Wednesday, May 23, 2012

She got the itch! Then there were three...

Life as a family of four was amazing. Four is a great number; you all fit in a car without being squished, hamburger rolls come in multiples of four, each parent is responsible for one kid when you're out and about. We had our girl and our boy, so people assumed we were done having kids. Pete assumed we were done. I felt like something was missing.

So we adopted a cat. That didn't fill my void (sorry, Moe!).

We adopted a dog. That really didn't help, and we ended up taking him back to a shelter after a few months. Luckily Mack was adopted out really quick, which put me at ease.

In April 2009, my friend Sarah had another baby, a little girl, E. As soon as I saw her, I knew what was missing. I wanted another baby.

I mentioned it to Pete, and immediately, the answer was NO. I can't say I blame him. I'm definitely not the easiest person to get along with while I'm pregnant; we weren't together during most of my pregnancy with Paige, and while pregnant with Nate I was either irritable or slept. After having a baby, it was even worse...I tend to value sleep, and lots of it, which is something completely lacking with a newborn in the house!

I didn't take no for an answer; I kept bringing the subject up, and I lived and breathed babies. Every time I saw one, my heart melted and it just made me want another one even more. After a couple of months of talking about it, Pete agreed.

On Nate's second birthday, I found out we were indeed expecting baby #3, nicknamed 'Little Critter'. Pete was still asleep when I took the test, so I wrote a little note card for him saying "See you in April, Daddy! Love, Little Critter" for him to wake up to. I was nervous as Pete was still a little unsure about having a third, but he was really excited about it.

We didn't tell the kids right away. I had a doctor's appointment a couple days later, and when I brought home samples and magazines, Paige saw them and said "There's a baby in your belly! YAY!" Nate was excited, but didn't really understand what was going on. We announced the pregnancy to the rest of the family at Nate's birthday party. The last gift was a card, which said "May your birthday be filled with lots of wonderful surprises!", and I signed it "Love your baby brother or sister". It took a few minutes for it to sink in, but everyone was super excited for us.

This pregnancy seemed to be very similar to Nate's, with the exhaustion and morning sickness. I was a little excited, though, as I wanted another little boy, but would have been happy with another sweet girl. Pete was convinced it was a boy, but I really thought it was a girl.

We were able to narrow our name choices down to one boy name and one girl name before our ultrasound. If it was a girl, she would be Kathryn Rayven, or Kate, and a boy would be Ryan Rayve. The best man in our wedding and close family friend Preston's middle name is Rayve, and we couldn't imagine naming our child after a more amazing person. We went in for our ultrasound in November, and right away the tech was able to tell us that we were indeed expecting our second son! It was amazing being able to see my baby and know his name. We again went out and picked out his coming home outfit, and were able to share our news and his first name only with our family. We had a feeling that the middle name would spark some controversy, so we kept that to ourselves until he was born.

Ryan's face and belly

The pregnancy seemed to be going along smoothly...until February hit. I wasn't doing too well, and my doctor put me on modified bed rest. I was relieved that it wasn't full bed rest where I'd have to be lying down all day, but even resting more was going to be difficult having two young children in the house. I was going to have to ask for help, and I HATE asking anyone for anything. I'm a prideful person to a fault, and I was going to have to get over that. People came over to the house to clean for me, and our church was bringing us dinners every night so Pete could take care of us and not have to worry about cleaning and cooking.

On February 10th, I had signs of preterm labor. I still had 2 months left of the pregnancy, so the outcome was uncertain that if I did indeed go into labor if Ryan would make it again. Flashbacks to labor with Paige came into my head of her possibly not surviving, and I was not okay with that. My wonderful mother-in-law came over and picked Nate and I up to take me to the doctor's. Paige was in preschool, and my neighbor was going to pick her up and keep her as long as I needed her to. The doctor's office said I was slightly dilated, and were sending me over to the hospital for a non-stress test to make sure the baby was okay.

At the hospital, I was given a drink, put in a comfy bed, and just sat while we heard Ryan kicking and moving and acting happy due to the test. Me, however, was not happy and ended up passing out. The nurses ended up giving me fluids and my doctor came over to check me out. It looked like things were okay, that it really was a false alarm, but we did an ultrasound just to make sure. It was so nice seeing Ry not look so much like an alien on the screen, and other than having too much amniotic fluid, everything looked fine. I was given a steroid injection to help build Ry's lungs if indeed I went into labor, and I was sent home that night, exhausted, and with instructions to stay resting as much as possible. I was so glad my mother-in-law was with me for support, and Nate was amazing the whole time we were there, even though he missed out on his nap. I went back to the hospital the next day for the second steroid injection.

Life on modified bed rest was annoying, but it was good for the kids. We read more, we played more, and they had to really learn responsibility. They would make their beds, put away dishes, and learned to take care of me by bringing me snacks and filling up my water bottle for me.

In March, I had false labor many many times. I was instructed to head to the hospital when my contractions were constant at 5 minutes apart as I tend to stall in labor, then progress really quickly, and being almost an hour away, we had to get there ASAP. Whenever I'd head out the door to get to the car, the contractions would stop. I was tired, frustrated, and ready for things to be over.

He still hadn't arrived by April 1st. I wasn't due until the 9th, but the doctor kept telling me he would arrive early. She was convinced I'd have a March baby, but that hadn't happened. On April 2nd, I went into the doctor's office panicked because I hadn't been feeling Ryan move. She sent me over to the hospital for another non-stress test, and I was contracting every 4 minutes. I was sent home.

On April 3rd, I was having contractions every 10 minutes with no progress.

On April 4th, it was Easter Sunday. The contractions were worse, and I was exhausted from having contractions for 2 days. I barely made it through our church breakfast, and the service wasn't much better. Everyone kept telling me to go to the hospital, and I wasn't sure if it was time yet. No one at the maternity ward would answer the phone, so we just hung out. When I finally got ahold of a nurse, she said it didn't sound like I was in labor as I could talk through my contractions, but to come in anyway. We dropped the kids off at the neighbor's house and went to the hospital.

Once there, it was around noon. The nurse looked at me, said "Oh, you really are in labor!" and basically admitted me immediately. I was given a room, changed into my gown, and began walking to get things moving. I was stalled at 4 cm, and we walked for hours. That night, a doctor came in, and induced me. I was so excited to have this be over with, and I was starving as I hadn't eaten since 7 that morning. The contractions got faster and harder, but didn't progress. The doctor went to break my water, but everything was up too high, and then the medicine stopped working. For the first time in 3 days I didn't have a single contraction. He signed papers for me to be released, but I refused to leave. Pete and I got ready for bed, and I cried myself to sleep. We awoke around 7 am. I hadn't eaten in 24 hours, and I had no contractions. I wanted to go home, but thankfully Pete wouldn't allow it. I was still not allowed food. Pete did sneak me a french fry from his lunch, but that only made me hungrier. The contractions came back, and my doctor came in and induced me again. They got faster and harder, just like the previous time, but I wasn't hoping for anything. The door to my room opened, and in walked Donna! I couldn't believe it! She was so excited to see us too, and couldn't believe how big Paige and Nate were when I showed her their pictures. She helped Pete coach me through the whole delivery, and without them, I don't think I would have made it in one piece.

Finally, at 5:29 pm, after being in labor for the better part of 4 days, Ryan Rayve entered the world at 8 lbs 10 oz and 21 1/2 inches long. The best part? I finally got my red head! After he was delivered, the nurse asked me if I needed anything, and all I said was "FOOD!!!" I ate a sandwich and a whole box of granola bars!

Me and the kids; the empty space in my life was filled
We had a lot of visitors, but the best part was finally seeing Paige and Nate with their new baby brother. Paige was upset she didn't get a sister, but she told me Ryan was perfect anyway.

We were finally discharged late Wednesday afternoon, and it was wonderful going home. Ryan was a super easy baby from the start, sleeping at night and only waking once or twice a night. He was happy and content, and life was perfect.

Having three kids, to me, is easier than two. Don't get me wrong, it's definitely a challenge, but there's just something about it that makes life complete for me. We no longer fit in a car super comfortably, especially on longer trips, but having a van works better for us, especially when we go to BJ's and stock up on things. We may not be able to divide up a pack of hamburger rolls evenly, but usually one of the kids doesn't want a roll for their burger, so it works out. The kids may outnumber Pete and I now, but even Pete agrees, we wouldn't have it any other way.

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