The last few weeks have been really wonderful. My mom came and stayed with us for two weeks. My whole family visited for the first weekend in June, and then Paul was able to take a week and a half off for paternity leave. I loved every minute of it! This is my first week on my own with two kids, and I'm starting to fall into some sort of a routine. Each day is a bit better than the last. Sarah is so beautiful, and it is amazing having her in our family. We're a family of four now!
I have a lot to blog about and many pictures to share, but I figured I should start with the story of Sarah's birth. It's been almost three weeks now, so I really need to get it recorded before the details get too fuzzy! Be ye forewarned: It's long. And also full of information some would consider TMI (though I won't make it too graphic).
On the weekend of my due date (which was May 24th), my mom flew out from Colorado to visit and help us get ready for the baby. We had a great week even though each day we hoped the baby would make her appearance. We went on walks every day, and my mom spoiled James with attention. He sure loves his Grandma!
Then, on Saturday (the day before I was scheduled to be induced), I started having regular contractions for the first time ever. It was strange. I was in complete denial all afternoon that I was in labor. We walked to Quizno's for lunch, stopped by Target for a couple last minute things, and walked home. All the while I was having contractions. By the time we left Target they were 10 minutes apart.
My mom wanted us to go to the hospital, but I was still convinced it wasn't actually labor. Instead, Paul and I put James down for a nap, sat down to watch a movie (turned out to be the most depressing Japanese movie EVER!), and sent my mom on a run. By the end of the movie, I told Paul we could pack a hospital bag. I still wasn't sold on going to the hospital just yet.
As soon as we started packing the bag, my contractions were five minutes apart and starting to get worse. I finally (still begrudgingly, if you can believe it) agreed to go to the hospital. For some reason the idea of getting sent home because it wasn't actually labor was just about the worst thing I could think of. Now, looking back, that doesn't make much sense, but what can I say? I was in labor and not thinking clearly!
I stalled as much as I could ("Paul, shouldn't we make the bed?" "I need to give James another hug." "Are we sure we have everything?"), until we finally made it out the door just after 6:00pm.
Paul took this picture when we were in triage right around 6:30pm. I had no idea that I was not only in active labor, but just minutes away from transition (the worst stage of labor, right at the end), and that I would be holding my baby girl in just over an hour.
It was crazy! The nurse checked me and I was already 6 cm dilated. They went through the check in process, briefly hooked me up to an IV bag of fluids to help me get a little more hydrated, and then I walked to my room. I considered walking a little more to help distract me and get things moving, but the one contraction I had on the way to the room stopped me in my tracks. Not such a good idea after all.
We settled into our room. I sat down on the bench by the window next to Paul because laying on the bed didn't sound good to me. I requested a birthing ball to see if it would help me through contractions, and the nurse brought it in. I sat on it for maybe a minute. Probably more like thirty seconds. And then everything went out of control.
I decided I wanted to be laying in bed, but it didn't help. There was definitely weeping and wailing. The nurse said, "You know, second babies can really come very fast, do you want me to check you again?" I said yes right away, even though so little time had passed since they first checked me. Sure enough, I was at nine centimeters; just about ready to give birth! They called for the on-call doctor (it was a Saturday, so my doctor wasn't able to be there), and there was more weeping and wailing. He came in almost instantly with a whole slew of nurses. When he first walked in he said, "Wow, you're holding on to that bed like you're preparing for an earthquake!" If I had been a little more in control of myself I probably would have said something like, "No, just preparing to have a baby, you silly doctor!" Instead, I just ignored it (too busy weeping and wailing, I suppose). He broke my water, decided it might be slightly green tinged (which would mean the baby had passed meconium inside the womb), and called the NICU people to come in just in case (standard procedure when meconium is present). I felt so out of control as all this was happening. It was like a whirlwind.
Suddenly, I was propped up in the stirrups and everyone was staring at me expectantly. I was in the worst pain I could imagine, and my mind was reeling with little bits of information I had picked up as I had prepared for childbirth and what I remembered from last time. It was like, "Wait, shouldn't they be coaching me about how and when to push? Aren't I supposed to feel an uncontrollable urge to push? Is that what I'm feeling right now? They say pushing can be a relief from the pain. Should I give it a try? Why are they all just staring at me like that?" Somewhere during this time I said something like, "I changed my mind! I would like an epidural after all." Of course I knew that was out of the question. What I really wanted was to turn the clock back and start over...go to the hospital sooner, get the epidural, and STOP. THE. PAIN! Simple, right? ;)
They placed her on my belly, and I was so shocked that all I could say was, "Baby! It's a baby!" over and over. She cried and cried. It was incredible. The doctor sent the NICU people away. She was perfect and healthy.
Here's a link to some more pictures from the first couple days: Sarah Megumi Peterson. I'll post more soon!