So, the last time I wrote, it was last Saturday night and I thought I’d be pregnant forever or that I could go at any moment. In fact, I took that picture above that very afternoon and joked that it might be the last pregnancy photo I’d take.
Well, moments after I pressed publish on that blog post last Saturday, I started feeling contractions! I’ve had a lot of contractions this pregnancy, but these were a little different (or at least I was willing them to be different – haha!) They started around 8pm, and by 10:00pm, I was holding a family meeting – telling the girls that they might be meeting their baby sister soon!
Since my dad was here, I thought we might as well head the hospital just in case. We got to the hospital, and they asked me how far along I was and I said: 38 weeks, 6 days, 23.5 hours…haha. It’s true. It was by that time about 11:30pm and I would be turning 39 weeks (full-term) in half an hour. I thought for sure they’d send us home anyway – but I got sent to a room and they monitored my contractions and wouldn’t you know it, I was 4cm dilated!
Me in labor:
At this point, it was after midnight and Mr. M was very tired, so I had him take a nap on the couch there in the delivery room. I turned down the lights, read some mediation books by Thich Nhat Hahn and practiced my breathing. I read books for about five hours while Mr. M snoozed on the couch – although my reading was interrupted by some very intense, uncomfortable contractions!
I was pretty miserable and feeling like coming to the hospital was not the right decision- I probably could have stayed home and been able to sleep! At this point, I was still assuming it was false labor. Because I was at the hospital, I could not sleep a wink. Also, in the frenzy to get out the door, I forgot to eat anything – so by the time we got to the hospital, I had not eaten since lunch and I was soooo hungry!
The nurses came to check on me from time to time, and overall, I was just getting very tired from constantly contracting, not sleeping, and well…being in labor! It turns out that many of the doctors and nurses at the hospital remembered us from previous deliveries (this was our 5th delivery, after all!) Everyone was really nice to us and happy to see us, which was an unexpected bonus.
Around 6:45am, Dr. G came in to say hello and I suggested to him that he might give me some Pitocin to move things along. 😉
I know not many women would ask for Pitocin, but I was really ready to get the show on the road and I knew that the longer I was in slow labor, the more exhausted I would get (especially because I had not eaten/slept). I felt like I was staring down possibly 20 or more hours of labor – after not sleeping since the night before – and I just didn’t think I could do that without losing energy at the end when you really need energy to push!
I also know that I respond really well to Pitocin and that I respond really poorly to epidurals. I had a really bad epidural with the twins and overall, epidurals just don’t work well with my body. With this labor, I decided to try an epidural again – but after they placed it, I started having a really bad reaction to it – so I had them turn off the meds and decided to labor without the epidural. I was hoping the epidural would work out, but it was not meant to be!
So, basically, I was asking for Pitocin without an epidural (which is crazy) and then about half an hour later, they asked if they could break my water for me and I said: Yes, Please! I knew that would really get things moving! I guess it just goes back to knowing your body and being okay with asking for things that might seem strange to other people.
I kept saying that my number one goal was a healthy baby – so I really wanted that to happen as efficiently as possible! I also knew that with Pitocin, the pain would last for a shorter period of time – even though it would be more intense.
This is the view of the sun rising from my labor and delivery room. It was about 7am, and I had not slept but had been in labor for about 12 hours at this point! If you look really closely, you can see the Hollywood sign on that hill o’er yonder. I also had this same delivery room with Violet, so I know this view well! 🙂
Around 9:15 am, I knew I was close to delivery – so, Dr. K came to deliver the baby! Even though there was a big staff of people who could be there to help, I really just wanted Mr. M, Dr. K, and one nurse in the delivery room. I asked everyone else to leave, and it was just the four of us (plus baby!) in the room when I delivered.
We had a great nurse named Griselda who was no nonsense, calm, and knew her you know what!
Dr. K was amazing – he is so in control in the delivery room and knows how to calmly handle any situation that arises. My deliveries always feel very managed and controlled with him – no surprises – and this birth was no exception! Even though we all knew she was going to be a big baby, her delivery was very calm and peaceful.
Mr. M was fantastic and supportive, and after so many deliveries – he knows what he is doing! He was able to assist with the birth and video tape it and photograph it – all at the same time. Do you know how amazing that is?! 🙂 He was as involved in the birth as the nurse – and basically did exactly what Dr. K said. He cut the cord and was the first one to see her when she was born!
I had the lights turned down during the delivery – it was just natural diffused light from the outside – and everything was very calm and quiet. I was really focused. When I am focused, I get really quiet, so I just went with that and later (when we watched the video) – I noticed how peaceful and almost silent it was when she was born. Of course, then she started crying and even though she was crying, it was the most beautiful sound in the world to me!
This is me a few hours before she was born – chatting with the doctors, etc. I am not going to post pictures of when she was actually born because…well…you know why! LOL
So, just like that, our little baby came peacefully into the world at 9:45am, weighing almost 10 pounds! She was pink, perfect, and came out crying. Apgars were all 9s. They laid her on my chest immediately, M cut the cord, and we had ourselves a baby. She is the calmest, most mellow baby ever (knock on wood) – and we are completely, totally IN LOVE with her! Obviously… 🙂
By the time she was born, I had not slept in over 24 hours and had been laboring hard for about 14 of those hours. But, of course, after she was born – I couldn’t sleep anyway! Because she was LGA (large for gestational age), they wanted to check her blood sugars every two hours, weigh her often, do all sorts of newborn tests – and we did them all… But that also meant I was up with her around the clock, unable to sleep after pushing out a 10 pound baby – and I was getting very tired. Every time I would get her to sleep, and then get myself to sleep, a nurse would come in and wake us both up!
I actually didn’t get to sleep until Monday afternoon – which meant that I did not sleep from Friday night until Monday afternoon – over three days. On Monday afternoon, I got a quick nap at the hospital – and then I decided we needed to come home from the hospital so we could actually get some rest! It wasn’t the baby that was keeping us awake – it was all the hospital staff coming in and out of the room at all hours (even with a Do Not Disturb sign on the door!)
This was taken on Monday afternoon, after not sleeping for over three days. As you can see, even in my utter exhaustion, I could not take my eyes off of her – she is my dream come true! She is all of Heaven in a little package:
We came home Monday night from the hospital. The girls and Grandpa were so excited to meet her – they came running outside the minute we got home! Here is Paprika holding her for the first time. Words can’t describe the joy and love the girls have for their sister:
Mr. M holding her – I don’t think this child has been put down once since she was born. There is always someone holding her – usually me! 🙂 This was taken when she was 2 days old – you can see why the hospital staff was joking that I gave birth to a toddler! LOL
My post-delivery recovery has been rough (that is a huge understatement). I don’t think I have ever had so many problems after delivery – even with the twins – and that is really saying something, because my recovery after them was incredibly hard physically, not just emotionally.
I am in the worst pain of my life right now, honestly. I am sure I will get through it somehow – it’s just been one thing after another after another. And I realize it’s only Thursday – so it’s only been four days since she was born and I need to practice patience. I am granting myself a pass and not putting too many expectations that life will go back to “normal” (what’s that? haha). I really want to do some things – like take photos with all the girls together – I just haven’t been physically able to do that plus care for a newborn. And that’s okay! I am taking things slowly and enjoying each moment as best I can without putting expectations on myself that I have to feel back to 100% – or even 50%. Or even 25%. Haha.
Right now I know where my priorities are – and they’re right here – taking care of this beautiful baby who I still can’t believe is ours – and in taking care of myself, too.
Mr. M and Grandpa (my dad) have been really amazing – they have been very busy taking care of Paprika, Ginger, and Violet 24/7 – which is no small feat! I know I will cry when my dad goes home, and it’s not just because I will miss him…it’s also because he has been an amazing Grandpa and has been cooking, cleaning, and taking care of our family like nobody’s business! That has allowed me to rest and bond with the baby, which is the hugest gift I can imagine!
I can’t get over how much I love this girl – and how our family has grown right around her, as if she’s always been here right in the center. She is the heart of our family, and we are all smitten with her. I look at her and wonder if I’m dreaming. For every hurt that it took to get her here – for all the heartbreak we have endured in bringing children into the world – when I look at this face, I know it was all worth it and I would do it a thousand times over again. Even though I am currently in postpartum hell (truly) – I hold her and know that I would endure that and so much more to get her here safely. Ahhhh, she is bliss! I am so happy she is in our lives – I’ll stop now because postpartum hormones make me cry. Ha!
Welcome to the world, my perfect sweet baby girl! I don’t know how we ever lived without you!