It's been a really long time since we've posted. We're going to try and post more often, mainly for our own records. We'll start this story the Friday before Memorial Day. I've been having contractions off and on for a while. I felt like my stomach was always tight! Sometimes, it was so tight it was hard to walk. So, Friday I went in for my regular OB appointment. I was 37 weeks and a few days. Dr. Decker checked on the heartbeat, and then checked me. I had totally set myself up with very little expectations. I always think some progress is being made, only to find out that nothing is happening. He asked where I was the week before, and I said "just soft and about 50%", he said, "Well, you're about a 2 and 80%." I thought, "Cool! Something's happening...." But, I'm usually in labor for days, if not weeks. I'll be dilated to a 3-4 and 80% for over a week or so. I called my parents to give them an update since my mom was planning to come out some time, but she also had a trip planned to Denver on the 9th, and I wasn't due until the 14th. They said something like, "Oh, you could have her any minute!" I was like, "No. Don't get too excited. I'm fine. Nothing exciting." I called Paul and let him know. He was home with the kids. He knows my history and said, "Well, you're making progress..." I then went to an ultrasound to check on baby's heart. They had detected a slight arrhythmia at my appointment the week before and just wanted to check things out. It was still there, but they said it would probably correct itself at birth or soon after. They recommended I come in for non-stress tests the next week, until delivery. They would call and make the appointments after the holiday. That ultrasound place is not my favorite, and I think I have spent way too much time there for silly things. The office staff is very cold and insensitive. I just get irritated every time I am in there.
Anyway, I drove home. We went to the pool when I got home, and made pizza. We watched a movie as a family. Saturday was pretty normal. We cleaned the house. Paul worked on the backyard, and took the kids to the pool. My parents called and said they had gotten my mom a flight for Sunday night. She was flying into Phoenix. I was glad to have my mom come, but a little nervous that her trip was premature. I wasn't in any pain, my contractions were sporadic, and I worried that she'd come and then have to leave before the baby even got here. I was mentally prepared to go late. I didn't want to be induced this time, so I was in it for the long haul. Sunday was a normal Sunday. Paul had early meetings. The kids and I got ready and went to Church. I was a little uncomfortable, but I chalked it up to being HUGE with my 7th baby, and getting six kids ready for Church by myself. Lots of people asked about my progress, and I let them know that things were happening, but I would probably be in this state for a while, and to count on seeing me the following week. After Church, Paul let me take a nap. I hadn't been sleeping very well, and was a little tired from getting up early with a toddler. We had Mexican soup for dinner, made cookies for a youth fireside that Paul was doing, and got kids ready for bed. I left for Phoenix when he got back. He picked up two large cups of ice from the gas station after gassing the van up for me. I chewed on ice the whole drive up and talked to my dad. I stopped to use the bathroom (pregnancy bladder) at a gas station. I got there just as my mom was walking out the doors. We got back on the road to get home. We stopped again at a gas station on our way because I had way too many ice chips! After that stop, my contractions started. I thought it was probably from being tired and sitting for a few hours. They were a little more uncomfortable where I had to hold the seat belt away from my stomach. I really felt fine and could talk the whole way home. We got in around 1am. I got my mom settled and then went into bed. Paul was already asleep, but kind of woke up when I came in. He asked how I was doing as I leaned against the bed during a contraction. I said, "Well, I'm having contractions, and they kind of hurt. They're about 2-3 minutes apart." He said, "Ok. Let me know if they get worse." So, I laid there for a while timing contractions until I fell asleep. Around 2:30am, Esme came in because she had wet the bed. I let her have a little too much water before bed, and forgot to have her go potty before I left. I told Paul that I was still having contractions, and asked if he could clean her up. I kept timing them while he was busy. When he came back in, he asked how I was doing. I told him that they were still 2-3 minutes apart and hurt a little, but I was fine. A few minutes later, I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom. This part is a little TMI, but I had never had this happen. I went into the bathroom, and I was bleeding. I called for Paul to come in, and that we needed to go to the hospital now. I was kind of freaking out a bit. My stomach was so hard I couldn't feel the baby move. I knew something was wrong, and I was scared and very anxious. Paul calmed me down a little, started the shower for me, and then went to take care of some things. I got cleaned up, and then he got in while I packed the rest of the hospital bag. I was still freaking out inside, and praying that everything was going to be ok. I wasn't feeling her move, but I was having awful contractions. I told my mom that I had just gushed blood and we were going to the hospital. As we stood in the kitchen, I was really panicking. I started crying and telling Paul that I couldn't feel her and that I've never bled. He hugged me, told me that things were going tobe ok, and then gave me a blessing. During the blessing, I felt her kick. It was in between contractions, and only once, but I felt it. It was the reassurance I needed at the moment to not completely fall apart. So, we drove the 45 minutes to St. Joe's and hit almost every light and every pot hole. The whole time Paul was asking me if I was okay not having a baby that day. He didn't want me getting my hopes up of being in labor if I really wasn't. I had gone in with previous babies and have them tell me that although I was a 4, I wasn't changing enough in an hour to be in labor and have them send me home. I said yes, but I the contractions were beginning to hurt a lot. We got there, got into triage, got all registered, and then the nurse checked me. She asked what I was at my appointment. I told her, and then she said "You're at a 5 and 90%. You're here to stay." I don't know if I was really relieved or not. I was still worrying about the bleeding, and being 2.5 weeks early. I told her about the bleeding and she said it was just the "bloody show". I had only ever heard about "losing your plug" or a "streak" of blood. That was NOT what I had experienced. Dr. Decker was on call and came into triage to check on me. They started an antibiotic push because I had test + for strep B. I had never had that before, and was planning an unmedicated, unplugged birth. Dr. Decker had them slam it as fast as they could and give me a little bit of fluids. He knew that once I got to a 6 or 7, I could go to a 10 in one contraction. It took them about an hour to do all the check-in stuff. They got me to a room around 6:20am. Dr. Decker came in, checked me, and then broke my water. I was a 6 and 100%. After they did all the check in stuff up there, I got on the birthing ball and bounced. Soon, the contractions were on top of each other. Paul was rubbing by back, holding my hand, and letting me lean against him. I started feeling like I needed to push around 7:15am. I got in the bed to have them check me again. I was a 9.75. But, I really felt like I needed to push. The nurses started running all over, getting things ready and telling Paul to tell me to just breath. Dr. Decker came in, they got him all set up. I was in a lot of pain, leaning on the bed, holding on to Paul, there were some tears, and heavy breathing. Around 7:30am they had me put my feet up and get ready to push, but I now felt like I couldn't. It was hurting and I couldn't breathe. I got ready, and I screamed a few times. It was very intense. And out she came! I heard Dr. Decker say, "That's a big baby!" as I apologized to everyone in the room for being so loud and embarrassing Paul. They laid her on my chest as I kept saying, "Oh my goodness!" I was shaking and freezing! They took her for a minute and wrapped her up. We waited in the delivery room for about 2 hours. They brought me breakfast (hospital food isn't great), and then weighed her after I fed her for a few minutes. The recovery room wasn't ready yet. I had to stay at the hospital for 48 hours with the strep B stuff. We were pretty bummed and were anxious to get home. The evening nurse was great. I think the day time nurse sensed our desire to get home and had us ready to go fairly quickly, compared to last time when they really dragged their feet. The pediatrician cleared us to go home early in the morning, and so did Dr. Decker. Paul brought food in for me that actually tasted god. The kids came up Monday evening to meet her. She is very much loved. We settled on Isobel Kathleen. She was born at 7:39am, weighing 8lbs even, and 19.5 inches long. She spent the 1st 24 hours humming in her sleep, but has been very quiet and easy-going since we've been home. She is very patient with her many admirers. She wakes up about twice in the night to eat. She's a good eater, and everything seems to be working well. There was an arrhythmia detected at her one week check. She's gaining weight. We are so grateful everything worked out, and that she made it here safely.