I've spent the last nine months preparing as much as I could for our new little babe to come into this world. Hauling infant toys out of storage, clearing out Costco's supply of itty bitty diapers, organizing piles and piles of newborn onesies...but really, I've spent the most time just wondering all about this new little girl. What will she look like? What kind of personality will she have? And more than anything, I've been just dying to hold her in my arms and smell her little head tucked into my chest. That was the moment I thought about the most, where my mind would drift to when left idle.
I am beyond happy to say that that moment came last week. Two days before my due date, Mike and I went out for one last date night before baby: dinner and a movie out in Forest Hills, which I couldn't have been more psyched for. It had been months since Mike and I had been out on the town and even longer since I'd gone to a movie. We jumped at the chance to have my mom watch Lina and I excitedly got all dolled up. But, as fate would have it, our date night quickly turned into something I still wasn't fully ready for--labor. Midway through our steak fajitas I couldn't shake the feeling that something just didn't feel right. Could this be it? Could we be having a baby tonight, Mike kept asking? I told him the truth, that I just didn't know but probably not. Labor is nothing like the way it's portrayed in the movies. It doesn't just happen, all of a sudden with screams and panic and water breaking. On the contrary, it progresses slowly and sort of gradually sneaks up on you. At least that's how it happened with Lina.
|Lina meeting her sister|
Well folks, this was not quite the same as my labor with Lina. When the cramping refused to subside when we paid the bill, we skipped out on the movie and headed home so I could just take it easy, convinced that baby time was still at least a few days away. Let's just curl up in bed and watch a movie and eat ice cream, I suggested. Well, God had other plans. Within minutes of being home, it suddenly became crystal clear to me that I was in early labor. Out of nowhere, I was having contractions that were only three minutes apart and lasting up to a minute long each. In other words, I had to book it to the hospital to avoid "having a toilet baby" as Mike so charmingly put it. So we were off, Mike zipping through red lights, racing over the 59th Street bridge to get me to St. Luke's.
It was at this point that a little bit of fear began to settle in. Can I do this again? Am I strong enough for all this? I pushed the pause button and decided to pray. Please God, let me have a smooth delivery and, more than anything, please protect my child and bring her into this world safely. Well, thankfully, God heard my desperate prayer and gave me exactly what I had asked for.
By the time I got to triage and the nurses checked me, I was fully dialated, ready to roll, and my doctor was on her way. All of this felt like a blur as I kept my headphones on, eyes closed, and my relaxation playlist on repeat. All of my prepping had brought me to this moment, and (unlike my first birth) I was determined to keep my cool. I didn't fight the contractions or scream and cry or curl up and panic. Instead, I was actually able to go deep within myself and really relax my body. This in turn moved the labor along more quickly than I could have ever imagined. Before I knew it, the baby was moving down completely on her own. I was doing none of the work, it was all her. Mike held my hand and my mother whispered quiet words of encouragement, which is what ultimately guided me through the most intense phase of labor.
Then, just like that, she was here. On my chest, this beautiful little person who I felt like I already knew so well. Just three hours after leaving dinner, she was here. In my arms. Instant love. Mike, Mom and me just stared at this little girl in amazement, her journey was over and now here she was, in our arms, in our family. And her journey was exactly what I had prayed for: a calm, gentle, unmedicated birth. It was just what I had hoped for.
My Giada Aileen, born May 25, 2011, 8 lbs 1 oz, 19 in long. Our new angel.