|The happy family of four|
I don’t know if all second time moms are this way, but I thought since I had been through this before, I had a pretty good idea of what to expect (even though others had told me every birth is different). Unlike most first-time-labors, mine went VERY quickly. I barely got a working epidural before your sister was born. My doctors kept warning me that since my first labor went so quickly, I could expect my second to be even faster. With that knowledge, we wanted to go to the hospital as soon as I thought I could possibly be in labor so I didn’t have to experience as much labor pain as I did the first time around.
|3 days before your birth|
Though I was not working outside of our home this time, I did have a boisterous 2-year old to chase after and we had to make plans for what to do with her once the time came for you to be born. With the grandparents living farther away, and the expectation of a speedy labor, my doctor scheduled your induction for April 27th, 5 days before your due date. Grammy was hopeful that you would come a bit early and share her birthday of April 21st but I calmly assured her that you would not possibly be that early. Boy was I mistaken.
I had an appointment with my doctor on a Friday afternoon, April 9th where they went ahead and gave me my hospital papers “just in case.” The doctor checked me and I was 2cm dilated but showed no signs of labor. Unlike with Elena, I was experiencing a good bit of Braxton hicks contractions and had experienced some false labor that week but the doctor seemed convinced I would last another couple of weeks. Daddy was gone Friday night and much of the day Saturday for Symphony rehearsals and performances, so Grammy and Grandpa both came for a visit to help put some finishing touches on your nursery and to help take care of Elena. That Saturday, I had (kind of gross) some discharge and more pains. It was at that point that I began to wonder if I was wrong and you might actually be here before the weekend was over. I quickly dismissed those thoughts but nervously shared the progression with Grandpa anyway (who still was in town but had to go back that afternoon to take care of Papa). I also called Grammy (who had gone home earlier Saturday morning) and told her just in case she needed to get a sub lined up for school the following week. Grandpa asked if maybe he should just stay rather than go home and I told him there was no need.
I shared the news with Daddy when he got home from his morning rehearsal and he encouraged me to talk with our neighbors who were our “on call babysitters” for Elena in case I went into labor when the grandparents couldn’t be here. Elena and I walked over and sat with Mrs. Betty for a while and I shared with her my “progression” and asked her if she might be available that week to watch after Elena for me but never thought I would be calling on her that very evening.
At about 9:00, I began having more serious pains and started timing them. They were coming every 5-6 minutes and were lasting a good 60 seconds. Since I had already had some previous false labor pains, they asked me to wait until they were consistent for over an hour. At 10:15 they were coming closer together and for longer periods so I tried to call Daddy (who was in the middle of a Symphony performance). I wasn’t able to get him, but he arrived home shortly there after. At 11 we finally decided we would rather be safe than sorry and we started making phone calls.
Mr. John and Mrs. Betty came over to stay with Elena. We called Grammy, Grandpa, MaMa and PaPa and told them we were headed to the hospital but not to worry or do anything until we called since we weren’t certain we were actually in labor.
Amazingly enough, that Thursday before, something told me to go ahead and pack the bags. I didn’t have much of anything else perfectly ready for you at home, but I did pack my bags just in case. Daddy loaded the car and we weren’t in that much of a rush this time. I remember it was not that cold out, but my adrenaline was going pretty strong: my teeth were chattering all the way to the hospital. Daddy asked me, “What’s the deal with you having babies at nighttime?” We laughed and commented on how different going to the hospital seemed this time.
When we arrived, it had been two years since we were there last and we had to ask how to get to labor and delivery admittance. Once in the admittance room, the nurse had me change, put me on a monitor and checked me. I was only at a 2 but my pains were getting pretty intense and were still very regular. They said they would check with my doctor and see what she wanted us to do. After being there for about 2 hours, they checked me again and told me that I was definitely in labor but that it wasn’t progressing fast enough for them to keep me any longer. My doctor wanted to release me and let me go home. This was NOT what we were expecting. If you recall, we had been told that since Elena came so fast, we didn’t need to take any chances with you. We needed to be at the hospital as soon as we could. We voiced these concerns with the nurse who agreed with us and said she would keep us for another hour or so just to be on the safe side and check again to see if I had progressed. There I lay on an uncomfortable admittance table (with your Daddy in an uncomfortable chair at my side) waiting most of the night being told the same thing over and over again: “you’re not progressing but you ARE in labor.”
We were finally given the option at 7a.m. of going home or being checked into a room for continued observation. Of course we chose the later. We called the grandparents and told them that we would probably be having you that day but we still weren’t sure what the doctor would decide. We also had to call the church because your shower was scheduled for that day and we would obviously not be able to attendJ
Once checked into the room, I was given something for pain and told to try and get some rest. Unlike with your sister, I did not feel a single pain after that. My nurse kept commenting that she didn’t know how in the world I wasn’t feeling the contractions because they were pretty strong. I remember watching the monitor and seeing the numbers climb into the 200’s and not feeling a thing.
Finally at about 9:30, our nurse came to check me again. At that point I had advanced only to a 3. She said she had to make a call to the Dr to see if she wanted to keep me or not. Not 10 minutes later, our nurse returned to tell us that she had ordered the epidural and a round of pitocin, we WERE going to have a baby that day. Daddy got back on the phone and called everyone. Grammy was almost there already and Grandpa had just left after watching Papa for the evening.
|still in happy epidural land|
At about 10:00 the anesthesiologist came in and I received the epidural while my nurse began my pitocin drip. My Doctor and Grammy arrived shortly thereafter and when the doctor started to check me, my water broke. According to the monitor, the nurses, the doctor and everyone else, my contractions were VERY strong after that, but I luckily didn’t feel a thing.
I was only dilated to a 5-6 at around noon and Daddy was hungry so we sent him to get something to eat in the dining hall. I told him he had to eat it there because I couldn’t have anything to eat until you were born and I was too hungry to watch him eat in front of me. Grammy stayed to keep me company. About 12:30, my epidural started to wear off. I didn’t panic because I knew I could get more medicine because I wasn’t that far along yet.
The next 40 minutes was a flurry of activity. My nurse returned to check me again and when she looked she said, “Um, we need the doctor here quick! You might also want to try and get Dad back. This baby is HERE!” We tried to get Daddy on his phone, but cell service wasn’t working in the hospital. The nurse had me hold my legs together while she rounded up the doctor. I really started to feel the pain at that point and asked her if I could have any more medicine. She apologized and said it was too late. There wouldn’t be enough time. Daddy got there pretty soon after that and the room started to bustle. I saw the big lights come down out of the ceiling, metal tables were covered with blue clothes, my doctor came in saying that I certainly knew how to get things moving and apologized for being tied up. A bit of panic set in as I realized I would have to push with the pain that I was now feeling. Despite it all, I remained fairly calm.
Unlike Dr. Arnett, Dr. Benson didn’t put up a big screen between me and my belly. She also encouraged me to push when I felt like I needed to rather than telling me exactly when to do it. It took me a few tries to get the hang of pushing the right way. All I could think about was the longer and harder I pushed, the sooner you would be here and the sooner I would be rid of the pain. With Grammy on one side and Daddy on the other, I worked to try and get you here. Grammy was so sweet and encouraging. With her coaching and that of Dr. Benson, I got the hang of pushing correctly with the pain. With about 10 minutes of pushing (and a little help from Dr. Benson’s scissors), you arrived at 1:10 PM weighing in at 7 pounds 5 ounces and measuring 19 inches long. Dr. Benson held you up for me to see and commented on your head of hair. Daddy cut the cord and they whisked you away to weigh you and clean you up.
Unlike your sister, you didn’t cry. There wasn’t a thing wrong with you; you just didn’t feel the need to wail like most babies do. They had to pat your little hiny and thump your feet quiet a bit before you let out that first scream. Once they got you cleaned up and the nurse asked “Who wants to hold this baby?” Grammy scooped you up. Just a few minutes later, Grandpa knocked on the door and held you. I think I may have been the fourth person to hold you.
Other second-time moms had told me that I had nothing to worry about: there would be enough love for my second child, but I was skeptical. I loved my first so much. I didn't know how it would be possible to love another (especially another girl) just as much as I loved Elena. When I finally did hold you for the first time, you immediately stole my heart. Your eyes popped open and looked right into mine. Your pudgy little fingers grasped my index finger like a vice grip and I knew I had my cuddler. It took me a lot longer to feel that deep a love for Elena, with you, it was instantaneous.
|when you stole my heart|
As it has been ever since your birth, everyone you come in contact with you win over with your sweet little way. The first time you and your sister met was such a proud moment for us. She patted your little cheek, gave you a kiss and grinned from ear to ear.
|winning your sister over|
|Sweet Baby Kate|
What a joy it was to bring you into this world, to become a mommy to another precious little life, to see you and hold you and examine you for the first time and to know the awesome responsibility that the Lord had laid at my feet. It is an honor and a privilege to be your mommy. All my love to my sweet baby Kate. You are your Mommy's joy!