Annabelle Grace

Surprise! I haven't blogged in two years... so obviously a lot has happened in that time.  I'll start with some bullet points and then update with the real reason I'm back to blogging: sharing another birth story!

*I quit working at my full time job a few months after Autumn was born.
*I was able to stay home with the girls because my friend Sarah and I worked our butts off and turned our reviewing hobby into a full blown business. Real Reviews was born!
*We had another baby!!  Mike and I decided that our family wasn't yet complete and started trying for another baby as soon as I got my cycle back from breastfeeding.  Immediate success! Now, onto the birth story...

It was a textbook pregnancy, exactly like my first two. Abby and Autumn were growing up right before my eyes, so most of the pregnancy was kept busy with them. :)

Love these little ladies!
Abby started 2nd grade this year! Time is truly FLYING by... 
Our lovely little Autumn turned 2 years old last month!
The first half of the pregnancy was already over... and we found out that we were having another beautiful baby GIRL!  

Time kept going... and going... and before we knew it our due date had come and gone!

41 weeks pregnant... one week past due date
We monitored the pregnancy and set an induction date for the following Monday... then we spent a few gorgeous relaxing days trying to enjoy our last weekend as a family of 4. My mom was scheduled to come down Sunday morning and spend the day with us before we went in for the induction Monday morning. 

You know the saying about men making plans and God laughing? Well despite our induction plans, Annabelle decided to get things going on Saturday night instead! I got the girls settled and ready for bed and tried to sleep myself, but I kept waking up from the contractions. I woke up Mike and told him to be ready just in case this was it and I started timing.  They were coming pretty regularly about 10 minutes apart, so I called my doctor and asked what he thought we should do. Since I was GBS+ and needed antibiotics before delivering (and this was my third baby) he said to head to the hospital right away. It was a good thing we took his advice! We called our parents and my mom started her trip down right away and Mike's mom came over to stay with the girls until she got there.  We finished packing our bags, kissed Autumn's sleeping head and woke up Abby to tell her we were leaving.  Abby burst into tears of pure excitement after saying with disbelief: "the baby is coming??". It was beyond sweet. 

We got to the hospital and went right to triage... the contractions were coming about 5 minutes apart by that point, but were still pretty manageable. I was able to breathe through them and hold conversation between them. We put on the monitors and let things progress naturally. I was checked by the nurse while they were admitting me and I was at 6cm dilation. Mike and I got to talk and spend some time just being together while our third daughter moved ever closer to being born. I spent some of the time reflecting on why I was having so much anxiety about delivering again and started praying and meditating. I asked for the peace of mind that only God can provide and concentrated on the fact that I really didn't want to lose control. A lot of my last labor was spent screaming and the contractions came one after another, right on top of each other with no break in between. I lost myself in that labor and didn't want a repeat performance. 

Eventually we were moved from the triage room into the delivery room where everything was going beautifully according to my wishes. I was able to move around as much as I wanted and the monitors were picking up the baby beautifully, and she was doing very well.  I breathed my way through a few more contractions when things started getting VERY painful. I was approached about pain medication, but Mike knew I really didn't want any, so he encouraged me to stick it out and mentioned to the doctor that when we broke my water in my last labor it got things moving very quickly. So the doctor checked me again and I was at 9cm! I should have known that the "I can't do this anymore" feeling usually means I'm in transition, so when I heard 9cm I said a quick prayer, squeezed Mike's hand, and my strength was renewed. The doctor broke my water, mentioned the nice clear fluid and said he would be back shortly to check on us. Mike advised him not to go far... and he was right! Minutes later I told the nurse that I needed to start pushing. I could feel my body start to push on it's own and felt the baby move down as far as she could... it was a neat sensation and much more comfortable than the contractions on their own. The doctor ran back in and it was show time! The nurse and my amazing husband encouraged me to hold my legs while I pushed and after one huge push she was crowning! Amazingly, I had the presence of mind to do something I've always wanted to do... I reached down and felt her head.  Her very first second that she was entering the world and I was able to stroke her hair. One more huge push later and she was here! The doctor said "Did you see that?! A perfect internal rotation!" He later told me that he was impressed that I had the presence of mind to feel her head and that he wished that medical students had been in the room to watch because it was the first time in all his years of delivery that he had ever seen a baby be born so perfectly, turning exactly as she was supposed to, after one huge push. Annabelle was placed immediately on my chest and Mike and I both kissed her little head and welcomed her to the world.  After I delivered the placenta and was stitched up we were left alone to bond.  Anna latched on to the breast right away and nursed for 2 straight hours! She was wide awake and alert and we stared at her and loved on her for hours before being moved to our maternity room. It was, by far, my easiest and most satisfying labor and delivery experience.  It was healing, both emotionally and spiritually, and exactly what I needed to start my new journey as a mother of 3.

The girls are so in love with their baby sister... it was love at first sight.  Autumn said "I take it?" and wanted to bring her home right away.
Nursing like a champ

Our perfect family of 5! I couldn't be more blessed with this bunch.
Annabelle Grace
10/16/16 @ 4:49am
9lbs 10oz
22 inches