Thursday, April 4, 2019

Introducing Baby Johanna!

So I'm super late getting this post out, but better late than never! Our sweet baby girl, Johanna Judith, arrived on January 31, 2019 at 11:31 pm!  She weighed 6 lbs 15.8 oz and measured 20 inches long. We are enamored with her and everyone that sees her just can't get over her head full of dark hair!!

Her middle name is for my dad's side of the family, after my Aunt Judy, and her first name means gift from God, which she miraculously is!

All of the lovely photographs you see here were taken by April Cole Photography--she does amazing work and we love her!

Johanna's birth was an incredible experience and I'm still in awe of how amazing it was compared to the traumatic birth of my twin girls that resulted in lots of complications. I knew this baby was God's miracle and trusted Him that he would bless me with a safe and much better birth for this sweet girl. I'm so thankful I was able to enjoy it (as much as you can enjoy being in pain, and remember every detail!)

I had been having Braxton Hicks contractions for a few weeks prior to getting some different, cramp-like contractions more in the lower back early in the morning on January 31st. At the time of delivery I was 39 weeks and 1 day, and I remember the day before she was born being super emotional. These continued pretty consistently and eventually got stronger, so we headed to the hospital around lunchtime, dropped with girls off with their aunt and uncle, and arrived at labor and delivery around 1 pm. When they checked me I was 3 cm, and they said I could walk halls for a few hours to see how much I was progressing. After walking a while, I was only 3.5 to 4 cm and unfortunately not enough for them to keep and admit me. However, my contractions were getting pretty strong and painful at this point!

So, we decided to stick around close to the hospital and drove around for a bit before getting a hotel room so that I could take a warm bath and try to relax while my labor continued. As soon as we checked into the hotel room, I laid down on the bed and had a very strong contraction--and my water broke all over the hotel bed!!! So just as soon as we had settled into the hotel room we had to immediately leave and get back to the hospital. I was still leaking fluid with every contraction in the car, in the wheelchair on the way up labor and delivery, and once I got into the hotel room. My contractions at this point were extremely strong and painful, and close together.

We got back to the hospital around 6 pm or so, and I was checked into a room and at that point I was 5 cm dilated. My labor was naturally progressing super fast, and it was at this point I asked for the epidural. I was going to try nitrous oxide gas but things were so intense I just wanted the epidural at that point...haha. In the span of about 20 minutes, I went from 5 cm to 7 cm and probably would have given birth soon, but after getting the epidural my labor slowed down some and I was able to relax a little better. There were a few scary minutes when our baby's heart rate dropped because of the combination of the epidural and the fast dilation, but it came back up quickly. A team of several people came in the room and left just as quickly once the heart rate stabilized. On a side note--although it seems like a good thing to have the attending MFM in your room, it usually means something is going wrong! I was happy to have my sweet resident doctor and nurse back handling my labor for me.

The rest of the evening I was lying on my side with a peanut ball in between my legs during labor, which I could still feel, just at a reduced pain intensity level because of the epidural. I did have to get it boosted once as it started to wear off a bit. My contractions remained very close together and strong. Finally at around 11 pm I was fully dilated and it was time to push and Johanna was born 30 minutes later! As soon as I pushed her out they immediately placed her on my chest and finished checking her out while we did skin-to-skin. She stayed there for a few hours before they took her to be weighed, measured, etc. She even tried to nursed some, it was the most amazing bonding experience and I still can't get over how thankful I am to have made it through without any preeclampsia this time, no induction needed, no excessive bleeding, infections, or any other complications. We went home from the hospital not even 48 hours after she was born. I felt pretty well recovered physically and back to normal much, much sooner with this birth.

I remember the nurses who were checking her out after she was born still in the labor and deliver room saying, "she looks like she is hungry"--how appropriate because she was a BIG eater the first month and so hungry all the time. She has slowed down some now but is still our growing girl and loves to be moving all the time. She is also smiling a lot now which is so sweet and fun :)

Her big sisters have been great with her and are such good helpers. We all adore her so much!