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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Photo Shoot Time!!!

Is there anything sweeter than a big, strong handsome daddy surrounded by his little girls????  I think not.

You can see more pictures from our photo shoot here.  Kelli does pictures for all kinds of occasions and I highly recommend you hire her next time you have some special moments to capture! Thank you Kelli and Abbi for these beautiful pictures!!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Processing It All

So if you've been reading my blog for the past few weeks, you've noticed me trying to shift  my focus - before Logann even arrived.  

I've learned I'm learning that God isn't concerned with my circumstances - shocker right?  He's way more interested in me surrendering my will to His.  He wants me to release fears and trust.  He wants me to rely on His strength and not my own.  He wants to deliver me!

This lesson first began when I was pregnant and struggling with my providers about some standard testing I didn't want.  There was miscommunication, a bit of bullying - although I imagine and hope it was not done on purpose, and stress on both ends.  I started to become prideful.  And bitter.  If I hadn't had a csection with my first, I would be able to get the type of care I desire.  Why did that have to happen?  I shouldn't be having to even deal with all this.  My choices are limited because of laws for vbacs in our state.  I began to struggle with how to try to protect myself and my baby from unnecessary interventions while at the same time, remembering God had placed me under the care of these providers for a reason.  

Then God helped me realize no matter what, He was ultimately in control.  He controlled test results, my baby's health, my health, labor, delivery - all of it.  And I was able to surrender.  And my providers and I compromised.  Lesson learned right?

Until I was overdue - approaching a week overdue.  God wasn't done teaching me that He is the one in control.  And I had to surrender what I wanted and trust His plan.  I was finally able to do that - and we had a beautiful and healthy baby girl!

What I didn't talk about in my birth story was what happened afterwards.  The labor and birth was so beautiful.  It was a very emotional and spiritual time for me.  The Lord delivered me once again!

After Logann was born, they immediately allowed me to hold her.  This hospital is baby friendly and allows the "magical hour" with mom and baby together - skin to skin.  But the midwife had to call the attending physicians to repair my tear.  I had a third degree tear - very similar to the one I had after Kaylee.  Maybe if we have other children I can avoid tearing at all - that sure would be nice.  Although I'll take that any day over a csection incision.  Anyway, as they were repairing, they said "she's trickling".  Well, yes. I sorta tore pretty significantly.  At this point I didn't have an IV because the nurse never could get in my heplock correctly and I didn't need antibiotics for Group B this time.  

I was trying to allow Logann to nurse.  This helps expel the placenta and reduce bleeding.  But I soon found my midwife pressing down on my uterus as directed by the attending physicians.  This was incredibly excruciating.  

**They had done this after Kaylee was born a couple times.  And the nurse then asked the doctor if she should give me pitocin to stop the bleeding but the doctor said they would just keep an eye on it.  I never got pitocin. **

I told Septtro to please not allow them to press down on me like that this time.  But, likely partly because I was a vbac, the attending physicians after Logann was born weren't willing to "keep an eye on it".  My midwife pressed down more times than I can remember - sometimes even when I was contracting.  I screamed out in pain.  I asked them to stop.  They mentioned pitocin and Caryn said they'd stop pressing on me (or should anyway) if I did that. So I agreed.  They gave me a shot of pitocin in the leg and that was terribly painful.  Even after that, I was still being pressed on - now with even more intense contractions due to the pitocin.  

All this time, I had my sweet Logann lying on my chest.  I couldn't even love on her.  I was in so much pain from them pressing down on me. I couldn't take in those first few moments.  I kept yelling out in pain.  And she wouldn't latch on to nurse - likely because she knew and sensed my pain and anxiety.  Caryn tried helping me focus on Logann.  She gave me some homeopathic things to help me relax.  They helped a little bit. 

They finally finished and I was left alone.  I was a bit angry.  Things were done to me.  And I didn't feel it was necessary.  I'm sure they did and that's why they did it.  But why did my experience have to go from such incredible joy to such incredible pain and distress?

I could sense myself becoming bitter about this.  

Then we got to our post partum room.  The nurse informed me due to Logann's weight (9 pounds 4 oz), they would have to draw blood three separate times to check for low glucose levels - standard procedure.  They did this with Kaylee and hers were always great.  But little newborns don't bleed all that easily - at least mine don't.  And every time they squeezed her little foot, she would scream.  That hurt my Momma heart.  I didn't want Logann to have to go through that.  I asked if we could not do it.  What if I said no.  I was told I couldn't refuse care on behalf of a newborn.  Logann did better than Kaylee when they drew her blood.  And her numbers were, of course, great.  

The day after she was born, people were in our room constantly for a solid three hours...newborn hearing test, nurse, photographer, nutritionist, doctor to see baby...we couldn't rest or be left alone it seemed.

So I had to process all this.  All of these "standard procedures" that were done to me and my baby.  It's not what I wanted.  But then God reminded me again what He's been trying to teach me all along.  Trust.  Surrender. 

Ok.  Yes.  Focus shifted.

Then we got home.  And I had terrible pain with nursing - again.  This has happened with all three of mine.  I think I'm a bit extra sensitive.  But also, I have a very large milk supply so initially my babies tend to chomp to control the flow.  And then I over think how to position a newborn to nurse and they're so floppy when they're little and such precision is needed to attain a perfect latch, we were failing.  
Here we go again.  Why, God??  Why can't I just enjoy these first few weeks with my baby?  I don't want to cry before and during each feeding.  

Then I remembered...this is no different.  I'm in pain - physically.  And I'm emotionally dealing with the emotions that flood you after you give birth.  But the Lord wants to deliver me from this.  He wants me to rely on Him and not myself.  I can still enjoy these first few weeks if I choose to.

Nursing is better although not pain free yet. It can still be very, very painful at times.  I've asked God to deliver me from the pain - that is my desire.  But I've also asked for strength and patience in the mean time.  I'm still having to learn to surrender...not my plan, but His.

For a few days after Logann was born, I thought to myself, "I'm never doing this again.  It's too hard.  It involves too much pain - physically and emotionally."

I'm constantly leaking milk whenever my baby cries.  I can't pick up my older two girls.  I'm tired.  I'm still physically recovering from the birth.  I'm emotionally unstable.  I cry when Logann cries when I have to readjust her latch for the millionth time.  I smell like old milk.  I don't feel like myself.  How can I possibly be joyful in the midst of all this? And then God sends me an answer via Instagram, of all things:

God showed me I had the wrong attitude. Children are a blessing - He says they are.  

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward. -Ps 127:3

And although getting them into this world and beyond is hard, it's also very worth it.  Every pain, every sleepless night, every crazy hormonal emotion - it's worth it.  And it's a sacrifice.  Motherhood is a sacrifice.  And my desire is to fully embrace it as such.  With His help and through His Word, I will continue to persevere and welcome the lessons He has for me - seeing them as an opportunity to grow.  I know I won't get it perfect.  But having a better perspective and focus sure will help!
As for me, I would seek God, and to God would I commit my cause, who does great things and unsearchable, marvelous things without number - Job 5:8

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Birth of Logann - Second VBAC

****If you aren't familiar with what a doula does, I would highly recommend you research it for yourself.  And may I recommend hiring Caryn if you live in this area - she's pretty fantastic.  ****

Thursday evening, August 8th, I had some regular contractions that stayed fairly consistent although I didn't start timing anything.  When I finally decided to try to get some rest, they almost completely stopped.  I went to sleep and woke up about an hour later with more strong contractions.  Again, I thought maybe this was it.  But after using the restroom I was able to go back to sleep.  I woke up the next morning - still pregnant and a bit disappointed.  But, I was encouraged because at least something was happening.  I knew it was close.

Friday we stayed around the house the whole day.  I wasn't feeling any more contractions than usual and was trying not to be discouraged.  That night, Kaylee ended up wetting the bed around midnight.  I remember thinking to myself "well this would be a perfect night to go into labor since, regardless, I won't be getting as much sleep as usual".  

I woke up around 5:30am Saturday morning, August 10th, with some fairly strong contractions.  Typically in the morning, I don't have many contractions so when they continued for about 20 minutes, I realized this could be it.  I decided to take a shower and get ready instead of going back to bed, just in case.  After a while I let Septtro know I thought today might be our day.  I started timing the contractions with an app on my phone.  They were about 2 minutes apart and lasting anywhere from 45 seconds to a minute.  I called my mom around 7:00am and asked her to come over.  Then I called my doula and let her know what was going on.  She said it sounded like labor and to call her in about an hour and let her know how I was doing.  Not long after, I started losing my mucus plug and continued to lose it throughout the entire morning.  

Septtro made eggs for breakfast and I ate that and part of a muffin in between contractions.   The pain wasn't too intense at this point.  But I was fairly convinced this was the beginning of labor because of the frequency and consistency of the contractions.

My mom arrived and helped with the girls once they were up.  Septtro started packing the car.  I took one last picture of my pregnant belly.  
I had recently started reading a book called "Redeeming Childbirth".  A friend sent it to me and it had really encouraged my heart even more to surrender my desires for my pregnancy and labor and birth to the Lord; that He was ultimately not concerned with my birth experience but with my heart and attitude.  I don't know if you can tell in the picture, but I was at a total peace - which was completely from the Lord.  I knew the pain I was about to face.  I knew the unknowns of labor and delivery.  But I welcomed them as an opportunity to grow in my relationship with my husband as well as with my God.  

After a while at our house, I explained to Septtro I was a bit fearful of how far away we were from the hospital (30-40 minutes depending on traffic) and I wanted to try to avoid a very painful car ride if possible.  I mentioned maybe him and I could head to my parent's house. They lived very close to the interstate which would make for a quicker and easier ride once we knew it was time to head to the hospital.  My dad had already gone out for the day so the house would be empty.  So that's where we headed.  It was about 9:45am.  I let my doula know and she said she was ready for us whenever we needed her.  

We brought my yoga ball since I labored on that for quite a while during labor with Kaylee.  But when I tried it, it was too uncomfortable.  The best way for me to cope during a contraction was to lean into Septtro's chest and relax.  I tried really hard to make sure I was relaxing my face.  I knew working with the contraction and not against it would help things along better.  The contractions continued to be about 2-3 minutes apart but were getting more intense and lasting longer.  

The time Septtro and I had at my parent's house was such a special time for me.  It was quiet and just him and I.  We started listening to some Samoan music on his phone - it's quite calming.  :)  We would chat about life in between contractions.  And then we would just be together - connected in a way I haven't experienced before - when I would relax into his chest to cope with the pain that would soon bring us a child.  I don't know if Septtro realized this or not, but a flood of emotions overcame me during this time and I gently cried a bit after having a contraction.

It started to get to the point where I was unable to talk through a contraction or respond in any way to anything.  We called our doula and decided it was time to head to the hospital.  We got there around 11:45am.  She met us out front and helped me inside while Septtro parked the car.  On the way into the lobby, I had a contraction and had to lean into Caryn (our doula) like I had been doing with Septtro.  An older lady was sitting nearby in a chair and said "They need to get you a wheelchair!"  I responded that sitting down didn't feel good.  She replied, "Oh ok.  Well hope all goes well".  

On the way up to triage, I had several other contractions and would lean into Caryn as before.  Right as we got to triage, Septtro had already caught up with us.  My midwife met us at the triage desk and we were handed some paperwork that Septtro took care of for me.   I had a contraction while at the triage desk and leaned over the desk quietly until it passed.  One of the nurses asked Caryn if she had checked my cervix.  She replied no.  I didn't realize this until after, but apparently the nurse then rolled her eyes.  She didn't believe I was really in labor.  I guess she's more used to women being rolled up begging for pain relief??  

We went to a room and I told my midwife I was fine with having my cervix checked but I didn't want to know the number (when I was checked after intense contractions for a few hours in labor with Kaylee, I was devasted when they told me I was only 2-3 cm dilated).   I told her she could tell Septtro.  I figured if it was low, it'd be discouraging.  But even if it was high, I'd have expectations that everything should go quickly which it may not.  She said that was fine.  I tried getting on the bed so she could check but it was extremely uncomfortable to lie down.  I can completely understand why women who just try lying in bed during contractions with no pain medication can't bear the pain.  She checked me while I was standing, one leg propped up on the bed to the side.  "Oh yeah your water is bulging. You're about an 8."

I just looked at Septtro.  Then she realized what she'd done.  "Oops sorry.  You didn't want to know!  At least it's a good number".  True, I thought.  But still...c'mon - we literally just finished talking about not telling me.  :)

We then had to make a trip down to the wing of the hospital where the midwives attend their patients.  It was quite a walk.  They offered me a wheelchair but, again, it was too uncomfortable to sit.  I stopped several times and leaned into Septtro whenever a contraction came.  

Once to the room, Caryn asked if I wanted to try the shower.  I agreed.  This practice does offer water birth but because I'm a vbac, I wasn't allowed to use the tubs (it's a ridiculous rule the hospital has that everyone agrees has no merit and they are working to try to change).  I was in the shower just a few minutes but I honestly couldn't get very comfortable. Then I started shivering.  I figured that meant I was close.  Caryn confirmed it was normal and that it meant I would see my baby soon.  They got me a warm blanket and I got out of the shower.

**One neat thing was that one of the nurses had actually been to The Farm and was training for care in the same way I desire care.  So it was neat to have her as one of my nurses that day.**

We then tried doing some pelvic rocks on the bed to get baby into a better position.  I don't remember how long I did that but they suggested I try the yoga ball.  I was afraid it wouldn't be comfortable.  But I know changing positions often during labor is helpful for getting baby in the best position possible. So I figured I'd try.  It turned out to be not terribly uncomfortable.  The contractions were getting extremely intense at this point.  I started having a harder time relaxing during the contractions.  Caryn helped me focus on Septtro and breathing with him.  Septtro was very calm and gently reminded me to stay in control.

I could feel her moving down in my pelvis.  It was quite uncomfortable but at the same time, the most amazing feeling.  I started to quietly sob again.  I knew we were close.  I felt so connected to my husband and my Creator and longed to see my baby.  

Soon, during a contraction, my body took over.  And I pushed just a little.  After it was over I said, "Um I pushed a little bit".  "Yeah we know", was the reply.  Oh...I thought - ok well guess that's ok to do now.  I just figured they would eventually check me again before I could push.  But it was clear my body was ready.  I didn't really get a say - my uterus was ready to push this baby out!

Septtro's hand on my belly
my belly during transitional contractions - how powerful and amazing that uterus is!
I pushed a little more during the next contraction.  I remember the midwife calling for nurses saying "she's feeling pushy".  

I might add, at this point, I was expecting to push for a long time.  With Rilynn, I pushed for two hours or more - strapped to a bed after being induced - and kept being told she wasn't coming down.  That was the one that ended in a csection.  With Kaylee, I was checked and told I was 10 cm so I started pushing.  But I pushed about an hour and half (maybe more) until she was born.  It was exhausting and it definitely took a toll on my body.  

They never checked me.  They just allowed my body to tell us when I was ready to push.  So that was a nice change. 

I got on the bed in a better position because, well, it'd be kinda hard to push a baby out on a yoga ball.  I allowed my contraction to build up and pushed with it.  My water broke.  I don't remember feeling much of a ring of fire during crowning.  I did reach down and feel her head as she crowned.  That was pretty amazing.  I could feel on her head where her skull had compressed to fit through the birth canal.  It felt like a ridge of extra skin was on her head.  I apparently pushed her head out to her eyes and then stopped and they asked me to keep going.  I said I couldn't.  :)  She had some slight swelling from me stopping right at her eye level because of that but nothing concerning.  

I pushed for about 15-20 minutes and she was born.  Septtro was with the midwife and nurses ready to help deliver our baby.  I could feel her shoulders and the rest of her body slide out so I turned around.  Septtro had her in his hands and said, "Babe, it's a girl".  Then I got to hold my third little princess for the first time.  

It.  Was.  Amazing.

"We did it!" I told my sweet baby girl.  

Side note, I was a little surprised it was a girl.  Everybody, including strangers, kept saying it was a boy. So I was becoming convinced myself.  But God brought us another beautiful girl.  And He knows just what our family needs.  I was not a bit disappointed.  And I loved being surprised at the end.  What a precious gift she is!

We were at the hospital just under two hours before she was born.  

My Momma congratulating me
I can't express how thankful I am to the Lord.  It was such a special time during labor for me to rely on Septtro and God to lead me through the pain.  The Lord delivered me in so many ways throughout this pregnancy.  He taught me a lot about my lack of trust in Him and my pride.  I became anxious and fearful of the unknown.  But He delivered me from that once I confessed it to Him and begged for His strength - and ultimately became at peace with whatever His plan may be.  And He delivered my baby!!  Inviting Him to be a more active part in my pregnancy, labor, and delivery was so rewarding!  I am so thankful for being given this gift of another precious child!!

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. -Psalm 18:2

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Her Name - Logann Apikaila

We had Logann's name picked out months ago - much better improvement over when we named Kaylee just hours before leaving the hospital. :) 

Both Rilynn and Kaylee's names have family significance behind them.  So I wanted our third girl name to be no different.  

**Rilynn came from us liking the name Ryan for a girl. But we didn't know how else to spell it to make it feminine.  So we thought maybe Ryan Lynn (Lynnette is my middle name).  Then we combined it to Rilynn.

**Kaylee came from us just liking names that started with the letter "K".  And Kay is a middle name of girls on my dad's side.  Lee is my dad's middle name. 

I like the name Logan.  I think it's cute.  I haven't really heard it used for a girl except for a professional volleyball player named Logan Tom.  (I like her and she plays volleyball so that was a plus).  :)

But again, I didn't want to spell it the same because I wanted to make it more feminine.  I found out that Ann was a name on my mom's side.  And Ann means grace/gracious/full of grace.  And Grace is the name of my great grandmother on my mom's side who was an exceptional woman of God.  

For her middle name, we knew we wanted a Samoan name.  We both liked the name Abigail. It means "my father's joy" or "joy of the father".  I liked this both because I hope and pray Logann grows up to honor her heavenly Father but also because Septtro is such a great daddy to his girls and they really are his joy.  So Apikaila is Abigail in Samoan.  

Logann Apikaila. 

Perfect. :)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

We Have a Baby!

We are so excited and thankful to have another beautiful GIRL!!!!  Logann Apikaila Sene was born August 10, 2013 at 1:28pm.  She weighed 9 pounds and 4 ounces and was 20.5 inches long.  

Labor was fairly quick...can't wait to write out my birth story so I can remember all the details!  

Praising God for this precious gift!!!!

Friday, August 9, 2013

41 Weeks and Still Cookin

I never thought I'd make it to 41 weeks with this baby.  I've had a very emotional several days.  I realized I was being fearful of many aspects of the labor and delivery.  And I was worrying about what would happen if I **still** hadn't had the baby by _________.  As much as I know God's grace doesn't exist for the "what ifs", I like to live there a lot.

Then I found some verses.  And I cried out to the Lord for His peace - and for Him to increase my trust.  He has the best plan of them all.  And He is trustworthy!

Wednesday evening I asked if Septtro and I could pray together.  Afterwards we talked for a while before going to sleep.  I could feel the stress leaving.

I had an appointment yesterday afternoon.  It went well.  Baby and I are doing great.  I will go back Monday if I haven't had a baby yet to do a nonstress test and check fluid levels via ultrasound.  I'm at peace with having that done - but hoping we will have a baby before then.

Last night I thought may be the night we would meet this baby.  I had a lot of regular and strong contractions.  But they didn't last.  The Lord has changed my heart and attitude.  I know it will be soon.  And I'm really ready now.  I'm ready mentally and spiritually....just have to wait on the physical part and we will have a baby!  :)

While on a walk the other night with my almost-four-year-old, I told her Mommy was sad.    

She asked why.
I explained, "Because the baby hasn't come yet and I want the baby to come".  
"Well", she replied, "you have to wait".  
I agreed.  Then she continued:
"You have to be patient, Mom.  Patient is when you wait for something."

I just love when the Lord speaks to you through your children.  
41 weeks

Monday, August 5, 2013

Thoughts on Waiting

Let's be honest.  Being overdue stinks.  If you have had babies but never gone past your estimated due date, count your mental blessings. 

Apparently, my babies don't like to come early.  And I absolutely agree that it's called **estimated** due date for a reason. But it's still no fun to see that day come and go.

I was five days past my EDD with Kaylee.  Although, according to my calculations she was only two days "late".  I really thought this pregnancy was my most accurate due date yet.  So I suppose I had expectations that I wouldn't really go past my EDD and if I did, not by much.

When will I learn not to have expectations?  :)

Today, I'm three days past my EDD.  I keep having to remind myself that's not much.  And you're not even considered post-date until after 42 weeks.  

My friend sent me a verse I've been reading a lot lately when I start feeling sorry for myself.  

"Surely just as I have intended so it has happened, and just as I have planned so it will stand...For the Lord of hosts has planned, and who can frustrate it? And as for His stretched-out hand, who can turn it back?" - Isaiah 14:24,27

I want to wait for the Lord's timing.  Throughout this pregnancy He has been showing me my lack of trust in Him.  And I've realized I can't control as much as I'd like.  This is no different.  
40 weeks and 2 days
I actually thought maybe last night would be the night.  I was up more than usual and had stronger contractions.  I tried going back to sleep and it was difficult at first but I did.  And then no baby.  

Not yet.

But it will be soon.  I know it will.  I just have to be patient.

In the mean time, I'll keep making memories with my other two not-so-much-babies-anymore :)