One year later, and here I sit. The friends are gone, the cake has been eaten, and the floor is covered in grass. In the business of my day, I wasn't able to reflect on my daughter's first year as much as I had wanted to. As I try to conjure up memories, I realize most of Eleanor's first day of life is a blur. A day that is so precious to me has been lost in the craziness of every day life. I should have started this a year ago, so my memories would have been preserved in cyberspace for all to read. Alas, this is not the case. So, here I sit, attempting to let a rush of memory flood me. Hello? Rush? Do you hear this? Any time now...
Here is what I do remember...
At 34 weeks I had gone into pre-term labor due to a sneaky bladder infection. At 36 weeks, I was allowed off of bedrest, and I was able to stop taking that yucky medicine that stops contractions. I was so used to feeling and timing contractions, that I worried I wouldn't be able to tell when labor really started. I was relying heavily on my past labors where the onset of labor had been the natural breaking of my water.
When I was 37 1/2 weeks, my mother decided it was time for me to have my baby. She was going out of town for several weeks on Saturday, and she needed me to have my baby before she left (I needed this too, since I needed her there). She was going to stay at my house from Thursday until Saturday, and she was going to will Ella to come out while she was there. On Wednesday, I went to the Surprise LLL meeting. I was timing contractions while I was there, but of course, they stopped by the time I got home. Brandon was working a 24 shift at Rio Verde on Thursday night, so I knew I couldn't go into labor then. He was over an hour away, and my last labor had barely lasted an hour. I had a very small window in which I could have my sweet baby. Thursday came and I had contractions on and off all day. I remember telling my mom I was going to take a shower to see if they would stop. They didn't stop, but they didn't get worse, and they weren't really regular. By this point, I was very uncomfortable, so I spent most of the day laying in bed or on the couch. We went to bed at about 10:30, but I had trouble falling asleep, which was really weird for me. I never have trouble sleeping! The contractions weren't letting up, but again, they weren't really getting worse. I just felt like something was going to happen...I was restless...anxious. At about 2:00-ish I started timing my contractions. They were getting regular-ish, and I thought maybe this may be the real thing. My water was still intact, so I wasn't entirely sure. At about 4:00 I had couple of real contractions, and I was sure at this point it was the real deal. I called Pam, and she said she would be right over. I called Brandon and told him to get home as fast as he possible could. I woke my mom, and we made a few last minute preparations. Pam's final order to me was to lay down so I did not speed up my labor in any way (remember, Brandon was further away than the entire duration of my last labor). My mom, trying to remain calm, ordered me to lay down. I could not get up. Luckily, I was pretty comfortable in my bed and had no desire to get up. We passed the time by chatting and watching the Cosby Show (thanks Nick @ Nite:)). Pam and Jodi arrived and got themselves situated while I continued to labor on the bed. I checked in with Brandon a few times, urging him to hurry, but not to crash! He made record time. Pam checked me right when Brandon got there, and I was complete! I believe it was a little after 5:00 am by this point. It took a little while for me to get the urge to push, so Brandon changed his shorts and hopped onto the bed next to me. I tried a couple of different positions, but decided to remain on my side due to my SPD. In the past, pushing had been good and relatively easy...I had generally welcomed the pushing stage. This time, I did not welcome it...in fact, I wanted it to go far, far away...or stop completely...or something. I wanted no part of it. Surprisingly, my water had still not broken. It waited for Brandon to get there to make sure he didn't miss anything. While I was pushing, I felt a strange popping, and then a gush. My water had broken while I was pushing, and manage to splash onto Jodi at the foot of the bed. It was a welcome distraction! Because of the long, painful, irregular pushing, I lost focus a couple of times. Pam really helped refocus me. She reminded me that pushing, was not, in fact, going away. I did have to push this baby out, and I was capable of doing so. The original plan was to have Brandon "catch" Eleanor, but I believe I had a mini freak-out when he tried to move into position. He decided it was best to stay right by me and help hold my leg. Finally, after an hour of pushing (it really felt like about 5 hours), Ella's cute little face popped out. She greeted us with wide-open eyes, before the rest of her was even out! Brandon said it looked so funny and was so surprising he would never forget it. No wonder it was so painful and long! The cute, sweet, little imp was sunny side up! Someone could have warned me about this. She joined us Earth-side at 6:19 am. The kids woke up to a new baby sister!
She stayed with me for a long time after she was born. Brandon cut the cord, we tried nursing, and we cuddled as a new family. She was a sleepy baby, so there wasn't a lot of nursing in the beginning. I showered and was pleased to learn I had one tiny tear and did not require stitches. I drank Recharge, ate cherries, and consumed a good deal of cramp bark.
Eleanor was born at the perfect time, and in the perfect way. She waited until Grandma was here, and then waited until Daddy came home to complete her journey. I have no idea how "long" my labor was. 4 hours? 12 hours? 3 weeks? It was long enough for us...it allowed the people who needed to be there, to be there.
The rest of the day is a blur for me. I know Sara and Keegan came to visit. I know people fed me, but I can't remember what. I know I tried to nurse, but she slept a 6 hour stretch. I panicked. She was fine. I don't remember much else, but I remember the feelings, the contentment, and the joy that came after she joined our family.