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A Short Birth, A Long Birth Story

March 1, 2014

Apparently, posting that update last Wednesday sealed our fate. Our family of three became a family of four last Thursday morning (the 20th). Joelle Judith was born just about 12 hours after my last update. She made her entrance into this world quickly and calmly. Thank you, Joelle. The birth was amazing and completely different from our experience with Andy’s. If you are not interested in reading the very long, very detailed version of the birth story scroll to view the photos and see details below…

I woke up at about 10pm having my usual panic (that I referred to in my previous post). I got up to go to the bathroom and when I came back to the bed had a contraction that felt very different than the ones I had been having. Just a little painful but enough to keep me awake thinking about it. I decided after another few that this was different and thought about waking Ash. I did what any person in denial might do, I sat on that thought for about an hour. “Maybe I will wake her after the next one. Maybe the next one won’t be painful. Maybe they will stop all together.” But they didn’t. So at about 11:30 I finally decided I should at least give her a warning. Contractions were still far apart and irregular so I was not convinced yet that the baby was actually coming. After a short time I texted my midwife to let her know how I was feeling. She told me basically to see how things were going and call her back in an hour. She lives almost two hours from us so giving her appropriate notice was pretty important. We did not want to have an unassisted delivery. Of course, being in denial still, I kept on another two plus hours before calling her again. So at about 2:15 I called her and asked her to head our way.

I was timing contractions during the two hours that I was waiting to see if things got more intense and every time I would get mentally prepared to call her back, and therefore accept that the baby was coming, labor would slow down. After I called Kitt and told her to head over, things seemed to pick up. Now, by pick up I mean contractions got closer together and more intense. They went from being every 7-8 minutes apart to every 3-4 minutes apart almost instantly. Despite that fact, I was not at all thinking things were happening quickly. I guess denial and disbelief are becoming a common theme with this birth only in part due to the fact that I knew having the baby Thursday morning meant our midwife from Florida would miss the birth. Really I think the disbelieve about how quickly things were moving was related to the fact that I was mostly comfortable and able to breathe through the contractions easily the whole time. I sat on the sofa, helped get some stuff ready, sat on the bed, and just hung out for the next hour or so.

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About an hour or so before birth

After we had called Kitt, Ashley and I got up and started getting things ready. She added air to the birth tub and put the liner on so it was ready to fill, got out the blankets and towels and all that stuff, and made the bed up home birth style, a.k.a. plasticky and annoying, to get ready.

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Tub is ready

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First outfits are ready and bracelet!

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Music was perfect

As the midwifes approached I kept in touch via text and we called grandma, poor grandma, at about 3am to come over and be here for Andy in case he woke up during the birth and then to take care of him when he woke up for the day. The first of the two midwives, Angela, arrived at about 4am and then Kitt at about 4:30. They brought in their stuff and unpacked and got things ready. One if them took my blood pressure and listened to baby and everything was good. We all sat around and talked between contractions some for about an hour until I started feeling a little less like talking. I was still just sitting on the bed and breathing through contractions. I think I was waiting for the ‘real’ pain to start. I noticed that Ashley got up and was filling the tub to get it ready and thought, “Hey, that is a good idea. I am starting to get more uncomfortable so getting in the water may help with the pain.” But still not any sense of the “I’m dying and cannot do this” transition phase.

I got up and went to the bathroom and changed into my bathing suit top to get ready to get into the tub. I asked if the midwives would check me before getting in because I sort of wanted to know how much progress I was making. They were fine with that and did but then I decided I didn’t want to know after the fact. What if I was making little progress? What if this baby was still many hours from being ready? I decided to just get in the tub after the next contraction and see how it went. So I did.

I got in the tub at about 5:15 and felt much more relaxed. At this point I decided that I wanted to put my contacts in so Ashley brought them to me in the tub. After only a contraction or two in the tub I remember saying that I felt like things were slowing down and the midwives said I was just adjusting to the relation of the water etc. and not to worry. Turns out they were right about the not to worry part. I started to feel the need to push within the next few minutes and asked them if I should hold back. With Andy I felt a ton of pressure very early and before I was fully dilated. I remember the midwife then telling me that pushing to early could cause the cervix to swell and make it more difficult. I did not want that to happen and did not realize how far along things were at this point. With the next few contractions I went from slight urge to push during the contractions to feeling the crowning to delivering the head. I also felt my water break this time whereas the midwife broke my water with Andy after I had been pushing for an hour or so.

I announced when the water broke and that the head was out. I guess it was obvious but felt the need to announce it. Maybe for my own good.lol i was only in the tub about 15-20 minutes at this point. I was with it enough to stop after the head, turn around because I was sitting on my knees leaning forward, and relax to try and reduce tearing and such. This was something that Ashley and I had talked about ahead of time because with Andy, I was so over the pushing that I rushed the shoulders out and paid the price later in number of stitches. This time I waited and the shoulders and the rest just slid right out on the next contraction. I reached down and pulled this little girl out of the water and onto my chest.

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The whole experience was very surreal in part because it was so fast and in part because it was exactly how I wanted it to go. Kitt got the cord ready when it was time and Ashley cut it.

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Getting ready to be separated

After the placenta decided to finally come out, I took a quick shower, and the midwives got everything cleaned up, they did their checks on baby Nitro and weighed her…

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Getting checked out

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Getting weighed

Of course, I must include a photo of Andy meeting his little sister for the first time. He was such a sweet big brother, even if he didn’t want to hold her…

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First meeting

Joelle Judith was born February 20, 2014 at 5:51am, weighing 7lbs. 7 oz. and 20 inches long.

Intro

At just over a week now we are all doing well and will update as frequently as possible!

Nitro Update: Still Inside

February 19, 2014
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Looking for an update? Still pregnant. But happy about it.

As the “due date” rapidly approaches we are glad that this little one is still cooking. We are awaiting the arrival of our friend/midwife from Florida who delivered Andy. We really want her to be here for the birth. Of course, we have back up midwifes here that will attend the birth also so we are technically ready at anytime.

Sleeping at night has become less of a thing I do. That is not to say that I am sleeping during the day or any other time for that matter. “I am awake. But why? Do I have to pee? Easy to answer that these days… Am I in labor? Oh no! What if I am? Please stay in there a bit longer!” This has been my nearly nightly panic which is followed by lying awake in bed waiting to calm down enough to go back to sleep. Only to repeat this process every two hours. I don’t remember the panic last time but I do remember the every two hours part when it got towards the end. Some ridiculous attempt to begin preparing you for the soon-to-come sleepless nights.

In a related note, I have been drinking tons of water to try and stay well hydrated and hopefully prevent any early contractions from turning into more. So far, the baby is still on the inside so it has worked however the side effect of peeing every two minutes is a downer. Driving to a meeting for work today about an hour and a half away I had to stop at the most ridiculous place and go in searching for a bathroom. Luckily, they took pity on the very pregnant woman begging for a toilet and let me use their employee restroom.

These complaints are not to say that I am fed up with being pregnant or that I am in a constant state of discomfort, just that those moments are becoming more frequent signaling that the shift is approaching. For the moment we are enjoying our family of three. We will soon be a family of four and things will be crazy and for the moment spending time just the three of us is nice. This morning we went outside and spent time playing in the snow, shoveling, and building a snow fort/tunnel. So much fun.

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Perhaps the next update will be the big one…? We shall see.

Waiting patiently. No really, stay in there…

February 9, 2014
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Somehow I’ve let December and January get away from me. How did it happen? Oh maybe it is the state I am in or maybe it is the constant projects and preparation that have been occurring over the past two months. It could be partly due to having house guests with us for some time until Ashley’s parents finally got moved into their new house next door or it could be how incredibly hectic work has been getting things ready for my leave time. It certainly is not that I have little to write about because life seems to be packed with new and exciting and sometimes overwhelmingly busy things. We have not had a free weekend in months with all of the painting, decorating, shopping, organizing, sibling preparation classes, and much, much more. I have started another semester of grad school and though I have dialed it back to one class this semester I am already finding that making the time for that has been a challenge. Luckily, the professor has a great attitude about my impending arrival, having four kids of her own, and is being very flexible thus far.

Andy is a superstar. He is so excited to be a big brother and after what we thought was going to be a difficult time a few weeks ago, which turned out to be cutting the last of two year molars combined with a growth spurt, it seems that he will adjust well.

Nitro is doing well. Moving around lots and still has plenty of space to change positions by the moment… We are starting to think that s/he will not be the strapping size of big brother Andy at birth. Not to mention measuring slightly small and my total weight gain at 38+ weeks being 23 pounds. I have mixed feelings about the smaller baby the second time. Easier birth, yay! Not knowing what to do with an actual newborn sized newborn, not yay. We shall see. Maybe we will be surprised with another large baby. We were told last time that Andy would be average an size and that didn’t end up being true…

So a note on timing for anyone that wants to follow along. Two ISH weeks until the due date. I say ISH because a specific date is a sham. But, with two weeks left and our midwife from Florida arriving on the date, we are sticking to a very tight time frame for wanting this baby to come. Please little one, please, do not come before Becky arrives. We do have a good midwife here in Vermont so no need to panic that the birth will be unattended but really, wait. Becky is the best. Nitro, as s/he is known (and I think what Andy will be calling this little one for quite some time), will hopefully be born at home in water. We have our birth pool pretty much ready. We are getting down to a pretty small to do list and getting ready for what could come at pretty much anytime now.

I will reserve my external expression of my internal panic at how quickly things are moving and how unprepared I am feeling and simply say this: Things happen for a reason. Whatever happens will happen. The timing will work out. Also, as a wise person once told me, all you need to care for a baby is a diaper and a boob. If that is true, we’ve got this.

November Update

November 27, 2013

It seems that a monthly update is the way things go these days. So, here is the update for November:

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Grandma and Papa U have arrived to their new home in the Green (though currently white) state of Vermont. Today is their 4th full day of living in Vermont and tomorrow we will be spending Thanksgiving together. We cannot express how exciting it for them to finally be here! Their house next door to us is almost done and they should be able to move in by the end of the year (they are in a rental now).

On a semi-related note, tomorrow after our Thanksgiving dinner, us two moms will be taking a weekend trip to NH to go shopping and get away. Andy is staying here with Grandma and Papa U. It will be the first time he has stayed overnight without us. I am both relieved and ecstatic to have someone here that we can feel comfortable with him staying with. That is not to say that he won’t be missed and that I am not apprehensive a little to leave him for the first time overnight.

In other news, Andy is two years and three plus months now. He is growing and learning so fast it is crazy. His current favorites: snow, cooking, playing cars and trucks, grapefruit, chocolate milk and vacuum trucks. Love this boy.

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Just a short note about our other little one. We started a baby pool. Go here and guess: Nitro’s Baby Pool This was from about 9 weeks ago now but probably the only ultrasound we will have. Say hi to little Nitro!

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October Update

October 7, 2013

Another busy month has passed in the Titus household. I looked at the last post and date it was publish and thought, “Wow, it has been a long time.” Then I realized how much has occurred in that timeframe and felt much better about it. We left for Florida for our Disney vacation of fun after a short trip to Burlington for a work-related conference. We spent a week away and had a great time. I have lots of photos coming as soon as we order the digitals from our Disney photo-pass. I will also discuss our thoughts on the photo-pass experience when I post those. Then we flew back with Grandma and Papa-U in tow to Vermont. They were here to mostly monitor the progress on their house. Yes, their house! As in… they have one. Well they have the frame of a house at least and it has a roof! The building has officially begun and they will hopefully be living next door to us by the end of this year. Just in time for a harsh (as predicted by some sources) winter and the arrival of grand-baby number two. I should also mention for the sake of excuses for not updating sooner that we all got sick on the last day of the Florida trip and flew home miserably on the plane. We remained sick for a full week before anyone felt like doing anything and are just now starting to get back into our normal routine.

On the second baby front, we had our one and hopefully only ultrasound last week and found out that we are indeed expecting a baby and everything about him or her looked normal! Yay. He or she is measuring a couple days smaller than our estimated date but looked great. Now that I am feeling much better and getting over the sickness, I have started working on our house transformation which will take quite some time. We had a contractor and plumbing do some preliminary work and are transforming our former open basement to a master bedroom/bathroom/closet/storage room. The next step is cleaning out the basement to get ready for paint and tile in the bathroom. Once that is done we will get some finishing work done and move downstairs to free up our current bedroom for Nitro (the Amazing!).

Andy! Andy is a two-year old. OMG how did it happen. He loves to answer every question initially with “No” and is a very active boy. He loves trucks, cars, planes, helicopters, construction vehicles, pretty much anything with an engine. He has also developed an interest in Buzz Lightyear (I think because he flies and has a spaceship) and Woody from Toy Story. He also loves his doll, Pete and Pete’s stroller and other accessories. He likes to color, eat ‘bars’ (snack bars), and is starting to engage in pretending which is great. His first love, dance, is still strong and he will dance to show his excitement for different things. He loves to read and will bring you an endless supply of books to read one right after another if you let him. He is talking a lot and learning so fast it is amazing. I love this boy!!

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We are smack in the middle of fall here in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. Some areas have reached their peak and trees are loosing the leaves rapidly but there is still a lot of great color. It is getting cool and I had to break out the winter box of clothing (which will soon no longer be an issue when we get out giant 5′ by 14′ closet painted downstairs). Andy asks almost daily for snow and I am sure we are soon to see some. I am very excited for winter this year despite the fact that I can not do some of the more fun winter activities like ski or sled. I will still be trying out my new-to-me snowshoes and playing in the snow with Andy as soon as it arrives. We are also excited for the holidays with family involved this year! Great times to come….

Introducing: Nitro the Amazing!

September 2, 2013

This is the obligatory post to post-announce that we are expecting the arrival of a second baby in late February 2014. Most people reading this should be aware of that fact already so I will use this post to answer some frequently asked questions about this conception and pregnancy.

1. I (Mandi) am pregnant again. Ashley has no desire to go through this process and maintains that she was under no hormonal influence the last go round and therefore clearly remembers the reality of pregnancy and birth. She simply could not convince me that this was a bad idea.

2. I got pregnant this time using the same process as the previous time. If you do not remember, here are the links to my posts addressing this process: Family Friday XXIV: Educational Series I, Family Friday XXV: The One with the Heartbeat and More Education, and Family Friday XXVI: Educational Series III. Note: We used the same donor that we used for Andy so they will be full siblings.

3. It took three months or cycles this go round to get a positive pregnancy test (last time it was the second month/cycle). Cost was about the same as last because even though the price had gone up per sample, we used less sample per cycle this time. Again, proving I do not have any fertility issues.

4. Before Andy was born we had a great nickname for him: Turk. As in turkey. As in baster. This time around we sought the great advice of Ashley’s father (PapaU) who coined the term “Turk” for Andy. This time we again have a clever-tied-to-the-process name for our little fetus. Nitro the Amazing! Nitro for short. Nitro works for a boy or girl right? It is going to have to because we are planning to have a surprise this time. So no need to ask about the sex.

Anything I am forgetting?

This is Our Boy

September 1, 2013

This is a post that I had drafted and intended to posted shortly after the last update. Here comes the but. But, something happened shortly after I drafted this post and time stood still for a couple of months. A first trimester sickness took over our lives. Fortunately, we seem to have mostly made it through. Trimester two has started and little Nitro is growing growing growing. Anyway here is the original post…

This is our boy. But by boy I mean B-O-Y boy! He loves ‘boy’ stuff, He also loves being like his Ma-mom and socializing with anyone and everyone.

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Waiting his turn for the ‘drigger truck’ at the Big Rig Day in Barton

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Mickey clings all over! Looks the best from the outside

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Big Rock

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Andy loves Snickers.. Mostly just giving her treats…

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…and carrying the poop bag

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Working hard mowing the lot (currently the giant hole where Grandma and PapaU’s house will be)

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Big eater

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Just like Ma-mom!

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Note: Andy’s hand on the little girl’s leg. We do not know these girls.

Even though this is finally posted I am still way behind on updates. More to come.

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