Wednesday, June 8, 2016

You're Here, Sweet Girl!

Dear Cecily,

You're in the world! Oh my gosh, the last few weeks, I've wondered if you would ever get here. (I mean, I knew you eventually would, but my original due date was May 31st, and then it was moved to June 5th after your ultrasound, so you can understand that I felt very much like an overcooked turkey by the time you actually arrived, on June 6th, 2016.)

I'm going to tell you my version of your birth story. As is tradition, your dad will tell you his, too. (His is always a lot gorier than mine.)

I'd been experiencing prodromal labor all week leading up to your birth. Prodromal labor is when the contractions are very real (and very painful), but they eventually peter out and don't send you to the hospital. They just send you to bed, feeling vaguely depressed and very anxious. Every morning, your dad would ask me: "So... Should I go to work this morning?" And I'd mumble, "Well, I'm probably not having a baby today, so go to work."

On Sunday, the Seattle area reached record-breaking temperatures. It was hot. And it was my due date. My later due date. And I was very, very crabby. Your dad and I went to Barnes & Noble and Issaquah Coffee Company to cool down and have a quiet moment away while your Memere watched Maddie and Simon. The whole time we were in Issaquah, I didn't have a single contraction. I was pretty sure I'd be pregnant for another two weeks.

Then we went home, and handled bedtime, and your dad and I sat down to watch a really dumb reality show that I record on Sunday nights. (I am so sorry to make The Kardashians a part of your birth story, but alas. They are.) I started having some painful contractions, but I was not getting my hopes up, because I'd been having contractions like that every single night that week. The contractions got a little stronger when we decided to watch Silicon Valley. After the show was over, your dad wanted to watch Game of Thrones, and because that show is too violent for me, I went upstairs to lie down.

This is where your birth story gets a little awkward. I googled "how to induce labor naturally." Now, I'd already googled it about twenty times the week before, and I'd tried all kinds of things, like eating a pineapple, core and all (I don't recommend it - my mouth was on fire for two days afterward!), going for walks, bouncing on the edge of the bed, etc. I had not, however, tried one particular natural method, which is basically breastmilk hand expression. I was desperate. I tried it. And immediately, I had the worst contraction of this pregnancy. "Huh," I thought. About a minute later, I had another one. Then another one. I finally texted your dad and said, "Let's get going in a minute." I sent him a screenshot of the times of each contraction, and he came upstairs and said, "Are these one minute apart?!" So we drove to Swedish Hospital at 11:30pm.

In the car, I felt really positive the doctor was going to send us home. Then I'd have a super painful contraction, and I'd think, "Well, maybe not..." But I still didn't want to get my hopes up, because that was the worst part of all the waiting from the week before.

We got inside, and they wheeled me to a room where they checked me. I was 4cm dilated, and 80% effaced. So, definitely progress from the 3cm, 70% I was on Friday, but not a whole lot of progress. They wanted me to walk around the halls for awhile with your dad to get you to drop lower. We walked for an hour or so, until I thought I was going to die. I said the word "EPIDURAL!!!" probably fifty times over the course of that hour. The more I walked, the more intense the contractions were. Finally, finally, they checked me again and said they were going to admit me, and that they'd send for the anesthesiologist. (Thank God!) They set me up in a labor and delivery room, and I waited for the epidural. And I waited. And I waited. And finally I said, "IS HE COMING, OR?!" (Because I'm louder and more impatient when it feels like my guts are splitting open with every contraction.) It turned out that he'd been called downstairs to do an emergency intubation. Your loving and understanding mom who is NOT in terrible pain looks back on that and totally understands why it took so long. An emergency intubation is totally more important than an epidural! Your laboring and irrational mom was VERY panicked that it was taking so long. (Labor hurts, my friend.) Finally, finally, he got there, and I had the epidural, and it was like angels were giving me a back massage. So wonderful. Until my blood pressure dropped really low, and I got very shaky and threw up and peed in the hospital bed, all at the same time. (It was exactly as glamorous as you're picturing.) The nurses got my blood pressure under control with bed elevation and fluids, and I felt much better.

Unfortunately, the epidural slowed my labor down quite a bit, so they broke my water and gave me a little pitocin to speed it up again. I was still at 6cm dilated, so when we realized it was breakfast time, the nurse and I encouraged your dad to go get breakfast. (Specifically the fabulous breakfast sandwich they make in the Swedish Hospital cafe. It's amazing.) The nurse told him, "You have plenty of time."

Your dad had been gone for maybe two minutes, when I felt something a little strange. I told the nurse, "I don't think I have to push exactly, but I don't know. It feels a little like that." She checked me, and called in the second nurse, because I was magically 10cm dilated. Whaaaaaattt? It was crazy fast. The first nurse said, "Call your husband! I'll let the nurses' station know that he needs to get up here!" I called twice, but there was no answer. Fortunately, he was already on his way back up, and one of the nurses at the desk let him know that he needed to hurry. (He said he thought she was joking, but no! She was not!)

When your dad was in the room, and Dr. Howard arrived, it was showtime! It was the most laid back of all of my births. Dr. Howard said, "If you want to push you can, just to practice!" So I pushed. And I pushed a few more times, and there were lots of encouraging sounds from the doctor, the nurses, and your dad, and then, at 8:26am, there you were! There was meconium in my amniotic fluid, so they had to whisk you away to check out your lungs, but as soon as you were born, I think everyone could tell that your lungs were in great shape. You screamed your sweet little head off! Then you peed all over the nurses. You nursed right away (you are a pro!) and pooped all over me, and those were your very first moments. You weighed 7lbs 5oz, and you were 20 inches long, which makes you the smallest baby I've ever had, and you really are such a sweet peanut! You love to snuggle. You love to nurse. Your first night was a little rough, but I think it's because you had your days and nights mixed up. You had very little interest in sleeping in the bassinet at the hospital. Last night was your second night, and it was much better. We're home, so you slept in your own bassinet, and you had some great stretches of sleep.

You are just the loveliest little thing, and we are so glad you're finally here! Welcome to the world, sweet Cecily!

Your Mama

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