I feel as though everyone who only has one child asked me “are you afraid you’re not going to love your second child as much as your firsts?” My answer was always the same… “Not at all!” Chris and I both fall second in line to older siblings and we feel just as loved by our parents. In fact I don’t even remember always wearing hand me downs, or feeling like I had to split time with my parents or grandparents. One friend told me “your love doesn’t divide among your children, it multiplies.” That’s exactly how I feel!
Saturday September 21st, 2013 at 5:55am Chris announced, with a bit of surprise in his voice, “It’s a girl!!” and handed me our beautiful daughter, Adelaide Mabel Damman. That was the day we got to hold Addie Mae in our arms for the first time but we’d been getting to know her over for quite some time. Getting pregnant was much like the first time around, relatively instant. We tried to wait and surprise our family in some pinterest worthy way but alas there was a slight complication in the beginning that resulted in us telling them under a not so wonderful circumstance. Needless to say in the future we’ll reconsider keeping it a secret.
After Norah, we decided we wouldn’t find out the gender of subsequent children until delivery. I thought it would be more difficult than it was. The hardest part was trying to figure out what to call the baby in utero without having an assigned gender. We attempted a few nick names but none of them really stuck. All along the way EVERYONE had an opinion as to what the gender was. Random strangers would offer up their unsolicited guess on a daily basis. Throughout the entire pregnancy by far the consensus was “you’re having a boy.” I heard everything from, “the way you’re carrying low”, or even “you’re carrying high,” to “I just have a feeling.” Out of the hundreds of opinions I can count on one hand the number of times I heard “I think it’s a girl.” All that to say, you never really know until you meet them face to face.
From start to finish I feel like time when relatively quickly. I imagine that’s because I was chasing a toddler around. After 37 weeks though I felt like each day crawled by. Having Norah early set my expectations for early deliveries with each pregnancy. I know this isn’t always the case although I really wanted it to be. When 39 weeks rolled around and there were no imminent signs of labor I was happy to allow the midwife help speed things along at my appointment. She did a little manual procedure of which I’ll spare you all the details. Thankfully it was effective though and by 3:30 that afternoon I could tell things were changing. I had a few errands I needed to run and didn’t feel comfortable taking Norah by myself so thankfully Alisha came over to accompany us. By 5:00pm we were letting Norah play at the U Village and I was definitely having consistent contractions. Chris called to let me know he was on his way home and I told him this might be it, therefore, I’m not cooking dinner.
We all rendezvoused at home and as Chris took Norah to run and get some Pizza I packed our bags as my contractions grew with intensity. By 7:00pm I was pretty uncomfortable and somehow still not quite convinced it was really happening. My parents and Ange were mobilizing on the other side of the mountains just waiting for the word go. I stuck it out at home until about 9:30pm before calling the midwife. I had two fears, 1. I would hit transition in the car and 2. I would get to the hospital and they would tell me I was only at 4cm. I was so relieved to hear Audrey’s voice on the other end of the line. Audrey and I used to work together at UW before she became a midwife and I moved to the resource team. She was on maternity leave herself when I delivered Norah so I was really excited to have her there for this one. After a quick over the phone assessment she said come in whenever I was ready.
Our midwife and dear friend, Audrey Allard.
Chris and I thought we should try to get some sleep. My goal was then to make it to Midnight but by 11:20pm Chris was done. Apparently I wasn’t laboring very quietly and Chris was worried we were going to push it too late. We arrived at just about midnight through the emergency department entrance (the only way in at that hour). As we waited at the elevator to head up to the birthing center the ED receptionist tried to get me to come back for “a quick assessment and registration.” That wasn’t happening. If I was moving, it was in the direction of the birthing center. She said she’d be right back but Chris and I were done waiting after about 60 seconds and the tech said “let’s just head up.”
While we were getting settled, Audrey was delivering another baby. All I wanted to know was how far I was dilated so I would have an idea of how long I had to go. When Audrey finally made it in around 1:00am or so my worst fears were realized when she told me I was indeed only at 4cm. She tried to be positive and remind me of the progress I’d made over the day but I felt very defeated. At that point I went to get in the hot tub, unfortunately even there I couldn’t get comfortable and once I started throwing up I decided I was done with the tub and wanted something a bit more effective for pain relief. At about 2:00am I received my first dose of fentanyl right before heading back to my room. At about 2:20am I asked when I could have some more… not a good sign. Unfortunately it would be another 40 minutes before my next dose. That seemed like an eternity, and judging by my dilation upon arrival and the 30 hour labor I had with Norah I decided I was done with pain, I was exhausted, and it was time for the epidural. Within 30 minutes the anesthesiologist was setting up and I was having that uncontrollable urge to push. Audrey asked if I wanted her to check me because it sounded like I was ready to have this baby. At that point though I had made up my mind, I wanted the epidural, I was done with the pain and I knew that it was far from over (or so I thought). Audrey and I got pretty personal while I was having my epidural placed. Let’s just say sitting at the edge of the bed, “as still as possible,” was not an easy task and Audrey was there, literally giving me a hug. Once the epidural was in and I was relatively comfortable Audrey checked again, sure enough I was 9cm with my water still intact (side note: I find it ironic that with Norah my water broke as the first sign of labor and this time it wasn’t breaking for anyone). I had two choices, break my water and have a baby right now or try and rest for a bit before breaking my water. We decided on the later and told everyone to be there at 5:00am. There wasn’t a whole lot of rest happening for anyone but I was happy to be pain free.
Mom, Dad, Kendra, Alisha and Ange all arrived just on time while Joey stayed at our place with Norah. Audrey was in shortly there after and by 5:30 broke my water. Everything had happened so quickly compared my first labor so at 5:45 when Audrey said “let’s try pushing” I was pretty surprised. I was even more surprised when only a few minutes later Audrey said “I think we’re going to have a baby with the next contraction.” Keep in mind my epidural was VERY effective and I couldn’t feel a thing. Sure enough, at 5:55am, she was here. It felt like an eternity for Chris to tell me “IT’S A GIRL!” He sounded both surprised and elated. Addie let out a couple of good cries then cuddled in on my chest. It was so glorious to just hold her, look in her eyes, and feel that instant unconditional love. Chris was being incredibly patient but after an hour a few gentle pleas he finally said “Let me have her.” He cuddled her for a few minutes before we had her weighed and measured. She came in at 8 pounds 3 ounces and 20 inches long.
The rest of the day was relatively calm. Everyone stuck around until about 7:30am before heading back to the house to try to get some sleep. Chris and I just rested and slept. It was so peaceful. Later that afternoon, everyone came back in to meet Adelaide and witness Norah’s first encounter. It was so natural to go from a family of three to a family of four. I’m so excited to see how Addie will grow and change and how Norah will take over the role as big sister. Chris is already a natural at being the daddy to two daughters. Watching him with the girls just makes me fall in love with him even more. As for me, I couldn’t be happier. I love the relationship I have with my sisters and I can only hope Annorah and Adelaide feel the same one day.
Right after she was born
Checking out daddy
The look on her face is like “get a room!”
Norah is our future medical professional… istening to Addie’s heart.