Monday, October 17, 2022

Hallie's Birth Story

Hallie Kaye Kleinmeyer joined us on August 19th at 7:31 am. We are over the moon in love with our precious little rainbow baby. We knew that this pregnancy and birth would be different after the loss of our last baby in September, and we hoped and prayed for a healthy, live baby and a redeeming birth experience. We are so thankful that we got both, along with a reminder of God's perfect timing and a wild story connected to her name! 

Eli and Addie both came ten days early on their own, so it was easy for me to mentally expect the same for this little lady. My due date was August 21st, so I was thinking August 11th would be the day. Once we got into the first week of August or so, I started going on lots of morning walks around the neighborhood, but I honestly didn't feel like my body was ready. I had a disappointing lack of progress at my baby appointments, and it was almost like I was late or overdue before we even hit my actual due date. We also selfishly wanted Baby Girl to come during a free week in August when we didn't have to worry about any receptions out at The Brim (and the logistics of small business ownership that don't just stop when you have a baby), and when we wouldn't have to worry about missing Eli's Back to School Night or First Day of Kindergarten! I'll admit, I was starting to get a little impatient and frustrated, which seems silly now.

We had the chance to try to schedule an induction early, but I didn't feel great about that. We called just to see if it was an option, but they were full that day so we took it as a sign that we needed to be patient. We went ahead and scheduled an induction for the day after my due date, Monday the 22nd, knowing that we would go in late that night if I was overdue and we would be guaranteed to have my doctor for a Tuesday delivery. At that point, we knew we would also be avoiding any weekend wedding conflicts. I was happy to have a plan in place and felt more at peace. What happened would happen. But honestly, I didn't want to be induced. Not only did I hope my body could go naturally and avoid complications, but I also had memories of being induced last September to deliver our stillborn baby, and I really wanted to avoid that if possible. Sure it was much different, but mentally there were some things I connected with that experience. 

On August 18th at 8:45 am, I had another baby appointment. When they checked me, I was at a one and maybe 50-70% effaced. This was super disappointing after all the walking and encouraging her to come that I had attempted. Even though my doctor was going to be out of town, I knew I preferred going into labor on my own versus getting induced. So they went ahead stripped a few membranes, and we figured we'd see what happened. 

We made it to Eli's Back to School Night, and got to drop off his school supplies and meet his teacher. I felt at peace that if I ended up not being able to see him get on the school bus for his first day because I was in labor, that at least I got to go and take a photo with him and know that he was set as far as school went. It also helped that we had put him on the bus for his two weeks of summer school, and we had already gotten the tears out of the way! Turns out this was my last pregnant photo.

After Eli's Back to School Night, we went to a local restaurant for dinner to celebrate. While we were sitting there, I started feeling a few mild contractions. After having three kiddos, I knew enough to know what a real contraction was versus the Braxton Hicks and small contractions I'd been walking myself into for the last few weeks. We came home and they continued every ten minutes or so. I didn't want to overreact too quickly, since I went to the hospital and had to go back with Eli because I wasn't in active labor and was only 38 weeks. But I was past 39 weeks this time, so things would be different. Anyways, I continued to have contractions, so I slowly packed my hospital bag (yes, I procrastinate on that), did loads of laundry, took a shower, and got the kids to bed in between the contractions. 

Around 9:30pm, Aaron called his brother just to keep him posted on what was happening in case we needed to make a 2:00 am call for him to come over and sit at our house while we left for the hospital. I always seem to go into labor or need to go to the hospital in the middle of the night.  I also called my mom (who had pretty much been living by her phone for the last three weeks) and let her know I had been having contractions for a while and that she may want to be prepared. 10/10 recommend having your mom there. We didn't originally plan on it with Eli, but I am so grateful she was there for his, Addie's, and Hallie's births.

I continued to breathe and work through contractions at home, timing them every 10 minutes from when they had started at 7:30pm until about 3:30am. I never slept, though I tried. I would just lay on the bed, then roll over and stand to work through a contraction, add it to my note on my phone, and then lay down again. They were definitely getting more intense. Even though they weren't five minutes apart, which is usually the marker for going in, I woke Aaron up and told him it was time to at least call the hospital. We found the number to call, and I couldn't even talk to the woman on the phone because I was working so hard through a contraction. She told us to go ahead and come on in. We called Austin to come over so we could leave, and let my mom know to head to the hospital to meet us.

We arrived at North Kansas City Hospital at 4:30am. They got me into a room and when they checked me I was at a 5.5. Hooray! I was relieved to know I wasn't crazy and that this was actually going to happen. There were some underlying nerves knowing what we'd been through the last time we were in labor and delivery, but we had no reason to believe we wouldn't be leaving without a baby this time. Our nurse, Amy, was incredible. I worked through more contractions and had my epidural around 6:30am or so, when I was at about an 8. My doctor, Dr. Newman, was out of town, which we knew would happen, but she actually had only delivered one of our kiddos (Eli) so that didn't worry me much. Dr. Lovitt delivered Addie and our last baby. 

My water never broke with any of our babies. Dr. Heizman came in when I was at a 9.5 and broke it, and we knew it wouldn't be long now. There was one contraction where Hallie's heart rate dropped a little bit, and Aaron and I were a little nervous. He asked if everyone knew our story and that we had lost a baby before, and of course they knew since it was in my files. But thankfully Dr. Heizman didn't seem concerned. Soon it was time, and two pushes later at 7:31 am, Hallie was in my arms. Hearing her cry was an inexplicable relief. I definitely felt her coming out more than I did Eli and Addie, simply because my epidural didn't have as long to kick in. But that was okay, because I also didn't have an epidural with our last baby (who was much smaller, but still). So it was redeeming to feel things a bit more and to hold a live baby on my chest. 

Although we did find out we were having a girl this time (another redeeming experience to change it up in the ultrasound room since that was where we found out we lost our baby last time), we still hadn't told anyone her name. After they handed her to me, I announced that her name was Hallie, Hallie Kaye Kleinmeyer. Hallie means "praise the Lord" and Kaye means "pure/rejoice". Kaye also is Hallie's Aunt Angela's middle name and Grandma Elaina's middle name, and was short for an Aunt Katherine on Aaron's side- who helped watch and raise his mom and aunts while his grandma was working. We also wanted another -ie girl name like Kelsie and Addie, and I liked how it all sounded together. The meaning was also what sold us.

Right before Hallie was born, our nurse team switched at the 7am shift change. We got Jaryn (a wonderful male nurse) and Katie, who normally worked on the mom and baby floor, but happened to be training on Labor and Delivery. After we had a little time to ourselves as a family of three, Katie came back in. She told us that she knew our story and we were already special to her, but she wanted to share that she also had experienced the loss of a child. Her daughter had been born at 26 weeks and lived for 12 days before passing away. Her daughter's name? Hallie Mae. And to think we were there at the exact time to have her as a nurse, and we had our Hallie Kaye. Goosebumps for us all. God's timing is wild. Katie told us she also has her rainbow baby, a son, now and that she knows how extra special and precious Hallie is to us. Pretty amazing. 

We moved up to the Mom and Baby floor and continued to have incredible care from nurses like Brenda, Brittany, and Sarena. North Kansas City is truly the best! I continued to just take in all of the joy and delight in all the things I got to do this time that I would have given anything to do with our last baby. I also had no stitches and no pain meds after the fact and felt amazing. Recovery was a breeze and I was so grateful, especially with two other crazies to take care of at home. It also helped that Hallie is such a sweet and easygoing baby. 

With an August due date instead of the January one we had expected, things had also changed regarding COVID and the visitor policy. I didn't have to be tested before I delivered, and our kids got to come meet their baby sissy in the hospital! That was one sweet and unexpected perk. It was wonderful that Hallie got to meet her aunts and uncles, grandparents, great-grandma, and other special friends. Another bonus was that we made it home the night before Eli’s first day, so we got to see him off to kindergarten! When it was time to go home, we got in the van and started pulling away from the hospital. That's when the tears really started to flow. Once you know what it's like to leave the hospital without your baby, it is inexplicably joyful to leave with them. 

We are so, so grateful for and in love with Hallie. She is the most precious gift and we are truly praising the Lord for her over and over again. She will never replace her sibling, but she is the best reminder of God's redeeming love and faithfulness, even in the hard times. I can truly say I can't imagine life without her and that having her was worth all the pain, heartache, and fear we had to navigate through since last fall. We love you so much, Hallie, and we always will, no matter what!