Whispering Pines Photography
Capturing Your Memories and Turning Your Moments Into Art
Many of you who follow my business know that my family has been anxiously awaiting the arrival of our third child. Today, I would like to introduce him to you and share some of his first photographs.
This was truly an interesting pregnancy, and I am glad that I slowed down session work so that I wasn't having to worry about client work as much during the end of my pregnancy. While I am back to work now, I will still be doing my photography work on a much slower, scaled-back schedule to allow plenty of time with Sawyer and my girls (Seanna and Cayleigh).
Both of my pregnancies with the girls were very simple, easy pregnancies. With Sawyer, however, things were not so simple. First, I had to take the 3 hour glucose test in addition to the 1 hour test. I didn't think much about it at the time because the same thing happened with Cayleigh and then I cleared the 3 hour glucose test easily, but I just barely passed the 3 hour glucose test with Sawyer, which meant that, although I did not have gestational diabetes, I did have to watch my diet a little bit closer. At the same time as the 3 hour glucose test, I also had begun having pretty bad Braxton Hicks contractions which were developing into a regular pattern, so my doctor also started watching me pretty closely for preterm labor. I passed the test for preterm labor at that point (there's a test that can indicate whether you are likely to go into labor within the next 2 weeks), so that was a relief considering that I was just barely past the 20 week mark at that point.
That brings us to the end of January, so I was right around the 31/32 week mark. Because I was still having some pretty bad contraction spells, my doctor decided to go on and check me to see if there was any changes that would indicate possible preterm labor. When she did, I was not dilated but there was enough of a change that she went on and had me do the steroid shots and I was given instructions to immediately call if the contractions developed into a regular pattern again.
We made it to 34 weeks and did have to make a hospital run that Sunday. At my appointment prior to that hospital run, I had begun dilating, so when I called, my doctor's office told me to go on in to the hospital to be monitored for a while. Although I had dilated more since my appointment, luckily I did not dilate while I was at the hospital, so I was able to go back home after a few hours. After that point, the contractions never really stopped (they had been fairly regular since 31/32 weeks, but with definite breaks), but on Friday of that week (so right at 35 weeks) they picked up in intensity and were 2-3 minutes apart. After a few hours like that with the contractions not letting up despite drinking plenty of water and laying down, we went back to the hospital. This time, we were admitted because once again I was more dilated than at my last appointment and I dilated another centimeter in the hour that I was in labor and delivery triage. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at things, things finally slowed down some and I was sent home the next day.
Where we get to the unfortunately part is that although there was no more change in dilation and the contractions did space out some, I spent the next 4 weeks with regular contractions that stayed about 5 minutes apart and made it where I couldn't do anything because they kept me awake, made me nauseous, made my back hurt extremely bad, etc... Which definitely made for an interesting situation for knowing when to head to the hospital without waiting too long (at that point, I had told my husband that I was not going back unless my water broke, my doctor put me in, or the contractions were so bad that I absolutely could not stand it) to make the hour drive to the hospital. Now, what is funny is that things did slow down just a bit after I reached the 37.5 week mark, so after my doctor told me that if the contractions got to where they were when I went into the hospital or when I had to go into her office for monitoring (so the 2-3 minutes apart again), to come on in and she would admit me for delivery.
When I went in for my appointment at 38.5 weeks, my doctor decided to go on and schedule an induction at the 39 week mark. Which brings us to Sawyer's birth photographs.
Things were pretty quiet in the lobby of Erlanger East at 2a.m. What we didn't know until we got upstairs is that they'd had an extremely busy several days and night leading to that point, so they were actually having to get rooms available where they were completely full in the labor and delivery wing.
3:40a.m. - hooked up to IV fluids and everything was just about ready for my doctor to come in to break my water, which happened right at 4a.m.
Shortly thereafter I also decided to go on and get an epidural. I had thought about going natural because I didn't like how long the epidural with Seanna left me numb, but my doctor told me that they could do it where it eased the discomfort from the contractions but I could still have some use of my legs.
Now, my poor husband was probably hoping that I would skip this part of the story, but he did not handle the epidural well. He made it through them inserting the epidural, but then had to sit down where he almost fainted on us.
Things also got interesting at this point because not only did the epidural end up only working on the left side of my body, but the contractions also really sped up and increased in intensity. We were expecting things to be slow and, since I got the epidural, to maybe get some rest. Russell actually did fall asleep, only to be woken up by me dealing with contractions. We got the nurse back in the room pretty quickly (she had actually been in a time or two already to press the button to increase the dosage of the epidural and to check on things), but when she checked me, I was dilated to 8.5 centimeters, so that ruled out them reinserting the epidural. Plan B, they gave me some additional meds through my IV, which kicked in about time for delivery. Before they could get done with that, I began feeling a ton of pressure, so they checked me again and I was at 9.5 centimeters dilated. Luckily, my doctor had stayed at the hospital and was just down the hall. She got in there and once they got the bed broken down (which was made more interesting because in them trying to get me in a room more quickly, they had missed that the postpartum mattress was still on the bed ... which made things more comfortable for me but my doctor did not feel gave enough room for the birth considering that she was anticipating Sawyer being a big baby), we were ready to deliver.
7:16a.m. - Sawyer was here! Total active labor (from getting in the room to delivery) lasted under 4 hours with only about 4 rounds of pushing, so definitely my shortest labor. As fast as things went, with very little labor augmentation (they didn't even start pitocin until after I got the epidural between 4:30a.m. and 5a.m., and only at an extremely low dose), I am glad that my doctor went on and admitted me for induction rather than me waiting for my labor to finally progress on its own. Things also went so fast that no one else made it to the hospital before I delivered, so Russell had to be photographer.
In my birth plan, I had asked for immediate skin to skin time and to first try breastfeeding as soon as possible. I was extremely pleased with my experience with Sawyer, where they did all of the initial cleaning up as part of the skin to skin time and then left us alone to try nursing while they got me cleaned up. Because of that, we were attempting to latch on for nursing within 5 minutes of birth and Sawyer was latched on and nursing well within 15 minutes of birth. He stayed there on top of me until right at 1 hour old when they needed to take care of getting his vitals, etc...
8 pounds, 8 ounces and 21 inches long at birth.
Seanna and Cayleigh meeting Sawyer for the first time.
First bath ... with big sister Seanna supervising.
Here's what daddy was doing by this point.
Cayleigh joined Russell for a nap.
It took until that afternoon when they came back, but Cayleigh finally decided to give Sawyer a kiss.
Seanna, of course, was pretty much kissing him from the moment that she met him.
NiNi made it until that afternoon before she held Sawyer.
Sawyer and Russell also got in their first Braves (preseason games were on tv) game that evening. I guess it's a good thing that we brought Sawyer's baseball hat.
4:11a.m. - time for a follow-up weigh-in - 8 pounds, 2 ounces.
And some shots using the mid-morning sunlight from the window before heading home the next day.
The shot on the left is of me at 2a.m. Friday morning as we were checking in for Sawyer's birth. The shot on the right is as we were leaving the hospital just before lunchtime on Saturday. Still more swollen than now, but definitely a difference!
Since it was nighttime when we got to the hospital, I didn't get any shots as we were arriving, but I did snap the two shots below as we were pulling out from the hospital on Saturday.
So, that's Sawyer's birth story and first 48 hours/hospital stay in a nutshell! Thanks Laura, Carol, and Russell for the collaborative effort on documenting Sawyer's first hours until I was back to taking photographs!