Remember all those feelings I had about my baby coming early? Well, it didn't happen. In fact, she was technically late. I still don't know why I had those feelings. Maybe that was what I needed to make sure I got all the way prepared in time. Maybe it was some kind of test for me to show that I would be willing to have her early--because I REALLY didn't want to at first--and let the Lord be in control. He does that with me sometimes. Or maybe I just made it all up. Who knows? Whatever the purpose was, I'm glad things worked out the way they did. The timing of our baby girl's arrival was perfect (for me at least...I did happen to be in labor during two of Matthew's midterms) and I am beyond grateful for the way the Lord has watched out for me and made everything work out so well over the past couple of months.
So...the story, for those who like that sort of thing.
Since I was so sure I was having this baby early, I spent the two weeks before baby's due date ready to dash to the hospital at any second. Bags were packed, I had a list of people ready to watch Grady, Matthew always had his phone nearby, just in case.
Two weeks before the due date I went in for my regular check-up. They told me my blood pressure was high and there was protein in my urine and sent me off to the hospital to be monitored for preeclampsia, possibly needing to be induced immediately. I grabbed my hospital bag, dropped Grady off at a friend's house, and picked Matthew up from school to come with me. At the hospital they hooked me up to machines and monitors and poked and prodded me for an hour or two. I remember thinking, "Shoot, I'm in the hospital gown already, Grady is with a sitter--let's just do this!" In the end they found that nothing was out of the ordinary and sent us home. I will admit that I cried a little.
The following week I had another appointment. I was already dilated to a 5 and the midwife asked if she could strip my membranes to possibly help start the labor since I was already so far progressed. My mom wasn't scheduled to come for another week, but I had finally become so calm with the idea of the baby coming early (almost excited about it even), that I said, "Sure, why not?" I felt funny all that day and had some cramping (which the doctor failed to warn me was normal and didn't necessarily mean I was going into labor). I spent the next week paranoid and even sent Grady to a sitter once or twice, thinking this might be it. But nothing ever happened. Nothing but pain and cramps for the next week. (I don't think I'll be having my membranes stripped again after that experience...)
Since I had gestational diabetes with this pregnancy, the doctors didn't want me going past my due date. I convinced them to put off an induction until two days after my due date so that my mom could be here to help with Grady. The induction was scheduled for 9 am on Thursday the 16th, and my mom was to arrive on Wednesday night at about 11:30 p.m. Late on Wednesday night (while we were watching the Royals win the pennant!) we got a call from my mom saying that she had missed her connection and was stuck in Chicago. The next flight wouldn't get her to Columbus until about 9 am. Matthew sent me to bed and said he would take care of it, but of course I panicked and didn't sleep well, wondering how we would pick her up and get Grady taken care of on such short notice.
My worry was without cause, however, because that very night Matthew had found someone to take Grady and pick up my mom in the morning. My angel of a friend, Elizabeth, came and picked up Grady around 8. I ate a small breakfast of a piece of plain toast and some water, then immediately threw it up, which was strange because I haven't thrown up at all this pregnancy and I wasn't in labor yet, and I wasn't feeling particularly nervous or anything. I guess I wasn't meant to have any food in me? Then I took my time to shower, shave my legs, get all clean and prettified as much as possible for one last time before the storm. I honestly kind of like knowing when labor is going to happen and being able to get physically/mentally ready for it. Maybe someday I'll experience what it's like to actually go into labor on my own, but for now this has been good!
We took one final picture of the belly. Just for kicks, here is a side-by-side comparison of me right before having Grady (left) and right before having Violet (right).
We arrived at the hospital, got settled in, and received word from my mom that she was safely at our home in Columbus with Grady. The Pitocin was started at around 10:15 a.m. Matthew sat down to study for the exams he was missing (he got permission to take them the next day), while I perused the internet on my iPad. I think Matthew was anticipating having lots of study time, because my induced labor with Grady took 21 hours. I knew that it wouldn't be that way this time, however, because I was already dilated to a 5 (with Grady I was dilated to a big fat ZERO, even a week past my due date).
Shortly after that the contractions began, gradually progressing in their intensity. By noon the contractions were still fairly mild and I was dilated to a 6, so Matthew went to have some lunch in the cafeteria and visited a friend of ours who was also in the hospital due to an emergency appendectomy the night before.
While he was gone, the contractions started to get stronger and more painful. At one point our nurse, Pam (who was absolutely fantastic, by the way), asked me if I still wanted to have an epidural. I responded, "Of course! Why do you ask?"
She replied, "Well you are so far along already and doing great on your own. I think you could probably handle it!"
I said, "Ohhhhhh no. I have never prepared myself for that and have zero coping strategies up my sleeve."
She laughed and said, "Oh honey! Even the ladies with 'strategies' just end up breathing the best they can in the end anyway! I'll help you!"
For the first time in my life, I entertained the idea of having a natural labor.
And then I had another contraction.
NOPE. Not happening.
Shortly before Matthew returned, my contractions weren't unbearable, but they were getting pretty painful, so I decided to go ahead and request the epidural. I'm glad I did because they had to get a liter of fluid in me and request the anesthesia people to come first, both of which took awhile. By the time the epidural was put in my contractions were pretty darn painful.
Once the epidural kicked in, I felt AWESOME. I was so relaxed and I felt like I had just had a massage--I seriously felt like I could take a nap. Yet at the same time, I could still feel when I was having contractions, just without the pain, which was not something I was able to feel with Grady's labor. I was amazed at how quickly I had gone from experiencing a ton of pain to feeling so wonderful and comfortable. I told Matthew, "If for some reason down the road I ever say anything about wanting to try a natural labor, please remind me of how great I feel right now."
My midwife, Jen, came in to check my progress and break my water. She said I was now dilated to a 7. After she left, the nurse started laying out all of the things that would be used for the delivery and the baby. I was a little confused because I knew that (with induced labors anyway) it is generally expected for a woman to dilate about one centimeter per hour and I still had three centimeters to go. I asked the nurse why she was getting everything out. She said that things could go very quickly at that point so she wanted to be ready. I was a little skeptical. Then she left and said she'd be back in about an hour to check on me.
An hour passed by and the nurse came back to check on me. She looked at me and said, "You're at a 10."
The midwife came in moments later and told me it was time to push. My response was pretty much something like, "Cool. Sounds good." Everything about that moment was so nonchalant, so matter-of-fact, so not a big deal. I was amazed at the calmness of it all (especially of myself...I am not what you would call a calm person in general).
With Grady I pushed for an hour and a half. This time, after pushing for two contractions, the midwife said to me, "Okay, on this next contraction you're going to push out her head. Then listen to me and I'll guide you through the shoulders." Instead, I gave one more push and the baby just shot right out!
I looked over at Matthew right then and said, "That was easy!" And I meant it. The entire labor lasted 5 1/2 hours, the epidural was amazing and perfect, and I only pushed for three contractions. A dream labor.
Our little Violet Caroline Wright was born at 3:52 p.m.
Because Grady was born with tons of dark hair, I couldn't picture our next baby having anything else. I figured that could only mean that she would come out bald or blonde or something totally different. I was very surprised when she came out looking very much like Grady had!
Within moments that sweet baby was laid on my chest, where I was able to hold her/nurse her for the next hour. Those cuddles with a brand new baby who has just entered the world are some of the sweetest.
Grady and my mom were able to come and join us right about when that hour was up. We all got to watch as she was weighed and measured (8 lbs 10 oz and 19 in) and checked, then Daddy finally got to hold his girl.
Daddy and his girl
Grady mostly sat on my bed eating some apples.
Matthew commented on how things are different the second time around: when Grady was born he was kind of nervous to hold him and always so careful, but the first time he held Violet in the hospital he was chasing Grady around and picking things up off the floor at the same time.
Jen (midwife), Pam (the most amazing nurse)
After another hour we were moved to the postpartum room, where Violet was given her first bath and I got to eat some of the things I had been missing out on due to the diabetes: pizza and pumpkin donuts! (The pumpkin festival we went to last year with the amazing donuts was held the week Violet was born and two different friends brought us back pumpkin donuts from there. I'm pretty sure I ate half a dozen donuts the day after Violet was born...)
First family photo (that I had to crop to make Violet decent)
Coco, my wonderful mother, who did so much to help us the week after Violet was born.
Grady was pretty indifferent to Violet while we were in the hospital. He was more excited to push buttons, eat food from the vending machines and try to get out of the room so he could go run and play. Oh, and apparently he was afraid of the elevator.
Now that we are at home, he loves her. He always wants to touch and hold her (which is a little scary sometimes...yesterday he tried to put a pom-pom in her mouth). But for the most part he is very gentle with her and is always delighted to see her. "Baby sister is awake!" He always wants to do what she is doing, especially tummy time.
Grady has struggled a bit with the loss of Mommy's undivided attention 24/7. A lot of attention-seeking behavior is occurring over here, but also lots of asking for hugs, which never used to happen. Daddy has been great and takes him out to play somewhere every evening.
During the day he has kept himself busy lately by watching the construction workers build a sidewalk in front of our house. And digging in the dirt with his trucks as he watches (of course). And talking to the workers and asking if he can sit in their trucks (sometimes they let him). And sometimes wearing his yellow hard hat too. Every morning at about 7 a.m. he begins his request for this. We were even out there digging in coats and hats this morning during one of baby's naps when it was about 23 degrees...
Little Miss Violet is just as sweet as can be and we love having her in our family. It's taken us a few weeks to figure each other out, but we are well on our way now and things are going well. She is such a happy, sweet girl. My mom thinks her face looks a lot like me as a baby. Her hair just gets fluffier and crazier every day, which we love! Here are a few more pictures of her in her first few weeks of life.
With her proud protectors
First bath at home.
Her go-to superhero pose. She does this with her arms whenever we lay her on the floor.
Here's a good shot of that hair.
Not the best lighting, but this one was just taken tonight. We sure love this girl!