November 23, 2014 – 12:19 pm – 9 pounds 10 ounces – 20 inches
Scarlett was born on November 23, 2014, exactly seven days after her due date. Those last couple of weeks of pregnancy were tough. Because I was so sure she would arrive early, I was especially anxious to meet our little bird. Throw in sciatica, pain in my pubic bone that you would not believe and night after night of horrible sleep and I was very ready to say goodbye to my pregnant days.
Because of all the nagging aches and pains, I originally had an induction scheduled for the day after my due date but cancelled it the week before. I was committed to induce labor as naturally as possible and so I spent those final weeks eating copious amounts of pineapple, curry and dates, practicing self-hypnosis, going to daily acupuncture sessions and walking my brains out. Despite all my efforts, five days after my due date, I learned that I was 4 cm dilated and 50% effaced. I’d made good progress but not enough to be noteworthy.
We were heading into Thanksgiving week and the only induction appointment I could get was on the Sunday before, my 41 week mark. I booked it reluctantly and spent those last couple of days willing labor to start. Every time I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom I prayed that my water would break (because that’s how it happened with Savannah). I meditated and tried to convince the baby it was time to come out but by Saturday night I knew the induction was a reality.
I was emotional wreck – having a hard time accepting the “planned” part of my birth story and struggling at the thought of Savannah transitioning from a baby to a big sister. To distract ourselves, we took Savannah to see her first movie in a theater, kind of a last hurrah to our days as a threesome, and dropped her off at my parents’ for the night. Mike and I went to dinner where he gave me a much needed pep talk, reminding me that it’s not how our baby arrives but that she enter the world safely that matters.
After a very restless night’s sleep, we arrived at the hospital at 7:00 am. The doctor broke my water and started a very slow Pitocin drip at 10:15 am and Scarlett was born at 12:19 pm. It was a whirlwind of a morning and the exact opposite of my last labor. Savannah’s delivery felt like a battle zone. It was violent and gory and we were both exhausted and beat up by the time it ended.
Scarlett’s birth, on the other hand, was beautiful, peaceful and exactly what I’d dreamed birthing could be. First of all, the epidural worked and after living through the agony of natural childbirth the first time, I was relieved by the pain-free experience. Secondly, my nurse, Sue, and Dr. James were an incredible team. Totally in sync and reassuring. All morning, Sue kept promising that when the time came, I was going to “sneeze that baby out” and Dr. James predicted the delivery time down to a half hour.
I pushed for less than 10 minutes – I think it was three pushes in total. Nothing was hectic or rushed. In fact, between contractions, Dr. James was watching the football game on TV and cracking jokes. He had me laughing up until the minute he held the baby up in front of me and asked me to identify the gender. I was in such shock that she arrived so quickly that I couldn’t formulate the words to say, “It’s a girl!” and instead just stared at her in awe.
And just like that it was over. I was holding our new baby GIRL with one arm and Mike’s hand with the other. My mom was thanking James profusely while documenting every moment for us on film. We were crying and saying “I can’t believe it’s done” repeatedly. And we got to spend a full a half hour bonding before they even weighed her or cleaned her up.
It was beautiful.
And I’d do it all over again in a second.