Nora Katherine Melville
Parenthood has been the most rewarding and challenging endeavor I've ever embarked on -- hence this post taking so long to take form from the thoughts swirling in my mind. These days, when there's a break, I choose sleep!!!!
Ok, from the beginning:
Nora was born on Wednesday, November 21, 2012, at 5:37 p.m. She weighed 6 pounds, 14 ounces, and was 20 inches in length. After days of timing sporadic contractions and feeling like I was experiencing early labor symptoms, I was surprised and -- admittedly -- a little sad to be told at my 40-week checkup on Tuesday, Nov. 20, that I was going to be induced because of low amniotic fluid. Apparently this is very common and not a HUGE concern (although I clearly wanted what was best for Nora and myself). But, Jonathan and I have concluded that, like so many others, we were subjected to an induction for my OBGYN to avoid liability. My midwife even said she had to prepare me for the worst case scenario: A C-section. You know, that one thing that wasn't on the birth plan. That thing that wasn't allowed to be mentioned in my home. On top of that, I went to my 40-week appointment after a sleepless night and had planned to take a long nap afterward. Instead, I had to rush home and grab my hospital bag (after my blood sugar crashed somewhere in there and I almost fainted while being examined by a midwife and was rescued by my sweet mother-in-law) and return to the hospital to check-in.
Once nestled into my hospital room, I began coping with the reality that I was about to be in labor. And there were going to be so many uncertainties. All I could do was pray -- and text all my friends and family to do the same. That night was rough. I had a breakdown over the IV. I was just too tired and emotionally frazzled for any pain. But, the worst was yet to come. Since I was effaced but not dilated, they started my induction with Cervadil. If you don't know what that is or how it's administered, I'll let you Google it. I screamed. I cried. My husband nearly intervened and stopped the process there.
Once that was in place, I took an Ambien and slept through the night so I would be prepared for whatever was to come the following day. At some point that evening my parents arrived in town and I was too out of it to greet them. My husband stayed up all night long taking care of details so I could rest. God bless that man!
The following morning they let me eat a big breakfast and then they checked to see if the Cervadil had done anything. It had!! I was dilated to 3 centimeters and my cervix had come forward!! They even said they had begun monitoring mild contractions overnight. If nothing had happened, the alternative they were suggesting was supposed to be more painful than the Cervadil. I don't know what we would have done at that point, but luckily I never have to know....
(My last pregnant picture)
After breakfast they started my Pitocin. I felt like a birthing rockstar for hours. I swayed in my hospital room to Pitbull breathing comfortably through contractions on no pain meds. My husband was my rockstar doula. He was so encouraging and so useful. He applied heat and pressure to my back as needed and even physically held me up through a few contractions! :-) I love that man. But then the Pitocin had its way with me and contractions starting rolling over top each other. There was no rest and I couldn't breathe through the intensity. I freaked. I started begging my husband for a C-section. That's when he knew he had to intervene on my behalf. I opted for the epidural. I couldn't be happier that I did. After the epidural was in place, the rest of my day was amazing -- I even squeezed in a nap before it was time to start pushing.
I had the best midwife and nurses in my room for Nora's delivery. Obviously I've never done this before and the sweet RN who was present was acting as my cheerleader and coach. She verbally walked me through how I was going to push, and I understood clearly what she was saying. So I pushed....and Nora arrived 30 minutes later! Oh, and funny side note: Jonathan was in distress from the days events since he had no sleep and had not eaten. During the pushing portion, he went white and almost fell out. Between pushes I had to comfort him that everything was okay and that we were almost there!! :-) Apparently (according to the hospital staff), that's not all that uncommon! ;-)
Then, at 5:37 p.m., my labor haze was lifted with the sweet words, "Open your eyes mama and look at your baby girl." They laid her on my chest. I wept with joy and relief. I knew my world would never be the same. I've stared into that tiny, perfect face for many hours since.
We got to leave the next evening -- on Thanksgiving. I'd like to say that was a special, magical moment, but, truth is, we should have taken them up on their offer to stay another night. We came home late and on no rest. We didn't get sleep that night. At some point we both almost got sick with anxiety. It was probably the worst night of our lives if we're being honest!!! But, the good news is that every day since has been a little easier. I hear that these first two weeks are the hardest. I'm clinging to that hope!
There is still a lot we're working through right now and trying to figure out: Why did Nora sleep last night and not today? Why did she spit up after this feeding and not the last? Why, why, why, why....? But, when we do figure something out, we feel like parenting rockstars. When we do get a nap, we feel empowered to tackle another challenge.
And my next major challenge is Monday. Jonathan returns to work. I'm sad and scared and all those lovely things. Luckily, my mother-in-law is nearby and will be accompanying Nora and me to a pediatrician follow-up appointment that afternoon. Oh, yeah, and we've been having to go to the doc weekly to make sure her mild jaundice is continuing to diminish -- and it is!
I'm looking forward to Christmas in the Melville home this year. I've never felt more reliant on Jesus to get me through each day. I plead with Him for help when I'm at wits end and I sing His praises when any little thing goes right!! When I stare into Nora's baby face, I think about the love of Christ and contemplate what it meant for him to humble Himself and come to earth in the form of a helpless babe.
This is such a special time for our family. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. Thanks to all the special people who have dropped off food. Our church's meal ministry is INVALUABLE. I see that now. I can't wait to get more actively involved. The BIGGEST thank you to our parents. They have been our rocks during this time. They have taken shifts with Nora so we can sleep. They've done laundry and gone to the grocery store and raked leaves and kept my home in order. They are the GREATEST examples of what wonderful parents should be. We hope to live up to the standard they have set.
Please continue to pray for us as we work through the coming days and weeks until things get a little easier.