Elsie's birth story

You know how they say every pregnancy is different?

They're right.

And you know how they say every labor and delivery is different?

They were right again.

I cannot get over how right they were. My stories with Ivar and Elsie are so different, you would wonder how we come to the same end result: a baby. But somehow, each birth story ends with a tiny bundle with whom I am wondrously in love. This tiny little Elsie, all snuggled up in a ball on my chest after every feeding, has grown my heart bigger. Amazing how there is always room for more and more love.

My birth story with her begins on Wednesday. I felt like things were beginning...I had some back pain, some moments where my belly tightened. But nothing notable until the middle of the night on Wednesday. Then the contractions were worth timing. They weren't unbearable, but they were in my back and it wasn't any fun either. Spaced about 10 minutes apart, I kept thinking of all the stories I have heard of baby #2 just "shooting out of me" and since we were three days overdue, I decided to call my mom so she was here with Ivar if things progressed quickly.

She arrived at 4:30am and by the time she walked in the door I was packed and ready. Except my contractions had stopped. So we all slept until 6:30 when Ivar decided it was time to start the day. He was noisy and agitated. He never wakes up that early and was crabby about everything. At one point I heard him say "mama's phone" and this is only noteworthy because it would be four days before I finally found where he had hidden "mama's phone." An unfortunate time to lose your phone and phone numbers...just before having a baby.

My blessed mother took Ivar home with her at 8:00 so that Rory and I could sleep. We slept until 10 and woke up new creations.

We went to my scheduled OB appointment together. I was sitting in the lab as they took my blood pressure and was telling my nurse that I had been changing my underwear hourly since about 4:00 the day before. I laughed and made a comment about how bodily pregnancy is and how strange some of the symptoms can be, bodily, like peeing your pants slowly. But the nurse didn't really laugh, and soon all of the other lab techs had turned their heads to look at me. They kept their eyes on me as my nurse said, "that's probably amniotic fluid. Your water may have broken."

Big Difference #1:
Now if you remember, my water breaking with Ivar was quite dramatic. I liken that moment to a fire hydrant being drained on a hot summer day. It was an unmistakable moment during my labor with Ivar in which I cycled through every pair of pajama pants and ended up sitting on a black yard bag all the way to the hospital. But this was so slow. Nothing like I expected.

The doctor did two tests and told us she was sending us straight to the hospital. It was such a surprise. I was having no contractions. I was feeling great. We had already planned on having Taco Bell for lunch. But now I was going to have a baby instead. We ran home, grabbed the suitcase, told our neighbors we were about to have the baby, and drove to the hospital.

They took me to a room right away. My nurses were waiting in there for me. I went to the bathroom to put on my hospital gown and made a joke about having closed the door...I knew we were about to all get to know each other beyond the need for privacy.

They hooked me up to pitocin and told me I could have my epidural whenever I wanted. I was dilated three centimeters and I was going to have this baby quickly so I didn't have to wait any longer to have the epidural.

It felt like cheating. I didn't feel like I had earned it yet. But I took it.

Big Difference #2:
After my epidural with Ivar I have often commented that my epidural was the best moment of my life, followed six hours later by the birth of my first born son. And I'm sort of exaggerating when I say that and sort of completely serious. My epidural with Ivar was along the lines of euphoric.

But this time it was a little different. I got the shot and immediately felt nauseous. Started throwing up pretty soon after and threw up even through the pushing. I lay back and I could feel the epidural moving up my body...my chest felt tight and then my tongue felt fat. I told the nurse and she had me sit up immediately so gravity could help the epidural back down. I couldn't move my toes and when it was time to push I had no idea where I was supposed to push.

I remember with Ivar's epidural I still could feel the contractions a tiny bit and knew exactly where to direct my pushing. But this time I just tensed my body as hard as I could, bearing down and hoping that what I was doing was sort of in the right spot.

It also made my skin itch. I was so itchy.

It wasn't as awesome as Ivar's, but I still plan on having an epidural with my future babies. I know I was having some strong contractions, but I didn't have to feel them. So I'm still a fan.

My labor progressed slowly. Rory went to get subway and came back with a Real Simple magazine for me. We watched HGTV and Rory read parts of the paper to me. It was very low key. We were just waiting for the nurse to tell us we were progressing.

After seven hours it was discovered that I had a second bag of water. They called it a fore bag, and I have no idea what that means other than the baby was pushing hard to get into position, but this second bag was slowing things down. My nurse broke that bag and told me we would have a baby very soon.

Our doctor appeared with her purse on her shoulder, made a comment about the traffic on 62, set her purse and bags down, and told me we were ready to have a baby.

Big Difference #3:
I pushed for ten minutes. TEN MINUTES! I pushed for two hours with Ivar. But this baby was ready.

Rory had told the doctor that he did not want to make the gender call. It felt like too much pressure. So it was the doctor who announced, "it's a girl!" And I was overcome with happiness.

I cried the ugly cry. Couldn't believe my ears. I had done a pretty decent job to convince myself it would be a boy, mostly because I knew I really wanted a little girl. And I was nervous about feeling something less than joy when the baby came. But when she said it was a girl, I could hardly believe it. The past nine months I have bought a few items for a little girl...hoping. And then she was laying on my chest.

Elsie was beautiful. She looked so much like Ivar to me, just after he was born. I was taken by her fingers...they are so long with beautiful nails. She kept them by her face and snuggled in a little ball on my chest.

The ending of this birth story is the same as Ivar's. Our hearts were overflowing, we were instantly in love. Elsie is wonderful. She sleeps a lot, eats a lot and fills her diapers like a champ.

We're gonna keep her.

3 comments:

where the hart is said...

Congratulations! What a beautiful, beautiful baby girl and mom! I adore her name. I'm so happy for you and your family! :)

Heather said...

Congratulations! What a beautiful story and a beautiful baby girl! Thanks for sharing the birth story. I am 28 weeks along with my first and am very interested in others' stories. Enjoy your sweet baby girl!

Jamie Willow said...

What fun! So glad she's here. I saw your earlier posts but was on a road trip and my phone wouldn't let me comment.

funny about the epidurals...my first was the one that wasn't great, but the second was perfection...funny how that happens. God bless them though, they work!

Have fun with your GIRL!!!!