Tuesday night, Justin and I were laying in bed, going over the possible scenarios for the coming week. What was the best plan if I went into labor while the girls were at school, if it happened in the middle of the night, would Justin drive to me or would I meet him at the hospital, what made the most sense for Bennett, etc. etc. He was giving me a lecture about not waiting around once I started into labor, to just call him right away so he could get his cases covered for the day. My concern was that I wasn't sure if I would know! On my fourth baby, I wouldn't know if I was in labor, ha ha! But my water has always broken before, so it had been obvious.
Not five minutes later, I went to the kitchen and my water broke. Justin was home, house was clean, kids were in bed, my awesome neighbor was there in five minutes, and I didn't ruin our brand-new mattress. Things were off to a good start.
From there, it was smooth sailing. Justin's partner did my epidural and it was perfect. My last one was fine, but I got nervous at some point, my body reacted, and my blood pressure tanked. I was expecting the same response this time, but he was super quick and my brain didn't have time to start going crazy. In fact, that was the story of the night. Everything just went faster than I could process.
We tried to get some sleep and wait things out. Around 3:30, I couldn't sleep through it. I wasn't in pain, necessarily, but it was like I could feel the contractions in my bones, they were so strong. Then it was go time! My doctor came in, nurses started warming up the baby bed, everyone was getting ready. I was thinking back to Bennett's birth and how I pushed FOREVER when my doc said to go ahead and try a push. I did the most half-hearted push because I was more concerned about figuring out where I wanted my arms, how high I wanted to sit, etc. Basically, I was settling in for some work and making myself comfortable when they said, "And she's out." I opened my eyes and said, "You have got to be kidding me!" I didn't even try, it was crazy! A big part of me was disappointed (which I know sounds ridiculous) but I thought, really? The party's over already?!
Before I knew it, she was in my arms starting to nurse, the room was empty, and it was just the three of us. Of course, the next few hours were a blur of excitement and exhaustion. Mostly, I felt enormous gratitude and relief that I made it! Four deliveries went perfectly, four babies came perfectly healthy. And now we are all here.
The kids came later that afternoon and immediately set out to find if she was ticklish:
(Again, reading the digits on her hospital band. Only this time, yes, that IS how much she cost! I miss good insurance…)
Bennett has been the perfect mix of interest and aloofness. He checks her out once or twice a day, holds onto her ears for a second, gives her a hug, then ignores her the rest of the day. Perfect.
I've never been in a hurry to leave the hospital in the past. I think I like the pampering. But I was SO ready to leave the next morning. Justin ended up going home with the kids and it was a lonely night watching way too much HGTV. I got the impression from one nurse that I needed to keep Ruthie in my room, but they told me over and over not to fall asleep with her in my arms. I hadn't slept much in 24+ hours and could not stay awake, but she was restless all night. I felt overwhelmed and finally called the nursery--they didn't question it at all so I imagine it would have been no problem all along. Justin works with these folks and they were already catering to me a bit, so I didn't want to be demanding in the least. But I couldn't do another night like that alone and we needed more hands at home, albeit the exhausted, barely helpful hands I had to offer. Luckily, physically, I felt fantastic! In fact, I went and ran errands myself that night. And I felt I did better emotionally than I had in the past. I only cried over reasonable things, like when I unpacked my hospital bag or when J asked if I wanted pancakes or french toast.
The girls are over the moon. Hayden makes up songs for her, Abbey is on constant binkie duty in the car, and they both beeline it for her whenever they get home. I love the look of pride that shows on their faces whenever they show her off to friends. I hope they are as good to her as they are to each other.