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Our First Born

It all started Friday morning at 5 a.m. I just turned 38 weeks pregnant. I got up to use the bathroom and then couldn't fall back asleep. I was starting to have contractions. I got up to use the bathroom again a few hours later and saw that my mucus plug had come out. I woke up Scott and said pack your bags we're having a baby this weekend. 

This got my heat pumping. We didn't know how long it would be until she went into labor.

I was pretty tired since we went to bed late the night before and took a little nap waking up at each contraction. 

Scott had two photo shoots he needed to get done that day. I didn't want to be alone. So, I came with him. First I made sure we had everything we needed in case we weren't coming back. We went to the Mall of America where I had to keep walking every time another contraction hit. 

I had been approached by a New York creative firm to shoot some key locales around Minneapolis. When I accepted it I hadn't even thought that she might have the baby at 38 weeks.

Then we headed over to the West Broadway Coalition. I got to talk to Erin who had just given birth at St Joseph's a few months prior. It was nice to get some advice from her. 

After the quick shoot we headed back home.

I was getting weak from not eating. I had been timing my contractions on an app on my phone. They were still averaging 20 minutes apart. After lunch I debated on doing dishes, but picked up the house instead. By then things were getting closer. They were still five to ten minutes apart so I didn't think it was time to call the midwives yet. 

Scott was finishing up editing his photos. Every time I had a contraction he would ask, "Is it time to go? How far apart was that one?" I decided to lay down in case it would be a long night. 

I didn't think we'd be home by my deadline of July 1. I finished both jobs around 5:30 and then sent an email out to my contact at Largetail, the creative agency I was working for. Right around six I checked the box saying that the West Broadway shoot was completed for Google. We were home free. 

I was still timing them at 7 minutes apart. Then suddenly I felt like something was coming out so I ran to the bathroom. A bunch of blood came out on my way. I started freaking out as I had just read a birth story of a woman who's placenta got detached and she started bleeding really heavily. 

Scott said lets go right now. I quickly changed and we were out the door. I called the midwife and she said sometimes there can be blood when your water breaks and said she'd meet us at the hospital. It was nearing the end of rush hour and I was nervous we would be stuck in traffic. I was also nervous the baby was going to come soon as my contractions were getting stronger.

During our hospital tour at St. Josephs's in St. Paul they said we could park by the emergency entrance and go in that way. We went in and they had to check us in first. Then they had to call someone to come get us. Meanwhile amniotic fluid is dripping down my legs. It felt like forever waiting for someone to get me. 

We probably would've been better off making our way from the garage to the maternity ward.

We called Emma and asked her to come over. 

She was photographing the birth. 

The midwife hadn't arrived yet to check me so they had me wait in the room with the fetal monitor on. 

Once Brie and her student apprentice, Laura, arrived she said I was 4 cm. They had me get up and use the birth ball while they filled up the tub. 

They're always checking on baby.

I was getting anxious about becoming Poppyseed Tuska Jr.

The tub was really nice once I got in. 

I tried different positions. 

This one worked best for me. 

I was starting to feel it in my back so I asked Scott to massage me. They helped for awhile. Sorry Scott, you weren't very good at it so it started to bother me. 

You try bending over into an extremely deep bathtub.

I squeezed his hand instead. 

I was good at this.

After two hours I was up to 7 cm. They checked again two hours later and I hadn't progressed. They gave me the option of getting out and trying different positions or getting Oxytocin. I chose to get out and try on my own. 

I took a long shower which really helped bring my contractions closer together. Then I tried the birthing ball. Things were getting stronger and I found it best to strangle Scott through each one. By now I had started moaning through each one. At first I was too high and had to try to control them to lower the sounds. 

She felt so strong with each contraction.

I went back in the tub and my contractions started slowing down again. The tub was just too relaxing for me. 

We found a variation on this position that worked better for the both of us.

Emma suggested I try sitting on the bed. I gave him a break and sat straddling the bed and hugged the ball. The midwives had never seen anyone use this position before and couldn't believe I could do it pregnant. 

They checked again and it seemed as though the baby was tilting its head towards its shoulder as if it was on the phone. My cervix was dialating differently on both sides. I also had been asking for more crackers, which the midwife said was a bad sign to feel hungry at this point. 

By this time I had been up 24 hours and was feeling tired. The midwife suggested getting an IV and a low dose of tocin. I didn't want it to come to this, but I wanted the baby out and didn't think I was physically able to try other positons again. 

We both napped while the midwives changed out for their shifts.

I was still at different numbers on each side. They suggested I lay on my side with a peanut ball between my legs. Being in the bed was so uncomfortable. I couldn't wait to hurry up. The peanut ball seemed to do the trick and I could feel the baby's head start to move down. 

By then a new midwife, Anne, had come in who talked really calmly and was very encouraging. They asked if I wanted to get back in the tub. I wanted to, but was worried things would slow down again and decided to stay in the bed. 

They wheeled me back into my room. Emma had left for a few hours to get some sleep and came back. 

I could tell it was going to happen, but I was so tired. I can't imagine how Brooke made it through everything with no pain meds.

I tried the  squatting bar and even that was slowing me down. Instead I used it to prop my legs up. 

I felt like I was pushing forever.  You were. I kept thinking why isn't her head out yet. The midwives made sure I drank some juice between each one to stay hydrated and to get some calories. Next time I think I will try making my own gatorade.

She wasn't a fan of the overly-sweet apple juice. They mixed it with cranberry juice and it made the grade.

My contractions were still pretty far apart. Which to me was okay because it gave me time to rest between each one. They announced that the baby had dark hair.

I was excited because this meant it had Romenesko hair. If it was a boy, it would never go bald.

 As baby was getting closer it's heart rate started dropping. I announced that I was feeling tired and they gave me some oxygen.

I don't think it was too low. It just had been so consistently perfect the rest of the night.

Then after what was almost three hours of pushing I felt the "ring of fire" and after two pushes, the second being a lot easier, the baby was out. The midwives congratulated me on being so strong and not giving up. It was 9:38 am. 

 I was lucky enough to announce the sex. I couldn't tell at first glance. Once they turned it over, I said, with an air of surprise, "It's a girl!?" I was just so surprised to see a baby girl. 

They placed her on my chest right away while we waited for the placenta to come out and for the midwives to stitch me up. Everyone couldn't believe she had so much hair. They say if you have heartburn when you're pregnant (and I so did) that you're baby will be hairy. I guess it's true. 

Scott delivered the news to our family and friends. 

 I was so excited to share the news that baby Meadow Jane was born June 29 at 9:38 a.m. With all our family in eastern Wisconsin or farther away, it was nice to have a smartphone to share all the info.

It's the strangest feeling ever to suddenly have a baby snuggling on you. 

I was doing double duty and likely forgetting people who needed to know.

They let her rest on me for awhile. I tried breastfeeding, but she wasn't latching. I was pretty exhausted too. 

Then Scott got to hold her while I tried to pee. It had been 8 hours since I last went and they said that may have been why she wasn't coming down quicker. 

The feeling of anxiety melted away as I felt a warm jubilation or maybe she just peed on me. 

After an hour or two I let them take her to get checked out and bathed. 

7 pounds and 19 3/4 inches...

and so darn cute!

She tried taking a little nap between weighing in and taking her first bath.

She was not happy about being cleaned.

I had a little bit to eat but was still too tired. Then we all took a much needed nap. 

We were so tired.

We spent the next few days relaxing. 

We'd nap for a few hours, Brooke would feed her and then we'd wash, rinse and repeat.

Emma and Tyler stopped by, but I forgot to take photos. Brooke and Emma had girl time while Tyler, Olive and I ate at Mickey's Diner. I brought back a strawberry milkshake for the best wife a man could have.

On the first night we Skyped with Grandma Gail (my mom will be Grandma Tuska), Chelsea and Mr. Mike for a bit.

Each morning we watched baby in her fish tank.

And ate bad hospital food. 

She loves sleeping on my chest. It's so nice as long she doesn't get too rambunctious.

She got her prints on the second day.

Cevonne, JT and Madeline stopped by quickly. Madeline was hungry and hyper so they let us relax.

She was so darn cute that we had to chat with my sister and Uncle Dennis.

Sometimes she slept with me. 

And sometimes in what we called the fish bowl bed. 

I actually enjoyed being at the hospital. I had many questions about my changing body and breastfeeding. The nurse staff was very helpful and knowledgable. 

Then it was time to go home. 

Surprisingly she rested peacefully on the ride home.

Cevonne surprised us with balloons and flowers. They stopped by later and Madeline played. 

She seems so giant to me after having a newborn. 

She ran around shouting, "balloons, balloons." I helped her get them down from the ceiling when she lost hold.

It's so nice to have friends so nice. We've learned so much from Cevonne, JT, Tyler and Emma being such good parents.

Besties for life.

Scott had made pizza dough on Friday, but we didn't get to use it until Monday.

It was no worse for wear. I made a couple margherita and mac & cheese pizzas on the grill.

Scott has been super dad. He keeps the house clean and cooks for me everyday. If I get too emotional or worry about something he takes over. 

We wrote all the deets in our book, though I hope this blog will be around for Meadow to see someday.

 I could just watch her all day long. 

I got our second CSA share of the season...

and then made dinner. It's fun being a dad.


I'm so proud of you Brooke! Don't you feel on top of the world now? Like you could conquer anything.

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