Thursday, May 14, 2015

Welcoming Baby Lucas

On April 16th, we welcomed in our second baby boy, Lucas David. His arrival was quite a process, very much unlike the typical textbook labor I experienced with my first labor. What felt like "labor," began a few days prior, with Braxton Hicks occurring sporadically starting early Tuesday morning. The following day resulted in similar contractions that grew stronger, but nothing consistent enough to be labeled as active labor. They were starting to become a nuisance, so I decided to try ignoring them and going about my day. 

The third night, I was awoken by contractions that were beginning to feel slightly painful, causing me to sit up and breath through each one. I woke the husband up once again (I was starting to feel like the boy who cried wolf) to tell him I thought today would really be "the day." He got up with me and we watched "Modern Family" (it has become a tradition with each labor) to take my mind off the contractions. By 4am, they were coming every 5-7 minutes and growing stronger. We ate breakfast and decided to go for a walk to speed things along, stopping to breath during each contraction. After walking for some time, I was beginning to feel exhausted from the lack of sleep the previous nights. We sat down on the park bench and the contractions stopped the entire time I rested. We walked back home and by then, I only had one contraction within 20 minutes. I began to feel frustrated, as each of these contractions seemed to lead to false hope of a real labor. I began to desperately pray that I would not be in "labor" for days on end. 

I decided to take a nap to rest and take my mind off of the contractions and had a few strong ones while I was resting. Afterwards, my husband suggested that I soak in the tub to relax, as that seemed to trigger labor the first time around. We lit candles and played some relaxing piano music, the same playlist I labored to in the past at the hospital. Being in the warm water was soothing and actually helped ease some discomfort during the contractions. I could see why some women choose a water birth, I would too if our hospital provided bathtubs! At this point, my contractions came back feeling stronger and lasting longer than the previous ones. I laid in the tub for what was probably two hours before deciding to get out. When I went outside to talk with my mother (she ended up staying with us to take care of JJ after the first day of false labor), I experienced a few more of the same contractions that didn't enable me to speak. She glanced at the clock and saw that they were coming every 5 minutes, so she went to the yard to call my husband to come back inside. Apparently he was jumping in the jumper with our oldest son, thinking it was false labor once again, so he took his time putting the equipment away. By the time he went inside, I had a big contraction and began to feel the urge to push. He took one look at me and knew it was time to head to the hospital. 

We rushed out of the house as fast as we could, and from what I could remember, the ride there resembled one out of a car chase movie. Since it was late in the afternoon, rush hour had already begun. The husband weaved in and out of lanes and "safely" ran a red. The entire time I was focusing on breathing through the strong contractions and keeping my mind off the pain. I tried visualizing a steady stream with trees all around from Psalm 23 and surprisingly this helped. 

When we arrived at the entrance of the hospital, my husband left the car in the passenger drop-off and we made a mad dash for the elevator. I hobbled into the lobby, which was unusually packed with people. I gave the nurse my name and was pleasantly surprised to see my doctor on call! They gave me one of the last rooms available and the walk from the door to the bed felt like an eternity. After I changed into the hospital gown, the nurse made a comment that the bed wasn't a drop-down delivery bed. I suppose they ran out of rooms, but there was no way I was moving at this point- we would have to manage without the convenience. One of the nurses came in to check me and told us I was 9.5 cm, basically ready to push (the involuntary pushing had already begun). She yelled down the hall to call the doctor in, and several more nurses rushed in. The anesthesiologist came by and asked if I wanted an epidural, which was quite humorous considering the fact that I was about to push, and the epidural would be counterproductive. I graciously declined. Afterwards, one of the nurses stabbed my wrist with a needle and blood came spewing out, as she had hit the wrong nerve a couple of times. I recall her telling me to try and put pressure on it, but my focus was elsewhere. They opted out on the IV. 

By this point I was waiting for them to prop me into the right position to push. They moved my body  diagonally, my legs dangling off the side of the bed. The doctor grabbed her tools and they told me I could officially begin pushing. I was laying flat on my back with my knees propped up, possibly the most uncomfortable pushing position. I was tired of waiting and the thought of going through another contraction made me anxious. I pushed through the first contraction and even harder during the next, and it was then that our already mischievous baby boy made his grand appearance late afternoon. It was instant relief as they placed his little body on my chest to hold for the very first time, something I didn't have the chance to experience with my first due to minor complications. I was in awe, shock and numbness all at once. Unlike what you typically see on the tube, I never felt the mushy-gushy weepy feelings upon seeing my children for the first time. The feelings usually settle in slowly over the weeks, months even. Every experience is unique for each Mama, but still miraculous to witness nonetheless. Giving birth is one of the most challenging experiences (first of many!) a Mama will go through, but the light at the end of the tunnel (literally) bears tremendous blessings.

Its been nearly a month since little Lucas was born, and time has gone by slowly, yet quickly. Being a second-time mama does have its benefits, as you tend to recover sooner and have less anxiety about the things you worried about the first time around. However...the transition going from 1 to 2 can be brutal. We were told that it not only becomes double the work, but it is also exponentially more difficult. And that statement remains true thus far, as we have all been learning to adjust to our new addition (more on that later). 

Challenges aside, it has been rather nice to have this sweet addition to our little family. Seeing the way his older brother interacts with him is heartwarming, though brief (it doesn't take long for his gentle caresses to turn into pinching and squeezing). Being a second sibling does have its advantages though (and cabin fever hit us harder this time around)- this little guy has already seen the likes of Disneyland (don't tell the grandparents!), yummy eateries, a drive-in movie and Target/Costco runs all within the early weeks of his life here in this big bad world...and there are more to come! We feel extremely blessed (and terrified) to be entrusted with yet another one of these precious little ones. 

Some recent photos of our growing family... 
"Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them;
They shall not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate."

- Psalm 127:3-5

Proud older brother
First drive-in movie with the entire fam!
This is how we do family nap-time
Wonder who was responsible for this?
 Can never get enough of that newborn smile (even if it's involuntary, can we just pretend it isn't?)
JJ found himself a "baby" to take care of too : )
Never wake up a sleeping baby...
I leave you with this endearing quote... { Handwritten by TheGildedPage }

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