The Winslow Family has grown by one and our hearts could not be fuller!
A little about her entrance to the world… As we began inching closer to her due date (Thursday, April 21), I became more and more uncomfortable. I had been having contractions on and off since the Thursday prior, but nothing seemed to stick around for long enough to make anything happen. After trying just about everything in the book (walking, acupuncture, spicy foods, you name it..), my midwife handed me a Castor Oil Cocktail Recipe to give a try. Castor Oil was the one thing I said I would NEVER do, but after she assured me that it was safe I decided to give it a whirl.
About an hour after drinking the concoction, I started having contractions. They were actually really close together but not very intense at the time. Clint and I did some walking around the block to try to sustain them which did help a lot. Once the contractions were getting to where I had trouble talking through them at 2-3 minutes apart for an hour, we decided to head to the hospital. (4:30pm Wednesday)
At the hospital, they got me checked in and in a room with a tub (score!). Our doula, Ashley, met us there and helped get the room set up. For about 4 hours, we worked on trying to intensify my contractions and help me progress. The midwife on call, Sue, said she would be back to check me around 9pm. My contractions were greatly uncomfortable but yet I knew that they had to get a LOT worse before we were close to having this baby. When 9pm rolled around, Sue informed me that sadly I was not progressing..and that she recommended that I went home to labor there for the rest of the night. Clearly, I lost it. I was NOT going home to labor with my 2 year old in the house and being 20+ minutes away from the hospital did not help matters either. She called in Dr. Gunter (who delivered Brooklyn) and his kind soul agreed to give me something to sleep and keep me over night. (MY HERO!) I was able to sleep for about 4 hours after some stadol and fentanyl, and woke up at 4am to discover the contractions had pretty much died off. I got worried thinking that they may send me home, so I began walking, squatting, bouncing, and dancing around the room to try to get my contractions to pick back up. It worked, and my contractions picked back up to 5 minutes apart, however they were really mild. Sue came in to check me again around 6am and to my surprise I had progressed and she agreed to break my water to get things moving along. Once my water was broken, I was sure things were going to move quickly. Instead, the contractions went from 5 min, to 7 min, all the way up to 15+ minutes apart. My doula had them bring me a breast pump to try to get contractions moving along — again, it worked! but then it did not sustain. By this time, there was a new midwife on call, Leigh Ann, and she suggested either pitocin or cytotec. I chose the cyotec, which mimics natural labor the best, and within 15 minutes I was having contractions again around 11:15am. Things picked up very quickly from there and by 1:20ish I was in full-fledged, slap-yo-mama active labor. Since I chose not to have an epidural I was able to move around the room and eventually get in the Jacuzzi tub while laboring. A little before 2:30pm, I was feeling the urge to push so Clint, the midwife, and my doula miraculously got me out of the tub and to the bed. Ten minutes of pushing and Eleanor was in my arms!
Future nurse, Aunt Holli, was with us every step of the way and was there for Eleanor’s arrival 🙂
Thinking about how Brooklyn would respond to being a big sister was something that I thought about constantly during my pregnancy. We prepared with a Sibling Class, books, and lots and lots of talking about “Baby Ella.” I was prepared to put down Eleanor when Brooklyn was coming in to meet her so that I could welcome Brooklyn with open arms. I also was prepared for a giant meltdown about a) mommy being in the hospital and b) there being a new baby. Brooklyn totally surprised us all. She walked right in and asked for Baby Ella and wanted to hold her immediately. She was even okay with me holding Eleanor! The icing on the cake was that Eleanor had bought a gift for Brooklyn — a new Baby Stella doll and accessories to match 🙂
At 24 hours of life, Eleanor had her newborn assessment – which included testing for jaundice. Brooklyn was borderline jaundice and had to have phototherapy so we knew there was a risk for that for Eleanor as well. Unforutantely, our fears were confirmed and Eleanor had to go under the lights. They were able to do the phototherapy in the room, so our homework was to keep her under the lights as much as possible and make sure she gets fed well enough to pee and poop out the bilirubin. After about 16 hours under the lights, we got confirmation that her numbers had improve, she could come off the lights, and we could GO HOME!
Since coming home on Saturday, we have been working on adjusting to being a family of 4. Brooklyn both loves Eleanor and is understandably jealous at times as well. We are trying to figure out the best way for everyone to get as much sleep as is possible, especially during this time of cluster feeding. Eleanor got a great report at her doctor appointment today — bilirubin levels are maintaining in the low-risk range and she is gaining weight at double the rate they look for. This mama is feeling blessed and so in love with her sweet little family 🙂