My entire pregnancy with Vesper was all new and so very familiar at the same time. Most days I knew exactly what to expect. I felt the sames joys and quirks of my other 3 pregnancies, and then other days, I was in an alien body. Emotionally, I was ecstatic to be having a healthy baby (no Niemann Pick Type A), excited for the newness of a girl (first one after 3 amazing little boys), and relishing my last pregnancy. While I was happy and content with all the above, these things also had a flip side. We spent the first 16 weeks of the pregnancy getting the baby tested for NPA and then waiting and waiting-agonizingly so-for the results. The girl part-ok, there were no down sides-just shopping and Barbie-pedicure-tutu daydreaming! But the last pregnancy part-yes, I was such a boob about it! I love being pregnant, I love the baby part even more, its hard to end that chapter of motherhood.
5 weeks pregnant
And then I turned 30 during this pregnancy, gained 45 lbs (my most yet by over 15 lbs), had my highest blood pressure of all 4 pregnancies, and felt the loss of Trek all the more with all the babyness in the air.
It was amazing, I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. Somedays I felt like a mother earth goddess blooming and growing life, but some parts, and some days, were very hard, it was my first pregnancy to feel a little “off” sometimes.
So, when I thought about the birth I wanted to have for Vesper, I was very open minded. For the first time, I even had fleeting thoughts that if I ended up with a c-section I would not have been sad. Previously I would have been devastated. The worries of having a perfect birth, felt like too much to add to the emotions I was already having.
10 and 12 weeks
I just wanted a baby. I had my magical birth with Trek, no medications, no medical team, in the balmy breeze on Maui, outside, with just Jarrett-pure magic. I did not need to recreate it, I was happy giving that to Trek and letting him have it. That being said, I still read all my natural birthing books, and hoped for a simple, drug free birth.
I felt little need to discuss my birth plans with my doctor, which was nice because I had a 10 page birth plan with Trek! We had spent the last few months getting to know her, she felt like a friend, and I knew she would respect my wishes. I wanted the boys there, and she agreed, I knew everything else would be perfect.
5 months pregnant with our 2nd Texan (Peyton is our other one:)
I knew I could be induced because of my high blood pressure. And if I had to have all the things that usually went along with induction and high blood pressure-pitocin, magnesium, catheter-that I would be fine with pain medication, whether through an IV or an epidural (I had both with Peyton and Conner). If I went into labor on my own, and it was similar to Trek’s, then I would be fine again with no pain medication.
my hospital stay at 20 weeks for high blood pressure
5 and 6 months pregnant
my first hairbows and baby dresses!!!
our Rainbow baby shower!
8 months-getting closer!!
her corner in her/our room
I went into hard core nesting at 34 weeks. It felt premature, but it was intense. I shopped, re-decorated, re-organized, scrubbed, washed everything that was machine washable and some things that were not, and scrubbed again. I finished it all up the day before my 36 week appt. with my ob-gyn. I was relieved and planned to spend the next week meditating, soaking up the sun at the beach, playing with Peyton and Conner, and working through any feelings I needed to concerning having a baby after losing one less than 2 years before. I was excited for that next week.
I went into my appt. and got hooked up to NST machine to check on the baby, like I had been doing 2 times a week for the past couple of months. My blood pressure was higher than normal, but I was so used to high readings at this point, I did not think twice about it. A few minutes later, Dr. Haver (my ob) came in and said she was taking us over to the hospital, that my blood pressure was too high and could turn into pre-eclampsia at this point. So Jarrett, the boys, and I walked over (it was in the same building), and got re-hooked up to all the machines to keep watch on the baby and my blood pressure.
waiting to see if today was the day!
My sister, Amanda, came and picked up the boys until we knew if the baby was coming that day or not. The plan was if my blood pressure went down, then we would induce the following Friday when the baby was 37 weeks, but if it stayed high, we would induce that day. Of course, it was no coincidence that Dr. Haver, a few times a year, had a 24 hours shift at the hospital. This was the beginning of one such shift, and was in the back of my mind. I really wanted her to deliver me, I trusted her completely.
Jarrett and me waiting all day to see if our baby was coming:)
We went into the hospital in the morning on Friday, May 16th. And I was monitored all day. My bp fluctuated from high to super high, so around 10 pm, Dr. Haver came in and said we were having a baby that day.
I had no idea what to expect this time. It was weird. With Peyton and Conner, it was simple, I wanted an epidural and anything else they wanted to give me, so it was very straight forward. I went to the hospital with both (induction with Peyton for high bp and normal labor with Conner) and a few hours later I was holding a precious baby. Trek, you all know that story, it just happened:) But with Vesper I did not know what I wanted. The dr. checked me and I was dilated to a big fat zero! This scared me, I couldn’t see how, if my body was literally not primed for this baby, I could have her any time soon. Dr. Haver was much more confident than me, which helped.
I asked my dr. what the plan was. She said she would use a cervix ripening agent to open me up first. She put that in me (inserted a pill right into my cervix manually), and about 2 hours later, I was dilated to a 1. My goodness! I was thinking-”we will be here all day”-ha!
the beginnings of labor
I did my Trek meditation during that hour. I turned on Chad Van Herk’s “Footprints”, our song for Trek, and listened to it on repeat. I would close my eyes and talk to Trek, and then open them to see his beautiful face in the picture I brought. It was just what I needed to start this labor.
She then used a Foley balloon. It’s a long catheter tube thingy they put inside of you, and then fill with a saline solution to enlarge it inside of you, right past your cervix. There are no drugs or medications involved here, just good ol’ manual stretching! It actually did not hurt at all (after 3 babies-nothing hurts down there-hehe:). It dilates you to a 5 and then falls out. They said it could take 4-6 hours, but probably less since it was my 4th baby.
About one hour later when I got up to pee it fell out. The dr. came to check me and I was dilated to a 5-officially active labor.
I was still in a bit of a shock this was all happening and still did not know how I wanted to bring this baby in the world. I asked Dr. Haver what would be the quickest way for her to come without having to worry about my blood pressure rising or having magnesium (explanation below). She said that she would break my water, do an epidural, and then start pitocin, but we could do whatever I wanted.
I said, ok, I need some time to think about this. I knew if I wanted to go all natural then I did not want any of that. Even breaking my water would make it more painful faster. But I was also worried that I would have to have magnesium if I went too long and my blood pressure went too high. I had it with Peyton, and it is very common to give women with high blood pressure in labor so they will not have a seizure. Its all natural, just a mineral, but its giving in large doses through an iv during the entire labor, and for many hours after the birth. It makes you sick as a dog. I barely remember the 24 hours after Peyton’s birth because I felt so awful. You also cannot get out of bed for hours after birth with it. I did NOT want that again. So I kept asking what I needed to do to avoid it! I had to get my blood pressure down and the baby out.
Thankfully, I had been to my sister’s births and she had to labor on her left side to keep her blood pressure down so she could have a home birth. I used her experience and moved to my left side. It kept my blood pressure in a more manageable range and after begging my dr. to give me a little more time without magnesium, it actually worked!
But back to my delimna-a medicated or un-medicated birth.
By this time I had been dilated to a 5 for over an hour and had no contractions. I knew something was off with me emotionally, that I was holding back my labor, so I went to the bathroom alone to think. I had to come to terms that this baby was coming today, I was not going to get my week of meditation to work through some Trek emotions, and I had to engage in this labor now. I also only had an IV of fluids hooked up to me with hep-lock, so I was able to choose any path I wanted at this point medically. And that is what I felt like in that moment-open to anything.
So I talked to Trek, I talked to my sweet little girl in my womb, and I decided to sit on the toilet (a sure way to get some strong contractions) and see how I felt. I sat down and felt my first “real” contraction start to build, about 1/2 through it, I stopped the contraction and it faded away. I realized in that moment, that I was not emotionally ready for the pain of labor, I wanted this to be a peaceful and pain free birth, and I wanted to be open to those around me, not inside of myself working through pain-I felt like I had done so much of that the past 2 years.
With Trek’s un-medicated birth I LOVED being inside myself and working through the pains of bringing him out, it was so spiritual and freeing. It was just not what I wanted in that moment for this birth. I wanted to be able to look around and watch Jarrett and Peyton and Conner’s faces and just take it all in.
I walked out and it was only Jarrett, I told him I wanted an epidural and I was ready to have our baby girl. Jarrett being the best labor and birth partner said, ok!
We called our Dr. and she broke my water (still no contractions). A few minutes later the epidural lady came in pushing a cart. It reminded me of a candy cart and that she was there to bring me a treat-I laughed out loud. She was so kind. I asked her for a low dose, I wanted to be able to feel when I needed to push. I sat up and she got started.
I felt like I was in a very peaceful place, as soon as she put in the needle, I had the biggest contraction and I started sobbing. It was the biggest relief, and I knew I had made the right choice. All the nurses ran over to make sure I was ok, and I told them that I was sooo happy that I was having a baby today, it was all perfect, and I was finally ready.
they started warming the baby’s bed at this point:)
At this point, I had been on this journey from induction through the first phase of labor for 8 hours. This is the longest out of all 4 children. It is the morning of May 17, 2014.
So now, around 6 am, I have my epidural, my water is broke, I am dilated to a 5, and I am having contractions. I feel them in the lower middle of my uterus and on a pain scale they were a 5-6, compared to a 9-10 with Trek, and a 1-2 with Peyton and Conner’s births (with strong epidurals). It was perfect, I loved feeling her working her way through my body, but also being in control of the pain. Jarrett called Amanda (my sister) and told her to bring the boys and come to the hospital!!! yeah-my little men!!!
I labored and talked and laughed with Jarrett for the next hour. My sister and Peyton and Conner got there and about the time they did I threw up. I knew this was a sign that I was getting close and probably in transition. Conner hid in the bathroom b/c he is grossed out by throwing up-ha! I finished and got soo excited-she was about to be here!!!
Conner helping mama
“ok, this is boring, when’s the fun start?!” hehe
refreshing my make-up, I always do my hair and make-up before birth-haha:)
Dr. Haver getting me all fixed up for birth
about to be a family of 6-eeeeee!
Conner pushing the epidural button for me-hehe
ha! I look like I just had my epidural button pushed:)
throwing up-it’s time!
Dr. Haver came in and started to get all set up. We gave Amanda, my camera and video camera and said good luck handling them both! Dr. Haver taught the boys how to help me count through a push and asked them who wanted to cut the cord-they both wanted to, but Peyton said Conner could.
they were soo cute and giddy for their sister!
Conner making sure he was in position to grab the right scissors for the cord cutting
Jarrett, Peyton, Conner, and Amanda were all down below watching and waiting for the baby girl to come! Dr. Haver was so sweet and had already gotten to know the boys since they came to all of my appts. She had let them do the doppler and listen to the baby’s heart beat each time they came. She knew they would be in the room and was soo helpful and sweet to them. It was a very special time for our family.
waiting for sister!
At this point I can feel the baby working her way down. I asked Dr. Haver if I could reach inside and touch her. So I did and I could feel her head about 4 inches inside of me. It was amazing!
I sat up and got ready to start pushing. Dr. Haver told me to just push when I felt like it.
Jarrett asked Dr. Haver if he could catch the baby, she said yes, but then I said, “NO! You got to catch Trek, I am catching this baby!” So I sat up even more and Dr. Haver said she would help me.
I started to feel when I needed to push and started working my baby girl out. The boys were counting and everyone was smiling.
I will remember that scene for the rest of my life.
I had episiotomies with Peyton and Conner and tore with Trek. I told Dr. Haver that if I needed an episiotomy to use lidocaine because my epidural was not strong enough and I could feel down there! She said ,no, she was not cutting me! The nurse then told me they don’t really do that anymore. So Dr. Haver was helping me down there not to tear.
My epidural was not working around the vagina area. I was feeling the ring of fire, oh lord, I was feeling it!
I was pushing when I needed to, no one was telling me, so that was relaxing, but then it started to burn! Dr. Haver was kindly trying to get me to slow down the pushes, so I could stretch naturally and not tear, but I finally had to just push through it. I did not care if I tore at that point! I let out a birth pushing noise and pushed her beautiful little head out. Dr. Haver told me to reach down and I did, and pulled that sweet little girl right out of me. It was beautiful and so amazing.
pulling Vesper out! just hatched:)
The boys and Jarrett crowded around me, we are all in HEAVEN! Laughing, and smiling, and all talking at once. She is a girl! She has brown hair! She’s perfect! She’s beautiful! She’s so tiny! And then Peyton started to cry and then I did too. It was the happiest moment. She was truly our rainbow baby.
Jarrett has a little girl now
these precious boys have a sister-those faces!!!
and I have a daughter, a beautiful daughter
Peyton saying he was so happy he could dance:)
she is a wonderful nurser
Conner showing our nurse Trek’s picture
Conner’s sweet face looking at Trek’s
Vesper Irissa Ingram was born at 8:15 am on May 17th, 2014. She weighed 6 lbs exactly, and was 20 inches long. She was early (probably about 35 weeks old), so after 1 hour of skin to skin. (I would have asked for it, but it was hospital policy-cool!), she went to the nursery for oxygen. Jarrett went with her (he texted me pics the whole time:), and thankfully she was back in my arms in 30 minutes and never left again.
She was breathing funny, so they had to take her to the nursery to dry out her lungs with some oxygen
thankfully she was calm after our hour together, and with her daddy near by, so she did not cry
she has the most hair of any of our babies, and its still here and growing more:)
Conner got to hold Vesper first, since Peyton got to hold Trek first 3 years ago (they remembered-hehe:)
The boys went home with my sister, and Jarrett and I stared at our baby for the rest of the day, we have not stopped since! We decided that night that she was Vesper. We had a few names, but that was our favorite the whole pregnancy and after meeting her, it fit perfect-our little “evening star/prayer”. And we always knew her middle name would be Irissa “Goddess of the Rainbow”, since she is our beautiful rainbow baby.
Jarrett went down to the gift shop to get her a girl doll:)
My milk came in the first day, as opposed to the 2nd or 3rd day with the boys. The nurse said that was normal with more pregnancies. Vesper latched on and breastfed perfectly right away and still breastfeeds about every hour, just like her brothers did.
We spent the next 2 days in the hospital and I would not let her out of my sight! They did all her tests while she breastfed and I gave her her first bath. My blood pressure stayed high and she was a little jaundice, her doctors and mine wanted us to stay one extra day, but we could not wait to get home! They let us go, and we packed up our little angel and went home.
I forgot to bring a shirt to wear home, so I had to wear my night gown. I forgot shoes when I went home with Trek from the hospital-ha!
going home from the Maui hospital shoeless with baby Trek:)
Her going-home outfit I bought her did not even kind of fit (way to big). So my sister ran to Walmart to get her a preemie outfit to wear home.
one last nursing session before the drive home:)
even after 4 children, I am still equally amazed at how teeny tiny they are in the carseat!
We got home to a clean house (thank you Amanda!), 2 happy big brothers, and my parents who had just flew in from Colorado. Jarrett had the week off and we all lived in Vesper land. We still are on our baby moon almost 6 months later, I stay in my nightgown most days and the boys still fight over holding her (that includes Jarrett). It has been amazing! We miss our baby Trek, and think and talk of him often. He would have been so much fun to watch-a 3 year old with a little baby. I have his clothes and Vesper has been wearing his teeny t-shirts to sleep in some nights.We are so lucky to have 4 beautiful and perfect children. Vesper is the most beautiful completion to our family.