Blue's Belated Birth Story

Giddy, delirious, excited: we spent the night before the induction in the tender pillow-talk and hopeful daydreams sickness had excluded us from the previous nine months. We made predictions about weight and hair color, and all the tiny details intersecting in our growing family tree.

At 5:30 am we arrived at labor and delivery and squeaked out “We’re here to have a baby.” It turned out Monday’s in June are a slow day for our local hospital, and “Nurse Chipper” was quite excited to have us as her project. As she eagerly asked me about everything from allergies to any use of recreational drugs, I was made comfy in the latest in hospital wear - gaping, green, gargantuan, and pumped full of IV fluids.

At 7:20 my slightly groggy OB arrived, checked my cervix, and declared me favorable for induction. What a relief that I didn’t have to fake a heart attack to get my way. (Thanks for the tip anyway Mom.)

We began the day at 3 cm, -3 station, and 50% effaced.

With the Pitocin, a curious peace dripped into my body. All my fears of a second terrible labor were washed away in the trust that God was going to get me through this.

With each fifteen minutes the nurse increased the dosage of the Pitocin drip, and asked whether or not I needed an epidural yet. I have no objections to medicine, or easing one’s way through the process. I know there are no medals in Heaven for those who tough it out on their own.

I just felt ... strong. I’d been through 9 months of taking dangerous and uncomfortable meds against my desire, and I just wanted to do this on my own.

With the peak of each contraction I quietly rode the swell of pain, and bravely awaited the next battering wave.

Around 10 am the Pitocin began to crash Little Boy Blue’s heartbeat. I felt more cautious. I worried that my own pain and discomfort were affecting him. They put me on an oxygen mask, and turned me a dozen ways until he responded better. I began to rely on hubby for breathing assistance. He helped me to breathe deeply when I wanted to cringe and hold my breath.

(What a metaphor for our relationship. He is always trusting God, and stretching the limits of our experience when I want to batten down the hatches and wait for life to blow by.)

By lunchtime I was flagging. The pain was coming too often and intensely. M began to read the encouragement from all my friends following our experience on Facebook. I shall always remember Taylor Crane’s shock that we stopped in such momentous happenings to update 136 of our closest friends and family. ;) I laughed and cried that so many people were focused in on our moment. It is an exhilarating feeling to know that one’s life is so intertwined with others, and that they care enough to put aside their own concerns to tune into your life.

At 12:30 the doctor informed us that my water had broken and I’d progressed to 4 cm, -2 station, and still 50% effaced. The clock was ticking with my water broken. I began to think again of laboring with S, and how it took 30 hours to go from 2 cm to 9. The nurse saw tears in my eyes, and assured me that this was a new day and no one was going to let me suffer like that.

For the next two hours I began to draw into myself. I tried to nap through the pain. It was kind of like trying to sleep in once my 3 year old is awake and in the bed peeling my eye-lids open.

2:30 came and my doctor informed us I’d almost reached 6 cm. I was shocked that my body was actually responding to the process. Life sometimes has a way of beating us down to where we can only prepare for the worst, but I was snapping out of it. I finally believed I was going to have a baby soon!

The next hour of contractions were painful, but exciting. I began to focus my mind on what it would be like to push. With Sofie I didn’t recognize the signals my body was sending my brain. I was too exhausted from being in labor too long, and I worried I wouldn’t know what to do again.

My doctor came in and found me at 9 cm. He assured me there was no rush to push once I reached 10 cm. We talked about letting nature take over, trusting my body, and not rushing the process. This was a little difficult for my control freak mind to grasp, but it worked brilliantly.

At 4:30, the nurse asked me to give a practice push. Afterward she had a proud, but frantic smile. “As soon as the doctor gets here, you’ll have your baby in 2 pushes.” She was right.

My doctor clocked out of his office at 4:45, walked across the street, and up the stairs to my room. By 5 he was scrubbed, gloved, and telling me to push gently one time. Andrew’s head was out. My hearing was tuned into all the details modesty forbid my eyes from witnessing. “One more push Dee Dee - nice and slow.”

It was over. They gingerly placed Andrew on my chest, and my mind began to race. I’d done it. I survived this pregnancy, and brought a new soul safely into the world. I felt lighter both physically and emotionally. I could sleep on my stomach again, or eat gorgonzola cheese.

As I stared down at little Blue, I wept. I wept for the lost months I didn’t get to see my friends, play with my daughter, or enjoy at home with my hubby. I wept that my body tried to reject such a beautiful and perfect baby. I wept for myself: surviving 39 weeks of vomiting and motion sickness deserves a moment.

Mostly, I wept for a new beginning. Happy Birthday sweet Blue.

Taking A Moment

Things are so busy right now adjusting to two kids, but I wanted to jot down some thoughts while I have a spare moment - between the 1 am feeding and 2 am diaper-change-athon. :) I'm sorry some of this will be jumbled, but I just wanted to put it in writing before I forget.

My sweet Sofie, it has been pure delight playing with you these last three weeks. I have sorely missed having the energy to keep up with all your creative play. We’ve raced through circle time (your own blend of tag, hide-n-go-seek, and gymnastics), styled and named my little ponies and baby dolls, cooked together with varying degrees of success, danced our tails off, and played every silly little game you can come up with to capture my attention. I am so unworthy of your generous devotion, and yet - it thrills me.

Your burgeoning brilliance, amazing athleticism, and tender compassion tighten my heart with pride. I continue to be amused and confounded by your strong will so like my own. Today when Daddy was correcting your behavior, you announced “I don’t want to hear your lessons.” I was torn between laughter and frustration. Every day you are a little more obedient, and yet always finding new ways to be naughty. I suppose it is this age, and yet Daddy and I know too much of it was written into your genetic code. I take this opportunity to apologize for passing on my sassiness. ;)

This has been a big month for our family. 3 weeks ago your little brother was born. He is tiny and loud and demanding of our time and attention, and yet you have handled the transition to a family of four with such grace and charm. At home, you help with diaper changes and feeding time. You brush his hair and tickle his toes. I can tell you’re a little disappointed with his entertainment value, but you are as sweet a sister as any boy could hope for. In public, you eagerly strike up conversations with everyone about your new brother. You like to share his name and age, and proudly declare that “he drinks milk right from Mommy’s big boobies.” I am merely thankful that men do not typically stop for conversation with us. ;)

You are blossoming into a lovely preschooler. Only weeks ago you seemed so tiny and fragile, and now I am recognizing signs of your growing up all around me. I hope this time we have together before you start school doesn’t go too fast. I hope I can resist the pull to be busy. I want to sop up your affection and pour into you all my love and direction. You remain my sweet baby girl.

My dearest Andrew, welcome to the family. Having just written about your sister, I must say what everyone else has noticed - you look so much like her. (I know, I know. I am second-born, and I can already imagine the cringing you’ll do when you hear yourself compared her.)

Between midnight feedings, diaper changes, and fussy moments you and I spend a lot of time studying each other. I’ve noticed that your dark hair isn’t truly black. It’s more a sweet chocolate brown that promises to lighten when hit by the sun. You have big curious eyes that have yet to decide whether they will be green or brown. I suspect they will settle on a rich hazel color, but I tease your Daddy about how dominant my features are in passing them onto our children.

Your golden eyelashes and brows barely show against your creamy pink skin. They remind me of your Daddy, and the countless nights I’ve studied his golden features as he sleeps. I am so glad we decided to name you after him, and I can only hope you will be like him in spirit.

You have my nose dotted with tiny white spots that will eventually fade. They are an adorable reminder of how new you are. I will miss them dearly when they’re gone.

Everyone notices your big hands. They tell me you’ll be an athlete. I think of you growing into those hands, and I am a little saddened to think of a time you’ll be too big for me to cradle against my chest and comfort with my presence. For now, I smile when one of your chubby hands reaches out to clasp my fingers. I send streams of love from my heart to yours through that touch.

I am eager to know your personality. For now, you’re a quiet little soul. You don’t spend much time fussing, and you smile often. I am amazed how opposite my children can be.

Sofie liked to nurse with her eyes closed until the moment she fell asleep. She demanded milk, and trusted that it would be there the instant she closed her eyes or squawked.

You are so different.

You nurse with your eyes wide open and a concerned look on your brow. It’s as if you know that there is competition for my time. I’ll admit there have already been moments when I’ve had to juggle your needs with your sister’s. It’s stressful business trying to decide which of you needs me most in a moment. I hope you’ll both forgive me if I choose wrong.

I’ve noticed you’re easily frustrated when trying to latch or fall asleep, but I am patient with your struggle. I tell you what a smart boy you are, remind you not to panic, and stroke your hair until you calm down. One day I’ll have to teach you to be patient with yourself.

Your wakeful hours are a highlight in my day. You coo the silliest baby noises. You grunt like a grown man. You scrunch and stretch your face into the most adorable looks. You listen intently to my voice, and take comfort in it. You’re happy to be in my arms, calmly staring as I stroke your little toes.

Yours is a world of softness. As a baby, your sister liked to be without clothes snuggling skin to skin with Mama or Daddy. You’d rather be snuggled up in a warm outfit, with thick socks, and a fluffy blanket. To my complete dismay, I can’t get you to sleep in your bassinet because you prefer the memory foam on my bed. I wouldn’t dare call you spoiled, but you sure do like to get your way about that.

I delight in you. I prayed and prayed for a baby that wouldn't give me a hard time, and now that you're here I hardly know what to do with your easy going spirit. Mostly, I hold you close and kiss your head. I hold you out, and wonder. I wonder how someone as strong-willed as I am will raise such a quiet boy to be himself. I wonder how you will stand up to your bossy sister. I wonder what your interests will be. I wonder how you will affect the rest of us. I cry because you make me so happy.

I am so looking forward to watching you both grow this next year. Every day you both seem a little different. I struggle to capture an image of what you’re like right now, as your spirits are like flowing water. I love you both. Let Mama sleep tonight. ;)

Sweet Blue Perfection

I love this photo. He is such a smiley baby. You would never know he had just pooped and peed on the photographer no less than six times!

I am in love. He rarely cries, sleeps a full 18 hours a day (his sister never slept more than 12 from birth!), never spits up, loves his sister's and daddy's voice, and prefers Mommy to everyone else. Is this too good to be true? :D