For those of you birth-junkies out there I don't want to let go of the opportunity to record CeCe's birth story while I'm on this (hopefully long-lived) blog posting kick. So, with no further ado...
It was a dark and stormy night, and the power was out so we were dependent on candles for our light...OK, not really - but wouldn't that have made the story exciting?
In reality Sunday morning (Dec. 13th, the day before my due date) was really gross - a "wintry mix", as they say. I was pretty clearly in early labor - having lots of braxton hicks and some real contractions and feeling nauseated and supremely cranky. Somehow we managed to bundle everyone up for Mass and walk over to the church and huddle together in an irritable, whiny clump in the corner of the cryroom. After mass the priest, Fr. O'Malley, took my arm and walked me all the way home - I must have looked pretty pathetic to illicit such kindness.
I sat around all day watching It's a Wonderful Life and trying to write Christmas cards (which, incidentally, are still in a pile at the foot of my bed) and by the time we put the kids to bed at 8 pm I began to think we'd made the switch to progressive labor. I made John read Sherlock Holmes to me while I tried to fall asleep and my complete inability to doze through contractions made it clear that the time had come to hit the road.
We were the 7th couple checking into the birthing center in the last 2 hours so things were pretty busy on the unit. The 6th couple was immediately ahead of us and we got to chatting. She was 17 and he was 18 and he tried to keep us entertained (or impressed) with tales of his daring exploits on a four-wheeler while he had a broken arm. It was a strangely inappropriate topic of conversation as his girl-friend was breathing through her contractions. I felt very old and mature, as did John.
I was at 5 cm. in Triage and at 6 when they checked me again in the delivery room so things were definitely on the move. This would put us at about midnight on the 14th (her due date, believe it or not). I had decided to give a no-pain-meds birth a try again if this labor proved to be as efficient as Rosie's was. So we labored on until about 2 a.m. and I was ready to be done. Things were getting really intense but my water hadn't broken and since I had labored with Moses at 9.5 cm for 7ish hours before they broke my water I decided to ask if they would break it now so that I had a shot at doing this without an epidural. No such luck, the nurse said. They were bound to wait to get a 2nd round of anti-biotics into me because of the strep-B rules. Oi!
So, after realizing that this was a pretty inconvenient environment to attempt a "natural birth" in and that I was so exhausted and could not possibly labor for up to 2 more hours before pushing I decided to ask for the epidural. I got it and before the medicine even had a chance to kick in my water broke, they checked me and I was at 10 and felt the urge to push about 5 minutes later.
[side note: The reason that I wanted to "go natural" was because I was did not want a repeat of my birth experience with Gus. I was induced with him the day after my due date because I didn't want to drive "over the mountain and through the woods", literally, to get to the hospital while I was in hard labor. Since I was induced I went in expecting to get an epidural and I don't regret doing things that way. I think it was the right choice for me since we had just moved and I had been experiencing tremendous anxiety about everything in my life and the "birth experience" being so controlled relieved at least some of my anxiety. This time I was in a very different place emotionally and I didn't want to have such a controlled birth. I wanted to experience some of the rush and pain and joy and the extremes that bringing a baby into the world can be. I wanted less control and more spontaneity. And I went natural for long enough that I accomplished that goal and am therefore very happy with the result even though I didn't accomplish all I set out to do.]
I pushed twice and they were saying that her head was right there and I guess they meant it because all of a sudden things hurt a lot and her head and one hand were out. The hand coming out at the same time was the cause of most of the pain. Next push she was all the way out and purply and vernixy and wonderful. She didn't have the monster cry that Rosie had, just a little kitten-cry. She was 8 lbs 1 oz, 20 and 3/4 in. long, born at 3:46 am (hence the "tired eyes" that John and I have in all the pictures) on Dec. 14th, Feast of St. John of the Cross. Her name is Cecilia Noel after St. Cecilia and the Feast of the Nativity. Not the suggested, Johnicka, after John of the cross - you're very welcome CeCe.
Recovery has been longer and harder then with the other kids, probably because of the other kids :). But also, she doesn't really like to sleep at night (she was up nearly every night between 3 and 5 am for the first 5 weeks) and is frequently gassy and fussy when she is awake. We've also been battling thrush since week 2 accompanied by cracking, bleeding "nickles", as Rosie calls them. But she is not colicky and John had 5 (count them, FIVE) weeks off after she was born and we had family and friends stay with us for a week after Christmas to help out (here's your shout-out James!) so in spite of some difficulties it's been manageable. The kids are all head-over-heals in love with her and have been really good with her too.
But at the moment she needs to nurse again and I'm 15 minutes over the time I alloted to writing this post so it's time for me to move on with life here. Welcome, Cecilia!