Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Hello Calliope Mae Davis

She's here! It's amazing how quickly time passes between diapering, feeding, visitors and trying to sleep. I've been trying to get to this post for a few weeks now. We are slowly getting into a groove as a family of four.  For weeks leading up to her birthday I knew an ordinary day would slowly turn into the story of her arrival.  Here it is.

It started happening on Wednesday, July 27th in the middle of the night though I didn't really realize it at the time.  I didn't sleep well because I was having what I thought were braxton hicks contractions but every hour or so they would wake me up, that and having to use the restroom a billion times throughout the night. The next day I intended to go into the office to continue to get things in order but I decided to work from home with my swollen feet up in the recliner chair.  I'm so thankful for that flexibility!  I had an appointment with my doctor at 9 and I was 3-4 cm dilated at that point.  She offered to strip my membranes but I wanted to let things take their own course. She thought it could be any day now but didn't think I was in any risk of going into immediate labor or anything so back to my recliner chair to finish work.  

Around 11 a.m. I messaged Ben with a list of 25 or so names that I have compiled over the last several months and a note that said, "we have to name this baby!!!" Callie has been on my list from the beginning and he quickly wrote back and said, "how about Calliope but we call her Callie."  Polly is named after both of my grandmothers and Callie is the name of my great grandmother.  Mae is my mother's first name though she goes by Joanne. I was glad to have a family name for her that Ben liked but also a name that he had come up with since I had named Polly. After that I think my body said, "ok, she's named, let's do this."

As the day progressed, so did my contractions.  Between working, I was timing them and by 3 or 4 in the afternoon they were 7-8 minutes apart.  I still figured they could go away but they didn't.  I was supposed to pick up Polly from school but around 4:30 things were feeling more and more uncomfortable so I called Ben to tell him he should probably come home from the studio and pick up Polly on the way.  

I had a few work emergency calls around 5 or 5:30 which helped distract me as I talked through the issues and tried to pretend that I wasn't having contractions with my coworkers on the phone.  By the time Ben and Polly got home a little after 6 we called his mom to come just in case.  We finished packing our bags, fed Polly and things got more and more uncomfortable for me.  As the contractions got closer to 5-6 minutes apart Polly decided it was time to play the cymbals, the one musical instrument that she's NEVER touched until that day.  That's right the cymbals.  I have a distinct memory of me laying on the couch on my side trying to relieve the contractions and her playing them inches away from my face saying, "here mommy, give it a try!".  I did NOT want to give them a try.  I also didn't want to freak her out by what was going on with me so I tried to play along and encourage her to pick a different instrument.  She did not pick a different instrument.  

As 8 approached I decided to call the doctor. Since I was going to attempt a VBAC my doctor told me to call when contractions were 5-6 minutes apart so we did. I was getting a little more stressed out with my cymbal player, the increasing pain, and the realization that this was actually going to happen sooner than later.  Ben's mom arrived shortly after 8 or so.  I snapped one last picture of Polly and I before we hit the road to the hospital. I can't even get into how I felt about leaving my first baby to go welcome our new baby. It was tough and I worried about how she was going to take all of this change and what if I don't love this new baby as much?!?

It was a sunny, bright drive to the hospital that was sprinkled with normal conversation between contractions and then I'd turn into Hulk Hogan or something and tell poor Ben to shut up even if he was simply responding to a question that I had just asked. It's funny how you can go from normal conversation between contractions to I DON'T CARE ABOUT ANYTHING YOU ARE SAYING RIGHT NOW!!! 

We got to the hospital a little before 9. Ben offered to drop me off but I was too tough for that, I wanted to walk.  We had to pause for a contraction between the car and the door and Ben thought it was a good time for this selfie which made me laugh.  We accidentally dressed alike for the occasion.

They monitored me for an hour to make sure I wasn't in false labor. I felt like things were really speeding up but they said I was only at 4-5 cm dilated and suggested that I might want to labor at home since I wasn't progressing rapidly and I didn't want any interventions or medications. My gut told me this was not the right thing to do. If I'm supposed to call at when contractions are 5-6 minutes apart, how would I know when to come back. Plus there was the complications with saying bye to Polly again if she were to wake up. My gut said stay and Ben agreed so we stayed. Ladies, listen to your gut!

By the time we settled into our delivery room I was relieved we had decided to stay.  At this point it's around 11 and I naively thought I could try to sleep a little which didn't happen.  Around midnight I was 7 cm dilated and things just quickly progressed from there.  I walked, I kneeled, I tried to bounce on a damn ball but the baby monitor was too hard to deal with and it would lose contact with the baby and alarms would go off.  I hated this so much. I wish they would monitor the baby after it comes out and you stay awake all night watching them to make sure they are breathing not while I'm trying to labor here!  Around 1:00 things were feeling pretty serious.  As I labored in the bed for a bit I felt a burst and my water broke.  After that it was on!  Somewhere in these hours I sent an email to my coworkers telling them things were on and good luck!  

Around 1:30 the 12 year old nurse checked me and I could tell she was surprised that I was at 9 cm.  She all too calmly said that she was going to call the doctor.  I could tell that she was even a little nervous about how quickly we got to this point.  Before she left the room she said, "if you have to poop, don't poop!  It will be a baby." She was 12 but she was awesome.  

I had wondered when I would know to push and how to push despite reading so much about how to do all of this with no drugs. Around 1:50 I knew all too well what the urge felt like.  It's the craziest urge I've ever had in my life and I yelled at that poor, very helpful 12 year old nurse that I wanted to push. The doctor still wasn't there so they called in a resident that came with a team of other people which was great because this is when I thought I'd try to labor on all fours with my butt waving in the air.  They still wouldn't let me push because I wasn't at 10 cm yet.  The doctor walked in and my body was finally 100% ready and I 100% didn't know what I was supposed to do but the 12 year old nurse talked me through all of it as I wondered, "am I going to poop on the table?"

At this point I was so tired after not sleeping the night before and considering it was the middle of the night.  Ben and the nurse held my legs and I was surprised that Ben didn't faint and hung in there the entire time though I could tell he didn't know what to do with me and my yelling and breathing. Pushing took every ounce of willpower that I had and between contractions I closed my eyes and tried to focus on getting this little girl out of my body. I went between thinking, I CAN'T DO THIS and I CAN DO THIS!!!  There were a few times in there where I severely regretted no drugs but I also felt empowered and determined. The nurse was very encouraging and did an amazing job of talking me through it. I was afraid to ask how much longer they thought I had or how close she was to coming out.  They could see her head but that felt like forever. They kept telling me, soon your little girl will be here and I felt terrible because all I could think was I DON'T CARE, I WANT TO SLEEP.  I could tell they were getting out more equipment and suiting up for something so I figured it had to end sometime.  

Around 3:15 the doctor said, we have a head and an arm and the next thing I know they laid her on my chest.  I couldn't believe it went so quickly, I was in shock that she just slipped out after all that work to get the head and a surprising arm out.  As they placed her on my chest they all said, "that's a big baby." My vagina spoke up and said, "yeah, I know this."  At 3:18 am on July 29, 2016 we had another healthy baby girl on our hands.
When they weighed her the scale said 7 lbs 10 oz and I thought, "ha! you were all wrong" but the nurse determined the scale must be broken. Two scales later and she actually weighed around 9 lbs 3 oz and 21 inches long.  So sorry to my lady parts. She also missed my mom's birthday by 3 hours and 18 minutes.  

They said she was cute and later Ben and I both confessed that we both thought...is she and will that wrinkle in her forehead go away?  We were definitely spoiled by the perfect little face of a c-section baby. Poor Callie had to go through a lot to get out of there, we were an awesome team.  At this point I was so awake, I'd never felt so awake in my life. I felt like I could benchpress the entire hospital. I just couldn't believe that she was here and that I had done it.  I've never felt so invincible in my life. I was also relieved that I didn't have to feel another contraction.
I was done. I sat in that room for the next two hours waiting to move to our recovery room and looked at my new baby girl absorbing every tiny detail. Ben promptly fell asleep sitting up in the chair. I had worried that I couldn't possibly love another girl the way I love Polly but by the time the sun came up in our recovery room, I already wanted to eat her, a sure sign that my heart is big enough for these two girls of mine even if the deep wrinkle in her forehead was permanent.  

The wrinkle was temporary and faded slowly over the next day.  It was like ordering a mattress online that's compressed, it takes a full 24 hours for it to expand.  Callie expanded into a beauty!

She met her big sister which nearly made my heart explode. I was sad and excited for Polly.  She's so proud to be a big sister but I'm sad she has to share us and her days of our full, undivided attention are over.


Our family feels complete. I have two daughters and an awesome partner in crime.  Look at him...
People warned me that Polly would seem giant when the baby came but I thought, no not my little girl. They were wrong, she didn't seem giant, she seemed like Godzilla, giant and destructive. It's heart breaking how grown she seems. It's made me try to absorb these tiny sleepless baby days even more because before we know it we'll have two tiny bosses in the house.  Polly so far has been the best, most well adjusted big sister ever. I could just eat them up.

Welcome to the family Calliope Mae Davis.  We love you so much already. 
I have to say that compared to my c-section, I much preferred the natural birth experience.  As soon as it was over I said that to Ben immediately.  I barely remember holding Polly for the first time and I was so sick from the medication and surgery that the first few days were a blur with her.  I hated that.  I actually think the recovery was a little similar just the pain was in different places and I was a lot more mobile this time around.  I refused to take anything stronger than Motrin which helped keep me clear.  I didn't want to be all foggy when Polly met Callie and a zombie when my family visited.  I'm so glad this little girl was facing the right direction and let me have this experience. I'm also glad that we will probably not do this again. I keep thinking about the days when people had 9 kids! No thanks.

Side note: I'm definitely not one of those beautiful photogenic moms after birth. Yikes! There isn't a photo filter powerful enough to make me look anything but tired and in shock!

1 comment:

Caroline Caldwell said...

As a note: when I looked at your after birth photos I said, "she looks so peaceful and beautiful" ❤️