Thursday, May 21, 2015

Eliza May Cirac

On May 1st at 1:18 AM this sweet girl entered the world. exactly 7 days past due, which seemed like an ETERNITY. I was so impatient and excited for her to come that by the 2nd day upon awaiting her arrival, I had a pregnancy zone done on my feet. By the 4th day I had my membranes stripped, which is something I never imagined I would do. By the 6th day, I had my membranes stripped AGAIN, something I REALLY never imagined I would do, and then finally 10 hours later there she was, in all her glory, tiny and wrinkled with that newborn breath- just what you would imagine perfectly new pink insides to smell like: a warm, sweetened, milk tainted version of nothing. perfection.

The night before I woke up around 4 am with contractions. They were pretty intense, about 20 min apart, and I was sure we were on our way. They stayed that way for the next few hours as I fell in and out of sleep but by about 8 am they had pretty much stopped. Chris had gone out to get me breakfast, and by the time he was back, I told him he might as well head into work because baby had changed her mind. I had heard of women having "false labor" but I didn't have so much as a contraction with Amelia until it was actually "go time", so I was pretty taken back when I realized that's what had happened. Apparently some women deal with that for days! I can't even imagine. By this point I almost felt offended that the baby didn't want to come meet us! 
 That day I went in for membrane strip #2, by Deena, who supposedly prides herself in putting women into labor. I went in at 3:30, got home by 4, and was at the hospital by 6:00 PM.
 while I was driving home from my midwife appointment, I had contractions that were so intense I had to pull my car over and breathe through them! I didn't jump to any conclusions because I knew that this often happened after that procedure in particular, but when I got home they became more and more intense. I had talked to my friend Brittany earlier that day, and she had planned on coming by a little later to visit. It kind of all worked out perfectly, because she and Chris arrived at my house about the same time, so Brittany hung out with Mills while Chris got some things together for the hospital. by this time I was kneeling down by the couch, closing my eyes, hardly able to talk through any contractions- I'm so glad Mills had someone to play with! Knowing my daughter, the whole scenario would have been overwhelming. The whole way to the hospital, all I could think about was: what if this is FALSE LABOR??? In an absolute panic. These were no ordinary contractions.
Originally I had wanted to "try" and have a natural birth. No, I do not think women who have natural births are any stronger, or more amazing, or better mothers than women who don't- I just want to experience what millions of women in the past have gone through to birth their beautiful babies (at least once). With Amelia I made it through 12 grueling hours by myself before I was done, and got an epidural, only to have her another 9 hours later. I was hoping that baby number 2 would be a little shorter, and I think it would have been- but let me make it clear, you do not "try" and have a natural birth, or "see how far you get". You either have already decided that you "will" have one, and you do the mental preparation beforehand, or you have no choice. 
By the time I walked through the hospital doors, the only thought on my mind was "where is the man with the needle". 
The nurse took me back into a room and had me undress and put on a blue hospital gown. She checked to how dilated I was. 3. She hooked me up to a monitor and told me she was going to watch my contractions and see how much I dilated in the next hour, before they could admit me, and then left the room. My heart literally sank. I was convinced it was false labor and was having an anxiety attack that they would send me home. It felt like the longest hour of my life. With every contraction I had, I imagined having to go back home and endure the same thing all night long by myself. Finally toward the end of the hour tears welled up in my eyes. When Chris asked what was wrong (oh, nothing... just having a baby) I burst into tears and told him that I didn't know what I would do if they wouldn't admit me, and what if I hadn't dilated enough? and what if they wouldn't induce me until the morning because of policy? because I just couldn't do this at home by myself. 
Like a perfect husband he assured me that they were 100 percent going to admit me and there was no way we were going back home (the perfect wife WOULD have been assured by this- but I'm the kind of wife that asks questions like "but how do you know?" and "how can you even say that???")
Sure enough the nurse came back in and said I had dilated from a 3 to a 5 in one hour and they would take me on back. Angelic choirs flooded my ears. The nurse also mentioned (mid contraction) that my contractions were unusually long. The average contraction usually lasts usually 60, and sometimes up to 90 seconds. Mine were lasting for 3 minutes or longer. I remember this happening with Amelia (some of those contractions lasted up to 7 MINUTES) and thinking it was just a random one time fluke-like thing. No. My body does this.
 When I have a contraction I usually close my eyes and envision myself  (it's really more like a random stick figure) walking up a flight of stairs, getting to the peak, and then walking down the other side (relief). These contractions felt more like the stick figure was walking up the stairs, getting to the peak, and then walking HALFWAY down the other side and just... hanging out there for awhile. I mean ya, I guess if I was stranded in the middle of desert I could naturally birth a baby on 3-7 minute contractions. If I had to. 
Then they were wheeling me into another room, and making me sign things, and it really was the slowest process I have ever witnessed (from the perspective of laboring woman). Chris made a few phone calls to get Amelia situated (My father in law and parents were able to switch off watching her, which we were so grateful for). Finally the anesthesiologist walked through the door. I was praying he would get that needle in me before another contraction came. nope. When the pain was finally gone, I was able to sink into the moment and get excited that our baby was coming!!! Chris and I didn't say much, he just sat next to me and occasionally held my hand, and I knew he was just as elated as I was. We watched the monitor the entire time- making sure we could always hear her heartbeat, wondering what she would be like. 
I stayed at a 7 for a couple hours, and so around 11:30 pm they gave me some pitocin to speed things up. my epidural started wearing off in my right hip, to the point where I had to start breathing through contractions again. It was nothing compared to what I had been going through, and it was nice to be able to feel a little. an hour later I could feel a lot of pressure, and I remember saying to Chris- "Can we get someone in here? this baby is going to come out!". The midwife showed up a few minutes later and said it was time to get this baby delivered! In 3 sets of pushes Eliza was here. 
My sister Madi and I always talk about how our most favorite babies are the ones that look like wrinkled old men, or have garden gnome faces. The second nurse put her on my chest, I looked at her tiny little face, swollen and wrinkled, her small slanted eyes, her smashed nose, and I thought she was the cutest little being that ever existed. My little 7lb, 6 oz, 19.5 inch garden gnome babe. 

That night she slept on my chest and didn't wake up once. She has such a calm and peaceful presence about her, not to mention a perfectly shaped head, as noted by all the nurses and midwives. The name Eliza which means "joyful" is beyond fitting, which is a good thing because we had no backups. We chose "May" for her middle name because she was born in the wee hours of May 1st. Spring and all it represents is such a beautiful time to have a baby. 


Big sister Amelia marched through the doors with my Dad and Patrick the next day. She knew exactly what to do. She requested to get up on the bed, and shimmied her way in between us. We propped her up against the pillow and let her hold the baby. She carefully patted her head, then squished her cheeks against Eliza's and sang her "somewhere over the rainbow". Amelia had been waiting for this day a LONG time. She loves Eliza to pieces- sometimes a little too much. We are working on that. It is obvious Amelia was destined to be a big sister. 

I know everyone says it, but I really wasn't sure how it would feel, or if it would even be possible to love another baby as much as Amelia. The second I laid eyes Eliza the deal was sealed. I think we are capable of giving and having a lot more love than we will ever realize- having children has opened that door a little bit more for me. 
My cousin Eliza (we stole her name) who is currently on a mission in Texas, said it best: "We should get up in the morning, make ourselves look nice, look in the mirror once and get going. That's it. After that one look in the mirror, it is not about ME anymore. It is about THEM, it is about YOU, out there...I promise, that it is through service, through loving others and forgetting ourselves that we are truly happy. The happiness IS there. It always is. Grow that light in others, and that light will reflect back into you."

I've thought about this message over and over the last month. Since I've been home with my both my girls I've had some really hard days. I've cried more than once, and felt like I've given every ounce of myself. I know it won't always be like this. I know they won't always need me so much. It really ends up being a bitter sweet feeling when I think about that. 

Nothing else could teach me how to love more than being a mom to these girls. When I think about it in that perspective, they assist me more than I will ever assist them. 

Welcome to the world sweet Eliza May!!! We love you.


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Birthday Amelia!

On April 22nd Amelia turned 3! We put balloons in her room the night before while she was sleeping so she would be surprised in the morning, and hopefully give us a few more minutes of sleep;) When she woke up she ran down the hall, and declared that it was her BIRTHDAY! We gave her a tiny gift that we had waiting by our bed- a magnifying glass (for the girl who thinks she loves, but is actually terrified of, bugs). It kept her pretty occupied inside all morning, until we were able to search for bugs later that afternoon (we can handle potato bugs and box elders so far).

In the afternoon we brought donuts to the park and invited a few friends to come play! By the end Amelia had Capri Sun running down her shirt, sticky sucker hands, and a blue tongue- she also took a 3 hour nap (naps are scarce around here these days) so I'd say it was a success. 

Since we were expecting the baby at any time, we didn't plan a big get together like usual, so we just ordered some pizza, got a little cake, and invited Madi and Arch, Pat, Ry, and Em to come celebrate. 
I bought that little "Happy Birthday" headband when I got the balloons- which she DID NOT want to wear. I bribed her and told her that she had to put it on if she wanted to open her presents (psycho mom) because I couldn't let it go to waste! At least I got one good pic;) 

Above: Amelia listening to the baby's heart beat with her new "Doc Mc Stuffins" doctor gear. Madi is known for giving gifts that every child loves and every parent hates, which makes her pretty popular with the young folk (we eventually hid the "Doc Mc Stuffins theme song" light up Microphone for our sanity).

Amelia on her first BIKE!!!! It was really fun seeing her reaction when she saw her shiny red bike waiting outside. She ran outside as fast as she could and yelled"A bike!!!!" every parents dream come true. Her feet barely reach the pedals though- I think we'll need a few more months.

Note: Archer holding "the mic"
Then we sang and blew out the candles, and Amelia handled it like a boss. The cutest little 3 year old I ever did see. 

It's her party, she can cry if she wants to.