The birth of our second daughter was quite a bit different than our first, beginning with conception. My husband and I sat with our daughter Ivy when she was about 1 and ½ years old to discuss having a sibling, this was a family decision as it impacts her just as much as us. Even though she was very young, she is also very smart and understood our discussion. She was thrilled with the idea of a brother or sister just as much as we felt the need to add another child to our family. There is a concern I think most parents have when adding a sibling of if they think they will have enough love to give this child since they already love their first so much. Of course the answer is YES! You can have 2 or 10 children and will always have enough love for them.
After a few months of trying I had the feeling I should take the test. Wanting to do something different than our first time finding out I took the test while Ivy was napping and my husband Forest was at work so I could then surprise him with a special dinner. For me this was a terrible idea because the moment the test was positive I started crying and I wished he was there with me to celebrate. I still managed to pull myself together and plan a nice dinner, announcing we were going to be parents again with the song “She’s having my baby” by Paul Anka.
Pregnancy this time around was a whole different experience. No longer being an unwed teen I felt I could enjoy her more. A few things I was certain about this time around was I absolutely wouldn’t allow myself to gain an unhealthy amount of weight and I would not let the hospital railroad me come delivery time. I would have more control over what was happening to myself and our daughter. Feeling free and confident about my decisions allowed me to really enjoy the new baby coming and preparing Ivy for her sister. I felt it was important to include Ivy in the process, letting her make name suggestions and planning the baby shower. She was anxiously awaiting the arrival of her little sister.
Throughout this pregnancy I gained very little weight (as I was still overweight from my first) and was able to keep my blood pressures low. I felt healthy and happy even until the night I went into labor. I wasn’t worried about when I was going to start but I didn’t expect the opposite of my previous experience. We had some friends over for dinner so Ivy and I went shopping. While out I kept feeling as though I was peeing myself, not gushes, but like pregnant lady laughed too hard or sneezed and wet herself a little. Had I not had a friend who had recently had the same start to labor it might have taken me a while to realize my water was leaking! I had made a point to educate myself more on pregnancy and labor but I still wasn’t sure what to do since I was not having any contractions, so I continued to make dinner, making frequent trips to the bathroom. After a few hours of this I contacted my Dr. who said it was time to come to the hospital.
This is one of my favorite parts of the whole labor and delivery experience. Being our 2nd time around we were much more relaxed than last time but our close friend Hunter was a nervous wreck about what would happen if I went into labor while Forest was at work. He so happened to be one of our guests over that night. While eating dinner I called Forest to our room to tell him it was time to go and I was just finishing packing the bag and getting Ivy ready. He calmly walked out, put on his shoes and says, “So you guys can stay and finish dinner but we’re heading to the hospital to have a baby” Hunter was so excited and emotional I thought he was going to cry. Knowing what I know now I would’ve stayed home longer but I did as I was told and headed in along with my best friend Casey who was going to stay with us throughout labor.
It’s weird going to the labor and delivery floor while not contracting. You sit around with your support team wondering why the hell you’re here instead of at home relaxing. Once again I was given Pitocin to progress faster and started contracting shortly after. We were all in good spirits so we welcomed friends and family in as labor progressed. I certainly didn’t want a repeat of Ivy’s birth so I planned on holding off as long as possible before getting an epidural. I voiced my concerns to the anesthesiologist about my last one so he took care in making sure I was comfortable but not unconscious!
The three of us decided to rest before it came time to push, the nurses don’t make that very easy as you have to be turned side to side every half an hour after getting an epidural and they continued to adjust the belts as baby wasn’t wanting to cooperate very well. They decided to do an exam when having difficulty finding her heartbeat and almost immediately the nurse snapped off her gloves and starting turning on all the lights. To my surprise she announced, “Her head is right there, I need to get the Dr.!” I had to wake Forest to tell him “Hey, we’re having a baby really soon!” He was barely able to stretch before the room was full of nurses, a baby warmer and the Dr. shining bright lights on me.
I was already feeling ten times better at this point than with Ivy’s birth and I was ready to meet my little girl. Although I still wasn’t able to feel much from my belly to my feet I felt more in control and confident in delivering. After about 15 minutes of pushing I was told to stop as Kairi slipped right out weighing 6lb6oz at 1:09am. She was brought to my chest, alert and hollering, announcing herself. It felt so amazing having her immediately with me that I couldn’t stop crying and smiling. Ivy, who had stayed up all nights thanks to grandparents and sugar, came right in to meet her baby sister. This time feels so special, getting to bring your family together for the first time. I could tell things were different this time, I had more energy after she was born. I felt ready to enjoy my family instead of worrying or stressing about how we were going to manage 2 little kids like I thought I would.
Kairi taught us in her first few days that just because they were sisters didn’t mean they were anything alike. She slept beautifully, breastfed like an old pro and was happy almost all the time. She and Ivy bonded right away, they loved being together. I learned a lot during this pregnancy. I learned how to treat my body right and to educate myself so I could feel in control and not controlled during the birth of my children. This is my experience to remember for the rest of my life and I made sure it came with positive memories instead of regrets.
Kairi is now a bright, quirky 9 year old who has a hilarious personality. She’s taught me to be a better mom, to let go and to have more fun with my family.