I figured I'd begin by writing about the birth of our sweet baby girl. I wrote about Jack's birth and am so glad I did. There are so many things you forget. The details become foggy all too soon!
Maggie was due on December 14, but she decided to arrive fashionably late, making her debut December 19. I was ready for her to come about a week before her due date, so the fact that she was five days past the due date was very frustrating (at the time)! My mom came a week before Maggie was due to help me around the house and be here to watch Jack once I went into labor. Her plan had been to stay two weeks so that she could help once we brought Maggie home as well. As each day passed over the 40 week mark, we began to wonder if my mom would still be here once our little one arrived. So we were extremely grateful she didn't wait too much longer!
On December 18, which happens to be Josh's birthday, my next door neighbor, who is a massage therapist, offered to give me a massage. She worked on key pressure points and used tuning forks to help induce labor. I had no idea if it would be successful, but I was more than happy to give it a try (I had tried everything at that point), plus I figured it would feel really good! It was so sweet of her, and did help me relax a bit.
After the massage I went to a doctor's appointment. She and the nurse were surprised to see me again. It's pretty bad when the entire staff of your doctor's office is saying "Still here?" when you come in. I was not very dilated at that point and was not having any contractions, so she stripped my membranes to see if that would help speed things along. Nothing happened immediately, so I continued to be frustrated with the fact that I was still pregnant.
After the appointment I decided to go to Anthropologie to pick up a hot buttered rum candle by Illume, which they only sell during the holidays. This is the most incredible smelling candle. My mom and I are obsessed with them. Anyway, I figured walking around ABQ Uptown might do the trick. I did not start going into labor in Anthropologie or at the shopping center, but we never know, the lovely scent of Anthropologie may have helped Maggie begin to make her way into the world later that night. I also stopped by Satellite Coffee to drown my late pregnancy sorrows in my favorite drink, the Carmel Java.
I don't remember what all I did the rest of the day, (probably just complain to my mom about still being pregnant) but around 8:00 I began to have mild contractions. I was pretty sure (and hopeful) it was the beginning of labor, but it was difficult to know for certain. And I kept thinking it was inevitable that I would be pregnant the rest of my life, so I didn't want to get my hopes up too much. Josh had stayed up at work late that night. He was trying to finish up as much work as he could in case I went into labor. He said having a baby due "sometime around the 14th but never really knowing when she would arrive" made scheduling very difficult. Typical girl, she was already causing her daddy trouble. So I called Josh to tell him that I was pretty sure contractions were starting so he should wrap up what he's doing and head home. I also asked him to pick me up a burrito and some chips and salsa at Twister's on his way home. I needed a good meal if I was going to be up all night, right?
My contractions continued, and I did my best to get them to speed up. I walked around my house, up and down the stairs, and even went for a short walk outside. Josh joined me outside, even though it was freezing and he was much warmer inside by the fire. The contractions didn't seem to be getting much stronger, so around 10 or 11 we decided to try to get some sleep. Josh fell asleep, but I kept feeling contractions, so I paced our room timing them and once again trying to speed up labor. Around 1:00 am they were finally five minutes apart for about an hour, so I called the doctor, and they told us to go ahead and come in. By this point, the pain was much more intense. I have a tendency to get upset with Josh for driving too fast at times, but that night I was very grateful he was paying little attention to things like speed limits. We live about 20 minutes from the hospital, but I think that night we made it in less than 15 minutes.
When we parked, I felt like Josh was taking way too long to get our stuff out of the car (I'm sure he was not, but the pain was getting really bad). We went up to the labor and delivery floor, the nurse checked to see how dilated I was, and I was already 5 cm. So they admitted us and sent us straight to a labor and delivery room. By the time they began giving me my epidural, it was about 4:00 and the pain was getting so bad, I cried during the last contraction. I was very happy to receive an epidural!
Then the nurse told us we could wait and take a little nap before the doctor came in to check on me if we would like, and we told her that would be great (my doctor was not on call that night, but the doctor that was ended up being good, which we were very thankful for). Well, she didn't get a chance to tell him, so around 5:00 he came in to see how we were doing. This turned out to be a good thing, because when he checked to see how dilated I was, he said, "Well, you're at 10 cm and your water just broke! I think it's time for you to have a baby!" Josh and I were both shocked this was happening so fast because it was so different from our experience with Jack. So the nurses came in and got everything ready and I began to push.
Margaret Anne arrived at 5:29 am weighing 8 lbs., 1 oz. (small compared to Jack who was 9 lbs., 4 oz.) and 20 inches long. She had a full head of dark brown hair, also very surprising as Jack had just a little blonde hair when he was born. Although it seemed labor would never begin, once it finally did, she came pretty fast, which we were very grateful for!
We spent one night in the hospital, and were itching to get home and introduce Jack to his new little sister. Plus, we were just ready to be out of the hospital and comfy at home. We don't remember feeling that way as much with Jack, but maybe that's because he was our first and we liked having the help from all the nurses! I also think the fact that Christmas was so close made us more ready to be home as a family enjoying the holiday. Other contributing factors may have been the noisy construction outside our window at the hospital and the completely non-soundproof walls there, which enabled us to hear every crying baby and loud conversation in the rooms next to and above us.
My mom was here for a few days after Maggie came home and my dad came up and joined her. My sister and her husband also came that weekend, so it was fun to have all of them meet her. Josh's parents came the following week and spent Christmas with us. We were so thankful to have the help of our family as we transitioned into being a family of four. It was also fun to have a relaxing Christmas with my in-laws. My mother-in-law cooked Christmas dinner so I was able to sit back and rest. They also took Jack out to play, to the movies, and other fun activities so that he could have fun and we could rest. They even watched both kids for awhile so Josh and I could get out of the house for a break. It was wonderful!
Jack is loving being a big brother. He is so sweet to Maggie. It is so much fun to see them together, and I look forward to watching them grow up with one another!
It's been so different this time around having already experienced the new baby phase with Jack and having him to look after as well. We can't focus every ounce of energy on Maggie the way we did with Jack, he still needs us and wants our attention as well. I still worry about her from time to time, but it's much less than I did when Jack was a newborn. I also can't spend my day lazing around just holding my baby, feeding her and sleeping when she does the way I did with Jack. But in many ways that has been good. It's helped me get back to normal life sooner and I think it's helping me get back into shape a little faster (although I still have a long way to go).
Overall, we have been thrilled with the new addition to our family and look forward to the days and years to come!