“Heaven blew every trumpet and played every horn on the marvelous, wonderful night you were born .”
I had been in prodromal labor for two weeks. If you’ve never heard of it, prodromal labor is when your body tricks your already exhausted, swollen, painfully sober self into thinking it’s going into real labor, only to have it disappear right at the moment you’re ready to grab the hospital bag and head out the door. It’s a sick joke, honestly – I pray your future babies spare you from this phenomenon .
On December 5, my first day of maternity leave, after a full 24 hours with not one contraction or sign of labor I was gearing up for another sleepless night of contraction timing and tossing and turning. I bounced on a labor ball while watching Monday Night Football with your father and your brother and felt the familiar tightening of the contractions start to come in waves. One after the other they came. They kept me up all night, and by sunrise on December 6 I was so uncomfortable I woke up your dad and told him it was time to go to the hospital. We took our time getting up. We drank coffee and I showered, brushed my hair and put my makeup on. Grandma came to get your brother and off we went. We checked in and I got hooked up to the monitors and then…the nurse sent us home. She told me to come back when I was in so much pain your dad’s voice made me want to kill him. Duly noted.
We had breakfast, just the two of us. We chatted and ate avocado toast and laughed. We didn’t get a ton of time alone, so it was nice. Those moments were our last moments of being unfinished, incomplete. Up until this day, we were a family pending. We were waiting for you to complete us, and that day had arrived. We borrowed Papa’s dog and walked the neighborhood. We walked and walked, every now and then I would have to stop to breathe through a contraction – and then we would keep going. Once we were done walking, the contractions were getting stronger and closer together. We sat in Papa’s living room while I walked, and writhed and swayed through my labor. Finally at one point I was bent over an armchair and saw my knuckles turning white from the pain and decided it was probably time to go back. Sure enough, this time they let us stay.
The intake was long. The nurse hooked me up to monitors and asked me a million questions. I cried silent tears from the pain while I waited for our room to be ready. When I arrived I was 4cm dilated – by the time I got to our delivery room I was 6cm and the anesthesiologist was on call for my epidural.
Once the epidural was placed it was easy going. I rested comfortably and chatted with your dad while he watched the news from an armchair close by. We joked about politics with the sweet nurse. We texted updates as I made progress. First I was 6cm, then 8cm, then my water broke. About 4.5 hours after we got to the hospital, it was time for me to push. I can remember feeling anxiety, but at the same time I had a sense of relief that my body had gotten me to this point on its own without any type of labor augmentation. After a slower, more complicated labor with your brother it was a welcome change. You were coming into the world on your terms. I think I gave 4 or 5 good solid pushes and there you were. Beautiful, pink and screaming. They put you right on my belly and it was like heaven opened right up. There you were, my sweet girl – all 8lbs 6oz of you. My rainbow baby. You had no idea how long and hard I had prayed for you and how much joy I felt at that moment you came earthside. Your daddy cried happy tears. He cut your umbilical cord and the nurse laid you on my chest. It was pure bliss, those first moments of skin to skin with you. You whimpered for about 5 minutes then found your way to the milkmakers, latched on and camped out there until I had to hand you over to your daddy. Your papa and grandma came right away and they brought your brother. He was awestruck by you.
I got right up and started walking around. Not one tear, not one stitch. Once again my body hasn’t failed me – it had birthed two, gorgeous babies without even flinching. I felt glorious. Powerful. Like I had hit a switch and landed on Mars. Birth high. There’s really nothing like it. Your daddy fell asleep in the recovery room but I couldn’t. I just stared at you until the sun came up. Those beautiful eyes. Those chubby cheeks. The way you looked just like your daddy and how annoying that was (LOL). You nursed like a champ and even gained weight when you were expected to lose some. We were so healthy they let us go home less than 24 hours after we got there. It was the most amazing experience. Looking back, it’s bittersweet because it was my last birth but what a birth it was. Fast and furious yet smooth and gentle. Just like you, my love.