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October 18, 2007

The Birth Story

Eleanor and Mommy - Bonding
Originally uploaded by brookeandandy.
I have been writing and tweaking this story a little bit and I think I'm ready to post it now.

WARNING: This is a birth story. There is nothing very graphic about the contents, however, if you prefer to think babies are delivered by storks or just don't care for the details of a woman in labor, I recommend you just sit this one out.


Eleanor Jane Adams – Birth Story – Brooke’s Perspective

At about 4pm on Saturday (the 8th), I had some contractions that had some pain associated with them. They were coming every 15 minutes or so and were staying about the same intensity. I needed to pause during these contractions but they didn’t keep us from going to our favorite sushi place for dinner that night. I alerted Mom and Laura R. (first line of childcare defense) that I was having some contractions but it wasn’t time yet, just so they wouldn’t be too surprised in case I woke up in the middle of the night in real labor. As I was going to sleep the contractions slowed down and were less intense so I got a good night’s sleep. Contractions were still going Sunday morning and started growing in intensity but were still not at regular intervals so we went to church. Every so often, I just looked like I was praying with extra intensity.

Since the contractions were fairly strong and growing (and my due date was so close), Mom decided to go ahead and come on down to help us out with Anne Marie and be ready for when we did need to go to the hospital. She arrived that afternoon and over dinner I started timing my contractions in earnest. They were still not completely regular but were mostly at 11 minute intervals. By the time Anne Marie was in bed, I was really starting to feel them. I laid down about 8:45pm to try to get some rest – I was able to rest but not sleep because the contractions were every 8 minutes and lasted a good minute. Like last time, Andy was downstairs trying to get some work done and by about 10 pm, I went to let him know the contractions were about 5 minutes apart and lasting a minute. We thought that this labor might even be faster than Anne Marie’s since it was a second child (I wish that had been true!). We let Mom, who had just turned in herself, that we were going to get ready and go to the hospital. After our last minute gathering and arranging, Andy and I were off and Anne Marie was already in Grandmomma’s hands – since childcare was a slight worry (we don’t have family in the area, so four of my wonderful friends had volunteered to help out, but it was a complicated affair of who would be called, when), it was great to not have to worry about it after all.

We arrived at the hospital around 11pm. I was admitted and we started the paper work. This time we got a real birthing room from the beginning (with Anne Marie we were in triage for several hours). Our nurse was good, very accommodating and supportive of my choice to have a natural birth. I was checked and was 5 to 6 centimeters dilated, which was encouraging. I was freezing – which, after our August, was an unusual feeling since I had been roasting for months. I got warmed up and got my IV going (I had to have antibiotics and fluids) and we set in for the labor. Then I got really hot – so we had to chill the room down to the point that Andy had to get covered up. I was just breathing and relaxing through the contractions using some techniques from Bradley and some from Birthing From Within. I just kept thinking, “I’ll be holding my baby soon”. I preferred, once again, to labor sitting up and got propped up with all my pillows. I walked around only a little in order to go to the bathroom. The doctor was called since we had all thought that my labor would go quickly. He ended up getting a good night’s sleep in the on call room though since my contractions continued all the way through the night and early morning.

The contractions continued to grow in strength and the hours passed. I started wanting to know if/how much I had progressed even though I knew that dilation isn’t always a linear affair. At about three I was really starting to wonder if I could do this. We talked to the nurse and she wanted us to wait for a check. At five that morning I was checked again and was 7 to 8 – she felt if my water would just break, we’d be in business. Part of me was thinking, “Then just break my water and let’s get this over with”, while the rest of me was thinking, “I know it will hurt more once my water is broken and I really don’t want more pain”. It wasn’t long after this check that the contractions got yucky. That’s the best word for them. They were in my back some, very painful, longer, stronger, and had some urge to push sensations along with them. Unfortunately these contractions alternated with milder ones for another three hours or so.

I then had a few contractions in a row where the urge to push increased. A little before 8am I was checked again. I was fully dilated but I think my water was still not broken and the baby was still at zero station (had not dropped down into the birth canal). About 8 I was told that I could push as I needed to, especially if it helped with the pain however, since my last contraction had not been an absolutely must push contraction, it was suggested that we let the baby “labor down”, which sounded pretty awful to me at the time. The nurse started to walk out of the room and said to call her when I had an undeniable urge to push… she didn’t make it out of the room before my next contraction hit and I had to push. I kept pushing through these contractions and it was producing real work. The baby’s head was increasingly more visible. I didn’t realize in my laborland haze just how productive they were being. I just knew that I hated pushing but I couldn’t quit… the baby would be here soon and I would be holding him or her. Then, after some really big pushes, the baby is born at 8:34am and it’s a girl.

Unfortunately the cord was around her and her time spent in the birth canal was relatively short – both of these things possibly contributing to some fluid in her lungs. This meant that she didn’t pink up like she should, wasn’t crying quite right, and was breathing fast trying to get enough oxygen. They rushed her over to the baby station and called for backup. It meant that I didn’t get to hold her until maybe 20 to 30 minutes after she was born and then for only about 10 minutes before they took her up to the transition nursery. However, as they were taking her away she was already crying better (of course, because she had to leave her Mommy) so they thought that the prognosis was good. Andy went with her and I was left alone to start my recovery.

She did do well in the transition nursery and passed all her tests and labs. Andy kept going between the nursery and me to relay information and try to get her released to us as soon as possible. Since I had not had any sleep since Saturday night (and this is now Monday morning), I tried to use this time to get some rest. About 5 hours after she was born, we were reunited. She was (and is) perfect. She was immediately offered her first meal, and she ate like a pro – which was a huge relief since I worried our separation could possibly negatively influence her ability to breastfeed well from the beginning. Thankfully there have been no worries at all since then. After waiting for her to give us her first dirty diaper, we were even allowed to leave the hospital early so that we could get home to our first baby, now a big sister.

So that’s how Eleanor Jane came into this world. I was not quite prepared for my second labor to be longer and harder than my first. However, my recovery was much easier this time. The miracle of labor amnesia is already settling in; I’m beginning to think that yes, we might be able to think about having more children.

What blessings Andy and I have been given - two wonderful, beautiful, amazing, healthy daughters. To God be the glory!

October 17, 2007

My Girls

My Girls
Originally uploaded by brookeandandy.
Check out some new pictures here. We go to the doctor tomorrow but I weighed Eleanor on a scale at a friend's house today - she was about 13lbs!! It's not just our imagination that she's so well "rounded".

October 12, 2007

Fall is Here

Look What I Found
Originally uploaded by brookeandandy.
Here's our girl, again in her boots, out on a walk with us. Because Eleanor was wearing a hat, she had to too. This little bumble bee number was crocheted by my friend Gillian as a gift to Eleanor - however, since it's big enough for Anne Marie - she's using it for the season. Eleanor's head will be kept warm by the hat Gillian crocheted for Anne Marie when she was an infant - and adorable pink hat with a puff ball on top. Sadly, we didn't get a picture of Eleanor in the hat, but if you look at our shadow silhouettes, you'll see the puff ball on top as she's in my Mobi wrap. You can see the rest of the photos in this set here.

October 10, 2007

Where has the month gone?

Eleanor - One Month
Originally uploaded by brookeandandy.
Eleanor is a month old today. She's still doing beautifully - adding adorable fat rolls, looking around, almost smiling at mommy. She's sleeping well - I usually get a piecemeal 7 hours at night, which is manageable. She's eating well (obviously). Just generally being a big ole' blessing for this young family.

Being a second child herself, my sister, Laura, told me that I had better keep up the monthly "photo shoot" tradition for Eleanor's first year. So here it is. Enjoy.

Happy One Month Little Darling!

Boots, Boots, Boots

Originally uploaded by brookeandandy.
When I asked her to put her crocs on this morning, she answered me with "boots, boots, boots" - so, boots it was. She wore them all morning (until nap time), and got many compliments and smiles. Thanks for the boots Grandmomma, and for the outfit, Auntie Anne, Mimi, and Papa.

October 09, 2007


We made a quick Kingsport visit and managed to see all the great grandparents in the area! We hope to see many more people in our next few visits. Here are pictures from the weekend.

Happy Halloween

Originally uploaded by brookeandandy.
We opened our Halloween season with the cute outfits given to us by O-ma. Aren't these gals cute??

October 05, 2007

Eleanor's Third Week

Gorgeous Blue Eyes
Originally uploaded by brookeandandy.
Eleanor's third week of life was spent as an only child. Anne Marie went to visit grandparents for a week and E and I spent the week bonding, resting and relaxing. I think we all had a good week. AM was spoiled rotten (of course!) and I really did get some extra rest and time for myself. I was thinking how funny it was that when Mom drove out of the driveway and left me with a two week old Anne Marie, I thought, "Oh my goodness, how will I be able to do anything AND take care of this little girl". But this time around, when I dropped off Anne Marie and was left with just little Ellie, I thought, "Wow, I can do anything I want - I've got tons of free time." It's amazing how taking care of a toddler will put time into perspective!

Cloth Diaperin'

Chubbin' Up
Originally uploaded by brookeandandy.
Since I felt a little more in control of things this past week - and the thought of an extra load of laundry didn't frighten me too much - we tried out the cloth diapers for Little Eleanor. It's going pretty well and I've especially enjoyed the little wool covers I had for her. One I knit and one was made by our friend Jane. Now that I know it's a girl - I'm in the middle of knitting a hot pink soaker and have a purple wrap planned. This is the best part of cloth diapers to me... but I'm funny like that.

First Big Girl Bath

Our perfect little fatty.
Originally uploaded by brookeandandy.
She has really enjoyed her sponge baths, so it was no surprise that she seemed to enjoy the big girl bath. She had a very funny look on her face through most of it, but was very relaxed. She seems to be cold natured though so was pretty cold when we got her out of the warm water. Look how well she's gaining weight! Getting so chubby, I love it!

Eleanor's First Bottle

Hmmm... Daddy's feeding me?
Originally uploaded by brookeandandy.
Daddy got to snuggle up to Ellie and feed the first bottle. She did pretty well (the nipple is the same as her paci, so it was familiar) but I think I got too fast a flow for her. She got a little choked up... I'll get a slower flow and we'll try it again soon.