I’m very late with this post considering how our little girl is now nine weeks old, but better late than never, right? Besides, it’s taken me the entire nine weeks to get my act together enough to actually put this down on paper. Don’t get me wrong, I feel a lot more “with it” this time around, but I’m still struggling with the whole schedule thing. I consider it a good day if I manage to get the dishes cleaned and the clothes picked up off the floor. Other than that… not much else is getting done.
Anyway… back to the point of the post: Annalise. She’s here and she’s lovely. She made her grand entrance on March 20th and I couldn’t have asked for a better labor experience. Well, I guess I could have asked for an epidural in time for it to have made a difference, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
It all started the day before when we went to my 39 week check up. The previous week I had only been measuring 1 cm dilation so I figured we were in for the long haul. That’s why I was so surprised to have the doctor say, “you’re at a four, the baby will probably come in the next day or two.” You should have seen the panic in my husband’s eyes. Not because we weren’t ready, but because he was terrified of us having the baby anywhere but the hospital. Given my sister’s experience last year, and since it could take the CPA anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half to get home from work, he had good reason to be concerned. It helped that the doctor told him to stay home from work the next day. She went a step further and suggested that we go to the hospital any time after 3:00 to induce labor. If we didn’t want to do it on Wednesday, we could wait til Thursday. But either way, she thought it best to have the baby by then.
We made it through the night without any problems and the next morning started much the same as any other. I was not having contractions and I was feeling pretty normal (as normal as a nine month pregnant woman can feel). We made sure our bags were packed and that the family who was going to watch Henry was on stand by. It was around 12:30 when we were hanging curtains in the nursery that I had my first real contraction. I knew right away that it was different. I casually mentioned to the CPA that labor was starting on its own and, since he had been getting more and more anxious as the hours had gone by, he went into action. He grabbed Henry and his overnight bag and headed out the door. I headed for the shower. If I was going to be labor for who-knew-how-many-hours, the least I could do is get myself clean.
I was still getting ready when my husband got back. He couldn’t understand why I was taking my time. I tried to assure him that the contractions were still a good 20 – 30 minutes apart and that we had nothing to worry about. He wasn’t buying it. But by 3:00 we were ready, the doctor was notified and we were on our way to the hospital. The contractions were picking up and I knew the CPA wouldn’t be calm until we were in the labor and delivery room. Sure enough, as soon as we made it to the hospital, my husband settled down. All he had to do now was sit back and wait.
Okay, not really, but he was definitely much more relaxed. In fact, everything was going very smoothly for both of us.
I was dilated to a five, the pain wasn’t terribly bad, and we had a fantastic nurse who was by my side the whole time. In between contractions we relaxed as much as we could and we laughed and made jokes.
Then it all changed when my doctor came to check on me and decided to break my water.
They had me prepped for Pitocin but soon realized it wasn’t needed as things were progressing fast enough on their own. In fact, I was really hurting at that point. I started asking for the epidural and was told that the doctor was with someone else but would be in soon. The contractions were coming along nicely now and by nicely I mean that I was crying out in pain while wondering what on earth I had gotten myself into.
The nurse checked me again and said I was at least a seven, maybe more, as she couldn’t tell for sure. The anesthesiologist finally came in and they had me get into position. As you women may know, this means that you sit on the edge of the bed and round your back so that they can put the needle in for your epidural. At that point it was all I could do to sit upright. I remember yelling and telling the nurse that I couldn’t do this anymore. She got right in my face and said, “yes you can, you can do this.” In between my yelling and crying out in pain, the doctor inserted the needle and I finally felt hope. Then the next moment I felt like I had to push.
They flipped me over as best as they could and told me to get ready. I was suddenly terrified. I hadn’t planned on this, it wasn’t what I had expected. I always figured I would get an epidural and that would be that, the pain would be gone and I would be able to have a calm birthing experience. The previous weeks flashed before my eyes and I could picture my sister’s “Bradley Method” book where it was laying on my desk at home, completely untouched. All the good intentions I had of learning how to manage the pain were gone and I was left with no way to deal with this. No way but panic.
The doctor must have known that because she immediately tried to reassure me and said that I would feel better once I started pushing. So I went for it. I didn’t have a choice really, and I knew it.
I pushed and I pushed and about ten minutes into it the epidural kicked in just enough to take the edge off. I was no longer yelling out and was instead pushing as hard as I could all the while asking: Why isn’t she here? Where is she? The doctor told me to reach down and feel her head and amazingly I did. That was what I needed – a few long pushes later and out she came.
She was placed on my chest and I felt the most surreal feeling of unbelief, relief and love. I couldn’t believe it was over, she was finally here. I later watched the video that the CPA had taken and I laughed at how I must have said, “she’s really here!” at least ten times. It was the most amazing feeling ever. I’ve only felt that way one other time – after Henry was born. This time was a bit different since the delivery was relatively fast and, at least to me, somewhat dramatic. But all of that didn’t matter. Five and a half hours of labor and she was here. All 8.8 lbs., 21 inches of her.
And she was beautiful.
After a few minutes of holding her, they whisked her away to get her vitals. She was doing just great. The CPA got her back when they were through and he just looked at her. You should have seen him cry. There is nothing so sweet as seeing a big man cry while holding his new daughter (or son) for the first time.
Then it was my turn. Oh how I love this baby girl.
The nine months of sickness, the recent weeks of awful discomfort, and the 35 lb. weight gain (20 of which I’m still working on losing) was all worth it. She is perfect. And it’s worth mentioning… she has the longest toes I think I’ve ever seen. She gets that from her dad.
After eating some dinner and resting a bit, we were then shown to our room. It really was the smallest room I’ve ever seen so the CPA gratefully went home to spend the night in our bed. I didn’t mind because I knew I would be up all night between feedings and the constant visits by the nurses. He returned bright and early the next morning bright with a little visitor.
Henry had come to meet his sister. We had him visit me first while the baby stayed in the nursery so that we could ease him into it. As it was he was acting a little weird – quiet and unsure. I can’t blame it really, I would have been acting weird too. When he finally met Annalise, he gave her the book he had picked out just for her and she, in turn, gave him a super cool Lightening McQueen toy. It was a win-win for his part.
We had been anxious to see how Henry would take to Annalise, but we needn’t had worried… he is just as smitten with her as we are.
Even now, nine weeks later, he completely dotes on her. He often asks where she is and if he can hold her, then he pats her head and says to me, “she likes me Mommy.”
To which I reply: Yes Henry, she sure does.
And we really like her too.