Thanks to all of you for such a loving and warm welcome to Louisa! We came home from the hospital last Thursday and she’s settling in swimmingly. Lots of diapers and burp cloths and swaddles. I have some legitimate Halloween posts coming in the next week (better late than never), but couldn’t resist sneaking in one more little glimpse of Louisa on her birthday.
Louisa’s arrival will generally make all of you moms out there mutter profanity under your breath. I will say that I have a history of “precipitous deliveries” i.e. FAST. (My first faint contraction with Eleanor was at 12:30 in the morning and she was born at 4:37 a.m.) The thing about precipitous deliveries is that AFTER the fact, they’re wonderful; but going into each birth, there’s the very real concern that I might be huffing and puffing through that final contraction with a barista from Starbucks on the phone with 9-1-1.
Given how early her siblings came along, Louisa arrived about 2 weeks later than we expected. By the time Tuesday morning rolled around, I was thoroughly convinced this baby was walking to the beat of an unfamiliar drum. That said, after having contractions for weeks, the ones that I woke up with on Tuesday morning seemed more purposeful than the others… not regular or giving an indication of imminent labor, but a little more intense. My mom walked the big kids to school at 9:00 while I chatted with our landscaper who was there to plant two beautiful dogwood trees.
I took Frank for a quick walk before my mom and I headed off to exchange some clothing at the Baby Gap around 10:45. 10 minutes later we walked into the store and right there in front of the fluorescent down jackets, I had the distinctly weird but undeniably awkward feeling of my water breaking. With Eleanor my water broke as I was doubled over in pain and 50 minutes away from delivery and with both Oliver and Martha it broke in the hospital. I was in new territory here. With sweater wrapped around my waist, my mom and I headed for the car as I made a few phone calls. The doctor directed us to head straight for the hospital, Mark was given the go-ahead to break loose from the city and the babysitter was asked to pick up the big kids from school. The time was 11:00. I wasn’t exactly in a happy place during any contractions that came up, but I was texting and giving my mom directions and still not feeling a real labor and delivery rhythm to all of this.
Our house is pretty much on the way to the hospital so we made a quick pit stop to grab my bag and, specifically, our cord blood kit. Time was probably 11:10. I double checked the exit number for the hospital en route and told my mom to head straight for the ER entrance as we’d been told they had designated maternity parking. At this point, I’m still in a bubble of discomfort but apparent labor and delivery ignorance. The nurse at the ER declared that I was having a boy and asked whether I needed a wheel chair… um, yeah. 1/2 mile of twists and turns through the hospital later and we pulled into the Labor and Delivery triage area where Eileen, the birthing soothsayer was there waiting. “Precipitous Delivery” gets people’s attention.
Time is now 11:29 give or take. We rolled into the delivery room (Eileen declared she could tell by the way I was sitting that this was no time for an admission interview). Louisa was born at 11:32. Can you say ‘all’s well that ends well?’ My mom and I have stopped playing the ‘what if’ game and are just tipping our hat that everything aligned to get us to the hospital in time for a doctor to deliver Miss Louisa.
Mark was given the good news as his car sped through the Bronx and he arrived in time to bring me a kiss and a milkshake.
Eleanor is officially obsessed with her new real-life baby doll. She wants to change her clothes and make her bassinet. Lots of kisses and pacifier insertions.
Oliver is VERY sweet with his baby sister, but is a little fragile otherwise. We’re trying to give him lots of hugs and love and attention.
Martha is like watching some sort of toddler Tasmanian devil… she’ll careen around the room, run over to Louisa chanting “baby, baby, baby” poke her in the eye while pointing out “eye” and then tear off to get into something else.
All in all, a wonderful new normal for all of us.
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