1 Month

Dear Zoe,
A few days ago you turned one month old. It has flown by impossibly fast and I find myself eyeing the day that is swifly coming when I will have to leave you and go back to work. My baby, you have no idea how hard that is going to be for me. I am tearing up just thinking about it.
This past month was full of learning. For me, learning how to be a Mom. For you, learning how to function in this new place. It hasn't been easy, but I'm so glad to be by your side as we take on the newness together. Already I know you are smart and strong. You follow things with your eyes like a champ, you love to exercise, look at bright colors, and listen to me sing and read to you. You're learing to grab onto things, learning to calm yourself, and starting to develop a schedule. Plus, you've been able to hold your head up well from practically day one! You are a snuggler. In fact, you are curled up right now in a sling over my shoulder as I type. I can't wait to see you grow and learn and experience the world. Since this month was spent doing a lot of learning on both our parts, I would like to use the rest of this letter to tell you how you came into the world.
From the day you were born I knew that you had a tendancy to do things your own way in your own time. I was scheduled to be induced on June 30th at 5:30 in the morning. You decided that wasn't soon enough and started labor at 1:08 am...a mere two hours after I had gone to bed. I had experienced cramps before...but nothing like this. I immediately began to time them...and they kept getting worse and worse. Finally, shortly after 2 am, your Dad woke up to me crying and I told him my contractions were 7 minutes apart. After another contraction we decided we'd better get up because I wanted a shower and we needed to wake up Grandma N. I went and woke up grandma and ended up have two more contractions 5 minutes apart. After another contraction at 3 minutes apart, we decided to bag the shower and headed to the hospital.
We arrived at the hospital sometime after 2:30 am. Can you believe they make a laboring mother stand there and fill out paperwork contractions and all? Finally we were sent to a room. They actually asked me if I'd like a wheelchair and I was relieved to say yes. Walking into the hospital was bad enough. Once we got to our room, my nurse came in and checked on me. She was the nicest lady! I was dialated to a 6 and things were progressing well. I told her I wanted the epidural as soon as possible since I was already in a giant amount of pain. Zoe, when you grow up and have children, take a birthing class. The breathing techniques they teach you was the reason (besides encouragement from Grandma and Dad) that I made it through un-medicated contractions. The nurse came back and said, "Well, do you want the good news or the bad news first?" I said, "The bad news." She told me the bad news was the anesthesiologist was in the middle of a ceserean and it would probably be another 45 minutes before he could do the epidural. The good news was that he was at the hospital. It definitely was bad news because all I wanted was to have a little relief from the constant pain. The nurse gave me a small painkiller through my IV (which I never felt take effect) and we waited. I just closed my eyes and concentrated on breathing and staying calm through each contraction. Finally, over an hour later, the anesthesiologist came! To be honest, I was more scared about the epidural than any other aspect of labor, but it was nothing. The "burning sensation" they warn you about when the medicine goes in was nothing compared to the contractions at that point. I didn't even care about a needle in my spine by then...all I wanted was relief from the pain. Half an hour later I really started to feel better. My legs went numb and the cramping went away. For a while, all I could feel was the tightening of my uterus...and eventually, I couldn't even feel that. It was awesome.
I spent the next few hours either talking with Grandma N, Grandma D, Grandpa K and Dad or resting my eyes preparing for later. I also got a new nurse (who was accompanied by a med student) and had to say goodbye to our amazing first nurse. Second nurse was nice too, but not in the same way. After a few hours of waiting my nurse came in and informed me that, unfortunately, the epidural had drastically slowed down labor. I wasn't contracting often and I had stopped dialating. So, they decided to put me on Oxytocin to get things going again. They started me on a high dose to get things moving. As we were waiting for things to progress again, you had several small drops in heartrate, I had to be put on oxygen and the medication had to be turned down. A few hours later, the nurse came in to say my doctor would be there to break my water soon. They decided to try turning up the medication again, since I had already spent hours laboring. Again, you wouldn"t be rushed and, suddenly, the high dose of medication began to cause a major drop in your heartrate. You gave us all a great scare as your heartrate dropped clear down to 60 bpm! I was frantic as the nurse chased you around my belly with the monitor, looking for a heartbeat. We couldn't get a clear one so she decided to go ahead and break my water herself so she could put a monitor on your head. After turning down the meds again things settled down and we were back to waiting. Labor was long as we waited for one tiny peice of cervix to move out of the way and for your head to drop down into the birth canal.
With some help from the nurse, we finally got that peice of cervix to move out of the way, but still your head was not dropping. So, the pushing began. Zoe, Mom worked really hard for two whole hours to get you here. I pushed through nearly every contraction for that entire time working to get you here. It was hard and I was so tired. Grandma N and Dad each held one leg as they watched for contractions and counted out how long I'd have to push. Soon, the doctor came in and I knew the end was near. I kept pushing as they prepared my bed and the room for delivery. Finally, your little head began to crown and Dad and Grandma both started crying as they noted how much dark hair you had. I tried to concentrate on pushing with renewed effort as they mumbled through their counting and Grandma N yelled to Aunt K, "Take Pictures!!!" After a few more pushes your head came out and everyone gushed about your chubby cheeks. One more push and you were here! I laughed through my tears as the docor exclaimed, "Whoa, that's a big baby!" Dad and I cried together as the nurse put you on my belly and took your vitals and we listened to your cries. I couldn't get over how beautiful you were and I was so happy that you were finally here. Then they took you over to the warmer to get your skin nice and pink and make sure you were ok. It seemed like forever before they wrapped you up and brought you to me. I finally got to take a good look at you, kiss you, and hold you. Zoe, you are my little miracle. From the moment I found out I was pregnant I knew I would love you like I had never loved before. As I was holding you for the first time, I loved you instantly and I always will. I'm so glad to have you in my life.

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