My baby is ONE today and even though I seriously am not in the mood for my computer or typing at any length, I couldn't leave her hangin.
We had her little family birthday shindig last night and she was hamming it up for everybody, twirling around the floor in her birthday suit after she spread cake all over her face. I love watching her and imagining what she'll be like when she's older. She's always been a nosey, pensive little thing, always observing and considering. When she was a tiny infant she was only happy if we had her sitting up in our laps looking over the room, then she learned to sit up on her own super early so she could do some independent nosing. Even now people comment on how serious she is. Kid could stare down a lion on the hunt. She's got a decent sense of humor, but it's tough to drag it out of her. I just imagine she's going to be my little scientist someday. And that we'll make dorky pun jokes back and forth while Joe and Violet are like "you guys are fucking stupid." in the backseat. The only time she's really free-spirited is when she's naked. Hopefully that changes by time she's 18.
Leela has taught me so much about parenting! Too bad Violet couldn't also be my second kid - she really got the shaft compared to Leela. With Violet, I was always in competition with the milestones - boasting that she crawled and walked early, like I had something to do with it. And I was a food nazi like whoa. She was not to have a taste of anything until 6 months at which point I would make her food and I would feed it to her so she didn't choke. Then when Leela was 6 months old and didn't even know how to roll, muchless crawl, I was like, "eh, it'll happen". And then when she was grabbing for my food at 5 months, I figured, "well, if you want to suck on it then go for it I guess". With Violet, I never read books because I wanted to follow my instincts on parenting a baby, but the problem was I didn't know what the shit my instincts were saying, so her first year and a half was just a clusterfuck of derrrrr. With Leela, I learned to follow the baby's instincts. In retrospect, fuck everyone who didn't tell me to do that in the first place!
Leela's entrance into this world was as interesting as she is. A year later, Joe and I still take every opportunity we get to re-tell the story of her birth... including THIS opportunity! Since I need to start getting myself hyped up for birth-giving again, and since today is the 1 year anniversary of the last time I gave birth, now's a good a time as any to type it up again. So without further ado, I re-present Leela's birth story.
When my due date 1/1/11 came and went, I wasn't surprised in the least. Violet had been snuggling up inside me for an extra 9 days, so why not this one too? My goal was to hold out until 1/11/11 so she could have a cool birthday, but secretly I didn't think I'd actually stay pregnant that long. Well then that date came and went. And I started to freak. In those last weeks, every woman believes she'll be the first woman to be pregnant forever, but I felt like I had a good chance at actually getting that honor. I reached the end of 2 weeks "overdue" and my midwife convinced me to agree to an induction. I was extremely reluctant, and I told everyone it was because I wanted to go natural and was afraid an induction would mess up my chances of that, which wasn't completely untrue, but mostly I was just scared of being an actual patient at the hospital.
So, the induction was set for 1/18/11 at 9pm. The second I hung up from scheduling, I completely lost my shit. I was so scared I was going to be hooked up to machines and be miserable and in awful pain and ask for an epidural and screw something up and end up with a c-section and become a patient. Ick. I was so desperate to go into labor I actually asked people to pray for me. I appreciate prayer when someone gives it to me without my asking, but if you know me, you see the humor in me asking for it.
Perhaps dear Yahweh did me a solid that day, or more likely it was just time for me to stop being nine friggin years pregnant, but Tuesday, 1/18/11, I woke up to some distinct crampage! And immediately I went into denial. I was positive I couldn't actually be going into labor on the day I was scheduled to be induced to die (I swear, I was that scared of induction). I figured I'd be going to the hospital later today regardless though, so when I couldn't sleep through the crampy thingamajigs, I hopped out of bed and mixed up some banana nut muffins since my bananas would be bad by time I got back from the hospital. The standing and hardcore baking activity got the cramps coming every 10-12 minutes or so, but I was mixin and bakin right through them, so still in denial. After a while, Violet woke up and I got distracted, and suddenly I noticed the cramps had died down to every 20-30 minutes. I knew it. Silly body, labor is for other women! Just when I had completely crushed any teeny tiny hope of the cramps picking back up... they did! Every 6-8 minutes in fact! And coupling! And painful! I am not going natural, I said to myself. I forgot how much that crap hurts.
The day went on with the painful, dare I say it, contractions, and with my muffins baked and kitchen cleaned, Violet and I just hung out and watched tv and got in our last cuddles as Mom and Only Daughter. I laid on my side most of the time, the contractions ranged from a few minutes apart to lots of minutes apart, from barely painful and able to breathe and concentrate through to "oh god my pubic bone just popped open like a saloon door" painful.
Around 330 I looked at the clock and saw Joe would be home in about half an hour. I decided I'd better get some rest to either go into labor for sure (still in denial at this point) or to be awake for a long painful life-threatening induction (also still scared to death of induction at this point). I snuck in a few snoozes between the contraction thingies and they started coming in slow but steady 10 minute intervals. When the contractions hit, I could no longer lay down through them. I had to squat down in front of the couch and kinda thrust my pelvis toward it to lessen the pain. But then I zonked right back out for another 10 minutes as soon as it was done. Still in denial.
Joe arrived at 4pm. I informed him there's a slight possibility I'm in labor. He asked if he should call his mom to come watch Violet so we could go to the hospital. I said no, I haven't even told my mom or anyone I'm in labor yet, I don't think it's happening anytime soon, we'll just go ahead with the plan for her to come at induction time. I napped a few more times, then around 430 decided I better go ahead and get showered and attempt to shave in preparation for the hospital induction.
I washed my hair and body right away, then it happened. Dear sweet jesus, did it happen. All of a sudden, it was like I was showering inside a hot liquid clamp or something. That was a contraction, I thought. I recovered, stood there a little while longer, then another one happened. And another. They just kept happening, with only a minute or two in between. And they hurt. A lot. I filled the tub with warmhot water and laid down with the shower water still beating on me. It felt fantastic for exactly not enough time, until the next contraction hit. I couldn't lay down. I couldn't kneel. I couldn't squat. I had to be moving and moaning and roaring. Joe came in and asked what the hell was going on, if I was getting my jollies off. Do I really sound like that when I'm getting my jollies off? God I hope not.
He convinced me we needed to call my midwife and have her meet us at the hospital. I reluctantly agreed. Denial still maybe? Or maybe the fact that maybe half an hour ago I was sleeping between contractions 10 minutes apart. We talked to the midwife and she said "I told you to call me the second you went into labor. I don't want to have to deliver this baby at home. I'll need at least an hour to get to the hospital." I told her that's fine, we've got plenty of time.
At some point, my mother-in-law arrived to watch Violet. She commented on how close together the contractions were. At first I couldn't figure out how she knew how close they were, but then I realized I was loudly howling and roaring and screaming FUCKFUCKFUCKFUCKFUCK every 1-2 minutes while propping a leg up on the bed and humping the air (the only position that felt "good"). She suggested we take a trash bag to put down on the seat and I thought, wtf for? I mean, I knew why, but that doesn't usually happen until far into labor, and I still had plenty of progress to make.
Baltimore City streets are pure.hell. for laboring. I propped myself up on my knees and hunched over the backseat of the van and rocked violently from side to side when a contraction hit. It was funny at red lights to be there, a foot away from the back window, rocking and making faces I imagine can't be replicated, and to glance up at the car behind me. The look of pure "wtf" on people's faces was priceless.
At some point in this ride, I decided it was definitely happening, I could no longer deny it. It may have been when my water broke. During a contraction, my body started involuntarily bearing down, and I heard this loud POP and a gush, then I felt warm from the crotch down. I moaned out to Joe, "Iiii thiiiiink myyy waterrrr just brooooooooooke," and his response? "I heard." Thinking back, trash bags would have made that into a dangerous (fun?) slip-and-slide, at best.
With that POP though came relief. All of a sudden I could finally rest between contractions and they weren't coming as close. We were only halfway to the hospital though, and I had a little bit of residual "oh shit" left from the fact that my body had involuntarily bore down with that last contraction. In a van. It kept happening like that, and I went back into Denial Mode.
We made it to the hospital and realized I had only ever been to the parking garages, and there was no way I'd be able to walk from the parking garages to the main hospital. Joe lost his shit for a little while, speeding around the hospital, screaming at pedestrians "MY WIFE IS IN LABOR WHERE THE HELL DO I GO!" He successfully found... I don't even know, he found some entrance and jumped out and gave the keys to some guy that worked there who may or may not have been a valet driver. I was guided out of the backseat by about a million security guards, pants soaked, baby descending, unable to sit down. I was given a wheelchair and instructions to sit in it, but one attempt made me feel like I was going to break the very-low-baby's spine.
Instead, I walked to L&D, guided by a very worried but well meaning security guard. I wanted to be like "Listen dude, I am the one with a baby literally falling out of me, you need to calm the eff down!" We made it to L&D with the baby still in me, stopping occasionally for me to gush a little and grunt. I checked in and made it to my room, and suddenly I felt like I could start it all over again. The relief of being in my final resting spot made me feel so good! I went into the bathroom and removed my amniotic pants and shoes and checked out the birth tub. I couldn't wait to get into that birth tub! Joe bounced a birthing ball against the wall and commented on the view. Clearly neither of us understood the gravity of the situation.
My midwife came in about 5 minutes after us, right in the middle of a contraction. She yelled at me to get into bed - like actually yelled at me. I yelled back that she needed to let me finish this contraction, but a year later I realize she was probably given the skinny by the nurse that admitted me and was afraid I'd accidentally push out the baby while I was contracting there next to the bed. So I finally got horizontal, she gloved up and did a quick check. She couldn't have gotten more than a knuckle or two in, because she immediately stood and walked to the intercom and called for a delivery team and bassinet.
Oh! Uh. So you mean we're doing this right now? But, my birthing tub. She gave me about 3 seconds to freak out before she came back over to me and told me I could start pushing with the next contraction. In that 3 second freak out I realized I was going to have to push a human body out of my completely alert vagina, and I realized I didn't want to do that. Nope. No thanks. My midwife insisted though, and my body was already pushing for me anyway, so I conceded and gave a tiny little push. I could feel the baby rolling along under my pubic bone and everything became so real. I am about to give birth naturally like I always wanted to but was too damn scared to actually do. The baby-on-bone feeling wasn't painful so much as it felt so awkward and uncomfortable. Like imagine if someone were holding their pinky in your ear and stuck it in just a little bit too far. Only your ear is in your vagina and the finger is a person coming from inside you. It just felt weird, and I decided I didn't like it. So I gave another bigger push and I felt her sliding along it a little more in the right direction. I stopped pushing and she froze at the most awkward baby-on-bone position possible and I just couldn't stand it anymore, so I pushed with all the cavewoman might I had until it stopped feeling gross. SWEET RELIEF, I just passed a head. The midwife told me to stop for a second so she could unwrap the umbilical ribbon from my little gift, and another few seconds later, BAM. Stomach empty, baby crying, Joe nearly passing out, me in complete shock.
"Oh, he's adorable!" some lady said. Wh-wh-wh-whaaaa???? I had seen the hamburger shot at my 20 week ultrasound, and saw her hooha at countless NSTs in the 17 days I was overdue with her. But I had secretly really wanted a boy, and a psychic had told my mother-in-law during the pregnancy that she saw a little boy. "Oh, I'm sorry, SHE!" Bitch.
I'm so happy to have my little girl though and wouldn't trade her for any stinky boy in the world! She arrived at 637 on 1/18/11, two and a half hours before she was set to be evicted. Her entire first year has been just as exciting and full of adventure.
And now, adorable pictures!