Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Proloooooong {Tori's birth story}

When I was pregnant with Max, I read that a baby was considered full term at 37 weeks. Thus, with each of my pregnancies, I declared myself DONE at 37 weeks. D-O-N-E. {You can imagine, then, my chagrin when Everett was born 5 days after his due date! SO many tears were shed that week.} I was just so ready each time to be done with pregnancy and move on to the newborn babe stage.

The day before each of my babies have been born, we have had beautiful, memorable days together as a family. I never knew exactly what day the new babe was coming, it just seemed to work out that way. Wait, except with Tucker since he was induced. My refrigerator was stocked, my hospital bag was pretty much packed, and I'd long had a plan in place for the other kids while we were in the hospital. And so, when my water broke {as it did with 4 of my 5 labors}, everything was in order and it just felt right. I was ready! Oh! And we always had a name months in advance. Always.

All of that was true...until Tori.

We took a 4-state trip from the 35-37 week mark of my pregnancy with her. Even at 37 and 38 weeks I would look down at my belly sometimes and say, "Oh yeah! I'm pregnant! Super pregnant." I would completely forget sometimes. I hadn't even wrapped my mind around the fact that the baby I felt rolling around inside of me was going to be a real live infant who would be in my arms soon. I really can't explain it because it doesn't make sense, even to me. I mean, I'd had 4 babies before, and in quick succession, but it just didn't feel real. I was still bounding down the stairs, for goodness' sake. Not wobbling, bounding! Surely that meant that this baby, my LAST baby, was going to hang out inside my belly a while longer. This time, I was totally down for her being 5 days post-due date. I felt great and I was trying to relish this final pregnancy.

When we'd gotten home from our trip, we ripped apart our master bathroom for a big renovation. Like, no sink or cabinets...just some pipes sticking out of the wall. I was due on July 27th; it was Friday, July 18th, and we had plans to make some good progress the next day on the big bathroom project.

That day, the kids had been whiny. SO whiny. We put them to bed with frustration, relief, and exhaustion {but with love, too...we usually pull it together for a good send-off :) }. Neither me nor the hubs had the energy or desire to do the dinner dishes. Instead, we plopped ourselves on the couch and watched something {don't remember what...maybe a movie?} until it was pretty late for such old people {11:30 p.m.}. We laid in bed and with bleary eyes watched the incredible, crazy movements of our {at that time} nameless little girl for a few minutes. I was convinced she had a nightly karate/dance routine; it was cRaZy and I loved it. I wanted to take a video so that I would never forget and have it to watch forever, but I was too tired. "Tomorrow..." I thought, as I drifted off to sleep.

At 12:30 a.m. I awoke with a start. I knew what this was! "Ty! Ty! TY! My water broke!" I got myself to the bathroom {thank goodness we'd installed our new toilet and it wasn't still a hole in the ground!} and as I sat there, I was trying to tell myself not to freak out. I kept thinking, "Wait! What?! This is happening?! Wait!!! What?!"

I KNOW! I was almost 39 weeks, this shouldn't have been the shocker that it was. But it WAS a shocker! I was NOT ready for this! I felt like asking our little girl to hang in there for a while longer, then I felt bad because I didn't want her to feel like we weren't excited. It just wasn't supposed to go down like this. What about our beautiful day as a family the day before?! Dang it, the dinner dishes! I was distraught and so caught off guard. I was rambling off everything as I sat there, trying to remember where the pads were {everything from the bathroom was in bins in different places around the house...which one did I put the pads in?!} so that I could direct Ty to them. NOTHING was packed for the hospital. I was in freak-out mode, crying a little, and Ty was rushing about, taking care of everything and telling me everything was going to be okay. "Don't worry about anything! I'm going to take care of everything." He even sounded excited! I wanted to be excited!

Our plan had been to take kids to the Linton's, but just a day or two before, our sweet friend, Jessica, had said that she would come over and be with the kids if things happened on a weekend. That calmed me down when I remembered that. I knew I had a little while before labor really started. We would call Jessica and, because she'd taken care of my kids overnight so many times, I didn't have to really do anything to get them ready. The calm I needed was starting to settle. And with the calm finally came some excitement...we were going to meet our little girl!

I got in the shower and took my sweet time. All the while, my very sweet husband was doing the dishes and getting the house whipped into shape. He got out a bag for me to put my things in for the hospital, so I started putting things in there when I got out of the shower. I used my phone as the light to go in to Kelly's room and pick out some clothes to bring our baby home in..."and a blanket, I need to bring a blanket." Thank goodness I'd washed and put away all of her clothes before we left for our trip. Phew!

We called Jessica and she said she'd be over in just a bit. Ty convinced me I should let the hospital know we would be coming...and they told me what I knew they would since my water broke. "We need you to come in now." I told them I wanted to hang at home until things got serious; contractions had started, but nothing too intense. They said they couldn't recommend that and told me to call my doc. I did, and he concurred with the nurses. I thought he would concur with ME, he's pretty laid back, but he thought I should get in there. I still took my sweet time. I wrote notes to each of the kids. Ty gave me a blessing. I talked with Jessica for a while...things were getting pretty serious by the time I walked out the door, plenty of contractions close together.

We arrived at the hospital a few minutes later and got ourselves checked in and settled. The nurses were asking my birth plan. "Natural," I replied. But even as I said it, I felt doubt deep down. As they wrote it on the white board in my room, I thought, "I'm not sure." Things were progressing so quickly; they didn't want to check to see how dilated I was because my water broke and they don't like to risk infection, but I felt like I was pretty close to transitioning. I knew that if I kept going I would have a baby in my arms in an hour or less. But it didn't feel right. It all felt too fast. This was the LAST time I was going to give birth to a baby. I didn't feel in control like I had when I'd given birth before, I felt out of control; like labor was happening TO me, not that I was experiencing labor.  I knew I could get through it, but I didn't want to just get through it. I wanted to enjoy it. I wanted to mentally and spiritually get myself ready for this baby. I'd been able to do that without medication for my three previous births, but I just wasn't there this time. I told Ty and the nurse in the room that I was considering an epidural. The nurse could tell that I was getting close and wanted to make sure that's what I really wanted. She told me it might slow things down and I said in my mind, "YES! That's what I need...to slow things down! It's going too fast!" Ty, of course, wanted me to do whatever the heck I wanted to do because he's a wonderful husband.

I waffled for a minute and then decidedly declared that I wanted an epidural. The nurse very quickly got fluids going and after some more intense contractions, the epidural was administered. A few minutes after that, it took effect. I told Ty to get some sleep while he could and I was going to try to do the same. Maybe I dozed for a minute, but then I did the very thing my heart and spirit had been craving while I was in the throes of labor. I prayed intensely. I connected my mind and my heart to the little human I still felt wriggling inside of me. I thanked my Father in Heaven for the privilege of housing her, and the 6 other pregnancies {4 births, 2 miscarriages} I'd been blessed with. I wondered what she would look like and felt in awe that I was going to see her so soon! I was so awake and alive in those moments, so at peace with my decisions. So glad that she'd come when she did, to tell me to just chill in the midst of the chaos of our lives; to stop and to enjoy what was present...

And then I started texting my family, who were awake by that time. We did some FaceTime calls, I took some hospital selfies. :) After a bit Tyler woke up. They still didn't want to check to see how dilated I was, just told me to let them know when I felt like I needed to push. I was worried that I wouldn't know when that time came, but it wasn't long before I was pretty darn sure. We called the nurse and she called the doc {I LOVED this doctor, Dr. Christen, he delivered Tuck and Tori and I think the world of him} who checked me and said I was at a 10, we were ready to go!

Things were so different! Usually I am pretty darn focused right before I deliver my babies and everyone in the room is quiet and respectful of the work that I am doing to bring this life into the world. While I still felt respect, we were all chatting and telling jokes and stories as the doctor was getting suited up and they were getting things ready for my babe. And now I had more time to be EXCITED! I watched them plug in the warming bed and felt so excited about the fact that I had a tiny baby inside of me who would be on that bed within minutes. As the doctor was getting his gear on, I started doing little pushes; I couldn't help it. I didn't tell anyone I was pushing, just kind of did my thing. Once he was suited up and they got my feet in the stirrups, Dr. Christen said, "Oh, there's the head right there! Just give me one push." I did and then he said, "Okay, I'm just going to slide the shoulders out, don't push." Next thing I knew, there was our sweet little girl! She had so much hair! {Just like her big sister, but I am always surprised when I give birth to a babe with hair.} I LOVE GIVING BIRTH! I love the spirit, joy, and overwhelming LOVE that is so present and so thick in that room. The love for this nameless baby girl was immediate, of course, and I loved the spirit that accompanied her delivery. I know that Tori comes with a purpose...a purpose for our family, a purpose for the world and the role that she will play in it. She has brought calm and peace and joy in abundance!

10:07 a.m. 7 lbs 8 oz 19 inches

I hope that I remember the moment of meeting each of my kids for the first time even when I'm 90...because each of those 5 moments are so etched in my mind and heart now; they are some of the most incredibly happy, sacred moments of my life.

Everything was so incredible. So calm. So PERFECT for this final delivery and for where my mind and heart was/needed to be. Heavenly Father knew that I needed to prolong things and I am grateful for the gentle thoughts and nudges I received to do just that.

We oogled over our new baby girl for a long while, called/texted parents, siblings, and Jessica to share the good news. Then we ordered the traditional black and bleu salad that I have had after each of my babes were born in that hospital. Right after we ordered they came in and said, "We don't want to rush you...but we're going to need this room soon." I was delighted to be moved to the recovery wing; we'd been moved there after Max was born and there seemed to be a lot less interruptions from nurses there.

After lunch, off we went with our new tiny girl to a new room. The nurses and doctors would pester us about a name every time they came through the door, but I just wasn't ready to commit to anything. Maybe it was like everything else with this babe, I just wanted to prolong ALL of it! We had known for some time that the middle name would be Grace {after my 3rd Great Grandmother, whom I had found through genealogy research and whose work I did in the temple while I was pregnant with Tori} but the first name was a tough decision. We had narrowed it down to Addison or Tori, so that was at least something.

The kids were SO excited to meet their new little sister. Those are some sweet moments/memories for this mama. Tucker was slightly indifferent and hard to contain in that little hospital room, so the visit was shorter than Max or Kelly would have liked, but it was still a sweet moment to have all of my chicks together for the first time. {Oh! And we had to get special permission for ALL of them to be in there at the same time with my hubs and our sweet babysitter who is also a great photographer who I'd asked to take pictures of the kids meeting their sister for the first time. Lame, huh?! Large family discrimination is what that is! Luckily we had a really awesome, pushy nurse who made some phone calls so that it could happen}

Our first night together in the hospital was awesome! Tori slept for 9 hours straight and I slept for about 7 of those, though I kept waking up to make sure she was okay...and to stare at her. And the nurse just let us sleep, the wonderful lady! She said she kept peeking in but decided that we could use the sleep. I am always so anxious to leave the hospital and get back home after I have a baby, but those quiet moments in a dark hospital room when it's just me and my brand new baby are some of my favorite memories. The awe, the joy, the LOVE are all so palpable.

On Sunday Ty brought the kids to say hi again, which was so fun! Kelly and Max did NOT think it was fair that they had to leave her AGAIN, but off to church they went while we worked on getting discharged. Ty told me it was time to choose a name. We used the white board in the room and wrote both names on there so that I could look at them. I tried both names on our baby, but both felt good. It was like we couldn't go wrong with either one, but I really wanted it to be RIGHT. Our nurse, Liz, tried to help with the decision process. We started calling our babe Noname {pronounced the Hawaiian way, if that makes sense}. We had a few dear friends come to visit after church {Heidi Jansson, the Kents, and the Morgensens...Eric Morgensen took some pictures that I will forever treasure}.

Still, with the name. So much discussion and indecision...from ME. Ty was on board with whatever I decided and wanted me to be happy with it. Finally, I decided on Tori. I was ready to fill out the paperwork. Kinda. But a decision had to be made and I felt pretty good about it. NOW I absolutely LOVE the name and can't imagine having considered anything else.

Oh, Tori Grace Foster! I am SO glad you are here. You are the beautiful exclamation point to our family and the best baby {temperament wise} we've had! I love you with all of my heart, little girl. Thank you for coming to our family. Thank you for the beautiful spirit you share. Thank you for going with the flow of this crazy family and our {often} chaotic life. We are cherishing every bit of you. Thank you for reminding me to slow down and enjoy. You are loved beyond measure.

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