Monday, July 27, 2015

Thea's Birth Story

photo: Madison Warner Photography
Having a baby the second time around came with a lot of different anxieties than the first time. Instead of being terrified of the delivery room and how to be completely in charge of another human's life, I was more terrified about how to be a mom to two kids. How do I survive with two kids under two? How do I spend enough time with my toddler when I'm constantly caring for a newborn? How do I love this baby as much as I love RJ? How could I? I love RJ (literally) more than anything on this earth. When RJ was born time stopped. They had the bed tilted up at an angle so I could see her come out of me and it was absolutely incredible--magic sparks seemed to fly everywhere and I was overwhelmed with so much love and joy. I know people say that your heart just grows with the more children you have, but I was legitimately afraid that mine wouldn't and that I would be a terrible mom.

Since my due date was in April, I waited until after Christmas time to focus on getting things ready for a new baby. But I soon found that nesting in the third trimester with an 18-20 month old is like trying to brush your teeth while eating Oreos. It was not easy and felt completely useless a lot of the time. Especially with the bad lower left back pain I get in my pregnancies. Anything I tried to organize would be taken apart or thrown around the room by RJ. It was a slow process, but I eventually got things organized enough, turned RJ's room into the future girls room, set up baby stuff in our room, and had my hospital bag ready to go.

The due date was April 10th and my mom's plan was to drive up the 6th and stay a few weeks to help out. Lucky for me she is a miracle worker and within the first few days my house was deep cleaned, freezer meals were made, and my insanely unnecessary nesting to-do list was tackled. I kept telling her she could slow down and take her time, but luckily she knew better because Thea didn't take her time getting here like her big sister did.

Thea Brooke Redfern 
--Thea Tortilla, or as RJ first called her, "Oh sad poop"--
joined our little family a day early on April 9, 2015.

April 9th was a Thursday and I had a few appointments to go to that day. I was still in full on nesting mode. My mom and Chris were pretty sure I was going into labor soon, but I was still in denial and convinced we were going to have to wait forever like we did with miss RJ.
last photo I took of RJ before she became a big sis
In the early afternoon I put RJ down for a nap and left her with my mom so I could go to my appointments. I went to my Chiropractor for my back pain and then to my OB/GYN right after. My doctor told me I was dilated at a 4. Considering how fast I was progressing and how often I was having contractions at home, she thought I would go into labor on my own very soon and offered to strip my membranes to potentially speed up the process. Because Chris was going to have a busy finals/work week the following week, I wanted as much help as I could get without having to get induced. It was probably because I was already moving along, but boy did stripping the membranes work! I pretty much went right into hard labor after that.
3:00 pm I left my OB/GYN office and went to run an errand. While I was at the store I was having pretty regular contractions and started to keep track of the times on my phone (above). I left and went home, continuing to keep track until 4:00 pm. For about an hour I was having contractions mostly 2-5 minutes apart and so it was time to stop denying it…I was having a baby! At 4:15 I told Chris to come home from work so we could head to the hospital.
5:00 pm We were officially admitted in the hospital and I was already dilated to a 5 or 6.
The contractions were feeling very strong and fast. It was a crazy and awesome feeling going into labor naturally because before I had to be induced with RJ. After several painful contractions I felt good about getting an epidural. Both times that I've gotten epidurals my left side stayed completely numb, but I was able to still feel a bit of the pressure and pain on my right side. I liked this, because even though the majority of the pain was under control, I was still able to feel connected to the baby and contractions.

Chris was with me talking me through contractions, fetching me water and ice chips, and holding a cold rag to my head when I felt over-heated/light headed (common problem of mine even when I'm not in labor). Our next door neighbors/best friends took RJ so that my mom could come be at the hospital with us.

I can't remember the exact times, but the doctor came in and broke my water. A little earlier than I was expecting, they came and checked me and found I was fully dilated and effaced and ready to push. The doctor came when i was in the middle of a contraction and had me push a little toward the end of it. The top of her head popped out immediately and Chris gasped and asked me with a big smile if I wanted to know if she had hair or not. But I knew from his expression that meant she did! (I had admitted before getting to the hospital that if she didn't have red hair like RJ, I kind of hoped she would have a lot of dark hair like me.) Baby girl came, black hair and all, during my second push in the next contraction at 8:57pm. Just under 7 pounds and 18 inches long. She didn't waste any time!

Although there was already a 95% chance we were going to name her Thea, there was still one other name that I felt a connection to. I wanted to wait until I saw her to decide on the name. Before I could see her I heard Chris comment on her hair and the doctor comment on her chubby cheeks. I was anxious to see for myself! When they held her up, her little purple crying face immediately reminded me of RJ. But she had such dark hair! I had an episiotomy and tore a little extra as well, so while the doctor was stitching me up I had my little baby against my chest and I couldn't stop shaking while I cuddled her. It all happened so fast. Because I wasn't at the angle that I was when RJ was born, I didn't have the same magical moment and I felt guilty about it. They kept asking me what her name was and I wanted to cry because I didn't know yet. I didn't immediately recognize her as one name or the other like I thought I would.
daddy was smitten right away

As the nurses were cleaning her and weighing her I just kept thinking of RJ, comparing her to RJ, trying to wrap my brain around the fact that this was ANOTHER human being that I had created…separate from RJ. She looked so different than RJ and it was a weird feeling trying to recognize her and feel as connected to her as the almost two year old's face that I saw everyday. I had an hour in the delivery room with this precious new baby, Chris, and my mom as nurses came in and out to clean things up. Still shaking, I nursed her for the first time and had her on my chest before they took me downstairs to mother and baby area. Once she was back with me in my room alone, my nerves calmed down, and I finally felt that overwhelming feeling of love that I had been waiting for. I finally recognized her as my little Thea Brooke. (Name explanation post coming soon.)

Over the next two days we had several visitors come see us including the big sister herself. I was nervous about this because she did not do well at my recent prenatal appointments. Anytime a nurse or doctor used any sort of equipment around me, she freaked out. Coming to a hospital and finding me in a bed with a new baby in my arms? There was bound to be a freak out. But to my surprise she did great.
first picture as a family of four
I loved having my mom there!
The Hutchisons and our girls

My high school bff (Madison Brooke Warner) happens to be a photographer and came to visit us two weeks later so she could snap these precious photos for us. The first few weeks were rough as I recovered from my stitches, fractured tailbone, and nursing pains, but 100% worth that special and priceless newborn time. I'm so glad she could capture some of these memories below:

I didn't have an immediate magical moment with Thea, like I did with RJ. And that's okay. When RJ was born it wasn't just about her, it was also about me becoming a mom for the very first time and feeling feelings for another human being I didn't know were even possible. And I definitely have those same feelings for Thea. I can recognize now that my high expectations and anxieties about not loving Thea as much as RJ got in the way of my "moment." But it was definitely an amazing experience that I would never trade. I love this little bunny with everything I have. Words can't explain it. I am beyond blessed to care for her and watch her grow up like her sister.