I decided to take a break from watching the twentieth House Hunters of the week and post an update.
Of course, I’m able to watch couple upon couple bicker about The Budget and paint color on HGTV because my dear mom arrived the day our new little girl, Therese Marie, arrived. She’s been an incredibly easy baby: sleeps, eats, gains weight. I didn’t know they came this way and I’m hoping her easygoing nature will make her a good buddy for her whirlwind of a big brother.
Her birth keeps with the easygoing theme. I had been having unproductive contractions for a couple weeks and figured there was no way I’d have a baby by my due date since Christopher came a full 13 days past his. But at a weekly checkup the Friday before Thanksgiving, my midwife said I was already 6cm dilated and if anything changed, I should rush to the hospital to avoid having a baby in our bathroom. Chris and I scrambled to finish everything up in the house and I started waking up every morning disappointed and surprised that I was still pregnant. This went on through Thanksgiving and a visit from Chris’ family. The midwife stripped my membranes at the next checkup, which convinced me I’d go into labor the next day but instead just set off 36 hours of false labor that, thankfully, I could still sleep through.
Her due date, November 29th, came and went with only a tentative trip across town to return some curtains at Bed Bath & Beyond, where I was convinced my water would break and I’d have to give birth on one of those unrealistically short floor room beds. I avoided that horror and came out with new curtains, so score?
My mom flew out for Christopher duty the next day and while we hung out over dinner, talking/ranting about the election, I felt a contraction that was a bit more hurty (technical term) than normal. Chris got home and I called the midwife and fifteen minutes after he scarfed down dinner we were at the birth center at hospital. I checked in and went straight to the birthing suite where my favorite midwife was on call and said I was 8cm. Boom.
I labored on the birthing ball, which was my favorite thing with Christopher. My strategy for contractions is to channel Ina May and make sure I’m totally limp while focusing on something random. With Christopher, it was a leafless tree out the window while I contemplated how it would be spring soon and I’d have this baby sooner. This time, I was much less philosophical and stared at the pregnant stick figure on the bed controls and just thought about how weird it was. I spent a little time in the tub and on my side and about two and a half hours later, started feeling the urge to push. Throughout my third trimester, I thought the squat bar sounded like a super great way to push. My water hadn’t broken so I asked the midwife to break it, had one crazy push, and she was out, all 8lb6oz of her. #bestlabor The nurses kept saying I had to have a ton of children because of how easy my labor was. Happy to oblige.
So punctual Therese Marie and I nursed and hung out in the hospital for two days. She actually didn’t have a name for much of that time. I had another name in mind through most of the pregnancy, but then Chris read Story of a Soul for his daily spiritual reading and encouraged me to read it too. I was very moved by the Little Flower’s abandonment to Christ and her confidence in His love, something we both wanted for our little girl. About a week before her due date, we thought we would name her Therese, but we wavered when we actually met her. She is definitely our Therese now, but it looked dicey there for a little bit and it was a bit embarrassing to tell nurse after nurse that her name was still Baby Girl Mooney.
Christopher’s first meeting with his new sister in the hospital wasn’t quite the magical moment we envisioned. He was sort of happy to see me, not at all interested in baby sister, and pretty ecstatic to eat the pretzels that came with my hospital lunch that day.
This might be my favorite picture of all time:
“Baby sister? Hard pass.”
His first comment upon our arrival at home was “She go back to the Mommy Doctor!” but he’s since warmed up to Therese, offering to feed her bottles and even giving her a spontaneous kiss the other day. I, too, have made it back in his good graces after a couple days of the toddler cold shoulder. His sleep strike continues, but that’s not that much different than when he was an only child, tbh.
Only Grandma remained untainted by the new addition, for good reason because she was showing him the time of his life. They’ve visited the majority of transportation-related museums in the Michiana area while I got to snuggle at home with Therese and Chris wrote papers and presentations (we gotta stop having finals babies). I chalk up my surprising success nursing this time both to experience and this luxurious postpartum time of doing nothing but nurse and roll my eyes at Tiny House Hunters. I only have to supplement with formula about a third of what I had to with Christopher and she’s gaining weight like a champ. I have absolutely no problem with formula feeding, but it’s pretty gratifying to be able to nurse so much.
Chris is almost sort of done with final papers and we had a super fantastic weekend playing in the snow and I only cried a little bit getting to Mass for the first time on Sunday.
It’s helped Christopher get back to his normal self a bit to have Daddy home more. We had a sweet morning today building trains while Therese looked on in the bouncer and I hoped it was a sign of general contentment to come. My mom leaves Wednesday (panic), but I’ve got to learn sometime, right?