I knew Annabel was going to be spicy from the beginning. While I was pregnant she never slept for long and she was fierce. I didn't really have a boy name for this kid because she was a girl plain and simple. No questions. I thought of her as my little Hermione (Mom, she is from Harry Potter and you will just have to read the books to find out why).
My birth plan was the same with one important addendum: natural until 24 hours, then we would seriously evaluate pain control measures. After three months of recovery and several months of physical therapy for nerve damage sustained during pushing, I discovered the importance of considering my health in birth planning. I can bear a lot, but there is a line between being an heroic mother and being a martyr.
So, new plan in place, I waddled on toward my due date, April 28th, and I noticed something new and lovely. I thought very little about the upcoming birth and, instead, just couldn't wait to meet my little pixie-pants.
At 5:00 am on Monday, April 26th, I heard Laine wake up uncharacteristically early. My first real contractions had woken me up at 4:45 am. I went in and gathered up my little boy and we snuggled for a few minutes on his last morning as an only child. The three of us whispered together excitedly as my contractions did their work. As each contraction rolled over me I began to feel equal parts excitement, pain and calmness. The fear was gone. At seven minutes apart we (slowly) walked to our favorite coffee shop and got a bee thousand latte (honey, whole milk, cinnamon and the gold from a sunrise). At five minutes apart we packed Laine up for his overnight stay with his God-parents, Mimi and Rich. With Laine off for his adventure, I started focusing inward. I had work to do. I called my CNM, took a bath and when my contractions slowed down, went for a walk hand in hand with my glowing husband. About 40 yards into this walk, right in front of First Baptist Church, I felt a change. I stopped talking during contractions and knew we were ready.
We were so excited. We were going to meet our baby. On the way we hit two road construction flaggers. You know, the thingies where you have to stop until the 30 mile line of traffic goes through then they flip the sign and you get to go...I am not kidding...two! Luke was white by the time we got to the valet parking. He mentioned grabbing a few bags as I got out of the car. I don't remember responding. I began walking toward the entrance and within seconds a wide-eyed wheel chair guy was asking if I needed assistance. I am not sure what I said, but Luke came from behind and informed me I did want to ride in the wheel chair. With my head lolled to one side and not making a single joke I was transported through the hospital at impressive speed. Apparently I scared the little wheel chair guy because my tall, long-legged husband was practically trotting to keep up (somewhere way down deep I felt a smidgen bad about this...also, giggly...way, way down deep). As we arrived at triage the CNM informed the nurses that this was my second birth and I needed to go directly to labor and delivery. As I was only about 11 hours into labor I almost cheered. Skipping triage was a definite good sign...except for the part where my body was turning inside out.
I walked into my room, shaky and focused, and saw...a girl from my youth group from high school. She was several years younger than I was, and there she was and I was fixin' to be real nekked. Half a thought of refusal flitted across the remote part of my brain that still had one shred of dignity left, buuuuuut, that was a very small part of me so I shrugged out of my clothes and got down to business. Shower, tub, husband rubbing back, birthing ball.
As the contractions intensified, I swayed through them bent over the bed, and instinctively, I began to sing a lullaby. It is one of Laine's favorites. It is simple and throaty and my soul groaned out its two note melody as I struggled to welcome this new life into the world. Over and over I poured my pain into those two notes and felt my body connect to the joy of my wonderful, terrible work. Luke's voice joined in softly as he steadied me. Grace came down as a song, and, in love, we sang our precious daughter into this world.
Then I kinda forget what happened for a while. But after what I am sure was a little slice of heaven, I was complete (read: ready to push). I do remember hearing myself say, "I can't do this," and everyone getting really tense, but knowing that it was ok, because I was simply saying what women say during transition (hey, it was in the text book and I was trying to follow the rules).
At 5:45 pm, I began to push. I pushed and the strength of my body was palpable. I pushed squatting on all fours. I pushed well and deeply. Some little tiny part of me was intensely proud. Most of me wanted to adopt. After the longest 11 minutes of my life, Annabel Grace Lingle was delivered into my arms.
Luke announced (unnecessarily) that it was a girl, and I discovered that daddies are silly for their little girls immediately.
Can't wait for someone to want to date her. Poor blighter!
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