Before capturing Amanda's "I did it!" song for the previous post, I captured this out-take while trying to get her to sing her song. I don't think I've ever heard her say "twice" before and she says it so clearly. It still makes me laugh out loud.
Friday, February 26, 2010
And inspecting all of my new baby's little parts like this:
Thursday, February 25, 2010
The boys are also packing on the pounds. Tonight Tyler said, "Mom, should have babies more often!" He had just found another wonderful shrimp and noodle meal in the refridgerator.
I was also blessed by a box of organic produce. Mmmm! I just had a great salad. Three little girls are in bed and I'm heading there, too. Hopefully, I'll get an hour or two of sleep. That's all I need, right?
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
I was accepting of a hospital birth for several reasons. First, my chiropractor assured me that my doctor was wonderfully supportive of natural labor and health care. He and his wife have had three great birth experiences with her. Second, my doctor is a dear friend and she has been a part of this long journey through infertility, adoption and this surprise blessing. Mike really likes her too. She gave him a big hug when we came in for the first time to find out when this baby was due. He wasn't expecting that. She is also a fellow home schooling mom. Third, my friend, Darla, lives close to the hospital and would be able to get there quickly. Fourth, my house and tub are very small. There are a lot of people here and we often run out of hot water by the end of the day.
So, I wrote up a birth plan that would help me have a home birth experience at the hospital. My doctor looked it over and was supportive of my wishes. Here's what I gave to my doctor, my doula and the nurse when I got to the hospital.
I would like...
To have my husband, Mike and friend Darla in the delivery room with me.
To have intermittent fetal monitoring with a hand-held Doppler.
To have the lights dim and room quiet.
To use the tub for pain management.
To have vaginal checks only upon request.
To have the option to deliver squatting.
To have the option to lift the baby onto my chest myself.
To have cord blood taken in order to test the baby’s blood type.
To be the one to cut the cord after it has finished pulsing.
To be covered with a warm blanket and allow the baby time to nurse.
To be the one to clean up, dress and swaddle the baby.
To allow the placenta to deliver naturally.
To go home as soon as possible after delivery.
I don’t want...
To be strapped to any machines.
To have a routine I.V.
To have routine blood work.
To be offered any drugs or epidurals.
To have the baby receive a Vit. K shot, eye drops, Hep. B injection or have a heal stick for PKU or blood type.
They were so great about honoring the requests. They would say,"I know you plan to refuse but we need to go over this for liability purposes."
The final thing on the list of things I wanted was to go home as soon after delivery as possible. I wanted to recover in the comfort of my own home and I was concerned about being separated from Christiana. I believe adoption is a trauma for a child of any age and was concerned about another trauma of being separated from the only caregiver she has had since being separated from her first mother. Mike cared for her quite a bit in the beginning when I was still so sick and she was so needy, but lately he has been responsible for the other three and the household when he's home and I have cared for myself and Christiana.
Thankfully, Talitha was "late" which gave us more time to get Christiana used to other caregivers and to just grow up a bit more. She changed so much in the last few weeks of this pregnancy that I was more comfortable with having to be away.
So, back to the question, "Home or hospital?" My doctor signed my discharge papers before she left on Wednesday afternoon. She said they were all prepared whenever I felt I was ready to leave. As the hour of Mike's arrival back at the hospital to bring me home approached, I lay there snuggled up with my baby in my beautiful, quiet, swanky hotel, I mean, hospital room with the beautiful spa tub and separate shower room, and pondered, "Home or hospital?"
I called Mike. He was already driving to come get me but had only gone part way. I asked him to go home, stay to put Amanda to bed, bring the boys to youth group and then come visit me because I was pretty sure I wanted to stay the night.
I really wanted to be like those rice paddy woman who give birth in the field, hand their baby off to caregivers and get right back to work, but I'm not. Eight months of nausea and various pregnancy issues that kept me off my feet had left me very weak and out of shape. I felt pretty horrible and not ready to get out of bed much less get myself home. Walking eight to ten laps around the hospital and the whole work of giving birth had really wiped me out.
Of course, all of my caregivers and helpers were very thankful I made the decision to stay the night and they assured me the girls were very happy and doing just fine at home. Thursday was a regular office day for my doctor and so she came to see me in the morning before beginning at the clinic. She was glad I stayed and it was nice to recap with her. I wasn't real talkative when she left the afternoon before.
All in all, it was a great experience and I'm glad we chose, "Hospital."
A long time ago, we had decided to name our kids after our grandparents which is where Amanda's name comes from. Amanda was my dad's mom. Our boy's name was James Keith: my grandpa and Mike grandpa on our moms' sides. However, since we made that decision, three other great grandchildren have been given the middle name James so we were rethinking that as well.
Mike and I discussed and picked out Tony's name in the delivery room before he was born, but we never discussed a name while I was in labor with Talitha. It just didn't come up when we were out walking, and by the time I saw him again after walking with my doula and Darla, things were too intense to do any talking. I asked him about it after I delivered as he was getting ready to go home to be with the girls. He said that we would talk about it later.
I had talked about names with my doula and Darla. My doula brought up the possibility that if we didn't use my middle name, this little girl would feel left out or the adopted girls would wonder why they were different. Darla agreed and said that if she had more daughters they would all have her middle name. It was a very good point. I guess the Duggars probably never imagined they'd have to come up with so many "J" names when they started that tradition, too. The problem was that I didn't like Naomi Marie. It was too much of a tongue fumbler.
So, Mike went home to check on the girls and research some girls' names. Before he came that evening, he called me with the list of potential names. It included Naomi, Talitha and our doctor's name. There were a few other ones that I didn't like at all and don't really remember. Shortly after I was talking to my cousin Elisa and shared the list with her. I told her that I liked Talitha the best with my middle name. She said that she loved that name and then she told me the story of where it was found in the Bible. I immediately knew that was the right name. Jesus brought life to a portion of our life where we had seen only death- our fertility.
Then I asked her if it was common or trendy and she said that the only time she has ever heard it was at her church in MN. Her pastor's adopted daughter is also named Talitha. Her pastor was John Piper. His heart, testimony and preaching about adoption have had a huge impact on our family. That was the connection to adoption that I wanted in her name. It was important to me because her life would bring special blessing to our adopted daughter by means of sharing her mama's milk with her adopted sister.
When Mike got to the hospital I told him, "Her name is Talitha Marie," and then told him all the rest of the story. He agreed that was the best name for her and the rest is history.
I thought I would catch the most flack from my mom and grandma. They like very traditional common names, but when they called my aunt, Sr. Maria, she immediately knew the story from the Bible and could tell them. Yes! Validated by the nun! Now, I've never been one to want challenging and different names. I didn't want to have to be repeating and explain and spelling out a difficult name for people all the time. But, what could I do? This was what her name was meant to be.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Amanda is such a big help! My mom offered to take her for the weekend, but I told her it's more helpful to have her home.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
She really must have been two weeks overdue. Look at her smiling already.
Days are going pretty smoothly around here. Everybody is pretty happy, enjoying special visitors and having Daddy at home. Nights, however, have been a different story. Talitha thinks our house gets way too quiet at night so she makes her own noise. She has cried on and off the last three nights from about midnight until 5 am. As soon as we lay down, she starts crying. We can pick her up and she might burp, spit-up a bit, or eliminate and then fall back to sleep. We've been trying to make sure she's well-burped but we're hoping she starts to settle pretty soon so we can get some rest.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
I've join in a birth stories blog hop because I love birth stories! I hope you enjoy Talitha's birth story.
At my doctor's visit, she told me she was going out of town for the weekend. We discussed the possibility of breaking my water that afternoon to try to start labor before she left. After a cervix check and a check to see what doctors were on call for the weekend, she told me it was best that I waited until she got back on Monday. I was only dilated to 2 cm and my cervix was still very high and thick. She said it would be better if we didn't try to control things and end up very far from the natural labor I had wanted. She said that things happen for a reason and since we were unsure of the exact due date, it was best to just wait. The due date was based on ultra-sound measurements.
I laid low and did my best to rest. I shopped for last minute baby items online. I found a double-stroller, wooden high chair and a doula-in-training offering her services for free on Craigslist. I picked up the stroller from a few blocks away. Mike picked up the high chair while shopping in the bigger town near us and I sent a note to the doula.
I scheduled a massage and arranged for the doula to come visit us that evening. We had initially decided against hiring a doula because I didn't think I wanted some one fussing over me during labor and Mike wasn't thrilled about the cost. This doula was working to get her certification and needed to volunteer at three births. She offered support during labor and five hours of post-partum care. I thought I would really like to have massage during labor and having her there would give Mike a break. After she left, I took a brisk walk over to my neighbor's house and ended up with contractions and shooting pains down my legs. The pain in one hip got so bad I could hardly walk. That wasn't good.
The hip pain got better and I began to see some spotting. I was having sporadic contractions, but was busy taking care of the girls, so the contractions would come and go. That night I called my neighbor to ask about her labor. She said that she was having some contractions and once she got the hospital, she was ready to do whatever it took to get her labor started including having her water broken and doing nipple stimulation in the tub. She said once they did that, her labor really kicked into gear. I decided that night that I was seeing enough changes that if I went to the hospital and could just focus on labor, it would progress. I figured I would let every one sleep though and go in to the hospital in the morning. Spotting continued throughout the night and when I would have a contraction I would wonder if I was waiting too long. I hardly slept.
Wednesday 5:30 am
When Mike's alarm went off in the morning I told him he didn't have to go to work today because we were going to the hospital. He asked if I was having contractions. I told him not much more than the last couple weeks but I was seeing enough other changes. We called the babysitter, the hospital and the doula. The hospital wanted to know about the timing of my contractions. I wasn't bothering. We were coming in and that was it. I asked them to call my doctor and they said they wouldn't until they checked me to see what was going on. Since it was Ash Wednesday, I was afraid they wouldn't catch her before she headed off to Mass.
We arrived at the hospital and told the front desk that I was in labor and needed to check in. They got that panicked look like they should rush me back to O.B. I assured them I had time to register. We got the same panicked and confused look at the registration desk. I assured them that I was almost two weeks over due and we weren't leaving this hospital without a baby despite not being in serious labor at the moment.
The nurse checked me and I was dilated to a 3-4 cm and was 80 % effaced. I told them that contractions were regular if I could walk around. My doctor said she would come in at 9 am. Mike and I headed outside for a walk and my doula stayed in the room to get her stuff ready. We had a great walk together. It was wonderful to be outside and walking together. It's been months since we've had time or that I have been able to do that.
We grabbed snacks and drinks at the coffee bar and headed back to the room. My doctor was waiting for us. She had just been to Mass. I'm sure she prayed for me there. I explained what was going on and that I was willing to have my water broken to get things moving. I had initially wanted to avoid having my water broken because I felt like that made my labor really difficult with Tyler when compared to Tony's birth. Tyler's labor was faster but more intense. Tony's was longer but easy for most of the time. But at this point, I felt like we just needed to be efficient. She broke my water at about 9:30 am. Nice clear fluid. At this time, my doctor asked if it was okay for the medical student who was staying with them could attend the birth. She was the daughter of one of our friends so we were happy to include her in the birth.
I called my friend Darla. She's been a very good friend on this long journey of infertility, adoptions and surprises. She recently moved closer to the town near the hospital and it was very special that she could come and be a part of this baby's birth. Then I got dressed and went out to walk with my doula. Mike restricted me to walking around the hospital. It was about 20-30 degrees and sunny. After our second lap or so, we met Darla at the entrance.
I walked a couple more laps with Darla. At this point, the contractions were definitely intensified and coming fairly close together. Often I would have ones when I couldn't talk.
Mike called and said my baby sitter wanted me to check-in. I called home. I was worried about the girls. The babysitter assured me every one was fine and she didn't call. I realized Mike meant MY babysitter, the nurse. Things were pretty intense and we were planning to head inside at that point anyway.
I was still only dilated to 4 cm. My legs were sore and swollen so I was done walking and planned to get into the tub. The contractions were painful, intense and very close together. Sometimes one on top the other. I climbed in the tub and tried to relax. Things became much more painful and I resorted to that low moaning thing you're supposed to do. My doula was by my side reminding me to breath and to work with the contractions and relax so they could do their job. She was very attentive and was ready to offer whatever I thought would help. I couldn't talk and was just coping. The tub has a bench about six to eight inches off the bottom of the tub. It worked great to put a towel there for a pillow and I could lay my head there and put my feet up on the opposite wall. I tried to get in the position that was so comfortable with Tony, but it was unbearable. The tub was still filling up and it began to get too deep for me to keep my head on the bench. I remember thinking I was going to drown unless I could communicate to my doula to turn off the water. I managed, "Water, off!" and she saved my life! :) I had been really nauseous all day. I never could relax between contractions because the contraction would end and the nausea would come back even after taking my Zofran. I began feeling a lot of pressure and wasn't sure if I needed urinate or it was time to push. It was time to get out of the tub.
I asked to be checked again and was at 7 cm. I panicked. Things happened so quickly after 5 cm with Tony. I told the nurse to call my doctor and tell her to come quickly. My doctor is a dear friend and a homeschooling mom. She and her husband are both doctors and alternate time in the office and time at home. Today was an at-home day for her but her home was only 3 minutes away. I was so relieved when she came. I was feeling so much pressure but she said it wasn't time to push. My doula remained at my side reminding me to relax and breath. I tried to obey. It wasn't easy. I was on my back. I couldn't get into any of those other suggested positions for labor. I think those positions are for people trying to get their labor to progress. Mine was progressing without my help. I was checked a couple of more times and there was a big difference when I would have a contraction. If she checked me during a contraction I showed much more progress.
Darla began recording notes in a little book for me. She recorded that at 12:59, I was at 8-9 cm during a contraction. At 1:04 pm, the doctor told me I could push. I told her I didn't want to. I thought, "After all this I have to push the baby out, too? Ugh!" Most of this time, Mike was in the corner chair, trying to relax and not jump out of his skin. He was there for me. He would prefer to be out in the quiet waiting room and be told when it's all over. It's so hard for him to see me in such pain and not be able to fix it. Darla recorded that at 1:05 pm, Mike was up and on his feet and every one else was getting things ready. I asked Darla to take pictures. "Oh yeah, not from that angle, from by my head please." :) At 1:10 she writes says, "Serious pushing." At 1:17 pm, I touched Talitha's head. This would have been the "Ring of Fire" moments. It hurt like crazy! I said so. I also commented that adoption was wonderful. Nobody told me about the "Ring of Fire." It's when the baby's head is crowning and stretching everything. The time spent stretching is important because it reduces the risk of tearing. With the boys, I had Nubain and was numb prepared for episiotomies. I didn't not feel the "Ring of Fire." At one point my doctor said that if she did and episiotomy it would go faster but she didn't think I was going to tear. I was thinking, "Just do it!" but I knew it would take longer to numb me up and prepare for it than to just keep going.
I wasn't following any one's instructions about breathing. My nose was so stuffy and everyone kept telling me to breath in slowly through my nose. It wasn't until my doctor said that I was going to hyperventilate if I didn't slow down my breathing that I finally did what I could to suck in air through all my congestion. I felt like I had no strength or coordination to push. I couldn't feel when the contractions would end and when I should stop pushing or keep going. It was horrible. It was less than 10 minutes.
The doctor announced, "It's a girl!" and I reached down for my baby! I was so glad it was finally over. I said, "It's a girl? Yeah!" They finished suctioning her and I was able to pull her up onto my chest and held her close. It was wonderful! The picture is great! The look on Mike's face is priceless. The look on every one's face is priceless. Too bad I was mostly naked and can't post the picture. Then I couldn't move. I was so tired. I just held her close. She was crying a little and they suctioned her a bit more, but they didn't take her from me. She was covered in the creamy vernix which made us wonder if she wasn't as late as we thought she was. I kept saying, "She's so white." I wasn't refering to the vernix. She looked so different than my last two little brown babies. They asked Mike if he wanted to cut the cord. I knew he didn't and I reminded them that I wanted to. I did. They asked me if I wanted to try nursing her. I wasn't ready to try to move yet. Eventually, I did and after a little encouraging, she latched right on. I did end up tearing a little bit because Talitha had her arm across her chest and her hand up by her head. My doctor said that if she stitched it up it would heal better and would I like her to do that. Of course! My doctor and the nurse were so great about keeping me in charge of my labor and delivery. They really respected my wishes. It was wonderful.
I delivered the placenta. Even that was more painful and more work than I remember with the boys.
Mike was texting everyone and calling people. Everyone in the room was waiting patiently to get her stats but they were so great about letting me decide when. The people Mike called and texted were not so patient. "How much did she weigh?! What is her name?!" There were no answers for those questions yet. 1:45 pm
Darla left to go get her daughter, her friend's daughter and the doctor's daughters to take them all the home school ballet. Don't you love small towns? Every one is connected. I finally gave up the baby to have her checked and weighed. She was 8 lbs 10.2 oz and 21 inches long. I still hadn't really moved much. They gave her back and she latched on to nurse. Mike headed home to be with the girls. He said we would talk about a name later. My doula started giving me a massage. I hadn't wanted to be touched after they broke my water, but the massage afterwards felt wonderful. Then she covered me up with the blanket and left me to snuggle and rest with my sweet new little daughter. I was so content and relieved and thankful to the God who brings great joy and blessing to our family.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
This is from a story in the Bible, found in in the book of Mark, chapter 5. A ruler of the synagogue had come to ask Jesus to heal his daughter as she was sick to the point of death. Before Jesus was able to reach the girl, someone came from the house to say that the girl had died, and that Jesus should no longer to be troubled. Jesus, overhearing this, said to the ruler, the father of the girl,
"Do not fear, only believe."
Jesus proceeded to go to the house and tell the people there who were mourning the girl's death that she was not dead, but only asleep.
And they laughed at him.
While they were outside, Jesus went in with the father and mother to see the child. Then he took the child by the hand and spoke those beautiful, miraculous words,
What happened then was amazing. She didn't just flutter her eyes. She didn't just squeeze his hand. She immediately got up and began walking. And the people watching? They were immediately overcome with amazement.
It is fitting that this is the name Mike and Katie chose for their little girl. Talitha also shares her middle name with her mother and both of her sisters.
Welcome to the family, sweet Talitha Marie. With His words, Jesus spoke you into being, and we are all amazed.
-written by elisa
The baby has strawberry blond hair. Oh, I can't wait for pictures! But they will have to wait as Katie needs to relish in these new baby moments, as well as rest up for re-entry into real life (five kids!).
So just to let everyone know that things are going well. Nursing is going well. Katie will be hanging out at the hospital at least until tomorrow. The little girls at home are doing all right. Hopefully, she will share her labor story later as I wouldn't do it justice. She should be very proud of herself, though, as any mom will attest: labor is hard work!
I'll be posting the name soon as well!
-written by elisa
The tie-breaker baby comes through with a victory for the GIRLS.
That's right...IT'S A GIRL!
The report is that Beautiful Mama Katie and Sweet Baby GIRL are doing well. Details will follow later today!
Praise the LORD!
Update: Katie called with some stats-her sweet baby is 8 lbs 10 oz, 21 inches, has chubby cheeks, has hair, and no name.
Katie sounded great and very happy, but tired. Understandably, she wasn't up for a long conversation. :)
-written by elisa
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Sunday, February 14, 2010
*An unlicensed driver ran a red light and smashed his truck into her. Thankfully, it was a pretty low speed crash and he didn't hit her door or she would have been more seriously injured. She said the worst part was the nasty fumes from the air bags.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
She still doesn't have any teeth but she is pretty happy to slurp things off a spoon. We discovered this during her illness when we would give her medicine for her fever and probiotics for the thrush that developed in her mouth. I'm still not ready to start solids because we have enough going on in our house! :) She can wait.
I had been nursing her once every other day until about December when pain and contractions and a big belly made things really difficult. I had hoped she would be willing to latch on again. I tried the other day and she didn't want to have anything to do with it. I might try again as my milk supply comes in and there's a faster flow, but pumping and giving her a bottle may just be more efficient. When I first learned about Milk Share, I promised myself, "If I'm ever able to get pregnant, I'm definitely donating breast milk for an adopted baby." I never imagined it would be my own.
I have been using a thirteen-year-old breast pump that sound likes it's on its last legs and I'm always afraid it's going to die. My neighbor also told me the new ones have improved dramatically. She was using an older pump when she was pumping for Amanda. So, when Mike's year-end bonus came I ordered one off Amazon. Mike and the boys also order themselves a new PS3. Tyler seems to think it's due to arrive today but according to the emails, I think the breast pump with arrive first. Boy, aren't they going to be disappointed to see the Amazon box and find a breast pump inside!
(The red checked blanket in the background of the first pictures was a gift to Amanda from her foster grandma. The embroidered burp cloth was a gift to Christiana from Amanda's foster grandma. Adoption has brought such wonderful people into our lives.)
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
My son asked me the other day if all the people who keep calling to find out if I'm in labor are planning to be at the hospital when the baby is born. Thankfully, no. It will just be Mike and one friend if she can make it. Everybody else just wants to know. Mike said that every time his phone rings at work his employees ask if he's leaving to go to the hospital. I'm glad I'm not the only one feeling the pressure.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
The bad news it that Christiana has gotten used to snacking around the clock. We're going to work on that today and try to get her back on a four hour feeding schedule and sleeping through the night. Everybody seems to be on the mend! Yeah!
Friday, February 5, 2010
I have officially caught the bug that the little girls have/had.
Here's how this nasty bug progresses. First there are a couple days of running nose and crankiness. Then the coughing starts and the fever kicks in. Lots of coughing! Enough coughing to make a two year old think she is going to wretch and a six month old with a weak stomach sphincter to throw up most of her feeding if she starts coughing. Then there is a day of very high fever, no appetite and lethargy. That's probably the worst day of the sickness. After that there is a day or two more of mild fever, coughing and runny nose, sore tummy and crankiness. Amanda just has the lingering runny nose. Christiana is over the worst of it but still feverish and cranky. She starts crying every time she burbs because she thinks she is going to vomit again.
Me? I'm just getting started with the runny nose. I'm trying every home remedy that I can to help boost my immune system and resting as much as I can. I could really use your prayers that I don't get as sick as the little girls and that we are all better by the time I need to bring this little newborn home. Also, pray for Mike and Tyler that they don't get sick, too. Tony is already been down for the count. I think he's on the mend, too.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
We attend a small country church about 20 miles from our house. The congregation is mostly older and they play pretty traditional music. The Sunday before last, the weather was pretty bad so they decided to cancel church on account of the icy roads.
We took the opportunity to attend the new church that is in our neighborhood. It's the one that Tyler and Tony helped build this summer. It is attended by many of our neighbors and it's always fun to stop in and visit. They have a much younger congregation and music style. Amanda was quite smitten by the guy up front singing into the microphone while playing his guitar. When he got done with a song she would say, "More guitar!"
His singing inspired this little video during the next week.
We also connected with a neighbor lady who should be able to come and stay with the girls when I go into labor. She's been down a couple of times and I'm very confident everyone will be fine. That's a relief. I still hope the girls get better before that happens though. Amanda's getting better, but Christiana has been crying, coughing and gagging up her bottles since about 2 am last night. I'd hate to leave her with somebody else when she's like that. I have hope that this is the worst day since Amanda's worst day was yesterday.
Monday, February 1, 2010
my cousin will be posting for me when i go to the hospital so if you don't hear from me it's because i'm doing something mundane like napping or wiping noses and not because i'm in labor.
have a great night!