Her Birth Story

As I am sitting here with a snuggly little 1-week-old on my chest, I stare at her in awe still not believing that she is here and even more so that she is little girl. To be honest, I always thought I was one of those women that was genetically made to be a mom of all boys and I was so joyous about that thought.  However, after a week of getting to know her, I realize she was always a part of us. We were just waiting on her. She fits perfectly into my heart and our family. God knew. He had the plan sketched up long before we could imagine her.

As some of you may recall, I went into labor on my own with Briggs at 39 weeks 2 days. So mentally, I was prepared to go 39 weeks with Kerigan's pregnancy. I had always heard that your second comes earlier than you first, but I didn't want to get my hopes up so I kept telling myself I would be late just to help my own mentality. 39 weeks 2 days came and went. Each hour my patience would get the best of me. (It also didn't help that I was dilated to 2 for three weeks.) Every twinge, ache and braxton hicks contraction made me think this could be the beginning. Then the intensity would subside.

At 39 weeks 4 days on November 16th, we celebrated my sister's 25th birthday. She was kind enough to choose a restaurant that was in Brownsburg just in case I were to go into labor. At dinner nothing felt uncommon. I was having BH contractions and they were more intense and more regular, but this had been happening for weeks now- so I didn't think anything of it.

After dinner, we headed to our house for cake and ice cream. We sang Happy Birthday and she blew out the candles with her little Kinsie bug on her lap. (Kara later told me her birthday wish was that I would go into labor that night.) Briggs and I shared a slice and then Ryan and I put him down for the night shortly after. As we were going through the bed time routine, Ryan told him "maybe tomorrow you'll be a big brother so you better get good sleep." Truthfully, this thought went through my mind every night the last three weeks but I still thought it was sweet for Ryan to say. After Briggs went down, we hung out with Kara and her in-laws and also my mom and dad. By then, I was feeling pretty crampy- very similar to PMS cramps. My back was fairly achey as well. Ryan had had army that day, so he was exhausted by 10pm and fell asleep on the landing of our stairway- no joke. So after everyone left, I woke him up and we were in bed by a record 10:30pm on a Saturday night.

At 39 weeks 5 days, around 1:30am I woke up. I felt a mild contraction. At first, I didn't know if that's why I woke up or if it was because of the storm outside. The contraction could have easily been a braxton hicks. So I got up, went to the restroom to see if I felt any different. Then after 5 minutes, I felt another one. This one more intense. By this second contraction, I knew. Ryan was out so I decided to labor in our bathroom for a bit to let him sleep. The contractions were fairly irregular at 5-7 minutes apart. However, with your second pregnancy, they say the 5-1-1 rule (5 minutes apart, 1 minute long for 1 hour) does not always apply. It could be more like 6-1-1 or even 7-1-1. So I wasn't too concerned at waiting to call the doctor until it was a consistent 5-1-1. After taking a shower and laboring for an hour, I finally woke Ryan up. I told him he wouldn't be going to army that day. I then called my parents so that my dad could come stay with Briggs so my mom could go with us to the hospital.

Around 3:00 am, my parents arrived at our house. Contractions were getting more intense but still bearable with correct breathing methods and a determined mentality that I could do this naturally. Around 3:30, the contractions started picking up pace, so I finally called the doctor on call. Unfortunately, it was not my primary OBGYN who delivered Briggs but I already knew she wouldn't be. She had been gone for a week on a conference. Thankfully she told me this- so I could emotionally prepare myself that it wouldn't be her. She has been my doctor since I was 15, so needless to say, I am very attached. However, I love the other two doctors in her practice so I was totally cool with it being one of them as well. Dr. Fried in fact, was the one who delivered Kinsie and was a part of an amazing labor experience for my sister.  But the doctor on call didn't turn out to be one of them either. On weekends, my OBGYN's practice shares call with another practice. It was one of their doctors. Her name was Dr. Klus. I had never met her before but was comforted in the fact that my doctor knew and trusted her.

When I spoke to Dr. Klus at 3:30 in the morning, she sounded so groggy. I felt terrible for waking her up. I gave her all the right answers though and she had us head to the hospital.  The rain had subsided on our drive up to Carmel. I remember continuing to time my contractions and practicing my breathing techniques. In between contractions, I couldn't help but express how excited I was. Driving up to the hospital when I was in labor with Briggs was one of my favorite memories-almost magical, like I was a little kid headed to Disney World for the first time. This drive was no different. I was so excited to meet this baby and finally give it an identity. Contractions were still 5-7 minutes apart but getting more intense where I couldn't talk through them-only breathe.

Upon our arrival, they sent me to a triage room. Contractions were detected, baby's heart rate sounded good. I informed the nurse at that time that I did not want an epidural. Finally, the nurse checked to see how dilated I was. I was expecting at least 4. I told my mom and Ryan on the way up that if I was only at 3 I was going to yell at someone and if I were at 2 still, I would probably punch someone because the pain was not worth the lack of progress. Luckily for the people around me I was confirmed at 4. I was still a bit disappointed because I was at 5 when I arrived with Briggs. Nevertheless, we were there to stay. We were admitted and sent into the labor and delivery room. My sister, her Ryan and Kinsie arrived soon after. I had asked Kara to be in the room with me so she could take pictures of the whole experience. I had my massage tools, labor ball, and movie to distract me and get me through this natural childbirth experience. The rule was that I had to be hooked up to the monitors for 15 minutes every 45 minutes just to make sure baby was doing well. Then for the other 45 minutes, I could get up and walk around and labor how I would like.

The most comfortable laboring position for the next hour or so was sitting on the labor ball. I would quietly watch the movie in between contractions then when one came, I would bare down and concentrate on breathing and squeeze something (whether that was a squeezy ball or Ryan's finger). Contractions continued to get more intense. I was starting to doubt my ability to do this naturally. My contractions still seemed a bit irregular. In my mind it seemed like I would have one about every 7 minutes and then I would have three right in a row. So when the nurses switched from night to day shift, I was starting to feel defeated. Negative thoughts ran through my mind. What if I have been laboring this hard for this long and I'm only at a 5 now? It's not worth it. Ultimately, I know the baby would be fine if I had an epidural- I wanted to do it naturally for me. Maybe I should ask for one. I really should have hired a doula.

Right when I was thinking of throwing in the towel, God sent me down an angel by the name of Leigh Ann. Leigh Ann was the day shift nurse that started her shift at 7am. Later I found out that she was the nurse that was always assigned to natural births. Leigh Ann came in so full of sunshine and encouragement. I felt a new sense of hope. She asked me how often I was contracting and I told her I still felt irregular. She told me she wanted to check to see where I was at because I was feeling defeated. She said if I'm not progressing enough then there is no point in putting myself through this pain. She checked and then she had excitement in her voice. "Do you want to know how far you are?! You are at 8! You are in transition! This is the worst part! You ARE going to do this."

This news gave me a new source of hope and determination. I am so close. I CAN do this. It sucks but I can do this. I then started trying different positions to hopefully get the baby's head in the correct position and move things along even quicker. The pain started getting stronger. Thank the Lord I did not have back labor this time around but it still hurt to the point where I had to concentrate so hard on my breathing and relaxing my body so that it could do the work it needed to during each contraction. They were getting closer and longer at this point so I knew we were close. The nurse called the doctor to make sure she would be there in the next 15 minutes. I kept concentrating on pictures and videos of Briggs. His little face was the only thing that kept me focused. The nurse told me that as soon as the doctor would break my water, the baby would come. She then asked if I had a feeling what it was. (I think she was trying to get me to focus on the outcome). Without hesitation, I said boy. I was so excited for Briggs to have a little brother so that is what kept me going.

I knew we were close so I got on the bed and was trying different positions again to progress until the doctor got there. This is when I could no longer contract silently with just breathing. I wanted to punch something. I probably did-I think (and hope) it was the bed. Finally, the doctor gets there, she checks me. I was 9/10 but needed my water to break in order to be ready to push. All that is between me and holding my baby was her breaking my bag. She breaks it and instantaneously I had a constant contraction that seemed to have lasted for 15 minutes straight. In reality it probably was a minute or two.

The pain was unbearable. Leigh Ann told me to get on all fours to progress more. However, I only made it to my side before I felt the baby ready to come out. The. Ring. Of. Fire. The crowning of the baby's head. No one can mentally prepare you for this sensation. I knew what to expect and how to cope with contractions because I had labored on my own with Briggs for a while. However, at this point in my labor with him I was high on life with that epidural. I had no idea what was actually happening to my body. And now...I was screaming not believing I could do this. This was truly the worst part.

I barely made it to my back again before I needed to push. I kept saying "I can't do it. I can't do it." At this point, I later found out that Ryan was crying because of the pain I was in, so he couldn't give me words of encouragement. That's when my angel Leigh Ann tapped on my face and looked me in the eye and yelled, "YOU CAN DO THIS. JUST PUSH." Oh yea, that will solve this predicament. It's almost like my brain had to be reminded that this was all I had to do. My body was shaking uncontrollably, but I somehow managed to kind of hold my legs and push. The baby's head came out and I felt a relief that I can't describe. I pushed again on the same contraction...and at 9:05 am,  the baby was out!

The doctor immediately put the baby on my chest but I couldn't see it. The umbilical cord was right between its legs. Leigh Ann said, "here IT is!"
I said, "What is IT?!?"
Leigh Ann- "Can't you tell?"
We all said no because the baby's cord was covering it up. However, with it being SO obvious, I assumed it was a boy.
Leigh Ann- "IT'S A GIRL!"

A WHAT!? The pictures above perfectly describe my surprise in finding out that this baby that had no identity for 9 months, was a girl. I then told Ryan, I can't believe he could make a girl. Ha. The next few minutes, I just stared at her. Not believing that it was real. We had a daughter.  She was Kerigan. Even on the way to the hospital, I wasn't 100% sure on her name, but as soon as I saw her, I knew it was right. She was Kerigan Kay Robinson.

I also couldn't believe how petite she was. Maybe it was because I was so used to my big boy or that he was almost 8 lbs as a newborn. However, once they weighed her, it was confirmed that she really was small compared to Briggs. At 6 lbs 14 oz, she was a whole pound less. I always thought your second child was typically bigger than your first. When I asked the nurse about this, she said she sees second babies smaller quite frequently. As the pregnant mom, you don't get to nap or eat when you want and plus you are getting extra "cardio" by chasing your toddler around.

By this time, I was missing Briggs SO much and asked for Ryan to go get him from the waiting room to meet his sister. It was actually good timing because my dad and Briggs had just walked into the waiting room. Ryan Matthews, Kinsie, Dad and Briggs were all out there for Ryan's announcement that "we have another...GIRL in the family!" So Ryan put Briggs's pink bow tie on and they marched down the hall way to L&D Room 6 to meet his sister, Kerigan.

Right when they walked in, Kerigan was due for cleaning up and a bath. So after Briggs gave her kisses, they took her to the heating lamp and unswaddled her. She of course started crying which TOTALLY stressed Briggs out. He then began to not just cry...but ball his eyes out. He kept saying "Baby cry?! Baby cry!!!!" 

At the time, this broke my heart and totally stressed me out but looking back, it is such a sweet thought that he was so concerned for her from the very start. He's always going to be her protector. To brighten his spirits, we figured it was a great time to give him his gift from Kerigan. It was a huge hit. Here he is showing it off.

Soon after her bath, my parents took Briggs down to the cafeteria to get some food. So Ryan and I were left with our baby girl. She caught on to nursing very quickly. Ryan and I said a prayer over her and smothered her with kisses.

When it was time to move to our postpartum room, it was nearing noon. Leigh Ann informed us that a super cell thunderstorm was headed our way that afternoon and that it was going to produce multiple tornadoes. This gave me a huge sense of anxiety since my whole family was there. So although I wanted them to stay and be with us all day, I was more concerned for their safety. So they left around 12:30 before it got bad. They picked up our dog, Lola on the way home and hunkered down in the safety of their home for the night. I was much more at peace after that and was able to soak in Kerigan and have some really great bonding time with just her and Ryan. We told visitors to stay home until that evening after the storms had passed. It was a very quiet afternoon which was exactly what we needed.

Around 4:30 in the afternoon, I was finally able to get a hold of Ryan's parents on the phone. They were traveling home from Bloomington, IL that day. We were desperately trying to get a hold of them all day to let them know the baby was on the way/had arrived. Unfortunately, both their cell phones were turned off.  I was so concerned for their safety because that is where the storms were coming from. So when Don answered the phone I was SO thankful. He asked me, "How are you and Question Mark (his term of endearment for baby 2) doing today?"
"Well, it's not a question mark anymore!"
Don- "Why didn't you tell us!?"
"We have been trying to get a hold of you ALL day"
Don- "Well, what is it?"
"I better have Ryan call you right back to tell you"
Needless to say, they were very excited after Ryan informed them that we just welcomed the first girl into their family. I could hear Diane elated in the background when they were hanging up, "A GIRLLLL!"

At the end of the evening, we were counting our blessings. I was able to have a natural and healthy labor and delivery that resulted in my feeling incredible postpartum. The hour or so of pain was completely worth how much better my recovery has been. I never needed more than an ibuprofen. In addition, our family and friends were safe and sound from the day's storms. But we were especially humbled that we now had an incredible son and a beautiful daughter.

Kerigan Kay Robinson, welcome to the world. You are so loved.

Introducing Kerigan Kay Robinson

It's a GIRL!!!!

Kerigan Kay Robinson was born Sunday November 17, 2013 at 9:05am. She was a healthy 6 lbs. 14 oz and 20.5 in. long. Labor began around 1:30am that morning and progressed quickly which resulted in the birth of our little girl in less than 8 hours. I was able to deliver naturally and am excited to share her birth story with you soon.

In the meantime, I am going to leave you with a few highlights from her first minutes of life. As you can see, she is already completely loved and adored. Briggs could not be a better big brother. He has completely skipped calling her by name and only refers to her as Sister. I still cannot believe that we have a daughter. Ryan and I feel so honored that the Lord chose us to be the ones to raise this little miracle to know and love Him. 

Now I'm off to snuggle my 3-day-old crumb cake...

Preparing for D-Day on Team Green...with a Toddler

Hospital bags are packed, pumpkin seat is taken out of storage, the jeep now has TWO carseats installed, the neutral clothes and blankets are washed and ready...

I still love the idea that we are on Team Green. I can't wait for that moment! However, I didn't realize it would take twice the planning until recently. (It has saved me some money on not buying too many new clothes...yet.) You have to come up with twice as many names (we have known our boy name for a long time but just recently barely settled on a girl name.) and you have to prepare your toddler on the possibility of having a baby brother or baby sister. When I say prepare, I do mean mentally prepare but also logistically prepare him as well.

With Baby 2.0, I am much more aware of how to efficiently pack for the hospital. Despite planning to go natural, I believe my bag weighs about 20 lbs. less. However, this time around I am not just packing for me and my baby boy. I am packing for me, my toddler and for a girl baby and a boy baby.

As far as the baby's packing plan, I had decided I would take a few boy outfits (Briggs's hand-me-downs) and a few girl outfits (Kinsie's hand-me-downs) and one or two neutrals new to this particular little one. Plus, I had to include my two onesies- each with a respective girl name and boy name for the birth announcement. After that, the hospital has all the essentials.

As for my toddler, he takes the cake. We have an outfit with a blue bow tie if he gets a brother and a pink bow tie if he gets a sister. He also has changes of clothes, entertainment including videos and books, supplies to throw a birth day party (he is really into singing the birthday song to everyone right now) plus a brand new gift from his baby sibling. He also has an overnight bag for Yaya and Bapa's while we are at the hospital.
I don't blame you if you think I'm going over the top, but if you have a child, you know you can never be over-prepared. Now, prepare for one of the biggest moments in your child's life plus the welcoming of a new life. It makes my mind spin. I think this nesting mother of 2 needs to go to bed...

Soaking in the last few (days and/or weeks) with this baby always with me.

Our Halloween '13 in photos

He's got the roar down like a champ thanks to all the halloween celebrations we attended. I think by the last night his throat hurt- ha poor baby. He trick-or-treated like a rockstar and loved passing out candy to other kids! I couldn't get enough of this little lion.

Confession: I like Halloween way more now that I have a kid.

FULL TERM..This Time Around as a "STM"

If any of you have ever joined a pregnancy app or forum, the first time you log on you almost need an interpreter with all the abbreviations these moms use.  FTM, STM, TTC, LO, DH...the list goes on and on. When I was pregnant with Briggs, after a few weeks and a lot of google searches, I finally caught on to the lingo- usually pretty easy to figure out. In this instance, STM simply means Second Time Mom.

So as a STM at 38 weeks, I am at a totally different place than I was as a "FTM". At 37 weeks with Briggs, I was miserable. Looking back now, it was completely mental. I am still feeling all the physical ailments I did last time- but I'm embracing it and letting my body do its work. As a FTM, I was not used to Braxton Hicks contractions. I thought every time they started up again, I was going into labor. That is...until real labor began. When my sister asked me how to tell the difference in contractions, I told her BH contractions were like thunder and true contraction were lightning. You can certainly tell the difference.

Now I sit here and trust my body. My birth plan this time around is to go all natural- no epidural. However, I am a sound believer on doing what is best for the baby. If an epidural or even a c-section is best, I trust the Lord that He will lead us in the right direction to deliver a sweet healthy baby- because after all, isn't this our ultimate goal?

For the record though, the latest labor update at 37.4 which was my last OB check-up, I am dilated to 2 and 50% effaced. The baby could decide to put me into active labor like... now or 3 weeks from now. Either way, its okay. I have a toddler dressed as a lion to take to soccer class right now. I'm certainly not twiddling my thumbs.

Baby 2, whenever you are ready to make your debut, we are too. Until then, your brother has some "roaring" to do.

P.S. Baby, please don't be mad if your nursery isn't complete yet- we have a whole house we are still unpacking. I promise you will have a warm place to sleep. <--This is another example of the STM mindset I have learned to accept. Love is enough.