March 27, 2017
9lbs 8oz – 22″
We are so pleased to welcome our daughter into our world! Our family has been waiting for her for such a long time, and we are so glad she is now here!
I thought I would share the story of her name. It is a name Tim and I have had in our back pocket for over 6 years, since before we were married. In some ways it is really strange to say the name out loud now, since it has been such a huge secret for such a long time.
Erika is named after my Oma. My Oma is a dearly loved woman by everybody who knows her. She is a dedicated worker, beautiful singer and the best baker I know. To be known by her is to be loved, to be fed, to be prayed for. We are sadly losing her quickly to the grasps of Alzheimer’s/Dementia, and it breaks our hearts. We hope the memory of her and her legacy will live on for a long time. Sometimes I feel like God meant for us to wait as long as we have to use the name, so it came at a time when the family needed it.
Grace is a middle name shared with my sister, Rosalynn. My sister is a such a special person to me. She is a strong woman who loves fiercely and is completely devoted to what is in her heart. For a few months earlier in my pregnancy, I contemplated changing the middle name to Rose. It still would have honoured my sister, and roses are pretty flowers that smell lovely, plus, it would have been a reference to our time here in Alberta: Wild Rose Country. However, Tim never really came over to my side, and whenever I thought her name in my head, my mind always went to Erika Grace. And the meaning of Grace is so special; a rose may be lovely to behold, but there is nothing more beautiful than the free gift of Grace given to us by our God.
And now the story of her birth!
With each passing pregnancy, I seem to convince myself harder and harder that THIS is the time I will have my baby early. I just simply can’t be late with ALL my births! So I totally thought she would come a week early. But she didn’t. She just hung on, and hung on. At my 39 week appointment, my OB said “we will discuss booking an induction during your next appointment.” I thought to myself, “Yeah, sure. I won’t need it!” My 40 week appointment came, and she booked me in for a week later. I thought to myself, “I definitely won’t make it that far!” I did. And with every day my nerves grew and grew.
I was called at 7:45 on the morning of Monday March 27 asking how soon I could come. I had already showered and just needed to eat, so I said I could be there by 8:30. I packed up my last minute stuff, ate half a breakfast, and headed off to the hospital. I was anticipating a super quick delivery since Patrick was only 2 hours of labour. I asked Tim if he thought it would be an AM baby or a PM baby. He thought PM, but I wasn’t so sure. It took a while for them to get us started. I wasn’t hooked up to the drip until 9:50. They started me off on the lowest amount and slowly upped it every half hour. It was around 11:45 when I finally started to feel things happening. As in, I guess stuff is starting, but I can totally ignore them if I wanted to. Tim and I walked around a bit after the first half-hour period of being monitored, and I bounced on my ball. Getting induced is so boring. I just wanted them to break my water already. I knew that would really get things going!
Just waiting, listening to the heartbeat on the monitor for the first half hour of being on oxytocin. His view, my view.
Nothing happened or progressed for another 2 hours. At 1:45 the OB on call finally came to break my water. I was mostly anxious to learn how dilated I was. At my OB appointment a week earlier I was 2 cm, and I was hoping to have dilated a good amount from the oxytocin in the past 4 hours. But I was barely 3cm. Womp womp. So he broke my water. With the very next contraction, I could tell that that was all I really needed. They went from being painless and barely there to being noticeable and getting more intense as time chugged on. Also, when they broke it, there was a ton of meconium in the water. It was actually really gross. I will spare you the many visual comparisons I have thought of since then. They continued upping the dose a bit every half hour. Just before shift change I had a huge gush of more green goopy fluid, so from then on I was to be monitored at all times. I had mentioned to my nurse that I used the nitrous oxide in my previous labours so she got the tank set up before she headed out so it would be ready for me when I felt like I might need it.
Shift change came at 3:30. At this point my nurse told the new one that she thought I was still in pre-labour and not in real labour yet. I am going to disagree with her and say that my labour started at 1:45 when they broke my water. And I also have to say, nurses are so great. There are so many different kind of personalities you can get, and I happened to luck out and have the best kind of personality for each stage of labour. My first nurse was around my age, kind and sweet, she brought in two different newborn hats for me to choose from, and she recognized the Lauren Daigele and Jars of Clay I was listening to. She was a pleasant person to have around and joke with and get comfortable with while setting me up and getting me going. My second nurse was very different but equally amazing. She was older and you could tell she’d been around the ward a time or two. She really sounded confident in everything she was doing and made me feel confident in her skills and abilities. She didn’t mess around, but she wasn’t like a drill sergeant either. She listened to my requests with complete respect and gave me the benefit of the doubt in a couple situations.
At this point my contractions were still getting stronger and stronger. Not quite bad enough that I needed the gas, but I had to close my eyes and breath through them. At some point I requested to be checked again, so see how much I had progressed. Probably around 4:30? This is one of the times the nurse listened to me as somebody who had been through this a few times before. I knew that in my last labour I had gone from 7cm to pushing in 3 contractions. So she had no problems checking me so she also could know what was going on and get the other necessary parties prepped for delivery (they needed to have the neo natal team there because of all the meconium, to make sure baby was breathing okay when she came, and also an extra nurse or two because Patrick was born with mild shoulder dystocia and she wanted to be prepared in case that happened again). When she checked me, sure enough, I was at 7cm. I thought to myself “Amazing! only three more contractions to go, and I haven’t even used the gas!” Of course things don’t go like that. I had more than three contractions. They did get stronger from there and I did need to use the gas. The great thing was that I still had the down time between contractions. I never got to the point where I was completely out of it and unaware of what was going on around me. I went into this labour wanting that. I wanted to be more aware of my surroundings, the people, and the feelings, than I had in the past because this was the last time. I enjoyed those in between moments, interacting with the nurse, welcoming the hoards of people to my room and smiling at them. I was happy. In pain, but happy.
In the zone. Happy feelings once a contraction passed!
I suppose it was around 5:25ish when I started feeling “pushy”. In the past I remember my contractions going from normal ones to “okay, I’m pushing now” ones instantly. This time they came on more gradually, in about 4 or so contractions. That was good because it gave the nurse time to get the people she needed there, there. So everybody filed in, and like I said I smiled and said something like “Hello everybody, welcome here!” like I was teaching a class or something. The OB got situated and started directing my pushing while my nurse directed my other responsibilities like pulling up my knees and pushing down my chin.Within just a few pushes, she was there! I said, “And she IS a girl, right??” and it was so amazing. She was breathing just fine (I think; they didn’t say otherwise), and there was also no mention of any shoulder problems, so I think the whole crew was just there for a good time.
Now since she was so big, and the delivery was quick, and this was my fourth child, the odds were against me on having no problems afterwards. My body kinda went into overdrive I guess. I had a significant amount of bleeding and clots post delivery. They kept me hooked up to the oxytocin to help with that, and also attached a catheter (as annoying as those are, it was kind of amazing not to have to go pee at all until the next morning when they removed it). They abused my poor uterus so hard with all their pushing on it to get stuff out, and I had to stay in the delivery room a little longer than normal, just so they could keep an eye on things and make sure the bleeding settled down, which it did, and there aren’t any more problems. Expect my second degree tear and the discomfort associated with that. But it’s definitely not as bad as the second degree tear I had with Calvin.
The boys and my mom were able to come meet her that evening yet, before visiting hours were over. Apparently Calvin had been bugging my mom all day to be able to go to the hospital. It was hard to get sleep that night, what with the IV attached on the left and the catheter hanging down to the right, and the nurse coming in to check me and change me and restock the IV. But I managed a few hours of sleep, and so did Erika. We got home around noon the next day and we are happily getting to know one another. Calvin loves to hold her all the time, for 30 seconds at a time. Victor is exercising his new tendencies to act like a pesky older brother, and Patrick loves to point and gasp at her. We are all in love and are excited to get to know her more and more and time marches on. Just don’t march on too quickly!