maddison's story

From the "list of things to do but the items on said list may take longer than the 5 free minutes I currently have", one of those items is to write down the timeline surrounding the period when Maddison chose to join us. It's been a work in progress for more than a week at this point, during which I have attempted to appease family members with little daily snapshots from our life with a newborn. Today I'm in the mood to cross something off of some list, so the entire story is presented as follows.

Brooklynn was a scheduled induction two days past her due date. That one was mainly an insurance issue due to Rhiannon's benefits changing on July 1st. Since Brooklynn up to that point had shown no interest in joining us in the real world and ended up being a decent sized baby, we figured that it probably wasn't a bad thing we did a little prompting.

As I mentioned earlier, Maddison was measuring ahead of schedule by about 3 weeks. Knowing that Brooklynn measured right on track and still ended up a hair over 8 and half pounds, this was a little concerning[1. I think Rhiannon was more concerned than I was, and rightfully so.].

Our family doctor and the OB all agreed it would be best to schedule an induction around 39 weeks if Maddy hadn't already come on her own, so we made arrangements. Brooklynn would stay with a friend that goes to her daycare. We would do the induction on a Friday so that would mean a Friday night sleepover and no need for the other family to get her up and going on a work morning.

If Maddison did come during one of the earlier weekdays, Brooklynn could still get picked up or dropped off as needed. And if we had an absolute emergency during the middle of the night, our next door neighbors offered to help us out until we could get everything straightened out.

It all seemed so simple. We had been through an induction before. Rhiannon went in the night before for the "ripening" medication with the actual labor inducing Pitocin and an epidural to be administered around 7 am the next morning. For Brooklynn, Rhiannon got her first hours of pain-free sleep during that day and I mainly hung around the hospital keeping an eye on the monitors until things progressed far enough to start pushing late in the afternoon.

We both hoped that things would go a little bit faster this time around[2. Famous last words.]

On Thursday night, we had supper at home. I commented to Brooklynn that this was her last family meal as an only child, but I don't think she had any idea what was going to happen the next day. We didn't make a big deal about her baby sister. Instead we focused on how much fun she was going to have at her sleepover the next night after school.

After she went to bed a little before 7:30, our neighbor came to hang out just in case she woke up while I took Rhiannon to the hospital. I carried up the bag for her, and after being waved through to the maternity floor by a couple ladies sitting at the main entrance, we checked in. Apparently the hospital lacks a little in internal communication, because we were actually supposed to check in downstairs, but we were quickly taken to the room where Rhiannon would stay.

After she changed into the hospital gown, I went to check if a nurse was coming in soon. The nurse at the desk turned out to be responsible for Rhiannon's room and said she would be in shortly to see us. I explained that I was taking off, and I saw the look of "What kind of husband are you leaving your wife alone overnight" cross her face until I finished by mentioning that I was going home to stay with our toddler.

I headed home. Brooklynn had stayed asleep the entire time. Our neighbor headed back to his house next door and I did a little cleaning up in the kitchen so we could come home to a relatively neat house. I made sure my phone was not on vibrate so it would wake me up if Rhiannon did call during the night and got a solid night of sleep[3. Rhiannon and I figured out this was the first night that we have spent apart since before Brooklynn was born.].

I was just getting out of the shower around 5:20 on Friday morning when Rhiannon called.

She was already progressing toward labor when she checked in on Thursday evening, so they gave her the lowest of the four possible dosage levels of the starter medication. At some point early Friday morning, she started feeling real labor contractions. With the timing of the epidural with Brooklynn, she had never actually felt any contractions, so this was a first. Her reaction:

They hurt.

She called the nurse a little before 4:30 to mention that they might want to think about getting the epidural for her before 7, and shortly after that call her water broke. We knew from the 38-week ultrasound that there was a little extra amniotic fluid, and Rhiannon said that she could confirm it by the amount of bed sheets and towels she went through. The anesthesiologist arrived and, working around the contractions, placed the epidural.

So that's what I heard a little after I got up. Rhiannon was farther along than anticipated. We briefly discussed the option of dropping Brooklynn off at her friend's house early that morning since the house was closer to the hospital than daycare, but instead decided that I would still take her over myself. I hoped to get going a little early.

All week long, while Rhiannon was home, I had been taking Brooklynn to daycare. And almost every morning, she would ask where her mommy was. I explained that Mommy was still sleeping because baby sister made her tired, and this usually was a satisfactory answer. On Friday morning, I didn't close the door to our bedroom, so Brooklynn realized as we headed downstairs that Mom was not still sleeping. Mom was not in the house. And things spiraled from there.

I didn't get out the door early. I barely got out the door on time and it felt like I hit every one of the stoplights along the way. Rhiannon called again at 6:45 expecting to hear that I was getting close to the hospital. I was in the middle of trying to get Brooklynn calm enough to leave her at daycare. The fact that Mom wasn't home had upset her and thrown off her whole morning, so even the talk of her exciting sleepover wasn't enough to settle her down.

Her doctor had come in to check on her, noticed that the baby was responding to the contractions showing on the monitor, asked where I was, and said she was going to change clothes.

I have to give Rhiannon credit. I was 15 minutes away when she called, she had a doctor telling her that they would wait as long as they could (but no guarantees), and she still sounded pretty calm. If anything, the fact that everything was moving so fast probably helped her not get too worked about everything.

I drove faster than I should have. I turned right and flipped a quick U-turn to skip a longer light that I just missed. I called Rhiannon when I was a few minutes out to check in and asked her if I should just come up to the room right away and not bother bringing in the rest of our overnight bags. They were still waiting for me, and yes, please come straight up. I pulled in the parking lot, grabbed my camera, and jogged in to the hospital.

The nice part of dropping her off the night before was that I knew exactly where I was going. I walked into the room and the doctor, who had been waiting for me, said we would get started right away.

For Brooklynn, the epidural was a little strong. Rhiannon couldn't really feel anything from the contractions, didn't have any feeling to push against, and one of her legs was completely asleep. They don't let you eat anything, so she had also gone an entire day without food.

With Maddison, the epidural was better. She had just enough feeling that there was no pain but she could tell when to push. It was still 7 am (I made it when I was supposed to...), so she wasn't really that hungry yet, it didn't take nearly as long as the second time around.

Three "pushes". 10 minutes of real work, and about 12 minutes after I walked in, we had a new baby. If they wouldn't have been able to wait for me, there is a good chance I would not have been there.

As rushed and frantic as you might think I would have been, everything seemed very calm and relaxed. It took me two tries to cut through the umbilical cord with Brooklynn. This time, just one simple snip and it was done. Been there, done that.

Maddison ended up two ounces lighter than her sister and 9 days earlier in the schedule, so it was good we got her out when we did. It did appear that she was coming sooner rather than later. No cone head shape. Relatively little crying. And we had the whole day to just hang out with our new baby.

We never did send Maddy down to the nursery. Aside from one time when they took her to do vitals and blood sugar testing, she never left our room. We didn't need any formula to supplement her.

Brooklynn came on Saturday morning, full of exciting news about her sleepover[4. Which, from all reports, went very well.] and thrilled to see her baby sister. We told her the name we had picked out earlier in the week and she was firmly of the opinion her sister would be called Allison. Maddison is less than impressed with Brooklynn overall. Brooklynn likes to be right in her face, touching her head, grabbing her hands. Maddison looks around as if to say where are the non-clumsy large people and can they hold me again?

Brooklynn loves her baby sister. We love both of our girls. Everybody is home, healthy, and sleep deprived.

And in the end, everything worked out. Easiest 12 minutes of my life.