Last year, a few days after LW was born, I wrote up her birth story so I wouldn't forget any of the details. (They do tend to run together, after four.) I offer it here, unedited except for changing the names.
It’s been five days since LW was born. A beautiful day, with a full moon.
My labor was induced, under the advice of my doctor, who worried about the gestational diabetes causing problems. Since LW’s older sister Bo Peep was 9 lbs 5 oz, I concurred. And, I’d been expecting that I would be induced much earlier. With my other three, I developed intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy – ICP – and one of the risks is sudden stillbirth. I had a new doctor, and she wanted to go in and get the baby as soon as we knew she would be reasonably ready. But, surprise, surprise – I never developed the ICP, or never even enough to get my prescription for Actigall filled. Being a fourth child myself, I was prepared for the fourth bringing many surprises, but this was definitely unexpected and pleasant.
Before LW was even conceived, The Husband and I talked about inviting a very special lady to be in the delivery room with us. Our children call her “Lala” and she is the children’s third grandmother. No quotation marks around grandmother, if you please. She loves them and spoils us all like crazy. Last semester, when I went to theological school, she was here every Monday to be the “gap care” between when I left and when The Husband came home. She swears it is we who give the favor to her.
So, after clearing it with the other two grandmas, we invited Lala to be there. She never had children of her own, and I wanted her to be able to somewhat experience the magic.
So, the morning of May 24 arrived. The Husband’s mother was already here, so she was home with the other kids to get them off to school, watch Bo Peep, etc. We had to be at the hospital by 5:30 am.
Went in and got hooked up to a little nip of pitocin to start things going. About an hour or two later, my doctor came in and broke my water, which really got things going. I waited a little long to get the epidural, but I got it, and things felt much better. Lala was here by this point, and the three of us were able to talk and gossip and what-have-you. The Husband put on a good high energy cd I had mixed.
About 11:15, my nurse checked me. I was at 6 cm. 10 minutes later, after looking at the rate and strength of the contractions on the readout, she did another check. “She is THERE!” she told the other nurse. They went to get my doctor. She was across the hall, with another patient who was in the process of pushing.
“Okay, we need you to pant like a puppy when you have those contractions so we can wait for your doctor.”
Easier said than done. Pant, pant, pant. Pant, pant … intake breath, try to remember how to pant … Music is playing, “My life goes on in endless song, above earth’s lamentations …” The nurses comment on how great the music is. “Jeremiah was a bullfrog! He was a good friend of mine!” One nurse commented that this baby was going to be born singing. The baby was about to be born, plain and simple. “She’s not yet crowning,” said the other nurse, but it was obvious she was coming. They had moved a mirror to where I could see this one born (I never have before). “See, that’s her hair,” they pointed out. “I don’t think I can keep from pushing for much longer,” I told them, a bit desperately. “It’s okay,” I was reassured. “Do what you have to do.” They praised me, saying it was obvious this was my 4th, as a less-experienced Mom would have already had the baby.
“Go tell the other mother to hurry things up, cut to the chase,” I joked weakly to The Husband.
At some point during this, I had said to Lala, who was standing in the corner behind me, “Are you sure you don’t want to sit down?” “I can’t sit down!” she said excitedly, showing me her trembling hands.
Just in the nick, my doctor came across the hall. Two pushes, and LW was born, and she was, as the nurses said, born singing. Lusty cries came out of her mouth before she was completely out of my body. And for the first time, I got to see it all. She was beautiful, just like a baby doll. Still covered in vernix and connected to her placenta, they placed her on my chest. Instinctively, I pulled up my shirt and put her to my breast. The Husband cut the cord, and before she could do more than mouth at my nipple, they took her over to the bin to do all the Apgars and immediate tests. I looked at her longingly, wanting them to hurry the F up so I could hold my beautiful baby. I think Lala said something about how beautiful she was, but not much more. My beloved friend, normally as verbose as I, was silent, just looking at her newest grandchild. Overwhelmed.
After a bit, they finally handed me my beautiful baby and cleared out to give us an hour or so with her before they took her to the nursery for the rest of the testing and such. I put her to my right breast and she immediately began nursing. Her eyes were closed, and she looked blissful. I imagine I looked blissed out myself. Lala left rather rapidly, a curious thing that I commented on later to The Husband. “Didn’t you see the tears in her eyes?” he asked, smiling. Later, she confirmed that she drove straight home and then cried and cried. She described it as the most incredible experience of her life. Since this is a woman who has a pilot’s license, has been a race car driver and has traveled the world extensively, a high compliment.
I am amazed at how love in theory becomes such profound love immediately upon sight of this new creature. She is beautiful, already trying to pull up her head, and of course, brilliant beyond belief. She has my heart completely. I would do anything for her. She is my daughter.