Hey folks! I took the last month off of blogging to focus on getting our little family settled in. It has been so nice to take a break but now I’m ready to come back with some new summer recipes and projects. But before all that starts, I wanted to share the birth story of our sweet little Lucy. I’m sure that I’ll be glad I’m taking the time to write it down so that I have it for later on. If you’re not into birth stories, feel free to skip this post and come back tomorrow for a new recipe, but if you are…grab a coffee, get settled in and read on 🙂
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It all started back on the Thursday after my due date. I was 6 days overdue, very big and sooo ready for this baby to get here. I got up and cleaned the house in the morning and then headed off to my midwife appointment where we discussed them starting to induce me on Friday night, with the big drugs starting on Saturday morning. At almost 41 weeks, I was pretty disappointed that things weren’t going to kick off on their own naturally, but my midwives really didn’t want me to go any further along in the pregnancy as we could tell she was a pretty big baby. After my appointment, my mom and I met up with a good family friend for lunch at a Mexican restaurant. All through lunch, I started to feel kind of crampy and uncomfortable, which I assumed was from the midwife checking everything out. By the time I got home that afternoon I felt miserable. My sweet mom helped me prep dinner for when Garrett got home, then she headed home and we bunkered down to watch some TV and take it easy. All evening my back was aching, but I figured it was from all the gardening I was doing that week with my mom and from cleaning the house so much earlier in the day.
At 3:30am, I woke up with the worst backache. After tossing and turning for awhile, I finally decided to go downstairs to get some water and a snack, and to put my heating pad on it. As I sat there eating my toast, I noticed that the ache would come and go and it got me thinking…am I in labour? I starting timing the backaches and sure enough, they were a minute long and two minutes apart. After 30 minutes of timing them, I decided I better wake up Garrett. Was this the real deal? When I went upstairs to wake him, he shot out of bed so quickly. I guess in a way, he had been waiting for me to wake him up this way for months. He continued timing them for me as they started to get more intense. Our midwives had told us to call when they were a minute long and five minutes apart, and these were even closer. I did not want to be one of those women who has their baby in the car on the way to the hospital, so we loaded everything up and headed in.
By the time we got to the hospital, the contractions had slowed down but they were becoming much more intense. In the end, they decided to admit me and by 9am I was hooked up to an epidural with an orange popsicle in my hand.
The entire time I was pregnant, people would tell me how awful labour is, but really the worst part was those contractions I had from 3:30am to 9:00am. Once I had the epidural, it was much more manageable and I was actually able to get some rest…
…and so did Garrett.
We had my mom and his mom in the room with us, so we all hung out as we waited for things to progress. Things slowed down a bit once I had gotten the epidural so they had to give me oxytocin to make the contractions progress. This meant that my care had to be transferred from the midwife to an obstetrician. As luck would have it, he was the very same doctor who had delivered my brother 22 years ago!
By 7pm I was 10 cm dilated and ready to start pushing soon. When they had broken my water earlier in the day, they had found meconium in the amniotic fluid, which meant there was a chance that our baby had some in her lungs as well. As a precaution, they had a respiratory specialist and a special care nurse on standby to help suck anything out of her lungs when she was born. Between them, the midwife, the doctor, the nurses, Garrett and the moms…it was a full house!
After just under an hour of pushing, our sweet little baby made her debut at 8:04pm…exactly 31 years, 3 days, 12 hours and 4 minutes after I’d been born. The nurses were teasing me about doing the math in my head between pushing, but it helped keep me distracted! In that incredible moment that she was born it was like my heart could have burst right out of my chest. I couldn’t believe our daughter was here. They quickly whisked her away to suction any meconium out of her lungs and that is when things got very scary for a bit. Either from the shock of the suction or from the stress of being born, she didn’t take her first breath right away. A team of people quickly swarmed her around the warming table and worked to get her oxygen and encourage her to breathe. There were twelve people around the room and yet you could have heard a pin drop as we all waited to hear her cry or breathe or anything.
I kept looking around the room at everyone’s faces yet no one could tell me what was going on. In that moment I was worried we’d lost her. All I could see of her was her little blue-grey arm hanging off the end of the table (which I later found out was totally normal for babies to look that way, but I didn’t know). I had gone from the biggest high of my life to a crashing low within a matter of minutes. They kept saying she had a good heartbeat, but all I could think of was if she was getting oxygen. In the end, they got test results from the cord blood gases that confirmed that she had been receiving heavily oxygenated blood right up until it was cut, so she was only without it for less than 2 minutes until they had gotten the mask on her.
They were quickly taking her away to do tests and make sure all the meconium was out of her lungs. Garrett headed with her to the special care nursery while the moms stayed with me. I’ll admit I was a total wreck. I couldn’t stop crying and shaking. I didn’t know what was going to happen. The nurses and midwife came back to tell me she was okay…but in that moment it’s so hard to know what that even means.
It was another hour and a half before our parents were able to go in and see her with Garrett and report back to me that she was doing great – wide-eyed and alert. She even squeezed my dad’s finger. My dad took these pictures for me while I waited to be able to go, but it was heartbreaking to see her with the mask on, cords everywhere and IV in her tiny little hand. Even with everyone telling me she was okay, I needed to see for myself and know for sure.
A few hours after she was born, she and I finally got to meet. She was crying and when I told her that everything was okay, she instantly stopped when she heard my voice. After all those months inside me, listening to me talk all the time, I guess she’d heard something she knew. I felt like the Grinch in that cartoon…my heart just grew three sizes.
Over the next few days, we came to see her every few hours and I was thankfully able to start nursing her right away. The one thing that the midwife, special care nurses and pediatrician all told us was that other than this little blip at the beginning when she was first born she was otherwise a very healthy, happy baby girl. At 8lb 15 oz, she was the biggest baby in the NICU and the second biggest baby to be born by our midwives in the month of May!
Words cannot express how incredibly grateful we are for all the astounding care we received from everyone at our hospital. They really helped us navigate this joyous yet stressful time, with their amazing care and kind hearts. Slowly they started to take off her wires and IV, and after a final few rounds of tests, Lucy was ready to head home.
A proud papa ready to make the first drive home.
She thankfully slept through the entire car ride and even long enough for us to grab a drive-thru burger on the way!
She was already too big to fit into any of the newborn clothes I’d packed, but thankfully this 0-3 month old sleeper I bought in Florida fit her. Although she already outgrew it last week. She is getting so long!
Now that we’re settled in at home, we’re all doing great. For the most part, she is an incredibly good baby with a healthy appetite and a sweet disposition.
For the first week or so we really struggled with getting her days and nights flipped around. During the day she’d sleep so well…but at night she was ready to party! Since then she has got on a good schedule and as of this week, she has started to sleep very well through the night, with a long nap in the morning and another in the afternoon. The most stressful time of day is in the evenings when she just wants to nurse non-stop, which means coming up with dinners that are easy to prepare with one hand or that Garrett can do after work.
Years ago when Garrett and I first moved in together, we talked about getting married someday and having kids…which inevitably lead to thinking about names we liked. Over the years if we’d heard a name we both liked, we’d add it to an ongoing list. Whenever we’d pull it back out, we’d scratch off any that we didn’t like and keep the ones we did, but there was always one girl name that stayed at the top…Lucy. It was feminine and sweet, and the formal name of Lucille was nice too. In all that time, we’ve only ever met one other Lucy (the sweet daughter of some of our friends in Laurel, Mississippi), so I liked the idea of it fitting in with the trend for older names, but still being unique.
For her middle name, we went with Marian, which is my great aunt’s first name and my mother’s middle name. I chose it because they are two of the most important women in my life and I wanted Lucy to always have a little piece of them with her. It turns out that the name goes back much further than that.
When I told my great aunt that we’d given Lucy her name, she dug out the old family tree because she was pretty sure she’d been named after her own Great Aunt Marian. She was surprised to find that there were several Marians that date back many generations. I had no idea I was continuing a family tradition!
Lucy is the first grandchild on both sides of the family, so as you can imagine she is getting lots of attention. Whenever our families are around, someone is always holding her.
The great grandmas are pretty smitten too.
When I was little, I was lucky to have my great grandparents around and I have really good memories of them. I’m so glad that Lucy is going to get to have memories of her own too.
We got all the grandparents together when she was just over three weeks old to celebrate Fathers Day. I even put her in this adorable dress we were given, because I have no idea how long she’ll actually fit in it now that she is growing so fast!
Such a proud dad and grandpas. (I love my dad’s t-shirt.^)
I can’t get over the special bond that these two are forming already. The smiles and grins that she gets when she sees or hears Garrett makes my heart melt. I just love them both to bits.
For the next year, I’m on maternity leave and my number one job is to make this little girl as happy and healthy as I can. All those months I was pregnant I daydreamed about what it would be like to have her in my arms, to feel her fall asleep on my chest and kiss the soft hair on her head…but nothing compares to the real thing. I’m only a month into this journey, but so far being her mama feels like one of the best things I’ve ever done with my life. xoxo