Yikes. I haven't posted anything in quite. a. while.
I'm not sure that postpartum is one of my best life seasons...but I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in feeling this way.
We've kind of been operating in survival mode to be honest, so I haven't really accomplished much of anything except for keeping our kids alive and as happy as possible. The latter is actually a lot harder than you might think, but Evie now knows how to demand a cookie ("Tee-tee!!") and has grown quite accustomed to snacking all day, and I believe she prefers this schedule to eating well-balanced meals three times a day. I have also managed to get my husband addicted to Gilmore Girls.
Here's to small victories.
I have tried to sit down and write Eleanora's birth story multiple times, and either my brain decides to stop working or one of our girls starts crying or I have to feed someone or I would rather watch another Gilmore Girls episode.
So yay for the small victory of finally getting this post published! And for taking more photos!
It was a night just like the many other nights I had been having lately. Mike was at work. Evie was asleep. I was feeling especially round and uncomfortable. And I was probably ingesting some sort of sweet treat.
I was also having Braxton Hicks contractions off and on, but I had been having these off and on for weeks, so I wasn't too concerned. When I went to bed around 11pm, I noticed that the contractions were getting a bit stronger, and I thought that maybe this might be it. So I got up and deliberated for a while and decided to call my midwife around midnight. The midwife on call happened to be my lovely friend Vikki, whom I know from church, and I was glad to hear her voice on the other end of the line because she had helped me bring Evie into the world, too. I told her I wasn't 100 percent sure this was actual labor but we both agreed it was better to assume it was because she knew that I seem to be prone to giving birth quickly, so she decided to head over to the birth center to get things ready as I waited for Mike to get home. My dad was also on his way to be with Evie.
In the next half hour, as I waited for Mike and my dad, my contractions got a lot worse.
In the meantime, my friend and neighbor, Oleah, came over to be with me so I wouldn't be alone. I didn't know how much I needed this until she was there and my contractions were becoming seriously intense. I hate to think about how that half hour would have gone if I was by myself. I would have been absolutely terrified. She was such a support, giving me counter pressure and getting me water and encouraging me.
Mike and my dad got there at the same time while I was having another contraction on my exercise ball. Mike leaned over to rub my shoulder and ask me how I was doing and kind of lingered there for a few seconds, like he was in the mood for a casual chat or something, so I told him in the calmest manner I could muster (which actually came out sounding not so calm) that he needed to just go get changed already so we could leave asap.
So we managed to get in the car and on the road and I was having serious contractions at this point. Like grabbing-that-handle-thing-above-your-head-for-support kind of contractions. The birth center, I should mention, is also about 30-40 minutes away from our house. So these contractions were coming every couple minutes and I was starting to feel some pressure very low down there, and for some reason I didn't think to convey this information to Mike. He even started slowing down when we got on the road the birth center is on so he wouldn't pass it, and yet, I still didn't say anything. I guess I was just trying to get through the pain.
When we got there, Vikki and a student midwife who was shadowing her met us at the car. As I went to stand up, there was this big gush that came out of me and I thought my water had broken. I was freaking out because I had forgotten to put a trash bag on the seat and I was worried I had just leaked all over my car. Luckily....somehow...I didn't, but I was still apologizing all over the place for almost leaking everywhere.
I think I lose a little of my logical reasoning capabilities when I'm in labor.
Anyway, we made it as far as the lobby when I had another contraction, but this one was very, very different. I could feel that this baby was coming very, very soon and I wasn't sure I would actually make it to one of the rooms. Again, I didn't think to convey this information to Mike who was parking the car.
The midwives and I managed to make it to a room, and I pretty much knew I didn't have much time but, darn it, I really wanted to experience a water birth, so I asked real quick like if I could possibly get in the tub. But as I got to the edge on the tub I had another contraction and this time, I could feel the head coming.
This was about the time that Mike rejoined us. He had been preoccupied with getting his Chipotle burrito bowl out of the car and then putting it in a refrigerator and then strolling casually back to the room. Yet again, I guess I didn't properly convey to him that me giving birth to our second child was a thing that would be happening very soon.
Kindly but not without a sense of urgency, Vikki told me that if I wanted to get in the tub I had better get in now.
And so I did, surprisingly quickly, and it felt so, so nice. It actually gave me that extra endurance I needed.
So I was in the tub, seriously pushing now, and Mike is giggling uncontrollably (that's his coping mechanism when he's shocked...or in his words, joyously surprised) because after a few more pushes, only about five minutes after I got to the birth center, Eleanora was born.
And I was probably sounding like a crazy person because all I could do was thank Jesus that it was over so quickly. My total labor and delivery time was a little over two hours.
That is a whirlwind, let me tell you.
For some reason, I also forgot again this time that I had a little person to meet. I'm not super proud about this aspect of myself. I wish I was like other mothers who are immediately in-tune with their new baby. They placed her on my chest, and it took me a while to actually look at her because I just needed a couple minutes to let the last two hours soak in. I guess I need a little time to ground myself. But after those couple minutes, I took a good look at her and I was so happy and grateful to be finally meeting our second baby girl.
My poor mom, though, was supposed to be there for the birth, but she missed it. She still came to see the baby, though, and stayed with us a while.
This postpartum/newborn time is so hard right now, I'll be honest. It's so easy to feel absolutely sapped of energy and completely empty. You are giving up your whole self to care for this new little being who needs so much from you- your time, your sleep, your comfort, your body, your attention. Your life stops for a while and you find yourself wanting to skip through this phase to get to a point where things are just a little bit easier. But as I wade in the thick of this time, I'm reminded of a verse, and it gives me encouragement:
"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9
Eleanora is such a blessing to us. Her name means light and joy, and that's what we hope she will bring to this world. Already we can tell she has a sweet spirit, and I just can't wait to see who she will become and what sort of plans God has in store for her.