It is often said that every child is different. The same can be said for the way they enter this world. My first child simply refused to be born, and so I was induced. Fifteen days after my due date, we met our first born. My daughter seemed to follow in her brother's footsteps. Her birth was also an induction. Then my middle son. Induced the Friday before Memorial Day (so Hubby didn't have to use too much of his vacation) which was my due date. Then, as I waited for H to need to be coaxed out, a funny thing happened. Labor. Of course, I knew my body by then, so I knew that I wasn't in labor. I was sure as I worked my ten hour shift that day, that I was fine. When I gathered up the cash deposit and hit the bank drive thru on my way home, I was positive that I wasn't having a baby. When I said good bye to my husband on his way to work, I wasn't worried. I might have been a tad panicked when I drove myself to the hospital an hour later. I began to believe that I was indeed in labor twenty minutes after getting to the hospital, when H was born. TLL was born in much the same fashion as H, but, with my husband in tow and my disbelief stored away.
Since it was far from my first rodeo, imagine my shock when my water broke, two weeks ago today. I woke up a little wet, and figured that after five children, with another on the way, I was probably lucky to have staved off incontinence issues as long as I had. I changed my clothes and laid back down to go back to sleep. Unfortunately, no sooner had I laid back down, that I was wet again. I got up and pondered the wisdom of googling 'amniotic fluid' as I sat at my computer. Moments later, my question was answered by my water breaking in earnest. Uh-oh.
I tried to calm myself down and to assure myself that everything was fine. Without contractions, I could wait until the sun started to come up before calling my Aunt to come over. I could even wait until I knew my husband would need to be up anyway to call him. I didn't however. Anxiety kicked in again I called my Aunt. Then I called my husband. Who actually complained about the awkward timing and how inconvenient a Tuesday birth was going to be for his work week. Nevertheless, they both started driving. My Aunt was here in a half an hour. She watched my little ones while I rested and prayed for no contractions until my husband made the six hour drive home.
The morning marched by slowly while my anxiety built. Never before had my water broken. Never before had a baby come early. The baby was quiet. Not kicking much. Finally, my husband was home and I said teary good byes to my two babies. We arrived at the hospital around 1:00 p.m. My panic mounted as a doctor I had never met made a comment about it being 'too late' to stop my labor. Why would they stop it? I asked myself over and over again. Finally the midwife arrived. I was so relieved.
She assured me that everything seemed fine. Hubby and I waited and waited...and waited. The contractions were about three minutes apart when I decided to have an epidural. LB, H, and TLL were all born completely naturally. I will say that I am glad to have done that at least once, but, I never received any medals in the mail for tolerating the pain, and I was so mentally exhausted this time that I caved. Whoa buddy. If I had ever before had an effective epidural, there probably would have been no chance of me ever trying a natural birth. Something like three pushes and a beautiful baby girl was placed on my chest...and it was absolutely pain free. My legs were a little tingly, but, within minutes of Leila's birth, they were fine.
Unlike my first five, when Leila was born they immediately placed her on my chest. Handing me a towel to wrap her in only after I was holding her. I was so surprised to be holding her so soon, that I nearly dropped her. It was wonderful. I was so happy to see my baby girl. Her pink fat cheeks, her head of black hair. She was perfect. Perfect fingers, perfect toes. Perfect baby. She is still perfect of course.
It was probably an hour or two before a nurse came into our room to give her a bath and shampoo her hair. A long time before she was swaddled. No Nurse Ratchet insisted that she lie under the warming light. It was a wonderful time. The most rewarding time I can remember, made so, primarily by the midwife (who is awesome) and the hospital staff. It was an excellent way to bring, probably my last baby into this world.
Perhaps to compensate in part for the difficulty of the pregnancy, Leila's birth was miraculously easy. No cuts, no tears, no stitches. I felt extremely blessed. Not just to have the daughter that I wanted so badly, but, to have my body feel ready to go home and jump right back into my role as Mom.
I am so tired these days, but, it is the kind of tired that I can cope with. It is the good tired. Not the bone deep pain and exhaustion I was feeling before my littlest angel was born. Granted everything is harder. Much harder. This is the last week of school for the big kids. Just this week I have taken my six to BB's graduation, JB's play, and LB's award ceremony. I have braved the store with my three babies each day this week. We have all survived. Maybe even had some fun.
I am really tired out by the difficulty of getting around with Hercules being expected to walk and listen. I am frustrated by babies that cry at the same time, needing me. Not because I am frustrated with the babies at all, more because I wish I could soothe them both. My babies' tears rip my heart out, they really do. It is hellish and upsetting to only be able to cuddle one of those babies at a time. I am having trouble adjusting to not having someone on deck to share those special baby moments with. I am deeply saddened by moments that pass that I wish I could capture in a photograph, only to find that I don't have enough hands to do so. I am also sad by the lack of pictures Leila will have with her parents. All the pictures I have taken seem lonely with only the baby, no beaming proud papa in them.
Still, we have been blessed with a beautiful daughter. What isn't to love about that?
When I started writing this yesterday, Leila was exactly two weeks old and Parmys was exactly eleven months old. Happy *sort of* Birthday girls!
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