I'm so excited to formally announce the birth of our sweet baby girl. Juniper Serra Golia. She is unbelievably content, a fantastic eater, and is the kind of baby that makes you say you could happily have six more.
My husband, Nate, was scheduled to start a new job on January 5th, and has been essentially on vacation since Christmas Eve -- on January 2nd, we decided to have a Spoil Eli Day, which involved a trip to the toy store for a new train set piece, and a lunch of French fries at our favorite diner. That morning I have that very "its soon" feeling, but didn't want to get my hopes up. Before leaving the house, I had peed SIX times in about 15 minutes, and felt like my water was going to break at any moment...
Sure enough, at 3:48am I woke up to a loud popping sound -- so loud that it actually woke me up. I jolted awake and had a sick feeling in my stomach, so I thought maybe I had just farted (sexy). I laid there for a moment, checked my phone for the time and then decided that I should go pee since I was awake anyways. I made it about ten steps before feeling the familiar feeling of a small gush of water that I'd felt 3.5 years ago with Eli. Later in the morning, Nate reminded me that 3:48am is Eli's birth-time, and that it was exactly nine days before our due date, just as Eli was.
Since my labor with Eli was so fast and furious (a whopping six hours from water breaking to baby-in-arms) we had been advised by my doctor to head to the hospital within an hour of my water breaking, but by 530 I still hadn't had any contractions that were strong or closer than 12 minutes apart. We gave the doctor another call, and she said we could wait until 7am to head in, and that I should have a small bite to eat. My mom headed over to be with Eli and Nate ran out to grab breakfast for the three of them, while I sat on the birthing ball munching some buttered toast.
Our hospital is about a 40 minute drive into Manhattan, so we figured early Saturday morning we could wait until 6:30am to leave. It was a completely different experience than going in when I was in labor with Eli (with him, my contractions were a minute apart on the ride, and thanks to my shooting high blood pressure I was mostly blacked out for the entire labor and delivery). We listened to the Pandora Kanye West channel and chatted about how bizarre it was that this was so incredibly different than with Eli.
Halfway there I had to pee so incredibly bad that it was difficult to tell what pain was a contraction, and what was just my bladder freaking out, but I was having mild pain every 8 minutes and was disappointed that things weren't moving as quickly as with E, and that we'd likely be having a much slower labor...
We parked the car a little after 7:30am and the moment I stepped out it was the Hollywood-esque level of water breaking. Through my pants, onto the pavement -- mortifying. Every step was more disgusting than the last, and I was furious with myself for opting to not have Nate drop me off in front, as now I had to walk the avenue to the hospital, soaking wet.
Checking in was a breeze -- again, much different than with Eli. Apparently no one in NYC has babies in the winter, and there are no inductions of C-sections scheduled for Saturdays, so we got to skip triage entirely (I was there about 2 hours with E, waiting for a delivery room). We got admitted, settled into our room, met our amazing nurse, and quickly went over our birth plan (natural) and medical history. By 8:30am, we got a quick sonogram to make sure baby was where she was supposed to be, and checked by the attending OB, while we waited for a doctor from my OB practice to arrive. I was only a 3, but wasn't terribly surprised by that news since I still wasn't having strong or close contractions. Baby was in great shape, and we got the OK to pace the halls in an effort to speed things up.
When my delivering doctor arrived (whom I'd met only once, on the 30th at my last OB appointment!) I was still just a 3, but was 90% effaced -- it was a little after 10am by now and she was a bit discouraged that I was unchanged, given my history with Eli, and suggested that I start a Pitocin drip. Our nurse piped up that she didn't think it was necessary (once the doctor had left the room, of course) and that I could take my time with walking the halls -- Pitocin would take an hour to prepare anyway, and baby sounded good so she encouraged us to just keep doing our thing so we could stay on plan.
Several nurses in the hallway joked with me that I didn't look like I was in labor (truthfully I didn't feel like it) and that I seemed to happy to be anywhere close to having a baby. Around 10:45am I was definitely feeling more intense contractions, and was hooked back up the monitors briefly to make sure baby was still doing well, and was allowed to have another walk around at 11am. Things were finally starting to get intense, and I felt confident I had progressed a bit. There were several contractions I couldn't walk/talk through and Nate was encouraging me that we were getting closer to meeting our girl. I remember walking past a room and hearing the strong first cry of a new baby and being totally overwhelmed with emotion. It also had began to snow, the first of the winter in NYC-- we had promised Eli it would snow before his sister arrived, so the sight of it made me so weepy.
By 12ish we were back in our room and back on the monitors. Contractions were definitely stronger but didn't feel very long or close together, so I wasn't terribly surprised to hear I was a 6.5 when I was checked. Our doctor needed to perform a c-section on another patient and seemed really concerned about how much time she had before we would need her. I was laboring intensely while standing and leaning over my hospital bed, but felt no pressure -- and still would say my pain level was manageable with deep breaths. The doctor made the call that our nurse should stay in our room until she was finished with the c-section, which I thought was odd. She checked in on us again before heading to surgery and reminded me to tell our nurse the moment I felt an urge to push.
I remember suddenly feeling so tired and wanted to lay down and rest between contractions, still assuming I had several hours ahead of me. Once I was on my side my pain level went up and I had two very intense contractions. I was about to tell the nurse I wanted to get up when the overwhelming feeling of needing to push took over, and I shouted that I felt pressure! The doctor was paged and got a quick refresher on how to push. Baby's head was "right there" and I was told to count to ten on the next contraction. With E, I pushed through 3 contractions, about six minutes total -- but this time was all one contraction, and four quick pushes! Truth be told, it was leaps and bounds less painful than delivering Eli, and I'm so glad I was able to do it all naturally again.
At 12:59pm she was out with a head full of black hair, and tiny tiny feet! She didn't let out much of a cry (more like a tiny squeak) but the nurse confirmed she was perfect. She was on my chest immediately, and Nate got to cut her cord. I was so lucky to not tear (thank you, essential oils!) and was nursing her, and enjoying skin-to-skin within minutes. Nate did the honor of letting all our family know she had safely arrived, and I was in newborn bliss, kissing her sweet little cheeks.
Nate and I were able to get the (very rare) single room in our hospital, so he was able to sleep over with us and enjoy some extra time bonding. Eli and my mom came to see her in the early evening, and E was thrilled to finally get to see "his" baby. Since I had such an easy delivery, we were able to check out 24 hours after her birth, and have been enjoying the adjustment of a tiny baby in our home!
So far, she has been an absolute DREAM. She only seems to cry when she's hungry, and is spending a bit more time each day checking out her new home, and family. She is especially interested in her big brothers voice, and does NOT have the gastrointestinal system of a proper lady (good thing she's so cute). It's so much fun to see how she differs from Eli: she enjoys swaddling! she sleeps! she's small! We are so very in love with this girl!!