Friends my darling little girl is already five months – nearly 1/2 year old! Wow has the time flown. I have wanted to share with you her birth story since I wrote it back in November, but so many things just kept coming up. I’m happy to finally share it with you now. I feel so much has already happened since this letter – her bout with RSV along with just every day changes with a new baby – which has only melded her little perfect body, spirit and personality into our hearts all the more. But it’s fun to look back and to experience these new emotions all over again. So without further adieu…
Dear Baby M,
My dear sweet baby, it is Sunday, November 18, 2012 and tomorrow you will be 7 weeks exactly. My what a whirlwind of love, happiness, all-over-the-map emotions, sleepless nights and a case of the crazies we’ve had since you have arrived.
And we wouldn’t trade one day of it for anything.
Let me start out be telling you that you are a little miracle for us. You know of course that you have two older, awesome and boisterous brothers (who love you to pieces!). We have loved every day with them but your dad and I had dreamed of adding a little girl to the mix for some time. We had envisioned having you come a little earlier but things just didn’t line up in the way we thought it would. Then when we moved from California your father and I decided, ready or not, it was time to get you here. And not wanting to take any chances (Liddiards are especially skilled at making boys) we did all that it takes to get a little girl here (you know sugar and spice and everything nice…we’ll tell you a little more about it all later). But for now, let’s just say that when we discovered that we were indeed pregnant we were elated and a little bit shocked. It’s harder to get pregnant when trying for a girl so I pretty much knew you had to be a little lady. And your father and I were over the moon.
I won’t over-sensationalize things and say that after that day things got really hard, but I will say that not everything lined up in a way that makes a momma-to-be at relative peace and tranquility. Money wasn’t coming in a way that it had in the past and our preparations for your arrival had to be “in theory” for quite some time. And as things got closer and closer to your birth date, financial circumstances also seemed to get harder and harder. To be brief, I was a few months away from your birth and had not been able to really purchase you any clothing or necessities, such as a new crib (your brothers crib broke when someone tried to climb the rails like a ladder when it was in storage and it was out-of-date/recalled anyway). Wanting to nest and make everything absolutely perfect for your arrival made our circumstances even more difficult. I tried to get creative about adding additional income and your dad did everything he could as well – even taking on another job in addition to his teaching. And just as things started to look really bleak (such as being dropped from insurance a month before your were born, Oi!) we had so many step in to help and provide assistance. Your Grandma Mary and many friends and sweet ladies from church threw us a shower, helping us get that much needed crib as well as a number of other items (we still have yet to buy a single diaper for you!). And at another shower a group of generous (and talented!) friends helped us outfit your wardrobe (and more) in style! To say that I was grateful doesn’t do the emotions justice. I felt overwhelmed with gratitude and love. You see, sometimes I think I like to do everything myself, never asking for help. But that is just not realistic or the way it should be. It takes a village right? And this example, this outpouring of love from so many women, was just what we needed. And with that perspective, suddenly welcoming you into the world in this way could not have been more perfect.
With Jon’s new job we were able to get on with another insurance company that provided a great deal more benefits but the catch was…they didn’t kick in until Oct. 1. And you my dear were due on Oct. 4th…making things a little too close for comfort. Your father was also in a play until late Sept., so we had a very specific window in which we ideally wanted you to arrive. In fact we scheduled an inducement for Oct. 2nd to be sure we were ready and available for your birth (I also have very short labors and was worried I would end up having you in the car if not induced at the hospital). And guess what little darling? You my dear were more than accommodating – but you did things your way. Not only did you wait until after your father was done with his play but on the morning of Oct. 1st,, on the dot, you decided you had waited long enough and it was time to make your appearance.
So at 3 am, October 1st, 2012 I woke up to what I thought was a minor membrane rupture. I couldn’t be sure, as it was subtle, yet it was out of the ordinary enough for me to wake up and take note. As I was awake, and wanted to be sure I didn’t miss anything else important, I got out of bed and began finishing up the packing. (We had things ready to go for you but I was planning on finishing packing everything for me today, as I thought I’d have an entire day before your scheduled inducement). As I was packing it became clear that things were progressing and I was 85% sure that you were on your way and would arrive later that day. So I woke up your father who then called his parents and within the half hour your grandpa Don was here to watch the boys while we scurried off to the hospital. Your dad had a hard time internalizing it all and was sure it was all a rouse and that we’d be sent back home. The reason for this is that I didn’t really have any strong or consistent contractions. So I too began to doubt…thinking this was all for not.
We arrived at the hospital at 5 AM. We were pretty relaxed at this point and I was even feeling a bit silly for making such a fuss of things. I wasn’t in pain and things seemed pretty much back to normal. So we casually gathered our belongings and slowly walked towards the hospital that early, moderately crisp October morning. Well just as we walked in the door…my water full on broke…like movie style. And can I just say that I was glad to be at the hospital when this occurred? Because man would it have been embarrassing. Oh and it was nice that there were Dr.’s and nurses close by and all that too. So needless to say, at that point we knew we were staying and that you, my dear, were on your way!
We hurried and checked in and made our way up to delivery. The nurse confirmed that yes my water had indeed ruptured. She then hooked me up to the necessary baby “tracking” devices (for your heartbeat and all that) and proceeded to poke my arm three unpleasant times looking for a good vein (the first one burst…and the rest proceeded to bubble up threatening to…it was pretty gruesome looking and not all that much fun). She then called in another nurse who finally found a stable vein after two times (I was dehydrated, no surprise there). I’ll be honest, I was not a fan of this part. But the good news is that this was the worst of it for me. Yes they put long needle into my spine to numb me for my epidural, and yes I endured a number of contractions…but let me tell you…I hated getting poked and prodded non-stop the most. Must be another one of my control issues.
After my water had broken, we waited…and waited…for my contractions to consistently come. (OK we really only waited about an hour but it still seemed odd that things were not starting to really progress on their own). So when the nurse asked if I wanted to induce I was all for it. Let’s get this show on the road! And well, like your brothers before you, that Pitocin did the trick! Contractions started coming, the anesthesiologist came in to administer the epidural (I tried the natural thing with A…well at least up until the pushing stage…and I’m happy I can relate with women kind and know what labor feels like. But now I’m happy to take advantage of modern medicine and let it all go numb. It’s pretty great really. Both of these experiences). Once contractions started I knew I would deliver quickly. Then nursed checked me and I was at a 5. Thinking I’d have at least a few more hours before delivery She left. She then came back in 50 min later only to discover that I was already at a 10 and your head was right there! Girl we were ready to go!
So in came the hospital basinet and all things in preparation for your delivery. And then in came the doctor. Jon and I were elated in anticipation…and dare I say slightly freaked out that all of this was really real (you never get over it…the miracle of birth is always awe inspiring…and slightly unbelievable). And after about three pushes, at 8 AM you were here. All 6 lbs, 3 oz of you. By far my tiniest! And my quickest. And of course it was love at first sight. Well, OK, we had been falling in love with you for the past nine months, and had been day dreaming about you for years prior…but when we saw you…held your warm little body close…well words can’t describe the love that filled our hearts.
We did the skin on skin approach and tried nursing right away. You weren’t super interested in it but slowly got the hang of things. And as is still true today, you’re not much of a super gulp kind of gal, unlike your brothers who I joke were “heavy drinkers”. In fact, you didn’t do a whole lot of nursing the first two days of your life. And if I hadn’t had much experience in this, I’d have been super worried about it all. But sure enough, on day three you started to get more of an appetite and all was well.
On that first day you had a number of visitors. Grandma Mary and Grandpa Don came with some flowers and later described you to aunt Karen as a little “rose bud”. So we saved and dried out one of the roses they brought for you to always remember that you are their little “rose bud”. Aunt Karen and Uncle Keith came by to see you (gifting your dad a collection of rubber gloves…an inside diaper-duty joke). And then later on Aunt Alisa came by with a basket of go-to quick-change outfits for those unexpected “we need a change of clothes like right now!” moments. Your brothers came with grandma and grandpa Liddiard, which was when they saw you for the first time. It was hard to read them at first but it soon became clear that they were just as enamored with you as the rest of us. And let me tell you, they haven’t stopped doting over you since. We then spent some time together as a new family of five, watching cartoons and eating hospital food (hey at least their chocolate mint cake was pretty tasty). Jon then took the boys home for the night and you and I settled in for a long somewhat sleepless night of percocet, delirium, and lots of love.
On the following day, Oct. 2, 2012, your second day of life, your father took the boys to Pumpkin Land as part of A’s first grade field trip. So you and I had a bit more time to get to know each other. I have to confess, that your actual birth was a pretty easy one. You were such a small thing that recovery was pretty quick and I was up and at ‘em sooner than I expected (or at least that is what I fancied myself to be doing…you see I kind of have this super human complex…which comes crashing down on me a number of occasions when reality sets in…maybe I’ll get over it some day…or maybe I’ll pass it along to you. Sorry if I do. I guess it will just be a drop in the bucket of things I might pass along to you when I had intended otherwise…Part of the mother/daughter relationship I guess). So anyway, I got up and decided that today I was going to get “ready” and look my best…considering…So I did my hair and make up in the hospital bathroom (with you wheeled in beside me in your basinet-wasn’t going to let you out of my site for anything) changed and readied myself for the day, happy and anticipating a slew of possible visitors. I’m not sure who I expected would stop by (I’ve only been here for a year and births are such an intimate experience so many rarely dare to intrude) but I should have known better. I also somehow got things mixed up with the hospital baby photographer so I sat all morning, all perfectly coiffed…waiting…and waiting….for something…anything really. And then I realized…that I wasn’t super human and that I was lonely, hormonal, in the early stages of sleep deprivation and had indeed just given birth the day before. I did of course call my mom and family in Colorado to share the news (they would be coming out in the next week for a much needed family bonding time) which was nice. But even still, for the first time I wanted to be done with the hospital. You see I typically LOVE my hospital stays as both me and the baby are taken care of and it’s a nice little time of security and comfort before we are on our own (and engorgement sets in…ugh). But this time around I felt like it was a tad silly just sitting there all day by myself (and with sweet little you of course), watching HGTV and ordering sub par hospital food. But then Jon came back by with the boys for dinner (and he brought Cubby’s!) and things were right with the world again.
If the second day was full of waiting, the third day, check-out day, was all about the rush rush rush. I was completely dead to the world at 8 am but tried to make myself wake up knowing that I had to be out of there before 9. Jon wasn’t around yet but after the doctor came by giving us both the AOK to leave I tried to get up and get things ready to go. I realized then that no photographer had taken pictures of my baby and I was about to cry (new mom hormones, you’ll get it someday). So I mentioned as much to the nurse and she tracked down the photographer who was doing her rounds and pulled her in. Jon showed up, with the boys, and while they tried to pack everything up I got you ready for your first close up. Yes it was very rushed but I was so so happy to have this time documented that it didn’t’ matter to me. The nurse was so kind but was trying to shoo us out of there without making us feel like we were being kicked out. We made it out of there just before we were legally going to have to be charged for another day. Phew. Oh and we brought home the placenta (to be encapsulated in a natural attempt to regulate hormones…I’ll tell you all about it sometime)…so we had quite the fun check out day…you know bringing home bodily organs along with a new baby and all.
As we go to the car I couldn’t help but feel how odd it was to put this perfect little you into a very imperfect car seat (we had your brother’s old one at the time), a very imperfect car and overall a very imperfect existence. But then again that’s what it all about right? You wanted to come to this earth and experience all of this alongside us all. And we want to be right there with you. Mortality. It’s a gift. One that we all chose and I’m so happy I get to experience it – in all it’s imperfections – with your dear father, my darling boys and now lovely you. Welcome to the journey my sweet baby girl.”