my stella. i've wanted to write this so much. and for so long. but it never seemed like the right day. and i never thought i had enough time. and there is so much that i want to tell you about the day that i held you for the first time ... i've always thought it would take too long.
but i've come to realize that ... i need to make the time. and if this takes me months of hitting *save now* before i finally hit publish ... then so be it. at least it's out there. for you.
(note ... talk about babies and being born and blood and placentas and stuff ... you can leave now if you need to.)
once upon a time ...
(i knew that would grab your attention ... you are definitely a once-upon-a-time kinda girl) ...
daddy and i found out that we were going to have a baby the same week that we were in the process of buying our first home. to celebrate ... we thought a crunch cone was in order ... but alas ... the nearest dairy queen wasn't open that early. figures. instead ... we planned how we were going to share the news. we decided that after we (finally) got the keys to the new house ... we were going to invite all of our family over to see it. in the room that was going to be your nursery ... we hung a sign. simply stating ... "baby's room".
your boppa was the first to get there ... and walk through. the smile on his face immediately upon seeing the sign was, for lack of a better equivalent ... the same smile that he gives you whenever he sees you still today. a few of the family members (not naming any names ...) needed more obvious hinting as to your invisible presence at the party.
i was very excited. but leary.
we had just lost a baby ... a few months prior. and i wasn't sure if my heart was ready to break again. i spent a lot of time worrying about you. singing to you ... and talking to you ... and begging you to stay.
on september 5th of that year ... i had my first midwife appointment ... with kathryn. who ... at the time ... was just the midwife that i had an appointment with. but, who ... now ... is one of the most amazing people in my life. it all started that day. (that will make more sense when you hear cora's story.)
daddy was on a trip ... so auntie summer came with. i had spent all day feeling like there was something i needed to do ... but couldn't figure it out. turns out ... it was my previous due date. i just hadn't remembered until kathryn started asking questions. well ... emotions were stirred a bit and kathryn immediately brought all of us to an ultrasound. where she found you. and gave me a glimpse of your heart. all four chambers. beating strong. truly ... at that moment ... i fell in love with you.
we never did find out if you were a boy or girl. we wanted the surprise. but, i wavered constantly. a coworker that was going to school to become an ultrasound technician did some practice runs on me. she knew. but was amazingly good at keeping the secret.
during the pregnancy ... my clinic got rid of their midwife program. i was in my 6th month of pregnancy ... and i had to find someone new. kathryn was determined to start her own clinic ... but had no idea when that would become a reality. she gave me her email address. which i utilized. i never fully trusted ALL of the new midwives at my new clinic. and i often checked in with kathryn to find out if she was up and running ... even the week before you were born. (she wasn't.)
on sunday, early morning ... march 28th. i awoke with a start. i jumped out of bed ... literally (we have a high bed - i use stairs). my water had broke. and there was a lot of blood.
enough that i was scared.
i remember sitting on my birthing ball in the living room ... kinda frustrated that daddy was getting sleep and i wasn't. i also remember that i was hungry for raisin bran. so i woke daddy up ... and we went to the store. full on labor. and i bought raisin bran and got home and to be honest ... i'm not sure if i even got to eat a bowl of it.
i called my doula, alena. and the clinic. everybody thought i should come in.
daddy and i went in to the hospital ... alena arrived. and gave me a foot massage. doula ... best money spent ... ever.
at one point ... they had me in a wheelchair to take me for an ultrasound ... the guy that was asked to take me there ... walked ... no ... ran so fast ... daddy and alena couldn't keep up. i was almost sick ... he was so speedy. (but it really was just kinda funny ...)
the midwife on call ... mary (my favorite - thank you so much for picking that birthday, stella) ... convinced the doctor that i needed to stay. the ultrasound was showing that you were doing seemingly ok. but that the fluid around you was decreased ... from my water breaking. he thought i should go home and labor for awhile longer. she asserted that i needed to be there and they needed to put me on pitocin to speed up labor. primarily because they couldn't determine where the bleeding was coming from. i had planned on a drug free birth ... i kept up my end of the bargain. but the pitocin was deemed necessary.
so they started it. summer, my friend, arrived and we called boppa and asked him to bring a game over. not knowing how long we were going to be there.
as soon as boppa came ... things shifted. boppa left in a hurry. i'm thinking that ... as excited as he was to meet you ... seeing his baby in pain was a little much for him.
we never played cribbage that day.
this is kind of where ... i don't remember things much. your mama went off to labor land. my body took over. i'm told that summer kept me cool (or hot ... per my request) with compresses. alena did massage and allowed me to practically break her fingers with my squeezing. daddy supported me and held my hands. i'm told that i was really good at following directions. but i didn't say much.
this is what i do remember -
i spent a lot of time on the birthing ball ...
i remember that someone remarked that i should move a little. maybe to the tub??
i remember trying.
and i immediately remember remarking that you were falling out. and that i needed to push.
i also remember them telling me not to. seriously? don't? that was hard to do.
but i guess for our own good. they needed to (secretly) call in the back up.
there was a lot of bleeding going on. and apparently ... they were really worried.
i remember opening my eyes at one point and seeing a lot of people in the room. i asked daddy and he told me not to worry.
apparently ... they were all keeping a secret that there was a team ready to do an emergency c-section if i didn't get you out in 12 minutes ... 10 minutes ... 8 minutes ...
but my midwife ... mary ... bless her. she knew i wanted minimal interventions and she trusted that i could do it.
and i did. we did.
you came out. at 4:28 on 3/28 ... all 7 pounds 11 ounces of you.
a girl ... daddy said. her name is stella.
which is apparently good ... because your auntie wasn't fond of the boy name we had picked out ... kian.
a little girl ... named after a grandmother ... and a grateful dead song.
though ... to this day ... no one really knows which is the stronger influence.
but you were in my arms ... not a great nurser initially ... it took you a few days of drinking pumped milk from shot glasses ... cheers! but you were there. where you were meant to be ... and i wasn't worried so much anymore. up to that point ... there was always a overlying worried-ness.
the bleeding, we found out ... was from a bifurcated placenta. weird. two placentas, kinda, that were connected with large veins. (too much information? i warned you.) one of which had broken. apparently it got passed around the hospital for the doctors to see. more weird. afterward ... my midwife remarked that we were very lucky. that we were both ok (and alive). the bleeding was that significant. scary.
our anxiously awaiting families eagerly bounced into the room to meet you. my mom remembers me saying ... "she really came out mama."
i guess no drugs and an influx of adrenaline will do that to a woman.
my star was born. and i am the luckiest woman alive ... to be your mommy. thanks for making my days (and nights) brighter.
... and they lived happily ever after.