Monday, September 9, 2013

3 months for Quinn

Since I've already missed months 1 & 2 I didn't want to put this post off. Today my baby girl has been with us for 3 months. That's so hard to believe. And I'm to the point where I don't remember life without her. What did I do with all my spare time when I had just 2 kids?? Unless all 3 happen to be napping at the same time {and when it does the angels sing} life around here is in constant "Go!" I have been able to tell, however, that I do have a 3 year old. I ask a lot of things of Reese and she is the biggest helper. It's exciting to see your oldest step up to that role.

So Quinn's Details:

- I have no idea how much she weighs...I won't tell you how long it's been since the doctor, but that's on my to-do list!

-She is such a good baby! She LOVES her sisters. She smiles at them, watches all their crazy antics right in front of her chair and if she's by chance fussy, calms down once they're there.

-And along with that...she's extremely social! Like, will give us the "where are you" cry until someone comes to talk, play or pick her up. As soon as mommy or daddy have her, she's quiet as a mouse and completely content.

-This girl is all her own! She's my first to refuse the "pa" and in it's place is her 3 fingers. It's kinda nice. They don't fall out, they don't get lost and she decides when she wants them.

-She {usually} is an amazing sleeper! Until the last 3 nights she was sleeping sometimes all through the night, other times up just once. I'm praying praying praying it's a growth spurt she's going through b/c I'm not a fan of being back up twice, sometimes more.

-She's a great eater! As you can tell from all those yummy rolls, she's doing A-okay in the growing department.

-Being #3 she spends a lot of time in her bouncy seat. Oftentimes I hear Reese talking to her and she'll say something like, "Quinn, are you hanging out?" Makes me laugh every time. :)

Outtakes...she'd had it at this point!
Wearing the outfit Mommy, Reese and Allie all wore...

These sisters have to be wherever Quinn is!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Quinn Adeline's birth story

WARNING :: This is really really long! Grab yourself some coffee and maybe even something to eat. Hope you enjoy! :)

Before too much time passes and I forget all the little details, here's the story of how Quinn arrived. Like my disclaimer for Allie, this story may not be for least for those uneasy with birth and natural birth. But the Lord worked in amazing ways and I want to put Him on display in how He showed Himself so near to Matt and I.

The story begins on Sunday morning, June 9th at 6:30am. I woke up to some mild but noticeable contractions. Different and significantly more painful then anything I'd had to that point. I layed there for awhile wondering if these were "it" and we'd have a baby sometime soon. They weren't consistent or enough to time them, but I was uncomfortable. Matt woke up pretty much the same time I did and asked his usual, "How are you? Anything going on?" questions. I'd gotten used to him asking since this was day 8 of being "overdue". I mentioned that I was having contractions and they hurt. He then asked, "Do you still want to go to church?" That was what I was wondering too. I thought church would be a great distraction since things were early enough where I didn't want to stay home only to sit on the couch and be aware of the fact that I didn't feel good. The other part of me wondered though how I'd find enough will power to do all it took to get myself and our family ready for church. I was thankful I had Matt's help.

We got ourselves ready and were out the door by 8:15 {our usual church departure time is 8:00am}. I told Matt as we were driving down the road, this was one Sunday when it didn't bother me what time we left...we had done good just to be on our way! Little did I know that the Lord had specific plans for us to hear Dr. Barrick's sermon that morning. There's been many times throughout my Christian walk where a message seemed to be tailor-made to me. This one took the cake! Dr. Barrick was preaching through Joshua 7-8 where the Lord tells Israel that until they have obeyed Him by not taking their enemy's possessions, the Lord would not be with them in battle. The people became easily influenced, quick to forget what God had commanded them of being separate from foreign nations and believed the lie that they could skate to easy victories as God's chosen people. They lost focus of their need to be humble, to acknowledge sin and repent and ultimately forgetting their complete dependence upon Him.

Matt and I walked away from worship that day extremely humbled. Here we were, ready to go into baby #3's arrival with a mindset of, "We've got this! This is number 3, we've done this two times before; easy-peasy!" We decided to skip Sunday School hour (which is right after first service), leave the girls in their classes and go on a mini date. This ended up being a kind gift from the Lord. We bought coffee, some kind of danish and found a shaded spot tucked away behind some houses on a quiet street in downtown Newhall. There we talked about all that the Lord had impressed on our hearts, the sin we had allowed to take hold in believing we didn't need Him and could easily get through the journey ahead with just us. We both prayed (emotional and teary coming from me) asking the Lord to forgive us, to cause us to depend on Him and to walk us through whatever was coming our way. That time really renewed our faith in the Lord and brought us closer as a couple.

So (I promise that a baby does come in this story ;)) we went back to church, picked up the girls, talked to a few different people (one was my sweet friend Alia who reminded me that things could pick up at any moment...all the while contractions are getting stronger and harder) and then set out for home. When we got back at 1pm I asked Matt if I could just sit on the couch. Making lunch for everyone seemed overwhelming at that point and I was starting to get really crampy and kinda needed to breathe through contractions. He made lunch, fed the girls and myself and then asked if he could call our sister-in-law Monika to give her a heads up. I still felt like it was a long ways off and I told him not to call. I didn't want to get the girls all packed up and sent over there for a false alarm or even for something that seemed genuine but didn't go anywhere. Around 2pm the girls went down for a nap and contractions still were coming steadily. By then Matt felt it was necessary to call Monika and have her come by 4pm once the girls were awake. I didn't argue. I remember being glad that he was making executive decisions for me.
From 2-3pm they continued. Steadily, about every 3 to 4min apart. It seemed close but still not close enough. I had a good texting dialogue going with my midwife who asked how long they were (just about 1 minute), how painful were they (maybe a 4 or 5?) and what was I doing during them (needed to focus, breathe some and to just do my thing). At 3pm I got a text from my midwife in Alaska who told me that if I really wanted to see if this was real labor I should do 3 things: 1) Go on a long walk (well it was about 95 degrees and since I didn't want to get dehydrated, that was out) 2) be intimate (I was hurting, having to go to the bathroom A TON and super uncomfortable, so that was out) and 3) use a double breast pump for 30 minutes and then after that every 10 min for a minute or two (this I could do!!!) and so I did!
For 30 L-O-N-G minutes! I thought I would never be the same in that spot. It hurt something bad!
But man! That was probably the best advice up to this point. Like clockwork my contractions started coming 2-3 minutes apart and were HARD, STRONG and LONG. No longer was I talking, laughing or excited. All of a sudden this was intense and I already wanted it to be over. I found a contraction counter for my iphone and from 3-4pm I timed...and they weren't letting up. How super glad I was that Monika was coming to take the girls. I needed the house to myself so that I could do whatever, wherever and I wouldn't upset Reese and Allie.
Just as she arrived I climbed into the shower and stayed there. The water felt good...but not as good as I remember it feeling for Allie. And speaking of Allie...this was nothing like my labor with her! What happened to the slow, gradual pace that I adjusted to and could handle? What happened to being able to work with my contractions, relax, breathe, accept and embrace? Gone. Long gone. In it's place was fast, furious, intense, and raging! Once the girls were gone and it was just Matt and I...he got down to business. There were tarps to put down, a birthing tub to set up and then fill with hot water and oh...a coach's role to fill. Some may remember that with my older two girls I had my mom with me for their labor and births. We decided ahead of time that she would come after the birth to maximize her help when we would need it the most. That day proved to me just how invaluable she is as a labor coach. I missed her terribly!!
At this point I remember being really uncertain of how to gage where I was at. Contractions were so hard and intense and felt much farther along early on then they did with Allie. I remember telling Matt how wimpy I felt and why wasn't this over already. I think at one point he laughed and haven't been doing this very long. You've got a ways to go before you can feel like that. :/ Umm...not the words you want to hear in labor.
{Side note: I don't have much to compare myself to, but I've been told I'm a pretty calm and collected woman in labor. I don't yell, get angry, say nasty fill in the blank. That stuff just doesn't occur to me, even if I'm in pain, it's not their fault that I'm in this position so why should I take it out on them. forward to this exact moment right after Matt said the above. It followed with (during a contraction)..."Ash, you're not relaxing. You're tensing up. Your face is all scrunched. Ash you're not doing it right. You need to relax." And then I smacked him. In the middle of my contraction, when I was trying so hard to go soft and relaxed. I full-on smacked him on the arm and kinda shoved him away from me at the same time.      *Pause*     YIKES! It's not something I'm proud of now and really can't believe (still) that it happened. And I felt like one of those mean ladies on TV getting all nasty with their husbands while they're in labor. But it happened. And as soon as I reacted that way, Matt immediately stopped. He became much more gentle and sensitive and told me he was sorry and that it probably wasn't helpful. That was sweet. And I'm glad he recognized his bad.}

By this point, I wanted Matt to call Donna and tell her to come. Part of me felt like it was too soon (because really I had only been doing this hard stuff since 3pm and it was 6:30 by now) but the other part was hoping it wasn't too far away b/c I didn't know how much more I could take. The Lord was sovereign in all the details and timing. I'm so thankful He prompted me to have her come. With getting her stuff together and driving out to us, it took about an hour. She arrived at 7:30 with me in the tub. I asked her to assess where she thought I might be from listening and watching my demeanor. Her thought was a 6...maybe 7!? I remember being really nervous for her to check only because I didn't want to be disappointed and to emotionally shut down if I wasn't close to that. She let me labor for 30 minutes and at 8pm asked if I'd like to be checked. I was hesitant but finally agreed. It would be good to see where things were. So with me still in the tub, she did a check and even kept her hand inside during a contraction. What I didn't know (but almost came out of the water with how painful it was) was that she tried to see if my cervix would respond and open with her hand inside while I contracted. Just plain awful! Once it was over and with the kindest, most understanding voice, she told me I was a 4. I about cried. I really didn't think I could be that low.

A 4??? What?? I think I just sat there and stared at her and Matt. Next she suggested I get out of the tub, walk around and even try the shower again. Maybe the tub was slowing things down a bit? Good idea! Anything to get this onward and finished. Plus (since I had a long way to go) I didn't want to be sitting around being watched as I labored. So Matt went with me and with him on the outside and me in the shower, we worked through awful, awful contractions. This is where change happened. Being upright, gravity pulling baby down...things started moving. This is also where I started telling Matt I couldn't do it. I didn't want to do it anymore. And over and over again I said, "I just want to go! I just want to go!" Matt : "where do you want to go?" Me: "I don't know, I just want to go." Well I knew good and well where I wanted to go. I wanted to be out of this body. To go to the hospital and get relief. To finally be finished from all this pain. It was agonizing! And I was praying continuously...crying out to the Lord to move this baby along and out. To finish my dilation because I just didn't know how I was going to keep doing it. I was so tired and discouraged.

45 minutes later I had had enough of the shower and just wanted to get out and do something else. I walked into the living room where Donna (and by this time her assistant Rebekah) were and as soon as she saw me, asked if she could check me again. I remember being confused and saying she had just checked me not even an hour earlier...why did she want to again? I didn't want another discouraging result. But she said that things had really changed since I was in the shower and I was showing very different signs of labor. So I agreed. And there on my couch she did a check and immediately looked at me with excitement and said, "You're a 9 1/2!!!" You just have the smallest little cervix left! You can start pushing whenever you feel like you want to!

I cried.

Seriously it was the best (and scariest) news ever! That means that I went to almost complete dilation in less than an hour! Goodness gracious! No wonder I was wanting to throw in the towel and call it quits. My body was doing some major work really fast!!! I was helped into the birthing tub again and noticed almost immediately with the next contraction it switching to the pushing stage. I ended up being on my knees, holding myself over the side of the tub and with Matt's face in mine, bearing down with everything I had. Crazy! Such a vastly different feeling compared to Allie. If the Lord allows, I hope to have all the rest of my babies in water. It truly is night and day different in how you feel supported down low with so much happening quickly! Because I was upright and had gravity working for me, I remember feeling (as I was pushing) her head descend and almost within that same contraction, completely out! It was awesome for that to happen so fast! Reese and Allie both took 30 minutes or more to push. With Quinn I pushed for 9 minutes. Her head in maybe 2 or 3 pushes, her shoulders in 1 to 2 and the rest just slipped out. It was incredible!! At 9:04pm our baby was born into the hands of our midwife.

Somehow I was helped to turn around and sit down in the tub with her coming through my legs to be put on my chest. And the thing I'll never forget about Quinn was how quiet she was. Not a sound came from her! For a long time. Later on Donna remarked that she was the quietest water birth baby she's ever seen. She just lay on my chest, looking around. Donna touched her a few times, listened to her heart and made sure she was breathing and doing good. Up to this point we didn't know Quinn was a girl. There was so much emotion and excitement and awe that she had arrived so quickly, that we forgot to look for awhile. But finally I said, Matt, what do we have? And in his words, "I didn't see anything when baby was put on your chest. I'm pretty sure it's a girl." I kept saying no way! Ha! I didn't believe she was a girl and finally was able to look and see for myself.

It's a GIRL! Quinn Adeline Mehringer had arrived!

I really really loved that we didn't find out Quinn's gender. It was the biggest surprise to me and so fun to discover on our own. And what a little doll the Lord has give us. I was able to sit in the tub for some time while we waited for the placenta to come and just got to stare, caress and bond with my baby girl. She didn't cry for at least 30 minutes; she was content to just be held and look around. This was definitely my favorite after birth experience with no one to rush us. I think it was only 10 minutes after Quinn arrived when my friend Alia came to take pictures. We had been planning to have her there before and during the birth to photograph it but the end happened so fast that she didn't make it. Once the placenta was delivered I handed Quinn to Matt and was helped out of the tub and walked straight to our BED! Amazing! There were so many incredible things about having a home birth. Getting to be in my bed less than an hour after having my baby was one of the best. It was there that I was checked over (no stitches at all!!! Which I believe had everything to do with the water.) and Quinn had her newborn exam and was weighed.

Her stats: 7lbs 15oz and 20 inches long

A word about my midwife...She was (and is) amazing! I loved her strength and assurance that she brought to my birth. When I was waffling and discouraged, she talked soothingly and compassionately to me. I even grabbed and held on to her for a few different contractions. Her voice was reassuring and the ways that she helped me relax and breathe made a big difference. At the end when everything was crazy intense and I thought I was gonna hurt myself with pushing (and had huge wild eyes) she wasn't a bit phased and helped me through calmly. Once Quinn was delivered I had a few questions here and there about the amount of blood loss I was seeing and whether Quinn was alright with how quiet she was. She answered each one with care and never panicked. If we are still in California, I would be the happiest gal to have her at my birth again. I loved getting to know her and wish there was another (different ;)) reason to see her.

God was so very kind and present in this birth. His timing was perfect. I had no idea how challenging labor would be this time, but He did. I couldn't have predicted that an hour and a half after Donna arrived at my home, Quinn would be in my arms. But He knew. And He so lovingly prepared my heart early in the morning to be mindful of Him, moving me to pray throughout and to ultimately trust Him with the timing of it all.

Soli Deo Gloria