One year later, this is the story of Ivy’s birth. The fact that it has taken me 364 days to write this is testament to just how much busier my life has been since she arrived last year. I started writing this approximately 10 months ago, and I uploaded all of these pictures, that I so much wanted to share, last March (By the way, the photographer who took all these amazing photos is no longer taking clients of any sort. Sad!). But without further ado, here’s what happened on the day she was born…
I was fully expecting my fourth baby to be born on January 18, 2012. On that day I would be 38 weeks + 3 days pregnant, and seeing as how my last pregnancies lasted 38 weeks, 38+1 day, and 38+2 days, it only made sense. I’d had plenty of braxton hicks in the weeks prior, I was sleeping very poorly, and feeling terribly uncomfortable and tired. I was more than ready to meet our new baby.
I had a doctor appointment the morning of January 17th. Everything was good, as usual. I asked my doctor to kindly sweep my membranes, please. I had a bag packed and waiting in the van just in case things came on in a hurry. My membranes were swept, I picked up my kids at my grammy’s, and headed home, anticipating an exciting day. Only nothing happened. Not even a twinge. I was feeling fairly desperate so I even made myself a castor oil smoothie (yes, I really did). Still, nothing happened.
Neil came home from work. He was kind of anxious, too. More than one of our children have come fairly shortly after I’ve had my membranes swept, so we were both thinking this could be the day our baby would be born. But still nothing was happening. We carried on like usual. Fed the kids, put them to bed. I tidied up a bit and thought about my hurried-ness and impatience to get this baby out. I prayed for some patience and thanked God for a good pregnancy. I realized that, actually, besides being uncomfortable, I couldn’t really complain. I felt pretty good still. I was healthy and the baby was healthy. I admitted to Neil that I guess I’m not really the boss of when my babies are born. It will happen when it happens and I just need to chill out already. I made up my mind that that’s what I would do. Neil and I settled in on the couch to watch tv.
Literally about 20 minutes later, I started having some cramping. Right away I felt like this was maybe not braxton hicks. Right away they were coming every 3 or 5 minutes. I tried to be calm and controlled, but I’m that’s not really the kind of person I am. Soon I was pacing around the living room, wondering if I would at least still be able to watch Parenthood, which was starting in a bit. Neil said to forget about Parenthood, we could watch it later. I agreed and got in the shower. Contractions kept coming while I chewed on ice in the shower until all the hot water ran out. I bossed Neil around, “Call your mom. Tell her to get over here.” “Get me more ice!” “Call our friends, put them on standby in case your mom doesn’t get here soon!” “Why isn’t your mom answering the phone?!” “Call my grammy! Tell her to come!” Neil ran around efficiently heeding my every command. I was still coping well in the shower (even doing some texting between contractions. Yes, I texted in the shower).
Even though I was managing okay at home, labor freaks me out and I like to be in a hospital, close to drugs and doctors. I was also well aware of how labors can get progressively faster with successive babies, and I didn’t want to have mine at home. When my grammy arrived, we packed it up and headed to the hospital.
We got to triage at about 11:20 or so. It was change of shift and the nurse was busy, like always in triage. She came and checked me; I was a disappointing 3-4 cm. I always wish to be one of those ladies who arrives at triage an impressive 8 cm or something. Heck, I’d even take 5 cm. But it’s never happened for me. Probably because I always go to the hospital so early!
Regardless of dilation, I was admitted to room 29 on LDRP by about 11:45pm. My first thought was, phew, it wasn’t the cursed room 26 (where both Benjamin and Oliver were born and quickly whisked away to the NICU for two days). And then I thought, hey, Seth was born in this room! That made me really happy.
I hopped in the shower right away. I wasn’t in there for very long because soon I heard my doctor’s voice. She asked me if I wanted her to break my water. I said yes please!
She broke my water just after midnight on January 18th. That’s when things started getting crazy. The contractions were immediately much harder. I bounced around on the birthing ball and Neil rubbed my back.
By about one I was in bed and using the gas. Then things really got crazy. One big breath of that stuff and I immediately feel like I went to the dentist and had my whole body and face numbed. I also felt like I was watching myself from the ceiling. I felt so completely weird. I start saying weird things too. I don’t even know what I said, but I do remember saying, “I’m so embarrassed!” more than once (that’s the trouble with your nurse being your co-worker!). I laughed at myself a lot too. I also became extremely possessive of that gas mask. My mom kept holding it for me in between contractions and if she didn’t give it back to me at the exact nano-second the next contraction started, I freaked out.
Just after one my nurse checked me again. I was only 5 cm. That did not make me happy at all. I was ready to be done labor already. About 20 or 30 minutes later she checked me again. She told me I was 6-7 cm. I yelled at her, “That’s just a nice way of saying 6!!” (After Ivy was born, she admitted this was true- I WAS only 6 cm. See, I know how these nurses work. I’m one of them. Now you know one of our secrets, too.)
So I kept using the gas. I sometimes laughed because of how weird it felt. I yelled at my mom because she talks so much sometimes. (I actually told her to shut up at one point. It felt so good, honestly. Like the only time you can tell your mom to shut up and get away with it!) I kept wishing labor was over, but at the same time, knowing it would be soon.
And then the point came. I started just calling out my nurse’s name, “Ginny! Ginnyyyyyyy!” because I knew it was happening. Ginny knew what was going on too, of course, and was already all set up and ready to go. My doctor barely made it into the room for the delivery- I think it was a 50/50 kind of delivery between Ginny and my doctor.
And then she was born, just like that. And oh the hair she had and the sweet face she had and oh how wonderful it was for us to finally hold our daughter. We were instantly in love, of course.
Given the history of my previous two babies going to the NICU for respiratory distress, the doctor gave Ivy an extra vigorous rub down so that she would have an extra vigorous cry. It seemed to do the trick, because we got to keep her with us and there were no trips to NICU.
It was really just so wonderful to have her with us the entire time we were in the hospital. I had the best time with her; just sleeping and feeding and bonding. Those couple of days were some of the nicest of my whole life. We only had one visitor, besides Neil, and that was just perfect. I literally just rested and cuddled with Ivy our entire hospital stay. It was such a treat after the way things had gone with Ben and Oliver.
And then we went home, where we began our life as a family of six. I can’t believe a year has gone by since Ivy joined our family. I still feel like I’m trying to adjust to having another baby sometimes, and here she is, already one. Of course no matter how crazy and complicated our lives are, we would never change them. Before I had Ivy I didn’t really feel any big need to have a daughter, and honestly, I was kind afraid of having one. I wasn’t even sure if I would like having a daughter.
But I really, really, do. I love everything about having a daughter, actually. I just didn’t know how much I needed a daughter until I actually had one.
Happy birthday, my little love. I couldn’t love you more.