It’s been a wild and wonderful month since we welcomed our daughter, who I’ll refer to as J.C. on here, into this world. I was nearly two weeks past my due date, and under the looming threat of being induced, was going for punishing hikes every single day in an effort to get things moving. So many punishing hikes. I had been going swimming once a week, but was trying too hard and tiring myself out to the point of needing a recovery Whopper with Cheese followed by a three hour nap, so we decided the exercise had to be a bit curtailed in my final days. This included biking, which I just couldn’t bring myself to do much of in the final two weeks of my pregnancy. I was uncomfortable I guess, but there was also loads of rainy weather and I just wasn’t feeling into it.
When I did finally go into labor on the evening of 41 weeks and 3 days, I wanted to celebrate with a little bike ride. I thought this would bookend the pregnancy nicely, as baby had already ridden along for 2000 miles in Europe during the first trimester. You know, 2000 miles on one end, six miles on the other? The perfect bookend? We pedaled around the neighborhood and I simultaneously biked with one hand while timing contractions with my phone in the other, hoping that I didn’t need to brake since my bike only had one hooked up and it was underneath the hand using the phone.
Back at home I let Eli go to sleep for four hours while the true sufferfest commenced around 11pm. Contractions were regularly 4-5 minutes apart and lasting for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, which seemed promising. Things started to unfortunately slow down after four hours, so we headed to the hospital and arrived there around 4am. After being checked I was pleased to have made it past 5cm dilated while at home, and hoped things would keep moving in a good direction. They didn’t. All morning and well into the afternoon, as the pain became well towards unbearable and I continuously puked my guts out, I only dilated a few more centimeters, with progress coming to a halt around hour 20.
So while I had been so worried about being induced at 42 weeks, I ended up with pitocin at 41 weeks and 4 days 20 hours into active labor. I was so exhausted and dealing with the pain quite poorly, even more so each time the nurse told me to “ride the wave” of a contraction and to “stay on top of it,” all the while I felt like I was drowning in the pain, so given the introduction of pitocin I also asked for an epidural. This wasn’t the route I had hoped to take, but I knew that given a likelihood of a long labor there was the potential for an intervention, and I was happy as long as the end result was a healthy baby and a relatively unharmed me.
A relief from the pain allowed a few hours of rest for both myself and Eli, although my nausea and acid reflux became nearly unbearable at this time and I kept bothering the poor nurse for a fix every hour or so. We continued to chill and they kept upping my dosage of pitocin, letting it work its magic until I felt ready to push. When I gave the green light, it was 9:30pm, and it was only 45 short minutes of pushing until sweet sweetie was born – I feel like it could have been much shorter if only the contractions hadn’t been so widely spaced. There was a bit of concern about her for a few minutes, as she was having some trouble breathing and wasn’t letting out a good cry, but she got there eventually.
After her birth, I mowed down a meal immediately. We snuggled with our girl and moved to the postpartum room. We got some sleep, and the next day we hosted my parents and (sound the trumpets!) ate some sushi that Eli fetched for us. I had been waiting a long time for that magical moment of raw fishy goodness. I was so happy to have Eli by my side for nearly every minute that weekend. Whether he was fetching me jello that he knew I would vomit minutes later, or trying to catch a few winks in some uncomfortable chairs, he was there, and he kept me feeling as level as possible through that long and painful and wonderful day.
It’s been a quick month. I spend almost all of my time staring at my sweet baby in adoration, which has been rewarded with her learning to smile back at us in the past week. She’s pretty easy going, and was treated like a queen last week when Eli’s parents came to visit. She is never far from a loving embrace, and I feel so goddamned lucky to be able to spend my days with her, watching her grow and develop. I haven’t made us dinner once in the past month, I’ve fallen behind on chores, and more importantly on responding to many of the kind people in our lives – I have so many thank you notes to write and it’s stressing me out! – but taking on this blog post is a start. This is only the beginning of a long and wonderful ride… now to just get her back on a bicycle!
We love you so much, sweet sweet baby.