Friday, September 12, 2014

Hollen Jack: A Birth Story

We were scheduled to be induced on Friday, September 13th. We had tried for a different date, because who wants to have a baby on Friday the 13th?!? But, alas, nobody wanted to have their baby on September 11th either, so the maternity ward was completely booked on September 12th. So, we scheduled our induction, but not-so-secretly hoped that we wouldn't need that appointment.

On Thursday, September 12th, the day started like the last three had. Full of rain. Beginning on September 9, 2013, a slow-moving cold front had stalled over Colorado and clashed with warm humid monsoonal air from the south. The result was heavy rain and some seriously catastrophic flooding along the Front Range (and other areas of Colorado). On September 12th, Boulder County was hit with a staggering 9.08 inches of rain. I had read about blizzards and hurricanes and other natural climate events triggering labor in women - the thought that sometimes a dramatic change in barometric pressure can affect the fluid in the womb, etc. Finn and I had joked about all the rain causing me to go into labor. But, we hadn't taken it too seriously - I mean, we hadn't even packed our hospital bag or anything. And, as embarrassing as it is to admit, I actually had thought I was in labor once on August 27th. Come to find out, I must have just peed myself and my water hadn't actually broken at all. Whoops! So, I wasn't expecting to go into labor on my own. I guess I really didn't even know what that would feel like or be like, looking back. I was induced with Dempsey, so I went from not in labor to 100% in major active labor in what felt like 8 seconds. 
How you know you aren't in labor...
Anywho...back to the day, September 12th: Dempsey and I were having a fun morning at home and I was scheduled for an induction massage that afternoon. Jill (Finn's mom) was coming down that afternoon to watch Dempsey. I figured even if I was to be induced the next morning, that an induction massage would only help my body be more relaxed and prepared for what was to come. Not long before Jill arrived, my phone stopped working. Because that's the kind of shit that happens to me - my phone stops working right before I want to use it to take 1000 pictures of my new baby. So, as soon as she got there I sent Finn a gchat message, told him I was going to the AT&T store to get a new phone and then would be heading straight to my massage. I was going to be tight on time, but I needed to get my phone situation sorted. 

Dempsey watching the "wain" fall on Sept. 12th

Off I headed in a particularly torrential downpour to South Denver to get my phone fixed or a new phone or whatever. I figured if they gave me a hard time I would pull the super pregnant lady hormonal cry thing. On the drive down, I felt it. It. Real. Honest. To. Goodness. Contractions. As soon as I had one, I knew immediately that I had felt that before and how completely different it felt than a Braxton Hicks. I thought, of course, this is where I would go into labor. On the road, with no phone, with roads flooded and no end to this rain in site. Of course. But, I made it to the AT&T store...dude wanted to charge me $200 for the same phone and I just couldn't make a decision and it seemed stupid and I was having contractions...and then I called Finn and he said, "Babe, just pay the $200 and get your phone." So I said I loved him and told the dude to set up my new phone. Then he tells me it's going to take 30 minutes. I look at the clock and realize I don't have time for this! I'm due for my massage appointment in 20 minutes and I'm still an easy 10-15 minute drive away. So I disappointingly leave the AT&T store with no phone and head to my massage appointment. 

I arrive at Wash Park Chiro and ask to use the phone so I can tell hubby I still have no phone, but that I made it to my appointment. By the time I arrive there, I feel like my contractions are becoming closer together and stronger by the minute. I had not started timing them but I was guessing about every 10 minutes. As I undress for my massage and attempt to lift my legs out of my pants, one at a time, of course, I realize I am for probably in sure in labor. That makes sense, right?! Amanda comes in and tells me I look so great for being 40 weeks pregnant and we chit chat and I tell her I'm scheduled to be induced tomorrow morning, but that I'm pretty sure I am already in the beginning stages of labor. I tell her I hope that the massage will relax me and hopefully make it possible that I don't need to have the induction. As the hour long massages progresses, my contractions, and Amanda's amazement/concern, continue to progress. By the end of the session I am easily having contractions every five minutes. I am slightly concerned to drive home in the rain, but I have no choice. 

As soon as I get home I look at Jill and she knows. I'm definitely in labor. I call Finn to tell him - he's just about to leave work and is looking forward to our last night before the babe comes - some cleaning, some packing, a cocktail or two, ya know, the usual. He asks me how far apart they are and I tell him 5 minutes but getting closer to four. He says OK! He sounds excited and he'll see me really soon. I start trying to get my shit together - baby clothes, my clothes, granny panties, pads, etc. All while Dempsey really wants mom and wants me to hold him and Jill is excited and I'm trying to call my sister, my mom, my dad, etc. and let them all know that this is happening - and seemingly pretty quickly! I have to catch my breath on every call, cry a few times, pull myself together. I think I'm as excited as I am shocked. 

When Finn gets home he walks in and as soon as he sees my face he knows. I'm not unsure this time. This is not a false alarm. Contractions are about 3 minutes apart and we need to get moving, and quickly. We take a quick family photo - the last one of the three of us - then head out the door. Giving Dempsey plenty of kisses along the way. 
Final family of three photo. Yes, I'm in pain. :)

When we arrive at the hospital it is about a little before 6pm. We are given room 7, which Finn believes is somewhere in between rooms 6 and 8. We especially lucked out tonight, because our Dr. happens to be on-call. Which I am more happy about than I thought I would be. Beth is the best, and I am hopeful she'll be the one delivering our baby (she delivered Dempsey, also). A little before 6:30 I get officially checked and find out that I am at 7cm and 100% effaced. I am a little, ok, totally shocked that I have labored on my own and made it so far! The nurse explains my pain options and at the stage I'm at, I basically need to decide if I'm going for it or not. I decide if I've made it this far, I can keep going. Just keep breathing, that's what I keep telling myself.

Laboring away

I decide to get in the tub just to relax, get warm and cozy, etc. It feels wonderful, but in hindsight, I think it slowed things down. At 8:30pm I am at 8cm, but my water hasn't broken yet. But contractions remain strong and consistent. At 10:00 I tell Finn that I need to change positions and squat. It feels so weird, but it's what my body is telling me. And as soon as I squat, my water breaks. 

10:30pm and still smiling

I go back to sitting on the ball and then after a bit I decide to get up on the bed and let the nurse check me. We find out that my water did break, but it didn't completely break, it just starts leaking. So the nurse has me get on the bed and finishes breaking the bag. At 11:11 I begin making my exorcism noises. The cutest of exorcism noises, I'm sure. I just keep reminding myself to keep breathing. At 11:25 I start pushing. It doesn't take many pushes and I can feel the baby coming out quickly. The nurse has me stop pushing so they can get Beth into the room. When Beth walks in and checks out the situation she tells me it is just going to take another push or two. At 11:41 we welcomed a loud, beautiful 8lb 1.6oz, 21 and 1/2 inch baby boy into the world. We named him Hollen Jack Ruehrdanz.  

Hollen Jack Ruehrdanz staring at and sticking his tongue out as his Dad
8lbs, 1.6oz of love

The biggest downfall of not having my phone was missing the first pics of these guys :(

I think I see a smile

He came out so quickly that his face was pretty bruised. But he was happy and alert and staring at us with his big dark blue eyes. He is long, and lanky and so damn cute. He looks so much like Dempsey, but so much like himself. He apparently loves sticking his tongue out - he has been doing it from the first moment we laid eyes on him. We are so excited that Dempsey will have a little brother and we can only imagine the mischief these two will find themselves getting into as they grow older as best friends. 

It was so incredible to have the experience of giving birth without any pain medication or medical intervention. To breath through the contractions, to push and feel every fiber of my body trying to birth a baby, it's pretty indescribable. The fact that I have the most incredible, loving, supportive husband, best friend and birth coach next to me every second of the way, is the only thing that made it possible. I know for certain I never could have done it without him. Not the first time with an epidural and not the second time all natural. He is just the best damn person ever. I love you, Finny.

Dempsey meeting his brother (09/13/2014)

Hollen Jack Turns the BIG 01!!

Dear Hollen,

Wow! What a year! There is so much I would like to say, but we'll see how much I actually spew out onto this page.

First of all, I very much want you to know that even though I didn't blog throughout my pregnancy with you and that once you were born, I didn't do a monthly blog update like I did with your brother, you are still so very much loved. I love you more than I even knew was possible. I'm sorry that I didn't write meticulously each first, each second, each funny, each something that you did/achieved/attempted. It does not mean that we didn't care. In reality, it means we cared even more. We chose to be in those moments, each and every single one of them. We have those memories burned into our minds and I'm sure when your dad and I are old and gray and seemingly make no sense at all, we will still remember how you got your first tooth around 8 months old while Dad was home alone with you and your brother and how you tried calling me (at kickball) infinity times to tell me the big news - and how when you woke the next morning, tooth number two was all the through! We'll remember how you learned to walk when you should have been napping - in your crib where you knew you had a bouncy mattress to catch your falls and four sides to keep you safe. We'll remember how as soon as we determined mom's boobs could no longer keep up with your ferocious appetite that you took to milk in a bottle like it was ice cream, and your height and weight suggested it just might be ice cream! We'll remember the way in which you, from the moment you learned to smile, have smiled at us (and many others) as if smiling was your only job. Whenever you smile, you melt everyone around you's hearts. You are like "Elf" because smiling is truly your favorite.

You are so similar and yet so different from your brother. You love music - and dancing! You like playing with all sorts of instruments, particularly the drums, xylophone, recorder, bells, guitar...well, we actually haven't found an instrument (or noise maker) that you don't enjoy. You also love puzzles and trying to figure out how things work. One day you even got a toy wrench and went over to a broken stool, flipped it over, and attempted to fix it all by yourself. And let's be honest, this type of behavior is not something that is modeled for you all the time - your dad and I aren't Mr. and Mr. Fixit! You are a happy guy who spends much of the day smiling, babbling and laughing. And nobody really makes you laugh quite like your big brother, Dempsey (although dad gets you going pretty good too - check out the video below). That Dempsey sure does love you a whole awful lot. Even though he may show it in weird ways sometimes (little shoves, kicks, etc.). But, that's what brothers do and I'm sure that you will be returning those little gestures in no time at all. As you have grown, Dempsey has mistakenly called you his "big brother Hollen" a couple times, which we always get a good chuckle out of. You just might end up being bigger than him one day, but for now, please just stay little.

You don't have any real words besides maaaam and dada, but you are about to start speaking in full sentences any day. You attempt to say blueberries (your all time favorite food - EVER!) and banana and just about talk non-stop; we just don't know what you are saying just yet. But, it's coming soon, and we know that for sure. You are walking!! Seriously and legitimately walking. Pretty much as soon as you could crawl you crawled over to something to pull up on and started playing with your balance. You have been trying to catch up and keep up with you brother since day 1. And you aren't too far behind - you walk very funny with a wide stance, but you've moved beyond the zombie walk and can do u-turns and 360s and all sorts of very impressive stuff.

Hollen, to be totally honest, your dad and I weren't sure if we wanted to have two kids. We were still on the proverbial "fence" about it. But, little did we know, life had other plans for us. And those plans included YOU! We couldn't feel more happy and blessed to have you be the one who completed our family. Without you we truly weren't complete, and we didn't even know it. You are such a light in our lives and we couldn't imagine one day passing without you in it. You are an amazing little one year old and we cannot wait to see where you go in this great big world that is at your feet. You are going to do magnificent things, we just know it. We'll be behind you every step of the way. Now go on, and get going, cause today is your day! Happy Birthday!! 

We love you more than the sea loves kissing the shore!


Mom and Dad

Monday, September 8, 2014

Hollen's Newborn Photo Shoot

When Hollen was 19 days old, Auntie Hanni came over to do his newborn photo shoot. Unfortunately, newborns aren't newborns for very long and he wasn't quite so mold-able/pose-able. But, she still captured some amazing shots - as ALWAYS!! Thanks, Hanni! There are also a few from when she came to visit us in the hospital. 

What?? I wasn't actually going to spray him....

Hey brudah, wanna play this?

This is a funny blooper shot