Elijah's 3rd Birthday!

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Rachel's 4th Birthday

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Jeremiah's 6th Birthday!!

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Our 8th Anniversary!!!

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Welcome Rachel Elizabeth Laufer!!

What a roller coaster ride these last few days have been! Short version; We have a new daughter, Rachel Elizabeth Laufer, born 9/1/09 weighing 6 lbs 13.8 oz and measuring 18.5 inches in length.

Long version; From my last post you'll remember that I had been on Procardia and bed rest to stop pre-term labor. Well, as of noon on Sunday I was directed to stop taking the Procardia but remain on bed rest for another week. By Monday afternoon, around 2pm, I started having contractions. They were light but rythmic. By 2:45pm I called Paul at worked and he started timing them for me. He said they were 2-3 minutes apart and lasting approximately one minute. So the contractions passed both criteria that the doctor gave us for going in to the hospital. Paul told me he was coming home immediately and told me to call my doctor, so I did. I called Dr. Bowman, my OB doctor, and she wanted me to come in to her office immediately, so we packed up the truck and went.

Dr. Bowman saw me right away when I got to her office and she checked to see how I had progressed since my last appointment. We were disappointed to find out that I actually hadn't progressed at all! I was still 3cm and 80% effaced. Dr. Bowman decided to put me on a monitor to determine exactly how far apart my contractions were and how long they were. After 30 minutes on the chart recorder she looked at the chart and determined that my contractions were very regular, lasting approximately one minute, and 4.5 minutes apart. She said that I was either having a reaction to going off Procardia or in the first stage of labor. She gave me a choice, I could either be checked into the hospital for further monitoring or I could go home and come back in if the contractions got stronger. I talked it over with Paul and we decided to go out and have dinner (some spicy food!) and see where things went.

For dinner we went to Los Dos Portillos, a local Mexican restaurant, and had some spicy food. During the meal I started feeling stronger contractions and had trouble finishing my meal. However, the contractions still weren't strong enough for me to go to the hospital so after dinner we went home and watched some TV.

While we were at home watching TV I noticed the contractions starting to get more painful and frequent. Paul tried timing them again but I was so distracted I kept forgetting to tell him when they were starting! So we called the doctor back (by this time it was 7:30pm and after hours) and she instructed us to go check into the hospital. So we did!

Back at the hospital, now in the Labor & Delivery unit, we got settled in and I was hooked up to the IV and baby monitors. By this time it was about 8:45pm on 8/31. They monitored Rachel's heartbeat while simultaneously monitoring my contractions. By this time my contractions were 4-5 minutes apart but much stronger. The nurse checked my progress and told us that we were 4cm dilated and 80% effaced. So there was some progression from earlier in the afternoon. The nurse left us hooked up to the monitors, asked Elizabeth a battery of questions, and then left to wait to see if we progressed.

I was able to get up and walk around the Labor & Delivery unit (which I was not allowed to do last time). I was hoping that it would help further my labor and the contractions along. I walked around for a while. Which did seem to make a difference in how I was feeling. I was even able to go into the jacuzzi tub (another of the things I was not allowed to do last time). After walking for a while I got into the jacuzzi tub for about half an hour. The warm water and jets felt really good. I did not feel a lot of the contractions while I was in there. It was nice not feeling the contractions but did make me think that maybe things were slowing down and not progressing. I started to get cold so I decided to get out and get back into the bed.

A few hours later the nurse returned to check my progress. She said I was 4, maybe 4.5cm dilated and that they would monitor me a little longer but were thinking of sending me home. They thought that I was just reacting to being off Procardia and not in real labor. However, she said they'd monitor me for one more hour and check my progress. After she left the room Paul prayed for me and Rachel and asked the Lord that if it was His will that Rachel be born soon that I'd progress enough that they wouldn't have us leave the hospital only to have us turn around and come right back. Shortly after the prayer my contractions increased noticeably in strength.

The nurse returned an hour later (now around midnight) and checked me again. She said I had progressed to 6cm, that I was clearly in real labor, and not just reacting to being taken off Procardia. She then left the room to report to the doctor. She returned just a few minutes later and asked me if I wanted my water broken. Paul and I quickly discussed it and decided that it would be a good idea to help the labor progress. Shortly later the doctor on duty came in and broke my water. I was expecting an experience similar to when this happened last time when I was giving birth to Jeremiah. The pain I experienced then was nearly unbearable due to Jeremiah's position (back labor). However, I was pleased to find that there was no pain and my contractions only felt slightly stronger after the procedure. This was around 1AM. The nurse said they expected me to progress at a rate of about 1cm an hour, and estimated that Rachel would actually be born some time around 5:30-6 in the morning.

At around 1:30AM I was checked again and determined to be at around 7.5-8cm. I seemed to be progressing much faster than they anticipated. My contractions after having my water broken were much faster in duration and much stronger. They were only 2-3 minutes apart and strong enough that I had trouble talking during them because I was concentrating on my breathing technique.

By 2:30AM I had progressed to 9cm, and nearly complete. The nurse started preparing the room for the delivery and notified my doctor that I was getting ready. The contractions at this point were quite strong and I discovered, after having to get up to use the restroom, that I felt much more comfortable handling the contractions in a standing position bent over at the waist and supporting my upper body with my arms placed on the bed. The contractions were now back to back with very little time between to rest or speak.

They had a NICU nurse there to check Rachel after she was born due to the fact that she was going to be premature. So there was a lot more people in the room then last time. I was really starting to feel the need to push but the nurses kept telling me not to push. My doctor had not made it yet and the nurse was telling me not to push. I was really needing to push by this point and was making it very clear to everyone there.

Finally me doctor came in threw her jacket on the chair put her cloves on and checked me and said that I was ready to push. I couldn't wait any longer Rachel was coming whether they liked it or not. I started to push. My doctor was trying to get her scrubs and sterile cloves on while I was already pushing. She saw what was going on and told me to wait that she was still trying to get ready. She got ready just in time to deliver Rachel. Three pushes later Rachel Elizabeth Laufer was born.

I was so happy to be able to deliver without having the epidural. Rachel had a little trouble keeping her oxygen level within the normal range. They kept monitoring her and giving her some oxygen. She never had to go into the NICU and was able to stay with us the whole time I was in the hospital.

We are all home now and trying to adjust to being a family of four. We are grateful to God for His blessings and seeing us through this time. Jeremiah is loving having his new baby sister. He is kissing her all the time. He is still working on being gentle with her. Which can be a challenge at times. But we can see how much he loves Rachel.

That's all for now!

P.S. Here is a picture of Jeremiah and Rachel both one day old.