I could never imagine that my little baby girl would enter our world on Valentine’s Day. But in the early morning on Tuesday, Feburary 14, I heard her first cry and cradled her tenderly in my arms as I sat overjoyed in our bathtub.
Let me rewind approximately 37 weeks. Curt and I had been trying to conceive our second baby without any luck. Every month was an emotional roller coaster as we visited with our fertility doctor and hoped that this next cycle would be the one. After a few months on clomid and a failed attempt at intrauterine insemination (IUI), not to mention the sense of hopelessness setting in for me, we decided to be a little more aggressive. So for ten days I injected myself with reproductive hormones, while being monitored by ultrasounds, until our doctor determined that my eggs were just the perfect size. We did another IUI and waited a long and agonizing 14 days before I could take a pregnancy test. All my hope was riding on this cycle, as we had decided that the emotional toll wasn’t healthy for our relationship and if it didn’t work, well, it just wasn’t meant to be.
I couldn’t wait a full 14 days and decided to test on day 13, Memorial Day. While Curt was out playing basketball, I anxiously peed on the stick and waited for that glorious 2nd line to appear. It didn’t. I immediately started crying out to God out of self-pity, desperation and hopelessness. How I wanted another baby so desperately. I thought, “I guess this is it. I guess we won’t have another baby,” as reality started to really sink in. But after I calmed down (and the recommended waiting time had passed), I looked down at the stick and saw what I thought was the hint of a 2nd line. I continued to stare at the pee-soaked stick, waiting, hoping, trying to see a purple line. Am I crazy? Is this just my imagination, or is it another line. Shortly thereafter, Curt came home and I showed it to him. He remarked, “I think it’s another line. Let’s put it this way, if we weren’t trying to get pregnant and you showed me this, I would be worried that we were.” And with that, I started crying out of pure joy (those hormones make you cry for every little d-mn thing). We hugged and thanked God for blessing us with another baby. We were going to have another baby.
Fast forward through nine months of prenatal visits with my midwives (Alisha and Elizabeth) which were fun, hour-long, girl chat sessions; through hours spent listening to hypnotic birthing cds; through prenatal chiropractic, acupuncture and massage appointments; through kicking in odd places; through getting up in the middle of the night to pee; and through conversations with Laird on his baby sister that was growing in my belly.
I thought for sure this baby would be on time (February 9) or even early, not once did I think that she would be like her older brother and hang on past her due date. But even at 5 cm dilated, that day came and went and still nothing. Every night before I went to bed, I told Curt, “maybe she will come tonight.” Yet, I would wake up and still be pregnant. 🙂
As each day passed, I was beginning to get more and more anxious about her birth. I’ll be honest, although Laird was born at home and it went beautifully, I was not oblivious to the inherent risks of delivering at home and the fear of anything going wrong definitely existed within me. Many people expressed concern about having a home birth, but it’s hard to explain how memorable and special it is without having experienced it yourself. With Laird’s birth, I delivered in our jet tub, knew everyone who was present, and the best part, I was able to curl up in my own bed afterward with my new baby and feel completely comfortable. I also wanted to deliver without an epidural. Was I scared about the pain? Yes. Was I worried that my body wouldn’t be able to handle it? Yes. But, much like when I’ve run marathons, I relished the challenge of my mind and body and really wanted to feel what having a baby felt like. Yet with her birth impending and not knowing when she would arrive, I was finding it increasingly difficult to sleep. I worked out on the elliptical, walked and walked, sat on my birthing ball, ate eggplant parmigiana and did acupuncture all to induce labor. On monday night, Curt took me to our Valentine’s dinner at a mediterranean restaurant and I noticed my lower back starting to ache. Hmmm, maybe this will be the night.
I had minor braxton-hicks contractions all night which seemed to intensify as the night went on. Eventually, at 3:24 am, I woke up to use the bathroom and found myself gritting through a contraction. This was finally it. I went to wake up Curt, who was already awake downstairs and pointed to my belly. He called our midwife, Alisha, who said she would come right over. The next two hours is a blur of sitting on my birthing ball while breathing through intense contractions, having the urge to push and getting into our jet tub. The setting couldn’t have been more peaceful and calm. I pushed through each contraction with the soft glow of candles and the dark sky surrounding me. I won’t lie, it hurt at the very end, but it all happened so quickly and I so desperately wanted to hold and kiss my little girl, that I had no other choice but to push my body to its limit. With one last push, Leina’ala left the comfort of my body we had shared for nine precious months and took her first breath at 5:17 am…beginning her journey, her blessed life, in our beautiful world.