Sunday, November 9, 2008

Happy Birthday, Happy!

Today I celebrated the 6th birthday of my darling daughter. My sweet second born baby and first born daughter. She is the answer to my prayer to have a sibling for our son, and a child that looked like me. She is also the answer to the curse of my mother that I should have a child just like me one day! She is a caring, dramatic, excitable, intense, and a very happy girl who is full of surprises and more than I ever hoped for in a daughter. It is such an honor to watch her grow!

Being who I am I have to share her birth story. I will try to keep it shorter than her sister's was.

We tried for 6 months to get pregnant. We had just decided to stop trying and were getting used to and even a little excited about the fact that we might have only one child when I found out I was pregnant. That was her first of many surprises! My pregnancy was miserable. I had hyper-mobile joints and a bulging disk in my lower back on top of the typical pregnancy related aches and pains like sciatica (both sides). I was never happier to go into labor as I was when I woke up the day after her due date.

I woke up early in the morning, just as the sun was rising. My parents were visiting and I could hear them in the living room so I joined them. We hung out for a couple of hours while we got ready and I sat on my birth ball making sure I was in true labor. Then we called our doula and headed to the hospital.

The drive was terrible. Every bump hurt like mad and I kept telling Steve to stop it. Sadly he could not magically flatten the road or something. What's up with that? Luckily is was Saturday morning so traffic was not a problem as we swerved across town to the hospital. It was a glorious morning. Bright, sunny, cool and crisp - just as I envisioned it every time I visualized her birth.

I had a cesarean with Z 2 1/2 years earlier so I was already considered "high risk." I did a ton of research and became a doula in that time so I was prepared to fight for my VBAC. Fortunately my nurse was awesome and quickly put my mind at ease. My room was HUGE! Wall to wall windows lined the wall and I had a beautiful view of the trees and old homes that surround the hospital. Again it was just as I had visualized. We cranked up the music as I walked and danced around. I wanted to stay as far away from the bed as possible! For the first time in about 6 months my hip, back and other body parts were not in pain. I felt great! My mom showed up and a little while later my brother, his wife and my son arrived. For about 2 hours it was a party! Around noon my brother and his wife took Z out to lunch and I tried relaxing in the tub. Honestly I hated sitting still and being by myself so I got out pretty quick. That is when things changed.

I got very chilled getting out of the tub and it took me a while to dry my hair and get warm. I hate being cold and having wet hair. At the same time my contractions suddenly became a lot more intense. At some point my doctor came in and said I was complete but she did not urge me to start pushing and allowed my baby to descend naturally. I spent the next hour trying different chairs and positions, trying to get comfortable. Everyone was so supportive and loving. Eventually I chose to try the bed. All the dancing earlier wore me out!

Lots of pushing, lots of pain - pain I had never fathomed. My baby was not moving down. I thought something was wrong and started to get scared. I felt tears stinging my eyes but also felt if I began crying I would not stop and that would waste my energy. "Suck it up, Deann!" I scolded myself and pulled myself together. The doctor began to seem a little worried. At one point when I had been pushing for about 2 hours my doctor said if things did not start progressing I would have to have another cesarean. My mom said it looked like something inside me snapped. A few more huge pushes and my baby had moved a lot. "She has hair!" someone said. Before long her head was born - oh how glorious that felt! (Turns out her hand was up on her cheek while I was pushing which is why it was so slow and painful.) One more push and her tiny body was born.

Now I always thought that at this moment I would be flooded with love and something priceless and poetic would flood from my lips filled with a mother's undying love. In reality my first thought was that her head looked like a woman's softball - it was perfectly and totally round!. That and she looked nothing like my son - like she wasn't even mine. I laughed out loud and grabbed her, pulling her to my chest where we were covered with blankets and left alone for 2 priceless hours. She made a small cry when first born but then was so quiet and still. Her eyes took everything in. It was amazing.

Minutes after she was born my son was brought in. He quietly came up beside me in bed. At first he whispered so quietly you couldn't hear him but then he gently said "Hi Baby." She lifted and turned her head to look at him with a look of recognition. It blew me away.

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