And, drumroll, Miss Emerson Arouet Garland H__ is here! (Yes, we went big with the names. Talk to my husband). I’ve been meaning to post, meaning to post, but the first six nine weeks of her life have been pretty much devoted to, well, her. I am a mama now; that fact still blows my mind. There’s too much to write, to process, to try to weakly articulate, so I’m going legal-style and organizing by topic and posting each separately (including the chapter: We Just Decamped to the South of France, OMG). First things first:
The day before her eviction proceedings commenced:
I had been so sure, so certain that this baby was coming early. I felt it in my bones. I went to far as to tell my parents and parents-in-law a delivery date that was perhaps an ooch more optimistic than what my doctor had guessed, a date that DK’s entire family counted on when purchasing tickets from California and Oregon to visit, a date I had informed everyone at work would Be The Day. You can see where this is going. In a word, my bones are liars. Not only did this girl not budge early, but she lingered on and on without any sign of leaving on her actual due date. My doctor would check my progress at each appointment, shake his head, and say, “well, you’re a tiny bit effaced and maybe just beginning to be dilated – so, well, she can come whenever she wants, but it isn’t likely to be tonight. Or tomorrow. Or even the day after that.”
I had secretly looked forward to that moment when I’d gently shake DK awake in bed and whisper knowingly, “It’s happening,” and we’d start all the early labor activities we diligently learned in those endless classes, what with the exercise ball and a bath at the ready. But all those movie-esque daydreams were basically thrown aside when I sat on the table in the doctor’s office with DK five days past my due date and pleaded with my doctor to please, for the love of god, please induce me already. After an exceptionally low-key and easy pregnancy, my back had finally began to protest against the bowling ball I was gestating, and damn it, I wanted to get the show on the road already. He sent us home with instructions to check into the hospital two nights later. I let out a whoop and kissed DK and told Dr. Leonard he’d made me a very happy woman.
For those two days, life weirdly went back to normal but with this bizarre clock counting down the remaining time over our heads. We went out to dinner and ate meatballs and ice cream sandwiches (tick), hung photographs (tock), bought last minute things for the nursery (tick), packed our bags (tock), read (tick), tidied the kitchen (tock). One the fated Friday night, I made a huge pot of lentil soup, we watched Fringe and looked at each other around 9:15, like, um, so . . . I guess we should go now? To have a baby? OMG? We clutched hands in the elevator, my pillow under one arm and Dakin schlepping the bag, laughed with the doorman that we wouldn’t come back without a baby and went out into the cold, clear February night to hail a cab. The driver had a little boy, nine years old, best thing he’d ever done.
At the hospital, after getting checked in and sorted, I lay in bed with a monitor around my belly, an IV in my arm. The pitocin would start in the morning; they gave me a cervix softener that night. I felt minor contractions all night long, my eyes fluttering open to watch the monitor numbers arc upwards and back down. I wasn’t anxious, like I thought I’d be. Just ready, like the feeling at the beginning of a race, when everyone is milling around their running pace group, popping a stretch or two, listening with half an ear to the forced banter of the MC at the front, waiting, waiting for the crowd to get moving so you can finally pass the start line. That’s what I felt like.
On Saturday morning, my doctor came to check on us, broke my water, started me up on the pitocin and we were off. The contractions started coming, like waves, fast and increasingly intense. I’d squeeze DK’s hand and breathe through them. He made jokes I can’t remember now, but I remember laughing between the waves of pain. A few nurses mentioned the epidural and around noon, I got it put in – and wow. WOW. I had been vaguely nervous about the whole injection-into-your-spine thing, but you know, the IV was sort a bigger pain in the ass. Seriously, it was no big deal - who'd a thought? And then there was the no pain thing. Life was good.
But for all the joy of the epidural, it also slllloooowwwed down labor. Like a lot. I’d been fast and furious with the contractions and now I was too relaxed. I took a little nap. I did some crossword. The doctor came in to find me deep into The Age of Innocence. They upped the pitocin. And then, hey boy, did I begin to feel something again. I hadn’t increased the epidural amount one whit because I didn’t want to slow things down any more than they already had, so when I went into “transition” mode – well, let’s just say I was really extremely thrilled to see the anesthesiologist again.
The rest happened so quickly. Her head dropped down, the doctor checked and quickly went to change into his scrubs, the nurse held one leg and DK the other and I started to push. And push! And 27 minutes later, our girl was born and put into my arms. Our amazing, gorgeous girl. Emerson. Eme. Little Goose.
Next: Surviving the First Month and We Just Moved to France For Two Months, Are We Insane? (Hint: Nope!)