On January 3rd at 4:07PM, I gave birth to our daughter.
She's utterly fantastic. It's insane how much I love her. She makes the most amazing faces, and is (so far) pretty easygoing. She cries when she's hungry or wet, but that's it. Seriously.
She smells amazing, and she snuggles like it's going out of style. Also? She has crazy fantastic dimples, which I'm hoping to catch on camera. Because the cuteness will kill you.
She sleeps pretty well (about four hours at a time at night), so we have no complaints. Andrew is an amazing father; he changes (cloth!) diapers like a champ, and he's been taking fantastic care of me, too. I'm really happy that his company has such a phenomenal paternity leave arrangement.
My parents have been over the moon over Genevieve (who we've been referring to as "DangerMouse", since she yawns like a mouse), and the only issue seems to be that whoever isn't holding Genevieve thinks the person who *is* holding her is "bogarting the baby". (A term that has been bandied about quite frequently around here.)
I've gotten a lot of questions about the particulars of her birth, and how Genevieve is doing, so I'm going to do my best to answer them here.
Niki and Elphie are adjusting nicely to Genevieve. Elphie was totally cool from the start; Niki had some ... challenges with the adjustment. It took about two days for Niki to relax and ease up on the assertive grooming.
Elphie seems to have taken a shine to Genevieve; she checks on her everytime Genevieve makes a peep, and when she comes back in from a walk, she checks on Genevieve FIRST- before getting water or having her leash taken off.
We are using the tips from Childproofing Your Dog, which have been really helpful. Andrew and I both recommend it, and we got it based on our favorite vet's recommendation.
Genevieve latches like a piranha. I'm pretty sure that I've heard her growl as she goes in for the attack. I got really excellent lactation support at the hospital, so the first few latches were pretty awful, but we're over that particular hurdle and on to finessing the other details. You know, like being able to unhook the nursing bra one-handed, and finding the "just right" angle. All details.
Cloth. We're doing basics- prefolds and covers, like Mom did for me and KidBrother Sam. Cloth diaper technology has come a long way, but the favorite of the family is the bumGenius Diaper Sprayer. The thing is AWESOME!
Since Genevieve was three weeks early, we didn't have ANY diapering stuff. Thankfully, there was wi-fi at the hospital, and within two hours of Genevieve being born, I was ordering a few basics (to be delivered the same day we were discharged). Thank heavens for Amazon Prime. Seriously.
Since I prefer to support small businesses, we did most of our diaper shopping at Tiny Tots in Campbell. I got fitted for nursing bras, got a sling tutorial, and Andrew got to ask all his cloth diapering questions- and they were cheerful about taking the time to help us. PLUS! The prices are *really* close to prices on Amazon. So, it's a win on all fronts.
STOP READING HERE IF YOU DON'T WANT BIRTH DETAILS. YOU'VE BEEN WARNED.
The birth story:
Genevieve wasn't due for another three weeks (and one day) the day she was born. Our day started early- around 2am, when I got up for my regular 2am mosey to the bathroom. I did my thing, washed my hands, and as I went to crawl back into bed - SPLASH! My water broke. Spectacularly.
I was horrified. Not only was she not due for another three weeks, but SWEET MOTHER OF MERCY it was gross. I froze there for a minute, trying to figure out how to get back to the bathroom without making a wet mess all over our wood floors, when Andrew startled awake (let the record reflect, with a scream).
He helped me to the bathroom, we did the requisite checks of fluids/colors that you do, and then called Labor and Delivery like we had been instructed to do in case of such an event. The L&D nurse declared us "another full moon baby", and told me to have some breakfast, grab a shower, and come on in.
My contractions really kicked in about ten minutes after my water broke. I told Andrew that I just. Wasn't. Ready. I needed my three weeks. Andrew informed me that it wasn't really up to me at that point.
Mom and KidBrother Sam came over right away; Mom made me some oatmeal for breakfast, and KidBrother Sam made himself comfortable on the couch to keep the dogs' routine regular. I called my dad, who was in Los Angeles visiting family- because we had THREE WHOLE WEEKS until the baby was due. In the meantime, Andrew grabbed our mostly packed "go bags" and scrambled to get the last few things thrown in there, and loaded the car up in a flash.
My dad answered the phone with a start, and gasped out an "Is your mom okay?!" Because at that hour, the news is rarely good. I informed him that the baby was coming, and that he may want to head home a little earlier than he had originally intended. (By the way, he made it back home in RECORD time.)
We got to the hospital around 4am, got checked in (and checked) and I was 85% effaced and 1cm dilated. Andrew was a champion coach, and we used all of the tools we had learned in Bradley class. He was AMAZING, seriously. (Who knew that among all of his many talents that he was an incredible doula as well? What do you call a male doula? A dude-la?)
I made good progress, but as the hours passed, my contractions became more and more painful. There was vomiting. There were tremors. And, sweet mother of pearl, there was back labor. Yes, my friends. My precious daughter was going to be born face-up.
After 8 1/2 hours of natural labor, we had exhausted all of the coping skills we learned in class, I was in mind-numbing pain, and I was utterly knackered. I asked for some painkillers and was able to rest for about an hour. Once the painkillers started to wear off, Andrew and I decided that it was time for an epidural- the back labor was not easing up.
The epidural was a patient controlled one, and I had it for about an hour before I was ready to push. In that hour, I went from 7 to 10cm. Booyah.
Once it was time to push, I pushed. And pushed. According to Mom, I pushed for about 30 minutes. Assisted by the midwife, Mom got to "catch" Genevieve. The cord was wrapped around Genevieve's neck, and she was as purple as the umbelical cord, but she still cried as she came out. Andrew cut the cord and she was whisked over to the warmer where they gave her some oxygen to pink her up.
Me? Second degree tear. Exhausted. Oh yeah, and my blood pressure and temperature had spiked (pre-eclampsia), so I was put on magnesium sulfate and antibiotics to make sure I didn't have a seizure or infection. It made me feel terrible, and I had to stay in bed for 24 hours. Thankfully, I had Andrew with me the whole time, and he was able to be both SuperDad and UltraHusband.
Since Genevieve was *technically* premature (a term that stings like a thousand shallow cuts and makes me feel like I failed her from the start), we got some extra help with nursing. She also had jaundice (which is normal), and her levels were low enough that we could bring her home, provided that she was on a biliblanket all the time- except when her diaper was being changed.
She was on the biliblanket for five days, total, before her bilirubin levels dropped sufficiently. We did it with skin-to-skin contact, because everyone told us it was better for Genevieve. Also? It's totally delightful to snuggle a newborn skin-to-skin.
We got tips from the nurses, and Andrew made sure to pay close attention on how to keep an eye on both of us recovering. He's been changing diapers, fetching and carrying, and making sure that on those days where I start feeling like my old self, I don't overdo it and backslide. (Who, me?)
We're almost two weeks out, and we're all doing great. It's because of our family and friends- Laura cooked us a week's worth of meals AND did the emergency shopping/laundry so that Genevieve would have luxuries like socks, diapers, and some onesies.
We've had other folks drop food off for us; my in-laws have brought dinner when they visit AND tidied the kitchen when we were done. My parents have been helping out by running errands, cooking, cleaning, and holding Genevieve while I live it up and take hot showers, or attempt to eat food while it's still warm.
Thank you all for your well-wishes and congratulations. I am so happy to be sharing my baby with all of you.