In my last pregnancy update on this blog, I talked about how the baby was measuring large, and mentioned that they were considering stripping my membranes on Monday morning to possibly get labor going. But this turned out not to be necessary — the very night before that, baby Lillian decided to come along all on her own.
It started at 1:00 am. Joe and I were still awake — we’d just finished watching Battle: Los Angeles (awful movie) together, but rather than go to sleep, I got a sudden urge to go work on some last-minute updates to the nursery. My water broke unexpectedly as I was walking into the room, and after reassuring myself that this wasn’t just some kind of horribly embarrassing bladder control accident, I called the doctor and was told to come in to the hospital.
We were admittedly a little unprepared for this. In retrospect, we should have gotten a hospital bag packed at some point over the weekend, especially considering that there was a chance my labor might be triggered at that appointment on Monday morning. So we scrambled to pack things up at the last second. (Or rather, Joe scrambled to pack things up while I sat on a towel.)
After the most luxuriously traffic-free drive into downtown Chicago ever, we arrived at the hospital at 2:00 am. And roughly eighteen hours later, our daughter Lillian was born.
There are no words to describe how it felt to welcome this tiny new life into the world — the second they put her on my chest, Joe and I were laughing and crying and marveling at how beautiful she was, right down to her tiny perfect little fingers.
It was easily one of the happiest moments in my life, even if I do look exhausted (and a bit like I got run over by a train) in the above cameraphone photo. And it was so wonderful watching Joe hold his newborn daughter for the first time.
At one point, Lillian grabbed one of his fingers, no doubt a sign that the baby girl loves her daddy already.
As a side note, I couldn’t have hoped for an easier delivery: it took less than fifteen minutes of pushing, and after nearly nine months of reading terrifying things about 4th-degree perineal lacerations and episiotomies, I ended up needing only two tiny stitches when all was said and done. Not bad for a 9-pound baby, especially considering that they’d been talking about the possibility of a c-section.
The next two days at the hospital were like staying in a really nice hotel. The food was great, and you could order whatever you wanted off of a menu and have it show up on a tray in less than an hour. Not to mention the entire staff of baby experts on call in case you needed any help. That hospital room had everything, including a place for Joe and the baby to sleep.
When it came time to leave, we asked the nurse to take a picture of us with Lillian. Unfortunately it came out a little blurry, but it’s the first photo ever taken of all three of us as a new family, and I can’t help but love it.
It’s funny: as we were getting everything packed up to leave the hospital, we realized we didn’t have a newborn-size outfit for Lillian, so she came home in this ruffly purple dress that was about ten sizes too large:
I guess that’s what happens when you scramble to pack up your hospital bag at one in the morning.
Anyway, I have to say that physically, I don’t feel like I had a baby just a few days ago. Sure there’s some lingering soreness, but it really isn’t even bad enough to warrant taking a Motrin. And before even leaving the hospital I got the okay from my doctor to drive — apparently if you haven’t had a C-section and aren’t on any pain meds, you can get behind the wheel again as soon as you feel up to it.
These past few days, I’ve even been driving us around to Lillian’s pediatrician appointments and to pick up various baby paraphernalia that we’d somehow forgotten. I ran into one store to pick up a nursing bra (among other things) while Joe and Lillian waited in the car, and a friendly saleswoman asked how old the baby was. When I answered “four days,” and confirmed that it was mine, it kind of blew her mind. More so because I’d showered and wasn’t wearing sweatpants.
So yeah… Lillian is four days old now. I’d like to think we’re settling into this “being parents” thing pretty well, although it helps that so far she’s been an easy baby who only cries when she’s hungry or wants her diaper changed. But this is uncharted territory, and it’ll be interesting to see what kind of adventures (and misadventures) await us in the mysterious land of parenthood.