On July 17th, I started having contractions that felt a lot stronger than the Braxton Hicks I'd been having for several weeks up till then. They weren't close together or painful, but they slowly started to become very uncomfortable, and they got more frequent, although I still wasn't convinced they would get closer together anytime soon. It was a Sunday. I was craving pizza, so through my contractions, Violet and I went to Damgoode Pies and picked up some dough balls, then went to Kroger to pick up a few toppings and cheese, and came home to cook. By the time I started cooking, I decided to write down when my contractions were happening so I could see how far apart they were, and about halfway into cooking, I told your dad that we would probably be going to the hospital that night, and to make sure his bags were packed. However, by the time the pizza went in the oven, I was tearing up with each contraction, now coming at 5 minutes apart (and had been for an hour), and I told your dad that he was going to have to make a to-go plate of food because we were going to the hospital as soon as the pizza was done! Don't ask me why I was so determined to finish that pizza!!
While we were gathering our things to put in the car, my water broke! I was glad because I knew that there was NO doubt at that point that I was in labor. I was just certain that when we got to the hospital and they checked me, I'd be close to 7cm and almost ready to start pushing! That wasn't the case. We got to the hospital, and when she checked me, she said I was still only 2cm (what I was at my last OB visit). She wasn't convinced I was in labor, and couldn't find any amniotic fluid leaking (TMI, I know, but I don't want to forget any details!), because I guess my water broke at the top of my uterus. I KNOW my water broke. It was the same sensation as when it happened with Violet. The nurse, an older lady that was very nice, explained that they were going to "watch me" for an hour or two to see if I made any progress while we were there, and "then at that point we'll talk about our options." That meant that if nothing changed, we were going home! I was extremely frustrated because I KNEW I was in labor, and I did everything my doctor told me to do. I had painful contractions every 5 minutes for over an hour, and my water broke! What else did I have to have? A head dangling between my legs?! (Yeah, yeah, TMI again, I know).
An hour or so later (during which my contractions were getting even stronger and more painful- I couldn't talk through them and kept tearing up), the nurse came in to check me again, very clearly not convinced that anything was happening. Well, I was more than 4cm, so they finally admitted me and started the IV and epidural. You were coming!! Because my body was progressing naturally, they didn't give me any Pitocin. I was anxious to have you here, but when I heard that the doctor on call was the ONLY doctor in my clinic that I'd never met, I started getting nervous. I really, really wanted Dr. Hubach to deliver you, because she knows me and knew your kidney situation, and I just needed her comfort. The next time she checked me, she suggested I get some rest and said that if my body could wait till morning, Dr. Hubach was scheduled to be there at 7am! I was so excited, but didn't want to get my hopes up. I was really grateful they didn't give me any Pitocin to speed the contractions. It worked out perfectly. Your dad and I were able to get some decent sleep while Nana took Violet home to sleep in her bed, and I started pushing at 9am- barely 2 hours after Dr. Hubach arrived! Thanks for arranging that... I'm sure you knew what you were doing...
When I was ready to start pushing, I wasn't really nervous, I was just so excited to see you. I remember the feeling I had when I saw Violet for the first time, and I was SOOOOO READY to feel that again!! I was pretty calm... the only thing that threw me off was having a family friend in the room with me. She's a nurse on the L&D floor, and although she wasn't my nurse, she insisted on being there when I was pushing. She's so so nice and I like her very much, but she was seriously asking me how to use my camera while I was pushing you out of my body (well, in between contractions, but still). I finally had to look at her and say "Look. I'm not giving you a tutorial right now! I'm kinda busy!!" Your papa wasn't allowed in the room (well, he wasn't in town, but if he were in town, he wouldn't have been allowed in the room) because he kept joking around while I was pushing Violet out, and when a woman is going through something like that, her humor is dead. He just wouldn't stop! So I wanted a calm, serene room with you, and I didn't end up getting that! It's not a big deal though. She wasn't trying to be pushy or obnoxious, and she took very good care of me. You and Violet were both born at Baptist, and I had a very good experience both times with them.
When I saw you for the first time... Ahhhhh, that moment. I just want to bottle that feeling up and feel it over and over and over again. The most happiness and joy and excitement and pride and exhilaration and relief a person can feel, all at once. It's just perfection. YOU were just perfection. You cried a little bit (less than I did I'm pretty sure!), but it was the strangest and loveliest thing- when they wrapped you up and placed you on my chest, you just calmed down and stopped crying. You just looked at me, and looked around, just so... calm. I had to ask if it was okay that you were so quiet, and they assured me it was just fine. You were so content and comfortable on me, and it was such an instant connection and bond. Your little hand grabbed my chin and just kept it there. I was speechless. With Violet I just kept saying how beautiful she was through my tears. With you, I was just speechless. I couldn't stop looking at you, and feeling amazed at how calm you were. What a traumatic event for you to have just gone through! Yet there you were, just looking around, thinking "Alright. Here I am, world. Let's do this." I'll never forget that feeling. I'm so glad that it was a different feeling than with Violet. I was so worried that it would be the same yet less intense because it was "the second time," but no no no, it was just as intense, and different. Thank you for giving me those feelings. I'll never ever forget our first meeting.
Another feeling I'll never forget is your sister meeting you for the first time. I wanted her to meet you as soon as possible, but I was nursing you for the first time, so she met you while you nursed. She was just so giggly about you! It was priceless. She fell instantly in love. She's been such a good, loving sister and has been smothering you with kisses and hugs all day everyday since we've been home. You're 25 days old already (yeah, yeah, I'm a little late getting started on this but give me a break, I've had a few things going on!).
I wish I would've gotten at least one picture of you with our sweet Emma. She was so so so so so so good with Violet, and when we brought her in to meet you when we got home, she was so sweet. When she noticed you were in my lap, she sniffed you and when she realized you were our baby, she instantly looked away, showing that she wasn't trying to threaten you. Sweet ol' girl. She passed away when you were 3 days old. Talk about an emotional whirlwind of a week for me! I still have a really hard time coping with the reality of losing her. I feel like my life is going so fast right now that I keep waiting for some sort of "pause" to soak up all the things that have happened lately, but I don't see when that's going to happen! I wish more than anything that Emma could be here while you and your sister grow up. It hurts so bad knowing that you won't remember her at all, and that Violet probably won't either, even though they were BEST friends. She was such a big part of your dad and my life for almost 10 years- most of your dad and my relationship. It's hard to imagine my kids not knowing my "first kid." I don't know when/if we'll get another dog. I can't imagine you two not growing up with pets, but it's just so painful to go through that! It'll definitely be a little while...
My little mellow man. I'm so glad you're here. I wasn't expecting to get pregnant when I did, but ohhhhhh am I glad I did. I am head over heels for you. Thank you for being so patient and calm and sweet while we all adjust to having another baby in the house. You're so special to all of us. I hope to be the mom you deserve!