Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Friday, October 3, 2014
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Augustus Swain Pucillo was born at home at 40 weeks and 3 days gestation on Thursday September 25, 2014 at 8:30pm weighing 8lbs 12oz and measuring 22 inches. The story of Lauren’s labor really goes back to Tuesday, September 16. Lauren had been to the chiropractor on Monday morning and by Tuesday evening her contractions started to become crampy enough that she spent some time in the bath tub to ease the discomfort. She knew it was unlikely that she’d give birth any time soon, but she started to get the idea that maybe this wouldn’t be a never-ending pregnancy. For the next week she’d get somewhat regular contractions that never increased in intensity or frequency. She enjoyed the sensations as well as the anticipation of the upcoming birth, but the timing was still off so she hoped things would hold out. You see, Augie’s due date was September 22, which happens to be one day after Zach’s birthday and one day before Lolli’s birthday. Lauren was really hopeful she’d give birth on September 29th, the birthday of her Grandma Swain who passed away during the pregnancy. But if she couldn’t make it that long, she at least hoped to make it to the 25th so there would be one day between Lolli’s and Augie’s birthdays. Plus the 25th was Zach’s last day of mandatory client work for the quarter, so if he could get that done he’d have no scheduling issues. But since Lauren usually gestates long, she figured this thing could go well into October so she was optimistic about the spacing. Zach’s busy birthday weekend came and went and Lauren was still pregnant – hooray! Her contractions were picking up in frequency but not intensity yet. Then on the morning of Lolli’s birthday, Lauren woke up to find she was having her bloody show. Such an exciting time in a pregnancy! Poppy had been born about 20 hours after that happened during her birth, but Lauren was hoping Augie would hold off a bit longer and make it to the 25th. She had a 6-hour long span of contractions 10-minutes apart that evening but thankfully they fizzled out overnight. Lauren was starting to get tired, though, because the intermittent contractions were now strong enough to wake her up at the peak of each, which is not really a fun thing to do multiple times a night. Lauren continued to have gunk come out all day on Wednesday but not much in the way of patterned contractions. She was going to make it until at least Thursday! Thursday morning Lauren woke up and felt kind of different. There was a heaviness in her uterus that didn’t feel like contractions or cramps but wasn’t super comfortable. She was unsure about Zach going to work but since this was the last client he needed to see this quarter, he went. So Lauren and Oz headed to their midwife appointment. On the way there, Lauren had a couple contractions in the car and decided that once she got home, she was hanging up her keys until after the birth. Things were getting too intense to safely drive through, which was a depressing thought considering she could still have a couple weeks of pregnancy left – being homebound for so long would be awful! At the appointment, everything checked out normal as usual except that Lauren’s blood pressure was 130/78, which is really high for her (it had been 98/60 at the home visit). Since there was no swelling, protein in her urine, headaches or anything, it was determined to be a pre-labor fluid shift. Which made sense because the day before Lauren had had two crazy sweating episodes where out of nowhere, not being active or overheated, she poured sweat from every pore for about 10 minutes straight. Things were changing! She and Zach had discussed having the midwives sweep her membranes out of curiosity to see if she’d dilated at all from the random contractions and to see if perhaps it would get her labor going since the important dates had passed and the weekend was coming, which meant a lot of sitting around just waiting for a baby. She’d been swept twice past 40 weeks with Poppy – nothing. But she’d been swept once about 40 hours after her water broke with Ozzie and he was born about 15 hours later, so she figured maybe there was a chance it could urge along what was already slooowly going on. So she asked the midwives who obliged her. She was 2.5cm dilated but still not effaced. The baby’s head was pushing on the front of her cervix more than the back so she went home with instructions to do some downward facing dogs to see if his head would pop out of her pelvis and then back down into it but in a more centered position. Lauren had no contractions on the way home and her discharge didn’t seem to increase much. She’d expected at least some cramping – nope. It looked like her cervix of steel was going to be stubborn as usual. So she put Oz down for a nap and laid down herself, since she was exhausted from the night time contractions. No sooner had she laid down than the contractions kicked in. So frustrating! They started out about 12 minutes apart, then moved to 10, and then 8. She was snoozing in between them but they kept waking up her. She regretted her decision to have the midwives sweep her because this didn’t feel like labor at all, but it sure was annoying. Around 3 she decided she wanted Zach to be home for when Oz woke up. So she texted him. And called him. And texted and called again. NOTHING. Finally he came in the garage door – he’d been out in the driveway on a conference call. Ugh. So he got Oz up and left to pick up the girls from Daisies. Lauren was actually getting pretty miserable by this point, but it still didn’t feel like labor. But just in case, she had Zach take the kids over to her grandparents and leave the van there so they could be brought back for bed. While Zach was gone, Lauren got up and started putting laundry away and cleaning up. Her contractions quickly moved to 5 minutes apart, and sometimes 3 or 4 minutes apart. Some of them didn’t feel like contractions; they didn’t come on in a wave. Instead they presented as a pain in the lower front part of her abdomen – it was super sore! She was getting so frustrated because it didn’t feel like the baby was moving down or that her cervix was opening; it just hurt. And then came the absolute worst moment of the whole pregnancy/birth. Lauren was standing in the boys’ room, putting away their laundry, when an especially strong pain hit. At that exact moment, Pandora decided to play Don’t Take The Girl. Lauren leaned over the dresser, started sobbing like a fool, and peed all over herself. It was at this point that she began to consider that this may in fact be LABOR. She called Zach back and urged him to get home because she was clearly losing her mind and becoming a hysterical lunatic like they show in the movies. He got home pretty quickly and they worked together to finish up some cleaning. But then the contractions were coming too quickly and hurting in too strange of a way, so Lauren decided to go back to side-lying on the couch because she’d been much more comfortable that way than upright (which seemed so backwards but hey – ya can’t argue logic with a birthing body). When she laid down, the contractions spaced back out to 5-6 minutes and she was able to manage them much better. But she’d have to get up to pee often and then she’d be slammed with back-to-back pains. She hoped this was doing something to dilate her cervix, because the contractions felt different than her other labors. Although the peeing everywhere was similar to Poppy’s birth and the sleeping, side-lying thing was similar to Ozzie’s. It got to be around 6:30 so Lauren had Zach call to get the kids brought home. He suggested they just go to bed over at Gma’s but thankfully Lauren was still with it enough to remember the main point of her birth plan – have the kids be home for it! So the kids were brought back and Lauren got to hug them all before they went upstairs to bed. But before Lolli and Poppy even got tucked in, Zach decided Lauren’s noises were worthy of calling in the troops, so to speak. According to Lauren’s phone, it was 7:28 when she acknowledged to her doula, Tonya, that it might be time to head that way, but it also might not even be real labor so she apologized in advance in case it was a wasted trip. Zach had contacted the midwives around 7, saying he wasn’t sure, but that maybe soon it would be time for them to come. Shortly thereafter Lauren decided maybe it was time to fill the tub. Zach brought it down, hooked up the hose, and started the water. It came out brown! Apparently the brand new hose had rusted inside or something. Gross. So Lauren decided she’d just head upstairs to get in the garden tub in the master bathroom. She wanted to wait until another contraction passed before tackling the stairs, so Zach went up first to start the water. While he was gone, Lauren noticed he’d started the dishwasher which was pretty much infuriating considering they only have a 40-gallon hot water tank. Hell hath no fury like a woman in labor who fears she may run out of hot water ha ha. So she hustled upstairs, threw on a bathing suit top and was about to hop in the tub… when she noticed dust and hair floating in the water. Anyone who has a garden tub knows those things get dusty pretty much immediately after each use, and Zach had failed to rinse it out before filling it. At this point Lauren was ready to explode because not only was the dishwasher wasting her hot water, but now a whole giant tub of it had been ruined by dust. She decided to forget the idea of a water birth and just lay down on the bed instead. On her way there, she had one giant contraction that left her bracing against the wall and begging for Zach to push on her back. That helps so much! But even with that counterpressure, she realized her body was starting to push. She was so glad they’d already called everyone to come and that her kids were home. This was really it! And so she flopped down on the bed, lying on her right side, determined not to move again until this baby was out of her. And that’s exactly how it happened. It was around 8:00 when she heard one of the midwives, Lynda, arrive. Zach had to go downstairs to collect all the birth supplies from the planned birth site (the living room). At some point the other midwife, Shannon, and another guest midwife, Sarah, arrived as well. By this point Lauren was fully in pushing mode and not paying much attention to what was going on in the room but she remembers Lynda peeking to see if her perineum was already bulging – nope! Everyone had enough time to get situated before this baby would be born. They checked the baby’s heart rate with the Doppler and checked Lauren’s blood pressure and pulse. Everything was great! They even managed to get a plastic sheet and some chux pads under Lauren without ever disturbing her side-lying position. At some point (8:05ish maybe?) Lauren felt her water break in a trickle during one of her pushes. It was so interesting to feel that and be aware of it. Lauren was content to just lay still on her side and bury her face in her hand during each push, but she did need Zach’s hands on her back with each one. It wasn’t necessarily for the counterpressure or any pain relief, but just the security of knowing he was near. At 8:12, Lauren messaged some friends that she her water had broken and she was pushing, but after that she was too busy to Facebook again until after the birth, ha ha. Tonya got there and started taking pictures and pretty soon it was baby time! Lauren knew the birth was imminent because she started feeling that familiar fish lips feeling as the baby's head moved down. Lauren was totally in the pushing zone and it felt so good – no longer the strange unrecognizable pain she’d experienced during what she now knew had been active labor and transition. Even though her body was in control, not her mind, it gave Lauren great peace of mind to finally be sure this was really IT and that she hadn’t just been acting a fool earlier for nothing. She kept her eyes closed and focused on the sensations of the baby’s head moving further and further down with each contraction. The cool thing about home birth is no one checks you or tells you when to push or for how long or anything. Lauren just got to go with the flow of her body, which meant some long pushes, some short pushes, some noisy pushes and some she just breathed through. It’s so interesting to experience! Her water broke again (a forebag maybe?) with a pop shortly before the head crowned. Tonya went out and asked Lolli and Poppy if they wanted to come in, but they declined, which was fine with Lauren but she was so thankful they’d been given the choice. A few pushes later and there he was - the head was born, sunny side up. Zach held up Lauren’s leg and she just sort of hung out for 22 seconds or so before she felt like pushing out the body. It’s so crazy when it slides out, how it feels soooo long and like there are 27 appendages instead of just 4. As typical, he pooped as he was coming out and for some reason he ended up being cleaned up with a vintage Michael Bolton t-shirt from 1993. That had definitely NOT been in the birth supply kit LOL Lauren immediately asked Zach, “He’s a boy, right? He’s really a boy?” ha ha. He is indeed all boy and he has a LOUD cry! The family who had gathered in the play room was able to hear him as soon as he was born, but somehow Ozzie slept through this whole thing. (In fact, despite being about 20 feet away from the action and with 14 or 15 people coming in and out of the house that night, Oz didn’t even know his brother had been born until he was already 11 hours old). Lolli and Poppy came into the bedroom to meet their new little brother. They were so sweet with him but soon it was placenta time and they don’t do blood, so they went outside to announce to the neighbors that he had been born. Lauren is always so awkward with movement after birth and really hates that short time span where she’s still attached to the newborn. It’s so hard to get situated to breastfeed when one is holding a slippery newborn whose cord is still tethered to the placenta inside her while her uterus is contracting to push it out. But with everyone’s help she managed to get pretty comfy and the placenta came out really easily with one tiny push. Freedom! Shortly after that the cord was clamped. Lolli and Poppy were offered cutting duties but they declined so Zach did it. Lauren was so amused by the baby – he reminded her so much of newborn Lolli, especially his cry. Lauren’s mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, brother, SIL and MIL all came in to see the baby. Thanks to previous home births, pretty much everyone has already seen Lauren naked and in awkward positions before so no one really bats an eye anymore ha ha. Lauren had a minimal tear in a bow tie shape so the midwives stuck some dermabond on it. When the baby was having his exam, they saw that he had a tongue tie. This was Lauren and Zach’s first experience with that and they weren’t quite sure what to do. They decided to follow the midwife’s recommendation that it be clipped now to avoid potential latch issues. Zach held him while it was being done. Thankfully it didn’t seem to traumatize the baby as much as one would imagine. Seems like it would HURT. He was able to nurse again right afterwards and thus far (5 days later) it hasn’t seemed to have caused any issues so that’s good. At some point goofy Zach went outside and played The Circle Of Life for the neighbors who had gathered outside across the street when they saw all the cars. That’s a throwback to Poppy’s birth when he held her up over the loft, Rafiki-style, to present her to the family downstairs. By 11:00, everything was cleaned up and the party was over. Even though it was a much less active labor than Lauren had anticipated, she has no major complaints about the birth. She’d been concerned about potentially feeling gypped by a short, wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am birth but her labor built up over the course of a week and then still took about 7.5 hours from start to finish, which seems like a pretty good deal for a 4th birth. Augie’s timing was really perfect – couldn’t have scheduled it any better if they’d tried. He was also Lauren’s earliest birth by about 5 hours (Lolli was born at 1:25am at 40 w 4d). Looking back, she spent most of her labor cleaning, putting away laundry, and lying around chatting on Facebook, trying to decide whether or not she was in labor. (Note to self: when your contractions are 3-4 minutes apart and you’re peeing yourself and crying hysterically, you’re in labor. Duh.) She would have liked to have gotten to use the tub she’d bought and the video camera they’d ordered with Zach’s points. But one of the greatest things about having experienced birth a few times before is a keen awareness and complete acceptance that plans don’t really matter because, in the end, BIRTH takes over and things just happen as they will. Augie was born just as he was supposed to be and Lauren couldn’t feel more fortunate to have completed their family of six.
A few days before her 31st birthday, and one day before she was to begin a weight loss and half marathon training program, Lauren got the excitement of a positive home pregnancy test for what would be the last time ever. She and Zach had brought home a souvenir from their New Year's trip to FL with the family. Hooray! And so Lauren still stuck with the healthier eating and Mini training but didn’t restrict too many calories or push too hard on runs. She had a pretty easy pregnancy and at the halfway point, was down 15 pounds and finished the Mini in 2:24, four minutes faster than she’d run the Monumental Half 6 months earlier. The most exciting part of this pregnancy was that they decided to find out the sex of the baby before the birth. They’d found out at 38 weeks with Lolli, at 19 weeks with Poppy, and at birth with Ozzie. Lauren wanted to do something fun for Zach and the kids, so she went to Sneak Peek and got a gender ultrasound at 15w 3d. Much to her shock and delight, it was a BOY!!! She hated to have a preference, but she’d been reeeeeally hoping for a boy this time around to even out the numbers and make room-sharing easier. She couldn’t believe it! She had a lot of fun sharing the good news with Zach, Lolli, Poppy & Ozzie by mostly white Sixlets into pink and blue balloons – except for one balloon, which got blue candy – and having them pop them open to see what was inside. Poppy found the colored candy and announced, “Blue – it’s a boy!” So fun! To reveal the sex of the baby to everyone else, they did a fun photo shoot that involved an idea Zach had come up with. The girls were having a fabulously girly tea party while Oz was running around in super hero gear wielding a weapon and being all boy. The caption? “The call for back-up has been answered!” Yay - Oz was no longer going to be the only boy surrounded by glitter and pink The trickiest part of this pregnancy was coming up with a name. Zach and Lauren agreed early on that the baby could be given the middle name Swain. It meant a lot to Lauren since obviously all the kids have Zach’s last name. And even though it doesn’t quite fit the 4-letter, 1-syllable rule, it’s pretty close (Kate, Lynn, Zane, Swain). They settled on Theodore for the first name and Lauren hoped for a cute rolly polly baby. However as the pregnancy went on, Lauren kept feeling more and more disconnected from Theodore/Theo and they were back to square one on the naming. Around the 26 week mark, Zach and Lauren got to go to Jamaica with Zach’s coworkers. What a fun trip! Lauren went crazy on the food there and spent 36 hours sick in the hotel room but other than that it was a blast. They snorkeled, went on a catamaran, swam in the ocean and pools, and ate and ate. Zach played golf and went out with friends. After that they decided to redo the downstairs of their house and much effort went into laying the new flooring. It was a lot of work but the pregnancy didn’t interfere too much. The weather was really hot though and Lauren slacked off on her eating and running. However July and August were cooler so she got back on track, training for the Hendricks County Half Marathon on September 13th. It was hilly, lonely, windy and cold but she finished it in 3:16 at 38w, 5d pregnant. This beat her 3:33 Mini time at 38w 2d with Oz, so she was pleased. In the end she finished the pregnancy 3 pounds above where she started, a big change from the 45-55lbs she'd gained with her each of her other 3 pregnancies. The other kids had been looking forward to the new baby’s arrival. Poppy wouldn’t quit calling him Theodore even though she knew that likely wouldn’t be his name. Lolli was excited about the birth. Ozzie would ask, “Baby come out?” most mornings. Eventually Lauren and Zach settled on Augustus as the baby’s name. Lauren had loved that name when she was pregnant with Oz but Orion won out. Lauren's prenatal care was overseen by Lynda, the same midwife from Poppy and Ozzie's birth. But her main care provider was Shannon, an almost-midwife who had actually been the one present for Ozzie's birth. Augie’s birth was planned to be a home water birth in the living room because it's Lauren's favorite room in the house. She bought a cake mix and posterboard to keep the kids occupied during her labor. They ordered a GoPro camera with Zach's points to film the birth with. She bought a cute nursing sports bra and water skirt to wear during labor. They hired a doula/photographer for support. The home visit went well, everything looked healthy for Lauren and Augie, and they were given the green light for birth at 37 weeks. All that was left was the wait
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Lolli is 7 years old! She celebrated her birthday 10 days early with a pool party with friends and classmates at the YMCA. She had a blast and got lots of great gifts. She and Lauren went for mani/pedis together the weekend before her birthday. Then on her actual birthday, Lauren had lunch with her at school and the whole family went to Rustic Gardens to play 9 holes of Mini Golf. It was a great time and thankfully Lolli didn't end up having to share her birthday with her new brother!