Hello! I’m alive! And yes indeed, baby girl is here! Sorry to keep ya waiting. After a few weeks of keeping this news to ourselves and close friends and family, I am excited to share with you guys the birth story of this sweet pea…
Rosalie entered the world on August 13th, 2020 – surrounded by sparkly sunbeams, blue sky windows and palm trees. I will forever remember those glittering eyes, wide with excitement, looking up at me for the very first time.
She seemed so happy to meet us! I looked down at her pink cheeks and wiggly arms and finally felt like this was REAL. All the anxiety and worry leading up to that moment, washed away.
Something clicked and suddenly I had the privilege of being Rosalie’s mom. We love her so much and my cheeks are sore from all the smiling. It’s pretty much impossible to feel anything but grateful and happy when I look at her face.
Tired AF + in the trenches of newborn life as a first time mom, in a pandemic, but Rosalie makes every second feel fresh and new and hopeful – and like any challenge, we can tackle together.
First Time Mom Feels
Magical, soul-changing and expectedly challenging is how I would describe these past few weeks as a first time mom.
This little ball of love has swiftly made herself the star of our home. It’s like I’ve known her my whole life, and I finally feel complete. Queue that Tom Cruise Jerry Maguire quote and Bruce Springsteen “Secret Garden” song. (90’s ppl you know that one, yes?) And tears.
Every time I pull her to my chest and settle her in my arms, I feel her saying, “This is what you’ve been waiting for, mom! .. What took you so long anyways?”
Oh, just a few things miss Rosalie.
Time Off for Mom
These past few weeks, being off social media, have been really special.
The private moments, reflections and huge learning curve of every new day with a newborn. I skim headlines on Twitter, but overall, I’m being ‘checked out’ just feels right.
It’s funny how that addictive pang to scroll Instagram or shuffle through tweets totally left me once she was here. Pregnancy felt like a bit of a bubble, but the newborn baby bubble is built even thicker, painted in pearlescent rainbows and glossy sweet cuddles.
But the DMs and worried text were ramping up this week, so I knew I had to post something soonish. Birth story time…
Rosalie’s Birth Story
Sunday: August 9th. At just about thirty-nine weeks, to our surprise, Rosalie flipped herself from breech to head down. For me, that meany cancelling my c-section and scheduling an induction for the upcoming weekend.
Aug 12th. But then a blood pressure spike on Wednesday night prompted me to text my doctor. She sent us to L&D and within a few hours I was being admitted to start an earlier induction. I was never preeclamptic, but since my scheduled induction was just a few days later, my doctor said I could stay. Baby and I were ready.
(For me personally, being 39 and having done IVF, my doctor didn’t want me going past 40 weeks anyways…)
On the way out the door, one last kitty hug….
The air was cool and crisp when we stepped out of our car at the hospital entrance. Masks on and bags in hand, we went through the COVID temperature checkpoint and entered the very empty-feeling hospital. Lights dim, footsteps echoing, not a soul around except for the security guard at the check-in table. We quietly rounded the corner to the elevators and took a few deep breaths.
Labor and Delivery was also dark and quiet. However, that was a calm façade. Apparently L&D was packed with “plenty of babies being born tonight,” according to one nurse.
Of note, I just happened to get my required pre-labor COVID test earlier that day. It was negative, which was a relief. And the nasal swab test wasn’t bad at all.
Induction to Birth
All settled into our room, my induction started around 1AM Thursday morning. One dose of meds was all I needed to have my water break on its own a few hours later and then proceed to be fully dilated by the next afternoon.
Those precious overnight hours were intense and exciting and painful yet so amazing too.
“Everything Hurts and I’m Dying”
You know that Parks & Rec, Amy Poehler GIF? Yeah, that.
As the sun rose in a soft pink sky, I could finally see the view from our window. Palm trees. Buildings. The roof of a parking garage. It was still empty – no cars. As the day went on, watching the parking lot fill with cars was a nice distraction from the pain. It was manageable for a while then, very much not.
Sometime after breakfast trays were delivered and pushed to a corner, uneaten, I told my nurse, “With every contraction I feel like I’m going to either throw up or pass out.” My nurse looked at me with her dry comical face and said, “Well that’s not good.”
Later that morning, she said to me, “So yeah, I think you should get the epidural.” I was holding off until the last minute, but I definitely hit a pain threshold that was stressing out my body. Let me just say that for me, getting the epidural saved my ass. It was the best decision for me. It helped me relax, nap and have my wonky blood pressure come down too.
As my back was prepped for the epidural, I just remember food staff coming in and trying to take our meal orders for lunch and dinner. It was slightly comical to hear my husband remind everyone that “she’s vegan” and have to sort through all the possible options with them all while I was in contraction mode and about to get a giant needle in my back.
But nerves aside, the epidural process was easy. And soon enough a fuzzy warm feeling replaced those sharp jabs of pain that had knocked me to the floor just a few hours ago.
Afternoon Sunbeam Naps
Those next few hours, the sharp yellow sunbeams of morning mellowed to warm pools of gold, coating the room in a soft, warm glow. My husband passed out asleep and I swiftly followed along – I mean, as much as possible with all the frequent nurse visits.
It felt so good to catch up on a tiny bit of sleep since we were up all night.
Around 4pm, I had my second dilation check. My nurse looked up at my groggy, nap-drunk face and said,“Oh wow. Ok, so I can see her head, time to have a baby.”
My eyes popped open and a huge smile spread on my face.
The nurse left to go page my doctor and gather the delivery team.
I turned to my husband who was still completely passed out in his nap sunbeam…. It took a good few shouts to get him to wake up. I think he knew it was his last ‘deep sleep nap’ for a while.
And She’s Out!
Push. Push. A few more. Gasp for air — through your mask. (Yes, I pushed in a mask. Hospital policy. It was fine.)
Then suddenly, HELLO! She was out! I only pushed for fifteen minutes, which was a very welcome surprise.
August 13th, 2020 – Birth Day
I will forever remember Rosalie’s glittering eyes looking around the room.
All I really remember about that post-labor time was having the room buzz around me all while this tiny little girl, with big sparkly eyes, snuggled on my chest, chugging away like a pro. It was the BEST feeling in the world.
We cuddled under the blankets for a few hours before being transferred to the post-delivery unit. My epidural started to wear off swiftly so I could move my legs a bit. I was up and walking around a few hours later.
Total time from hospital arrival to baby in my arms: around 17.5 hours. Pretty much a million times better than I ever expected.
I did tear a bit so my stitches have been painful, but totally manageable.
First Family Dinner
First time mom, first dinner as mom. That first night all together in the hospital, we ordered Veggie Grill for dinner -since hospital food is less than celebratory and despite COVID, food delivery was allowed. Though I was mostly chugging coconut water and staying hydrated, taking it easy with food.
And really, we were all anxious to get the masks OFF, get out of the hospital and head home.
Due to COVID, we were able to request a pretty swift go-home time. We left the next day, Friday night around 8PM.
Being home has been blissful. That first week, we shared so many happy moments, firsts and happy tears. Ok, a few random sleep deprivation + overwhelmed + crying baby tears too, let’s be real. But the smiles and giggles are totally winning over here.
I’ve been trying to snap photos, but honestly, I just want to cuddle and be cozy with her too!..
Trying to not put too much pressure on myself to take every photo possible, have a spotless house and also make sure everyone is kept up to date. I wish we had some friends and family over here, Facetime can only share so much, but trying to have patience to get to share this little bug in person with our people.
For now, it’s just us. And that’s pretty great too.
The little notes, texts, flowers and gifts sent our way have made us feel really loved. Love this uber-creative Pop Up Florist pink bouquet – thank you Cat!!!
Most days look like this. tired and happy….
She’s getting bigger every day!! I can’t believe how much she has grown already.
The best daddy award goes to…. she loooooves her daddy time.
My favorite thing ever, playing Disney lullabies on my Alexa and just snuggling with this girl in the late afternoon.
How Are the Kitties?
When I walked through the front door cradling a milky, soft, sleepy baby the kittens were in shock — but not too scared! They sniffed her a bit then tip-toed out of reach and observed. They have been the best big brothers ever since.
Mr.White has brought Rosalie his fave toys – his beloved stuffed mice. And Sochi loves sitting close to her when she’s eating or resting. They are just like us, getting used to the changes and trying to catch up on sleep whenever possible!
..I can tell they love her just as we do.
So that’s it! That’s Rosalie’s birth story, the icing on the blush pink cake.
These first few weeks have been intense and exhausting, but blissful. I’m sleep deprived, tired, my body is figuring out how to move post-bowling ball in your belly, and I’m pretty mentally fatigued too. But all the very hard parts are dulled by the happiness and love I have for this girl.
First Time Mom
Breastfeeding is a BEAST and I’m busy figuring out this new crazy schedule, but I feel grateful to be up and about feeling healthy. I’ll go more into life as a first time + new mom in my next post though!
And after everything – so many years of work and grief and pain and hope to get here — I am just endlessly grateful to have this little love bug in our lives. Even when she is overly tired or struggling with tummy troubles and starts wailing louder than you’d ever imagine tiny lungs to wail, her little face all wrinkled up and red, I still think “Wow. This is real. I get to do this. Hard parts and all.”
I guess I am still in the ‘I could sit and stare at her for hours’ phase … I hope it never ends. Something tells me it won’t.
We are in love.
I love being Rosalie’s mommy.
I hope you enjoyed this little mini birth story!
Thank you for taking this journey with me and sharing in my joy and even the hard stuff I have shared. And for all the supportive, kind and wise comments and DMs sent my way.
And don’t worry, when I feel ready, I’ll be back to posting recipes per usual. I can’t wait! Two girls in the kitchen is always better than one.
Sending lots of love!
ps….Rosalie helped a bit with this post…. Of course she had final photo approval!