Monday, May 9, 2016

Birth Story: Arie Beckett Justet

As many of you know baby boy's due date came and went. Each day I told myself today is the day but unfortunately I'd wake up and still be pregnant; I'd basically decided that if I woke up and I wasn't in labor it wasn't happening that day. Frustrated, I tried everything I knew to induce this kiddo but to no avail. My 41 week appointment came and my midwife said the dreaded words I was hoping not to hear: let's schedule an induction. She like myself, wanted to wait till the very last moment possible so the plan was to set the induction for Saturday March 19th when I'd be 41 week 6 days. Hospital policy made it so I had to be induced by the 42 weeks but due to there being 3 scheduled c-sections that day, we made the decision to move it forward a day. I scheduled it for 11am so I could walk into the hospital feeling well rested and prepared and just hoped that induction wouldn't be my fate.

Me on my due date 3/6/16
Well the rest of the week came and went. I had my membranes stripped that following Thursday which resulted in really strong contractions but like all my previous contractions, they fizzled after an hour or two. I woke up Saturday realizing that having this baby come on his own was out of my control. I tried to make the most of it as I got ready by reminding myself of all the things I wouldn't have been able to do if he had come naturally. Seemingly small things cheered me up a bit. Hey, I can take a shower, shave my legs, put on a little makeup (which is pointless but whatever), and eat a good breakfast. But at the same time, it felt so odd knowing how last time there was no time for these things. With Penelope I woke up and an hour later it was time to go. I was starving, messy, and frantic looking but at least I didn't have time to think about the pain, the exhaustion, and well, how my life was going to change forever. This time I was walking in knowing what to expect and feeling like even an extra two weeks of pregnancy was just not enough time to prepare!

We decided to go out to breakfast at our favorite little place called Penny Ann's (their hot cakes are the best in the state!). Jesse's dad came so we could pass off Penelope and my dula/sister-in-law Chante' came as well so she could head to the hospital with us after. While there I started having really strong contractions again and we hoped that maybe when I got to the hospital an hour or so later I wouldn't need to be induced after all!

We took a final picture as a family of three and headed to the hospital. I was nervous so in order to lighten the mood Jesse suggested playing all the songs that could work with having a baby. We listened to Closing Time (fun fact--that song is about labor and not about being kicked out of a bar. Who knew??), Push It by Salt N Pepa, and Y'all Ready For This (my favorite because Jesse reenacted parts of Bring It On). Have I mentioned that I have the best husband ever?

We arrived, checked in, and I put on my gown. We chatted and went over our plan to convince my midwife to only make me do a half unit of Pitocin an hour instead of two and laughed and joked. After an hour we started wondering what was taking my midwife so long. Just as we were discussing if they had forgotten about us, she walked in and explained that she had us wait because she could see that I was having consistent contractions and was hoping it would be enough time for her to come in and for me to be like "hey I'm in labor!" She checked to see how dilated I was and I was at a 2.5. Lame.

Then we disucssed my induction options. She gave me two choices: Pitocin or breaking my water. I was fully expecting Pitocin to be my only choice and so naturally, I was completely game for breaking my water! She broke it and within minutes I was having contractions again. In order to pick up the pace, I walked stairs for about 30 minutes. By the end not only was I pooped, but I had to stop and breath through my contractions when they'd happen. We decided to head back to my room and I thought it might be fun to try a birthing ball. That's about the time I noticed the dreaded back labor. If you've never had back labor, count yourself lucky. Imagine the pain of a contraction with an equally painful sensation in your back. It's so painful, I'm almost convinced that labor would be 100x's easier without it. My sister, husband, and an intern midwife all took turns pressing on my back as each contraction hit and it made a world of difference for a while. Soon however, it became too much and I decided to hop into the bath. I just need to say: Best. Decision. Ever. With Penelope, the bath actually hurt MORE but for a long while the pain of the contractions were manageable and my back labor went away completely! It was amazing and I would recommend it to anyone who had it as an option.

Jesse held my hands as I used my legs to push off the side of the tub and float. When the pain got to it's worst, the floating helped me to relax as much as possible through the contractions and I truly think picked up the pace of my labor.

By 3:30 I felt the need to push. My midwives got suited up ready for a baby to be born!

But...4:30 came and there was still no baby. The pushing felt good and productive and I was doing exactly what my body wanted me to how come, with a second labor, baby boy still wasn't here?

It was about that same time my back labor came back with a vengeance and it took every ounce of concentration to not scream bloody murder or yell out profanities (a few might of slipped here and there ;)). I started telling everyone I can't do it, I just can't and everyone would tell me just one more contraction, just one more time. My midwives were concerned as to why there was no baby yet so they decided to check how dilated I was...

a 4 or 5.

Yes you read that right. A stinking 4 or 5 (end goal is 10 for those unfamiliar with birth)!!!

So what the heck was going on???

You see, baby boy at some point became posterior, just like Penelope did (context if you're unfamiliar--I labored for SEVEN hours jJUST STUCK at a 9 with Penelope!!!).

Except this time the way baby boy's head was hitting my cervix, it was telling my body "hey it's time for this baby to come out. You're ready to push!" when in fact, his head was making it really hard for my body to get to where my body felt like it should be. So what did this end up meaning for me? Many, many more hours of labor. Basically a baby being posterior is not dangerous, ideally you want to deliver with a baby head down, and sometimes the baby will go into the correct position during pushing (Penelope did), but it makes your labor slow down. I was going to  have to labor feeling the pain of a 9 when really I was only at a 4 or 5. I had told myself if that had happened again, without question I was going to get an epidural,

It's a funny thing when everyone is telling you your about to have your baby and then they're all like just kidding it might be a while. It was then that I lost my concentration and really, my hope for a natural labor. They convinced me to try rotating him, but he wouldn't budge no matter how hard we tried. Once they started talking about putting blockers in my back to alleviate the back pain, I was entirely done. No longer could I breath through the contractions. I was crying hysterically and demanding an epidural. I had told Jesse that if I asked for one to try to talk me out of it, and he did just that, until I looked him straight in the eyes and said, "Jess, I know I said to talk me out of it, but I'm serious right now. I really can't handle this for one more minute."

By 6pm the anesthesiologist was in my room with the most glorious and most welcome shot of all time. It was even worth, in my opinion, the excruciating pain of my nurse messing up my numbing shot and then placing the IV in the top of my hand (I hate needles but seriously, IV's are the worst!!!)

Then it was back to blissful, pain free life. And I decided right then and there I would never, ever attempt a natural birth again. Once I was myself again, my midwives explained to me that 1) I was unfortunately someone who would probably always labor with back pain and 2) they think my pelvis shape makes my babies become posterior during labor which basically guarantee's baby #3 doing the same as #1 and #2. For these reasons, it's not worth getting that far each time and not seeing the end in sight. I felt like a failure for a good couple hours after, so badly I wanted to prove to myself that I was tough enough to birth without medicine but after much encouragement from my whole team and lots of comforting words from the hubby, I decided that getting as far as I did in both of my labors proves I'm a lot tougher than I thought I was and I'm okay with that.

From there, it was just a lot of mild discomforts. For some reason the epidural this time gave me lots of weird side effects. First I was nauseous, so they gave me Zofran, then I was incredibly itchy all over, so they gave Benadryl, and after a few hours my epidural slightly wore off on my right side and so I had contractions again that hurt bad enough that I needed to breath through them, so another anesthesiologist came and gave me some more epidural stuff I think.

I fell asleep for quite a while and kept having weird dreams. We think the Benadryl made me loopy because, while I can't remember it, my sister and husband both tell me that at some point I asked them if I asked the anesthesiologist if he had a cat, and then when they put oxygen on me (baby's moving had slowed down), I asked Jesse what they were doing to me and asked if I would die from carbon monoxide poisoning. Their favorite however, this conversation:

Me: *groggily* Jess?
Jesse: Yes?
Me: *pointing to my oxygen mask* Luke...I am your father. *turns away and falls asleep.*

So I'm glad the long night resulted in some great stories for them.

My midwife woke me up at 1am and checked to see how far along I was. I was at a 10 +2 which is how they gage that he is VERY ready to come out of my body. I was still really loopy and asked my midwife if that was why I felt pressure down there and then asked if I could wait a few more hours when I wasn't so sleepy. My midwife basically face palmed herself and we all continued to laugh at my ridiculous request.

The next 30 minutes were fairly uneventful as I waited for the nurse to tell me to push. Before I knew it baby boy was placed on my chest! My initial concerns were that something was wrong because he didn't cry for a full minute and even then it was in these tiny spurts. He had also came out posterior and I didn't know it didn't matter too much at that time. Apparently, the cord was wrapped around his neck and he was blue but I must of missed it when I closed my eyes for the final push. Jesse says that my midwife did it so smooth and slyly that if you weren't really watching closely it may have gone missed.

I delayed weighing and all the other procedural stuff for the first hour so I could just hold him and nurse him and what a great decision it turned out to be! I didn't really have that option last time with Penelope. She had consumed meconium so when she came out she was rushed away for a few minutes to make sure she was okay. And then when I had her I was so faint from blood loss I only held her for a few minutes those first 5 hours of her life since I thought I might faint. Baby boy and I instantly connected and I think that first hour made really made all the difference. With Penelope it took a weeks before I felt that bond and I wonder if it had something to do with all those complications.

I really enjoyed my labor experience this time around. Knowing what was going to happen really helped me prepare emotionally and mentally and fully enjoy the experience. Also, this time my blood loss was a lot less which allowed me to have way more energy than last time. I still hemorrhaged (if you hemorrhage once you're likely to hemorrhage again) and I still got a 2nd degree tare, but because my midwife was anticipating it, they took every measure possible to lessen my blood loss and make it so I didn't tare. I hope I always get to labor with midwives! They are wonderful in every way!

His birth stats were 7lbs 11oz and 20in. That was the most surprising thing about him when I saw him. He was so thin compared to his chunky sister who had rolls and was 8lbs 8oz, and he was in my stomach a week longer than her.

Baby boy was checked by the hospital's pediatricians, and while in basically perfect health, he had a few minor, non serious "conditions." For starters his skin was peeling and dry (and still is in some places) from baking in my stomaching an extra few weeks, he also had a blotchy rash which name and cause I can't remember but is gone now and his nose had underdeveloped glands (I think?) which we were also told would clear up in a few weeks and did.

On top of all that, in the days that followed we learned that baby boy had jaundice and needed to be put under lights. He improved but by the end of the following day his numbers had risen and he needed to be kept an additional day. Since I am breast feeding I stayed in a Twilight room (basically a place the hospital lets you sleep once you're discharged so you can nurse your baby). Hands down, still to this day, it was the hardest day yet for me. Because our son needed to stay under the lights, I could only hold him while nursing and then immediately would have to return him to his bed. For 18 hours I felt like I was in prison and put in isolation. The twilight room was small with no windows or art and only had a bed, a nightstand, and a tv in the corner. I would sleep for an hour or two, be woken to feed our son, and then return to the room to wait for them to come and get me again. Not only was I sleep deprived and sore from, you know, having to push a baby out of me,  I was incredibly emotional. Hormones played a big role I'm sure but it was hard feeling like I was being kept away from my days old son and our daughter who I'd never been apart from for more than 3 days.

Thursday afternoon we got the okay to leave but right as we were about to head out Jesse made me call my midwife to check my heart because I had been having shooting pains in my chest since I had had our son. My midwife checked me but decided to talk to a resident doctor to figure out more about it. When she came back she sent me to ER because they were worried I might have a blood clot in my chest (something that can happen after having a baby). It felt like I was never going to leave the hospital! After a CT scan, it was determined that nothing was wrong with me and we were allowed to leave that night. I think I would have ran out of the hospital had I been in a physical condition to do so!

Choosing the name:

Arie Beckett Justet

The first few hours after our son's birth we were kept in the labor and delivery room to monitor my blood loss. The nurse tending me was chatty and loud making it impossible to sleep so instead we decided to talk about names. I was basically 90% certain we'd be naming him Tucker but oddly enough when I looked at him it didn't seem right. I was about to ask Jesse his opinion when he looked up from our list of names and said, "So...there is one name that really sticks out to me, and you're not going to believe which one it is but...what about Arie?" (Pronounced R-ee). I looked at our precious son and couldn't believe how right it felt. Obviously if the name was on our list it was a name we were considering but if I'm being entirely honest, it was probably our least favorite of the bunch. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought we'd be leaving the hospital with a name quite as unique as this. I had had my heart set on Tucker for so long that I needed time to really make sure this was the one. My husband on the other hand, who is one of the most indecisive people I've ever known, looked me in the eyes and told me that he was certain without a shadow of a doubt. I asked if we could pray about it and we did and while I got the answer I needed, I still need a little more time to try it out and make it feel real.

I think what really sealed the deal for me was the meaning of Arie. A few months back, I saw an Instagram post from Al Fox, (also known as The Tattooed Mormon) and she was explaining how they came to name their son Israel. She met with President Eyring and he said to her that if we really knew how important the meaning of a name was to God then we'd put more consideration in choosing names for our children that meant something. This struck me oddly enough. I couldn't help but feel a little guilty that Penelope's name meant (basket) weaver and our top choice, Tucker, meant a piece of fabric on a men's shirt. (However, since then I've done more research on the name Penelope. In Greek mythology Penelope was Odysseus' wife who patiently waited for his return for 20 years. So I suppose it could mean patient or devoted, though patient is not a word I'd describe our daughter. haha). We hadn't previously looked up the name but since we were pretty certain Arie would be his name we looked it up real quick. It means lion of God; the greatest of all. I honestly don't think I could have come up with a better meaning to a name if I had made it up myself. I was smitten with this little boy and we knew that this was to be his name.

The most common question we get asked aside from the pronunciation, (for some reason a lot of people think it's pronounced Air-ee? I thought it was pretty obvious but then I realized how close it is to the zodiac sign Aries so I guess I can see why now) is where we got this name from. In all truthfulness, the only time I've ever heard this name was from one of the contestants from the Bachelorette, Arie Luyendyk Jr who also happens to be a famous race car driver (ironically I also rooted for him from episode one on and he made it to the end). His parent's I believe are from the Netherlands and upon further research the name Arie seems to be a relatively popular there with that same spelling. It made it on my exclusive list but since Jesse was always meh on it I never really thought it'd end up being a real option. In fact, a couple months before Arie's birth, when reviewing the list we had, Jesse asked me to take it off the list and I secretly kept it on anyway because I liked it too much to throw it away. Good thing, huh!

Beckett was our second favorite first name choice and we both felt it was a name that suited him and it sounded nicely with Arie and Justet. Thus it became his middle name.



Arie so far is a very patient baby. Most of the time he'll patiently wait for me to set up my breastfeeding station even if I can tell he's fairly hungry. He likes to look around the room when he's awake and hates being put in positions where he can't see. He is curious about this new world around him and fights sleep any chance he gets. He is SUPER smiley and I'm fairly certain Penelope is his favorite in the family. He is fairly consistent in his sleeping patterns and what works for him. I can't honestly say he ended up being the easy baby I hoped for, but I'm not sure I'd necessarily place him on the difficult side either. He is a momma's boy through and through. He almost always calms down for me if he is being fussy with someone else. I can already tell that he is a really happy baby though. This might sound weird but he smiles with his eyes. I can always feel his happiness radiate off him.

Physical Features:

Arie's physical features are definitely more my side of the family. I can see quite a bit of Jesse in him but overall he is more me. I saw a baby picture of me the other day and I couldn't get over how we were almost identical. I love that Penelope is all her dad but I secretly love having a baby that looks like a piece of me too. With Penelope I catch small glimpses of me from time to time but with Arie I see so much of my brother Dustin and my dad and occasionally my Grandpa Allison and Papa Bartolomei.

We think he has light brown hair. In some lights it looks a little strawberry blond and he doesn't have enough hair for us to be certain. Right now his eyes are an extremely dark blue, so dark that you can barely tell, which leads me to think he'll end up with brown eyes in the end however, in the last week they've lightened up quite a bit so who knows what he'll end up with!

Baby #1 vs Baby #2 Comparison:

Penelope was easier, at least according to my memory, but I think part of what made her easier (aside from being a great sleeper from the gecko where as Arie isn't...) was that I was supplementing with formula pretty early on. Basically this meant Jesse could have a turn feeding her and I could get some sleep. Arie is exclusively breast fed which means I am constantly awake and feeding him. Sleep deprivation makes everything harder so I'm not sure it's a completely fair comparison. Penelope slept 5-6 hours at night by this point where as Arie usually has one 4 hour sleep session and then a 2-3 hour sleep session the rest of the night until 6am. He takes an hour at least to get back to sleep in between sometimes where as Penelope would eat and go right back to sleep through the night.

Arie nurses a lot better than Penelope. Penelope struggled with latching where as Arie doesn't. Penelope would eat for an hour to an hour and a half each feeding where as Arie eats for 10-15 minutes each session. I haven't needed a nipple shield like I did with Penelope which has also made nursing easier. That being said nursing hasn't been easy (I've had mastitis and other issues). Arie is 7 weeks as of yesterday and a week ago might of been the first day that I hadn't been in a lot of pain and considered quitting all together. Everyone talks about how much they enjoy breast feeding and I'm still waiting for that to happen but I've worked too hard to make it work so there's no going back now.

Penelope spit up a lot and I can count on one hand how many times Arie has.

Both Penelope and Arie were/are cat nappers. Penelope and Arie both only sleep about 20mins during the day each time they nap.

Penelope was content to be put down where as Arie wants to be held 24/7.

Penelope loved all music where as Arie is much more particular. I will say when I find a song he likes he get's very excited about it (he loves the song Cake by the Ocean haha).

Penelope wouldn't take a binky where Arie will take it occasionally.

Both hate/hated having their arms in a swaddle.

Both smiled easily.

Penelope always took to Jesse more where as Arie prefers me.

Arie doesn't mind being held by strangers and Penelope hated strangers.

Arie is harder to please than Penelope was at this age.

However, Arie is more patient than Penelope was.

Arie hates the car seat where as Penelope didn't mind it.

Arie is extremely ticklish but Penelope wasn't and still isn't.

Arie doesn't mind diaper changes but Penelope hated them.

Arie likes to sleep with me and sleeps better with me where as Penelope would be squirmy and wake easier.


Penelope had a cold. :(
Penelope is smitten with him and loves to tell everyone that he is her brother and that she is a big sister. She doesn't understand how to be soft like most 2 year olds, but we're working on it. She has been so great though--not once has she tried to hit him or hurt him. However, she's having a bit of a hard time adjusting as we anticipated. She loves him so much and is always sweet to him but she's been very abrupt and aggressive towards us in her words and hasn't been listening very well. I thought she'd be more teary and sad, so I wasn't prepared for angry and (more) defiant (than usual)!

Jesse took two weeks off from work and man was I grateful because I forgot how exhausting taking care of a new baby is!

Life now is about trying to adjust to two kids! It's a lot harder than I imagined but so worth it! I am mostly struggling with sleep deprivation and finding time to take care of myself (ie. eating more than once a day). It still feels overwhelming and I'm wondering when it wont feel so difficult most days but I love these two munchkins and feel so blessed that I get to be their mom. I often wondered how I could love Arie as much as I do Penelope and there are no words that can explain how incredible it is that a parent's heart can just continue to expand in such a way. I love this little guy, who he is, and his adorable double chin and I'm so glad he decided to be apart of our family. I just love our little growing family and I'm really excited for all the adventures we will continue to have together as a family of 4!

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