Pregnancy symptoms: I had a small amount of nausea in the first trimester. I thought she would be a boy because of this. I also had nausea with baby Harold. But then came the sex drive. I didn't have this at all with baby Harold but did with my girls. So when I said I didn't really know what the baby's sex was - I really didn't! It was such a mix of both symptoms. She was riding high up until week 40. Born at week 41 on the dot!
The day before she was born I went to a birthday party where my friend Rebecca gave me strong Raspberry Leaf tea. She also gave me a bag of loose leaves to take home which we joked looked like some other medicinal foliage. I squirted a few Evening Primrose Oils up the baby channel the night before baby came - as well as took 2 a day a week before the pregnancy. This all seemed to get things moving along!
Early labor started around midnight. I fully regretted not getting enough sleep the two nights before. I was determined to keep my hoop orders moving along up until labor so I had about 12 hours of sleep over the past two days. I'm a 7-hour sleeper in the least, so I was dragging my feet a bit when bedtime came. The contractions came on stronger and more frequently at 2 am. They would last a minute and were around 2-5 minutes apart. The longer the gap, the stronger the contraction. I sat in the bath with a few candles. One lovely abundance candle given to me by Amber was my focal point when a contraction came on. Foam letters stuck to the bathroom wall were another focal point. I called my mother to come over and watch the children then Harold and I grabbed the essentials and headed to Lodi.
The car was freezing cold. The cold seemed to make the contractions come faster. My nipples would harden and then a tidal wave of a contraction would flood my body. I'm surprised cold therapy isn't used more in induction - cause boy o' girl did it work. I straddled the back seat of the van shaking my bottom and breathing through the contractions. I tried to keep my legs as open as possible the entire time to facilitate the birthing. I asked for some music and 98 Rock was what I was feeling. A few songs from my teenage years came on: Black Hole Sun, Johnny Cash's version of Hurt (a personal favorite which was background music in a Facebook video I shared during a contraction en route), and Been Caught Stealing by Jane's Addiction. --- Looking up the music video now and wow its a golden one (Watch it here).
We arrived at Lodi Memorial around 3:30 am. I sat in my wheelchair mama throne, turned in my registration paperwork, then headed to Labor & Delivery. They brought me to a HUGE birthing room. They called it the suite. I liked the sound of that! (Room 221 if you are curious). They said it was a busy night for babies. There were 4 Cesareans at the time (there was 1 more later). My nurse was a travelling nurse. She was at a location for 5 weeks then moved along. Today was her fourth day and she was pretty rough at the procedures of this particular hospital.
When I arrived I was at 8 cm. I requested an epidural, but was okay with the idea that if it didn't come in time then that would be an equally favorable outcome. The contractions started to slow when I arrived so I was sensing that my body was relaxing so that I would get that epidural! The shivers came on very strong. So much adrenaline in my body! The anesthesiologist came and had a hard time getting through the tissue around my spine. I think all that leaning over while hoopmaking tensed my back up a bit too much. He tried "the backdoor" - "the front door" - "the side door" ... then again the "other side door" and finally found the right spot. My 6:15 alarm was going off "There is No End to Love" by U2. Its been my alarm for around a month now. I LOVE that song. "Ba ba barbara - Santa Barbara..."
There was a spinal pain relief applied first. I felt like I had just inhaled nitrous oxide. Light-headed in a happy way. Could still feel the contractions but the edge was gone. Then the epidural kicked in around an hour later. They asked if I could feel my legs, rubbing on them, I said yes. Was I not supposed to? I didn't want to dose myself too much since I couldn't move my legs at all with baby Harold's epidural. So I kept it light enough that I could move my legs/body, but when I pinched myself it didn't hurt.
Dr. Russel came in around 9:30 and checked me, still at 8. The lip was in the way. She said she was able to get it to a 9. Then another hour later, 9 "and a half." They asked me to continue to "labor down" while they did another cesarean. At this point I felt a little forgotten. I had been at 8 and laboring down now for around 7 hours. I felt the urge to push a few times but knowing everyone was busy kept me from bearing down into that feeling too much. I just held my left or right leg up while laying sideways and doing my little booty wiggle. (My arms felt that for a few days after - what a workout!) 2 or 3 contractions then turn, repeat. Didn't have music - would've been nice though. Didn't even think about it!
At noon they came in again and said the anesthesiologist was having problems with the other woman's epidural. I thought this guy must be off his game today! They had a little time to help me along. They were able to move over the lip and it was time to push at 12:15. I held under my thighs and pulled my legs. I took the energy from pulling my legs and redirected it into my sacrum. Her head was showing on push 2, and she was out with push 3. The doctor asked Harold, "What's the sex Dad?" he said "It's a girl!" 12:26!
They placed her on my gown - would've liked skin to skin right away but totally didn't think about. (I loved the warm skin-to-skin squishiness with Zora and Willow.) She let out a gurgly cry. Harold cut the cord, then they took her to the warming station a few minutes later so they could use the blue bulby thing to get the gunk out of her throat. After she came out it I still felt like I had a small baby in there. I birthed the placenta and was back to normal.
At first glance I didn't know her name yet, but she did look wise to me. I had a "wise" name picked out. After the commotion settled I held her close while she nursed. She nursed for a half hour on both sides. A natural! They asked her name again - no name yet sorry!
The three names I was liking as the day went on: Athena Grace, Raven Elizabeth, and Sequoia Joy. Raven was a boy name too - but one of the definitions said "a thieving person" - also my mother HATED it. "THAT'S THE DEVIL" - Silly mom. I still love ravens and will have tattoos of them someday. But the thieving person didn't sound too good. Also the numerology on Raven Elizabeth Grieco = 7 Seclusiveness was one of the traits and I wasn't feelin that was her. (I grabbed the name numerology here.) Also I hated that show "Just Raven" on Disney... and she wasn't 100% dark-haired from what I could see. So no Raven. Sequoia Joy and Athena Grace were both 5 numbers. Traits being talented and mutable. Sounds like a good personality for "the baby" to have. I liked them both, but Sequoia Joy was a little hard to say. It reminded me of a game I played with the girls earlier in the week: "Say 'toy boat' 4 times fast!" Athena Grace it is!
So then she had a name! We are co-sleeping, she has half the King size bed to herself with a pillow barricade. She nurses for about 45 minutes, we stare at each other for 20 minutes, she nurses again for 15 minutes, and sleeps for 2 hours. She is so small and smells so good. I am completely in love. There is no end to love!