Three weeks ago Ella Marie joined our family. Seven pounds, four ounces and 20 1/2 inches long. Long skinny feet. Chubby checks and pouty lips. Fingernails ready for paint. And hair long enough to tuck behind her ears.
I was induced the day before my due date. So, Ella was born Nov. 28, 2011 at 1:30 p.m. We had arrived at the hospital at 6 a.m. A half hour later, as I lay hooked up to monitors, Ella’s heart rate dropped. They broke my water. Justin’s face was white. But seconds later, her heart rate was back up. And an hour later Justin was having breakfast.
At 7:30 a.m., they started my pitocin – a drug that jumpstarts labor. Four hours later, I was gripping the rocking chair. Barely breathing. A nightmare of contractions. I paged the nurse, was hooked with an epidural by noon. Then, I took a 20-minute nap.
Around 1 p.m., mid-sentence to my mother-in-law, I felt the need to push. It was go time. I waited for 15 minutes for my doctor to arrive from surgery. Gripping Justin’s hand. Entire body shakes. I couldn’t hold her in any longer. The floor doctor gave me the go ahead and just minutes later my doctor arrived as Ella was crowning.
But Ella wouldn’t move. Her heart rate dropping again. The umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck. Twice. My doctor’s quick thinking and 13 minutes of pushing later, Ella was out. Loud and healthy.
Justin and I exchanged wide-eyed glances as our little El squealed for the first hour of life. During her check up, bath and bake under the heat lamp. Worried she was going to be more of a gauntlet baby than our first. But, despite our fears Ella’s been a dream ever since.
I wasn’t sure how it would be. If I would feel the same crazy love that I did when I met Jack. Would I love him less, to make room for her? But as Ella nursed in my arms for the first time, my heart grew. Her warm body now pressing the outside of my tummy. I was overwhelmed new baby euphoria all over again. My heart is bigger. My love is brighter.
The past three weeks have whizzed by. Filled with baby sister kisses from Jack. Nights of quiet nursing. Laundry after laundry. Tiny squeals and newborn stretches. We’ve all started adjusting. Even Ella. Snoozing peacefully as her brother shrieks to hold her.
I thank God daily for my amazing luck. And my two beautiful children who make my world go round.