Monday, March 7, 2011

Eisley's Arrival

 It seems so unnatural that I am no longer doing kick counts or contraction monitoring of any sort.  That I am no longer unable to walk like a normal human being.  That I am no longer lugging my heavy body over 212 times a night.

Most of all, it seems crazy that we have a brand new little person in our family and we only just found out about her days ago.

Before the smallest of details regarding her arrival slip through the cracks in my mind, I want to document her world debut.

 For days (okay, weeks) I have been at the point in pregnancy that feels like I cannot possibly face another sunrise without becoming certifiably insane due to physical exhaustion and emotional turmoil while playing the When will my life suddenly change? waiting game.

Stupidly, I got my hopes up entirely too high when I went to a doctor appointment on Friday, February  25th.  They were up so high, in fact, that in order to keep my family from missing the big event, I came home and willed my body not to take things any further until Saturday night, Sunday at the latest.
 So, you can imagine the extreme disappointment that came with waking each morning after that, and I had to wake up six mornings with feelings of complete defeat.

Jimmy threatened to start charging me a fee if I continued to say, "I think I will be pregnant forever."  I didn't stop, because well, I wasn't exactly thinking completely clearly at that point.

I made it through my last day of work on Thursday and came to my doctor appointment.  My doctor was very sensitive to my concerns about my family leaving for a destination five hours away and when she discovered I had made significant progress since the first time I thought I made promising moves towards the end, she said, "Are you sure your family is going?"

When she informed me that I was nearly halfway done with the laboring process without being in active labor I felt trapped.  I wasn't sure I could make it through the weekend, but wasn't showing signs of impending labor in the next twenty four hours.  I also felt panicked thinking about the chances of not making it to the hospital.  My doctor even told me there would be no way I could wait until I was having regular contractions or follow the standard "rules" for women to come in by.  She informed me that she would be on call all weekend and that she was leaving the choice to me if I wanted to be induced that night either.  I love my doctor for more reasons than one; one huge one is she isn't pushy and she's not big on unnecessary interventions.  She told me that she couldn't send me over under medical circumstances but that I was a prime candidate for pitocin to help me out in my particular situation.

I hate the thought of inductions or scheduled births.  My first reaction to her throwing that out was a simple no way!  She gave me several options - trying to wait it out until Sunday when my family would return and inducing then, inducing that Thursday night, or never inducing and waiting to see when baby would come.  She left me to make a choice without an audience, so I called Jimmy and then my mom to get outside opinions.

Jimmy and my mom both assured me that it wasn't selfish for me to go the induction route despite my irrational fears of pitocin.  My outlook on the day went from hopeless to full on panic mode in about five minutes.  I confirmed my choice with my doctor, she made arrangements at the hospital, and I walked out of the office in a fog.  I sat in my car in the parking garage for a good ten minutes wondering if I had really messed up with my choices.  Tempted to walk in and call the whole thing off, I just sat and cried instead.  I called Jimmy with a list of last minute things to do as nightmare scenes of another birth gone wrong in my mind played on a repeating reel.  Despite the hundreds of stairs I had walked, the spicy foods and pineapple consumed, the rocking on the exercise ball, the desperate thoughts of please let my water break when I roll over this time...I found myself not ready.  Why didn't I spend more time with Ruby before I left that day, why didn't I tell her I loved her just one more time?  I felt an extreme amount of guilt as I thought about her world changing without her knowledge or consent.

I managed to pull it together and leave.  I drove to Kohl's with intent to buy many cute boy outfits in an attempt to take my mind to another place, a place where I could see that the end was in sight.  Upon discovery that our Kohl's has the smallest selection of cute, weather-appropriate baby boy clothing ever, I left there crying again.  I found myself at Target moments later where I wondered around aimlessly collected a strange assortment of goods to pay for - new socks, makeup that I didn't bother to match to my skin tone, despite the fact that I have never used this makeup before, and two makeup brushes.  Also noted there, nothing suitable for a baby boy that was a) small enough, b) weather appropriate and c) not just a boring sleeper.  I was still having fairly consistent contractions at this point which was a new development for a normal day; I wondered if that, along with the emotional ups and downs, was a sign that my body was gearing up by itself.

The looks I received as I toted about my purse, my bag, and my huge belly were a combination of pity and wonder.  I wonder what they thought about me?  I thought about flashing my wedding rings (which fit me all the way to 39 weeks, 5 days!).  I also thought about yelling something subtle like, "STOP STARING!"  but decided against it.

I had a nurse tell me that she had been working in labor and delivery for many years and she had never seen a belly a like mine, that it appeared fake...but definitely cute.  Thanks?  I would hear this about six more times before I delivered.  I went to the waiting room where I listened to an excited family talking about their newest addition; I tried to read The Pioneer Woman's book from my kindle, but found myself over thinking things and being distracted by excited conversation about Little Joey surrounding me from the family in the room.

An hour and a half later, they escorted me to my room where I was finally set up to get things going.  I had to be placed on an antibiotic for precautionary reasons; they hooked up the monitors and I sat staring out the window as I listened to babycake's heart thumping away willing my family to arrive sooner rather than later so I wouldn't be so lonely and so I'd stop feeling the need to explain the situation to anyone else that entered my room.

Blood was drawn, silly questions were answered, my mind wondered about with scenes of horribly long labors, my desires for another natural birth flying right out the window with the introduction of the foe, pitocin.  I couldn't see the end.  I couldn't get myself to relax and realize that I would be holding my baby in hours.  I was able to push these thoughts to the side when Jimmy, Mom, and Meredith walked in (carrying Starbucks with them, the addicts).

For thirty minutes, I wondered about the contractions my body was having on its own; they seemed slightly different than normal but not with pain or intensity.  Just different.  The pitocin was started as I silently tossed up a prayer to let it be kind to my body.  That was 5:30.

At 7:00, my doctor came in and told me she was disappointed I was smiling but remarked about progress made and broke my water around 7:10.  She walked out leaving me with instructions to not be smiling when she returned.  It was right after shift change, so we were becoming acquainted with the nurse who was a complete dream.  And as it turns out, in this small world, she already knew a lot of where we were from, and the people in our town - including Jimmy's family.  She knew my wishes for a natural birth and told me that she did the same with her own children.  She was kind; sympathetic and completely understanding.

I have always been quite good at following directions; I most definitely wasn't smiling when she returned.  After the disgusting new experience of my water breaking, I went from sitting up to laying down with a brief relationship with the oxygen mask and really having to focus through contractions.  I had a difficult time allowing myself to become excited when they started prepping for baby with the warmer and notification to the baby team.

Just as I did with my first delivery, I took myself away to another world, a world where I imagined waves crashing on me as I fought through the peaks of contractions.  I was aware of those around me, but unsure of where they were exactly and what was happening.  My nurse, Jennifer, was amazing at preparing me for a contraction, telling me when it was peaking, and walking me through the end of it.  I could hear conversation about various things, remarks about babycake's bottom sticking up unbelievably high during each contraction, I asked for a cold rag, I gritted my teeth and willed my body to hurry up.  But most of all, I really wanted to just get up and leave.  I was sure I couldn't fight through any more contractions.  I never opened my eyes after I hit the 7 cm mark; it's apparently some sort of fighting mechanism for my body because I remember the same thing from Ruby's birth.

Instead my doctor was back in, fully dressed, and sitting on the edge of my bed rubbing my leg through contractions.  I was 10 cm; it was shortly before 8:00 PM.  I started pushing which was surprisingly relieving - something that I felt would surely kill me the first go 'round with labor and delivery.  There was never any forced pushing attempts, with countless counts to ten; it started out slow with my doctor coaxing me through contractions and bearing down.  I could feel everything, and for that I was surprisingly thankful.  There would surely be no surprise cuts or vacuuming devices this time.

And there wasn't.  My body knew the way to go.

Babycake was born at 8:13 PM and I feared rolling off the bed due to sheer shock when I saw her little girlie bits.  I remember opening my eyes to see her, and throwing my head back completely overwhelmed with emotion.  It was over, she was crying, she looked healthy, and SHE WAS A SHE!  (Hello, more monogrammed, pink frilly flowery things?  Yes please!) She was placed on my chest and I just cried...a common theme for the day, but for this time, it was pure joy and an overwhelming since of love at first sight.

Most of all, I felt relief and joy.  I did it, and I did it all myself with no drugs on pitocin, albeit an extremely low dose - something just enough to put my body over the edge.  My baby was finally here, and she was healthy and perfect and beautiful.  And I was done being pregnant.

My sister, the paparazzi, captured some amazing moments, risking what could have been her life for taking pictures too soon after delivery.  She managed to video the end of the pushing part and her actual birth which I will forever treasure.

As I laid in bed, I marveled at how smoothly things had gone.  My doctor told me to look at my baby as she scooted over so that I could see precious memories being captured.  Baby Girl (who had yet to be named) was staring intently at her Daddy.  It was so obvious she knew his voice, and the image of them together was priceless.

Babycake was 6 pounds, 6 ounces; 20 inches long.  Long and skinny.  I knew she was smaller than Ruby when they put her on my chest.  And she was, by a whole pound.

We tossed around two different name options for months at the end of my pregnancy, but given that I was positive she was a HE, I never really felt pushed to settle on anything.

We settled on a name when she was about an hour old.  Eisley seemed to fit, and Jimmy really pushed for my Grandma's name and my middle name to be used.  I feel honored to give her such a strong and meaningful name; both of my girls have names like that.

After the initial exams of Eisley, she was given to us to hold for over two hours before they took her and Jimmy to the nursery to get measurements and other assessments.  I loved that there was no pushing to take her.  She was upset for over an hour about her sudden eviction and cried and nursed off and on during this time.  I spent this time crying as I marveled at complete perfection.  We are so blessed.

When she was taken to the nursery for the assessments, we moved our belongings to a recovery room (something I wasn't excited about hearing in pre-registration, but it turned out okay).  I stopped to watch for a brief second as we passed the nursery and I made note of the poor lady walking the hall in hopes of creating consistent, meaningful contractions.  I wanted to tell her, "good luck - glad I'm not in your shoes anymore." but I decided that wasn't very nice.

We got settled into our room, and shortly after, I caught my dad walking down the hall with Ruby.  I felt emotional (trend?) and was so grateful to see them.  Eisley, Jimmy, and Meredith came in shortly thereafter and Ruby got to meet her baby sister.  She was very interested in holding her, but more interested in inspecting her tootsies over and over again.  She kept saying, "Hold her again?"  Daddy and Papa had to fight their way in to hold her briefly before Ruby wanted her back.

We gave her back to be bathed (for the first time) a little after midnight and she was brought back right away.  Jimmy took Ruby to watch her being bathed, and they went to a hotel shortly after.

I was a little nervous about being by myself with a new baby, even though it wasn't my first rodeo.  But Eisley slept with me all night and if it weren't for pesky nurses checking vitals, we would have been good as new the next morning.

My doctor came in the next morning confirming my beliefs - I likely wouldn't have made it to the hospital had I not chosen to have assistance sending my body into labor.  If I were ten minutes away, it would have been one thing, but not an hour and ten minutes.  It felt good to hear her tell me that I made having a baby look easy.  I walked away from delivery with minor battle wounds and no painful or otherwise noticeable implications that I had given birth.

The 36 hours following her birth were spent doing a lot staring, nursing, and reading.  We were finally released to go home on March 5th (my due date!) around noon.  With sweet Eisley donning a precious outfit chosen by Ruby and Daddy, we saddled up a portable cart with our belongings, collected congratulatory memorabilia, and left with our babies.

I'm still marveling at all of this joy in my life.

Two girls; two unbelievably gorgeous little girls.  I suppose it's a good thing I left Kohl's sans baby boy wardrobe.

And an ideal birthing experience with approximately 165 minutes of labor.  With people that mean so much to me there to witness the miracle of life.  With Ruby being in the hands of my Dad, right where I wanted her.


capperson said...

Aww, Congrats! She is beautiful!!!

Brooke from The Bluestocking Guide said...

I'm glad you had such a good experience.

Hillary (Mrs. Einstein) said...

That was beautiful!

Jean H. said...

You've done a great job of capturing everything in your "journal" and I agree--you have two absolutely beautiful girls.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...