Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The birth story.

Here are all the knitty-gritty details of Aliah's birth...

How it all started: Early on Sunday morning I woke up at 3am, went to the bathroom, and realized that I was having mild contractions. They were coming about every five minutes. My first thought was “YES! Let’s get this over with!” I was so excited to finally end this pregnancy and have a baby in my arms.
Too excited to go back to sleep, I got up and made sure my hospital bag was ready, packed up the camera bag, and wrote out directions for my mother to get to the hospital. Took care of some bills and things on the computer, then at 4:30 am I woke up Mike. I shook his arm: “Honey, wake up”, but he didn’t move. Louder, I said “Wake up, we need to go the hospital soon, I’m having contractions!” He didn’t believe me; he mumbled something like “No you’re not. You’re kidding, you’re lying to me. Go back to sleep.” Finally he got up and stumbled to the kitchen, made some coffee.
I called the midwife to let her know that we’d be coming soon. She said “You sound too cheerful and friendly on the phone”, and didn’t believe that I was in real labor! She told me to take a walk for 20 or 30 minutes and call me back. So, at 5 am, there I was, walking around our neighborhood in the dark, by myself, completely alone (I did take my cell phone, just in case). The only other living thing I saw out there was a deer. I just enjoyed the early morning quiet. I spent some time praying. I walked about two miles.
When I got back to the house, I called back to confirm that I was indeed having contraction, coming ever 3 or 4 minutes now, and she agreed to meet me at the hospital. We got there around 6am, parked, and found our way to L&D. The sun was still down. Everything was very quiet and surreal.
By the time I finished signing consent forms and got into triage, it was 6:30. The midwife examined me at 7am and I was 6cm dilated. Nice! I was excited! They admitted me to a room, we got settled in, and took some more laps around the hospital.
Nothing much happened for the next 4 or 5 hours. I was still having contractions every 3 minutes, but they weren’t really getting stronger. We made jokes about how boring it was to wait around the hospital for the baby to come. The nurse and midwife kept saying “I can’t believe you’re in labor, you’re so calm and happy!” Mike watched a marathon of “HOUSE” on tv. I remember hearing another woman laboring in the next room, and shortly after, the cries of a newborn baby.
When we checked at 12:30pm I was still only 7 cm dilated. I was anxious to get things going, and at that point I was getting tired of just sitting and waiting for things to get moving, so we decided to break my water around 1pm. And from then on, it got very intense.
Contractions got much longer and harder and faster. Everything went really quickly. Tried a birthing ball but it didn’t feel right. For a little while I was walking around the room, leaning onto things for support, rocking my hips back and forth and panting through the pressure. But after maybe 20 minutes of that, my legs and feet were getting really tired, walking around so much, and it just wasn’t comfortable. After that, I mostly labored sitting up in bed. I sat up, with my back straight up, cross-legged on the bed, and each time a contraction would hit, I would push up on my hands, rock back and forth with my hips, and let gravity take over.
It took a very short time to go from 8cm to fully dilated. Soon I started moaning and groaning and growling, and I knew that it was time to start pushing. I had a VERY STRONG urge to push, but they made me wait through a few more contractions. The midwife helped push back a small bit of my cervix, and immediately, I was determined to get that baby out.
It was very empowering, to labor with no medical interventions, no pain meds, nothing hindering me. The only people in the room besides Mike and I were the midwife and a nurse. The atmosphere was very calm and serene. I couldn’t have been more pleased about this birth experience. I started pushing a little after 2:30pm, and our baby was born at 2:57 pm. And it was a girl! Mike couldn’t have been more surprised! He had us all convinced that we were having a boy, and when the baby came out and Meg held it up, he said “It’s a girl? We have a girl?” We weren't disappointed though!
ALIAH GRACE HUMMEL entered the world!
Mike cut the umbilical cord. There was a true knot in the cord. Another anomaly was that she came out sideways. She has a small bump on her head from trying to come out sideways. She was head-up, facing her daddy.
Four minutes after she was born, out came the placenta. I had a second-degree tear somewhere internally, so they spent a little while stitching me up.
She is such a miracle baby. We are just so thankful that she is healthy and well! She weighed 8lbs, 10.9 oz and was 21 ¼ inches long. (And with a 14 inch head, no wonder I’m so sore!) This was no small baby!
Hannah got the news right away, and was absolutely ecstatic that she now has a baby sister. She jumped up and down and said “IT’S A GIRL! I WAS RIGHT!” Must have been so cute, I’m sorry that I missed it!
Hannah and my mother were our first visitors. They arrived at the hospital about half an hour after the baby was born, and big sister Hannah got to help push the new baby in the bassinette, into the new hospital room. They weighed her again when we were moved into a recovery room, and she had somehow gained an ounce!
Mom and Baby had to stay in the hospital for 24 hours because there was some meconium, and they just wanted to make sure that everything was fine. At 3pm the next day, they did a hearing test and a newborn screening test with all kinds of blood draws, and finally let us go home.
It is very nice to be home, and we are all adjustong pretty well to being a family of four. Aliah is a good little eater, sleeps all the time, and seems to be a very content baby. My mom is here with us this week, and she has been a tremendous help.

I will post more pictures in a few days.

Have a very happy New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2008


Our newest addition is here!

And it's a... GIRL!!!

Meet our new daughter: ALIAH GRACE!

Mike was shocked, he had everyone but Hannah convinced that we were having a boy.

She is completely thrilled to finally be a big sister!

Our miracle baby, Aliah, was born at 2:57pm on December 28, 2008.
She weighed 8 lbs, 11 oz and is 21 1/4 inches long! This is no small baby!
((In fact, this is the size that Hannah was at 2 months old!))

Labor & delivery went well, Nicole is healing nicely and Aliah is doing great.
We are all looking forward to sleeping in our own beds tonight.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Birth Day?

I think today is a good day to have a baby!!!

Started having contractions at 3am. So far they just feel like really bad stmoach cramps, but theyre coming every 3-5 minutes.

Now I have to wake up Mike and head to the hospital soon... Im packing up our camera bag right now! IM SO EXCITED!

Please pray that the delivery goes smoothly and safely, and that Baby is healthy.

I will update as soon as can I get to a computer again.
Or if you're really special, expect a phone call from me later today!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

My mom is driving to our house today! She'll be here before bedtime. Now I don't have to worry about chidcare for Hannah when I go into labor! We'll celebrate Christmas with her, and she'll stay until after New Baby is born.... whenever that happens.

When will this baby hurry up and get here?!

I'm still not sleeping well. I'm always tired.
My head was in a funny position last night and I hurt some muscles in my neck.

I am constantly losing my patience with Hannah. I am very tired of trying to keep her entertained. Yet I feel guilty that I'm not giving her my full attention all the time. She and I both got scrapbooking supplies in our Christmas stockings, so we spent an hour making scrapbook pages last night, and that was cute. I also watched some home movies with her from 2007, and she loved seeing herself as a younger child.

Mike has also been getting on my nerves! He has spent an extravagant amount of money since he's been on vacation over the last two weeks. Then yesterday he got mad at me for putting "too much money" in our savings account! I think we're all getting restless and impatient.

Now Hannah is asking me to play princesses again...
Wake me up when it's over, please!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Day.

Merry Christmas to you and your family! I hope you had a wonderful day, celebrating Jesus' birthday!

We had a nice quiet day at home, just the three of us.
Hannah had a blast opening all her gifts.

She couldn't decide what to play with next!

She also asked me at least a dozen times: "it's Christmastime, why isnt the baby here? When is Baby coming? Soon?" Try explaining a "late" baby to a three-year-old!
Later that night, she asked "Will Baby be here in the morning?"
I told her that I don't know, we just have to wait and see.

Mike did an amazing job of cooking a turkey dinner (which he and Hannah thoroughly enjoyed eating!), as well as stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, crescent rolls, sweet potatoes, corn and green beans. I "helped" by staying out of his way, and making a fresh veggie salad (which didnt even get eaten!).
I didn't eat much; my stomach is really squished these days - but I did clean up the kitchen mess for him afterwards. We skipped baking a pie and just ate Christmas cookies for dessert instead... we still have dozens of them all around the house. And how did we get so many candy canes?

After that, we sat around and watched classic Christmas movies, like Frosty and Rudolph and A Christmas Carol. We were just really lazy.
At Hannah's bedtime, we read the story of Jesus' birth from Luke chapter 2. It is a longstanding tradition that I want to continue with my own little family.

Overall I am feeling pretty good, just tired and not sleeping well. Trying to go for long walks and get plenty of exercise, not just sit around on the couch. It is difficult for me to be patient and wait for this baby to come out, but I really am trying!

Can this belly get any bigger? 40 weeks pregnant and counting...

Christmas Eve night. We were so tired! We walked at the park for 2 hours that day!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Eve! 40 weeks pregnant.

Today is my due date, and I have to admit that I am a little disappointed that we aren't having a baby right now. I know that God's timing is much better than mine, but still, I'm finding it difficult to be patient and wait.

Still not sleeping well. This morning I slept from 12:30-5:30 am, then got up and went for a two-mile walk. I've been doing things like that a lot lately. Sometimes I'll do yoga or pilates too. My mother insists on saying that enough exercise will get this baby out. I don't know that for sure, but I'm willing to try it.

Had another doctor's appointment this morning. Everyone in the office was in such a cheery mood! I have lost one pound since last week. My bp is still borderline high.

They checked me internally (FINALLY!). I am about 2cm dilated. Baby is still head-down, but not fully engaged. I've been having some cramps and aches and pains, but no regular contractions. Now we just wait and see what happens over the next week or so.

We had to schedule an induction today, just in case: spots fill up really quickly, and they wanted to make sure that I would have a place if we need it. I would rather NOT have to be induced, but we'll see. If I don't go into labor on my own by 41.5 weeks, then I will be induced on January 2nd. So, there is an end in sight.

Come on out Baby, we can't wait to meet you!

Monday, December 22, 2008

39.5 weeks - Ready to go!

On Saturday night I was swollen, getting dizzy and having vision distrubances. My blood pressure spiked to 148/95. I was scared for a little while, but I laid down on my left side and called the nurse advice hotline, to see what they suggest I do. Mike checked my bp a few more times, and within an hour it had gone back down to 136/72, so we didnt have to go to the hospital.

My next appt is Christmas Eve at 10am. I am still very much hoping to have a baby this week, even though it looks and feels as if no progress is being made. Our bags are packed, the infant carseats are installed in my car and the minivan - we're ready for a baby!

I keep having dreams that this baby is a boy. I am also have disturbing dreams that something will go terribly wrong during delivery. I continue to pray for strength and patience during these last few days of pregnancy.

Mike's youngest brother, my brother-in-law, suddenly decided to visit us this weekend. He's never been to our house in NC before. It's really sweet, that's he's made this trip all by himself. He is one of Hannah's "fun" uncles - he is finishing his last year of college, and is just like a big kid. We keep joking that we're going to have the baby while he's here, and make him babysit Hannah while I'm in the hospital. He would have absolutely no idea how to take care of her! He is driving back to Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

39 weeks pregnant. Appointment update & a picture.

Here I am, at 38.5 weeks pregnant:

My in-laws left yesterday. Sad to see them go (Hannah was especially sad!), but it's nice to have the house back to ourselves. They are planning to visit again at the end of January, when baby is 3 or 4 weeks old.

All the presents are wrapped, all the Christmas cards are sent, all our rooms are clean (though baby's room still needs to be reorganized a little more, I keep finding random accessories and supplies and things), and all of December's bills are paid. We have enough groceries in the house to last about a month. Everything is decorated for Christmas. And I have about 20 dozen Christmas cookies sitting around the house, begging to be eaten, thanks to MIL.

I think my next project will be to finish my pregnancy scrapbook. So far, I've gotten up to Month 4. Mike found some more baby-themed stickers in the attic yesterday (though I have no idea how they got up there!), so maybe I can work on it later tonight, whenever I'm not sleeping. You would not believe how many times I wake up during the night. It's pretty ridiculous.


I was disappointed at my doctor's visit yesterday. Mike and Hannah came along, and it was an unusually long wait. Mike actually fell asleep in the waiting room!
So, we had to wait over 30 minutes, which NEVER happens at this office (for my last few appts, Ive been completely checked out and done within 30 mins!). Hannah got pretty restless, though she didn't complain...

They weighed me, checked my bp, then we waited some more in the exam room.
My bp was much higher than usual, barely within normal range, and I have gained six pounds in the last seven days. That, combined with the swelling in my hands and feet, was a huge red flag to me that said PRE-ECLAMPSIA!
But the midwife "was not concerned" (she is a new midwife, recently hired, and my first impression of her was not incredibly favorable), and only said that we would "keep an eye on it." She did not even feel it was necessary to do a urine check (why not?!).

The whole thing was very quick and routine:
Measured fundus: check.
Baby moving? Yes.
Head Down? Yes.
Hear the heartbeat? Yes. (it was 140)
"Ok then, everything is fine."

I asked a couple questions, but the whole thing seemed absolutely pointless. I mean, I could have called the office and TOLD them all that info, instead of spending an hour driving back and forth.

Of course I'll go to the hospital if anything changes, obviously I know the warning signs. And Mike can check my bp at home, so we'll know if it gets worse. But still, I was really disappointed that she wasn't more proactive about it. Plus I am at higher risk since I had pre-eclampsia in the past. Did she not notice that? Did she really not think there was a problem? I pointed it out and she just said that she "wasn't concerned."


Then, because Baby is not completely dropped and engaged yet, she implied that I might last all the way to 42 weeks! (Although, she did not even bother to check my cervix.) I don't know if I can stand it, if I have to wait until January to have this baby! It just seems soooo long!

Then again, my mom said "You never know, you could still have the baby tomorrow!"

So, we continue to wait and see.
I am asking God for lots of patience right now.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

"Two Are Better Than One": 911

"Two Are Better Than One": 911
Wow, thank you God for saving Jonathan's life!
Im so glad he turned around quickly and didnt need medical transport or anything else.A
And way to go Krissy, for being calm enough to remember what to do! How neat, that the medic mom had quads! I might be married to a medic, but that doesn't mean that I don't need a little refresher, too. It's been almost 5 years since I took a CPR course, ooops.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Pictures of the week.

This morning, Hannah and I went to a "Happy Birthday Jesus" party! It was very kid-friendly. We made crafts, sang Christmas songs, ate cake, and we had fun visiting with our MOPS friends.

Hannah was a bit confused though: "Where IS Baby Jesus? Can we see him? Is he here?" And she also asked "Is he still a baby? How old is Jesus right now?"
It's hard for me to explain these sorts of things to her in ways that she can understand. But she doesn't know how serious and complicated her questions are!

The in-laws will be here in a few minutes.... Have a good weekend!

Here are some pictures from earlier this week:

Friday, December 12, 2008

38 weeks

I'm 38 weeks pregnant now.
Baby and I are both healthy and doing well.
I am feeling fine, just tired, because I can't sleep well.
And of course I'm hungry every hour, but that's nothing new.

I just finished wrapping alllll the Christmas gifts. It feels really nice to be done with that. I've been trying to finish up all my little lists of errands and crafts and cleaning projects and things that need to be done before the baby comes, and there isn't too much more to do. Making progress! It helps me to do a little bit at a time, so that I don't get too overwhelmed.
My current list: drop-off Goodwill donations, organize Hannah's and New Baby's closets, install the infant carseat into my car. And start writing Christmas cards, maybe?

Today will be my last day of babysitting. I didn't realize it, but I've worked quite a bit since Thanksgiving - I made $350 in the last 2 weeks! Nice.
Yesterday I helped the kids make Christmas ornaments for their parents and grandparents. It was a simple project, but they had such a great time! And it really impressed their parents, too. I try to tell them that I love doing activities like that with the kids, but they act like it's "so much work". Whatever.

Yesterday was Mike's last day of work, now he has SIX WEEKS of vacation time! He doesn't have to go back until the end of January! I think he might drive me crazy, sitting at home for the next two weeks... but it will be so nice to spend lots of quality family time together. I know it will be good for Hannah - she loves her daddy, and misses him "so very much" when he's working all the time.

Mike's parents will be visiting us this weekend. We'll celebrate Christmas with them on Monday. They were joking with me about how there's a full moon this weekend, so maybe I could have the baby while they're here? I could, but it doesn't seem likely at this point.

I am getting really tired of answering "When are you due?" and "When is this baby coming?" As if I have already chosen his or her birthdate! Isn't that kind of the whole point of natural childbirth, the fact that you DON'T KNOW when the baby is coming?!

I feel like I should just wear a huge nametag everywhere I go, that says something like "HI MY NAME IS... Due December 24th." It would eliminate a lot of repetitive Q&A.

I will write again after my doctor's appointment on Tuesday afternoon.

Have a good weekend :)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

One year ago...

My sweet, precious, beloved third angel baby...
It was one year ago when I found out about you, little one. I miss you all the time. I ache because you are not here with us. I know that you are safe and secure with God in heaven now, but I still miss you like crazy. I miss you every day, but especially now, at Christmastime. The Christmas season will always remind me of you, such a great loss.

You are my first December child. There will be a new baby in our family very soon, but they will never ever take the place where I hold you in my heart. I miss you, sweet baby, and I love you more than words can say. You are precious and loved.

Four years ago on this day, I had my first-ever ultrasound. We got to see our first and only glimpse of Hannah, our Baby Surprise, in the womb.

One year ago I took another positive pregnancy test - which ended in miscarriage later in the month.

I have been thinking that I might need to resort to taking Zoloft again. I stopped taking it in May, so it's been seven long months.

PPD can be a very dangerous thing, and I'd like to prevent it if I can - but those dark, evil, overwhelming thoughts have been sneaking up on me more and more lately. I'm going to talk to the midwives about it at my next appointment on Tuesday.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

37 week belly pictures.

Here is me at 37 weeks pregnant:

And here is Hannah!

My mom laughed SO HARD when she saw these pictures!!!

Everything is going well at our house.
One more week until Mike and I are both on maternity/paternity leave... we're just counting down the days! Still need to rearrange some furniture - well, *I* wont be moving any furniture, that's Mike's job, and I will supervise. But for the most part, we are all ready for New Baby to come!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

37 week appointment, December plans.

TUESDAY: Boring doctor's appointment. Hannah was with me, and got to hear Baby's heartbeat again. About 150 bpm. I thought it was cool, but she wasn't so impressed.
Haven't gained any weight since last week, so Im still at the grand total of 32 lbs. My bp was perfect: 120/62! Urine clear, no signs of pre-eclampsia. Awesome.
I had to make weekly appointments for the next three weeks. So I get to go back every Tuesday aftrnoon until the baby is born. I'm actually hoping that I wont quite make it to Christmas Eve. I'd love to have this baby BEFORE Christmas.... but we'll see. It's not up to me.

Great news: My last day of babysitting is Dec 11, and Mike's last day of work is December 12th! He had already requested to be off for the last 2 weeks in December, before we knew I was pregnant, because it was going to be our annual Christmas trek up and down the east coast. But now he will have almost SIX WEEKS OFF to spend at home with us when the baby is born! I think it will really help us get adjusted and bond as a family - and I think it will make everything easier on Hannah, too. It will be like a really long vacation.... where we don't actually go anywhere. Haha.
Well, we might be brave and go to my SIL's baby shower in Pittsburgh at the end of January, and let everyone meet New Baby - we'll see.

My in-laws are planning to visit us the first week that Mike is off and my mom will probably be with us the week of Christmas. She REALLY wants to be here with us when the baby is born - which is fine with me!

Today, Wednesday: Babysitting for 3 hours this afternoon. Bible Study tonight at church. Mike is working the night shift this week, so we have to be quiet around the house to let him sleep during the day.
This morning I let Hannah do some crafts and drawings, and wrap the grandparents' Christmas gifts, and now I'm running out of ideas of things to do before lunchtime! Maybe I will be brave and let her play outside for awhile. I'm lazy, I just hate going outside when it feels so cold!


Monday, December 1, 2008

silly pictures

Got some funny pictures of us on Thanksgiving Day.
First, here's Hannah and I, crashed out on the couch after our big meal:

Then there's Hannah the ballerina princess:

Hannah's new shoes:
We bought them this weekend and she cries whenever I make her take them off!

New PJS from Nana:

I know its mean, to flash a camera in front of her face right after she's just fallen asleep - but I couldnt help it, she was just so cute!

In pregnancy news: Nothing new to report. I am still eating every hour or two, and visiting the bathroom even more often than that. Cramping every night, but nothing special. This baby is going to stay nice and warm in my tummy for a little while longer.

At our Thanksgiving service last week, during our time of sharing, I announced to everyone that I was thankful to be 36 weeks pregnant. Now, Im sort of sorry that I said it, because EVERYONE was asking me at church this morning: "when is your baby coming? How much longer do you have?". As if I have a choice, and I've conveniently planned the birthdate! When you have to answer the same question over and over and over again, it's not so much fun.

Seriously, I feel so very blessed that this baby and I are so HEALTHY! With my first pregnancy, I had severe pre-eclampsia, edema, was bloated like a hot-air balloon, dizziness, double vision - not good. Then there was the horrible nightmare of 2007.... and now, this Miracle Baby. This pregnancy has been so sweet and easy! And I'm not even tired of it yet! :) It really is amazing. I am so thankful for our blessings.