I have a daughter.
She was born on Saturday, 18 June, at 5:07 p.m. at 39+6.
She was 7 lb, 12.5 oz at birth and 21 inches long, with a head circumference of 34.5 cm. She was nearly identical to her big brother’s stats at birth (7 lb, 15 oz; 20.5 inches; 36 cm).
Her first name is the same as this author.
And her middle name, which is a family name on both sides, is the same as this first name.
Her labour was nearly identical to E’s. I was unable to sleep on Friday night because I had contractions that were long enough and frequent enough (every ten minutes or so) to keep me awake. When I got up on Saturday morning, ate breakfast, and had a shower, they dropped right off again and were sometimes forty minutes or longer apart. By lunchtime they were back to being ten minutes apart, but they were long enough (a minute) and strong enough (I couldn’t ignore them) that we thought we should make sure labmonkey and Pea were on their way in (although I told labmonkey I thought she had time to go to her appointment with the bank first).
Around 2:30 p.m. my midwife called to check in as I had spoken with the student midwife that morning. I told her what the contractions were doing and she said to page back either when they intensified or got closer together.
Around 3 p.m. I decided to have a shower to see if that made a difference, since the one that morning had stalled them considerably.
While in the shower they started coming every 2 minutes apart. By the time I was dressed again they were shorter but still very close together and intensifying.
I paged the student midwife and told her in no uncertain terms I wanted to go to the hospital RIGHT AWAY. This was a difficult phone call as I had a contraction in the middle of it and E. was freaking out that suddenly we were leaving, so he was trying to hold on to my legs and crying while I was on my hands and knees on the bed coping with the contraction.
labmonkey and Bean arrived and we basically threw E. at them and went out the door. (E. was fine as soon as we left and had a wonderful time with them).
Despite having a birth plan with only one item- DO NOT have the baby in the car- there was a point in the twenty-minute drive where I thought we’d left it too late. I was starting to get a lot of pressure. The contractions were still two minutes apart and very intense. Q. did a fantastic job getting us there (he said afterwards, “I’m so glad I bought the German car with the powerful engine”).
I had a contraction as we parked and got out of the car and was then determined to get into the hospital and into the elevators before the next one came. Q. said I made quite an impact on everyone milling around outside the main doors. I can vaguely remember hearing someone say, “Ooh that woman is having a baby today!” as I willed myself to keep walking.
I had another contraction in the elevator and two more before we could get into a room. As we were walking down to the room my midwife said to the student, “We’d better page the backup midwife right now”.
We got into the room and the student midwife offered to check my dilation. I was happy to do this because there was a part of me that was worried I was still going to be at 5 cm and the contractions were becoming really hard to cope with.
I was at 9 cm. This explains why the car ride was so horrible- I was in transition.
We decided I had just enough time to get into the tub, so my midwife filled it. I got in, they managed to do the admissions bloods in between contractions, and probably within eight minutes or so my body started trying to push. I didn’t want to give birth in the tub so I had to get out again and I had one horrific contraction while standing before we could get me back to the bed.
By this time the backup midwife and her student had arrived, so I had four midwives plus Q. to support me. They were checking P’s heart rate regularly and reassuring me that she was doing well and that everything was normal.
I think I pushed for around twenty minutes- this was more intense than it was with E. and I found it really hard to control what my body was doing. When she was born there was this pop and explosion of liquid and I was terrified that it was blood and I’d torn badly, but it turned out that P. was born in the caul and that explosion was the sack breaking open at her birth. Q. said afterwards it was a bit like a horror movie because she was flailing like mad as soon as she was born to try to get out. The midwives were very excited and said it just made her that much more special.
I ended up with one tiny cosmetic tear, much like with E., that my midwife stitched just because otherwise it wouldn’t join back up. After the birth I was incredibly cold and they kept bringing hot blankets (I remembered these with E.- they are the best possible thing at that time). The placenta delivered without difficulty and was intact. P. came up onto my chest straight away and we delayed cord clamping. We said yes to the Vitamin K shot, no to the eye drops, and yes to oxytocin to help the placenta detach.
E. at birth squawked a bit and then had a long period of “quiet alertness” where he took everything in. P. came out MAD and she stayed mad until we were finally able to establish a decent latch. She wanted to get nursing straight away and became increasingly frustrated when she didn’t immediately demonstrate mastery of this skill.
“Fiesty!” said one of the midwives.
Two other comments: “She doesn’t really look like a newborn at all!” and “She’s so alert!” were identical to what they said with E.
P., like E., has a lovely round head because she didn’t have time to get squished during delivery. Her Apgars were 9 and 10. The critical issue of whether or not the kidney is functioning was resolved that first night with proof of a wet diaper. The rest of her newborn exam went well.
We opted for early discharge, like with E., so we were back home by 8:15 p.m., early enough that we told labmonkey to keep E. up so he could meet his little sister. E. was wildly excited (there were many kisses on P.’s little head) but did manage to go to sleep that night when we finally packed him off to bed just after 9:00 p.m.
Q. and I were all set to learn from our mistake with E. about not sleeping on the first night when the baby is tired, but P. apparently missed that memo and went straight to “cluster feed every hour for the entire night”. She did this again last night before finally falling asleep at 3:30 a.m. and sleeping until 6 a.m., which was the first chance I’d had to get some sleep since Thursday night. All that effort has meant my milk is in already and I’m hoping for some more settled nights at some point in the near future.
It’s been an emotional couple of days. We went through so much to get here, as you all know. And now she’s here, she’s safe, and she’s real.
(Feel free to email me at rescogitataeATgmailDOTcom if you’d like to see pictures.)