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Welcome Sadie!

Written June 6, 2002

We have a little girl.

Sarah Elizabeth. Sadie, to minimize the inevitable Sarah-confusion. :)
June 1, 2002 (only 10% of all babies arrive on their actual due date), 4:50 am
22 inches. 7 pounds, 5 ounces.
Absolutely perfect. :)

And the funny thing is, when it was finally 'real' labor, I was able to look back at the half-dozen false alarms and say... oh yeah. What was I thinking? ;)

Honestly though, that last false alarm was very close. Those were 'real' contractions, they just mysteriously eased off when I tried to sleep and didn't come back until they were good and ready. That being Friday afternoon, I guess. But I was even more determined to ignore them until I couldn't. And what better way to ignore contractions than by eating ice cream and watching cheesy movies with a good friend? :)

I guess it was around 1:00 am when I realized I'd had four pretty significant contractions in the past half hour that I figured out this was something that should not be ignored. Even at that, I was filled with misgivings that Danny would be waking up without us again for no good reason. At least he adores Sarah. :)

So we got to the hospital a little before 2:00 am and, miracle of miracles, my cervix was finally getting the message. And damned if things didn't just go like gangbusters from there. 4cm when I arrived. So they checked me in and ran the IV for the antibiotics. 5-6cm within the hour. They called my doctor. He waltzed in around 4am thinking he'd let me labor a couple hours and then rupture the membranes around 6:30 (so I could get the recommended dose of antibiotics to protect the baby against that evil strep-B thing)... but this baby definitely had different ideas. I hit the 'transition' phase within minutes of his arrival, and the membranes ruptured all by themselves around 4:30. After that, there was absolutely no slowing her down.

Oddly, transition was the least painful part of the whole process, and it's supposed to be the worst. It was extremely intense, but the level of discomfort was entirely different than the contractions that came before. And then there was the actual birth. o.O

I did okay managing the pain of the contractions. Got through transition. It was when they tried to tell me not to push yet that things got out of control. The message from my body was so incredibly strong, and having to try and suppress that...

I don't know if that part would have been easier if they'd just let me do what my body was telling me to. As it was, the only way I could think to get through the whole thing involved a lot of screaming. I remember something to the effect of, "I can't stop pushing... somebody help me... I'm going to die." And at the time, I didn't care who thought what about how I got through this birth, all I wanted was to have that baby OUT.

After two good pushes, her head was free... the rest was a piece of cake, comparatively speaking. One more push, and daddy could cut the cord (with careful supervision, of course ;>), and there was this slippery squirming creature on my tummy.

I ended up with a mild abrasion that required a few stitches... but that didn't hurt as much as my throat. The labor and delivery nurse was a riot, too -- she came in afterwards and told me what a good job I'd done, getting through the entire birth without painkillers, and how "interesting" my "vocalizations" were. I was totally dying. But she said that they hardly ever get to hear that, since so many women just opt for an epidural. She said it was very "earthy".

Meanwhile, after the fact, I was hoping there weren't any other laboring mothers in the vicinity. As in, anywhere in the birthing center. I could just picture a whole row of hands going up: "I'll have the epidural, please." ;)

Jon tells me they shut the door when I started screaming, but I'm betting that didn't help much.

That was actually the only point where I felt completely out of control. From the water breaking until her head finally emerged. Before and after that, I was fine. Mercifully, that "out of control" thing only lasted about 20 minutes.

And the recovery... wow. I remembered reacting very badly to Danny's birth. I was sore from the episiotomy, loopy from the little dose of painkiller I'd gotten to manage the sudden onslaught of contractions caused by the pitocin (with Dan, my water broke at home the night before he was born, and 12 hours later there had been no change in my cervix at all from the mild and basically useless contractions I had on my own). And I was mentally very unprepared for a newborn, not to mention for the experience of giving birth.

This time, I felt like I knew what to expect, to a certain degree. It wasn't so overwhelming to hold this tiny, helpless little creature, or to figure out how to breastfeed. It all felt kind of familiar.

And 24 hours later I was up, showered, dressed in my own pajamas, and venturing out of my room for visitors. By Monday, when I was being discharged, I almost felt like a human being!

And now... it's Thursday. My folks are here from PA for the week, Jon's home from work for the week, and we're beginning to settle in. I'm tired, yeah, but it's totally different from the first time. And Sadie is so different from Danny at the same age. For one thing, I can feed her, burp her, and put her down someplace to sleep for a couple of hours. What a revelation! And she's so mellow!

I wonder, actually, if there's any connection between the mother's state of mind and the temperament of a newborn. Or if it's just totally random....

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