Monday, March 24, 2014

Luke Douglas Dunlap

It seems as though every post I've written this past year has begun with an apology and pledge to write more often. I'm not going to do that this time around--I know that blogging more frequently is an honest desire of mine, but not necessarily a promise that I can keep. So I'll do what I can, and try to not allow my lack of blogging to become one more failure to feel stressed out about. As you can see, I have a few things that keep me busy/sleep deprived/happy during this current stage of life. 

Luke Douglas Dunlap was born on March 5th at 3:06 in the morning. His original due date was March 26th, so you can accurately assume that this little man has had his own agenda from the beginning. Nothing about this pregnancy or birth went down according to (my) plan, but our handsome little baby man is here nonetheless and worth every ounce of pain.

I was feeling pretty normal throughout most of my pregnancy--until I hit week 30. It was like my body was just done being pregnant. At the 30 week mark I started having contractions that were a little too frequent for my liking and I was in constant pain. I decided to go into Labor and Delivery to get checked out because something just felt "off." This was a big concession of mine, as I am not one to cry wolf and willingly submit myself to the barrage of needles/smells/scary medical devices that hospitals are known for. As Steve and I spent our Saturday afternoon at Kaiser, the medical professionals noticed that my cervix had shortened (sorry if this is TMI, but this is a birth story), which isn't supposed to happen at week 30. That sort of thing happens when you go into labor. SO--I was put on progesterone and placed on modified bed rest. I really didn't know how I was going to survive the last 10 weeks of my pregnancy, feeling so awful and unable to do much of anything. And then my wonderful, amazing, generous, loving community came to my rescue. I just don't have enough words to express how grateful I am to so many people for taking care of my little family. Old friends, new friends, church friends, family members, and neighbors all helped out to see that I stayed off my feet and that my little family was well fed and taken care of. If I started naming names, this blog post would never end, but I do need to give a special shout out to my girls Kari Quesada, Laura Robinson, and Jaime Ries. These gals organized the whole gang and cooked for me, cleaned for me, shopped for me, watched my children for me, etc. I do not deserve friends such as these, but I am eternally grateful to have them in my life. Getting little Luke safely into this world was really a team effort.

Anyway, those last weeks of pregnancy were ROUGH, but at least I had a lot of support. At 36.5 weeks of pregnancy, my blood pressure went bonkers. I've never had issues with my blood pressure, other than the fact that I HATE getting it taken--it's so constricting! So, long story short, I developed hypertension/preclampsia at the very end of this whole shebang. I had to go back into Kaiser to be monitored at 36 weeks and 6 days, and my blood pressure was even higher than before. Thankfully, my amazing mother-in-law had the insight to drive me to my appointment while my equally amazing father-in-law took a half day off work to stay home with Delaney and Jude. Well, thank goodness for that because my doctor took one look at me and my blood pressure reading and said, "You're not doing so well, are you?" I instantly fell to tears while my doctor explained that I was going to need to head over to Labor and Delivery and have them monitor my blood pressure, with a possible induction of labor. I'm a natural kind of gal, and having to be induced at 37 weeks was not in my game plan. So, I headed over to L&D and got situated. My blood pressure never went down, and after much hemming and hawing, the midwife made the call to induce labor and start the dreaded pitocin. Steve was on the phone with my mom, trying to figure out plane flights while I got my mind into beast mode (shout out to Team Solorio!). I was on pitocin during both of my other labors and got through without an epidural, but I was nervous about having to ride the pitocin wave for (potentially) such a long stretch this time. However, I'm a fairly stubborn gal, and knew that I had done this twice before and could get through this one last time.  My mom was still trying to figure out flights, and we all came to the conclusion that she wouldn't be able to get into Riverside until the next morning. I was pretty emotional on the phone with my mom, but she encouraged me to stay strong and focused. The nurse started the pitocin at 6pm, and Marsha and I turned on HGTV while we let Steve rest, as we knew that it would be a long night.

Things (and by things, I mean contractions) didn't get too gnarly until about 10pm. I used a birthing ball, walked a bit, and repositioned myself to try to relieve some of the pain. Just like my two previous labors, I had a lot of back pain, and Marsha literally rubbed my lower back throughout my entire labor. I told you she was amazing! Steve was in my face, coaching me with our trusty breathing techniques. The nurse came in at midnight to check me, and I had only dilated to 4 cm. Grr! I was pretty frustrated, as I had been laboring pretty hard for a handful of hours. I knew that I had to stay focused, though, and just reminded myself that each contraction was bringing me closer to Luke. The midwife decided to break my water, and my contractions really increased. I labored until 2 am, and was pretty much spent. I hadn't slept in such a long time, and had started this labor out feeling so exhausted from the pregnancy and hypertension. The nurse checked me again and I was only at 5 cm. That news temporarily set me back--I had been laboring HARD for so long and didn't know how much more my body could take. I also knew that if I let my mind slip now,  there would be no gaining it back, so I refocused and poured all my energy into my breathing techniques that Coach Stevie was leading me in. The nurse came back at 3am and checked me and told me that I was at 9 cm! As soon as she told me the good news, I felt the urge to push and said, "I have to push this baby out NOW!" Of course all of the midwives and doctors were delivering other babies, and I was told to wait. HA. HA. HA! You try holding a baby in! Somehow somebody showed up, and I pushed Mr. Luke out and into this world with just a few pushes. That in itself was an amazing blessing--I spent a lot of time and effort during my other deliveries at the pushing stage, and I just don't think I would have had the energy to do that this time around. I was so surprised that Luke came out after just a few pushes that I looked at Steve with disbelief and said "Is it really over?" The relief and immense joy a new mother has after labor and delivery is pretty indescribable.

Luke Douglas Dunlap was born at 3:06 on the morning of March 5th. He weighed 6 pounds and 2 ounces and was 19 inches long. He is as perfect as they come, and our family feels complete. We also feel totally exhausted, but our hearts are so full.

Sleepy, happy mommy and sleepy baby boy.
Proud daddy and his THREE kids. 
First car ride!
In true Dunlap child fashion, Luke is not a fan of his carseat. 
Yay, Grammie made it!
Alert Luke
I love that Delaney's preschool (FUMPS) made the big sister feel so special!
The big brother!
The big sister!
The littlest Dunlap kid.
And if you're really interested in reading Delaney and Jude's birth stories, click here and here.