December 6 is not only the day St. Nicholas is commemorated in the Orthodox Church (see the previous post for more about him) but also our young Buttercup's birthday. Last night as I watched her sleeping, it occurred to me that there are things that I did for the first three, in some fashion, but never did for her. One was to create a "Dear You" book. For each of the first three - to lesser and lesser degrees - I began journals in which I wrote down thoughts and notes and memories for them to carry with them in the future. This blog has largely taken the place of those books. Keeping up with four was just too difficult because I had so much to say!
So here is a bit of her "birth story" - for it's good, bad and funny - mostly, just for her.
Happy Birth-Day! Maybe 15 or 20 minutes old here (? Someone will have to correct me in the comments!)
My water broke unexpectedly - and at home. After four children, this is a first for me. It also is not a good sign because events go quickly for me once that happens. I have the greatly appreciated fortune of a long early labor (the non-painful part!) but it can make gauging when to take the kids to friends' houses difficult at times. In the case of Buttercup, we had taken the boys to our priest's house the weekend before so they could spend time with his family while I faced the possibility of going to the birthing center. After "imposing" on them for three days, we went back to pick the boys up - at that point it seemed clear, we were still in the earliest "hurry up and wait" part. How very military of my children!
When my water finally did break, the priest's wife had to leave town that weekend and so they couldn't take the boys. The next nearest family that I could think of on the spur of the moment lived thirty minutes to the west of us - the birthing center was around 45 minutes to the southeast of us - if there was no traffic (thank goodness it was a weekend, otherwise driving into Annapolis can cause quite a bit of trouble!)
So as I got the kids ready, made a phone call to see if this family could come out to get the boys at the last minute, unannounced, and tried to decide if this was really the time to go (or should I wait??), Jeffery worked to help me and convince me that he really did know me "that well" and that I needed to make moves to get to the birthing center - bless his heart. I finally agreed as the contractions got stronger and I was in increasing amounts of discomfort. I was putting my coat on a short fifteen minutes later, when he came over to give me a string of names "if it's a girl." Some of the names I'd heard before, but at the time it sure seemed like they were all new and out of the blue! In the end, she has three middle names and without the third middle name, her initials would spell "MACE." God has a sense of humor - ha!
We called the family taking the boys to tell them that we were on the way - but decided with them that it would be better if they met us at our church half-way in between to pick them up. Normally, it takes about 30 minutes to get to the church building - this time it took about 18, I think. Either way, as we pulled up, they were not yet there so I called them on the cell phone. They were almost to the exit to the church but told us to go on ahead and they would follow us there. Bless them - they were willing to take on a mad-dash to Annapolis on the spur-of-the-minute. It's good to have caring friends!
I called the midwife to tell her we were coming - shoot! Answering service. Once she called back, she asked me all the standard questions: what's going on? What has happened? etc. probing to see if perhaps we didn't need to come in just yet. I told her that I was already on the way because once my water is broken, I have less than an hour (usually) before delivery. She agreed at that point!
I had also gotten in touch with our great friend Beth (the one who has the Spinster Beth blog) and she was on the way from her house to meet us at the birthing center. We have been friends with her for many years and she has been to all but one of my four deliveries - she is of immense help and is a wonderful friend to have at all times of the year! As we continued down the freeway, I believe I worried out boys a bit more as each moment passed. I alternately froze them out by opening the window and then warmed them up on closing it (it was early December, of course!) Labor is hard work.
After a point, I did not feel like I was going to make it as far as the Center so I called Beth and told her... then that "I have to go!" before hanging up on her. Poor girl spent the rest of the drive in fear that she would see our car pulled to the side of the road at any moment. She also said later that she had never been on the phone with me and heard such silence in the background! The boys were, as I said, a little unnerved, I think.
This past July 4th at about 18 months
I called the midwife and told her the same thing and she asked where we were at. As I looked up, I was greatly relieved to see that we were actually only about two or three exits away. Jeffery had cut a 40 minute drive down to about 20! Poor Beth, I did not have it in me to call her back to say we were okay. We pulled into the parking lot and the boys were hustled out by our friends and whisked away for a day of fun, Beth pulled in just behind them as I shuffled my way into the building. The birthing center only has three rooms, so I was relieved to see that (unlike the weekend before) two of the rooms were empty and I could go right in. Our lovely Buttercup was born a scant 40 minutes later.
In each of my four labors I have had some little thing stand out in my head even while in the hardest parts of labor. With Buttercup, as she was emerging, she was half-way into the world and I was sure that the midwife would do as other OB's do and help her shoulders so we moved along. This midwife just looked at me when I asked about it and said, "You're doing a great job!" with this nice smile. Hmmm... perhaps things were going well, but really? Well, okay thanks for the encouragement, I think. Either way, welcome to the world!
And our Buttercup at two years old. She'll make a lovely - if a bit forceful - lady someday!