Piper Jean has arrived!
Me and Piper
I love how in the first picture taken of the two of us she is sticking out her tongue. Somehow I think this is predicting things to come.
Piper was born on her due date, February 1st, 2011, via induction. I had been hoping to go into labour on my own since I had also been induced with Willow, but my OB decided that due to some health concerns that Piper needed to come out at 40 weeks. My Mom had arrived a few days earlier, so on the morning of February 1st, Andrew, my Mom, and I slowly made our way to the hospital in an ice storm for my 6am induction appointment. Willow spent the night at her other grandparents' home, and didn't even have the benefit of school to distract her as all the schools were closed due to the weather.
Andrew and Piper
The L&D nurses check me out, and determine that I was 4cm dilated and 90% effaced, so this wasn't going to take long. I was hooked up to a pitocin drip and Andrew went back home to retrieve my hospital bag (seems everyone forgot to bring it, even though I had pulled it down to the front door...). After that, nothing happened for a few hours. The nurse would come in every half hour and up my dose of pitocin, and my Mom and I worked on our knitting (a baby sleep sack for her, purple and blue socks for me), and Andrew read Stephen King's Full Dark, No Stars (his birthday was the day before and this was my and Willow's gift to him).
Big sister and little sister
Around 11am the contractions were finally becoming potent enough for me to ask for some drugs. I was determined to be more proactive about pain management this time - with Willow I had three failed epidural attempts and in the end had an unanticipated drug free birth. The nurses administered stadol, which promptly put me to sleep for about two hours. Apparently I snored.
Even outside the womb my hand still goes in front of my face!
When I woke up I asked that the epidural be administered now. I was very apprehensive about this - as I mentioned above, eight years ago the anethesiologist couldn't complete the procedure with Willow. He said my vertebrae are very close together and I was so far into my labour that I was not able to relax enough to allow him to put the needles in. I had explained this to the nurse earlier, so she advised to have the epidural early before the contractions became too strong. The epidural hurt. A lot. I didn't realize there was so much patient participation involved. I was sitting on the edge of the bed, my arms around the nurse as if hugging her, back hunched over - and between contractions I had to guide the anethesiologist as to what is the middle vs. right vs. left of my spine so he can put the needles in the right place. But, it ended quickly, and relief was blessedly quick.
What is this goop in my eyes?
The epidural felt weird. I had no feeling between my mid-torso to about mid-calf - but had no problem moving and rotating my feet and ankles. The nurse asked if I can feel any of the contractions. I told her it isn't pain, but I definitely feel pressure and I can feel the baby moving inside down the canal. She said that was great - so many people can't feel anything at all, and it makes it difficult to know when to push.
About 2:15pm the OB came in and said that I am 10cm dilated and we are good to start pushing. The nurse installed this bar up around hip level on the bed, and between her, my Mom, and Andrew, they manage to get my dead legs braced against the bar to give me some leverage while pushing. This was never offered with Willow, and I think it worked very well. After about an hour of pushing, Piper was bumping right up against my pubic bone, so the nurse and I played tug-o-war with a towel (I kid you not!), and Piper's head was able to dip under and make the last descent. The last thirty minutes were pretty much a blur - the crowning was pretty intense, but not painful. Piper came out quickly in a straight shot at 3:50pm, with her umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck two times.
Little Miss Pouty Lips
Andrew cut the umbilical cord and the nurses whisked her away to clean her up. They called out her stats - 6lbs, 10.5oz, and 18.5 inches long. What?!?! What happened to the baby that was supposed to be verging on 8 pounds? She was just a tiny little bean! The OB took care of me - I had a small internal first degree tear. The nurses put Piper on my chest and she looked up at me - and I was in utter love.
Piper and her blanket
We came home two days later, and I was never so grateful to have my Mom here with us. No matter how good the baby or how well you are recovering, it is hard to take care of a newborn. You yourself are exhausted, your baby is adjusting, your body is going haywire with hormones - and no matter whether you are a first time mother or seasoned professional, nursing is not terribly intuitive. And if you are really lucky like me, you come down with mastitis to boot. I thought I was coming down with the flu because I was all headachey and having hot flashes and chills. It wasn't until some angry hot red patches showed up on my breasts that I clued into what was going on. Antibiotics and Advil became my bosom buddies (pun intended!).
Look at those cheeks!
Here we are, a week later. Piper is gaining weight - athough Mom and I had to go out to Carter's yesterday and buy up a wardrobe of newborn clothes because she was absolutely swimming in all the 0-3 months clothes we had. She's a tiny little bean - in fact, I started calling her Piper Bean instead of Piper Jean! Nights can be hard - we seem to alternate between nights where I am lucky enough to get 6-7 hours of sleep spread out, and nights where when I finally get her down I have been awake for 19 hours and am weepy with exhaustion. Piper is a fantastic nurser, and cracks me up because she wants to hunt for the breast and growls while nursing.
Piper and Lucky
Willow absolutely adores her baby sister and wants to hold her all the time, but the Lucky the cat was so put out when we first brought Piper home that he hid out in the basement for a few days and then peed in the bassinet. He is coming around - for a cat who was upset, he gets into an awful lot of her photos.
Lucky the Sentinel
We are so blessed - Piper is a happy, healthy baby. We couldn't have asked for anything more.