Max’s Birth Story

On Monday, June 18 at 9:30am, we were admitted to Labor & Delivery after a whirlwind of events from the week prior.

The nurse escorted us down the hall to room 341 and asked me to get into the gown, get settled and that another nurse would be in shortly to do our admissions paperwork, start an IV and check to see how I am progressing.

Chris and I decide that it is probably smart for him to rush home, repack my bag and come back to the hospital with all of the supplies that we will need for the next few days.  He leaves and I sit in the bed thinking about everything to come and soaking it all in.

Our nurse, who was actually a midwife was phenominal.  She remembered hearing my story from the previous week and was very caring and reassuring that all would be perfect.

My doctor came back at 10:30am and broke my water.  No meconium or issues that he could see, but he did say that I had a tremendous amount of amniotic fluid, which probably came in handy when I fell.

Around 11:30am, he began the pitocin drip and emphasized to the nurse that I went quickly last time and that he expected the same this time.  He also asked to be alerted to any changes with my progression and that I could have my epidural whenever I felt that I needed it.

Around this time, I was contracting about every 3-4 minutes and the contractions were increasing in their intensity.  Chris came back to the hospital around 11:45am and was shocked to hear that I was at 4cm and 90% effaced and progressing very quickly.

My nurse asked me in between contractions that I had been breathing through if I wanted my epidural.  I said that I was still doing well with breathing and that I was hesitant because of possibly stalling labor so early in the process.  She reassured me that it would be fine and that she would call the anesthesiologist to come in and get me set up.

The anesthesiologist was wonderful!  She was calm, caring, funny and sweet and I am so thrilled that I was able to have her.  Unlike my previous delivery where Chris was my support while getting my epidural with Jack, they had Chris exit the room and the nurse midwife was my support while they hooked up my epidural.

Once I was comfortable, I laid back and waited for labor to continue to progress.  About 15 minutes go by, and some alarms begin going off.  The baby’s heart rate was dropping.  Hy heart was in my throat as my thoughts traveled to an unforeseen issue with the baby from the fall.  The nurses turned me on my side and his heart rate came back up.  Thank God.  The deceleration of his heart rate happened every so often after that, but was always remediated when I moved a different way.

Around 3pm, the nurse checked me and said that I was about 8cm dilated and that it shouldn’t be long now.  The nurses also changed shifts at 3pm, so my wonderful nurse midwife left and another great nurse came in.  My doctor called for an update and announced that he would be back around 4pm to check me again.

As I had transitioned quickly in my last labor, I knew that I would never make it to 4pm.  Coincidentally, I began feeling every contraction, pain- just everything and was practically climbing the walls in pain.  It was almost as if the epidural just completely stopped working.  The nurse saw the amount of pain that I was in as I clutched the rails on the side of the bed, breathed and let the tears continually run down my cheeks.  Word could not escape my mouth and I felt as if the baby was going to come at any minute.  Our nurse called the anesthesiologist, who was also new due to the shift change and was beside himself when he saw the pain that I was in.  He nervously poked me with a sharp popsicle stick and continued to try and ask me questions as I breathed heavily and continued to let the tears fall.  He said that he would give me a bola (sp?) to help with the additional pain that I was in.  Chris was smart and said to the nurse that she may want to check me again as this was similar to my previous labor.  She checked me and immediately called my doctor to come and deliver.

When my doctor arrived a few minutes later, he said that he wanted to see how I had progressed and when he looked, he asked me to wait so that he could put on his coat for delivery.  He announced that he could already see the baby’s head and that this was going to be quick.  Other nurses and the pediatrician flooded the room and he said to start pushing.

With only two pushes, our sweet and beautiful baby boy was here!  Max Russell came into the world on Monday, June 18 at 3:50pm.  He was 8lbs, 9oz and healthy as could be.  He received 9’s on his APGARS and was absolutely perfect!  I felt my mother in the room the moment he was born.  She was there watching over all of us and ensuring that this wonderful and beautiful boy was safe.

Max was cleaned up a bit and handed over to me where he almost immediately wanted to nurse.  We bonded as Chris and I soaked up every minute of our secind son’s first hour of life as he nursed and cuddled us in the hospital.

How lucky and fortunate we are to be blessed with this wonderful little baby.  🙂

Max Russell

June 14th Nightmare

I took a much needed vacation day on June 14th so that I could catch up on some last minute things before the baby arrived.  My plans were simple: Clean the house, get the car washed, and pick up Jack early from school and spend some one-on-one time with him at the park before dinner, etc…

The day began as normal as any other and although I was tired enough to nap for 5 hours straight, I got up early and got to work as I knew my in-laws would be arriving the following day.

Cut to me arriving at Jack’s school around 3pm to pick him up and bring him to the park.  After speaking with the school director for a bit and joking that this is the everlasting pregnancy, we agreed that the weekend was a perfect time to have the baby.  Jack’s teacher applied more sunscreen to him so that we could be prepared for the hot sun at the park and off we went.  Walking outside of the school door, Jack walked over to the car and as I was walking with him, I tripped over the sidewalk and fell flat on my belly.

Immediately my eyes filled with tears as my worst nightmare was seemingly a reality.  My mind raced as I thought about whether or not my water broke, whether or not the baby survived the fall and where Jack was in a busy school parking lot.  I was sobbing and yelling for help.  Jack came to my rescue and so did two very nice landscapers who just so happened to be planting some shrubs in front of the school.  Jack began crying and I could see that he was terrified to see that his Mommy fell and was crying too.

One of the teachers came running outside to retrieve Jack so as not to scare him and another landscaper called 911 and my husband for me.  Chris showed up on the scene before the ambulance even arrived.  Calm as anything, he held my hand and assured me that the almost 40 weeks gestation baby was going to be fine. God, I love that man.

I remember poking my belly praying for the little one inside to poke back, move or show some sign that he was alright.  Cue the ambulance.

This was my first time riding in an ambulance and as terrified as I was, all I remember is Chris following us by car, praying my head off that everything would be ok and for us to arrive at the hospital ASAP.  It was the absolute longest 10 minutes of my entire life.  My eyes were focused on Chris driving behind us to gauge his reaction to the situation.  There was a time when he looked a bit worried and I felt it.  Almost simultaneously, I began feeling strong contractions that were a few minutes apart.

As the ambulance pulls up to the Emergency bay of the hospital, I feel the baby move a little bit.  My glimmer of hope is strong that this baby will be alright.  They rush me into the trauma unit as a level 2 trauma.  Literally, 20 people come rushing at me hooking me up to monitors, taking off my clothes, asking me questions and taking about 8 vials of blood while calling the hospital for an ultrasound machine and an ultrasound tech.  This experience was terrifying and I begged for them to let Chris come back with me.  The doctors explained that the policy doesn’t allow anyone back there, but he would see what he could do.

Meanwhile, Chris parked the car and was escorted into a private room away from the waiting area where he waited for any sort of news.

Finally, the doctor allowed Chris into the trauma unit and the ultrasound tech was doing an ultrasound to look for bleeding and to see if the baby was doing ok.  She checked around for about a half hour and the monitors were showing that my contractions were getting stronger and closer together, so off to Labor and Delivery I went.

My doctor met me in my room when I arrived by wheelchair and tried to cut the tension by saying “What the heck happened, klutz!?”  I explained the story and he said that they would be keeping me at least until 9pm as they performed more tests and monitored my contractions.

My stay became an overnight stay for more monitoring and more tests as they found that some of the baby’s blood had mixed with my blood due to the blunt force of the fall.  Immediately, my doctor is trying to rule out placental abruption, which could be fatal to the baby and cause many other complications.  I swear that my parents and God were looking out for me because even though I was still very worried about losing the baby, I felt a comfort and a nonverbal reassurance that all would be ok.

They kept me until late Saturday where they were able to rule out placental abruption.  So, after 18 needle picks, IV’s, countless ultrasounds and pages of contractions and fetal heart monitoring, the doctor was convinced that the baby was fine and that I was fine.

So, in the meantime, why not break my water, start pitocin or just send me to the OR suite to have a c-section?  The doctor said that breaking my water and starting pitocin, especially if there was a placental abruption, would cause much more harm than good.  So, my contractions continued, would strengthen and then often dissipate.  Often, the contractions would be pretty strong and about 3-4 minutes apart.

Why not a c-section?  The doctor did say that we could head down the hall and get it all over with, but he was almost certain that all would be alright and that I would be able to deliver vaginally when the baby was ready.

After I left, I came home, spent some time with my family and was told that I was on cervical rest and that I would need to return to the L&D unit the following morning for another non-stress test.

Sunday morning, Father’s Day, I went in at 7:30am for my NST, which showed that I was still having contractions, but there was no change.

Monday morning, my doctor asked me to come in for an ultrasound, another NST and to be checked.  The NST showed that I was having strong contractions that were 5 minutes apart (I didn’t need the machine to tell me this- I felt every last one!).  The ultrasound showed that the baby was about 9lbs, 1oz and was healthy as could be.  Thank God!

The doctor calls me in to be checked, and Chris and I had already mentally prepared ourselves for no cervical change and had already planned the rest of our day with his parents and Jack.  The doctor checks me and announces that I was 3cm and 80% effaced.  Other than almost falling off of the exam table, I was in shock.  He asked me to head directly to L&D and that he would be up in a bit to break my water and start pitocin.  I kindly said that I still hadn’t repacked my bag from my previous hospital stay and that I would run home quickly and come right back.  He responded, “I just said that you are in labor.  Get upstairs to L&D!”

Chris and I walked into the unit, announced that we were in labor and that my doctor had sent us.

(Continued in the birth story)

Nearing the End

After a great appointment with the doctor on Monday (I got myself crazy over nothing), we are ready to finally meet this baby!

Baby G2’s heartbeat is strong and although his movement has slowed and is not as dramatic, he is still growing and seems to be happy in there, for now.

My OBGYN checked me also on Monday, and I am currently 2cm dilated, +1 station and 50% effaced.  So, what does this all mean?  The doctor said the baby can come any time he decides to make his appearance.  It could be tonight, tomorrow, next week, etc…  He did also mention that the baby is already measuring big (44cm belly measurement) and he wouldn’t want him to grow much larger than Jack to ensure that he could be born vaginally.  I personally wouldn’t care for that either.

So, we scheduled another appointment for next Monday morning, and my hope is that the doctor just tells me that we will schedule an induction, if I don’t go naturally before then.  The contractions are still strong and are mostly timeable, but they seem to go away after a while, but the pain is pretty good with these.

Something that I don’t remember is feeling all of this pressure in my bottom.  I sometimes feel like I am sitting on the baby a bit and have the very sharp pains in my bottom that practically make me jump out of my chair.  (Always funny to see in a meeting at work)

The other concern is that Jack came pretty quickly and that I would probably go quicker this time than I did with him.  Labor with Jack was from 9:00am when they broke my water and started the pitocin and Jack was born at 3:50pm that afternoon!  Quick for a first delivery!

My heartburn has kicked back up a notch recently, which is funny as the baby is descending and not ascending.  Even Gatorade gave me a terrible case of heartburn the other night!

Other possible labor-type symptoms:

  • Lots of lower back pain
  • Increased frequency to use the facilities
  • Constant pressure in my pelvis and bottom
  • Small amount of additional fluid retention
  • Slowdown of weight gain and lack of interest in eating
  • Lightening has definitely happened
  • Tired all of the time- exhausted explains this well!

A few friends keep recommending that we begin with the Old Wives Tales to get labor revved up, but so far, we haven’t done anything to try and get labor started.

So, what are your thoughts?  Should we host a little baby pool on the old blog and see who is right?  I will say that it would be pretty cool to have the baby next Wednesday (June 13) as it will be my 30th birthday and my sister Lisa’s 44th birthday!

Crazy Two Weeks

From the fall, to giving birth, it was already a pretty momentous week when Max was born.

Of course my story doesn’t end there. Sunday morning, Max begins to fuss a bit around 6:00am, so I wake up and bring him downstairs as not to wake anyone else so I can feed him and hopefully get him back to sleep to get some more shut eye myself.

I came down and got Max situated on the changing table and began to unfasten his diaper. being that it is 6:00am and we had woken several times to nurse, I was a bit delerious, but I noticed that his entire diaper was dark and somewhat appeared to be a large bowel movement. Thankfully, I turned on the light to get a better look and to clean him up. Once the light turned on, I looked down and saw that the diaper was actually filled with blood and Max was bleeding from his penis. Immediately, I screamed for Chris to come down and help. He came running down and we both went into shock. He was still bleeding profusely from his penis and was now crying to boot.

I rushed him to the ER after we applied pressure to stop the bleeding and the physician’s assistant checked him over, said to continue to apply Vaseline until the would healed and to follow up with my pediatrician in a few days. They never sent a doctor down or anything. Turns out that the late bleed was due to an artery close to the skin. What a mess.

A few days later, I stopped by a friend’s house with both boys for a visit and she called to tell me that she was picking up steaks and we could all just have dinner together at her place. A excuse for not cooking? Count me in. Chris came over and we began preparing dinner. I washed all of the steaks and my friend prepared the sides to be cooked. Meanwhile, Max had a dirty diaper, so I went to change him and Jack went out in their backyard with the babysitter to play. Chris went to fire up the grill and realized that the tank was empty, so he was off to get a new tank.

In a split second, Jack was walking back in the house as I was finishing Max’s diaper change and all I hear is a dog growl and Jack scream a blood curdling scream. My heart absolutely stopped and I came running. My friend reached Jack first and when I looked at Jack’s face, he was covered in blood. I tried to remain as calm as possible, but was slowly losing it. We called Chris to come home and rushed Jack to the plastic surgeon for stitches. Chris in true Chris fashion remained calm, cool and collected. I passed Max off to someone in the house and jumped in the back seat of the car to apply pressure to the bleeding on our drive to the surgeon’s office.

Several stitches later and lots of screaming heard from the waiting room (they don’t allow the parents to go back to the OR), Jack came out bandaged and swollen, but happy to see us.

We found out afterwards that when Jack was coming into the house from the backyard, the dog had secretly grabbed one of the raw steaks from the counter that I had washed and was eating it in his cage when Jack stopped to scold him for eating the food on his way into the house. That is when the dog attacked him.

We finally had the stitches out, but it has been a long week of not going outside, not swimming, no bathing, and playing as many quiet games as possible to ensure that Jack’s face healed.

The plastic surgeon told us that it is too early to tell whether or not he will have scarring, but we have all of the lotions and potions to try and avoid scarring as much as possible.

When I brought him home from getting his stitches out (he was so brave!), he felt very hot and over the 2 days before that had developed a wet cough. I took his temp, which was 101.4. Off to the pediatrician again. He has a right ear infection and a cold and is now on Amoxicillin for 10 days with a follow up appointment to discuss tubes in his ears. The poor kid can not catch a break.

That has been my 2 weeks in a nutshell, but I am so thankful that both boys are ok and on the mend.


Jack right after the bite


With stitches and steri strips


After the stitches came out

35 Weeks

Keeping busy and trying to keep the momentum up to make sure that we are ready.

Jack has had a double ear infection, sore throat and a cold since the week before and one day home from school, some antibiotics, he began to feel better.  And for the first time in his little young life, he didn’t get a good report at school.  Acting out, throwing blocks, refusing to nap and just miserable.  One day, he was described as a menace.  Chris and I can not seem to figure out what seems to be getting him so upset and cranky.  My top guess is that his top 2 year molars are coming in, as the bottom molars are in, but I just can’t be sure.  I am missing my usual sweet, even-tempered boy.

Something has me wondering if he can feel the impending changes in the house.  We talk about the baby coming home soon and read books about becoming a big brother, but maybe he is acting out for attention?  I can see if it was just for Chris and I, but at school too?  Any advice or ideas are welcome.

35 Week Questions:

How far along? 35 weeks
Estimated size of you: Coconut (must be a pretty big coconut!)
Maternity clothes? Just ordered some new stuff to cover my belly from Gap Maternity, so hopefully I won’t be showing the bottom part of my belly to everyone.
Stretch marks? Yep, the first one decided to pop out this week.
Sleep: Not great.  Early wakeups all week (5:30am) and having a lot of trouble getting comfortable.
Best moment this week: Installing the infant seat bases in the cars and looking behind me and seeing that we now have 2 carseats in the back!
Miss Anything? I miss sleeping like I used to, but I better get over that thought for a while!
Movement: He is still moving, just not at much and when he does, the movement seems to be more dramatic.
Food cravings: Cucumbers, hot chocolate
Anything making you queasy or sick: No.
Have you started to show yet: I got the “Are you having twins?” comment the other day…
Gender: Boy!
Labor Signs: More contractions, especially the more often that I walk.  Weekly appointments start next week!
Belly Button in or out? Out!
Wedding rings on or off? On.
Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy, but tired.
Looking forward to: Soaking up these last few weeks as a family of three.  🙂

34 weeks…wait…What?!

We are at the 34 week mark. The week for me that screams that everything has to be washed, set up, prepped and done so all that we have to do is wait for this little one to arrive! I recall 34 weeks with Jack where I just felt like throwing in the towel, laying on the couch and not doing much of anything.

My little To Do List is getting shorter and I am beginning to feel more prepared for this new arrival. We still have to pack the hospital bag, install the car seat bases, clean the cars out, order my Hygeia breast pump (was really hoping to win one…), and put the clothes away in the dresser. Doesn’t sound like much, but in between chasing Jack, cleaning the house and now meeting with the builder about our new house, I am running out of time and energy.

I still have 2 more sessions for my iron infusion, which doesn’t seem to be helping my energy level, but at least the baby and I will have enough iron to be healthy.

34 Week Questions:

How far along? 34 weeks
Estimated size of you: Honeydew
Maternity clothes? Heading down the path of just wanting to wear dresses as they will continue to cover my belly. 🙂
Stretch marks? Nothing so far, but I’m sure they are coming.
Sleep: Terrible. Jack beginning to wake up multiple times a night isn’t helping either.
Best moment this week: Beginning to prepare the house for the baby, because ready or not…!
Miss Anything? The beautiful and new white nursery set that I have for the baby which is ever so nicely sitting in storage with the beautiful Pottery Barn bedding. 😦
Movement: Here and there. It must be getting cramped in there.
Food cravings: Ice cream all of the time!!
Anything making you queasy or sick: No.
Have you started to show yet: Yep
Gender: Boy!
Labor Signs: More frequent BH contractions with increasing intensity.
Belly Button in or out? Out!
Wedding rings on or off? On.
Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy!
Looking forward to: Seeing Jack meet the baby for the first time.


Sorry for the clothing choice, but it’s all about comfort from here on out! 🙂

33 Weeks

33 Week Questions:

How far along? 33 weeks
Estimated size of you: Pineapple
Maternity clothes? Bringing out some of the spring line!
Stretch marks? Nada
Sleep: Starting to become difficult
Best moment this week: Deciding to build a house!  A whole post dedicated to this is coming!
Miss Anything? Not swelling up at the end of the day.  Just in my ankles and feet, but it is not fun.
Movement: Still more movement after meals or when I sit down and lean forward a bit.
Food cravings: Pizza bagels and ice cream
Anything making you queasy or sick: No.
Have you started to show yet: Yes
Gender: Boy!
Labor Signs: Braxton Hicks occasionally, but beginning to get stronger
Belly Button in or out? Out!
Wedding rings on or off? On.
Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy!
Looking forward to: Building and finishing our new house!

32 Weeks

We officially moved last weekend and have settled on the old house. What a weight off of our shoulders! I learned that hiring movers is worth every single penny that you pay them and that it really isn’t as stressful as I had anticipated.

Jack was thrilled to wait and watch the truck, Chris and I finished packing a few boxes and out the door we went one last time.

Settlement was perfect because we signed our paperwork, handed it and the keys to our Realtor and went on with our day.

Very close family friends of ours lost their father unexpectedly on April 14, so we had the Irish Wake and funeral this past week, which also made this week a bit more hectic than usual. My heart aches for my friends as I know the exact feeling that they have right now. I just keep praying for God to comfort them during this very difficult time.

On a more positive note, the plan for this rainy weekend is to get some last minute errands done before this baby arrives and do another full deep clean of the house after we meet with a builder. 🙂 Yes, the house hunt continues!

During one of my routine checkups, we learned that my iron levels are exceptionally low and that I need at least 5 infusions to bring my level back to a normal state. I had my first infusion yesterday and will have another this coming Friday and so on. So far, I don’t feel much of a difference with being tired, but I’m sure the energy level will be back soon!

32 Week Questions:

How far along? 32 weeks
Estimated size of you: Jicama or a pineapple- I have seen estimates for both.
Maternity clothes? Down to the last few items that seem to cover this belly!
Stretch marks? Nada
Sleep: Depends, but for the most part, it is not half bad.
Best moment this week: Officially selling the house in Philly and having another OBGYN appointment and hearing the doctor say that the baby is doing beautifully!
Miss Anything? Having our own home. This is really impeding on my desire to nest.
Movement: A bit less as it is getting tight in there, but you are still active!
Food cravings: Peanut butter and chocolate together
Anything making you queasy or sick: No.
Have you started to show yet: Absolutely!
Gender: Boy!
Labor Signs: Braxton Hicks occasionally
Belly Button in or out? Out!
Wedding rings on or off? On.
Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy!
Looking forward to: Meeting and holding this baby in a few more weeks!


Waiting and watching for the moving truck to arrive!


Moving in progress…


Iron infusion 1/5- at least I can work at the infusion center while I am getting my much needed iron!

Checking Off of the List

Since we are now officially in the third trimester and the baby will be arriving in a mere 10 weeks (YIKES!), now is as good a time as any to try and finalize a more permanent home, get the baby clothes and the crib set up, and begin purchasing the items that we need before this little one arrives.  One major purchase can finally be crossed off the list.

After asking everyone who reads this blog and other friends who have already taken the plunge for two or three more children, we finally bought our new double stroller.  We decided on the Maclaren Twin Techno, which will really be able to suit our needs with its lightweight yet sturdy frame and its portability, which is great for our family on the go.

We had looked at a rental property a few weekends ago, but after seeing the amount of work needed on the house for the crazy amount of money that they asked for rent, we decided against it.  However, we are still checking out what is available and getting our ducks in a row to hopefully purchase another new house soon.

Our settlement was official on April 19, but I was able to complete the deed paperwork ahead of time so as to not get tied up in the paperwork and settlement mess in Philly.  My Realtor has the paperwork, the house was packed and the movers came and took everything on April 14.

Baby clothes and sleepers are purchased, the bassinet is back, Jack is sleeping in a big boy bed and trying to go on the potty all of the time and my maternity leave paperwork is completed and submitted.  It seems like a lot, but according to my To Do List, it is only a few of the minor things that have been crossed off the pre-new baby checklist.

This weekend, we will probably order diapers, begin organizing space for the new baby’s clothes and possibly installing the car seat.  32 weeks already!  Where does the time go?!

Jack officially went on the potty again yesterday, so we are keeping up with encouraging the potty, etc…  He is officially also in the Pampers Pull-ups and we bought some new big boy underwear.  Although the progress is slow, it would be WONDERFUL to not have two children in diapers.  I was cloth diapering for a long time, but since Jack’s school doesn’t allow them, much of our money goes to disposables each month.  And with two children in diapers…we will be spending about $100 a month!  We can absolutely afford it, but it is always better to  use the money for something else.

The house hunt continues and we will be meeting with a builder this morning since we can’t seem to find an existing home that we would like to buy.

We also decided on a name (FINALLY!) and our 32 week ultrasound to see our little guy will be on Monday!  🙂

Still awaiting a deal on the Hygeia EnJoye pump and my coveted Coddlelife glass bottles, but they will come with time, especially since the new little one won’t be going to daycare until September.

Although things are getting done, I can’t help but wonder if I am forgetting something or if there is something else that I should be doing?