I would love for you all to meet the newest member of our family. Baby Ava. Out little girl entered the world on the 27th of October at 11.52am, weighing in at 6 pounds and 13 1/2 ounces. Just in time for lunch. I can't believe that was four weeks ago; time is flying way too fast. It felt like we just announced her gender the other day. If you like birth stories I am going to post mine below if not keep scrolling - ha. I have wanted to introduce her for weeks, but I just have not found the time to sit and write a proper post. I wonder why? If you follow me on Instagram or viewed my Insta-Stories, you would have been hit with a bit of baby spam over the past few weeks. We are all pretty smitten with her and the kids just adore her. J.D especially as he is constantly by her side asking her how she is going, rubbing her tummy trying to settle her when she is crying and smothering her is lots of kisses. He has taken the big brother role very seriously and guards her pretty well. Little Miss H adores her younger sister and hasn't developed any jealousy towards her yet. She just keeps saying "Oh Bubby" and wants to cuddle her all the time and put random things in her face, which I have to keep a sharp eye on. I found her trying to "snap" her face with a pair of metal tongs the other day and also found her lying completely on top of her because she wanted to cuddle her. I may have had a little heart attack but had to gently tell her we can't do those things to the baby. I can only imagine what else is going to happen to this poor baby over the next few months.
Baby Ava has slipped into the family relatively seamlessly as far as newborns go. She has fed so well from day one which is always a relief and has started only waking once in the night this past week. Yay for more than three hours of sleep at a time. So I am now starting to feel relatively human on most days. We have our hard days of course which have been more abundant this week as hubby went back to work after three weeks off. I have been trying learning the ropes of juggling three kids by myself which have made for some interesting moments. While I know, it will get easier as the weeks turn into months some days I just want to cry and it's not even 9 am, or it's 7 pm and the witching hour is about to send me loopy after a long and difficult day. Thank goodness for hubby sending me for a soak in the tub with a glass of wine while he settles the baby or for ABC Kids when I need five minutes to take a breather. It's the little things that keep you sane during this season.
Marnie, my ever talented sister-in-law from Marnie M Photography, who did my gorgeous maternity photos, managed to outdo herself again with these beautiful pictures of Ava. I think Ava was about ten days old in these pictures and I am so glad we took the time to get them done. I take my hat to anyone that works with kids or babies in the photography industry. It's a process to get a shot that is for sure. Little Ava wasn't playing the game and kept waking up during the shoot, so it took us about four hours in total to get the shots that we did. It was fun playing photography assistant, but I think I like taking photos of food better - it doesn't move, poop or wee in the middle of a shoot and stays asleep! Ha.
I was expecting to be at least a week or more overdue with this pregnancy as J.D was seven days overdue and Little Miss H was nine days overdue and was induced. I had my 40-week check-up on the Tuesday and, my ObGyn gave me a stretch and sweep, which I requested and checked my cervix to see if I had any dilation. He said I was easily 3cm dilated at this stage and could go into labour at any time. This was the same story with my previous pregnancies and wasn't going to get excited about this news. I also caved in at this appointment agreed with the ObGyn to book in for an induction on the Thursday with the agreement he would just break my waters. I was happy with this plan considering my history of overdue babies. Mentally I was good for this as waiting for more than a week overdue does my head in.
I left my ObGyn's and continued having some mild cramping and niggling which I had been experiencing before I went in to see him. I was secretly hoping that things might be starting and raced to the shops to grab some snacks for labour - because I was so organised (sarcasm) I forgot to pack anything. I think it was more like denial as I didn't want to think about it. Plus if labour didn't start on it's own it would be happening on the Thursday whether I was ready or not.
I went home and started bouncing on our large fit ball while trying to entertain Little Miss H. Thankfully J.D was at daycare which left me able to rest and bounce, tidy and nest while hoping that things would pick up a bit in the niggling department. I was also desperately trying to finish editing some photographs for a final job I had completed a few days earlier. Talk about last minute! I think I was getting very mild and irregular contractions all day which left me on edge and impatient. Which wasn't hard as by 40-weeks I become a pretty irritable person. The niggles and cramping slowed down in the afternoon when I had a rest and never started back up when I got up. I was a little bummed but also a little relieved as I didn't want a late night labour. I was able to have a pretty good night's sleep but woke up with the worst back pain in history. I ended up having to put a heat pack on it most of the day and tried to do some stretches for relief. Little did I know this was an indication of things to come.
My dear mum came around in the morning and helped me clean the house from top to bottom knowing that most likely I would be getting induced the next day. During our nesting and cleaning spree, I went to the toilet and realised I had lost my mucous plug (gross) and got a little excited that maybe my body wanted to go into labour on it's own. I lost my plug with J.D early in the morning and went into labour with him at 11 pm at night. My heart sunk a little knowing I probably would be having a late night labour again if things decided to happen. I went through the motions of the rest of the day with no signs of any cramping or niggling. I went to bed a little despondent knowing I would have to be induced in the morning if nothing happened overnight. We set our alarm for 4.30am as we needed to be at the hospital by 5.30am for the induction. I slept hard until about 3.26am when a sharp contraction woke me up. My eyes popped open, and my heart started racing... "What the!"
I remembered that pain clear as a bell and knew that things were happening today regardless of the induction or not. I continued to lay in bed for an hour timing the contractions as they came. They were regularly 10-11 minutes apart lasting for about 30 to 40 seconds and by the end of the hour were coming 5-6 minutes apart lasting about 45-60 seconds. Considering the length of my last labour with Little Miss H, which was a total of four hours active labour I had my hopes up that this would all be over by breakfast time.
Our alarm went off and I told hubby to rest some more as I was already in labour and probably wouldn't me making our 5.30am induction appointment. I texted my mum to let her know what was going on as she was making the early trip to our house to look after the kids in the morning. I called the hospital to let them know what was happening and asked if I still had to come in to get my water's broken. The lady said since I was already booked in to come up about 6.30pm since things were already progressing and they would only be breaking my water's anyway. I was a bit annoyed at that, but in hindsight, it turned out to be a good thing. My Mum turned up at about 5.30am, and we had breakfast together while I continued to labour and eat some toast. At this point, the contractions had started to lose their intensity and weren't coming as often. I was a little worried because both my previous labours had been pretty straight forward and once I was in labour it progressed quickly. Hubby and I got dressed and waved goodbye to my Mum and drove up to the hospital. I didn't get one contraction in the entire 15-minute drive. As soon as we stop the car and I got out the worst one hit, hard and long and was groaning through it with the car door open and my head on the seat. Thankfully it was so early in the morning no one was there to see.
We checked into the hospital and made our way to the labour ward where they were waiting for us. They were pleased to see that I was already in labour and contracting some. I got OBS taken and hooked up to the blessed monitor for 20 minutes to check that everything was going alright with the baby. During this time I only got one more contraction while lying down being monitored. It was coming close to 7 am, and my labour hadn't picked up much since we left to come to the hospital. I was getting a bit impatient at this point wondering why things weren't progressing. I asked to be taken off the monitor, so I could do some laps of the ward and move a bit rather than being stuck on the bed. I also got hooked up to my favourite piece of equipment for labour the TENS machine. This thing is the bomb especially since I was having pretty bad back pain during the contractions. My contractions picked up a bit to about every 4-5 minutes, but it seemed like I got a bad contraction than the next one was light and didn't last as long. This went on through the whole labour with a hard contraction and a light one to follow. We continued walking laps around the ward, getting strapped onto the monitor every hour while my impatience grew to wonder where the heck my ObGyn was who was meant to break my water's at 6.30am.
He breezed through the door at around 9.30am, and I excitedly jumped on the bed ready to get these water's broken and get this labour moving along. As he was trying to break my water's he looked at me puzzled and asked if my water's had broken already? I said no as I had felt no leaking in the previous hours or days. He couldn't feel any bulging waters, and there was nothing to break. He told me I was already about 5-6cm and asked if any of my other babies were OP? I looked at him in puzzlement and glanced at the nurse and said what OP is? She said a posterior baby and my heart sunk. So that was why I was having terrible back pain! While I was having terrible back ache on Wednesday, I googled back ache and labour and a LOT of information came up about posterior births. I shouldn't have googled that as I started panicking a bit knowing that this wasn't a good thing in labour. I tentatively asked the nurse what this could mean in labour, and she said it could mean the need for forceps or vacuum to turn the baby at delivery. I kept a calm face but had a minor internal panic attack. She said the baby could turn during labour and I needed to stay on my feet, swaying and doing circles with my hips. So that's what I did for the next few hours. Bouncing on the ball as I did hip circles, swaying as I had my head on the bed and doing lots of laps up and down the room.
The contractions started picking up the intensity at around 10ish, and I jumped on the bed with a bean bag to support my belly and continued breathing through each contraction. As they picked up some more, the nurse handed me the gas, and I used this to steady my breathing and stop myself from yelling (ha) as they got more intense and painful. Weirdly I had minutes breaks near the end of my labour where I would be waiting for a contraction to come and laughing and joking with hubby and the nurses. With Little Miss H's labour, I just had one contraction on top of the other with no break, but this was labour was SO different.
I knew it was getting close to delivery when I asked the gas to be turned up only to be told it was at it's highest. I was a little bummed about that but continued to use it anyway trying to use it to keep my focus when a bad contraction came and steadied my breathing - this didn't work so much near the end I just bellowed. Ask hubby - he said he had never heard me scream like I do in labour! Hello, it hurts a lot down there!
My nurse asked to check my cervix, and I was pronounced fully dilated and that Little Miss A had turned and was no longer posterior. I wanted to shout from the heavens but was in too much pain at that point. I was greatly relieved to hear this, though. I got back in my position on the bean bag, and I started giving some half-hearted pushes to see if I could get things moving. It seems my half-hearted pushes were enough to get her head down and the pressure was excruciating. I was screaming at the nurses to tell me what I should be doing - whether I should continue to push or hold off. My contractions were still intermittent and there was no way I was waiting around with the pressure of a watermelon coming out on my backside. So I pushed and bellowed as her head started to crown and cried that I didn't want to tear. Again I was asking them what I should be doing - pushing or panting, but another contraction hit me, and I think I sounded like a primal beast as I pushed her out in one mighty gush. It caught the nurses by surprise as she made her quick entry into the world and were fumbling to catch her between my legs.
Her birth time was declared at 11.52am and I high fived hubby that I got it done before lunch. My ObGyn breezed in once all the action was over. I flipped over onto my back and had our first cuddle together. She latched on immediately and fed like a trooper for over an hour while I was cleaned and stitched up. I had to say when I might have felt a little embarrassed when I left the labour ward to go to my room and pass the desk full or nurses that had front row seats to listening to me labour for the last few hours.
I ended up only staying one night in the hospital ( I had the option to stay 3) and checked myself out the next day. I wanted my bed to sleep in! Unfortunately the next day J.D came down with gastro, and it slowly went through hubby and Little Miss over the next 14 days. It wasn't what I anticipated to go home too and ended up doing over 20 loads of washing over those days. No rest for the wicked eh!!
So a month later we have settled into somewhat of a routine and learning to do life with this beautiful girl in our family. Time to sign off and feed the little girl! Thanks for making it to the end! :-)