I thought it was difficult to choose a REAL name for this little girl, but I’ve struggled all week (and for many months before now) to figure out what to call her on my blog.
After much deliberation, I’ll be calling her Ani, after the main character in one of my favorite books, The Goose Girl. (Ella, if you have a very long memory for insignificant details, is from Ella Enchanted).
Last Friday, Bart and I woke up early, got dressed, and ate some breakfast. My lovely friend Allison came over at 6:30 to stay with Ella, who was still in bed, and we headed out to the hospital.
We filled out some paperwork, were assigned to a room, and I was given the always-flattering hospital gown to change into. When I came out of the bathroom and handed Bart my clothes to stash in his backpack, he said, “You won’t have to wear those again!”
Bart and I sat on the couch in the room for a couple of minutes and then the nurse came in and started setting things up. Two minutes later, the head nurse came in and said, “The good news is that you’re going to have a baby. The bad news is that it won’t be this morning. It’s too busy and we need this room. Come back at one this afternoon.”
So, I got back into the clothes Bart had said I wouldn’t have to wear again.
We came home, spent a little time with Ella, and then I took her to Ralphie‘s house for our co-op preschool. Bart and I took advantage of that time for a nap because getting up at 5:45 a.m. is not our idea of a good way to start the day.
We picked up Ella from school, visited with Ralphie a bit, then came home and had lunch. I called the hospital (I was really paranoid that they would say, “No, still too busy. Come in tomorrow instead”), and they said to come on in.
I put Ella down for a nap, and Landen‘s husband came over to do homework while she slept.
And back to the hospital.
We were quickly sent to a new labor and delivery room, and then we sat around for about forty minutes waiting for someone to come in. Finally, at about two, I got hooked up to the Pitocin.
The nurse checked me and said I was almost at a five (I’d been a four on Tuesday at my doctor’s appointment), and that they’d just run a slow drip of Pitocin and see how I progressed. Once the contractions were getting somewhat painful, I could ask for an epidural.
The nurse, Wendy, said she needed to do a c-section so she wouldn’t be my nurse, but when the head nurse came in, Wendy asked if she could stay with us and the nurse agreed that some other nurse could swap with her. Bart and I were both very pleased, since we really liked her.
Over the next two hours, we visited with the nurse, I ate a popsicle (Wendy said she’d never seen anyone eat two popsicles during labor without throwing them up, so I restrained myself to one), read some of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother for bookclub, and Bart read segments of The Happiness Project aloud to me. I called Landen and talked to Ella for a few minutes too.
My doctor is married to another OB-GYN and they work at the same practice, so, although he was the one on call that night, she swapped with him so that she could deliver my baby (I think she also had another patient or two in the hospital that evening). I was thrilled to find out that my doctor would be the one there, rather than someone I didn’t know.
Around four, I started to think that I would really like an epidural. The contractions weren’t unbearably painful, but they were getting progressively less fun and I knew there would be a delay between the time I asked for an epidural and the time I actually got one.
Twenty or thirty minutes later, the anesthesiologist came in and, thanks to Bart’s backpack from the University of Texas on the couch, we discovered he was doing the executive MBA at UT and knew one of our friends who is doing that program. I think you probably don’t generally talk about MBAs with your anesthesiologist, but we did that afternoon.
I laid down for about five minutes to give the epidural a chance to spread, and then the nurse checked me and said I was at an eight. At first glance, she thought she could see the baby’s head, but then she said, no, she couldn’t, after all. My doctor said nothing ever happens if she stays and waits, so she was going to run and check on something.
I laid on my right side and after about three minutes, I felt this strong strong pressure on the top of my leg.
The nurse checked me again and said, “You’re at a ten! This baby is RIGHT there.” A quick call to the doctor who showed back up in about thirty seconds, and it was time to push.
I’d been crossing my fingers for months that I wouldn’t have to push for three hours again, and that all the stories about how second babies are so much easier to deliver would be true for me.
After pushing through my first contraction, I said, “Did I make any progress?” and Bart and the doctor and nurse all said, “YES!” The nurse told me, “You will NOT be pushing for three hours with this baby.”
I pushed for two more contractions and then the baby was out. The doctor looked at me with this shocked look on her face and said, “Janssen, this is a really big baby! She has rolls of fat!”
The baby cried immediately (so much more reassuring than Ella’s birth where she had a quite traumatic entrance into this world), but the minute they laid her on my chest, she went completely silent, looking around with huge eyes.
Bart and I both noticed what a big mouth she had (since then it hasn’t looked at all large – but with those first couple cries, it looked enormous).
After a couple of minutes, I said, “Okay, I’m dying to know how much she weighs” and the nurse took her over to the scale. I asked Bart what he guess was and he said, “Just under eight pounds.” I guessed just over.
I think everyone in the room was a little stunned when the scale read 8 lbs, 12 oz.
She cried while she was being weighed, but as soon as Bart picked her up, she was instantly calm again.
It was all just such an easy, quick delivery, and recovery has been much better than last time around. I was really really hoping to not be induced (I was pretty terrified about the whole thing, actually), but it was a completely positive experience. We loved the hospital staff and our whole stay was nothing but fantastic.
And now we have this sweet little baby who has fit easily and wonderfully into our family. We couldn’t be happier.
Oh, how we love her.