After 38 weeks and 5 days of missing all the fun in the outside world, E.T. decided that she was ready to make her debut. And, to have a real name.
So, without further adieu, I’m pleased to introduce:
Born: August 30, 2013 at 6:14 p.m.
6 pounds, 8 ounces
19.5 inches long
So many people had told me that as a first baby, she would probably come late. By 35 weeks, I was so over being pregnant, but I had also mentally prepared myself for the fact that if she really wanted to take her time, I could be pregnant for another seven weeks before my doctor would induce labor.
I was so well prepared for the long haul that I was pretty much in denial when I started to feel the first contractions early last Thursday morning. I told myself that the uncomfortable feeling throughout the bottom half of my body was just because I slept in a more awkward position than usual.
I went to work and as the day went on, I started to have quite a bit of back pain. I reasoned that this was just from sitting in a metal folding chair all day greeting new students and parents at orientation. Later that afternoon, I noticed a weird tightening in my stomach. This seemed to be happening on a fairly inconsistent basis, so I decided that I was finally starting to feel Braxton-Hicks contractions.
By the end of the day, the weird tightening had become pretty painful, but I attributed that to that fact that I had been standing for two hours at a reception. Still, when Chester picked me up that night, I told him we should think about packing our hospital bags, “just in case.”
At some point after midnight, the pain became more intense and seemed to be happening more frequently. I decided that this was probably the real thing and demanded that we pack our bags. I spent the rest of the night pacing around the second floor of the house, closely followed around by the dog. I tracked the contractions using an app on my iPhone and to pass the time, I straightened my hair in anticipation of pictures after the baby’s arrival. By 5 a.m., the contractions were 5 minutes apart and it was time to head to the hospital.
The sole component of my birth plan was to have all of the drugs available to me, so I didn’t hesitate when the nurse asked if I wanted an epidural. Having that put into place was the most terrifying and painful part of the whole process. I couldn’t see what was happening and was shaking so badly that the anesthesiologist needed to try multiple times to place it correctly. But, once it was in, I didn’t feel anything at all.
I don’t know how I would have made it through without that and amazing coaching from Chester and my mom. Little B came out screaming at the top of her lungs and the minute they placed her on my chest, I sobbed. I had never felt so many emotions all at once–relief that she had arrived safely, disbelief over the way my life had changed in an instant, fear about embarking on the journey of being a parent, and, most of all, love. It was overwhelming and amazing at the same time, and I have replayed that moment in my head everyday since so that I never forget it.
And, now, we are home and settling into the chaos that a baby brings. We did a lot of planning and organization for the baby’s arrival, but our lives have still been turned completely upside down, of course. General wisdom tells you that caring for a newborn is difficult, but it is a million times more difficult than I ever anticipated.
The first few couple of days at home were the worst. She felt so tiny and fragile that I was afraid to handle her. I had no idea what all of her different cries meant. On her first night home, I didn’t sleep at all because I couldn’t stop looking into her bassinet to make sure she was still breathing. I was also dealing with crazy post-pregnancy hormones and physical discomforts from the delivery process. I cried frequently for no good reason and questioned why I ever thought I would be cut out for motherhood.
Once again, Chester has been absolutely amazing. It seemed like he knew what to do from the moment she was born. My heart just melts when I see him holding her and I’m reminded that I couldn’t have picked a better person to spend my life with. I’ve looked at him many times this week and said “can we do this?” and he tells me what a good team we’ve always been.
And, he has been right. As this first week comes to an end, I feel a bit better and we have some stuff figured out. We know the difference between her cries for food and her cries for a diaper change. For the past two nights, she’s slept for three-hour stretches, which has also helped us feel less sleep deprived. That could all change in an instant, but at least for now, I feel like we are doing a pretty good job of giving her what she needs.
As for Little B, she looks exactly like her daddy (although a few people have said her hands, feet and nails look like mine. I think it’s just to make me feel better for all of my efforts in getting her here). I love cuddling her and inhaling that intoxicating new baby smell (seriously, they have the sweetest smell at the top of their heads). She sleeps most of the time, of course, but when she does open her eyes, she’s totally alert and I know she’s busy taking in about the world around her.
In short, she’s a keeper.