Please join me in welcoming Reagan to the world! She was born Monday at 1:10 pm, 8lbs 13 ozs and 21 inches long. Of course just like her sister she had a full head of hair, yet it is dark with blonde highlights and not red (more like Jack’s color). All the nurses were jealous of her highlights.

Now for the birth experience (you’ve been warned!)…

Monday we arrived at the hospital at 5am per the appointment time… early enough for ya? We entered through the ER since the rest of the entrances were still closed and were escorted up to Labor & Delivery. We saw absolutely no one else in the hospital. Once up there we spent about an hour filling in the blanks of my medical history and prepping for the induction (IV, etc). They checked on my cervix, which was still very posterior and up behind the baby, but was a nice 4 cm dilated. Hmm, progress made since Friday! Then they asked me what type of induction the doctor had indicated… umm, I don’t know, I assumed a pitocin drip. So from 6 – 7am we were waiting for them to hear back from the doctor as we all wanted to ensure that we moved forward in the right, expected, direction.

At 7 am they came in the begin the drip and break my water. The mid wife checked my cervix again… 5cm! Huh! Progress made in the time I was there, but my cervix was still very hard to get to, not fun for me and these checks, trust me. As she was getting “the hook” to break my water while checking my cervix it completely broke on its own. Yay! Apparently my body was more ready than any of us knew. It wasn’t so much the baby not cooperating as much as it was my cervix. Then we began the pitocin drip, contractions would be on their way soon.

Jack and I relaxed for a while as we let the contractions begin. I think I handled them like a champ given that I couldn’t remember any of the breathing exercises from 2 years ago. The nurses seemed to agree. We watched the Today show, conversed, surfed the net on our phones, napped a little off and on, generally wasted some time while waiting. Granted as the contractions became stronger and more frequent I think I spent most of the time staring holes into the back of my eyelids and concentrating. Reagan was definitely on her way and there was no turning back.

They came in to check on my cervix again, it was anterior (hooray!) and dilated to a 6. That was when I decided it was time for an epidural. I already knew I wasn’t headed towards childbirth without pain relief, so it was time. With Caitlin I had it at 5cm dilated, apparently I held out a little longer this time. Within an hour it was time to push. Just after 12, or so I think it was, we began pushing as I was at the full 10 cms. At first it was a little difficult trying to figure out where to push, epidurals are very effective. Yet I wasn’t as numb as I was when I delivered Caitlin and as the contractions continued to grow I could feel exactly where the pressure was and where that push needed to be directed. I actually had to push the little button on the epidural twice to take away a little of the edge, but not so much that I couldn’t feel the contractions and some discomfort. Quite different than last time where I had to watch the machine for the contractions, this time I knew when each one was coming and could feel the pressure.

I pushed for about 45 minutes. The last 10 were the hardest by far. Her head was there, but I needed to get those darn shoulders through. The sensation and pressure was beyond bizarre feeling. The doctor told me one more push and we would consider an episiotomy… hell no! We did that last time and the recovery is no fun. So with the next contraction I pushed for 4 breaths with all my might. Apparently I did well enough that she gave me one more contraction, I gave her four more strong pushes and Reagan was here!

Soon we were skin to skin, she was on my belly, crying as she looked up at me, me smiling back at her. Such a happy moment only briefly broken by me noticing the size of the umbilical cord that attached us. It was gigantic! To the extent that Jack and the doctor commented on it. She wasn’t sure she could get the clamp around it; Jack wasn’t so sure about cutting it. Reagan was feasting in the womb, which explains why I was constantly hungry beyond just what seemed like normal pregnancy hunger pangs.

We hung out skin to skin for a bit and then they took her to weigh & measure her as well as do whatever else needs to be done immediately after birth. When they took her we noticed that she greeted me with poo! Yes, across my belly she had left me a little gift. I love you too, sweetie! They brought her back and we had an opportunity to try breastfeeding. She latched like a champ and I am optimistic. We spent about 90 minutes in L&D for recovery before moving to postpartum.

The rest of the evening was visitor and nurse heavy, but we somehow survived. The most important visitor was Caitlin. She came in and didn’t immediately notice the baby. When she did she acknowledged her with a “Hi Baby” and then started exploring the room. She eventually asked to hold the baby and did so with Grandma Pat supervising. She studied Reagan closely and then moved on again. She did fantastic and even gave her a little kiss goodbye.

The rest of the stay in the hospital was very uneventful, which is a good thing. Reagan slept like a pro both nights and I had to wake her for feedings. She did lose a little weight, left the hospital at 8lbs 4ozs, but that is a pretty standard occurrence in newborns.

Now we’re home and busy as ever. Mostly cuddling and figuring out what the routine is when you have a newborn and a toddler. Caitlin continues to b e an awesome big sister with no jealousy in sight. I couldn’t have dreamed for a better outcome. She says goodbye to her when she leaves for day care and comes and checks on her when she gets home. She gives Reagan hugs and kisses when we tell her it’s OK and she gets concerned when Reagan cries (and tries to hand her a binky). I really hope that this trend continues.
And with that I better get some lunch while I can. I’ve already been trying to type this up in my limited free time the past few days. Food is a must if I plan to make this breastfeeding thing work!

More updates soon…

~L

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