Monroe's Birth Story

Monroe's due date was November 15.
And up until about 37 weeks pregnant, my official guess of her arrival was November 18th.
But... for some crazy reason, at about 37 weeks pregnant, I got it in my head that this baby was going to come early!
(which wasn't likely, considering I was a week over with Andi...but, I had hope).
I had my doctor strip my membranes at 38 weeks 5 days.
And I was SURE that was going to put me into labor within a few days
(I blame my sister for this false hope...she was stripped with her last two and went into labor almost immediately with both)
I woke up hopeful every day, and climbed into bed disappointed.
No contractions. No signs. No baby.

My doctor stripped me again at 39 weeks and 5 days.
I started crying when I walked out of the doctor's office that day.
I was so sure I wasn't going to make it to this appointment.
At about 38.5 weeks, I started to just feel so miserable every day.
My body hurt constantly, and I was sooo done.
Ironically, I was actually more comfortable at 41 weeks with Andi than I was at 38 weeks with Monroe.
I'm guessing it had a lot to do with chasing after a 16 month old all day ;)

On Wednesday night (my due date), my friend came over and massaged pressure points that supposedly can help induce labor.
I had been trying everything for the last two weeks.
If I wasn't bouncing on an exercise ball, I was walking or squatting or doing curb steps or researching other ways to GET THIS BABY OUT!

On Thursday morning at about 4am, I woke up suddenly to what I thought was a contraction.
It was so short and I was only half-awake, so I dismissed it and fell back asleep.
At 4:30, something woke me up again...but I wasn't sure if it was a contraction or not.
I woke up at about 7:30 and was extremelyyy crampy.
I never ever get period cramps, and I texted my sisters saying, "wow, I've never had period cramps and I think I have them."
My sister suddenly got very excited and called me to say that her labors started the same way.
I was trying not to get my hopes up, but MAN, I was crampy!
I was curled up in a ball and trying to find the motivation to get up and feed Andi breakfast.
Then, while unloading the dishwasher, I thought I had a mild contraction.
It was so short and fast, that I wasn't completely sure, but I was starting to get hopeful.
Then about 6 minutes later, I had another one that stopped me in my tracks. 
It was short, but painful.
I texted my sisters saying, "I'm 90% sure I just had a contraction!"
I still wasn't wanting to get my hopes up too much.
For the next 90 minutes I had short (but painful) contractions--too short and irregular to time.

I texted Taylor and said, "You ready to have a baby today?"
He called me right away and I told him that I'd been having a few contractions, but nothing too serious yet.
Since I was really starting to think that this was early labor, my nesting instincts kicked in, and I was zooming around the house trying to get so many things done.
Luckily, Taylor came home for an hour to check in on me and play with Andi, so that I could get my last minute (and very ridiculous) nesting to-do list finished.
Everything on my nesting list had actually been checked off for a few weeks, but of course, since I thought this might actually be the day, I NEEDED the floors to be freshly mopped & vacuumed, the laundry baskets to be completely empty, sheets washed, bathrooms freshly cleaned, fridge stocked, etc.
Pregnancy does weird things to you...

snapped this last bump picture in between contractions and as I was zooming around the house trying to get things done!
I actually had the intention to get a really cute last bump picture, with Andersen perched at the top of my bump...but right after I took this picture, a contraction hit, and I immediately sunk down to the floor to get through it.
Didn't pull out the camera again HA

I sent Taylor back to work since my contractions were still irregular.
For the rest of the day, my contractions were about 15-20 minutes apart ALL day.
It was getting so exhausting and my body was so tired.
By the time Taylor got home a little after 5, my contractions had spaced out to 30-60 minutes apart.
We went on a walk and I started bouncing on a ball to try to make them regular.
But I found that being more active was slowing my contractions down.
Whereas, if I laid on the couch, they would come in more frequent intervals.
At about 8:30pm, I was starting to worry that I would be in labor ALL night long.
How would I even sleep if I had contractions every 15 minutes?
I was dreading a whole night of irregular contractions!

I sent a group text to my family and asked them to all pray that my contractions would get closer together soon, so that we could go to the hospital that night.
By 9pm, my contractions were 8-10mins apart.
And suddenly, BAM! By 10pm, they were coming in hot and heavy at 3-5 mins apart.
pain pain pain
(natural contractions are SO much different than pitocin contractions that I experienced with Andi)

I remember I had this sweet vision of me holding and rocking Andi before I left for the hospital.
But...I walked in and looked at her sleeping for maybe 10 seconds, and then ran out of the room before another contraction came (because I would have definitely woken her up ha!)
Luckily, the night before, I had rocked her for so long.
I feel like a deep part of me must have known that would be the last night that Andi would be my baby.
I even walked into our bedroom after and told Taylor, "Maybe I'll have the baby tomorrow, because I just had such strong feelings holding Andi that this is the last night she'll be my baby."
But Taylor just laughed because I'm pretty sure I had said something similar to that for the last three weeks HA

Luckily, I had asked my little sister, Jamie, to come over when the contractions were about 8-10mins apart just in case they got closer together and we had to head to the hospital.
She was going to stay at our house with Andi for the night.
And thank goodness I had already asked her to come, because by the time we were throwing bags in the car, she was just pulling up to our house.

We barely said hello, thanks, and goodbye before flying off in the car.
I was SO ready for that epidural.
Luckily, the hopsital is only about 10 minutes away.
I had 3 contractions in the car...and those were by far the worst.
Car contrations= NOT fun

Taylor kept telling me not to have the baby before we got to the hospital
I didn't think I was quite that close, but apparently, he was pretty nervous. ha!
We checked into the hospital, and when the nurse checked me, she said, "alright! you're ready to have a baby tonight! You're dilated to a 6!"

By the time they officially registered me and called the anesthesiologist, I was dilated to almost an 8.
Those were some awful contractions waiting for the epidural.
Luckily, the nurse and Taylor helped me through them.
The nurse did this pressure point thing on my knees when I was having a contraction, and it actually helped a lot!
This epidural experience was a lot rougher than Andi's.
Andi's was a breeze.
This one...not so much.
But hey, WORTH it.

At this point, it was about 12am, and Taylor and I both decided to try to sleep while we could.
Buuut, sleep was lost on me.
I suddenly was hit with major anxiety.
I was trying to fall asleep but also trying not to think about the fact that in just a few hours I would be pushing a baby out and then I'd suddenly be a mom of TWO.
The room was dark and quiet, and there was nothing to distract me from my anxious thoughts.
I called my sister and chatted with her for about 20 minutes to try to distract myself
(gem of a sister to wake up at midnight her time to chat with me ha!)
But after hanging up, the panic attack was setting back in, and I thought I was going to throw up.
I called out to Taylor, and he came and sat next to me, held my hand, and tried to distract me from my anxious thoughts.
The poor boy was so tired, and he was trying so hard not to fall asleep while talking to me ha!
It was kind of comical, and watching him try to stay lucid was distracting me more than what he was saying ;)
At one point, he reminded me that "the spirit was stronger" than the negative thoughts I was having.
For the next two hours, I repeated that in my head over and over: "the spirit is stronger. the spirit is stronger."

At 2:40am, the nurse checked me and I was dilated to a 9.5.
And then suddenly...the epidural stopped working.
It didn't "wear off," but literally like a flip of the switch, it was gone.
The nurses tried to figure it out, but couldn't figure out why it wasn't pumping into me anymore.
The machine had just stopped working completely.
And I was suddenly back to feeling every contraction.
And I was NOT happy.
They were sooo incredibly painful.
Especially with Monroe moving down the birth canal.
I thought I was already finished feeling the contractions, so it was really hard for me to mentally accept the fact that I was back to feeling them again.
The nurses had called for the anesthesiologist, but 45 minutes went by and he still wasn't there.
I cried and cried and kept telling Taylor, "I don't want to push her out without the epidural! I can't do it! I don't want to feel it!"
I was seriously so scared I'd have to push her out naturally--and let's just say, I'm an epidural-kinda-girl 100%.

On top of waiting for the anesthesiologist, the nurses were having a hard time getting ahold of the doctor.
Talk about stress!
The nurses were zipping in and out of the room and you could tell they were getting worried.

At one point, I had a major contraction, and I knew that it was time to push--she was coming out! As hard as I was trying NOT to let this baby come without the epidural, there was no stopping it.
There were no nurses in the room, and I told Taylor, "Get a nurse, fast. I think she's going to come with the next contraction!"
The nurses rushed in, checked me, and said, "Her head is crowning! She's ready to come out!"
And the doctor walked in right after she said that!
Thank the high heavens.

The doctor quickly got his scrubs and booties on and walked over to me and said, "On your next contraction you're going to push. We don't have time for a practice push. You ready?"
welp, this was really happening!

but guess what?
Still no epidural.
Which I was freaking out over.
Finally, FINALLY, Colby (the anesthesiologist) walked in.

(that's colby in the picture. I love and hate him HA)
The nurses rushed him over and said, "She's about to push, so go fast."
The doctor told him, "She's pushing on her next contraction no matter what, so do what you can."
He didn't even waste time with the machine, but shot the medicine straight into my back.
Luckily that stuff works instantly, and so I could feel it spreading through my lower body right as the doctor said, "alright, here we go!"

One contraction and four pushes and SHE WAS HERE!

Literally easiest and most amazing experience!
I couldn't believe how fast she popped out!
Taylor and I both cried and hugged while they took her away to clean her and weigh her.

Other than the epidural not working, the whole labor had been SO fun. Laboring at home was such an amazing experience, and I hope I get to do that with my future pregnancies!
(I was induced at 41 weeks with Andersen)

When the doctor held her up, he said, "oh wow! She's a chunker! What a big baby!"
He kept making comments on how big she was and saying, "Let's make guesses before you stick her on the scale!"
So I was sitting there thinking, "Oh my gosh, did I just have a 12 pound baby!??"
When they said 8lbs 2oz, I was like, "oh that's not big at all!" (andi was 8lbs 4oz)
He had me so convinced she was going to be HUGE ha!

They finally handed her to me...pure heaven.
There are no words to describe those moments.

I kept saying to Taylor, "I can't even see her face!"
The way she was placed on me made it impossible for me to see her face, but my body was SO weak from having that huge dose of epidural pumped into me just minutes before that I couldn't lift her enough to see her.
So Taylor took her so that he could hold her up for me to see ha!

We both commented right away that she had Andi's lips.
And she had the chubbiest most yummy cheeks EVER.
I've always had a soft spot for big, chubby newborn cheeks.

We were undecided on her name, but had a few favorites, and a long list of names for "just in case."
We went through the whole long list while Taylor held her.
And the only name we said YES to was Monroe.
"Monroe" was actually a top contender for Andi's name, so it was fun to circle back to it with this second baby.
We had her middle name picked out for awhile (after Taylor's mom), and the flow of Monroe Michelle was just perfect matched with her little face.
After a few hours of cuddles and kisses, the nurses took her to the nursery so we could sleep.

The next afternoon, Taylor's parents brought Andersen to meet Monroe.
Andi cared for about two seconds, until she saw my red jello on my tray table. HA

But my heart could have burst in that hospital room.
We were so so so HAPPY.

There's just nothing quite like having a baby fresh from heaven.

Since we had Monroe at 3:42am on Friday morning, the nurses let us choose whether we wanted to leave Saturday evening or early Sunday morning.
We were feeling pretty ready by Saturday afternoon, so we opted for Saturday evening.
All Saturday, I had noticed that Monroe seemed a little congested.
I asked the nurses about it, and they reassured me it was perfectly normal.

Fast forward to an hour after we brought Monroe home from the hospital.
Her breathing started to become very labored.
I honestly dismissed it since the nurses had kept assuring me it was normal.
Taylor left to go and get my prescriptions, and a few minutes after him leaving, Monroe started to make these very startling wheezing sounds.
I facetimed my sister and asked her what she thought.
She told me to undress her so she could see her breathing, and as soon as she saw the intense retractions, she said that we needed to go to the ER.
I called Taylor crying, telling him to turn around, as I held my brand new baby and watched her struggle to breathe with each breath.

We sped off to the ER (her wheezing and snorting were getting worse and worse), and as soon as they saw her, they admitted her immediately.
The ER doctor ordered x-rays and other testing (he said he was afraid a lung had collapsed), and he called for the pediatric doctor.
When the pediatric doctor saw Monroe, she immediately admitted her to the peds unit for an overnight stay so she could be monitored as the test results came in.

As soon as we got upstairs to the peds unit, and they placed Monroe in the hospital crib, I just started to silently cry.
I had so many emotions--I had given birth less than 48 hours before, and was watching my brand new baby be pricked, prodded, and tested while her retractions intensified and her oxygen levels dropped.
The doctors and nurses were huddled around her crib as I stood in a corner and watched, completely overwhelmed (Taylor was talking to a doctor during this time).
I overheard one of the nurses tell another nurse to go and get milk storage bags for me, and that's when I lost it. I wouldn't be able to nurse or hold my brand new baby?
The nurse turned and saw me, and immediately came over to give me a hug.
They were so sweet and had given us the largest hospital room on the floor so that they could wheel a bed into the room (for me), since they heard I had just given birth less than 48 hours before.
The nurse sat me on the bed and comforted me.
They were so good to us.

As they were examining Monroe, one of the doctors said, "Shine that light back in her nose. Is that a booger?"
They decided to try to suction her out with a big vacuum-like suction.
You would not believe the amount of boogers and snot that they suctioned out of her.
It was UNREAL.
Even the doctor was shocked.
And just like that, her breathing returned to normal.
We literally were admitted to the hospital for BOOGERS! HA!
We had a good laugh about it, and the doctor said that before discovering these "concrete boogers," she was sure that the x-ray was going to come back and show that she had a collapsed lung--that's how bad her breathing was.
(we actually requested her medical records afterwards, because my sister is a nursing student and she wanted to read them, and I was surprised to see the ER doctor's and pediatric doctor's notes--they were really concerned about her, and their notes were startling to read--glad they knew how to keep their cool and keep me mostly calm ;))
Apparently, newborns don't breathe out of their mouths, hence why she was struggling so desperately to breathe.
The doctor explained to us that newborns can get "concrete boogers," that can completely restrict their airways.
They decided to keep her overnight to keep an eye on her.
But by morning, we were cleared!

But then...at about 9pm that night, the same thing started to happen.
She was wheezing and retracting intensely.
Were we really going to go to the ER over boogers AGAIN??
We tried suctioning her ourselves, and waited as long as we thought we could, hoping we could fix the problem ourselves.
I called the advice nurse to ask if we could keep an eye on her and wait until the doctor's office opened in the morning.
She said we could, but that it might be better if we took her to the ER.
Her breathing was so labored, that we decided to drive back to the ER.
We actually sat in the ER parking lot for a minute, debating whether we should go in.
Monroe had fallen asleep in the car seat, and her breathing sounded a little better.
Definitely still labored, but better.

We decided to drive back home and keep an eye on her to try to avoid another ER bill.
Right as we got home, Taylor and I looked at each other and realized how stupid that was.
Even though her breathing did sound a bit better, what happened if things got bad fast?
We would never forgive ourselves for turning around because we were trying to avoid a bill.

When we got back to the ER, they admitted us right away again.
As we were sitting in the ER room, the advice nurse that I had talked to on the phone called me.
She said, "I have been sitting here thinking about your situation for the last 20 minutes, and I felt very strongly that I needed to call you to tell you to go to the ER right now. I've been trying to ignore these feelings for the last 20 minutes, because I didn't know if it was my place to call you back, but I couldn't ignore it anymore. I feel very strongly that you should NOT wait through the night."
I thanked her for calling and cried telling her that we were at the ER, after almost deciding not to come.
I found it so interesting that her promptings came right about the same time when we had decided to turn around and go back home instead of going into the ER.
Luckily, we smarted up on our own--but I was so grateful for this sweet nurse.

The ER doctors decided to suction her with their mighty suction-vacuum again.
And...hellooooo booger-ville.
It was unreal.

The ER doctor referred us to an ENT to have Monroe's nasal passageways checked.
Long story short (and after one more ER visit), a cat scan confirmed to the ENT that she has an extremely narrow nasal passage AND she was producing an extreme amount of mucus.
Those two things combined were just REALLY bad luck for our poor little Roe Roe.
We had to take her to a suction clinic two nights in a row to have them suction her out.
Watching the respiratory therapists suction her so many times, taught us lots of tricks.
Coupled with the nose freida, Taylor and I have become EXPERT suctioners.

The first two weeks of Monroe's life, I had MAJOR anxiety.
I never knew if she was going to start struggling to breathe, or if we'd be rushing back to the ER.
Luckily after about 4 weeks, her mucus production slowed, and we weren't suctioning her 3-4 times a day anymore!
Can you believe this was all over BOOGERS?
I can't wait to tease her as a teenager ;)

Our Monroe's first few weeks of life were a whirlwind.
But she has brought us so much happiness.
We absolutely love being a family of four.