Hey there blogstalkers!
(psst… there’s a pretty picture at the end of this post, and the entire post before this was JUST pretty pictures. So if that’s what you’re here for, you know where to go! 😉 )
So, before Baby Dot was born, I was asked by a couple dozen people if I’d be live-blogging through her birth. I hadn’t considered it before the first email, and honestly, I loved the idea in theory. I’m huge into journaling, and I thought live-blogging mine and Mack’s feelings throughout labor and delivery would be an awesome way to have those memories captured.
Reality, though, is a little different than theory. Most importantly, Mack didn’t want to be messing with live-blogging, and he’d be the one who’d do it since I’d obviously be a little tied up during most of the affair.
So, what to do? I wanted to be able to save our birth story, and clearly, there were at least a handful of crazy readers who were interesting in me sharing it.
We decided to take notes on our thoughts and feelings, and to put together a little Play-by-Play after the fact. And then, life happened, and I had a lightning-fast delivery, and we weren’t somuch able to breathe, much less write anything down.
It’s all still pretty ingrained in memory, though, so I’ll at least be able to tell the story, as well as share some of our favorite pictures from the experience.
Disclaimer: I am not the Discovery Health Channel, so don’t expect to learn anything scientific. However, I am also not that Duggar woman who sings about childbirth as if it’s a romp through a field of daisies… so you’ve been warned.
If you’re not interested in hearing about the Birth of Baby Dot, it won’t offend me at all for you to not read this post. We’ll post a full blog of Baby’s First Photoshoot sometime in the next week or so, and I triple pinkie promise not to muck that post up with too many words.
For the rest of you still hanging on… enjoy!
We checked into the hospital at 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 21.
We’d decided on an induction for a couple of reasons.
1) I was miserable.
2) Dot was healthy.
3) my entire family is flying out for Malibu in a few days to see my baby sister graduate from college. Now, I know that scads and scads of people give birth all the time without their parents for support, and I know Mack and I would have done just fine on our own. But my parents are our best friends in the world, and they’re so great to both Mack AND me… parents to both of us, really. We just couldn’t see having a baby without them here if we didn’t have to. Plus, it’d be easier on Jack to have his grandparents to stay with.
Oh… and we figured my mom could translate Yiddish curses if I turned out to be a vocal laborer. 😉
Anyway, we got scheduled, we checked in… rockin’ and rollin’.
Awesome thing #1: We got the good room. The Stephenville hospital has a gorgeous women’s wing and really incredible staff, so any room would have been fine, but because of great timing, we got the biggest room, closest to the nurse’s station. WIN.
We got checked, and found out I was at 4 centimeters, so in good condition to get things started quickly. We started pitocin, and broke my water at 7 a.m., and settled in for the morning.
Except… um… notsomuch.
My birth with Jack was induced, and relatively quick. Start to finish in 7 hours. But it was slow starting, and I got an epidural early, and I was comfortable through the whole thing. I visited with people, and was very conversational. Easy breezy.
This time, when the induced contractions hit, they hit like WHOA. My pain tolerance is apparently noted in my medical records as somewhat legendary, because my nurse was prepared for me to not really complain. And I didn’t complain. I’m a teeth gritter. But yeah, there was no building up to hard labor. All of a sudden, we were in it.
The nurse saw me, realized that we were cookin’ with gas, and decided to check me at 8 a.m. I had dilated another 2 centimeters and the baby had dropped fully into position.
For those of you who haven’t done this… that’s what’s known as wicked fast progress. She said it’d be smart to get the epidural if I wanted one, since it looked like it was going to go fast.
Since I couldn’t talk… I sort of nodded “Yes please” and they sent for the anesthesiologist.
Just my luck, the anesthesiologist was with another patient, so notsomuch with the hurrying.
Mack, I have to say, was incredible. He had food poisoning, and was sick as a dog. He actually threw up throughout the day, and was dizzy and nauseous. I felt terrible for him. Well… after the fact, I felt terrible for him. I’ll admit to being pretty self-centered during the actual labor itself.
So for the next hour and a half or so, we worked through it. I hummed through my contractions, and gritted my teeth, and Mack and my mom took turns rubbing my back. It was intense, but I felt productive.
At 9:30, the anesthesiologist made it into the room. I remember cheering a little, thinking, “Awesome… this is about to get easier to handle.” And it would have.
The epidural went fine… it took about a half hour. At 10 a.m., I sat back up in the bed, got the all clear from the doctor, and thought to myself, “Yay! In a few contractions, I’ll be able to get some rest.”
And then, holy mother of everything good, BAM. OW. Screeching incredible wow. (There aren’t coherent statements to describe it… mothers who’ve had natural labor will know.)
I looked at the nurse and said, “Um… we don’t have time.”
She checked me and said, “Oh wow! Yeah, you’re right. I’ll call the doctor.”
In 15 minutes, our doctor arrived, and the pretty little hotel-suite-looking laboring room we’d been in transformed in a hurry. Lights came down out of the ceiling, tables appeared out of nowhere, a warming shelf was unwrapped, and the bottom half of my bed went away.
In the short time since I’d gotten the epidural, it’d had time to numb…. my feet. Oh, and the tops of my thighs. Great. Because that’s TOTALLY where you feel pain when you birth a baby. *hand/forehead*
I requested a mirror for the pushing. Some people have acted like that’s totally crazy, but I love it. It was very empowering for me to see the progress of what I was doing… to see her head getting closer and closer to being born. When the pain really made it feel like I’d pass out any second, I could hang on to that visual… my baby almost in the world.
I’d like to say there was some sort of loving spiritual connection between Mack and I during labor, because he really did such a fantastic job of being a supportive coach. But really, I don’t remember much interaction with him. I could have been alone in that room, for all I know. I was in a zone, and I had a purpose, and we were going to get this job done.
And, we did.
At 10:43 a.m., after 20 minutes of pushing and just a little over 3 total hours of labor, Dorothy Jane McGowan made her way into the world.
I know how blessed I am. Sure, it’d have been great if the epidural worked… but to have so quick a labor, uncomplicated and surrounded by a stellar support system…. I know what a gift that is. I’m truly a lucky girl.
Our overnight stay in the hospital was actually a really lovely experience. As I’ve said, we had wonderful nursing staff who mostly left us alone. After all the visitors were gone and Jack had gone home with my parents, Mack and I sat together, with Mack rocking his new daughter, and we watched “Get Smart” and talked about how happy we were. OH! And Mack presented me with a REALLY gorgeous diamond necklace. A “Thank you for birthin’ my baby” present. Men… take note… this rocks incredibly hard. Recap: New baby, snuggling, pizza, Steve Carell, and diamonds from the love of my life. Not a bad way to spend an evening. 😉
Since then, things have been just as dreamy. My recovery has been SUPER easy compared to when I delivered Jack. I felt fully ready to go home on Thursday morning… the only reason we stayed in the hospital so long is that my doctor likes to keep his babies from 24 hours after birth. We both got a clean bill of health, and were super excited to come home.
Our luck has continued. Dorothy is a fantastic eater, and that’s helped her be a really good sleeper, too. She’s generally eating at 11 p.m., 3 p.m., and 7 a.m., which means only one “middle of the night” wake up call for her parents.
I had someone tell me, “Oh, she’ll get over that”. Um, thanks? Jack never did. Jack only ever woke up once a night, and then by 3 months was sleeping straight through the night easily. Never looked back.
I don’t understand this culture of moms trying to freak other moms out. Especially newbies who haven’t had babies yet. I can’t tell you how many horror stories I’ve heard about 30+ hour labors, emergency c-sections, babies who won’t eat or sleep. Obviously, those things happen. That’s life.
But why are those the stories we want to tell each other? Why does pregnancy and childbirth need to have this aura of fear around it?
Let’s talk about positivity! Let’s tell a new mom, “Oh, that’s great! I hope she keep sleeping so well for you!” I had a fast labor. Sure, the pain sucked. But I’m not going to lead with that when I talk to a pregnant friend or client. I’ll say, “I hope your labor is as fast as mine was… it was a dream to have everything go so quickly!”
Sorry. End of rant. 😉
What does that bring us to? The now. The now is Monday morning. Mack is at work, which makes me sad, but today is just a half-day, so that brings back the happy.
This afternoon, he’ll come home and then we’ll take Dottie to her first doctor’s appointment. The biggest decision on my plate today – What will my darling baby girl wear for her first trip to town?
As I said in the last blog post, I am so beyond blessed by the love and encouragement I’ve received from blogstalkers. Who would have thought that being so transparent in my online marketing would lead to such a great feeling of community? Mack and I really feel so supported by our friends, and clients, and friends-of-clients who’ve followed us on this journey. From the bottom of our hearts… Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!
I suppose I should tell you a little of what’s coming up.
It’s my goal this week to take some more newborn portraits of our sweet girl, and get another blog post up with all sorts of pictures for you to ogle over. The next week is both Mother’s Day and my birthday, so I’m sure there’s a post there.
Exciting: my birthday present this year is major wardrobe renovation. I lost a ton of weight before we got pregnant with Dot, and already, the baby weight is falling off pretty rapidly, so I don’t have much of anything to wear. My sweetheart is taking me Mega Shopping, and I’m so stoked!
But it won’t be too long before we’re back in action! In fact, I’ve got a set of romantic mini-shoots scheduled for May 16, and a super sneaker scheduled to hit the blog on Monday the 17th. Wow. That’s less than 3 weeks away. You can wait that long for fresh McGowan Images goodness, can’t you? 🙂
Until then… my number one priority is soaking up this sweet time with my beautiful daughter. I’m so excited that photography has given me the opportunity to be mostly home with her through her babyhood, so I don’t have to miss a moment of this.
Oh heck… here’s one more picture. She’s so gorgeous, isn’t she???
Thanks for reading this really long blogpost. See you soon!