This is a much overdue post as we have been busy getting acquainted and settled in with our new baby girl, Brooke Isabelle, and our new family dynamic of four. Honestly, so far everything has been easier than I had expected and there have been so many precious moments that will forever be engrained in my memory, or at least I hope so.
Saturday, December 4th started much the same; Reese and I woke to watch Frozen and then Bryan made us bacon and pancakes for breakfast. However, I was already having the lightest of contractions as soon as I was awake and it was about 10 am that I had a feeling that this was going to be the day, or at least the day in which labor started, maybe not the actual delivery of our new baby. It was a rainy day and the three of us moved throughout the day like usual, playing with toys, taking a nap (Reese fell asleep on me which is not her usual but was oh so sweet), for me reading a book and for Bryan working on his home brew setup. Things were slow moving to start but around 3-4 pm things started picking up speed and intensity. We communicated this to Sarah, who was going to be taking Reese for the night, and started getting ourselves ready to leave for the hospital. We met Sarah and Lottie at the hospital as they had been north already at a friend’s party, and I gave Reese a big hug and kiss goodbye. You could tell she was nervous but in good hands with her best friend and an adult she knows extremely well.
Bryan and I headed to the childbirth center and checked in at about 5:30 pm and moved in to our palatial labor and delivery room where we sat in anticipation for a bit while also watching the beginning of the Big 10 Championship Game between Michigan and Iowa. Bryan may or may not be thrilled that his first photos with our newborn were wearing maize and blue! We had our favorite midwife on duty and the same midwife that helped us through labor with Reese. We also were greeted by our labor and delivery nurse, Ann Hathaway, who was something else and a whole other story. We were told to go ahead and get settled, order dinner before it was too late for that, and I was brought out a birthing ball to sit on to get things going.
That ball and dinner worked as by the end of the meal my contractions were much more intense and I wouldn’t have been able to stomach eating anything at this point. I was working through contractions with my support of Bryan by my side until about 9 pm and was checked again and was at 6 cm. At this point I was working through the pain but was ready to get the epidural before it was too late to do so. Once I had the pain relief I had about an hour of comfort and then started feeling the contractions heavily again, now understanding that this was due to the baby moving down where the pain blockers are no longer as effective. At about 10:40 pm I said that I was feeling the urge to push and the midwife checked me and that I was. I pushed for 8 minutes and then was handed my new baby girl who was placed in my arms. In comparison with the delivery of Reese where it seemed like we had 10+ people in the room with us at the time of delivery, we had two nurses and a midwife in our room at this point. It seemed surreal at how peaceful everything felt.
Brooke seemed so much smaller than Reese did and much quieter but in reality Brooke weighed in at 7 lbs 3 oz and 20″ and Reese weighed in at 7 lbs 10 oz and 19.5″. We had some time with the first nursing session and checking of her vitals before we were both cleaned up and then helped moved to a smaller postpartum room. We spent the next day and a half resting, recovering, and getting to know one another. Brooke took to breastfeeding without any problems. We got our celebratory dinner and quietly opened up a good bottle of red wine to celebrate our new daughter. My mom was able to come visit for some time in the room with me but we were only allowed two guests per day so she was the sole visitor aside from Bryan. Bryan helped retrieve Reese from Lottie’s house and get my parents settled at home before coming back to join me. And after only about 90 minutes of sleep that first night, both Bryan and I fell asleep at 6:30 pm, post dinner, and managed to get some more sleep after a few nurse’s wakeups. We were discharged from the hospital at about noon on Monday the 6th. Reese did so well while we were away, getting treated to a spaghetti dinner at home with my parents and watching the Incredibles before bed. She went to school Monday and Bryan and I were eager to pick her up from school before bringing her home to meet Brooke. I was so excited to see my big girl and give her a hug again.
Back home Reese got to meet her new baby sister. She was hesitant to hold her at first but that was the last time she was hesitant. All day everyday she wants to hold “Baby” and she does really a great job holding her and is getting better by the day. She’s not shared any signs of jealousy towards Brooke but was definitely more emotional the first week with everything going on. This has seemed to die down and she has been telling Brooke how much she loves her all the time and wants Brooke to lay in her bed with her at bedtime every night.
With my parents in town for the week we had several great homemade meals and a few takeout meals as a family. Blessedly, Reese sat at the table with the family and did well eating (she has a new cushion for a booster seat that I think helps) and Brooke slept or laid quietly in her swing every night to allow us to eat meals in peace, something Reese never let us do early on. We kept Reese home on Tuesday to spend the day with us and she got to go to the Gymnastics Academy with Bryan and my parents for their Indoor Playground which she loved but didn’t want to leave. We also took a big excursion out as a family, getting a quick dinner of dumplings in Bellevue and breaking out the double stroller to walk over and watch our first parade at the nightly Snowflake Lane celebration. Reese had a blast, even though she was freezing, both with the dumplings and then getting a light up balloon and waving at all of the parade participants. Definitely a worthwhile trip for all of us.
Reese also elected to stay home with everyone on Friday which ended up being a great day of going to her favorite park with the blue slide and later getting Pagliacci’s Pizza when Sarah and Lottie came over to have dinner with all of us and meet Brooke. We tried to take her to the Inflatable Zone on Saturday morning but the Zone was full so the girls and my parents went to the Magnusson Park playground instead and took a walk since it was actually a rain-free morning. And finally, Reese got to start her new gymnastics class on Sunday morning and even though the parents are not allowed to stay and watch, Reese’s first comments to me when I picked her up was, “Mom, I had fun!”
We said goodbye to my parents on Sunday around noon and then we were truly a family of four. We’ve had visitors every day since though and it’s been nice to see people and has brought with it meals and a playmate for Reese. Bryan and I have enjoyed some peace and quiet the past two days while Reese has been at school. Brooke is truly easy at this point so we’ve been able to shower, read books, clean, and go on walks. We have another week and a half of these days before Reese is off for a holiday break and then Bryan will be going back to work for two months while I am at home. Cherishing these days with his company! Fingers crossed things keep going as well as they have been for us.