On Tuesday, October 25, 2016 at 11:56a, Margaret Elise Reynolds was born.
She weighed 7 lbs 1 ounce and measured 19.5 inches and we’re calling her Maggie. She is beautiful and perfect and I’m incredibly thrilled to no longer be pregnant!! High 80s in late October was a cruel joke.
Maggie made her debut a couple of weeks early – my gestation period is seemingly 38 weeks, not 40, because Libby was also a couple weeks shy of her due date. Right now, she has a decent head of dark brown hair, but from what I understand, that usually falls out. She’s a whole week old now & still has all the hair so far, so we’ll see.
Okay, now here’s the part where I tell all the people who just wanted the basic facts to stop reading because I’m going to tell Maggie’s birth story. The gist is I had a natural birth in a hospital with an OB. I got the hospital around 7:30a, Maggie arrived just before noon. So if you’re not into having more details than that, consider yourself warned.
Last Monday I went to my OB appointment, where I learned I was almost 2cm and about 30% effaced so I was pretty secure in thinking I probably had about another week, maybe I’d get a Halloween baby. Or at least til Thursday or Friday of that week. Then I met my mom, who was keeping Libby while I went to the doctor, for lunch. After lunch Libby said she wanted to go to the “big library to play with blocks and animals and trains and eat a snack at Provence,” meaning the downtown library. Which, frankly, sounded exhausting, and too close to naptime, but I totally gave in. After all, I reasoned, there weren’t not going to be too many more opportunities for Libby & I to do our little Libby & I traditions as just us, like eating yogurt at Provence after playing at the library. In fact, just the weekend before, when Daddy had to go into the office on Sunday night to prepare for a presentation the next morning, she’d talked me into going to “the mall to ride the horses” and eat a special Mommy & Libby dinner at the Rainforest Cafe. It was like Libby knew the end was near. So to the library we went.
After the library, there was, as I feared, no nap to be had. Libby was revved up and at her toddler best. My last text to Brian that night was “No nap. Going to attempt to cook dinner. Come home ASAP.” Then I began to cook a loose version of corn chowder. I say loose because I’m not exactly a stickler to recipes. Plus I always try to get Libby to help me cook which can result in some interesting seasoning – “shake it three times” is sometimes heard as “dump all the thyme in the spice jar into the pot.” Anyway, that’s where we began, around 6p-ish, standing there chopping potatoes.
I thought I was just having false contractions, because they were more like slight annoyances than real pain. And not regular at all, just kind of random. Plus I knew that I had pushed myself a little with the library trip and the walk to and from Nona’s from our parking space up the hill earlier at lunch. So I just kept cooking, figuring once I rest and eat it would go away. It was clear the soup was going to take forever, so I made Libby & I peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and called it dinner. Around 7:15p Brian finally gets home & I tell him I think I might be in early labor. “Not sure yet. But Libby needs to put on her pajamas.”
We wrangle Libby to bed. We finally eat some soup. Around 10p-ish, I’m almost positive I’m in labor, but the contractions are still like 8ish minutes apart, not that bad, but they are starting to become frighteningly regular. I try to go to sleep. Not going to happen. We go ahead & call my mom and give her a heads up since she’ll need to pick up Libby. We go ahead and pack a bag (No of course we hadn’t done that yet, who do you think we are? We still don’t even have a nursery set up, we just barely got Libby in big girl bed). Then I sent Brian to bed. I’m just kind of resting and eating all night timing contractions.
Around 6am Tuesday morning, they were about 5 minutes apart and about a minute long each. But I was confused because they weren’t really all that bad. Like I could still have a conversation, I was still in pretty good humor, I was still making Libby a lunch for school and packing her bag. When Libby was born, my water broke at the beginning of labor so I knew without a doubt, I am now in labor and I’m going to have to get to the hospital soon. This was so vague – pregnancy comes with a lot of random pain, so I had this minor fear that I was insane and this was not labor and I was going to get to the hospital and they were just going to send me back home. Basically I was questioning it because it just didn’t hurt as much as I remembered.
By 6:30a my mom was here and I went in to wake up Libby. I told her it was time for Mommy to go to the hospital to pop the baby out and Mimi was going to take her to school and she’d probably spend the night with Mimi. We’d talked about all this before, and we’d even taken Libby on a tour of the hospital the week before so she’d know where Mommy would be, so she took it all really well. I’d emailed her teachers a heads up in the middle of the night so they’d be prepared for whatever arrived the next morning.
And with that, we headed to St. Thomas Midtown. We probably rolled in around 7:30a. Then of course you have to sit there & sign all those forms. I did the same thing I did the last time, just paused and stood up for each contraction, then sat back down to deal with the form. You could tell the lady thought I was there too early, because even at this point I was joking about how they were going to take me in, check me, and be all “2 centimeters!” and send me to walk the loop around Centennial Park a couple times. So they sent me to a triage room to check me. The nurse comes in and boom! Six centimeters! Her eyes got all big and she said “Well, you’re definitely in labor!” and I laughed and said “Yay for me not being crazy!” and off we went to a delivery room.
Then things got real pretty fast of course. The main differences between Maggie’s birth and Libby’s birth, other than the aforementioned water breakage at the top of labor, is that the first time around I remember feeling almost delirious as it got more intense. This time, I was just pissed off. Especially when I was just past 8cm and my water still hadn’t broken. My poor husband and the nurse kept trying to feed me encouraging lines like “You can do this!” and “You are awesome!” and “Not much longer!” and I just kept yelling things like “NO!! This is terrible! I hate it!! NOOOOO! I will not take a damn deep breath! I hate it!!” I’m surprised I didn’t bruise and scar Brian with how much I squeezed and hit him and hung on him… He did a really great job as a support person – he made sure I changed positions once an hour, he let me abuse him, he made sure I drank water. I was so frustrated with having to wait for my water to break naturally, I was close to just telling my OB to break it, but Brian convinced me to wait (That convo was a little like this: “If it doesn’t break in an hour or two we’ll let her break it for you” – “A COUPLE OF HOURS?!? ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW???” – “Come on, you know it’s better if it breaks on its own” – “FINE!! FINE!! THIS SUCKS SO MUCH!!). Then I decided to try getting out of bed & standing up & BOOM! Water everywhere. Never underestimate giving gravity a chance.
And thus started the pushing. I thought I was going to want to try pushing on all fours this time (again, gravity) but in the moment I didn’t at all. So I pushed on my back again just like I did with Libby. Brian says it took me six contractions to push her out. I wasn’t counting. It was much faster this time, no episiotomy, but I did tear. So that whole crowning and her coming out part hurt waaaay more this time actually despite being over quicker.
Then all of sudden, my new baby was there. All of a sudden, I’m a mother of two. This perfect little alien girl, who looks so much like and so different from the way her older sister looked. They let the cord drain and then Brian cuts it and then the tiny human on my chest gets to work finding her milk. The placenta followed (We don’t save that – totally grosses me out to think about it. More power to you if you have the stomach for keeping it & consuming it, but that makes me want to hurl…) and then I had a couple of blood clots that concerned them, and I was apparently ghost pale which also concerned them, but it all ended up being fine. The nurse said “Well, you’re a redhead so you just bleed a lot. It’s one of those weird statistics that seems like a myth but it’s not.”
I was so much more aware this time around, I had so much more energy & clarity. Part of that was the timing of everything, like getting to the hospital at 7:30a after relaxing and eating all night as opposed to arriving at 3a having not eaten anything but a popsicle since 8p the night before, and part of that was knowing ahead of time that Percocet was not a good thing for me so I didn’t take it. The recovery room felt less hectic this time than last, but I think at least part of that was just knowing what to expect. It was all the same drill as before. Breastfeeding was a lot easier because I was less intimidated by it.
My mom brought Libby to see me and her new baby sister that evening for dinner. It was pretty adorable.
They let us go home on Thursday afternoon, and we paid our hospital bill, because apparently at St Thomas Midtown, if you pay in full before you leave, they give you 20% off. Thought that was worth it, and since we had a natural birth with practically no interventions and only a two night stay, it wasn’t even that bad of a bill. And we took our tiny new addition back to our little house.
We’ve officially been home for a whole week now. Brian took Libby to school on Tuesday, so I was home alone with Maggie, and yesterday Brian went back to work so I’ve been home with both of them for two days. I’m spoiled though because my mom came and took Libby out for a few hours on Wednesday and friends brought me lunch on both Tuesday and today. The hardest part so far is getting Libby to take a nap. Like I’m debating just giving up trying to enforce naptime and just making her lie down with me for story time everyday. At least we’d be resting? I don’t know but it’s a huge fight everyday, the only way to get her to nap lately is to exhaust her & then toss her in the car seat. Add a newborn to that mix and it just doesn’t seem worth it.
Recovery for me has seemed quicker this time around. Maybe just because it had to be to continue to take care of my toddler, maybe because I just have a tiny tear instead of an episiotomy, maybe because Brian took an entire week off this time, maybe because we got to come home to own house, maybe because breastfeeding came more naturally… who knows? But with Libby, the first week home I don’t think I did anything but eat, sleep, breastfeed, and hold my baby. This week, I’ve cooked two dinners, baked pumpkin bread, made Sunday brunch, wrestled with a screaming toddler at least a dozen times, and even went on a Target run (sans newborn, left her with Daddy – we live two minutes from Target and were out of tiny diapers, and I just really wanted out of the house).
I also took Maggie to her first pediatrician appointment where they reassured me she was not jaundice and confirmed she’d gained back to birth weight. Woot no supplementing! Woot getting to let her sleep as much as she wants at night! With Libby I was put on a strict “feed her every two hours even if you have to wake her up” schedule – maybe that’s another part of my quicker recovery this time, more sleep so far.
There you have it. Week one. The new adventure has begun.