These early months with Isla Rose have been everything: amazing, heartwarming, frustrating, tiring, wonderful, terrifying, and pretty much every other emotion out there.
For Isla’s first month she was pretty much in a constant growth spurt, which means I spent almost all of my days and nights feeding her. That was really rough. I was exhausted and extremely emotional. Part of me loved that I was her resource for comfort and nutrition, but the other part of me had to deal with the reality that my schedule and goals were no longer just my own. This beautiful baby would primarily dictate my days.
ONE MONTH OLD
To be honest, I didn’t deal with that reality very well at first. And to be even more honest, I probably had postpartum. Maybe not a serious case, but at least somewhat. Tears were common, and poor Josh had to talk me out of crying fits too often. I wasn’t sad that we had her; even in the tough times I still felt truly grateful for this little person. I felt sad that I had such little control over my days (and nights), my body and my emotions. Having a baby made me realize that I still struggle with perfectionism and control… Two things impossible to hold onto during this kind of transition while maintaining sanity. Thankfully my hormones leveled off, and I started to feel more confident in my new role as mom with lots of support from my loving family and friends.
Now let me tell you about my sweet Isla Rose. Little lady could hold head up at just two days old and started smiling at us at only 3 weeks. In the early weeks, she was a huge snuggler… only sleeping well when being held. I loved rocking her and watching all of her many facial expressions. Quickly we figured out that she loved her sleep sack, which has been a little slice of heaven for her very tired mom and dad.
TWO MONTHS OLD
Isla is definitely not colicky, but she can be pretty fussy. Bouncing is one of her soothing methods of choice. My calves are stronger because of it. We also figured out around 4 weeks that she was showing signs of reflux and tried some preemptive solutions, but unfortunately they weren’t enough to help so she is now on medicine. While I don’t love giving my baby medicine, she is so much happier now that she feels better. We get lots more smiles and plenty of “conversations.”
She loves the word “hi” and the sounds “oooo” and “oohhh.” When she starts cooing back at me my heart swells, and videos of those sounds have been my lifeline on tough days. Isla loves to lie on her back and kick around making many more adorable noises. A blabla doll named Pierre and an elephant chime have been the toys she enjoys the most. In two months, she has gained roughly 4 pounds but isn’t very long hence why we have nicknamed her nugget…. our little love nugget.
I think I’ll leave it at that for now.
My little lady is 6 weeks old. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve thought “Jill, you’ve got to write down her birth story before you forget,” so I’m going to go ahead and try my hardest to remember the details.
Mystery-gender baby’s due date was October 11th but that day came and went without the slightest hint of a contraction. It’s funny how you have a countdown to this specific day that in reality is not all that defined. It’s also funny how people will make a comment about how you haven’t had your baby yet… You know, just in case you haven’t noticed.
The morning of Tuesday October 14th I had what a knew to be contractions for the first time in the whole of my pregnancy. They came every 15 minutes for 4 hours straight. During the course of those 4 hours I was both excited at the idea of meeting our little one and terrified at what labor was going to be like. I was just as equally disappointed when the contractions went away knowing I’d be pregnant for at least a little bit longer.
After work, my family went out to dinner where my contractions kicked back into gear. Feeling worn out from pregnancy and emotional from the hormones, I chalked it up to be nothing but decided to text my doula, Ginger, to let her know how my day had gone. She told me that it sounded like prelabor and to make sure I go to bed early so I’m rested for whenever labor hit.
Sure enough at midnight early labor hit. I tried to sleep through the early contraction but to no avail. I woke Josh up and let him know it was “game time” (his favorite word choice for labor), and he drew me a bath and turned on one of the playlist he made me for labor. About an hour and half later we called Ginger to come over believing labor was progressing well. Ginger arrived and helped us labor at home for another 2 hours. The pain was getting pretty intense, and we decided it would be better to get to the birthing center before the pain got too much more as the drive would not be pleasant…. And it wasn’t. I damned every red light we hit along the way.
By the time we checked into the birth center at 4:00 AM and were asked the same questions five times over, I was dilated to a 4. And this is when things slowed the heck down. It took me another 4 hours to dilate to a 5 and another 5 1/2 hours to dilate to a 6. When my doctor checked my progression at 1:30 PM, she was not particularly pleased and made it known somewhat insensitively. My goal for the labor was to go without intervention as much as possible, and my doctor was not thrilled with my decision to hold off getting my water broken. She said would give me till 3:00, and then we would have to discuss it further.
At this point I was feeling very defeated. I was exhausted both physically and mentally, and the words my doctor said to me only made me feel this more so. Thank God for Ginger and Josh. These two never left my side. They wiped my tears, gave me water, provided me with a calm presence, and were so unbelievably encouraging.
When 3:00 was approaching, I told Ginger I couldn’t keep going like this. I had been having very intense back labor and had been living in the bath tub as it was too intense out of the tub. While I was nervous that the progression would be too intense after having my water broken, I couldn’t imagine laboring as I had been for much longer. Ginger calmed my nerves about the potential pain, explaining that the contraction wouldn’t be any more intense as they had been for the past 12 hours only closer together. To avoid having to get my water broken by an attendant, she encouraged me to sit on the toilet, relax and push as hard as I could during my next contraction. No luck. She then told me to try to break the water myself by scratching my fingernail on the bag. Bingo. This did the trick. I was ready to get this show on the road and meet this baby!
Guess what… Nothing changed. Labor was just as hard and no closer together. This baby refused to drop. I did everything I knew to do: focus on my breathing, relax through the contraction, and visualizing the baby dropping. Honestly at this point I thought this baby was never coming out; that this whole thing was a sham. And I’m not saying that jokingly. I really questioned if this experience was reality or a massively sick joke. On top of that, my contractions started coming less frequently. Ginger encouraged me to get out of the tub and walk around hoping that doing so would encourage the baby to drop and for me to dilate. Back labor is full on hell. Ginger had tried turning the baby while I was laboring in the tub to see if this would relief some of the pressure which it did but only slightly.
Being out of that tub was excruciating, but it did seem to help me dilate with a little help of some squats and sage leaf essential oil (to encourage contractions). About a million squats, a billion breathing exercises, and 3 hours later I was dilated to a 10 and ready to push. I thought the urge to push would be more obvious, but at this point nothing about labor was feeling very obvious. With Josh on one side and Ginger on the other, I pushed as hard and as controlled as I could to get that sweet baby out. I remember wanting to scream like in the movies. I also remember being surrounded by encouragement and cheers. After 20 hours of labor our sweet baby made her appearance!
Isla Rose was born on October 15th at 8:04 PM, weighing 6lbs 10oz, 18 in long. She was perfect. Absolutely perfect. That feeling that everyone tells you about: overwhelming love, indescribable joy, utter amazement. I had all of these ten fold. I cried. Lord, did I cry. I told her how much I loved her and kissed her sweet head to my heart’s content.
My doctor and nurses took her vitals and then passed her to Josh to hold. Such a beautiful sight: seeing your love holding your new love. It’s also funny how something 9 months in the making can put you in a shocked state, but that’s exactly how we both felt. Shocked that she was a she. Shocked that she was finally and actually here. Shocked at how miraculous it all is.
After Isla came out, it became a little more clear as to why it took so long for me to dilate. She had an extremely short umbilical cord. We believe she was probably caught up in it not allowing her to drop, because it wasn’t until after Ginger tried to turn Isla that I began to dilate.
While I was doing skin to skin, Josh went to tell the family who had been waiting patiently that we had a baby girl! My family had been waiting at the birth center since 5:00AM, and Josh’s family from Oklahoma had been waiting since 9:00AM. So when I say patiently, I mean it. Shortly after that they all came into our room to meet the little lady. I’ve never felt so much love and togetherness as I did in the days and weeks after Isla Rose was born from both of our families. Also, I was extremely impressed and pleased with my experience at Wesley’s Birth Center. The nurses who took care of us were unbelievably kind and supportive. I know my experience wouldn’t have been nearly as good without the nurses we had.
There are probably some details missing, but all and all I don’t care about the details. I’m just extremely grateful for the day my little girl was born, and I will never forget that.
I’ll be posting about her 1st month next time.
If you read all of this, I’m impressed and thank you.