in our family. He is a happy and loving little boy.

And we had a band of little pirates for Halloween:

We had a nice holiday season where this happened:

I was grateful to have the opportunity to direct a piece at the PECO Christmas concert. It was so much fun, and I hope to be able to do it again.

We spent Christmas in Colorado:

I love being with my family. We had a wonderful Christmas full of good company, games, puzzles, food, and fun.

We came back to Oregon and this happened:

It hasn't snowed this much in Oregon for five years. School, work, and church all got canceled. It was lots of fun.

And then, on February 28th, this happened:

This is Ruth Aina Peterson. Our beautiful, not-so-little (10 lbs 8 oz!) girl joined our family on her due date. Detailed story to come. Time continues to fly by, and she's already been part of our family for a month! We have had many wonderful visits from family since she was born, and there are still more to come. We are a happy family of six!

I know I've left things out. And I know it's impossible for me to catch up on all this lost time. This little snapshot into our last ten months will have to do for now! Here's to renewed efforts at recording our life!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Opening Day!

If you know us at all, you know that we are a baseball family. If you know us more than a little bit, you've probably heard us complain that a soccer team took over the stadium in Portland and kicked out the Triple-A baseball team we used to have (We miss you, Beavers!). 

This year, baseball--albeit Single-A, not Triple-A--returned to the area! The Hillsboro Hops are the Single-A team for the Arizona Diamondbacks, and they had their Opening Day in their brand new stadium last night. Of course we were there!

It was a fun game. They killed their opponents, the Eugene Emeralds, 12-0. There was even a fireworks show afterword. Thanks to the Belnaps for inviting us and using your city connections to get tickets early!

So yeah...they may have a silly name (Hops, as in what goes into beer), and the concession lines may have taken longer than your average line at Disneyland (I'm not exaggerating)...but we are going to be loyal fans! Gotta keep baseball here! Go Hops!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Father's Day

Our Father's Day didn't go exactly as planned because both James and Sam were sick. We made the most of it, though! We all stayed home together and spent the day relaxing as a family and eating good food (if I do say so myself ;) ).

The kids gave Paul their funny little (dollar store) gifts that they picked out and paid for themselves. Everyone took naps except mom. We read books together. Paul and I talked to our own fathers.

I made a southwestern skillet for breakfast, which ended up being more like brunch. I made cranberry cola glazed ribs with brown rice, corn on the cob, and strawberries for dinner. And finally, I made french vanilla bean ice cream and brownies for dessert. The skillet was delicious. The ribs were tasty but dry (I'm pretty sure I overcooked them). And the ice cream was my best vanilla yet! I used a real vanilla bean for the first time. Thank you, Amazon, for the decently priced vanilla beans!

Ha ha, I'm link happy today. Too funny.

We asked James if he knew the song the primary kids were going to sing in sacrament meeting for Father's Day, and he said, "Yes! And I can sing it!" Here's a video of our little at-home performance since he was sick and missed the real thing (sorry to our family that has already heard him sing this):

Anyway, it was a wonderful day celebrating a wonderful daddy!

Baby Sam had a banana for dinner and he got it all over his clothes. But just look at that cute belly! :)

Thank you for all you do for our family, Paul! We love you!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Sam Crawls!

It's been rough catching a video of Sam crawling. So far, he doesn't really love performing for the camera. However, I just seized the moment when I realized that both Sarah and James were sleeping and Sam was in a good mood. The conditions were perfect!

And guess what? Sam performed for the camera!

He was so proud of his accomplishment that he ended the video with a triumphant burp. Silly boy.

But like I said in my last post, Sam is definitely growing up way too fast!