Leila's birthday story actually begins on Saturday, the 9th when strong contractions started. I had been very busy all day, amid mild contractions, and by 9pm, was heading off to bed. After about the fourth time of waking up to good long contractions, I let Seth know I was starting labor and got up to shower and finish packing my bag. Seth said it was great timing... by the time she arrived, it would be 10-10-10 AND he had the 11th off from school for Columbus day. He then said he would nap until I was ready to go. ☺
A happy Daddy
But, to my great disappointment, all contractions ceased once I started getting ready. Bummed out, and confused (I thought contractions were supposed to get stronger with activity?!), I went back to bed. We went to church as usual, though I was having random mild contractions all day. After our customary Sunday family dinner, I went home for a nap and began to feel quite yucky. Not like I was going into labor... but yucky. I debated whether to even go to the evening service... and since I've probably missed 5 evening services in the last 10 years (for reasons other than a sick little one), you know that I was not feeling hot! I decided to go, and truthfully I did feel a little better once I was there.
After church, my father in law invited folks out to McDonald's for food and fellowship but I asked Seth to drop me off at home because I was just too tired, even for my favorite fancy restaurant. As soon as I was cozy in my jammies and firmly planted on the couch, contractions began again with consistency. After a half an hour of contractions averaging to be about 2-3 minutes apart, I called Seth. You never know what time these Baptist pastors are going to come stumbling home after a late light grease run....
I didn't realize it, but quite a few people were gathered around my husband when he received "The Call".... the much anticipated you-need-to-come-home-'cause-I'm-having-a-baby call.
After getting the girls settled at their grandpa's house for the night, we headed to the hospital with contractions, though not super strong, coming every 2 minutes without fail. After being admitted, the contractions actually slowed down and I began to fear that this was going to be a very long delivery... and I was right. Even when contractions picked up again, they just didn't seem to be strong enough. Maybe my memory had exaggerated the details, but I seemed to remember contractions hurting much much more in the previous deliveries.
I started to bring up my concern to the nurses.
"I'm not crying yet. I think I should be really in pain by now."
She laughed at me and said to count my blessings.
I waited a while, while studying the monitor to see if they were growing stronger or not. My impatience mounting, I asked again.
"Is there something we could do to speed things up? I'm still joking and smiling... I shouldn't be able to do that!"
By the time I warned her that my IV wasn't gong to work where she was doing it (which I was wrong about...) and had complained about 5 more times that I just wasn't hurting enough to be making much progress, the nurse and my husband had a conversation about what a control freak I am while I was using the restroom.
"I can hear you, you know!!!" I laughed as I re-emerged.
Finally, I began to really feel the contractions working their magic and asked for an epidural. he he he Not happy without pain, not happy with it! ☺BUT to my GREAT disappointment, the epidural man didn't do a very good job. After THREE tries... yes THREE attempts with a big ugly needle stabbing my back... it only numbed my left side. Oh well....
Hours and hours and hours passed... 12 to be exact... before she was born. I actually stalled very late in the process and was given some pitocin, and another attempt at the epidural. Once it was time to push, however, life was a breeze.
With my eyes still closed, ready to bear down again, I heard Seth say, "Open your eyes!"... and there Leila was, being held up to me. As soon as I saw her, I knew she was not the 8 pounder that the ultrasounds had led us to believe. At 6.9 lbs. and 21" long, her lanky skinniness replicated my older girls completely. She has great color in her skin, auburn hair and dark (at this time) blue eyes. She's delicious!
Just as her delivery was totally different than my previous babies, so is her personality so far. She has a fairly big cry for such a little girl, and she is not shy at all about using that cry to let me know when it's time to nurse! Both Maddie and Eden had to be coaxed to eat during their first week but Leila is a hungry girl! I had terrible difficulties with latching while nursing my other newborns but Leila seemed to be a pro right from her first few minutes of life. I am soooo glad. I had been praying for a smoother nursing experience and the Lord definitely answered that prayer.
Another difference is her tendency to spit up. I am not sure if this is due to her being in the birth canal for only about 30 seconds and is working out some mucus, or if she'll keep this habit. I hope for the former!
Leila and I came home Tuesday afternoon and I think we're off to a good start. I am bless with a wonderful extended family who have been so helpful in watching after Maddie and Eden. Madison, for one, is really enjoying getting to spend time with her grandparents, aunts and cousins. And both of the older girls are completely smitten with Leila. Eden prefers to use her full name "Leila Christine" and is constantly keeping track of her. "Where the new baby?" she'll ask when she doesn't see her. Maddie enjoys holding her and keeps commenting on how cute she is. ♥ Don't they know that they were just this tiny and captivating just a little while ago?
So there you have it. Another precious member of our family. It already seems like she was always one of us... like we never were without little Leila.
A gift from Heaven