Born: January 6th 2015
8 pounds 2 ounces
We all had speculations about when she would show up. I was not-so-secretly hoping for my birthday on December 29th. As my mother-in-law put it, our family has a history of shared birthdays [only one, my Dad and Grandpa], but hey! That’s a history! Loki was pulling for his first puppy birthday on January 3rd. Steve guessed January 6th – just as the movers were bringing our first boxes into the house. And our cousin Sian was pulling for her birthday on January 7th. Steve ended up winning the guessing contest, as he did with the gender contest with both of our pregnancies. Somehow he’s always right about this stuff, but I have yet to learn to listen to him. I wrote in my last post I was hoping it wouldn’t be the 6th because the movers were finally bringing all of our household goods out of storage so we could finally move into our new home. God took one look at that blog post and laughed, deeming January 6th the perfect birthday for Julia.
Here is her little birth story. I’d spare you the gory details, but there really aren’t many gory details to spare. She came quick, easy, and [thankfully for me] pain free. On January 5th Steve came home from work [to our empty home we were waiting to fill up with our stuff the next day]. I had been having contractions off and on throughout the day, but this was no different than the last week so I continued on refinishing Mitchell’s big boy furniture in the garage, assuming the contractions would subside. She actually made us think [and the nurse in L&D Triage believe] she was coming a week ago on my birthday, but the labor signs suddenly stopped with a little dose of meds and she stayed put all week. Since our pantry was empty and we had nothing to feed Mitchell for dinner, I planned on taking a trip to the commissary when Steve got home. Originally intending to leave the boys at the house and make a quick trip myself, I reconsidered since the contractions were picking up to 2-3 minutes apart and dragged my husband along on what would become the day that never ended for him.
We filled our shopping cart with the basics. Mostly prepared foods knowing it was going to be a week or so before our kitchen was actually unpacked and functional – an optimistic estimate in itself. I didn’t make a list, just planning to walk each aisle and pick out what we use a lot… Easy to manage considering we literally had nothing but bottled water and a giant box of goldfish in the pantry. Walking every aisle took longer than expected though, because I was stopping literally every 10 feet or so for a contraction. We scurried home, and Steve made a quick frozen pizza while I continued to time my contractions with a handy cell phone app – debating whether it was worth a trip or not to the hospital. They sent me home when the contractions were 3 minutes apart last week and I really didn’t want to be the girl that showed up 10 times thinking she was in labor when she wasn’t. On the other hand, I was also unsure whether my water broke, and wanted to play it safe for Julia’s sake. So this is how the conversation in our house took place at about 9:00 pm.
Me: “I think I’m going to go get checked real quick. You can wait here with Mitchell.” [The hospital is literally a half mile away so it wasn’t a big trip].
Steve: “Well Mitchell is being cranky and I want to drive you so let’s just throw him in the car seat and he can fall asleep in the car.”
We arrived at the hospital at 9:40 pm, and Steve and a sleeping Mitchell waited in the car while I, “went to get checked real quick.”
Me: “I’ll be back in about 20 minutes,” I naively said as Steve dropped me off at the front door.
Since my contractions had basically stopped by this time, I opted for the stairs out of habit and headed up to Triage. Here’s how our phone conversation went at about 10:00 pm…
Me: “Soooo, my water broke. We’re having the baby.”
Me: [Still unconvinced I was really in labor…] “So can you go back to the house and get the diaper bag… the car seat… the backpack… Mitchell’s overnight bag… the Pack and Play… [insert about 10 other random items from the house]. I’ll call the babysitter and let her know you’re coming and whenever you’re done just head over here. Do you want me to text you the list so you don’t forget anything?”
Steve: [Being the awesome husband he is] “Yes, please.”
A phone call to our awesome babysitter [who sent me this picture the next day] and they were ready for drop-off. Actually, they were ready for pick-up, but I insisted they let us drop him off, thinking we had hours before anything exciting happened. Apparently I was wrong, and completely uninformed about second-baby labors, as our nurse told me I might want to let him know to move with a little more urgency that I originally implied. Surprised, I said, “So, I’m having this baby, like, soon?” At this point she was probably questioning my response to the required “highest level of education” question, but she politely refrained from insulting my apparent lack of common sense and gently replied, “Yes, honey. Things move a bit more quickly the second time around.”
So I gathered my things [just kidding, I didn’t think I was in labor so I didn’t bring anything], and she wheeled me down to the delivery room. Reality continued to set in when the Corpsman came in to prepare the post-delivery baby station. By this time it was 10:30 or so, and I was relieved when the nice nurse told me my husband had arrived. Still not feeling strong contractions [compared to earlier in the day], the nurse continued her quest to convince me I was in labor by informing me I was, in fact, contracting. Completely differently than Delivery #1, let me tell you. She asked if I had any questions, at which point I requested a prompt epidural from the anesthesiologist, trusting her assessment of my body given my evaluation was apparently unreliable. Nice nurse Marcia told me I could, “probably just pop the kid out real quick,” without an epidural since the pain wasn’t bad yet, and I was quickly approaching pushing time. But I did not waiver in my decision to inflict unnecessary pain on my body. Lesson learned waiting a bit too long with Baby #1. Get the drugs ASAP.
By the time the juices were flowing, it was about 11:30 pm or so, and Steve and I both opted for a nap. All I remember is an hour or so later, someone flipped the lights on in our relaxing dim room and six people in scrubs walked in exclaiming, “Baby time!” My thoughts were something along the lines of, “Wait, what, I’m sleeping still…” But apparently it was time, which was unbeknownst to me as the lower half of my body was thoroughly enjoying it very numb state. Here’s the not exciting part. Three pushes later I had the most beautiful, screaming, crying ball of slime with a full head of red hair on my tummy. We went from napping parents of one to awestruck parents of two in literally 10 minutes.
One thing I love about the Naval Hospital here is that your baby stays with you the whole time, barring any complications. So we spent our first two hours in the delivery/recovery room as a little family before they wheeled us over the the Mother/Baby Unit. From Nice Nurse Marcia to the Corpsman to Deliver Doctor Martin [fitting, right?] to the anesthesiologist to our Night Nurse Michaela we had amazing care. I had zero complaints. We were so pleased with our stay – and bonus – we got our own room, an extra bed for Steve, and a waterfront view.
We made it to our room and Julia let us sleep. Poor Steve and his day that never ended continued after a brief nap when he woke up to handle the movers at our new house. Rescheduling would mean another two weeks with no beds in our house, so we opted to go ahead and have them come. Besides, by the time we had the baby I’m sure it was too late to cancel the delivery and I’m pretty sure the military wouldn’t have wanted to foot that bill for our convenience. So poor Steve was off to supervise my least favorite part of PCS’ing while I snuggled our new baby girl in bed all day. Poor guy.
Our recoveries went smoothly. Julia had some pretty bad bruising on her face and shoulders, which was normal and almost completely gone by the time we were discharged. Her temperature was a bit low, but they monitored it closely and it regulated itself over time with some doctor-prescribed mommy snuggles. We spent the day Facetiming family and updating friends. To all of the people who have sent us kind messages, words, and prayers, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We are so blessed to have so many people who surround our babies with love. I will get back to everyone as soon as we figure out some semblance of a schedule.
My favorite part of the day was when Steve was finally done at our box-filled house and came back to the hospital [his day going on 32 hours now]. Then our friends came with not only Mitchell to meet his little sister, but a bottle of champagne and balloons! I resisted the temptation to pop the cork between nurse visits and save it for a celebratory evening of unpacking.
Mitchell was not himself and full of snuggles for Mommy when he showed up, much to my delight. This only lasted about ten minutes, however, before he was back to normal opening every drawer on Julia’s cabinet. Lots of people have asked if he understands what is happening, and frankly, he has no clue. I mean, I’m sure he will realize there is a new baby in the house but 18 months is a little too young to understand the “baby in Mommy’s tummy” concept. Or at least for my 18 month old.
The girls [minus Zoe of course] stayed the night at the hospital while the boys spent the first night in our new house. In a perfect world we would have been moved in and had a baby/dog-sitter and Julia, Steve, and I would have spent a restful night at the hospital together. But this arrangement was so much more manageable and we expected to join everyone at home the next morning anyway.
More than ready to be outta the hospital, we packed up the kids [still getting used to saying that!], and headed home as a family of four.
I am so so so grateful Julia’s arrival went off without any problems. My feelings can most be accurately be described with my, “Can we keep her?! Can we keep her?!” remarks I’ve made to Steve over the past few days, along with the sigh of relief for not being pregnant anymore. On a little different note, Julia’s arrival was accompanied with some difficult news for my family. My grandfather was admitted to the hospital, and has experienced some pretty declining help in recent months. At this point we’re praying for his comfort and peace for the rest of our time with him, whether it is for a few months or several more years. But it was pretty amazing to see his reaction to learning the arrival of his [fifth] grandchild and [fourth] great granddaughter. I’m a little curious to see how the next few days unfold, but I’m sure they will only get smoother as we unpack the house and get organized. I’m also hoping she continues on her happy baby routine – we have yet to hear her cry since her post-delivery assessment/shots. I’m obviously most thankful she is healthy and thriving, but all the red hair is definitely a bonus 🙂 And I am so excited to start dressing her in all her clothes and wrapping her in cute blankies! And last, but not least, getting a little unpacked and introducing her to her grandparents in the coming weeks!