Hi! It’s been a while since my last post on this website. Where did we leave off? Something about freezer meals, and I’m about to have a baby. Let’s start with the baby because that’s more exciting. And let me tell you my labor story, because I love labor stories. Especially the ones when the mom barely makes it to the hospital. Lucky for me, mine was nothing like that, but if yours was, do tell! Actually, I’d love to hear any birth story. Labor is such a mysterious thing.
After 41 weeks of thinking I was having a boy and he’d be born early, baby girl Maren came into the world weighing 8 pounds, 6 ounces (our biggest baby). I had several mentally exhausting weeks of prodromal labor, (as to not be confused with Braxton Hicks), before my water broke. It happened in the middle of the night. Our moms had been taking turns spending the night incase this happened, and it was Adam’s mom that was there that night. When I knocked on her bedroom door to tell her my water broke at approximately midnight, she popped up and said, “Oh, gooooood!” This was such a blessing because that meant that, one way or another, the baby would be here soon.
When I got to the hospital at around 1 am, my contractions were 6 minutes apart, but much like I had been experiencing for weeks, they were easy enough for me to go back to sleep. So I did. When I woke up in the morning, the nurse said that my labor continued to be very “prodromal”, and my contractions changed from 6 minutes apart to 2 minutes apart and sometimes as long as 12 minutes apart, so they would start the Pitocin.
Elective induction had been offered to me at 39 weeks, given my age, but I really wanted to avoid pitocin, if I could. My plan was to have this last baby the same way I birthed the other two, without the epidural, and pitocin can make contractions pretty unbearable without an epidural. But this time would be different, and I had to except that. So they started the Pitocin around 8 am, and I stuck to my birth plan of waiting as long as I could to avoid the epidural. Reason being, I didn’t want to slow things down. I also wanted to be able to move around. That’s just me, and to each is own, right? no judgement, please!
The laughing gas, on the other hand, I’ll take it! and it was such a godsend! After a long morning and afternoon of frequent, and surprisingly easy contractions, some TV, a liquid breakfast and lunch (which is a foodie’s worst nightmare), and some different birthing positions, my contractions became 2 minutes apart, but still not unbearable. They had to dial back the pitocin because I was contracting so often but not progressing. It was at this point that my baby daddy, Adam, turned off the TV and put on one killer playlist. This is when I started to go into active labor. They brought me the nitrous oxide, which is self administered, and I used it for about 30-45 minutes. At around 3 pm, after a few really intense contractions, my midwife, Naomi, came in to check me. She told me I was still only 3 cm dilated (which was no different from when I was admitted to the hospital 14 hours prior), and said I had a “pesky cervix”. Yah, I’d say!
Things got really crazy about 20 minutes after she left the room. Is this transition? How could I be in transition? I am only 3 cm, I thought. I had a few more really intense contractions that were so painful that I could not even hold the laughing gas mask on my face anymore, and I felt everything. They said the epidural was still an option, but it would be another 20 minutes before the anesthesiologist could get there. I didn’t think I could make it that long with this amount of pain, and I may have started to cry or yell, or all of the above. It get’s fuzzy at this point. All I remember is my amazing labor and delivery nurse, Sam, who I got to know really well, was ending her shift and in came a new one. Terrible timing for first impressions, as I was screaming, “Where’s the epidural?” and “Turn down the pitocin!” And I wasn’t being very nice about it.
Just a few contractions after demanding the epidural with the new nurse, I felt like I had to push, but I was a little doubtful, and so was the nurse. After all, I was only 3 cm about 40 minutes ago. Regardless, she called for help and in rushed a ton of staff (later on Adam told me Sam, her student and the nursing student’s supervisor were in the crowd). Naomi was going to examine me, but when she tried to, I screamed, and so she took my word for it. One push, there was baby’s head. They asked me if I wanted to touch the head. I said No. I just wanted the baby out, no dilly dallying! One more push and out came the shoulders. Maren cried right away, and then the moment I had been waiting for “It’s a girl!”, and they put her on my chest.
We all noticed she was born blue, and the pediatrician said, “I need to take her.” The medical staff cut the cord right away, just to be safe, and her color returned to normal soon after that. The post-delivery stuff was painful and included a VCI on the placenta that was undetected until birth (I had to Google it), but long story short, we are lucky she was born without complications. I tried to not think about it all as I held her on my chest. She was so hungry and nursed so fast that she had colostrum coming out her nose. The nurses were like, “wow, look at her go!” At around 5:30 pm, the dietary staff wheeled in, yet again, another liquid meal for me. Either this was a mean joke or they didn’t know I had the baby, so I asked them to switch it to real food. Maren must have known her mom takes her meals very seriously and was born just in time for them to do that. It was the best turkey club and bag of chips I have ever tasted.
As for Maren, she is two months old now. Her favorite thing, aside from nursing, people and sleep, is water which is fitting because Maren means “star of the sea”. She has very little demands of us. Put her in any of her baby seats, basket, bassinet etc…, and she is happy as a clam to be around all the noise and commotion of our high traffic kitchen, and her two older siblings. We were told by many that 3rd babies are born knowing you have your hands full, so they just oblige. And that has proven to be true. She’s like, “Don’t worry about me, mom. I’ll just be over here putting myself to sleep.”
I am soaking up all of Maren. So much that I put my nose up to her nose and breathe her in. I do this several times a day. I see why the flower got it’s name, because baby’s breath smells so good. This time around, I know how much I will miss that smell. Not too long from now, I will miss her sounds, her coos, her sighs, and the baby talk. Adam stopped himself from saying “I can’t wait for when she can…” because we are trying to be present in every moment and document every detail, since this is the last one.
Her older siblings, Max and Maggie, have been incredibly helpful. They give her so many kisses and want to hold her all the time. At dinner, we usually go around the table and say our rose and thorn for the day. The first few weeks of Maren’s life, Maggie had the same rose every day: “That mommy had Maren”. I never want to forget that small and very sweet detail of the first days. This week, they started asking me to do Maren’s rose and thorn. So I will talk for Maren and fill them in on something new like, “Today, I discovered my hands and they are really yummy”. I also say something that made her cry such as, “Mommy made me do tummy time,” for her thorn. And they get a kick out of this.
As for dinners and bringing home baby, I’ll save that for the next post because this one is much longer than I planned on. But I can’t leave you without saying, and I can’t say it enough, thank you for joining me on Instagram and all your recipe suggestions. I still feel that feeding a family healthy-ish meals without hassle is the toughest task, regardless of your circumstances. This group was created with the intention to help each other with this daily endeavor and also raise money and awareness for food insecurity in our local community. Little did I know that I would end up reconnecting with old friends, and meeting friends of friends and other moms and foodies alike, albeit virtual, but still so fulfilling. It is the coolest thing and a true gift.