She was welcomed into our arms at 6:54 pm on Monday the 13th of March.
It was amazing. She amazes me. God amazes me. It's good.
I would rather have just let my body do its own thing, but to eliminate the frantic rush of trying to find someone to watch the kids on a whim and dealing with a minimum of an hour and 45 minutes of commuting if anything happened during the work day meant it was safer for the baby and for me and was a better option for the big 3. So, Pitocin it was for me.
In the hospital, I settled in and got started on my IV and donned my monitors and sent the anesthesiologist packing, despite his dubious looks of "are you sure?" and "do you know what you're getting yourself into?". At noon, they ruptured my membranes and the contractions started to feel a little stronger, though they weren't registering on the TOCO at all, so they kept cranking the Pitocin and I kept pulling into myself to find strength and peace through the waves. Eventually, they switched to an internal monitor and realized that I was, in fact, contracting quite well and things progressed steadily and normally. I was in pain, but it's a good, productive pain, so I was happy enough and content to keep breathing and centering myself. Around 5:30, I started feeling more pressure and my doctor told me he had to run out, but that he would be back around 6:45. I promised him I'd wait and he dashed out.
Shortly thereafter, I was finally having to moan through the contractions to bleed off some of the pressure and relieve my body's stress. Justin took up his post next to my head and offered his hand to bolster my strength. Soon, I felt the urge to push clearly and nearly begged to do so. With just enough time to spare, my doctor sprinted in the door and, after a good push or two, I felt the unmistakable relief of her head emerging, and then the satisfying, fulfilling release of her little body joining the world.
But when they placed her on my belly, her beautiful face was purple and she was silent. Dimly, I remember Justin cutting the cord and some white towels rubbing her skin... but what I recall most was that she was silent. And so, so purple. Nearly gray.
My doctor and a couple of nurses begged my pardon and lifted her away to get a better look at the situation and I was flooded by words at random: "fluid", "breath", "lungs", "bag", "NICU". I tried to see through the commotion and think through the rush of fear and adrenaline, and I don't think I allowed myself to exhale until I heard her first feeble cry. She was alive.
Clutching Justin's hand in mine, I waited. We waited. Amidst the bustle, we were able to see her limbs taking on a healthier pink hue and between the wooshing sounds of the bag they had to use to help her breathe and the suctioning, she would occasionally cry out, each time bringing tears to my eyes and grounding me - reminding me that God is good and she would be alright.
They took her to the special care nursery (NICU) and reported back that her chest x-ray showed that her lungs were completely full of fluid and that she was stable but still needed care. They assured me that as soon as they could get her breathing on her own, she'd join us. Then, and only then, did Justin and I let go of one another. Later, they reported back to me that they were anxious to get her out of the nursery because she was crying and flailing her fists at the nurses and agitating the more sensitive babies in the nursery. She was hungry, they said with a smile, and she wanted her Mommy. My heart grew heavy with love and I felt like I couldn't love any more than that, ever. (But, of course, I do.)
At about 9 that night, I held my newest daughter in my arms and stared into her face and thanked God for all His gifts... Peyton looks like a perfect blend of all of the older kids and it was as if I was being given another chance at experiencing their births and I knew that watching Peyton grow is going to be like an opportunity to relish all of their childhoods again. She is a gift. She is a beautiful gift. A reminder to live every moment for that moment and take each breath as if it were the most important of my life.
And be grateful for the next one.
And the one after that.
So, little Peyton Bailey, who was born at 6:54 pm on March 14th, weighed 8lbs 1oz and measured 20 inches in length.
It was an easy labor and delivery; I was up after 30 minutes using the restroom. I needed no repairs and I felt refreshed and happy afterward. I enjoyed my time with my husband (even if I didn't spend much time in conversation with him) and I enjoyed feeling my body work. I savored each minute - even the painful ones - and I will forever hold in highest respect the ability of the human body to ferry life into this world.
Welcome, Squirt, to our family!
And thank you, Lord, for choosing us as her family.