Friday, July 27, 2012

Letter: Happy Birthday, Little Elf! 1 year, Part 1

Dear Little Elf,

A year ago today, we welcomed you into this world with laughter.  Thanks to this year being a leap year, we've had 366 days to marvel at life!  These days have gone by so quickly.  Sadly, I have not documented your life to the degree that I did for your sister, so I am going to start with the story of your birth in today's letter.  I will cover the rest of the year in a follow-up letter, because it won’t be quite as detailed.  I'm sure I will forget things, but I know there is no way I could ever forget the joy you have brought into my life.

I'm in the POOOOOOL!

The Story of Your Birth

(quite long and only a little graphic; newborn picture at the bottom)
I’m going to start the story of your birth with the day before.  You were due on August 5th, but I had a strong feeling you would be born before then.  I was betting on July 28th.  On July 26th, I took off work to spend the day with Baba, who had arrived the night before.  She could only stay a week and was hoping you would choose to be born while she was there.  Daddy wanted to pick up Tree Faerie from daycare because he had arranged a play date for her, so Baba and I had dinner at the Flying Saucer, talking and laughing and half-heartedly playing trivia.  It was a great day.  Baba and I got home about 10pm to find that Tree Faerie’s play date was still visiting.  I had to relieve my bladder while Baba stepped outside.

When I turned around to flush after the refreshing release of retained water, I noticed the water was quite cloudy.  I thought aloud, “Did my water just break?”  There was no gushing or any additional flow, so I kind of dismissed it and went to the kitchen for a glass of water.  Well, that is when the trickle started down my leg, which made me chuckle.  The chuckle, of course, made the trickle more of a flow, which made me laugh harder.  I grabbed the kitchen towel and shoved it between my legs and called to Daddy, who was sitting on the couch chatting with the play date’s mom.  He of course called back, “What?”

“Could you come here for a minute?” I called.

“Why?  What do you need?”

By this time I was laughing quite heartily as I responded, “Could you please just come here for a minute?”

His response of, “Why? Did your water break?” made me downright guffaw!  I was standing there in the kitchen laughing so hard I couldn’t stand up straight, and the laughter was making your birth waters gush, soaking the little kitchen towel.  He did finally come to the kitchen, and all I could do was laugh!  Baba came back in about that time and got excited to discover my water had broken.  I think she was a little confused about why I was laughing, since most women “in labor” aren’t laughing.  My contractions hadn’t started yet, though. 

Daddy had to take the play date and her mother home, and he took your sister with him while I threw the rest of our stuff together for the hospital.  The contractions started right after they left, so Baba’s job became timing them.  The first few were about 5 minutes apart.  Before Daddy returned, they became about 3 minutes apart and getting a bit more intense.  So off to the hospital we went after he came back. I hadn’t bothered changing clothes, but I did have a big black towel between my legs.

We got checked in and examined.  The contractions were coming 3 minutes apart still, and I was 5 centimeters dilated.  I was excited that I was halfway there!  I had called Grams and Daddy had called Nana on our way to the hospital, so both were on their way to join us.

Two hours later, I was still at 5 centimeters, and the contractions were intense.  I was unable to relax, and the Hypnobabies techniques were no longer working because I couldn’t relax.  Nana had already arrived, and she and Daddy had gone to pick up food and coffee.  Baba and your sister were in the room with me, and I looked at Baba and asked, “Would you think less of me if I got an epidural?”

The desperate relief on her face when she informed me that she would certainly not think less of me is one I am likely not to forget.  I did not realize until then how difficult it must be on the people there who loved me to watch me go through this pain.  Daddy and Nana came back and I asked Daddy the same thing.  He encouraged me to get the epidural, and Nana was in complete agreement.

The reason this decision was so important to me is that I gave birth to your sister completely naturally.  I was determined to prove myself with her birth!  And prove myself I did.  With your labor, I couldn’t relax, and I knew that if I couldn’t relax, I wasn’t going to open up any more, and I did not want the labor to last any longer!  I did not want to push for 2 hours like I did with your sister.  I did not want to feel beat up for days afterwards.  So I asked for an epidural, much to the relief of our family.

Daddy and Nana went to the lobby with your sister while Baba stayed in the room with me for the epidural.  Daddy had asked me who I wanted to stay, and by that point I really did not care.  I just wanted to be able to relax and bring you into this world, the sooner the better!

After the epidural, that’s exactly what I did.  Once the epidural took effect, the pain was gone, and I was relaxed and joking.  I could still feel the contractions, but they were easy comparatively.  Nana stayed in the lobby with your sister, who had fallen asleep out there, but Daddy came back in.  Grams showed up finally and was quite relieved to find she had not missed your birth and that I was smiling and laughing.  Dr. Murrmann came in about 15 minutes after Grams did and said I should be a poster child for an epidural!  I told her that the contractions had just changed, moving more down instead of open.  She examined me and said, “Yep!  We’re gonna have a baby!  Don’t push yet!”  I laughed at her and told her I would try.

The room suddenly became full of people and everyone was bustling with activity.  Within moments, everyone was in place and Dr. Murrmann told me that we would try a test push on the next contraction.  While the doctor was surprised I could still feel the pressure of the contractions despite the epidural, I was thankful for it.  I wanted to bring you into this world, not have you brought in by having someone dictate to me when to push.  I was excited, relaxed and happy, and I was so ready to hold you in my arms!

During my second push, Dr. Murrmann said something that made me laugh, and when I did, amniotic fluid shot across the room and splattered the front of a nurse’s gown.  I apologized to a room full of laughter.  I wish I could remember what she said, but I have been saying ever since that I laughed you out.  A few more pushes and out you were!  The time of birth was documented at 3:54 AM.  Your cord was too short for them to lay you on my stomach, so Daddy came to the rescue and cut your cord so I could hold you for a moment before they cleaned you up and took your vitals.  I was so elated that I don’t remember passing the placenta.  I only had two minor tears, fixed with two tiny stitches, and then I had you back in my arms!  We all laughed because you looked like a grumpy old man, but you were absolutely adorable!

I shared you, of course, letting everyone who wanted to hold you do so for at least a few minutes.  We moved to our new room in the women’s hospital where you nursed and slept a lot, and I slept some.  The next day when Dr. Murrmann came in to check on me, she asked when I wanted to go home.  My response of, “Now!” elicited a surprised chuckle from her.  I was feeling great except for a lack of sleep, which is hard to fix at the hospital.  So we got everything ready to go home. 

When the photographer came in, I put you in the outfit your sister picked out for you to wear.  After I got you dressed, I started laughing.  Daddy laughingly said, “She looks like a grumpy old man in drag!”  The photographer was horrified, even though everyone else in the room was laughing heartily.  She managed to take beautiful pictures of you, though.

July 28th, 2011

We took you home, and you got to go to your first concert 2 days later, when Baba played at First Unity on Sunday morning.  You had kept me up most of the night, but I went anyway because it was very important to me.  You slept through most of it.

You have been ready to GO! since you first entered the world, and go you have!  You conquer every obstacle with humor and determination.  I will give more details of your first year in a later letter.  I am so happy you chose us as your family and me as your mother.  We are truly blessed by your presence in our lives!

I love you, my little elf!

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