We are one month and a couple weeks in over here as a family of four.
And our Nora girl is five-ish weeks out in this Earth.
And wow, we are exhausted. Two kids is a gamechanger...I mean, life changer. My grandmother laughed at me as we chatted on the phone on her birthday, she asked how tired I thought she was with five kids in seven and a half years, I told her she was totally crazy. She said I was right.
So. my birth story of the arrival of our second daughter goes a bit differently than my first birth story with our Evergreen lady.
I was late past our due date. Quick rant, I do not even understand due dates, like give me a due week or even just a due month. The date is rarely, rarely right and damn, if we Mamas get attached. Spoken like a true goal setter who loves a timeline, ever learning over here. Rant over.
Okay just a little more rant, my second child was low, low, low at around 37ish weeks. I am talking a doc would reach up there for a check and every single time go, "whoa, there is her head, she is really low and ready". And of course, I am stoked thinking she will arrive right on time or even early! And they all agreed, she will be here soon.
And because of these false dreams the docs put in my head, I started having SUPER MILD contractions on May 22 (her due date was May 23) and we went to the hospital early, like some amateurs! Note: We now live up in the mountains so our trek down to the hospital is about 41minutes, give or take time of day and traffic, so we left thinking it would be more intense by the time we get down the hill. Not even. I walk in there cool as a cucumber saying I am having contractions, let's do this. The triage nurse was like, 'It doesn't look like you are about to have a baby, not very convincing". She was right, by the time they got me all hooked up to a fetal monitor, the contractions were basically non-existent.
So we left and headed back up the mountain.
One note to share, that amateur move to the hospital actually made it really real. Leaving our house, I sobbed realizing things were going to be so different. My sister came up to hang with Evi and I left kissing her so intentionally with tears rolling down my face. She saw the tears and comforted me, held my neck in deep hugs, held my face speaking a two year old language of her own and kissing me all over. There was so much uncertainty of what the future held, how I could love two children and what our days would look like. So it was emotional, to say the least and probably so necessary to feel those feelings before our second daughter arrived.
So back home. We waited and waited and waited.
Her due date came and went with not even a Braxton-Hicks to report. Chris had taken off work in case I went into labor as he works in the city and might not have time to drive back up the hill to get me and all the way back down again.
So here we are, staring at one another. Small hikes, spicy food and watching movies with our firstborn during the day and I would later binge on the Harry Potter movies in the eve.
The waiting game is intense, especially when you are past the due date. My parents had flights booked that they kept pushing the date. I had a maternity leave pretty set. You really do get attached to that date. Oh and the text messages from the sweetest friends checking in and you have to say still not baby yet. I tightened the jaw a bit each time the text sends...like a reminder of my own impatience!
Finally, on the evening of May 28, I start to feel some feelings. Chris is passed out next to me in bed as I dive into 'The Goblet of Fire', the fourth installment of the Harry Potter movies (and my favorite one! Note: this is my favorite movie. My favorite HP book is 'Prisoner of Azkaban' to be crystal clear). I gently wake Chris up as they start to feel more rhythmic and he starts timing them. It is about 10:30pm at night, Evi is fast asleep and well, Chris was snoring too at that point.
We are a bit shy to make any moves, as we already went down to the hospital once and no baby. So we wait a bit to track them as they keep rolling in and the intensity is manageable. I give my sister a head's up to be ready, as she agreed to be with Evi and the pups when the time came. Takes a village!
And those contractions keep rolling in and every time I squeeze Chris' hand that I am holding a bit tighter. Probably 12 minutes after giving my sister the warning, I let her know to come on up here just in case. She is on the way!
So I finish my Harry Potter flick, such a good one. I had forgotten about Cedric Diggory and I cried hard at the end. Could I love Dumbledore more?
Chris is packing up the hospital bag we have had ready and waiting for almost two weeks now. We have towels and plastic covering the seats in our car, in case my water broke on the way. All the things.
I start to feel antsy with my contractions moving closer together at about 7ish minutes apart and my sister is not here yet (she lives in the city) and I am feeling real ready to get down the hill to the hospital. I labor in our bedroom that we share with the nursery and realize there will be another human occupying this space with us so soon, sleeping in that Moses basket there, waking us up at all hours, loving us and growing with us. Damn, motherhood and parent life is so intense on ALL LEVELS.
I finally pick up the phone to call my sister, Mel to see how close, she talks about some elk on the road and tells me she is close. A contractions surges so I tell her see you soon and get my breathing on.
Two minutes later I text Mel to let her know we are getting in the car and will high five her in the driveway. I walk into Evi's room and Chris and I pick up our girl, she is half awake as we let her know how much we love her and that we are leaving and the next time we see her, she can hold her sister. She nuzzles in Chris' neck, then I take her from his arms and balance her on my belly, Chris looking concerned that I am actually going to push that child further down and out but I don't care, I hold Evi tight and breathe in the moment. I am so present. So present to the moment, the love I feel in all directions and again, the looming uncertainty. And we lay her back down, she sleeps and we head for the car.
We close the car doors at 12:50am, my sister literally turns the corner. We reverse with the windows rolled down and through a heavy breath I say thank you and we are off. And the minute we are in that car, my body knows and gets in go-mode. And by go-mode, I am talking contractions I cannot speak through, only those Amazonian moans that release in labor from the depths of some divine primal feminine space. My voice fills the car and Chris goes faster, a lot faster.
We are speeding down the mountain, past our town lake and up the local highways. I tell Chris to slow down as about 110 eyeballs reflect back off the headlights of our car, there are about 50 elk standing on either side of the road. Sending us off, nature reflecting nature. That was surreal.
So back to speeding, back to moaning and I see my contractions are definitely at 5minutes apart and as we creep closer to the city with all of its F*CKING stoplights, they sneak to 3minutes apart. I barely have time to rest in between, much less be in a comfortable position in the car.
Finally, at 1:20ish am, we arrive at the hospital. We valet and I ever so slowly yet in a rush land in the wheelchair. We grab nothing and Chris is wheeling me in. Seriously, time stands still when we push the elevator button and it feels like it is literally making its way down from the Heavens itself, it took that long! It is actually only three floors.
The elevator arrives and Chris cannot figure out the wheelchair. It has some auto lock thing when you stop - for the love of God, Chris and I stand up to walk into the elevator cursing my sweet husband and he figures it out. Poor thing. Can you even imagine? I already apologized a few times, he gets it and yet reminds me that I was pretty mean and scary.
So we arrive at security and sign in and she has to call up a nurse to get me, cue a contraction and the Amazonian moan. This lady on the phone, I hear her somewhat scared saying 'umm, this lady is in for real labor, you need to get on up here'. She was right.
And the nurse isn't running, like on every hospital TV show you have ever seen. She is slowly meandering her way down the hallway, come on lady!
So we start to push back and they set me up in the triage room to check things out. What in the literal hell? You can see I am in labor, take me back to labor & delivery already! So this doc comes in and I am moaning, she checks in to see how far I am dialated and we are at 9cm. 9 centimeters, people! I am ready to go!
And within 30 seconds, my water breaks.
They are like let's go. Crying, I look at them and ask if I have to get back in that wheelchair and they say yes when all I am saying is NOOOOO.
So they wheel me back to labor & delivery and I am moaning and almost screaming at this point. I ask how much further and we arrive to the room. I undress, jump in bed and they are all scrambling. I tell my doctor, to my own shock, I think I am ready to push. She responds, 'great, start pushing'.
I am thinking this cannot be real. Evi took a total of 22 hours and pushing wasn't until way later. We hadn't even set up the JAMBOX playlist, diffuser with oils and my Mama Blessing candle. Hell, Chris didn't even have his sweatshirt off yet.
And they are moving things around, trying to get an IV in me - no time. Trying to get all this plastic stuff under my body on the bed. Stirrups? Nope, no time. After two pushes, I ask for a mirror. A nurse runs out. Chris looks at the doctor and lets her know he will be catching our little girl, she looks surprised and then invites him on over to the action.
I push again, asking if people can see the head.
No time for an answer, no time for a mirror.
My doc gives me a different pushing cue telling me to push more from my butt. So I do.
I push a fourth time and she has made her entrance into the beautiful hands of my husband at 1:46am that full moon morning of Tuesday, May 29.
Chris lays her on my chest and again, as I did with Evi, I tell her how much I love her. Over and over again. And I look to Chris and tell him how much I love him. My body is shaking and Chris and I are literally freaking out that it all just happened that fast and that we made it in time!
They ask for her name but I need a minute. I need to meet her for a little while and let the reality of what just happened sink in and soften in.
At that moment, in walks our sweet doula, Skylar. Everything happened so fast, she even missed it. Chris and I send her home to get sleep.
I now have my own diaper on, a few stitches down low and we spend time with our newest baby and the nurses tell us they will be back in a bit. Like an old pro, she latches immediately and starts to feed. How she knows to do that within minutes of arrival is absolute magic to me and Chris.
We take our time. We move rooms. We still laugh at one another that that happened like it did. So fast and did you see those elk?
Chris asks me her name for the millionth time. We had named her months on months ago yet I wasn't ready. Finally, through tears, we know her. She is our Nora Katherine Hynes and she is truly wonderful.
Honestly, because she came so fast, I needed some time with her. Time for her to feel really real. And my tears in that naming moment came truly in realizing she was here, she was healthy, safe and home.
Honored to be a Mother again. Although I write this so tired and still rocking a maxi pad, I am honored, grateful, emotional and leaning into what feels certain now and that is the expansion of our family and the bond that continues to evolve as Nora integrates into our family.
Thank you to the village. And especially thank you to Chris, my rock, my favorite rock and our wild child, Evergreen for the love and support and adventure.