Birth, Billy and Beyond

The delivery was awesome. Many of you followed on Twitter as I took my geekishness to new heights by tweeting one of my family’s most personal and dramatic moments. It was such a great way to keep our family updated all at the same time. I’m glad we did it but I’ll be deleting the tweets and moving them here so as not to leave a permanent record of Baby Wanda’s birth date up on the interwebs. (yes I know it will still be up there somewhere but I’d rather not have it on my active Twitter page.)

So, from some “mystery” date a while back, here are my birth tweets:

– 11:12 PM: No baby yet but my mom’s here to play. Get to start calling and begging the hospital for induction tomorrow. This should be fun.
– 6:20 AM: No room at the inn yet. Call back in an hour.
– 7:14 AM: AAAAHHHH!!!!! Headed to the hospital.
– 8:33 AM Just signed the forms that say “I may die here but I don’t mind.”
My friends love me.– 8:36 AM: Wearing the bracelet my friends made me with beads and good wishes given at my shower.
– 9:57 AM: Came in dilated to a 2 and 75% effaced. Waiting for petocin. Suddenly busy here so we’re napping till it’s our turn.
– 10:22 AM: Petocin started. It’s go time.
– 11:19 AM: Listening to old CarTalk podcasts and watching Wanda’s roundhouse kicks. No major contractions yet.
Zune is Awesome.– 12:22 PM: Moved on to This American Life. Contractions picking up.
– 12:24 PM: Nurse must read same parenting books as us. I asked if I could have pudding. “Sure,” she said, “As soon as you have the baby.”
– 1:23 PM: Nurse just came in to check ma vitals. Said “Oh dear” at one point for apparently no reason. Back to CarTalk. Aye! Contraction!
– 2:25 PM: Oww. Mom. Very slow progress for the ouchiness. At least the nurses are cool.
– 2:49 PM: West Wing Season 1 is like a warm blanket to my heart. The epidural coming in 45 mins will be like a warm blanket to my uteris.
– 4:12 PM: I should have gotten that epidural two months ago.
– 4:25 PM: Water hath been broken which is normally painful but it’s okay because it feels like my lower body has taken a bath in Anbesol.
– 5:20 PM: Gonna push soon! Will update when baby is here!
Smurfy– 7:04 PM: Thick dark hair, 8lbs 10oz, 20″, 15 mins pushing, so gorgeous!
– 8:27 AM: Here she is un-blue. So sweet. Slept all night (unlike the rest of us) and is eating well. Still no real name

The delivery went really smoothly. After the epidural and the water breaking, I went from a 4 to complete in less than an hour and it only took 15 minutes of pushing before she was born. She came out fist first, our little Ninja, causing us to briefly add “Norris” to our list of names in honor of his venerable Chuckness.

Now with less Smurf!The doctor said, “I’ve delivered an arm,” and I said, “Oh good. Her head is out?” And he said, “No, just her arm.” But her head came out next and then the rest of her and that sweet squawky little cry and she went from being a bulge in my abdomen to a living breathing person whom I get to love, take care of and repress most cruelly for her own good for many years to come.

We did pick a name before we headed home from the hospital, put it on the birth certificate and everything. Here’s a list of the names we were mulling over on our giant spreadsheet in the hospital. You were all so good to share your ideas with me. This list includes all the names we seriously considered at some point during the pregnancy. One of them is the name we chose. So if you’re looking for baby girl names, have at it.

Anne, Jane, Ivy, Josephine (Finn), Eve, Lucy, Adele, Violet, Eden, Ruth, Gail, Estelle (Stella), Lynn, Daisy, Jean, Nina, Kathryn, Robin, Susan, Ruby, Amelia, Nora, Sally, Jill, Leah.

She is gorgeous and sweet and we love her, an amazing sleeper and a champion nurser.

There have been a few little things to work out, as there are with any baby. First, I’m working to find my emotional happy place, working with my people to get me to where I need to be mentally. It’s not the most fun but not nearly as hard as it was with Magoo when I didn’t know what was going on.

The emotional transition to third-time motherhood was complicated by the fact that 2 days after birth she developed some moderately bad jaundice and we were set up with a light box in our house that we needed to keep her strapped into whenever she wasn’t eating. A nurse has been out here every day since to take her blood and check her vitals.

It’s amazing how something seemingly small like that can send everything out of whack. Just watching her lay there on the florescent lights and not being allowed to pick her up or comfort her when she cried unless it was time for a feeding was much harder on me than I would have guessed. I guess I got the smallest taste of what it’s like for mothers whose babies end up in the NICU and they don’t get to bond with them in the typical way.
blue baby box light
Holding and cuddling Magoo was one of the only ways I could soothe and calm my anxieties during his early life and sitting next to her light box, smoothing her hair while she screamed had just the opposite effect.

They also asked me to wake and feed her every two to three hours, take her temperature each time and record how many minutes I fed on each breast, what her diaper looked like and how many minutes I had her off the lights. They also wanted me to pump after each feeding and then give her a supplementary bottle for dessert, which meant I then had to wash and sterilize all the pump and bottle parts before going to bed before the next feeding, so sleep was rough.

My mom and Dan are here and doing everything they can to help but I want them to be at least somewhat fresh to make things seem normal for Laylee and Magoo during the day as I lay around and heal, nurse, and question my every thought, feeling and emotion to determine whether or not I’m “O.K.”

But today Wanda’s blood had improved a ton and the nurse called this afternoon to tell us we could take her off the lights and hold her as much as we wanted. This was good news, sort of tears-of-joy ecstatic news. This gives me hope for more restful nights and emotional calm in the coming days. I still plan on waking her up every three hours to feed just to make sure she’s pumped full of enough to get all the bilirubin out of her system.

So that’s where we stand. Newness, weirdness, sweetness and family. Everything feels very fragile and every minute very important. Her squirks and squeaks fascinate me and her gassy smiles melt my heart the same as if they were real smiles. I can’t get over how soft she is or how much her siblings adore her. I can’t get over how vulnerable she seems or how scared I am that I’ll never be able to keep this little person safe through adulthood. Suddenly the other two seem so fragile as well. There’s nothing like bringing a new baby into the world to make you wish your world was just a tiny, well-padded, time-proof bubble.

Rain is pouring down on our new roof but we’re safe and dry. The big kids are asleep. The baby is passed out on my mom’s chest and Dan is puttering on the computer. Ours is a good little bubble. Here’s to hoping you’re all staying dry and warm in yours.

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