Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Home Birth of Ellery Claire

Elias and Isla meet Ellery for the first time!


As most of you probably know, Baby #3 made her appearance on Friday, May 6th! We are so happy and have been having a wonderful experience learning to be a family of five. I have been debating how much of our birth story to share in blogland - it just seems like a birth story could very easily turn into way too much information. Instead of not sharing our experience at all, I decided I would just have a disclaimer. So here it is.

The evening started out far too normal for my liking. My sister's wedding was right around the corner and the last thing I wanted was to still be pregnant. I had tried everything in my power to try to jump start labor but nothing was working. I had been told I was 2cm dilated and 75%
effaced so I did it all - walking, drinking gallons of raspberry leaf tea, cleaning, carrying around 35lb and 20lb children, the same thing that got me pregnant in the first place, more walking,
jumping on the trampoline...I am sure I am forgetting something but you get the point. At this point I had been expecting to go into labor for over a week as my exam that determined how far dilated I was had been 9 days before. I had two bouts of contractions but neither of them progressed into anything and I hadn't had any contractions for 6 days. I was insanely swollen and was getting acupuncture to help relieve the pain and swelling but knew the only real relief would come with not being pregnant anymore.

At 1am I started getting a stomach ache and knew this was probably "it!" The contractions were tolerable but didn't really seem to ever stop. I went back and forth between bed and getting up until I couldn't stand the thought of laying down again. At that point I knew it was time to wake up Brian. I woke him up at 2:30am and immediately told him that I waited as long as I could to
wake him up and now we were in hurry mode to get the kids out of the house and call the midwife. I called my Dad while Brian called our midwife, Marla. Everyone arrived about 3am.
Elias and Isla were taken home to Mimi and Papi's house. Marla did an exam about 3:30am and found I was 6cm. Brian had the birthing pool set up and ready by that time but we had run out of hot water so it wasn't very full and it wasn't very hot. I was expecting more relief from the water but didn't really get it until we got more hot water in there about 45 minutes later.

I was experiencing back labor and couldn't believe how much my back was killing me. Brian had a pitcher and poured hot water over my back - a couple times he missed and got my hair which caused me to yell at him because I was already freezing cold. I apologized after the birth but all in all I am pretty impressed that I only lost my temper a couple of times.

Based on my birth with Isla, the thing I was most concerned about with a home birth was the pain. I would never claim to have a high pain tolerance and with Isla it got to the point where I was crying with every contraction. I knew pain was my biggest fear and my greatest obstacle and I didn't really know how the situation was going to turn out. Toward the end the
contractions were so intense and although I *think* I wasn't ever screaming I am definitely glad the kids weren't around - because it certainly wasn't a silent birth. Although the pain was incredible I never experienced a real moment of doubt. I knew pain meds weren't an option yet I never felt completely overwhelmed by that like I thought I might. It is incredible what a sense
of control you can experience when you are in your own environment and allow your body to work on its own terms.

With Isla's birth I became overwhelmed by the contractions and allowed myself to start mentally breaking down. At that point the pain became overwhelming and I had morphine. Once I had the morphine my contractions went from every minute to every 10 minutes. This caused the doctors to order Pitocin which in turn made the contractions more intense so I had an epidural. Once I had the epidural I found it difficult to get a sense of when I needed to push because I couldn't feel what my body was trying to do. Brian and I knew we didn't want to have this vicious cycle of intervention which leads to even more intervention to happen with Ellery's birth. We wanted to honor my body, God's plan, and the birth process and felt a home birth was the best way to achieve that - we were not disappointed.

At about 5am Marla asked me if I needed to push because she thought with the ways things were progressing that I should be to that point. I told her it was hard to explain but I felt like I should be pushing but physically couldn't. She looked concerned and had me get out of the birthing pool to examine me. At that point she said the baby was being blocked by something. That little something ended up being a hand. She helped me move Ellery's hand with a couple
of contractions and at that point I got back into the birthing pool and began pushing. Again at about 6am, Marla mentioned that I was doing an excellent job pushing but she thought the
baby should be out by now based off of the strength of the pushing. At that point we realized Ellery was making her appearance face first rather than head first. It wasn't a big deal but just took a little longer and a little extra bit of effort. At 6:21am our baby entered the world. I had thought I wanted to catch the baby but found the best position for me to push in was on my knees which made it difficult to try and grab the baby so I changed my mind at the last minute and asked Marla to grab the baby. The cord was wrapped around her neck but unlike Isla's cord around the neck this was very gently unwound without anyone getting frantic.

There was nothing quite like that moment when I turned over and was handed the precious baby that I had worked so hard for. There was such a sense of accomplishment and relief but all of those feelings were overshadowed by unbelievable love. The baby cried right away but
quickly got nestled into my chest and just snuggled peacefully and contently. It was quite a few
minutes later when Marla asked me to lower "him" into the water more. At that point I said "Oh! It's a him?" and Marla replied, "Actually I don't know. I didn't check." So I pulled the baby away from me for the first time and was absolutely shocked when I saw it was a girl. I was 99% sure this baby was a boy and hadn't really even imagined it being a little girl.
My placenta hadn't fully separated and it ended up being over a half hour later that it was delivered so in the meantime Ellery and I just cuddled contently in the birthing pool with Daddy's arms wrapped around us. It was so peaceful and quiet. There was nothing frantic or rushed and there was very little speaking. Everyone just seemed to be very much in the moment. Once the placenta was delivered, Brian cut the umbilical cord. I was losing a lot of blood at that point and got moved onto the bed and had a shot to stop the bleeding. Brian had Ellery and I ended up having three baseball size blood clots. After that we started the over-an-hour long suture job while Ellery and I tried to figure out nursing.

After I was all stitched up, I wanted to try and use the restroom. It is a very short walk from the bedroom to the bathroom but on the way back I passed out twice. I have never passed out before and thought it was the most bizarre thing ever. I would start to see spots and then I woke up from a deep sleep in which I had been dreaming to someone calling my name. I saw Marla and listed to her tell me I passed out and realized I was on the floor but didn't remember who she was or that I had just had a baby. A minute or so later the same thing happened again, except this time I woke up to Brian laying me in bed. Later Brian told me that although it was only a couple of seconds I immediately started snoring and was convulsing - yikes! Brian had made me a huge breakfast while I had been getting stitched up and I ate a ton and immediately started to feel better, albeit weak and tired. Ellery and I got snuggled in bed together and rested all day long!

Brian was an excellent source of support and I really couldn't have done it without him! For the first hour after I woke him up he was running around getting the kids out the door, making phone calls, and setting up the birthing pool. Eventually though I just had to say "enough" and insisted that he not leave my side again - and he didn't. Through all of the contractions Brian worked to comfort me in any way possible and through the hour and a half of pushing he didn't let go of my hand (I was kind of afraid it was going to be like the movies and my husband would have a broken hand at the end of it all). When I refused a bed pan and catheter but was too weak to stand or walk, Brian carried me to the bathroom every time I had to go - now that is the kind of nursing and attention every woman would be lucky to have. For a week I did not
step foot into the kitchen and woke up every morning to a hot breakfast and perfect caramel latte. I cannot put into words how wonderful it was to recover at home and have my husband's full attention and care. The kids and I relied so heavily on him, yet he didn't lose his patience and served us all with love.
Ellery has been such a joy! I feel like all I do is nurse and hold babies but I really enjoy loving on my kids all day - although the middle of the night feedings aren't without their frustrations. It has been so wonderful being in close proximity to our families. They have helped us so much and it has been great to have them around to share our happiness. There were a couple of times when Brian and I just looked at each other in exhaustion and expressed to each other that we were overwhelmed. So many more times though, we have looked at each other and smiled, exchanging in the glance and moment a sense of deep happiness. More than anything, the birth of Ellery has once again been a time in my life where I am acutely aware of God's greatness and so thankful that our plans are not His.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter 2011

Video filmed and produced by Uncle Kevin Gossett, starring Elias Gossett :)

Easter morning started super early for us as we had to leave for church at 6:45am. Unfortunately, this meant Elias had to be woken up and was really grouchy - that was until the Easter egg hunt!
When we got home from church I went to the bathroom and Brian was busy unloading the car. We walked into the living room and found this - the kids had emptied their bags and were busy opening eggs and sorting through all the candy!
The kids really liked their Easter baskets this year! I stayed on top of coupons and sales this year and only spent about $4 per basket and they were overflowing!
When we got to Grandma and Grandpa's house Elias got to have a second Easter egg hunt. This one he was all on his own and LOVED it!
Isla and Mommy - Easter Sunday
13 months old
Our family of four - although not for long!
Baby #3 will be here soon! As of Wednesday 4/27, I am 2cm dilated and 75% effaced. It will be any day now!
Photo shoot by cousin Kelsey at Mimi and Papi's house
Hope you all had a wonderful time celebrating our Risen Savior just like we did!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Gossett Baby #3

Dear Baby #3,
We look forward to meeting you in approximately 8 weeks. Hope you are ready for a big brother and sister who will smother you with love and expect you to join in their wrestling matches right away! We'll see you soon!
Mom and Dad
Baby #3 is currently weighing in at 4lbs, 6 ounces. Sergio, the ultrasound technician believes 2 of those pounds are in the cheeks. He or she is scheduled to be joining us on or around May 19th. Thanks to the genes that gave this baby Daddy's large round head - the head is measuring 2 weeks larger than every other part of the body (Lord, help me), which tricked the computer into thinking this baby will come a week early. Who knows? Maybe the computer will be right. We can't wait to meet this little chunk o' love and squeeze those chubby cheeks!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Isla Turns 1!

On March 15th, 2011 our baby girl turned 1! Wow, that year sure did fly by. We had such a fun time celebrating with friends and family. Elias and Isla are the best of buds! They play together and wrestle all day long. They both truly love one another and love being together!

Our baby girl is ONE!

Her first look at the good stuff! She really enjoyed her cake and stayed true to herself and made sure to rub it in her hair - her signature move!
Luckily, March in San Diego was gorgeous enough to break out the water table and get some farmer tan lines :) Isla has always been a happy baby and remains content and joyful in nature.

Isla with half of her Uncles.

Great-Grandma Gossett and Isla
Aunt Lori, Uncle Kevin and Lily
Mimi, Great-Grandma Stalker and Great Aunt Tammy

Papi and Isla
Daddy cooked up some mean BBQ for the party.Great-Grandma and Great-Grandpa Gossett - we were so happy they were both feeling well enough to come and spend the day with us!

Elias' new favorite love - his "bike-kick-le"


12 Things We Love About Isla:

1) Your happy and content nature

2) The way you are so quick to smile and laugh

3) How you grab your blankie before being lifted out of your crib - you sure love your blankies

4) Your big girl appetite - we call you our little garbage disposal

5) Your open mouth kisses

6) Your curious nature - you are into EVERYTHING which drives us crazy...but we love how much you like to explore

7) The way you rock to sleep with Mommy and fall asleep on Daddy's chest

8) You always wake up talking, laughing, content and ready to play

9) The way you patiently put up with your brother smothering you. You also know how to hold your own though and we often have to tell you to stop pulling your brother's hair.

10) Your little button nose - it is so uniquely you

11) The way you hold and talk to your baby doll - it is the sweetest thing

12) Your precious smile that you grace us with countless times a day

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Family Update

For Elias' 2 year Gotcha Day celebration we had some close friends and family get together for dinner. Elias has so much fun playing with all of his friends - he is very social, just like his Daddy. We are so happy he is a part of our lives!
Our kids are growing like crazy! It is fun to watch them interact and enjoy one another more and more. Elias is now well on his way to being a 3 year old. I am sure July will be here before we know it. Often I will look over at him on the couch or sitting at the table and wonder where my baby went.

He is officially over Elmo. This bothers me not because I miss Elmo but because this means my boy is big enough to be out of "a stage." His newest loves are Cars and Thomas the Train. He still loves being outside. His favorite thing to pretend right now is "picnic." Probably about 10 times per day he invites Isla and I to his picnic. When Daddy is home he is allowed to come too. We go sit on a pile of blankets and we have our picnic and eat a whole bunch of pretend food - that is until it disappears because the monster got it. Then we have to chase down the monster and start all over.

In the past couple of weeks Elias has also started stuttering and intentionally acting like a baby. If Isla is crawling over to me whining, Elias will be right there next to her doing the same thing. I am afraid this might get even worse when we have a newborn in the house who is getting attention...we'll see.

Elias loves to tease. Between Dad, Grandpas and Uncles I can't imagine where he gets that from. When you ask him a question he usually has one of two responses. If it is a yes or no question, Elias insists on answering, "maybe" in a wise guy kinda tone. His other response that
he is having a lot of fun with is saying, "what you just said?" when asked a question. He heard and knows exactly what you said but will continue on this course until he gets the kind of attention he is looking for (which usually consists of wrestling or tickling).

Brian and I went away from a weekend in January and came back to a child who says, "Oh come on!" when really frustrated about something. He picked this one up from his Uncle Israel. Whenever something is loud, Elias says, "that's louder!" He also likes to "hide in the darkness." He still loves to "play chickens on Daddy's doan" (play Angry Birds on Brian's IPhone). Brian worked with him on pronounces his F's. He now says phone perfectly but every other word that begins with an F still is mispronounced. If Brian emphasizes the F in a word, like food, Elias immediately starts saying phone. Poor guy just doesn't quite get it.

One of his favorite songs is Bruno Mars, Just The Way You Are. He likes to sing, "(Enter name here)'s amazing, just the way you are." He will sing it to whoever is around, like Mommy, Isla, Daddy, etc. Super sweet.

He has recently become scared of the dark, although it is already getting better after a couple of weeks. Since we didn't have a night light Brian took the desk lamp off the dresser and put it on the floor. It made me nervous but he figured it would just be there for a few minutes until he fell asleep. A few minutes later Elias came out crying and was pointing to his lip. Brian took him in the room and asked where he was hurt and he pointed to the lamp. Brian didn't really understand so he just put him back in bed. I didn't realize any of this had happened and went in a few minutes later as Elias was calling me. He said his lip was burning. I thought he had
chapped lips so I put some chapstick on for him. As I was doing so I noticed a big blister. I asked him what happened and he said, "I just kissed my light" and pointed to the lamp on the ground. He never ceases to surprise us with the things he comes up with and manages to do.

Elias and Isla are still two peas in a pod. He loves to answer for her and be her voice against the parents. One night the kids were playing and Brian said jokingly (super early into the evening), "Ok kids, time to go to bed." Elias looked at us shocked and said, "It's not time for bed. I don't want to go to bed and Isla doesn't want to go to bed." He is always looking out for her. Almost as much as he looks out for himself :)
They also have the same sexual deviant tendencies. Every time Elias gets out of the bath or shower (yes, he now loves to take showers by himself) he insists on running around the house yelling "naked boy!" Isla loves the sound of the shower and if the door is open she will be there in no time standing at the end of the bath, pulling the curtain open and peeping on whoever is in there.
Isla will be one in 6 days. Where has the time gone? She is still so small and so much my baby. She just cut her first tooth a couple of weeks ago. I doubt it will be visible yet in pictures at her first birthday. Despite not having teeth to work with she eats everything. Her favorite foods right now are scrambled eggs, veggie straws, pastas and breads. She is our little garbage disposal and will truly eat anything. She consistently out eats her brother every meal (which really isn't saying too much).

Isla is into everything. I call her "fingers" and "trouble" since they both fit so well. She loves to get into the dishwasher and just yesterday figured out how to turn it on. We have had to rubber band all of our cupboard doors shut. She has her favorite drawers and cupboards and empties them multiple times a day. She also loves to eat paper and has taken down a number of books, mail, tissues, toilet paper, Brian's music, and anything else paper-like. She can stand on her own for a few seconds and is getting really fast at walking along the furniture. She might take her first steps by time the new baby is here.
Speaking of the new baby we are down to 10 weeks and 1 day until our due date. Holy cow. 10 weeks. Not very long. Probably not quite long enough. It is hard to imagine our lives with a newborn thrown into the mix but ready or not here comes baby. We aren't finding out the gender and are super excited to have such a big surprise. Elias and Daddy think it will be a girl baby. More or less everyone else in the world who has given me their opinion thinks it will be a boy. I guess we will find out soon enough! And here's a little video I took of Isla today showing off her latest trick!