she's here!

Willa Joy
arrived Tues., October 21, 2014 at 4:56pm
7lb 1oz, 22in
I'm not going to share a full "birth story", as I think details about "mucous plugs" and "tearing" 
are not suitable for mixed company or the Internet in general, 
excepting places like Babycenter or WebMD. 

Anyway. An abbreviated version to appease the masses 
(and by "masses", I do mean the one or two people who still read this blog). 
On Monday night, I had been perusing Babycenter for signs that labor is starting, 
and I was beginning to feel a little frustrated because none of them were happening to me. 
Tuesday was my due date and I had been secretly hoping I'd go early, 
even though I was planning on going late. 

Tuesday morning, Zooey woke me up barking around 4:30.
I jumped out of bed - or rather, rolled out, like a beached whale might try to roll back to the ocean. 
Normally, I would make Doug go scold Zooey, but Bo had woken up in the middle of the night, 
and in the process of getting him back to sleep, Doug had fallen asleep with him. 
Anyway. Abbreviated version!! 
So, I'm lumbering out of bed and I feel what seems to be a bad period cramp. 
Sorry, that's as graphic as it's going to get. Maybe. 
I'd been feeling a lot of "low pressure" for about a week, so I didn't really think anything of it. 
I told Zooey to be quiet, went back upstairs & fell back asleep. 
Only to wake up a little later because of another cramp. And then another. 
After about 4 or 5, I thought, "I wonder if these... Could they be... No, surely this isn't... 
Maybe I should time these, just in case." They were about 10 minutes apart. 
By this time, it was about 5:45am, and I wasn't going back to sleep. So, I got up and showered. 
Doug woke up and walked in the bathroom and asked, "Are you having contractions?" 
And I said, "I think so." 

Abbreviated version!! 
I called my parents and Dad came to pick up Bo and Zooey. 
Doug & I left for the hospital around 8:30am - aka, just in time to maneuver rush hour traffic. 
It was raining. I don't really remember the drive because I was kneeling, 
backwards, with my face buried in a pillow in the passenger seat. 
We arrived at the hospital, I got out of the car and threw up. 
Sorry. That's as graphic as it's going to get. Maybe. 
Thankfully, I had a feeling I might get sick and had brought along a bag. 
I proceeded to throw up again, waiting for the elevator. 
Our doula, Julie, showed up at this moment and just came over and hugged me while I barfed. 
I got done, laughed and said, "Hi!" 
We managed to all get inside and to triage without me barfing again. 

Hey pregnant friends - 
has anyone ever explained how a doctor or midwife checks to see how dilated you are? 
Because somehow, despite our expensive birthing classes, 
no one ever really told me how excruciating this little detail is. 
So much so that, after being "checked for dilation", 
being told I was "3 centimeters - we are having this baby today!" - 
I proceeded to throw up again. 
Abbreviated version! Things progressed far more quickly than I anticipated. 
The contractions were coming fast & furious and I was throwing up quite a bit. 
My midwife, Jo, was concerned that I wasn't keeping any fluids down, so I got an IV. 
Now, it had been my hope & desire to have a natural birth. 
My mom delivered all 5 of us kids without pain meds, and I wanted to do the same. 
We took Bradley classes, I had practiced some labor positions & relaxation techniques... 
but then those contractions started coming one after the other 
and I was throwing up before I was even done with one... 
friends, family, frenemies - I got an epidural. 
And I am not at all disappointed in that decision. 
It allowed me to get some rest and regain some strength before trying to push a human out of me. 
Sorry, that's as graphic as it gets. I think. 

By 1pm, I was told that I was fully dilated and I could push, 
which might be simultaneously the most exciting and horrifying thing someone can say to a person.
 By 4pm, Jo told me that she was a little concerned because the baby's heart rate kept plummeting
 when I would push, and we'd have to "breath through" contractions so the baby could recover. 
I am so thankful that she told me as soon as she had any inclination that we might need an
 intervention. Around 4:30, we decided to bring in the on-call doctor to discuss forceps or vacuum
 delivery. As it turned out, the baby's head was tilted, which was the cause of our problems. 
The doctor recommended forceps, and we quickly consented. 
After that, it was one big push and people were telling me excitedly to open my eyes 
because suddenly THERE SHE WAS. And it was a SHE! 
And Doug was saying, "It's a girl!" 
And just like that, we had a daughter!

Willa Joy. 
Was it my "ideal birth"? No. 
In my ideal birth, Leslie Knope is my midwife 
and all the nurses are those cute singing birds from Cinderella. 
Julie is still my doula and still brings me the most amazing cupcakes in existence afterward. 
There is zero pain, we are all eating waffles and sharing jokes, 
and at one point I just laugh too hard and - boop! - there's Willa! 
Also, she is born potty-trained and Bo is instantly potty-trained as well. 
And surprise, we've been in Hawaii the whole time 
and the next day we all go to the beach and build sand castles. 

But I digress. 
No, it wasn't my ideal birth, but my daughter is safe and healthy and I'm safe and healing. 
Everyone who was there was awesome. The midwife, Julie, the nurses, the anesthesiologist, the 
doctor, and most of all, Doug - everyone was so encouraging and attentive and supportive. 
And during our stay afterward - let me just say, God bless good nurses! 
Heidi at Highland, you are my hero. 
The post-partum process has been harder and more wonderful than I imagined. 
My hormones are ca-ray-zay and have made me cry about... pretty much everything. 
How beautiful my little girl is. How tender Bo is toward her. 
How Bo's attention-seeking often results in frustrating tantrums. 
How lucky I am to be married to Doug. 
How in love I am with my children.
Et cetera. 

I am so thankful and humbled by our family & friends who have been supporting us. 
I haven't had to cook a single meal yet. 
We have hand-me-downs to last Willa until she's 3 months old. 
People have gotten gifts for Bo so he doesn't feel left out. 
Cousins have invited Bo over to play for the afternoon. 
Friends have sent encouraging text messages. 
And I want to say a huge thank you to everyone for the beautiful messages and congratulations. 
I feel so blessed and so loved (darn you, post-partum hormones... I will NOT cry). 
SO - from the bottom of my heart, thank you, thank you, thank you.