Monday, October 31, 2016

Gabriel's Birth Story

Hello old friend! It is Saturday night and the toddler is watching the World Series and playing baseball with dad, and our newest addition is sleeping soundly on the couch.

Oh yes; I almost forgot...

Gabriel Anthony joined our family last Friday, October 21st at 2:59 am :)

Since the memories of Gabe's grand entrance are still fresh in my mind, I figured now is the time to sit down and document his birth story (just like I did with Jackson).

Our lengthy tale begins the previous week -- I had my regular weekly checkup on Wednesday, October 12th and figured that since I was just at 38 weeks, it would be fairly uneventful. WRONG. My doctor checked me, told me that I was at a 3, and that there was a pretty good chance baby was coming that weekend.

I flat out panicked.

The nursery still wasn't finished.

My parents were leaving for an out-of-state conference.

There was still so much to do!

My doctor told me to take it easy, not do any heavy lifting, and to cross my fingers (and legs) that he wouldn't come this weekend, but that the odds were leaning that way.

After frantically calling Brandon, my mom, and Aunt Nancy (who said she would come watch Jax whenever the time came), and texting a friend as another backup, I felt significantly better... however, my parents still cancelled their trip in order to watch Jax if need be (thanks, mom and dad!).

My family came down that Friday and the next day, we did a lot of walking, visiting, and spicy wing lunching (with my Aunt Nancy and Uncle Rolf), but there was still no sign of baby.

Go figure.

That evening -- as I was laying down next to Jackson -- I felt a weird trickle down my leg...

Could this be it? Did my water break?!

(Spoiler alert: It was pee.)

After calling the after hours line and being told by the doctor to come in if it would make me feel better, Brandon and I hopped in the car and made the unnecessary trek to the hospital. Long story short, my water hadn't broke, I was still at a 3, and Brandon and I walked every square inch of that hospital (for two straight hours) to see if it would help me progress any more.

It didn't and we were sent home at around 12:30 am.

Poor Brandon had to work the next morning, so Jax and I went to church with my family, made a Costco trip, walked every square inch of the warehouse, and then headed home to rest a bit. At this point, I knew that baby wasn't coming that weekend and felt a huge sense of guilt that I made my parents miss their trip.

**3 DAYS LATER**

With toddler in tow, I made my way to my 39 week checkup and discovered that this time I was at a 5...

"How am I at a 5 and not in the hospital?" I asked my doctor.

It was then we talked about induction options (I had been really stressed about when it was going to happen and what we would do with Jackson if it happened in the middle of the night) and my doctor suggested just checking in and having my water broken since I had progressed so much already. So I made my appointment for that Friday at 5:30 am, called my mom to see if she could come down Thursday evening to stay with Jackson, and we were all set to go!

Whew, what a relief! However, a feeling of guilt began sinking in at the thought of induction... I was still at just 39 weeks, so what if he wasn't ready? After weighing the pros with the cons (the pro being that we were guaranteed to have somebody here to watch Jax), I decided it was the right choice and finished prepping for baby.

Thursday was a pretty normal day... Brandon was off work and took Jackson outside to do chores with him while I worked on some articles, then we dropped a meal off to one of my good friends who had just had a baby, and we patiently awaited the arrival of my mom and brother.
This picture gives me the biggest smile -- Jackson got to play with one of his best friends when we dropped off our meal and they were both wearing Batman shirts :)
Throughout the day, I noticed painless contractions here and there and finally realized they were getting closer together... but since I wasn't in agonizing pain, I wrote them off a Braxton Hicks and went on with my day. However, after dinner that night, I had a feeling that we needed to go to the hospital and notified the on-call doctor of what was going on. After hearing that I was at a 5 the previous day, she told me it would be safest to just come in and get checked. 

When we arrived, the floor was packed and instead of being sent to the regular triage room for monitoring, we were shown to a spacious delivery room, where I was monitored for the next hour. Since my contractions still weren't the strongest, the nurse wasn't quite ready to admit me. When we explained that we were coming back at 5:30 the next morning for induction, she told us they would probably just let us stay over night, to which we were extremely relieved. As the time rolled on, things were seeming more grim and the nurse notified us that now the doctor would probably send us home if I didn't progress more. 

And that's when the contractions began getting stronger and stronger...

After another couple hours of monitoring, I was at a 5 1/2, which -- according the nurse -- probably still wasn't enough to stay, which is when I began to panic. By this point, I was sitting on an exercise ball having to breathe through contractions... what was I going to do if they sent me home?

It was FINALLY at around 12:30 am when the nurse came in and said that it looked like I was staying until I had the baby and I was SO relieved. We were then introduced to our new nurse and I began pushing harder for an epidural (#priorities), to which she assured me was coming soon.

She lied. 

The contractions had gotten to the point of unbearable (those of you who have ever delivered a child know exactly what I'm talking about) and I could no longer keep my eyes open during them and would shake and sweat through the entire grueling 60-90 seconds (with a 60-90 second break between each one). That's when my nurse finally took my blood -- and got blood all over my shoes and the floor :/ -- had it sent out for testing, and then contacted the anesthesiologist. 

I'm sure that what seemed like 5 hours was only a half hour or so, but I literally cried when the anesthesiologist walked through that door with his cart full of spine-numbing goodies. 

"Whoa... what's going on with your back?" He bluntly asked.

(For those of you who don't know, I had back surgery when I was a senior in high school to place a rod on my spine in order to correct my Scheuermann's Kyphosis and I still a pretty large scar because of it.)

"Are you sure they let you have an epidural with your first one?" 

"OMG YES! Just hurry up and give me the effing shot" I wanted yell, but couldn't because another awful contraction was coming on.

It seemed like another 3 hours, but he finally gave me the shot and sweet relief was in sight. 

That epidural was nothing short of euphoric. 

I could breathe again.

I could talk. 

I felt so happy and relaxed. 

By this point, it was close to 2:30 am and at last check, I was only at a 7, so I figured that now was the time to kick back and try to take a quick nap. Our ditsy but sweet nurse (who despite getting blood all over my favorite Toms and crushing my legs beneath the bedside tray while raising my bed for blood work) was now my angel, and I finally felt up to visiting with her, which is what we did for maybe a minute and a half before I felt a huge gush and wetness against my legs. 

"I think my water may have just broke..." I announced.

Sure enough it had and I was beginning to feel a weird sensation in my lower stomach. 

"Are you sure this epidural is working? Something doesn't feel right."

She assured me that I was still hooked up and that I could push the button every 10 minutes, which is when I felt the undeniable urge to push. 

"He's starting to come out and I really think I need to push," I warned the nurse, who slowly walked around the bed, not believing that it was time. 

To paraphrase what she said:

"The doctor is delivering another baby right now, but if it is time to push, I think I can do it... Oh shit!"

She yelled for Brandon to press the call button, quickly told the nurse that baby was crowning, and sternly told me not to push anymore. 

(If you have been in this situation, you know that it is extremely difficult to not push when your body is telling you it's go time.)

Fortunately, the doctor had just finished delivering another baby (and was actually planning to come to my room right after to break my water) and the room was quickly filled with several new machines and nurses.

After 3 relatively painless pushes, all 6 lbs. 10 oz. of Little Brother Sandmeier was here! As I have discussed before, I spent 9 months stressing out over having a new baby and whether or not I could ever love another child as much as I love Jackson, but the moment the nurse placed him against my skin, my heart doubled in size. 

I loved this little boy so much. 
Ignore the exhausted woman with the chapped lips...
He looks nothing like his dad...

The rest of the morning consisted of the usual: Brandon slept on the uncomfortable plastic recliner, I cluster fed the baby for 2 hours straight, and then couldn't sleep from all of the excitement. 

It was a very long night, but our name-less baby was here and he was absolutely perfect. 

The next morning, my mom and brother brought in Jackson, who did about 2 million times better than I had anticipated. (Brandon and I acted the same as we always do and Jackson got a kick out of seeing the baby, laying in the hospital bed with mom, stealing mom's chocolate milk, and opening his new VTech digital camera from his brother!)
Grammy in her element.
Exhausted but oh so happy!

At around noon -- before Brandon, my mom, brother, and Jackson all left to go to lunch and take Jax to get his haircut -- Brandon and I decided we had to nail down a name. My entire pregnancy, I was stuck on the names David, Matthew, and Patrick, but he just didn't seem like any of those. We had been bouncing names off each other that entire morning (I like Braden and Gavin; Brandon liked Christian and Jacob) when I finally looked online at baby names and came across Gabriel. 

For the first time ever, Brandon actually agreed with me on a name and we had it narrowed down to either Gabriel or Jacob. 

To decide, I did what any logical person would do and wrote both names on different slips of paper, put them into an unused barf bag, and told Jax to draw one. It took a lot of coaxing, but he finally reached in and grabbed out the slip of paper that said Jacob.

It was settled. His name was Jacob.

However, something just didn't seem right... he just wasn't a Jacob to me. Brandon could tell I was having second thoughts and said we should name him Gabirel and that he also thought he seemed like a Gabe. 

(Since Jackson's middle name is Lee, which is also both Brandon's dad's and Brandon's middle names, I asked from the get-go if we could use one of my family's names for his middle name, so we went with Anthony in honor of my dad.) 

The rest of the afternoon was spent resting, visiting with family, drinking lots of chocolate milk (my major craving), and cuddling with sweet Gabe. 
Aunt Nancy and Uncle Rolf
Joe (my brother)
My dad came in Friday evening after work! 
Gabe's first bath with our favorite nurse, Maxine (during his 24 hour check up... at 3 am!)
 

Saturday was our discharge day, so after Gabe's early afternoon circumcision (and a visit from a few friends), it was time to go home!
Terrible quality but a lady brought by some homemade hats for Gabe and Jax couldn't help but try one on!
Our friend Sondra and her daughter stopped by Saturday afternoon to meet Gabe!
Post HUGE breakdown... postpartum hormones are crazy... more on that later this week. 
Time to get these munchkins home!
The adjustment to becoming a family of four has gone way better than I could have ever imagined, which I will talk more about later this week! Thank you all so much for the prayers, texts, calls, and well wishes -- we are so incredibly blessed by our two sweet boys!

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