Five years ago today we got the best Christmas surprise of our lives. I was expecting child #2 sometime at the end of January, but I had been having contractions on and off for about a week. My midwives were a bit concerned and had me on quasi-bedrest.
It may surprise you to hear this, but I do not do bedrest well. To say I wasn’t fully cooperative might be a bit of an understatement.
The night of December 23rd, the contractions started to get more regular.
This can’t be it, I told my husband. My due date is four weeks away. Still, we spent the evening putting the finishing touches on the nursery, just in case.
At midnight, I put on my pajamas and crawled into bed. But Husband got into bed with his clothes on. He likes to be prepared. Once a boyscout, always a boyscout, I guess.
Sure enough, the contractions began coming regularly at five minutes apart. Then four. And they were getting intense. At 1AM I called my midwife and told her the situation. Her words to me were, "And why are you still at home?"
I told my husband this was it, and he jumped out of bed and phoned a neighbor who had agreed to take our 3-year-old son when I went into labor. Meanwhile I got dressed and grabbed my bag and walked outside.
I silently thanked the Lord it was nighttime. The hospital was 20-30 minutes away, and the route was notoriously afflicted with traffic delays. My first labor had been swift and intense, and my biggest fear was delivering this baby in the car. But we should have no trouble getting to the hospital at this time of night.
Meanwhile my next-door neighbor was just getting home. He saw me walking out of our house and given the time of night, he asked if everything was okay. I said, yes, I was just going to the hospital to have the baby.
He looked around and noticed I was alone. I explained I was waiting on Husband to get our son to the neighbor’s. This was a young married guy with no kids. He clearly felt awkward, but didn’t want to leave me by myself.
My contractions were strong, and I was breathing through them as I opened the car door and sat
in the front seat, leaving the door open for fresh air. Our neighbor stood by awkwardly. Finally he broke the silence with this:
"So. What does it FEEL like?"
Clearly my situation had lowered my inhibitions because I responded with the first thing that came to my mind. "It feels like I have to do a huge poop."
I still can’t believe I said that, but I ask you, is there really any other way to describe it???
Fortunately at that very moment my husband appeared. They exchanged brief pleasantries, and we got in the car and drove off.
As I had expected, this was another fast labor. My contractions were coming two minutes apart as we sped down the highway and then one minute apart as we came off the exit and drove through the business district. There was no traffic to speak of, but we seemed to hit every red light along the way. Finally we began treating the lights as yield signs as we attempted to reach the hospital before I found myself delivering on the floor of the minivan.
Husband dropped me off at the ER, and I went in and explained the situation as he parked. Soon a nurse with a wheelchair appeared to transport me to Labor and Delivery. I laughed and joked with her, but I was uncomfortable, and I knew things were progressing quickly.
My midwife joined us and hooked me up to all the electronic paraphernalia. I had made a stupid remark a few months back about perhaps wanting to try to go natural, so I found myself in the awkward situation of having to convince the midwife that I did, indeed, want my epidural. And I wanted it NOW.
She tried to convince me that this was just a little 36-weeker, that she would just slide right out, but I was insistent. Finally she took me at my word and called the anesthesiologist. Once the epidural took effect, all was well.
The room was quiet as the midwife read a book, my husband snoozed in a chair by my bed, and I lay there in the stillness and wondered at the fact that I was going to see my baby girl in a matter of hours.
Finally at about 5AM the midwife broke my bag of waters, and soon after I started to push. Baby C slipped into the world at 5:20 on the morning of Christmas Eve.
She was 5 pounds, 6 ounces and 17 inches of precious newborn baby girl. From the very beginning, this one was clearly mine. My son had looked just like my husband (and still does to this day) but my middle child, my first daughter, she was all me.
And she still is to this day.
This child IS my "mini me". She has my personality and temperament. (My poor mother — I suppose this is some sort of poetic justice.)
How do I describe this child?
She is talkative, spunky, dramatic, distractible and opinionated.
Her laughter is infectious.
She loves all things pink and sparkly.
She loves to do crafts and play with her baby dolls. (Okay, did I say she was my "mini me"? There are exceptions. For instance, the craft gene. I’m missing mine.)
She says she wants to be a mom Right Now and uses every opportunity to practice her parenting skills on her little sister who doesn’t always appreciate the attention.
She is affectionate and silly.
She’s loves purses and makeup and shoes and did I mention PINK?
She has her own time table and a mind of her own, as evidenced by her dramatic entrance into this world a full month before she was expected. It’s hard to ignore the irony that she made her appearance right in time to disrupt our Christmas celebration and then kept us on our toes with a 3-day stay in the NICU before finally coming home to stay. High maintenance, that’s my girl.
She is the source of my greatest frustration and my greatest joy. I wouldn’t have her any other way.
Happy Birthday, Princess C!