I went to the doctor Wednesday morning the 18th, 40 weeks and 1 day pregnant, feeling heavy and ready. Having opted against being checked previously, I was 99.9% sure that my first internal check would show me at least a few centimeters dilated and about 50% effaced, easy.
After all, this was my second pregnancy.
But after an extremely painful internal check, the Dr. just shook his head. And as he stood up to remove his gloves and flip through my chart, I waited quietly for a few moments, wondering if I'd be able to have this baby on my own, or if they would force me to evacuate her instead.
Finally, he spoke.
So, would you prefer to go in for the induction tonight, or wait until early tomorrow morning?
My heart dropped. I wanted so very badly for this little love to come in her own time, not on the doctors schedule. But my body wasn't anywhere near ready to let her go, and I was told that the combination of a gestational diabetes diagnoses and absolutely no effacement and dilation this late in the game meant that an immediate induction was the best and most necessary rout to get my baby into this world as safely as possible.
And because I love my doctor and trust his judgment, and because I had been praying that God would make the answer clear, I let go and let God.
We chose to get the process started that night, because my doctor was delivering the next day and we wanted to be sure he would be available. And as I waddled to the car, my heavy heart began to lighten with excitement and the checklists in my head re-organized themselves.
Send out a group text, check. Get my nails done, check. Do a final clean up on the house, check. Sew a blanket for big sister while she naps, check. Load the bags in the car, check. Enema, check (I know. But since my body was not going to go into labor on it's own, I was terrified it wouldn't clean itself out, so I was determined to do it myself). Shower, check. Makeup and hair, check. Same sundress and sandles I delivered Scarlett in, Check.
We wanted to feel as normal as possible, so we asked if we could check in after going to Church that night, to which the nurse agreed. We soaked in the well wishes, passed our sweet girl off to the grandparents and headed for the hospital. I was an excited, nervous, anxious, giddy, fluttery mess.
And I was so very hungry.
All of the checking off my lists that I had done earlier in the day had left my mind swarming and my stomach empty. So against my better judgement, we stopped at Taco Bell first-totally defeating the purpose of my earlier enema-and I ate my burrito bowl as fast as I could while we drove a few more blocks to the hospital.
We checked in around 9pm, and by 11pm I had a cervidil placed to ripen my cervix and antibiotics in my IV to fight the GPS+. We adored our nurse, and spent the night together laughing, joking, and downing maternity cocktails.
After a few more rounds of antibiotics and a quick removal of the cervidil and extremely painful internal check, I had dilated to a 3 and was 70% effaced. As I waited to hear what the doctor would like to do next, I showered and touched up my makeup. Around 1pm, the doctor came in to visit and said he'd like to check me and then break my water. Depending on my body's reaction, they would either administer petocin, or some other drug to get this party started. But first, he wanted to check me again.
And I begged him not to.
I used to think I had a pretty high pain tolerance. But for whatever reason, these internal checks were killing me. I was tired from lack of sleep due to the constant blood pressure checks and antibiotics for the GBS+, and I had already given up my natural birth plan the second they told me that I was going to be induced. I figured if they were going to pump me full of things to force my body to go into labor, I may as well take the drugs to make it as pleasant an experience as possible.
Mom fail, I know, but still.
After sheepishly admitting to the doctor that I didn't think I could handle another internal check, he told me not to be embarrassed, because the cervidil had made my insides even more sensitive. He prescribed me a light topical numbing cream, and said he would come back in an hour to check me then.
Best. Stuff. Ever.
So, an hour behind schedule, I was given the goods and they broke my water. And after a few more hours, I started to feel the contractions more regularly, but it was nothing I couldn't handle. With my first labor, my water broke on it's own and my contractions didn't start until I was already 6cm dilated, and when they came, they came hard. As a result of the intense back labor, I begged for the epidural and from there on it was pure bliss. So as strange as it sounds, I was actually enjoying getting to work my way through these contractions, and feel my body do what it was made to do.
As time went by and they became more painful, I would just stand up and rock back and forth, breathing through them. I labored pretty steady until around 6pm, when I could see on the monitors that they were picking up in number and intensity. Knowing I wanted an epidural eventually and that I was running out of time, I decided it was time to get down to business.
I locked myself in the bathroom, and vainly refused to leave until my body had emptied itself of anything that could possibly make it's way out with the baby.
Then-and only then-did I come out.
And after a few more big contractions, I asked for the epidural, knowing it would take a while for the anesthesiologist to come in. I still wasn't in unbearable pain, but I was suddenly terrified of something so big coming out of a very small place, especially as I remembered that my first labor ended with a third degree tear. I assumed this was going to be a sort of pain that my sleep deprived body wouldn't go through willingly.
By 7:45, my body was warm and heavy. The epidural I received with Scarlett stopped my labor and pitocin had to be administered to move things along, so I figured this would be no different. And at this point I hadn't slept in almost two days, so I was looking forward to a few hours of sleep before showtime anyway. So I sent out another group text, and drifted off to sleep.
15 minutes later, there was a shift change.
Instead of feeling frustrated at being woken up, I was thrilled to see my close friend arrive. She was in the room for my first delivery, but this time she was working and we were hoping my baby would come that night so that she would be the nurse to deliver her. We joked that God had kept our sweet baby inside until it was time for her shift to start, but now that she was here, we were ready. She danced around the room, pulling out the warming bed and getting the tools out, asking if I felt any pressure and when I had been checked last.
I told her they had just given me my epidural about fifteen minutes ago, so we still had plenty of time. She had me flip over to my side to relive the small amount of pain I could still feel in my lower back from the contractions, and decided to check me anyway.
And just as I was looking forward to getting a little more sleep before meeting my littlest love for the first time, she stood up quickly and told me there would be no more sleeping.
This baby ready to come out.
There would be no practice pushes, she said. The doctor needed to get there right away. And suddenly time sped up and slowed down at the same time. There was a flurry of people swarming in and out of the room, prepping and talking all around me. My heart started to beat faster as they re-positioned the bed and turned on the floodlights. I could feel the pressure, and I could feel my legs enough to move them when they asked me to lift myself up so they could slide the cloth underneath me, but I was in no pain. And before I knew it, the room was full of family and friends, and the doctor was in position.
Then we waited.
A contraction showed up on the monitor, and with my sister holding one leg and my mom holding the other, my husband right in front and everyone else all around, I pushed.
One, two, three pushes.
The contraction came to an end, but I felt like I needed to push again, so I did.
And there she was.
The doctor twisted her and lifted her half way up, and just like with her sister, I reached down and pulled her the rest of the way out and slid her onto my stomach. Her cord was shorter. She wasn't crying. They left her on me though, and rubbed her until she made noise. And as the doctor sewed up my second degree tear, they cleaned her, tagged her, and assessed her, she never left my body. She stayed with me until about an hour later when they took her to weigh her.
A healthy 8lbs, 2.9oz, and 19" long, and just like her sister, all kinds of beautiful.
I just stared and stared. Examined her perfect fingers and toes. She had my hands and feet. She had dark brown hair, which was a surprise, but it was beautiful. She was amazing and perfect and everything I ever wanted. It had all happened so fast, I felt like I was in a dream.
And since then, she has been exactly that.
A dream come true.
She looks like her sister, but different. She won't take a bottle, but it's OK. She is a chatterbox, very particular, and happiest when everyone is looking. Just like her birth, she is easy. Her hair has lightened up a bit and her eyes have turned the same maroon that her sister and father have, but they are shaped like mine. Every time I look at her-at both of my girls-I'm just in awe of God and what He's given me. I whisper softly to them that they are fearfully and wonderfully made, just for me.
And I want more.
I want to do this again and again, to feel life inside of me and watch it turn from a dream in my head to reality as I hold these precious gifts. I am addicted to the smell, the rush of new life and the expansion I feel in my heart at that very moment that they are placed in my arms.
I am so blessed to have this. I wanted this so badly, and He answered my prayers. I don't deserve these loves, I've done nothing to earn them, yet He said yes.
Every throaty giggle, every wet kiss, every baby babble, chubby cheeked grin...I just can't get enough. Every single day I get to know her more and more, and I just want to eat her up. I smell her often because she still smells a little like Heaven, and I want her to stay little forever, but I also can't wait to meet her; to meet the precious little girl that she'll become as she grows.
We adore her. She adores us. She fit seamlessly into our little family, and we can't imagine life without her.
Welcome to the world, Georgia.
If one feels the need of something grand, something infinite, something that makes one feel aware of God, one need not go far to find it. I think that I see something deeper, more infinite, more eternal than the ocean in the expression of the eyes of a little baby when it wakes in the morning and coos or laughs because it sees the sun shining on its cradle.
-Vincent van Gogh