Alex’s Birth Story

Alex-sept-9It’s been a little over two weeks since Alex decided to make his day-early arrival, but it’s a day Tony and I will remember for the rest of our lives.

It was a Monday, and it started off business as normal. I woke up and picked out one of my favorite maternity dresses. (I had been intentionally asking myself each day for the past week, “if this is the last day you wear maternity clothes, what do you want it to be?) I headed off to work with a list of things in my head that needed to get done before the mysterious delivery day would come.

Around 9:30 a.m. I started having contractions, but nothing particularly different from the weeks of contractions I had been having off and on. There wasn’t a formal start or end, so I made nothing of it other than to send Tony a text message telling him to alert the moms (both his mother and mine). This was actually the second time he’d done that, so I was a bit leery to give him that direction. I didn’t like the idea of becoming the mom that was constantly “crying baby” and then not actually going into labor. But since I was induced with Leo, I wasn’t really sure what labor starting contractions would be like. And I didn’t want our moms to miss the delivery since they both had an hour+ drive to get to the Birth Center.

The entire morning I tried to ignore the contractions and focus on work, but as the day wore on that became harder and harder to do. I was starting to struggle to focus and was become a bit irritated at things that wouldn’t normally ruffle my feathers. Around 11:30, when the contractions became a bit more formal and intense, I started timing them. It only took a half hour to realize they were consistently 4-5 minutes apart, lasting for 30 to 40 seconds. At that point, I decided it was probably time to go to The Birth Center to figure out if I was, in fact, starting labor. I spent the next hour sending out emails to wrap up a few projects and then a final email around 1 p.m. to the entire jhP staff (while most everyone was out at lunch) letting them know that I was taking the afternoon off.

Still feeling a bit unsure, I decided to stop Walgreens before heading to The Birth Center. I spent about a half hour walking up and down browsing through the aisles and grabbing a snack for lunch, still trying to determine if it was worth my time to stop and get checked.

At 1:30, I called Tony and let him know I was headed to The Birth Center. He asked if I wanted him to come, and I told him not to worry about it if he was in the middle of something. I didn’t want to interrupt his day. I said I’d give him a call when I had more news.

When I dropped into the Birth Center, I asked Kelly if I could get checked and told her I thought I might be in labor. Surprised that I was so nonchalant about things, she sent me upstairs so Eilene could check me. She took a quick look and sure enough, declared that I was in fact in labor. I had dilated to a 6, so I didn’t even have time to run home, baby Alex was on his way.

I sent a text to my mom giving her an update and telling her see needed to hurry, and I gave Tony a call. Fortunate for me, he had already wrapped things up at work and was in his truck en route to The Birth Center. I met him in the parking lot, we grabbed my stuff out of the car, and then we settled in for our short stay.

By this time, contractions were quite regular and starting to get intense. I could tell that my Lis and Tony beforebody was working fast to get the baby out, but I really didn’t want to push things along until our parents were there. So Tony and I hung out in the reception area. I sat on the birthing ball (still wearing my favorite maternity dress) and Tony on the couch, joking back and forth with the nurse and midwife as they took regularly took my vitals and listened to the baby’s heartbeat.

Around 3:15, we moved into the birthing room, and Tony and I took a final “before baby” picture. Shortly after that my mom arrived and contractions ratcheted up a notch. I changed into a plain red jersey dress and transitioned from sitting on the birthing ball to full squats during contractions, helping get the baby into final position before the pushing began. At that point my water broke and things started getting real. Contractions were so intense, I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to hold off long enough on the pushing for Tony’s mom to get there.

Once my body gave me cues that it was time to start pushing, I moved so I was kneeling on the bed and resting my upper body on the birthing ball between contractions. Right about the time I started to push, Susan arrived. I really can’t tell you how long I was pushing before Alex came out, but I know that by 4:05 p.m. he arrived.

Tony did a great job throughout the labor, offering me lots of support and encouragement. He didn’t hesitate at all when it was time for him to catch Alex on his way out or to cut the umbilical cord.

Those first few minutes with Alex on my chest and Tony beside us were pretty magical. After 10 months of carrying this little thing around in my stomach, there he was. 10 long fingers on his tiny hands and 10 long toes on his larger-than-most-baby’s-feet. He was long and slender and had a head full of dark hair. And he was a natural at latching so our early start with nursing was off on the right foot.

About an hour later, Brandon brought Leo by The Birth Center so he could meet his new little brother. I was so happy and appreciative that Brandon thought it was important for Leo to share that time with us. I’ll always remember those moments, especially when Leo saw Alex’s umbilical cord stump and said, “Look at his penis mom, it’s funny.”

And that’s Alex’s birth story. Born 4:05 p.m. on September 9th at The Birth Center. He was 22.5″ long (just like big brother Leo was), and weighing in at 8lbs 12 ozs (a full pound smaller than Leo!) We’re now a small family of four!


6 More Weeks

We're all having a baby!

We’re roughly six weeks out from Baby Menke’s due date. And while I’m super excited, just typing that takes my breathe away…

I’m not nervous or scared about actually having the baby. Been there, done that. (Leo.) It’s what I’m created to do. My Grandma Stahl had 11 children and didn’t even go to the hospital until she was having her eighth. (And she was a short, petite woman.) I’ve always thought the natural childbirth thing suited me. It’s such an amazing superhero-like process. I’m excited that Tony will be there to experience it with me.

I wouldn’t say I’m terribly concerned about how Leo is going to adjust. I realize it will be a process, but he’s been asking for one for a brother or sister for more than a year now. Leo and I spend a lot of time talking about the baby, reading books and discussing how life will change once he’s here. Leo’s really excited about being a big brother and is looking forward to teaching Baby Menke all kinds of things. The only thing that he’s been sad about is realizing he and the baby will have different last names. It broke my heart the night that he was so upset. But it is what it is. I just reminded him that different last names don’t change the fact that they’ll still be brothers and best friends.

I definitely don’t have things ready to go around the house, or at work for that matter. I’m certain they’ll fall in place over the next month or so, though. A trip to my parents to grab some of Leo’s baby stuff from storage and a day of moving/assembly will get the boy’s room ready. And work probably won’t be completely wrapped up, ever. But I’ve already came to peace with the reality that I’ll need to work some remotely during my maternity leave to keep all of my digital campaigns in good shape. It shouldn’t be too big of a deal though.

At this point, I think I’m just nervous about the unknown. Like how the new baby will change the dynamics of our family and impact our schedules. How I’m going to be able to be a good mom to two boys. How it’s going to change things between Tony and me. How I’m still going to be able to work in some “me time” so I don’t get lost again.

Deep breath…


I’m certain things will work out just when the time comes. It’s okay to not have complete control of the situation, and everyone will thrive if we can just go with the flow. I just have to remind myself that every now and then.

Worth the Wait

Yesterday was suppose to be another full day of testing (bio-physical profile, sonogram & non-stress test), and at the end of the day I was suppose to go home to rest, and wait for LBS to arrive.

However, after the sonogram, plans changed quickly. LBS didn’t score very well on the bio-physical profile, scoring only 4 out of 8,  and we were given an ultimatum by the midwife. Either I could immediately be induced at the Birth & Women’s Center with cytotech, or I would have to be transferred to the hospital that night to be continuously monitored until the baby decided to arrive. Given all the time we’d invested at the Birth & Women’s Center, the decision wasn’t difficult to make.

So at 4:45 p.m., I started the cytotech treatments. Contractions started shortly after and by 12:30 a.m., I was pushing. A short hour later LBS entered the world: 9 pounds 12.5 ounces, 22.5 inches long.

All-in-all, both the baby and I went through labor like champs! I was able to achieve my goal of a totally natural birth without any drugs and was able to do so without any stitches or tearing! Brandon and my mom were both there and were great support for me, and my mother caught LBS and cut the umbilical cord.

Here’s the first photo (we’ve still not officially decided on a name). Check back for more soon!

It’s Not You Baby, It’s Me

I ended up getting a checkup, sonogram, biophysical profile and non-stress test on Tuesday.

I was surprised by the sonogram because it was so different from the first one I had. The baby’s so big, I wasn’t able to recognize any of the body parts the technician was pointing out and could never figure out what he was looking for with his measurements. In the end, it didn’t matter. The baby scored 7 out of 8 on the biophysical profile, which the midwife was happy about.

Then it was time for my checkup. I pretty much hadn’t changed at all since my previous visit.

Today I returned to the Birth & Women’s Center for another checkup and non-stress test. Again the baby’s doing well, and I’ve made very little progress. The baby has officially dropped to the right position though, and I had more practice contractions last night, so we’re going in the right direction. It’s just slow right now. Really slow.

Because I’m getting close to 43 weeks, we’ve started talking about induction. Currently, the plan is for me to go back in for the full test work-up again on Monday/Tuesday next week. Assuming the baby’s still doing well, we’ve give him another couple of days. If he’s not out by Thursday, I’ll drink some castor oil (great), and if that doesn’t start anything, they’ll induce on Friday. We’ll start the induction using cytotech (so I can stay at the BWC). If I don’t react to it, I’ll have to check into the hospital and induce with pitocin.

Deep down, I have a feeling we’re not going to need to worry about an induction. If LBS is anything like his mother, he thrives on a deadline and performs best under pressure. Now that the date’s on the calendar, my body’s going to kick into gear and we’re going get this project done on time!

42 Weeks, Still No Baby

Tomorrow I will officially be at 42 weeks, and still no sign of LBS. And there’s nothing going on that leads me to believe he wants out anytime soon … other than a few sporadic days worth of practice contractions.

Last week when I went to the doctor, they hooked up a couple of monitors to my belly and we did a 20-minute non-stress test to see how the baby was doing. Like a champ, LBS passed with flying colors. The midwife said he had all of the regular heartbeat variations that they’d expect to see.

I’ve got another appointment scheduled for Tuesday, where we’ll do another round of the non-stress test, and potentially schedule an ultrasound for a full biophysical profile later in the week.

I’m not sure when we’ll start talking about inducing labor, but I know it will be a last resort. I can be every bit as stubborn as LBS and wait it out, as long as we’re both in good health.