**Interruption -- this long post is pretty much a summary of MJ's birth story... you can skip down to see pictures instead! (Of MJ's life - not her birth!!!!! haha)**
MJ, as she will now be referred to online, made her entrance in a much different way than her big brother. With my water breaking 48ish hours before meeting AJ face-to-face, it felt like a LOOOONG exhausting ordeal. I had to be induced... then hours into real labour, I had an epidural which changes the delivery experience. Don't worry - not going into all the details... :)
This time around, I had "Braxton hicks" for the first time (never experienced that with AJ either) starting around midnight Friday night/ Saturday morning. They lasted quite awhile, eased up throughout the day on Saturday, came back more frequently again Saturday night, than eased up a bit again Sunday. I didn't go to church as I have a real fear of my water breaking in public (having experienced my water breaking at home with AJ, I certainly DO NOT want that happening in public!!)... I didn't think much of those contractions, except to wonder why I had ever WANTED to experience Braxton Hicks throughout my pregnancy... it wasn't fun. It was uncomfortable, tiring and... just made me anxious wondering if the real thing was near or not.
AJ went to church in the evening with his Dad while I sat home messaging a friend about my braxton hicks and possible early delivery... still thinking I was a couple days away but getting more certain that we'd be meeting our little girl before Jan 25. As the hour and a half progressed with the "men" away, I realized my contractions were getting a bit closer together... so I started timing. My man (E) came home with the pizza I ordered for supper, and saw my contraction timing app on my phone... he said, "Umm... please don't tell me your contractions are every 3 minutes apart like this says... aren't you supposed to call your midwife at 5 minutes apart??" I said, "Well, it was just the last few that have been that close, but they're not very long or THAT bad..." So he just nodded (as wise men do) and we sat down and ate our pizza... with me pausing every 3ish minutes for a contraction. Finally, E had had enough and said, "I really think you should call your midwife." So I did. To summarize, we went from thinking things weren't that serious, to being told we NEEDED to head to the hospital... So my man put AJ to bed, while I had our friend (who offered) come for the night to watch him while we were gone (THANK YOU Ev!!)... I then started panicking about my hospital bag which *should* have been 100% ready and wasn't... managed to get it all together in minutes.
E quickly packed the car -- including the install of the baby seat... How different the preparation for the second child is compared to the first! Around 9:50pm we were off to the hospital... with a stop at Shoppers for snacks and Gatorade... you know, the necessary labour and post delivery items. ;) The hospital parking ticket was time stamped 10:05pm. I was dropped off at the Emerg doors while the car was parked... I proceeded to walk slowly into the hospital (holding the door for 2 visitors with their hands full), and down the hall to L&D. My midwife was "patiently" waiting for me (she thought I should be in more of a hurry), and hustled me into our room.
Since I was Strep B positive, I needed to hooked up to antibiotics for a half hour or so. It was weird - while I was sitting on the bed getting my IV, etc, my contractions pretty much stalled. I was checked when I came in and was fully dilated. My body was ready. With the contractions "stalled" while sitting, I started to slightly panic that I'd *still* have to be induced even though I was ready... my midwife asked me to get up and walk for a bit once the antibiotics were in, and as soon as my feet hit the floor, the contractions came back in FULL force...
It wasn't long after that the midwife started turning on all the warming equipment, etc... then she said she was stepping out for a minute to get another midwife to come in and help... I was confused - it seemed they thought the baby was coming very shortly, and I felt like I just got there (and I had)... and didn't I have time to frantically ask for an epidural?? Apparently not. Well, it wasn't much longer... at 12:20am I was holding our precious little girl! I was in shock... glorious, adrenalin-pulsing shock that only a couple hours earlier I was eating pizza at home... and now our baby girl was HERE! Four days early... It was wonderful! Well, it wasn't... but it was... you know? :D
And the cool thing? We were home by 4am that same morning! One of the awesome benefits of using midwives... I'm not into a home birth for myself, so it's great being able to give birth at the hospital and still go home very quickly if there are no complications. In our case - we were there when AJ went to bed and we were there when he woke up! Fantastic! :)
Moments after MJ entered the world
Moments before heading home to our new life :)
A little snuggle at home before Daddy headed to bed
Bright and early in the morning -- Imagine AJ's shock when he comes downstairs to find out his little sister has arrived?? His world has changed. For the better... :)
He is quite fascinated with her... she gets lots and lots of kisses... he drops everything when she gives a cry to run and check on her... he continually checks to make sure her feet and toes are still there ;) If she's covered in blankets - he removes them... if she's enjoying some blanket-free time, he piles them on... and Mama always needs help burping baby sister! Poor girl.... ;)
She's four weeks old today... there's so much I want to say, but this is already many paragraphs too long. So I'll store them up for another post - hopefully before she's one! She's such a contented little girl (so far)... she's definitely made it easier for us transitioning from a family of three to a family of four! (Of course, my mom's help for 4 weeks has also helped! Reality is still to come....)
Mama is so in love... and also wondering where the nice dark skin tone came from??
And MJ has more hair than her big brother!
Our little family... so very blessed.
He loves his sister's accessories... ;)
MJ getting weighed by the midwife at home 4 days after coming home
Jen - our fantastic midwife!
Chats with Daddy
Grammie arrived!! YAYYYY :)
Also - think we need a van now... a little squashed.
Aunt Steffani Janelle skyping with her little namesake -- they share a middle name :)
Love from big brother
AJ trying to share his love of books with his little sister... she wasn't quite as impressed.
(don't worry - this only happened once)
Grammie has it all under control... so very thankful!
So under control in fact, that I contemplated booking a trip south for a week... ;)
Lots of new seats around the house these days...
Baby girl - we love you so so so much. Welcome to our family!!