Yo soy La Lay

adventures in family, faith, and Down syndrome

Meet Lauren – A birthday story

As a young person, I didn’t have any visions of my wedding, or babies, or life with little rugrats in pigtails running around at my feet.

What I envisioned, truth be told, was a meathead husband (check) and a gaggle of teenage boys, a house full of sports gear, and always being mother-of-the-groom.

And then life actually happened.

In case you missed it, we welcomed our third little lady earlier this month.  Like my whole pregnancy, I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that there are three Tiny Humans under my care.  And the fact that they are all females?  I am so confused.

If you like birth stories, here’s how Lauren made her arrival.  If you aren’t interested in learning about my cervix, thanks for reading and we’ll see you next time. 😬

At 35 weeks, I began having regular contractions (3-4 times an hour, pretty much all the time).  There was some concern because Baby was still breech, and it was a little early, so my OB insisted that I take it easy, at least until 37 weeks.  At 36 weeks, after the awesome week of contractions, I was not dilating at all.

At 37 weeks, Baby was finally head down, and my (false) contractions continued at regular intervals.  The head was in place, I was a centimeter dilated, and I thought surely Baby was going to come out soon.  Tessa had arrived this early, we were ready, why not?

Because babies come when they want, that’s why.

A small amount of desperation set in after 37 weeks and 3 days passed by (the point at which Tessa was born). Keeping up with my kiddos felt pretty much impossible.  Every step I took felt like the baby’s head was going to fall out.  At 38 and 39 weeks, though these amazing false labor contractions continued, there was no change in my cervix.  When I hit 39 weeks, my doctor offered to do an induction, but I declined.

Babies come when they want, right?

Friends, I cleaned every freaking inch of my house between 38-40 weeks.  All my cabinets sparkled, drawers were organized and rearranged.  I ate all the spicy foods, I administered some acupressure.  I tried all the things, y’all.  Baby was not ready to come out.  The contractions continued.  My children were confused as to when the baby would be here.  We were all tired.  Welcome to the end of pregnancy, right?  Anyone who has had a baby has been there.

Then our 40 week appointment arrived.  I had a non-stress test (NST) which didn’t end up looking as good as we would like (baby’s heart rate had a few dips that shouldn’t be there).  My OB did a check of my cervix and said “hmm, well, I guess it’s still kind of one centimeter.  It doesn’t seem really like a one to me” (which struck me as a really odd statement).  However, because the NST didn’t look great, she sent us over to the hospital to have a longer test and possibly to be induced if things still didn’t look right.

Because babies come when they want…. unless they get evicted.

After a significant amount of time on the NST machine, and a thrilling conversation about the diminishing function of my placenta and again the “weird” dilation of my cervix, we decided that it was time for this little peanut to have a birthday.

The plan was to place Cervadil in order to get my cervix to prep for labor on its own.  After 12 hours with the Cervadil in place, at 2:30 in the morning, we would start some Pitocin and then eventually, have a baby.

I was beginning to wonder why I didn’t stop to have a sandwich on my way to the hospital.  Thankfully though, there was a marathon of Island Hunters on HGTV to pass the time.

My cervix responded well to the Cervadil.  Around 9:00, my contractions started on their own.  I think around one AM, my most favorite human being in the hospital showed up – the anesthesiologist.  I got my epidural, and after a long freaking day, I attempted to get some rest while we worked our way to 10 centimeters.

And then at 4 centimeters, my progress stalled.

So remember that “weird” cervix I was telling you about?  And the feeling that the Baby’s head was going to fall out for so long?  Well, the little stinker decided that she really wasn’t going to cooperate with coming out and moved her head out of place.  For a little while, we thought maybe she had turned around again and was breech.  They carted in an ultrasound machine to check and she was still head down, but without the head engaged where it should be.

Commence Birthing Ball Olympics.

And did I mentioned that my epidural was wearing off on one side?

God bless my awesome nurses, who moved me over and over again for hours, attempting to coax our stubborn little child into place.  The Pitocin was flowing.  My Island Hunters marathon had transitioned to Fixer Upper.  At 9:45 AM, there was still no change from 4 centimeters.  My OB (whom I love) told us that “it’s still just kind of a mess down there.”

Babies come when they want.

Then at 10 am, her head slipped into place.  And at 10:15, my water broke.  And by broke, I mean it burst like a water balloon.  Like you see in the movies.  Like if we had been wandering through Home Depot, they would have needed a very large mop.

At 11:00, I was at 10 centimeters.  At 11:15, I felt like it was time to turn off Chip and Joanna and deliver the baby.  And at 11:30, after about 3 pushes, little miss Lauren entered the world.

For the first time, I got to hold my baby as soon as she came out.  After all the unpleasantness of birth was cleaned up, we let Ellie come in to meet the baby for the first time.  She was so thrilled to have another sister – and even more than I ever could have expected, we were (and are) over the moon elated to have another little girl.

This life is not at all what I imagined.  Of course, I still have my meathead, and there’s still a chance that sports gear will take over my house (though watching my big girls try to be athletic makes that chance seem very, very slim), but holy cow, we need to start saving for three weddings.

Welcome to the world, Lauren Ann.  We are so thankful that you are here.





Happy Sixth Birthday, Ellie!

I don’t really know what to make of having a six-year-old.  Every birthday does this to me.  I can’t wrap my brain around first grade, especially as I cradle her new baby sister, who looks just like her and wears all those itty bitty sweet little outfits that we had picked out for Ellie on our way home from the hospital after her birth.

When did my chubby little munchkin, whose nose and cheeks just begged for thousands of kisses, grow into this tall (TALL.), beautiful young girl??  Her personality has grown right along with her, and where once there was a goofy little toddler, now an inquisitive, serious, and dare-I-say dramatic school girl who loves to write and draw and ask her parents uncomfortable questions.

Why yes, Ellie, I would be glad to explain to you why boys don’t have vaginas.  In like, 5 years.

Ellie thrives on one-on-one attention and playing with friends who will pretend along with her.  She pulls Tessa, generally willingly and occasionally not, through endless rounds of “school” and “doctor’s office.”  She (like her mother) has a difficult time not calling the shots, not being first in line, not following her schedule.

As a matter of fact, at the beginning of the summer, I put together a plan for our days, with the intention of just getting the girls in the routine of cleaning something (Please. Anything.) on a daily basis.  On the fridge, The Schedule, according to Ellie, must be followed to a T.  No deviations.  Don’t you dare skip the school work.  

We do our best.

My sweet, sweet girl, with her big and bold feelings, is in a hurry to grow up and holding desperately to being a little one all at the same time.  I catch little glimmers of her teenage years from time to time – in her pretend phone conversations or playtime with her dolls.  It’s far too soon to tell what she’ll grow up to do, but we are in for a fun ride getting her there!

Around the age of two, when Ellie started asking us to chew gum, I told her she had to wait until she was six.  It was just some random age, for no real reason; it just seemed far enough in the future that it would never be here.  We stuck to it, and save for the few pieces slipped to her by Oma, she has not had much opportunity for gum chewing and it’s really the one thing that she is most looking forward to for her birthday.  Today at Target, I bought her a bunch of flavors so she can find the one she loves best, and she’s already learned that there is no chomping or she has to spit it out.  She’s ready.  I’m so not.

Happy gum chewing day, Girlfriend!!!  We love you so very much!!!! 

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So many things…. let’s start here today:

For as strong a gross motor allergy as Tessa has, her desire to be able to jump has always been high – so high that I’d rank it right up there with “eating all the donuts” and “figuring out how to open the front door.”  We signed her up for Karate with Ellie through our park district.  At the end of class, when they would practice by jumping from one mat to the next, a small part of me was so sad to see her crouch down, expecting to jump like her peers, only to need the support of her aide and teacher to be lifted up across the divide.

Unlike me, it never got her down.  She developed her own methods, popping up from her crouch and raising up on her toes as high as she could, or dropping to her knees and pretending to be a frog.  She laughed gleefully each time she attempted to get airborne.

I hadn’t thought about jumping for a little while.  School is out for the summer and we declined Extended School Year services for Tessa.  In a nutshell, this means a summer without therapy.  She gets activity in through Karate and swim lessons – and life with her big sister is pretty much a 24/7 speech therapy session. Mostly though, we’re taking it easy.

And then this:

Did you see those sweet little toesies get airborne?!?

We work so hard for progress in every area, and she is making it.  Sometimes though, it just takes a little step back on our own part and letting her figure it out.  And when she does, well, it’s got us all jumping for joy. ❤️

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