Rewind about twelve hours from her birth…Ross and I are getting ready for bed after he had taken a five hour nap to ward off an out-of-the-blue fever. After I got Analiese to bed at 8, I checked on him and gave him a few extra strength Tylenol to take care of the obvious fever — forehead was very warm and he’s wrapped up in our down comforter like it’s winter. When really, it’s about 100 degrees in our second floor bedroom.
I, on the other hand, headed downstairs to put together some shelves. Because that’s what you do when you’re nine months pregnant? I was texting with my two best friends with “Up All Night” on in the background. (I just realized the irony of that…) I felt great except for a new kind of pressure I was feeling and figured HK just found a comfy, new spot to hang out in the very confined space she had called her home for the past nine months. (She did just that…it’s called the birth canal!)
Around 10 pm Ross made his way downstairs looking and feeling much better. Thank you Tylenol. We wrapped things up and headed upstairs. Ross took two Tylenol PM and I took a Benadryl to help me sleep through a cough that had begun the day before. I figured that if this was the last night I had to sleep well, I wanted to have it.
And about thirty minutes later, I had my first contraction.
I started timing them and they were about ten minutes apart. I called the midwife on-call and she advised, given our distance from the hospital, to come in if the contractions start getting more intense. They quickly did so we called the ABC (Alternative Birth Center) to let them know we’d be on our way soon. The nurse there gave me conflicting advice on coming in so early and hoped she wouldn’t have to send us home if I wasn’t far enough along. Granted, I labored at home with Analiese for a good 15 hours before going in. And here we were an hour into it and I’m that lady who says “it’s time.” Thankfully, drugged-up-Ross didn’t put up a fight and let that lady call the shots. So off we went at around 1 am.
My contractions slowed the second we pulled into the parking lot, but they continued to intensify. Really, they seemed to be all over the place all night long–always between five and ten minutes apart. There just didn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to their progression, which was so different than what I remember experiencing with Analiese. It was like a countdown with her and Hayden Kate just kept me guessing the whole time, wondering if this was going to be another 24 hour ordeal.
The good news is that once we got to the ABC, I was allowed to stay given how I progressed after an hour or two of walking the hall and taking a shower. Without going into too many of the details, I will say that it was a much shorter labor from start to finish this time around, although it still felt like forever. I moved around as I labored a lot more this time and I was able to have another natural birth without any complications for which I am so grateful. The ABC and their staff are so wonderful and the arrival of Hayden Kate was celebrated with friends and family.
And although we were both so very sleep deprived and had drugs in us working against our efforts to stay alert, Ross was a great support person once again. His calm demeanor never ceases to amaze me, especially in potentially high stress situations like giving birth. His presence was soothing and helped me stay focused.
We were thankful for everyone who drove up to meet Hayden Kate, but the introduction we anticipated the most was that of her big sister. Analiese came to the hospital with Gigi later that day and, to be honest, she was more excited by the gift bag she spotted–a gift from her new baby sister. Typical.
Over the past two weeks or so, Analiese has adjusted so well to this major life change. This is the girl who lost it when I picked up another crying toddler just weeks before. I was a little nervous that she’d have all sorts of jealousy issues, but we haven’t seen any signs of that. Praise God! Instead, we’ve witnessed Analiese loving on her baby sister, her new best friend, whenever she can. She likes to put her face right up to Hayden Kate’s from time to time and she’s quick to grab a toy for her if she sees she is without one or if she’s crying. It warms our hearts and souls to see this bond forming already and look forward to watching the two of them grow up by each other’s side.
We are so thankful for our family of four!
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” – James 1:17
*Photos by SallyKate Photography