First Doctor’s Checkup

You had your first doctor’s checkup today and she said you are looking great. Some of the concerns she had in the hospital were invalidated by negative test results, and I found out that I tested negative for Listeria (after eating a peach that had been included in the recent peach recall), and so we all breathed a sigh of relief. Your weight gain looks good too, though we have to come back in a few days to check it again and she’ll monitor it closely until you’re back at your birth weight. You weighed 6 lbs 13.5 oz.

During the exam she was looking at you on the exam table and you were crying and flailing about in frustration at being naked and poked and prodded (understandably so). The doctor said, “You have two strong-willed little girls on your hands; good luck.” Although I don’t know how she could possibly ascertain your temperament in just a few minutes, I do have say that she has been 100% accurate on everything she’s predicted to date regarding Emma, from the color of her eyes to her petite build and yes, her strong-willed personality.

When Husbands Fall in Love

It’s not often we get to watch our spouses fall in love. Maybe if you’re really perceptive, and weren’t fully caught up in the head-over-heals all-encompassing throes of burgeoning love yourself, you were able to watch it happen when you fell in love with each other. But usually that’s not the case; it wasn’t for me. Before I knew it, we were both just there, in love with each other.

But I’ve been lucky enough to get to witness this love blossoming on two separate occasions now: the arrivals of our two daughters. From the moment we received a positive pregnancy test, while I was still in shock with the news, your dad was confident and excited and smitten with his unborn children. As I grew and we prepared for your arrival, his excitement and love increased. And in both instances, during the delivery, when he got to watch you be born, and announce your gender, I could hear the emotion and love in his voice. I watched it become almost tangible, as he got to hold you and be with you in those first few hours of your life. And as he rocked you and just stared at you in awe, in silence, for many moments on end, I knew he was hooked; he was totally, purely, head-over-heals in love with you.

Your dad falling in love.

Your dad falling in love.

Happy Tears

Tonight your dad found me smothering you with kisses all over your head – your cheeks, your tiny nose, your forehead, your neck – and crying. Neither of these occurrences is a rarity, the former driven by your irresistible cuteness, and the latter fueled by sleep-deprivation and new parenthood and hormones and a host of other factors. He inquired as to what was wrong and I told him, “Nothing. I just love her so much.” Puzzled, he paused, then said, “So they’re happy tears?” and I confirmed that indeed, they were happy tears.

Homeward Bound

We got discharged from the hospital today and I was so ready to go home.

Ready to head home.

Ready to head home.

We grabbed some lunch to go on the way home, then we were happily greeted by nana and papa. They were so excited to see you again and to welcome you home. You were asleep so we left you in the car seat while quickly ate our lunches. Your nana left you for a bit but ultimately decided you looked ‘uncomfortable’ and got you out of the car seat and held you. She is so smitten with you (as are we all); it is fun watching her just stare at and love you.

Your sister was at school today and so we used the relative peace and quite to try and get unpacked and settled. I was excited to walk you around the house and show you everything, but you were more interested in sleeping. It was fun to finally have a baby in the house – using the crib, your nursery and rocker – all of the items we’d so carefully prepared for your arrival.

When Emma got home from school she was so excited to see you, kiss you, and talk to you. Tonight we all read stories together before bed. 

Bedtime stories with both of my girls.

Bedtime stories with both of my girls.

Introducing…Madeline Grace

In the early morning hours of today, we decided your name would be Madeline. Your dad has been favoring this name for months, and I’ve always liked it as well. It took me some time over these last couple of days to officially decide that the name suits you. But early this morning I realized it is perfect for you. For now I prefer Madeline over Maddie, but I think both are great. We chose a middle name of Grace.

This evening nana, papa and Emma came over and brought dinner. We ate outside at the deck adjoining our hospital wing, and there was another family out there. They had a two-year old little girl who you loved playing with, and they’d just had a little boy. He didn’t have a name yet. His little sister named him ‘Hot Dog’ early in the pregnancy, and that name was what they were currently calling him. Your Uncle Brett named you Solar early on in our pregnancy, so it was funny to have little Hot Dog and Solar out there enjoying the fresh air while their crazy sisters played. Here’s to hoping Hot Dog gets a name soon!

Baby No Name

We still don’t have a name for you yet. We had both been anticipating a boy for some reason, and had settled on a boy name. We have many girl names that we’re considering, but none that we’ve definitely settled on. And we’re receiving questions from everyone inquiring about the name. Finally about halfway through today the nurse brought us a name book to assist in our search for the perfect moniker. It really was more of a hindrance than a help, as it had mostly odd and overly unique names and really just wasn’t that helpful.

But we’re honing in on a few promising names, and your dad’s even started ‘trying’ them out, asking how ‘Samantha’ is doing, is ‘Lily’ asleep, and calling you ‘Madeline’. Other names that we’re considering include: Madison, Addison, Natalia and Savannah. At one point today your Aunt Jen asked if we had a name yet, and I said we did not and asked for suggestions. That opened up a whole string of silliness as your Uncle Kyle, Aunt Jen and Aunt Joy started brainstorming name ideas via text; most of them were goofy ideas and not real suggestions.

We are actively talking about it and will have a name for you soon, I promise, little baby no name.

Birth Day

We had a c-section scheduled for first thing today. I’ve been feeling very anxious and uneasy the last couple of weeks about your impending arrival. We’ve been contemplating and going back and forth between wanting to try for a vaginal birth (called a VBAC) or having another c-section. I really wanted to go for a VBAC but was very worried about having another experience like the one I had with your sister, where I labored and labored and then ended up having to have a c-section after all. In the end, a couple of months ago, we decided to schedule a c-section for your due date and if we went into labor before that date, we’d try for a VBAC. As your due date drew closer over these past couple of weeks I’ve been anxiously anticipating going into labor. I really thought I’d go into labor and as the days progressed, I was getting more and more anxious about what was to come. We pondered moving the c-section date up so I wouldn’t risk labor, but I didn’t want to completely rule out the option of labor either. I was completely torn. We decided to just stick with our original plan of having the c-section on your due date and leaving it up to fate if we’d try labor if it happened earlier.

We awoke this morning bright and early and loaded up for the hospital. Your nana came with us to support us and help us through. I was feeling very nervous for the surgery and really just wanted it over; I kept telling myself that it’d go quickly and soon I’d be holding you. And as your dad pointed out it’d be a smoother experience than last time, where the c-section occurred under much different circumstances and after I’d been in labor for two days. I tried to be brave and hold myself together, but frankly it was all pretty scary. We arrived at the hospital and went immediately back to a hospital room and I changed into a gown. They started asking me many questions and preparing me for the surgery, including the insertion of an IV (which took the nurse three attempts; not a great start to the morning). The doctor came in as did the anesthesiologist, and at this point it all became very really and imminent, and I started crying. I was just overwhelmed and scared, and your dad talked me through it, your nana told me stories to distract me, and before I knew it we were walking into the OR.

I sat on a table and got my spinal tap, and that went smoothly. Soon I felt a tingly feeling spreading up my legs, and soon I couldn’t feel them or my stomach or chest. I was lying down and your dad was beside me. They were cleaning my belly and prepping me for the surgery. Next they put up a curtain in front of my chest and started the surgery. I felt nauseous almost immediately and received medicine for that. The doctor talked periodically and said it was going well, and in just about 15 minutes they announced that you were about to be born. Your dad peeked over the curtain and took some pictures as you were coming out, and he soon announced that you were a girl!

You immediately started crying. They showed you to me for a just a brief second then placed you on a table to my left and a bit behind me. Your dad went with you and two nurses. You cried the whole time. They cleaned you off and started to examine you. I could catch glimpses of you but couldn’t really see you well. After a few minutes the nurse came over and said you needed oxygen, and that she’d come give me another update in a few minutes. A little bit later she came back and said that you looked great, but still needed some help breathing, and they were going to take you to the NICU to get some oxygen. They weren’t going to be admitting you there, and they were not concerned – she said they see this quite often in babies born at altitude and via c-section. But I was very upset by this news; I immediately started crying. The doctor told me that this was very common, that you were going to be ok, and that in fact this same thing happened to one of her babies. I was still understandably distraught.

In the 2.5 years since Emma was born the hospital had changed their practice to allow newborn babies to stay in the OR and have skin-to-skin time with their moms. When Emma was born they immediately took her out of the room, saying that it was too cold, and we chose to have your dad go out with her. But this time I’d been told that policies had changed and that as long as everything was alright with both you and I, you’d be able to stay in the OR and immediately do skin-to-skin with me. I had so missed seeing and holding Emma right away after the birth that I was very much looking forward to doing this with you and was really disappointed that it didn’t work out that way.

Your dad exited the OR with you and the nurses; on your way out they stopped by my side with you and I gave you a kiss and told you I loved you. Soon your nana came in to be by my side during the rest of the surgery. I was so happy she was there and able to be with me. She was able to quickly see you in passing as she was coming in, and the first thing she said was how beautiful you were. She seemed emotional and happy. She talked with me a bit and helped keep my mind off the surgery and you. The doctor talked with me a bit also as they were wrapping up the surgery, and soon they removed the curtain and did the rest of the cleanup, and moved me back into the other room for recovery. Your nana sat with me for a while, and then your dad came back to check on me and your nana went to be with you in the NICU. The nurses came to give me an update on your breathing and said you were doing better and hopefully within 30 minutes you’d get to come be with me. I was just so anxious to get to see you and hold you. It was very anti-climactic and disappointing to go through that whole ordeal and to not end up with a baby immediately in my arms. I was sad and frustrated and worried and disappointed.

The next thing I knew we were ready to be wheeled over to our room on the mom/baby side of the hospital. We still didn’t have you back with us, but they said your nana and you would join us soon. It was about two hours after your birth by now. We moved into our room and got settled, and finally your nana walked in with you. She looked so happy and proud and content. She handed you to me and I was so happy; I could not stop smiling to finally get to hold you. I’d been waiting not only the last couple of hours, and through the surgery, but for months I’ve been dreaming about meeting you. I laid you on my chest and we just snuggled and snuggled. I told you I was your mama and was so happy to meet you; I kissed your forehead and your cheeks and your nose.

Such a happy mama to finally get to hold you!

Such a happy mama to finally get to hold you!

Just a few minutes after that your papa, Uncle Brett, Cousin Kyle and sister Emma arrived. We revealed to them the news that we’d had a little girl, and they all gazed adoringly at you. Brett was holding your sister and she just started at you for a bit, not sure what to do.

The first look at you; they'd just found out you were a girl!

The first look at you; they’d just found out you were a girl!

Soon she climbed up on the bed by my side and sat with you and I. She just kept staring at you.

Your sister was so happy to finally meet you, and I was in heaven to have my arms around my two girls for the first time.

Your sister was so happy to finally meet you, and I was in heaven to have my arms around my two girls for the first time.

Soon everyone wanted a turn holding you, and everyone got their chance.

Cousin Kyle's first time holding you; he was so sweet and gentle with you.

Cousin Kyle’s first time holding you; he was so sweet and gentle with you.

Papa's first time holding you and first kiss.

Papa’s first time holding you and first kiss.

Proud Uncle Brett!!

Proud Uncle Brett!!

Nana was overjoyed to meet you, and we were so happy she could be here to help and be with you immediately after your arrival.

Nana was overjoyed to meet you, and we were so happy she could be here to help and be with you immediately after your arrival.

They were here a couple of hours and then left to give us some quiet time.

You were sleepy today, as were we. We took naps, snuggled, nursed and just relaxed. Everyone came back this evening, and your dad and Brett ran out to grab dinner while we hung out with Emma, Kyle, nana and papa. Emma keeps proclaiming ‘Little Baby’ whenever she sees you, and loves to ‘gently’ (though not very gently) touch your cheeks and head.

Tomorrow We Are Four!

Tomorrow you will be born! It is oddly surreal that the date and time of your arrival is defined with such certainty, and that it’s so close. We’ve been on edge for the last week or two anticipating your arrival, but tomorrow is the day that we’d set for a c-section in case you did not come on your own. In a recent call with a friend she asked what I was most excited for, and really, all the things I listed off for her boil down to just one thing – you! I am excited to see you, to know your gender, to find out if you have hair and how big you are, to give you kisses and to cuddle with you. I am so excited for your sister to meet you and get to snuggle with you. I am excited for you! Welcome little one.