Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Welcome to the world, baby girl.

I know the next few posts will be out of order, but I wanted to write down the most recent (and most important!) ones first so I wouldn't forget!

Our sweet baby girl, Katelyn Donnia Krebs, joined our family on November 23rd, 2013. She came at 2:51am, weighing 7 lbs. 3 oz. and measuring 20.25 in.

When Jackson was born, my heart felt like it was going to overflow with love. I had no idea that such all-consuming, all-encompassing love ever existed. It was entirely different than the eternal and unconditional love that I have for my husband. It was fierce, protective, overwhelming. When we knew this little girl would be joining our family, admittedly and ashamedly, I thought there would be no way I could love her like I love Jackson. There just wasn't enough room in my heart.

I was wrong.

My heart grew exponentially the moment she entered my arms. It's a miracle that God has given us the capacity to love and love and love.

There is nothing like the love of a parent for a child. God has created a perfect plan for us to learn, in a very small way, how he feels for us as his children. Of all the titles that God holds, the one he wants us to use and understand best is his role as our Eternal Father. I'm grateful for the trust he places in us to care for his sweet children. Parenthood has been and will forever be the most difficult, most important and most fulfilling work that I will ever do. I'm so grateful for it.

On another note, here's Katelyn's birth story: (If you aren't into that sort of thing, just check out the photos!)

On Wednesday evening, November 20th, I started having regular contractions about 7-10 minutes apart. We got really excited and started to clean up the house and prepare to welcome our little girl! However, they slowed and stopped after three hours. I was a little bummed, but grateful for one more night of rest :)

On Friday evening, November 22nd, I started having regular contractions at around 8:30pm. I didn't think much of it because of what happened on Wednesday. I didn't want to get my hopes up too much! So, I started painting (logically). After an hour or two, they were getting closer together (around 4 minutes apart) and they were starting to get a little more uncomfortable. I still wasn't sold yet, but we at least called Mom Krebs and Leah to be on stand by just in case we needed to head to the hospital. I wanted to labor in the comfort of our home for as long as possible, so we decided to wait just a bit longer.

Side note: I had decided early in my pregnancy that I wanted to try natural birth. I didn't have a fantastic experience with Jackson (for multiple reasons, but mostly because I was unprepared and terrified of being induced) and wanted to try something else. Chuck and I took a natural childbirth class and I read up on some different techniques to use to help focus your mind. It wasn't until about a week before Katelyn came that I really committed to the idea.

At around 11pm, the contractions started coming about two minutes apart and I wasn't able to talk or stand during them, so we called Leah to come stay with Jackson. This was the real deal! We ended up leaving the house around midnight and arriving at the hospital at around 12:30am.

After getting checked in and hooked up, our nurse checked me and I was at 6 cm. Woo hoo! I was so happy that we had waited long enough to make it that far on our own. Especially since now I had to be hooked up to the fetal monitors, which made it harder to labor the way I wanted to. Although, kneeling in the bed with my head resting on my arms seemed to work best for me.

Chuck was an absolute all-star. He stayed focused with me the whole time. He coached me through each contraction and helped me to keep my shoulders and neck relaxed to let my body do what it was supposed to.

After about another hour of labor, I was feeling some pressure and asked the nurse to check me. She said I was at 7 cm. I was a little discouraged, but felt like I was staying focused and in control and that I could keep it up. By this point my legs had started shaking. The nurse let me know that it was normal and that it would go away about an hour after the delivery. After about twenty more minutes (now around 2:15-2:30am), I was really feeling pressure. The nurse checked me and said I was still at a 7, but that the baby's head had moved down and that once my water broke, she would be on her way.

After that check, I was feeling extremely discouraged. The contractions were getting really intense and my whole body was very tired. (I made a mental note to start sleeping more than 5 hours a night a few weeks before our next baby comes!). Plus, I felt like I really wanted to push, which was strange because I wasn't fully dilated yet.

Only a few minutes later, the urge to push became overwhelming. I asked her to check me again just to make sure. I was 10 cm. In seriously less than 5 minutes! The downside? The doctor still wasn't there yet. The contractions during transition labor were so powerful at this point that I'm sure I had woken up every patient in the hospital. They were a completely different level than the "active labor" contractions. I was surprised at how my tactic to stay focused changed from controlled breathing to vocalization. I kept saying, "Please, let me push; I have to push!" But, the doctor still wasn't there! Chuck promised me that he would give him a nice firm kick when he finally showed up ;) I probably had 4-5 contractions when I was ready to go before the doctor got there. MISERABLE. But once he got there, I felt a huge relief and it was go time.

I pushed for less than five minutes and our little Katelyn showed up! I know lots of people wonder about going natural for this particular part of the process. While I definitely wasn't comfortable, I had so much adrenaline and my body knew exactly what to do, that it wasn't nearly as painful as the last contractions leading up to it. It seems strange to say (because tearing some of the most sensitive parts of your body sounds pretty awful), but at that point I was so focused on getting her out of my body and into my arms that the pain was manageable.

They put her on my chest and she was perfect. Our little girl had made it safely and soundly. I'm so grateful that they let me snuggle with her as long as I wanted just like that. She nursed for the first time while the doctor was stitching me up.

I will note that having an epidural was convenient for this part of the process: the stitching up afterwards. Getting individual shots of local anesthetic and feeling some of the stitches wasn't awesome, but I had my little girl in my arms, so I was happy :)

And of course we got moved out of the Labor/Delivery unit and into the Mother/Baby unit, she got her first bath and all that jazz.

It was a roller coaster ride, but I'm so grateful that I chose to go natural. Chuck and I got to work together as a team to bring our baby into the world. I think it brought us closer as a couple as we worked during my pregnancy to find things that would work for us and especially as we labored together, both of us completely focused on our goal. Plus, the recovery this time around is WORLDS better than it was with Jackson. I was walking and going to the bathroom on my own within a few hours of delivery, I felt more alert and healthy right afterwards and continue to feel better each day. It has been such a blessing. After Jackson, I felt like the real world of recovery was the best kept secret of the birthing world. I still feel like it's something that more women should know about, but that not all recoveries have to be absolutely miserable. In short, I'm happy with the decision I made :) But, don't ask me how I'm going to have the next one yet ;) I'll wait until the lovely cloud of motherhood hides all the really difficult parts of birthing from my memory to decide :)

Now enjoy the photos :)

Post bath relaxing

She was NOT a fan.

Meeting Grandma Krebs!

Keeping the kiddos entertained

Meeting Uncle Matt

Meeting Aunt Leah

Meeting Grandpa Krebs

Too slow for the timer :)

Meeting Kate on facetime :)

Little Jack meeting Katelyn for the first time :)

This was all on his own :)

Going home!
We love these little ones and are so grateful to have our little girl home and to have such an awesome little man for a big brother!

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