Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Year, New Life

Our daughter was born today.

Around 9:30 I started having contractions and called my midwife an hour later. She was at my apartment around 10:45. I progressed rapidly; so quickly, in fact, that Justin barely had time to call one person to tell them I was in labor. He was really great the whole time, helping me through contractions and reminding me that, no matter how strongly I insisted, I was not going to die. ;)

After 30 minutes of pushing, Ariana was born in our bathtub at 3:49 pm. I'll never forget that moment. All of a sudden everyone just started moving around, no one was concentrating on me anymore. I didn't even know what was going on and I asked what was happening. Justin almost whispered, "That's our baby's head..."

The midwife had to suction her fully, which took a couple of minutes. Before I went into labor I promised myself I wouldn't ask if she was okay. ("If she's not okay, they'll tell me, I'm not going to ask!") All I could say, though, was, "Is she okay?" The midwife had the suction in her mouth and couldn't answer. Finally she turned to me, dropped the suction and said, "She'd better be okay, she's BITING me!" ;)

It took a couple of minutes for them to fully suction her, then with one last push Justin caught her and put her on my chest. She was slimy and gray and had a ridge on the top of her head that made her look like a gorilla and I swear to you she was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen in my life. She stayed on my chest for several minutes before they wrapped her up and gave her to Justin so everyone could get cleaned up. I fed her for the first time - she figured it out really fast! - and then, after a checkup confirming a good heartbeat, good lung function, a weight of 7 pounds 9 ounces and a length of 21 inches, Justin and I dressed our newborn baby and went to relax on the couch.

The midwife and assistant left around 6:00. I was in the living room with Justin holding Ariana when I realized how incredibly grateful I was that we were able to do a home birth. Not only did my baby never have to be separated from her mother or father for more than a few seconds at a time, but here I was, with a 2 hour old healthy child, sitting comfortably in my living room. I am so grateful.

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