siblings

And Then There Were Two… Catriona’s Birth Story!

Well, this is a long time coming as our little girl has now passed the 7 week mark, but here it goes!

After teasing us for a few weeks with hard a frequent contractions that would last hours and then fade away our little girl decided to (finally) join us mid May, just before her due date.  Catriona’s labor and delivery happened so quickly that it truly took both Conan and I by surprise.  On the day of her birth Conan was leaving for work at a ridiculously early hour as he had a 5 hour commute ahead of him.  Before he left the house at 5am he woke me up to see if I was feeling up to him being so far away.  I had actually slept the night before and had not been feeling any contractions at all and a decrease in fetal movement for the last 24 hours.  I told him that I was fine and he should go.  He informed me that if I called after 9am he would be on the ferry on Lake Champlain and unable to turn around.  I rolled over and promptly fell back asleep.

At 6:30 I woke up feeling a little crampy, looked at the clock, tried to go back to sleep, and then being unsuccessful at that endeavor decided to get up for the day so I could enjoy a shower before Liam woke up.  By the time I was showered and dressed I noticed that the cramping had turned into contractions, but that they didn’t have a rhythm and weren’t as strong as they had been for the previous few weeks.  The contractions were was all in my back, so I decided to take what was left of my free time before Liam woke up to do some pelvic tilt exercises to encourage Catriona to get off my spine.  By the time 7:30 arrived, and Liam woke up, I was in much less pain (the pelvic tilt exercises actually worked!) but the contractions were settling into a rhythm .

At this point I figured it was just going to be another false alarm.  I did stop and time them, they were every 5-6 minutes.  At that point there was no need to call the doctor or my husband, but I did take the time to text my sister-in-law to see if she could come over and give me a hand before I went to get Liam from his room.  After a few weeks of false alarms I knew that the continuous contractions could make me very cranky, especially if Liam was having a whiny/cranky two-year=old type of day.

So I waddled upstairs, picked up Liam for my good morning hug, and immediately had to put him down as I was hit by a very hard contraction.  Liam asked me what was wrong, and I told him Catriona was making my belly hurt again.  He then proceeded to kiss my stomach to make it feel better (and at that point I knew it was going to be a good day with him).  We made it downstairs slowly (he wanted to walk by himself) and without incident, but the contractions were speeding up and getting even stronger at an alarming rate.  I was starting to have to stop and breathe through them.  After getting Liam changed and set up in his chair for breakfast I texted my sister-in-law again and asked if she could come over early as I thought it might be a good idea to go to the doctors office and get checked just in case.  I then called my husband at 8:15 am and told him he might want to turn around, but that it  could be another false alarm.  I called the office and was scheduled for a 9:30 appointment.  Conan decided to turn around just in case.  I called up my mom to let her know I was going to drive myself to my doctors to get checked for 9:30 and she (thankfully) insisted that she come and pick me up.   Everyone was ready to spring into action though I was not yet convinced that it wasn’t a false alarm again so I continued to putter around the house doing some last minute cleaning and helping Liam get cleaned up and pick out some clothes for the day while stopping every 4 minutes or so to breathe through a contraction.  When my sister in-law arrived she decided she needed to take some last minute early labor pictures of me.  They prove that while I am breathing through contractions I didn’t care if I had a double chin in pictures or not (lol).  I never did quite get around to getting Liam dressed.

At 9:15 my mother arrived and we headed down to my doctor’s office.  They got me into a room pretty quickly and the nurse practitioner checked to see how dilated I was, looked up at me and said “you are a seven, you aren’t going to have time for an epidural”.  I am pretty sure I stared at her in disbelief and then repeated “seven?”  I could clearly remember being seen centimeters dilated with Liam and the pain was MUCH worse than what I was currently dealing with.

Mom and I were went over to the hospital, I popped my head into my friend’s office (who was also my OB for both of my children) on the way out to tell her I was 7 cm, and she said she would pop over to the hospital to deliver me shortly and then we headed out.  The walking continued to be slow with all the stopping I had to do, but we made into the hospital (which is basically across the street), updated Conan, and got to a room by 10:15.  By the time they got my base vitals, IV inserted, and started administering the first round of antibiotics (my GBS was positive on top of everything else with this pregnancy!)   I was starting to feel the urge to push… it was 11 am and neither my doctor (Lauren) nor Conan was there yet.  My doctor walked into the room 10 minutes later followed closely behind by my husband (who must have broken some serious speed records or hit the best batch of no traffic possible).  The first round of antibiotics completed, and Lauren looked at me and said , “you are trying to not push right now aren’t you”.  after I affirmed that she did a quick check, said I was just about 10 cm and asked if I wanted to have my water broken (she did warn me that delivery would be quick because Catriona was more than ready to come out at that point)s, which I quickly agreed to.  Delivery was less than 15 minutes at that point and 3 pushes later we had our beautiful baby girl.

While she was coming out we did have to pause between pushes as her cord was wrapped around her neck twice.  After delivery she also needed a couple of puffs of oxygen as she was in shock from her quick change of scenery and did not start breathing on her own immediately.  There are no words to describe how stressful and elongated those moments after birth were when we didn’t hear a cry right away and then when she did start crying how weak it was.  Thankfully she bounced back quickly and only needed a couple of puffs of oxygen before she was able to maintain a good level without assistance and we were finally able to hold our little girl in our arms!

There are no words to describe how happy Conan and I are that despite the challenges with this pregnancy we are blessed with a beautiful and healthy baby girl.  Watching her big brother fall in love with her has been an amazing experience.  She has completed our family perfectly.

Road Trip!

I have been on vacation since Saturday, and have totally enjoyed every second so far. I was able to spend quite a bit of time with my older brother who currently is living in Rome…. I also have had the opportunity to switch up Liam’s nap schedule a bit and get him to a point where he has slept through the night for the last two nights!

Everyone should now stop reading to do a happy dance with me!

So Tuesday started the halfway point of my vacation and I was feeling pretty darn good. So good I decided to tempt fate by packing up Liam and the three dogs for a road trip to Grammy and Grampy F’s house!

I am still not sure I wasn’t totally insane to take this on, but we did it! So let’s start at the beginning of the story.
On Monday my husband and I became an aunt and uncle for the 18th time! A little yet to be named boy joined our extra large family.  So Tuesday’s road trip was with purpose, I drove across the state to bring Liam to visit his grandparents and so that I could visit the new little guy (and put in my two cents about what his name should be).  I packed up the night before because I have found with one (and sometimes two) young children the only way to keep my sanity is to plan for every possible scenario ahead of time and pack accordingly.  So we packed up one bag for Liam and another  bag for the dogs.  The dog bag had surprisingly similar items in it to Liam’s:

  • Food in both bags
  • Treats for the dogs and snacks for Liam (and Momma)
  • Favorite toys in both bags
  • Changes of clothing for Liam, leashes and collars for the dogs
  • Diapers for Liam and poop bags for the dogs

Tuesday morning we woke up an hour late, but that couldn’t put a damper on my mood… Liam (and therefore Momma) slept through the night!

We left the house for our 2.5 hour drive without stops at 10 am, and arrived at the Grandparent’s at 1 (yes.. there ended up being stops).  One of my favorite things about the drive to my husband’s parent’s house is the scenery.  If you haven’t had the time to visit New Hampshire you should take a vacation here someday.  While we are lucky enough to live in the seacoast area, which is beautiful in its own right and certainly has plenty of activities for young families to enjoy, the Lake’s Region of the state is probably my favorite place.  While I wouldn’t necessarily want to live there away from so many conveniences (I really can’t fathom living more than 5 minutes away from Target) it is one of my favorite places to visit.  I also strongly prefer swimming in a lake to the (freezing cold) ocean.  So we stopped for snacks for Momma at a New England staple… Dunkin Donuts, and then stopped for snack for Liam at a scenic overlook to enjoy the awesomeness that is the Lake’s Region of New Hampshire.

Now I will admit that I did not take these pictures, my SIL who drove up the day before with my camera took these.  I am so happy she did!  I always go up on sunny days (there are a ton of hiking trails in the vicinity that lead to even more awesome overlooks of the lake) and I never get a chance to capture the haunting beauty of a rainy/foggy day on the lake.  The drive itself was surprisingly uneventful.  My sweet boy played with his dolls in the back.  The dogs took turns playing musical chairs.  Momma actually got to eat breakfast… or something like it (I couldn’t quite stomach the egg and sausage on a croissant…. took one bite and decided the picture looked much better than it tasted… I had an uninterrupted cup of coffee though, which was heavenly).  We made it the grandparent’s house in one piece where we were promptly served lunch and the dogs made a significant effort to mark every corner of Grammy and Grampy F’s yard (it’s mine!).

I got to hang out with some of my nieces, Liam got to play with different toys…. and then my husband surprised his parents by dropping in on his way home from work (made possible by the fact that his job requires traveling and he just happened to be traveling in the area that day).  We then packed up all 4 adult and 3 kids to go visit the new baby in the hospital.  He is all sorts of adorable in the way that only a fresh baby can be… and seeing his older sisters (even the one who “hates babies” looked at him lovingly and just about made my heart completely melt)

All in all a very successful trip.  I love spending time with the girls, and loved being able to share in their joy in their new baby brother.  Now that I know I can do the cross state trip with an almost toddler I suspect there will be more traveling in the future for us.

I am totally pumped for a summer of fun!