Things are finally starting to resume some sense of normalcy in our house. Pete went back to work on Tuesday, and I'm pleased to report that the adjustment to two kids hasn't been quite as tough as I expected so far. Elizabeth has been an easy and generally contented baby, and Kate has continued to adapt well to her presence.
I wanted to share the story of Elizabeth's birth before it had been so long I started to forget things.
Sunday night (June 1st) I noticed while taking Kate up to bed that my knees were hitting my stomach when I went up the stairs. That was my first hint that the baby had "dropped", and according to What to Expect, in a second-time mom that normally doesn't happen until labor is "imminent". Sure enough, around midnight I started feeling contractions. While it was enough to wake me up, I was able to mostly sleep through them until almost 2AM. I hadn't gone to bed until 10:30, and assuming I would have a full day of labor ahead of me, I wanted to get as much sleep as I could. Around 2, there was no sleeping through them anymore, but I still tried to rest inbetween and started casually timing them. They were about 7 minutes apart for 45 minutes or so when I decided it was time to get up. I kind of figured that once I was up and about that they would starting coming faster/harder - I had no idea!
I got up and had a bowl of cereal and tried to get a few last minute things ready and time my own contractions. By 4 AM I couldn't time them myself anymore - they were too strong. I woke up Pete and we started getting ready, but at this point they were coming really hard and fast. We essentially threw a few final things in the bag and called my sister-in-law Sue to come stay with Kate and then the doctor. I told Sue to "come now, but you have time to brush your teeth, etc." Heh heh. By the time she got here, the contractions were so strong that I could barely recover from one and the next hit. The doctor still hadn't called back, but I told Pete if she didn't call by the time Sue arrived, we were leaving anyway.
Thankfully, the doctor called as Sue arrived, which was good, because at about the same time my water broke. Here I'd spent weeks dreading this moment of driving away from Kate - of being so worried and sad for her that I cried and cried thinking of it. Had someone asked me about it then, I think I would have said "Kate who?" Things were a bit intense.
Got to the hospital and Pete parked outside the ER and ran to get a wheelchair. We managed to get me in it between contractions and he flew to the L&D triage unit. They were expecting us and got me in for assessment. My first words were "I would like an epidural!". She checked me and I was at 8 cm. I heard her call out in the hall - "I need a room - I have a ruptured 8" and then there was a flurry of activity. They just wheeled the triage bed - fast - into a delivery suite. Turns out there wasn't time for an epidural, but there was for something called an intrathecal (like an epidural, but just a spinal injection - not a catheter). The L&D nurse was my total hero at this point - she frantically got an IV in and squeezed that saline bag for all it was worth so I could get the intrathecal.
At this point I wanted to push like mad, so she did this in between really helping me fight that urge. She had these really intense blue eyes - isn't it strange the things you notice at times like that? Oddly, looking at her helped me keep the focus better than looking at Pete. She had this great "Don't you even think about pushing - you can do it, girl" look on her face that I needed. Pete looked too... caring.
The intrathecal was a godsend. It worked fast and I was numb from the waist down. Pete and I joked that we probably "spent" about $2k for that shot to get me through 4 more contractions. It was worth it! The doc arrived in about 10 minutes and I was ready to push. I started pushing and count to 10 - and then to 10 again - and again. Then the doctor said, "Look down!" I thought she was going to show me she was crowning, but instead there Elizabeth was! My first exclamation was, "She's OUT already?!?!" I just couldn't believe it.
There are a lot of differences having your second compared to your first, as I discover daily. A big difference was that Elizabeth looked about how I expected her. She looks like Kate, without question, but not identical. Yet still, there was an instant familiarity I didn't feel the first time. It's like the first time you're still learning how to bond - how to make that connection - and this time it came right away.
She is my daughter. My beautiful baby girl.