My baby girl will be one tomorrow. How in the world did that happen?
I’m on my way to bed, and I can’t help but think back a year ago. When I slipped into bed that night, I didn’t expect that I’d go into labor. I snuggled into beside Husband and tried to drift off to sleep. Only I couldn’t.
I realized that I was having some contractions and that they were starting to hurt. At about midnight, I realized the contractions were coming fairly close together. I got up to take a shower, and to assess the situation. I decided I was in labor, and I woke Husband up.
I have my doula, Becky, to thank for how well the rest of the night went. She came over right away and was an extremely calming presence. I labored on the birth ball. I labored on the couch. We watched Murphy Brown Season 1 on DVD (giving birth to T.V. shows is a thing for me, ok?) The contractions were getting closer together, but were never regular in duration. I remember Becky urging me to relax my face muscles. She said if I did that the rest of me would relax and that would help the baby come. It worked.
Carolyn was sleeping in her room, and Dad was trying to sleep as well. Eventually he came out and joined the party, mostly because he couldn’t sleep through the sounds of me in pain.
As the contractions got stronger, Becky felt pretty confident that we could stay put at home for a little longer (I am so grateful for this, as I seriously doubt that I would have remained as calm and able to cope as I did without her reassurance and confidence in the idea of staying at home for as long as we did). I snoozed for a couple of minutes at a time to Murphy Brown. At around 5 a.m. I woke up to decide whether or not to head to the hospital. The back gate to base is very close to our house, and to spare myself time in the car, I really wanted to go in while it was open. I knew that I could go in through that gate if I wanted to, but wasn’t sure I wanted to leave just yet. The thought of seeing sunrise and giving Carolyn a hug goodbye sounded appealing so I stayed put and ate some Frosted Flakes.
Little Miss woke up a little after 7, and as the contractions got stronger I found it difficult to keep my reactions to them low key enough to not scare her. With only an hour left until the back gate closed, we decided to head to the hospital. I hugged and kissed Little Miss and left her with Papa. We arrived in the birthing room a little after 8 a.m. Someone put Murphy Brown back on the t.v, and I got down to business.
Time seemed to stretch on forever, even though not much of it really passed. And I hurt. I hurt very, very badly. When I checked in, despite the entire night of increasingly intense, but never regular contractions, I was only at 3 cm. But I hurt. I really hurt. Did I mention that I hurt? I was starting to get panicky. I grabbed at Becky and I grabbed at Husband and I begged them to help me stay calm.
My doctor came in and checked me and I was at 9 cm. She decided it was time to break my water to see if we could move things along. Knowing how bad labor hurt last time with my water already broken, and knowing how bad I was already hurting, I really, really didn’t want to do that. My doula asked the doctor to explain the procedure and it’s benefits to me, and she launched into a gentle explanation of how this would help my body to pick up the pace. I told the doctor to please not talk to me. I didn’t want education. I wanted my baby, and I wanted to stop hurting so badly!!!! She broke my water, and immediately after said I was complete and it was time to push.
I was exhausted, and pushing was harder work than I remembered, but I got through it, and soon my baby girl was in my arms. She was so beautiful, and so foreign. I didn’t feel connected to my body. I couldn’t even figure out how to move my arms. And I was trembling violently. I kept waiting for the feeling of euphoria and accomplishment that I remembered from my first experience to kick in, but it never did. The important thing though was that my baby was there. She arrived at 10:35 a.m. only 2.5 hours after we arrived at the hospital. And I again progressed completely within a VERY short time span. She weighed in at 8 lbs. 10 oz, and she was absolutely beautiful.
I cuddled her all the rest of the day and all night long. I tried to stay awake long enough that evening to watch LOST with the rest of America, but the adrenaline wore off and I crashed about five minutes into it. (I really sound like a TV junkie when I write my birth stories, don’t I? ;))
The next day, Papa brought Big Sister in and it was apparent immediately that she was in love. When we brought her home, Little Miss was devastated to learn that Baby Sister could not sleep in her bed with her. She was just certain that that would be the only logical place for her to spend her nights.
I am so grateful for my baby girl. I love her so much. This year has been full of incredible blessing, and yet so very hard. Husband has been gone so much with his deployment and detachments. Depression reared it’s ugly head. But I had my baby girl. From the beginning, I would hold her and cuddle her and find comfort simply from her being in my arms. Especially in those first few days, often the only place I wanted to be was hunkered down with her reveling in her sweetness.
It’s been an incredible thing to see the birth of sisterhood in our family. I see my oldest baby girl growing up so quickly, and learning through the complications and joys of having this other little person to share life with.
And my baby girl is just amazing. She does the very cutest things ever. Like saying, “Shhh,” with a tiny finger up to her lips, and walking with adamance and vigor in a quick, sturdy, bow-legged cowboy walk. She crumples to the ground in silent protest when she doesn’t get her way, and her nose crinkles in the cutest way when she giggles. Her first smiles came as a result of my kissing her under her chin and that remains one of her very favorite things ever.
Mommy struggled through this first year, but I never, not once for a second, doubted the love that I had for my baby girl. Even in a place where I was outside of myself and unable to enter into it she has kept me grounded in and aware of joy. She and her big sister gave me a reason to fight to get myself back.
Happy Birthday little one. Mommy loves you.