Thursday, August 15, 2013

Introducing Katherine "Katie" Joy Zavocki -- Birth Story

Success and Relief, Katie is just minutes old. 39 weeks exactly, our little Katie made her grand entrance!  As previously mentioned, we had friends we met on the road in town visiting.  We had a great week hanging out, and I got my wish that this baby girl would stay put so that we could just enjoy visiting.  On their last (planned) evening, we met them over at the RV park for swimming & dinner.  When I exited the pool, I had the sneaking suspicion that there was more "water" running down my legs than should be.  After a hasty trip to the bathroom, I confirmed that my water had broken, a brand new experience for me as with the previous four, my water had either been artificially ruptured or had broken with pushing.  When I told Steve, his eyes got very big, & some mild panic started to ensue!!

We walked back to the Henson's RV, I texted my midwife & told her what was up, and she called back to basically say that she wasn't 100% convinced that my water had broken (I was convinced), but just to keep her updated, try to eat dinner & maybe grab a nap, if I could.  When I told her we were out with friends, she told me there was no need to rush home.  I relayed the info to Steve, who was still looking very uncomfortable.  Lisa had made a yummy dinner, so we all ate (I insisted on eating outside), though there was definitely some excitement & tension in the air.  Steve was hustling & bustling around, trying to make sure the kids ate & all our stuff was rounded up.  We realized that we had both vehicles, the van & truck, to drive home, as Steve had come to meet us straight from work.  He was super nervous about me driving back, but I wasn't having regular contractions, so I assured him I'd be just fine, and if not, we'd be following each other, so it would be easy enough to just switch over to one vehicle & have Kyle & Lisa come pick up the truck.  Sooo...amidst much hustle & bustle, we took off for home, me sitting on a pile of towels, since every time I stood up or shifted positions, water started running down my legs. ;)

I didn't do it on purpose, but when we got off at our exit, I accidentally went the wrong way...which totally freaked Steve out.  When he called, I assured him that all was well.  Being in the van with an easy-to-see clock helped me to keep track of contractions.  I noticed they were about 5-6 minutes apart, but super short, and mostly felt like braxton hicks.  In other words, if my water hadn't broken, I wouldn't even think twice about them.

Linda about 1 hour before Katie was born
Upon arriving at home, Steve was wound super tight.  Jake had fallen asleep on the way home, which seemed ideal, except that when Steve attempted to transfer him to bed, he roused with much yelling, & it was apparent there would be no more sleep for him given the circumstances.  There was some yelling, there were tears (from me & the kids), even sobs (me, after all, emotions were high).  Steve was flipping out, super bothered that our midwife was not on her way yet, and had trouble understanding that I wanted to wait 10 minutes to confirm that contractions (which, mind you, were light & short) didn't stop upon arriving home.  In ten minutes, as promised, I texted my midwife, informed her that contractions were 5-6 minutes apart, short, & varying intensity.  She replied that she'd finish eating her dinner & head our way.

With that, we headed to the basement to begin preparations for the birth.  No matter how much advance prep you've done, there's always some last minute stuff to arrange.  With little jobs for everyone, everyone calmed down & settled into a groove.  Jake & Genna were racing through the house, with much noise & excitement.  Meanwhile, I'd texted my best friends from Texas & asked for prayers for peace & unity & a smooth delivery.  We all gathered together as a family & prayed for the birth.  I think I'll always remember that.  Even my kids that always seem to defer & say they don't have anything to add, prayed for me & for this baby.

Linda in hard labor which didn't last long
I hung out on the bed in the basement, on my knees with my bum up in the air as my midwife suggested that baby was likely posterior since I could feel a bit of tugging on my tailbone with contractions & hopefully this would encourage her to turn.  I chatted with my friend Leslie on the phone, so you know contractions were still not intense.  Heather, our midwife, arrived & checked on me & baby & proceeded to do her thing.  A bit later, I had my first "true" labor contraction.  Heather came over to check on me again & began rubbing my back.  While she was rubbing my back, she & Steve chatted, & I remember hearing the girls come in & chat, as well.  Contractions were strong, lasting about a minute each, four minutes apart.  Suddenly, I felt a pop & a gush of water.  Contractions jumped to two minutes apart, and I was feeling pushy.  Heather told me if I wanted to make it to the birth pool, I was going to have to run for it.  I couldn't move.  She again told me I needed to run for it.  Somehow, I made it off the bed, walked through the bathroom to the birth pool, got in, and started pushing.  I remember hearing Steve turn music on.  Apparently, the girls were still lighting candles when I came in, but I was oblivious.  Baby girl was out before the first song on the cd was over (less than 5 minutes)!  When I opened my eyes, I saw my three girls peering over the side of the birth pool.  Despite the speed with which it all happened, they managed to make it in time to see their baby sister come into the world!  Jake missed it, but he came down within a couple minutes.  My big girls were pretty quiet, but Jake & Genna were enamored!  So sweet to see them meet their baby sister for the first time.  And despite his age, Jake understood the baby was out, & my belly was now empty!  Okay, far from empty, but certainly sans baby!

It's crazy how fast it all happened.  According to Heather, active labor was 24 minutes!  If my water had not broken as a warning, there's no way she would have made it (she lives 45 minutes away).  Her sister & assistant arrived, washed her hands, put on gloves, and caught.   Even though we literally live just up the street from the hospital, I don't think we'd have made it!  Again, I love how God works out the details!

The kids arrived just in time to see Katie being born
So, although we dd not have a name chosen for this sweet blessing, we deliberated the next day & agreed on Katherine Joy.  Katherine means pure.  Joy comes from the Jars of Clay song "God Will Lift Up Your Head."  There were seasons in this pregnancy where I really struggled with a lot of angst about this baby.  We sang this song in church a fair amount, and I really felt like God calmed my anxious heart with these lyrics.  In particular, "Through waves & clouds & storms, He gently clears the way, wait because in His time, so shall this night soon end in joy, soon end in joy."  Indeed, Katie is the child I never dreamed we would ever have!  And even though this was not my easiest pregnancy, I count it all joy to have had the incredible privilege to once again, join with God to create new life & bring it forth into this world.  As all our children are, I know she is an incredible blessing from above, and I cannot wait to see what God will do in and through this little one!  We are one blessed family!  Welcome, Katie!

Dad holding Katie for the first time
The big girls can't get enough of their baby sister
Shanan and Katie are twelve and a half years apart
Jake loves to "pet" his baby sister
Katie on her first full day
Week old Katie sitting with Dad
Snuggles with big brother Jake who is potty training

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Visit with the Hensons

We're starting to feel spoiled with so many visitors after such a long hiatus without!  Another family we met on the road, the Hensons, told us they would be passing through SLC & would love to see us!  All of us were excited, but especially Genna, since she & Kylee hit it off in grand fashion in May 2012 when we met..  To add to the drama, we were waiting on a baby, but I was secretly hoping she'd stay put, at least until the end of their visit to make it easier for hanging out together.  Those first few days after a new baby comes are exciting but exhausting!

Best buddies
Kylee & Genna picked right up where they left off before!  It was so good to see great friends & enjoy their company, share food & memories.  Genna had her first ever (sans big sisters) sleepover at Kylee's.  She could not have been more excited!  Steve took them up to Cecret Lake, though I stayed back just because this baby is due any day & has settled nicely, making the thought of hiking in the mountains a bit daunting.  Lisa got her wish & saw her first ever moose -- a mama & baby, even!

All in all, it was a lovely visit, and it helped pass the time in these final days, when Steve asks me every morning before work, "So, are you going to have the baby today?" and every night says, "Don't have the baby tonight; I'm too tired!"

Gorgeous Cecret Lake, high up in the Wasatch mountains
We saw this mama and baby moose, the first wild moose that Lisa ever saw
Sunset as we were making our way down
And, to top the visit off, baby girl did indeed make her grand debut!!  The Hensons were going to leave on Friday morning, so we decided to spend Thursday afternoon/evening together for one last hurrah.  Steve met us over at the RV park after his training meeting, and while Lisa slaved away making dinner for us (again -- they totally spoiled us this visit), we all went to the pool with Kylee.  And, when I got out of the pool, I had the distinct sensation that something was awry...yep, my water broke!  Talk about adding some excitement to our final evening together!!  And, plans for Kylee to have a sleepover at our place got bumped.  But, we didn't have the baby at the RV park. ;)  And, Kyle & Lisa decided to stay another day to get to meet our brand new addition!!  If you want the details of how the birth went down, stay tuned for the next post.  It was amazing really how it all worked out.  It was sooo incredibly sweet to get to share Katie's birth with friends!  Love how God works out the finer details!

Final photo before saying goodbye; of course Jake had to be in it.
Lisa holding Katie, it was so awesome that the Henson's extended their stay to meet her.
Kyle deciding whether to try for another ;)
Jake had so much fun playing with Kyle