Stephen is hanging out with the munchkin so I can have a moment with my mug of tea and this blog to fill everyone in on the events of the past week. It has been a whirlwind seven days and the emotion is so indescribable.
One week ago today, Olivia Lynn was born at 2.18pm coming in at a healthy 8.1 lbs and 20.5″. Her immediate crying made me cry and laugh all at the same time and my husband couldn’t stop grinning.
Her due date was officially yesterday, the 12th, but, last week at my OB appointment, I was already about 5cm and she was really low so my midwife asked me how I felt about induction. She said we could wait and I might go into labor on my own in the next day or two but she offered to induce me the next day given the level of my discomfort at the time. She was concerned about the severity of my sciatica and the fact that I could hardly move or bear any of my own weight without crying. After talking it over at length with Stephen and weighing pros and cons, we decided to do it.
I called my mom and told her to get in the car and start driving. She lives in St. Louis and, by driving all night, she made it to the hospital in time for the delivery the next morning. This was actually the one thing that I really liked about the decision to induce – my mom had enough warning to get there in time. I had her, Stephen and Stephen’s mom in the delivery room which was awesome to me. I didn’t want anyone else there other than them and it was nice and intimate. All three of them are the three most important people in my and Stephen’s life right now and it made sense to have them there during the labor and to see Olivia’s birth.
I was induced around 6am. Broke my water around 11am or so after the epidural.
I love epidurals.
We’ll leave it at that.
I also had a ridiculous amount of water. My midwife and the nurse helping her were both surprised at the amount that came out. My mom had an insane amount with me, too, so it must be genetic to some degree.
My midwife had me sit up after my water was broken and just let gravity do its thing. I was fully dialated but there wasn’t any pressure to push yet so I sat there and talked with Stephen and my mom and mother-in-law and snapped pictures of my labor room. I napped a little. Sounds weird and way too laid back looking back on it all but, at the time, it worked and my body just did its thing.
Because of this, the actual pushing part wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. I only pushed for about 30 minutes or so. It is one of the weirdest, coolest feelings ever, though. They set up a mirror so I could see the progress and see her coming out and it was incredible. I highly recommend the mirror for anyone giving birth. You may think you don’t want to see all of what’s happening but it’s so worth it and you don’t care about modesty or anything like that. It’s so beautiful and life-changing, honestly. And it’s motivating. Feeling her head coming down and actually seeing her head slowly get bigger motivated me to push harder so she’d come out sooner. I could see a finish line and it helped.
Stephen helped catch her. After her head was out, he was told to grab her under the arms and, on my next push, pull her out and set her on my stomach. That was pretty cool. That on top of cutting the cord made him a part of the whole experience and he was thrilled.
I don’t think I stopped crying for a good 15 minutes, even while she was off on her warmer getting dried and weighed and checked. I can’t even describe the amount of joy and relief I felt. Joy because she was here finally and relief because she was healthy and alive.
After she was checked and weighed and measured and poked and prodded (which she was not happy about) for a good ten minutes or so – I was busy passing the placenta and being stitched up – they brought her little naked pink body back to me for some skin-to-skin under a nice warm blanket.
Feeling her little warm body against mine is probably my favorite moment out of the whole experience. She quieted down and I just existed with her for a moment. I didn’t even notice anyone else around me, didn’t notice anyone taking pictures, didn’t feel any pain as the epidural wore off. I was just there with my daughter and it was, by far, one of the happiest moments of my life.
We ended up staying in the hospital for about two days total. The staff at Northside was incredible, I have to say. Everyone was so nice and very efficient. Anything they had to do to check me or her, they did quickly and left us alone. They only hung around if I had questions or if they had to explain something to me. They were very quick to fetch anything we needed. They only took Olivia to the nursery for her pediatrician checkups and her PKU tests – other than that, she stayed with us the whole time. It was truly a wonderful experience and one I’ll be happy to repeat when we have another one in a few years.
Since being home, I’ve taken it as easy as I can. My mom is here for about two weeks and she’s handled all the grocery shopping and house cleaning. She’s even been taking Max on walks, keeping him brushed and bathed. She’s up in the mornings when I am to make tea and breakfast and to hang out with Olivia while I go have five minutes of “me time” to wash my face and get dressed and say hi to Stephen. Stephen has been really great about getting up at night to bring her to me for feeding and then taking her to change her diaper afterwards so I can immediately go back to sleep.
All in all, I’m averaging about 2-3 hour chunks of sleep through the whole night starting from about midnight and going until about 8 or 9am, which I think is pretty good, actually. She hasn’t been overly fussy yet so I’m taking as much advantage of it as possible to stay rested so I can heal quicker.
So far, she’s awesome and beautiful and I love every moment of her. I could sit and stare at her all day long. She’s my little bug, my precious, my angel, my princess and definitely a daddy’s girl. She has him around her little finger already and it’s adorable.
More to come later but I wanted to drop by and tell everyone the story and let y’all know that we’re doing great.
Now I’m off to cuddle…