Tuesday, January 22, 2019

tatum's birth story | 9.29.18. | part II

Tatum Ross Hjelseth
born Saturday, September 29, 2018
...now to continue on from part one of tatum's birth story
sleeping soundly in bed, i suddenly woke from a strong contraction and what then felt like i had lost bladder control and peed from it. in the back of my head i thought "could that have been my water breaking?" (knowing that when your water "breaks" it's not always a gush but can be a trickle). as tired as i was i considered just going back to sleep, but knew i needed to get up to the bathroom to see! as i stood up out of bed to head to the bathroom, the fluid continued and was definitely not pee. i was certain my water broke as it was a running stream. butterflies and nerves suddenly hit me so hard!

(who later i had found out had been at the birthing inn until midnight getting the rooms put back together after the painting had been finished. bless her heart for all she does.)
i explained to her what had just happened, and that my water seemed to have broke. she said "typically" in these situations when a pregnant mama's water breaks, it's about 12-24 hours until contractions start to pick up. but that that wouldn't be me based on how dilated and effaced i was two days before at my appointment with her. she instructed me to call her when my contractions were 4 minutes apart, and to not push it on waiting. she then suggested i try to go back to sleep and get what rest i could while i could. i was going to need all the energy i could get in the hours to come. 
eek! i couldn't believe this was it!
i hadn't ever experienced this before and it felt so odd knowing beforehand that labor soon would be starting and baby was for sure going to be coming today, likely by the afternoon!

brandon heard me up and about in the bathroom and came in to see what was going on. i told him everything, and we decided to both head back to bed and see how the next few hours went. again, typically my labors were long, so we were pretty certain we'd have some time here. my mom was asleep and i decided no sense in waking her until i was actually having contractions and things were starting to progress.

i got myself tucked back into bed and did my best to lay there and rest, trying to go back to sleep.
...but our baby was coming!! TODAY!!
i didn't sleep a wink.

contractions. contractions. contractions.
they began. only half an hour after my water breaking. and did not let up. 
trying to "rest" through them became impossible. as they intensified brandon was bringing me hot pads, snacks, and water. 
there was no deny this was it.
they started and began at 10 minutes apart. and they were intense right from the get go.

it was too hard to lay in bed any longer so i got up to work through the contractions. sitting with my legs wide on the exercise ball or holding on to brandon was the best way for me to take on each contraction. 
it all began to happen so fast.
contractions had only started an hour ago, yet i was already having to stop and work through every second of each one. i couldn't believe how strong they had already become.

at this point i thought i should just let mom know what was going on. contractions were about 6-7 minutes apart when i first went in to her, and by the time i left they had jumped to 5-6 minutes. i headed back to my room to keep on keeping on through these as the intensity was really increasing. and quick.

*time and what was going on was such a blur! i've had to talk to brandon and my mom to help piece the timing & order into place*
by this time i had a couple contractions just 4 minutes apart. that was it! this was the point when susan said to call. but when brandon brought it up, my doubtful mind asked "but for how long should we be 4 minutes between contractions before we need to let her know?" always in labor i doubt, and delay! brandon called susan to ask, and she said to meet her at the birthing inn at 4:30! it was about a 15-20 minute drive for us to the birthing inn, so we didn't have a whole lot of time.

we (and by we i mean brandon & mom) packed up our things, got clothes + shoes on, called kristal our birth photographer, brandon's mom rushed over to be at the house with harper and tanner, (who were thankfully fast asleep in bed!), and we worked our way to the car. all while i'm stopping to get through a contraction every few minutes.

my contractions picked up so fast at this point. they quickly made their way to only 2-3 minutes apart. so close together that it was taking me forever to get out of the house and into the car. having to stop and work through all these contractions, i could hardly make my way downstairs and out the door. 

we were on our way and headed to the birthing inn! 
contractions sitting down, in the car are the worst! i just wanted to get there to be able to get up and move. by the time we got there i was at a solid two minutes apart with hardly any rest in between. baby was making his way, and coming fast!
by now we were at the birthing inn and into the room. 
susan and her team had everything all set up and ready to go for me. 
i climbed onto the bed and she checked me to see where we were (i don't remember, but i'm sure i was already at a 10 by this point) and how baby's position was. he needed a little bit of adjusting to get right into the ideal position, so susan worked her magic to help to turn him just a bit.
laying on the bed, i suddenly had to throw up (which i always have done in labor) and this was a big sign that we were there. threw my hair up, the tub was being filled, and it was in i went.
susan knew we had kristal coming to take some photos for us, and i remember hearing her tell my mom, "if she doesn't get here now, she's going to miss it."
holy moly. i couldn't believe we were at this point and we were at this point now.
i haven't a clue what time it was when i got in the tub, or when i started to push. it was all just consecutive, with no time in between to break. i went through a contraction or two, felt the urge to push, and began to do so. physically my body was there and doing it, but mentally i was not. we went from 0-100 quick. too quick. i kept staring at susan in disbelief and vividly remember saying "i can't do this. tell me i can do this."
as i was about to push again susan told me this was it, he was coming this time. i could.not.believe.it. HOW??? i had just gotten here to the birthing inn no more than 30 minutes ago.
sweet tatum.
he was here. he was so, so here.
his perfect face. his perfect lips. his perfectly healthy little baby body.
kristal arrived nine NINE minutes before tatum was born. how in heaven's name she made it on time, still amazes me. again, God had his perfect timing on it all. to only have been at the birthing inn some 30 minutes before i pushed tatum out, another miracle.
we did it. and it was truly over before i knew it.

as cherished and special as this birth of birthing tatum is to me. it really is so near and dear to my heart and i am so so thankful that i was for the third time able to have the natural, water birth experience that i so badly wanted. in some ways i've also mourned this birth process. i LOVE birth and i LOVE pregnancy. and this time it was over faster than i could comprehend. 3.5 hours from start to finish, where my body did so much during that time. each phase of labor went by in a snap. all too quick for me to wrap my mind around it and process what was happening. and suddenly there i was with my baby in my arms and semi confused, yet so overjoyed that he was here! as i've looked through our birth photos, i find myself staring at my face and feeling those emotions all over again. i can see my initial uncertainty of 'what just happened?', which then turned to complete happiness and relief for holding my baby tatum. my perfect baby tatum.
these pictures have helped me to process all that those few hours held for me.
"when a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world." John 16:21

i hame some amazing birth and after-birth pictures that kristal took. stay tuned for a part III post where i will share more of those.

{clickable links here to previous posts}
tatum's birth story | part I


follow along on instagram @brittneyhjelseth

Monday, January 21, 2019

tatum's birth story | 9.29.18 | part I

Tatum Ross Hjelseth
born Saturday, September 29, 2018
5:14 am
baby you were born on a beautiful, sunny fall day.
the day is so etched into my mind. vivid, and yet a blur at the same time.
the morning i felt like i was hit with a ton of bricks as you quickly made your arrival.
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prior to writing down our birth story, i read back through tanner's birth story just to be brought back to that day. it has me feeling a little lost as i sit to write tatum's. birth with tanner was so sooo similar to birth with harper. (her birth story isn't documented here being that she was born prior to this blog). but after my first two, i figured that's how birth is for me. long and steady.
and that's what my expectations were leading up to the day of tatum's birth.
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but it was everything but that.
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my due date was october 4th. my midwife susan was going to be out of town come the 5th. so we were so praying and hoping that baby would make his way before then. she had been there for both our other babies, and i couldn't imagine if she wasn't there to help me through with this one too.
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i had been having a TON of really uncomfortable braxton hicks contractions for a handful of weeks prior. more uncomfortable than i had experienced with my previous pregnancies. these ones were stronger, where at times i had to stop in my steps until one passed. they were also much lower. i always typically felt them in my lower back, like menstrual cramps. but this time they also had worked their way down low, and in front. about a week prior, the uncomfortableness of contractions had picked up. at times being 15 minutes apart for a couple hours, then eventually letting up.
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i lost my mucus plug that evening. and it sent me into nerves of feeling like this could be happening any time (i hadn't experienced this prior to labor with my others). i was nervous to go to bed that night. i always feel that the nights are so telling of where we are headed. but i slept all through the night, not being woken by contractions.

SUNDAY + MONDAY (23rd + 24th)
both evenings i lost a little more of my mucus plug after having lots and lots of contractions throughout the afternoon and evening.
finally decided it was time to have our bags packed!

i had a chiropractor appointment that morning.
i noticed my contractions really picking up that afternoon to being more frequent, and about every 15 minutes. this went on for a handful of hours, but didn't stick and eventually slowed down come evening. i very much think this could have been due to my appointment that morning.
in pregnancy with tanner i had gone to the chiropractor for an adjustment and then the next day he was born. so here i was a little on my toes this day!
i was also having to make my way to the bathroom more frequently. which was another sign for me that we were getting close to meeting our baby. this was typical for me prior to labor beginning. but whether that meant one day or a handful of days. who knew.

i had an appointment with my midwife, susan, that morning and i was so anxious and ready for it! especially after all the increased contractions i had been having the day before. we were planning for her to check me, and i couldn't wait to see what progress (cross my fingers) my body had made during these last weeks of all these contractions!
every one of those contractions had been doing so much work! and i was thankful for it, knowing they were getting us ready and prepping for the day labor really began. in pregnancies prior, my body hadn't made much progress until true labor actually began. making my labors quite long (28 & 22 hours).
i was dilated to a 3-4, my cervix was really thinned and soft, and she could even feel baby's head!
my body had made so much progress. so much so that susan was careful not to disrupt things too much as it was likely if she did, labor could be initiated that very day. which i didn't want to happen. i even asked her if there was anything i could do to stop labor from happening for a few more days. what 39+ week pregnant mama says that?! (we were hoping for my mom to get here first, and i was planning to have her get on a flight and come up the next day).
based on all this progress, susan didn't think i would even make it to my due date of the 4th. which was such a relief! to me it meant that this would happen before susan left town (on the 5th) and she would be here for this baby. we scheduled my next appointment for monday, october 1st. if i was still pregnant then, she would strip my membranes to get things going and help ensure baby would get here before she left.

seems silly now, but that afternoon i was feeling stressed. they were painting at the birthing inn (to be done friday), but if baby came thurday or friday i would likely be in a different room than i had hoped for, not the one where harper and tanner were also born. which i was feeling really sentimental about. that room was like home. where i felt so comfortable. i knew it so well being where we had brought both our other babies into the world. our photographer, kristal had a whole afternoon of mini sessions scheduled for saturday afternoon. and though she said it would all work, i didn't want to put a wrench in her afternoon of shoots. my mom wasn't here yet. and brandon had a big work appointment on saturday. i just wanted to have control over this and wait until sunday!
but truly, who was i even kidding. babies come when babies are ready to come.
looking back, it's so clear God had is hands right on this. HE made the timing of tatum's birth PERFECT. perfect in every way.

thursday night we got a surprise at our front door. mom and flown in early and she WAS HERE! my heart burst and i suddenly had so much relief. she was 100% going to be there for the birth of our baby boy. she brings so much support to me and can recognize my needs even when i'm not able to. knowing both brandon and my mom were going to be with me through all of my labor and delivery gave me so much peace.

FRIDAY (27th)
last minute things.
mom, the kids, and i went to costco for a much needed haul on groceries.
brandon and i snuck in a quick dinner date while mom watched harper and tanner.
things felt like they were falling right into place.

that night contractions had been no different than the days prior. as i was walking up the stairs that night to head to bed, i had one contraction that hit me harder and i had felt it down my inner thighs. got me thinking for a sec as i recognized this feeling from labors prior, but then no others followed. so to bed as usual i went around 10:30 pm. and i hadn't a clue what was about to happen in a short 2.5 hours.

hang tight for part two.

{clickable links here to previous posts}


follow along on instagram @brittneyhjelseth

Monday, January 14, 2019

tatum ross | 2 + 3 month update

trying my hardest to get this done NOW before tatum turns four months, and this would have to turn into a 2 + 3 +  f o u r  month post :)
time is flying yet somehow at the same time i actually feel like it has gone by just as it should. we've had this sweet, sweet babe in our lives for a little over three months now! and though it's hard to believe, i also feel like we're right where we should be.
i'm trying my hardest to be right in the moment with him and it's working. don't be sad about the past being gone, and don't be sad about the growing future ahead.
right in THIS moment is where we're meant to be.
and it is ever so sweet!
tatum name sign // quincyjeanart
month banner // hooray everyday

two months old :: 14 lbs 6 oz (90%) :: 24.8 inches long (>97%)

birth: 8 lbs 2 oz :: 20.5 inches
2 days: 7 lbs 10.5 oz
12 days: 8 lbs 10 oz
one month: 11 lbs 6 oz :: 23.5 inches
this boy is such a trooper. tags along amongst the busyness of our lives with three young children and often without a fuss. he is my easiest baby yet and is so so precious to us all!
...just how delicious is he here!? xoxo
between about five and eight weeks, we had a nightly "witching hour" that we had to work though. but that has gone and passed and i found that if i was able to get him to sleep before it began, we were more likely to soar through it. but not always. ;)
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giggles! sweetest sound on this planet! to get his little high pitched squeal to come out is on the daily agenda. 
this boy is so ticklish! 
he LOVES the bath. he could just hang out in there five times as long as his bath actually needs to take. as well as diaper changes. LOVES them! the second his diaper is undone and his little baby bottom is cleaned, he gives a soft little grin.
and melts his mama into a thousand pieces.
i love this baby boy with all my heart.
i crave him when he sleeps.
my heart misses him when we're busy and attention is focused elsewhere.
such a great sleeper he is!! he is down for the night between 8 and 9, a dream feed when brandon and i head to bed around 10:30/11, and wakes somewhere between 7:30-8:30. he used to have weeks of no wake ups during the night (amazing!!) and now we're at more of one wake up a night being our norm. generally around 3 or 4am. which in my book, that is still amazing!
we've got a pretty solid bedtime routine and that seems to make a difference:: dim lights, jammies + diaper change, essential oils rolled on bottom of feet, swaddle, white noise, essential oils (frankinsense + lavendar) in the diffuser in our bedroom, nurse, and down to sleep.
tatum is pretty flexible on how he goes to sleep during the day. whether it's rocking, nursing, or just being laid down. right around christmas, he took a strong liking to his paci and it is now sometimes a part of him falling asleep. if he's going to sleep on his own, it is most helpful! swaddling during naps helps for them to last longer, though he has sometimes fallen asleep without being swaddled while laying on our bed. which i have been very surprised about since he is out of that sleepy newborn stage!
three naps a day is where we're at. a shorter one in the morning about an hour or two after waking up, the biggest nap of the day in the afternoon (usually 2-3 hours, sometimes 4!), and then another small one around dinner time to get us though to bedtime. i always swaddle him during that afternoon nap to make it be a longer nap (which is also when tanner naps!). mama thanks the heavens for the stars aligning when this happens!
he's still sleeping in the snuggle me and i'm not sure i'll ever be ready to move him to his room. down the hall just seems too far away! though i know it will come where we're gonna need to be in our own spaces. we moved tanner to his room at four months so i'm feeling like it's coming on in our near future.
when he's sleeping so well at night, i feel like he makes up for all that time of no nursing and nurses so much in the day. which i am just fine with! i love nursing him. we have always nursed on demand and will continue to do so. tends to be about every 2-3 hours. i generally offer before and after naps. and any time in between if he's acting hungry.
by the thigh rolls and cheeks he's got, there's no question that he's a good eater!
i'm loving his awareness of his surroundings. and the kids are too! as we've exited the sleepy newborn stage, harper and tanner get so happy when they feel interaction from tatum. harper often comments to me how tatum's eyes are open more than they used to be. she loves when he's awake!
he is entertained by everything around him and we've been slowly bringing out some of his baby toys to play with him. i love watching his little eyes and seeing him taking in all the newness that he is experiencing. 
adding two months together in this post- there are too many pictures i want to share! it would've been quicker and easier if i had just given access to my iphone camera roll. butttt that's not gonna happen, so here's a good ol' photo dump with our most precious pictures of our baby boy.
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follow along on instagram @brittneyhjelseth