[read part one here and part two here!]
As the room filled with more of the nursing staff, I picked up bits of the conversation and realized that the on-call OB that was originally supposed to handle my delivery wasn't going to make it. A couple of the nurses were both telling me, "This baby girl wants to be born now!" I tended to agree, based on how I was feeling.
"Okay…I'm pretty sure I need to push!"
I knew that the odds of my actual OB delivering my daughter weren't very high, based on the fact that the office I go to will send whichever doctor is on call the evening you go into labor. (I knew the odds were even less in my favor on that specific day, given that I had a prenatal appointment with my OB scheduled for that morning!) The doctor who delivered Eisley was someone I hadn't met until I started pushing, so it made me realize that a good nursing staff is way more important to me than having one specific doctor there for the actual delivery.
I could tell that Cora was going to make her grand entrance momentarily, so I was grateful when they were able to bring in another OB who was there that evening. (I'm still not sure who she was exactly, and the fact that she looked younger than me felt a little bizarre.) Although there was a bit of a frenzy going on, all the nursing staff—as well as the doctor—were cheering me on and making the moment feel just as exciting as it should be. It reminded me a lot of the same point during Eisley's delivery…everyone seemed genuinely excited to meet this little baby.
As we got set to push, Jay took his place next to me and—much to everyone's surprise—Cora was born after just two pushes.
It was so quick that as she was being born I thought, Wait, that was it? She's already here? Oh, my gosh! She's so little!
The nurses immediately placed her on my chest and Jay cut the cord. We took in all her tiny features and tried to pick out which were similar to her sister's and which were all her own. There were so many different emotions this time around, to be honest. I couldn't believe she was here and that she was so perfect in every way. I couldn't help but think back to one year before when a second child seemed almost impossible, and yet…there she was, held in my arms, absolutely real.
After a while, Jay and I started to wonder when they were going to weigh her and go through the usual newborn checklist. We had certain expectations, I think, simply because just four years before we went through this with Eisley. Once we asked the nurse, we found out that there had been a few changes since our first delivery—first of which was how after a baby is born, they are immediately placed on the mom, skin-to-skin. Then the mom, dad and baby have an entire hour of uninterrupted time together.
(Well, aside from the doctor and nurses finishing up with whatever the mom needs. I mostly blocked all that out again, aside from nurses periodically pressing aggressively on my abdomen.)
I'm so grateful for that first hour we had together, though. Both Jay and I treasured those moments, and it felt so perfect and unrushed.
When they finally weighed and measured her, we discovered that although she was four days past her due date, and Eisley was born five days before hers, that Cora was actually smaller than her sister was. At only 6 lbs. 1 oz. and 18 in. long, she was a teeny tiny baby. But a perfect one.
(And I'll take a tiny baby that comes out in just two pushes any day! Can I get an amen?)
As positive as my birth experience with Eisley was overall, there were a few things that had changed since her birth that made my hospital experience with Cora even better—if that's even possible.
The hospital focuses on keeping the mother and baby together as often as possible, so in addition to the initial one-on-one time immediately following the birth, they also have the baby rooming in with the mama for the entire hospital stay. (Although Eisley did stay in my room, there was a nursery she was periodically taken to…and promptly brought back, because she screamed her little head off.) There is also just one nurse assigned to both mama and baby at any given time, which I loved. It made things feel much more simple and I liked having one nurse focusing on the both of us!
In addition to that, they offer an even greater wealth of support and resources for breastfeeding, and they no longer offer pacifiers to avoid any confusion it may or may not bring a new baby. (As a side note: We are definitely not anti-pacifier and are thrilled Cora takes one here at home, but the idea of not offering it initially at the hospital was kind of nice.) I had a lot of help getting started with breastfeeding, and although it took a couple weeks to truly get the hang of it again, I am grateful I had so much help initially. Whereas I was offered breast shields almost immediately when trying to nurse Eisley in the beginning, they weren't offered at all this time around. They really encouraged me to work with what I had and although they did provide the shields when I asked for them, they continued to help me get the hang of it without them. (And I'm so glad I didn't end up needing them this time!)
Finally, with Eisley, I had to stay a few extra days due to my blood pressure, and the medication I had to be on made me so sleepy and uncomfortable. Thankfully, I didn't run into the same issues this time around and was able to be discharged a mere 25 hours after Cora was born. I love how they have the option of heading home early, as long as mama and baby have had no complications! All I wanted was to be home, sweet home with my entire family.
Although my labor with Cora started out a little rocky, it ended up being a beautiful experience, and I couldn't be happier. Recovery this time around has been almost completely different than with Eisley, and I felt great (aside from the obvious sleepiness) by two weeks postpartum. That has been a huge blessing, because having to take care of so much (and now two children!) while recovering from labor was something I was a little worried about. But it seems like things turned out in the best way possible.
Life with a newborn—and a now four-year-old!—has been a wild ride. Some moments feel like everything is (dare I say it?) almost easy. But then there are moments when Eisley is tantruming at bedtime and Cora urps all over my last clean nursing cami and the kitchen is a disaster and Jay's clothes are all over the floor and our neighbors are having a ridiculously loud conversation and it's 92% humidity and I would kill for a basket of Olive Garden breadsticks.
But at this point, the stretches of peace and calm (as well as nighttime sleep) are getting longer and longer. And as motherhood once again works hard at humbling me something fierce, I daily thank God for what I've been given. So many good things now, and so many good things to look forward to in the years ahead of us.
August 21, 2015
[read part one here and part two here!]