Our second child came into this world after much, (much) anticipation on January 11, 2021 weighing 7 lbs 6 oz; 19.5 inches long. Her name is Hermione Roux Mapes – and she is a dream! This is her entrance story:
We had been preparing Goldie for months and months; I’d had false labor contractions intermittently for weeks, and Christian and members of our family heard “maybe tonight is the night” more times than I’d actually care to admit.
This baby was comfy cozy in the womb.
But… at 39 weeks and one day — the exact timing at which her older sister came into the world — she was to make her entrance.
I began feeling contractions (nothing new there, they’d been happening for the past two weeks randomly) around midnight before ever falling asleep on Sunday/Monday 1/11/21. They felt very much like the same old contractions I’d been having, were close together in frequency and lasted a minute each. I was tracking them on an app that had been telling me the same thing erroneously for the past week: “Go to the hospital.” This was solely due to the consistency of the contractions and their length. But — this being my second pregnancy — I felt fairly confident about my ability to know for certain when it was really time to head to the hospital. I was waiting for a few telltale things, both of which involve using the bathroom — which is all I’ll say about that for the sake of your comfortability, dear reader.
Needless to say, it was all contractions and no “show” *see what I did there?!* on the previous occasions.
But! 20 minutes into these contractions, I did receive that sign of hope that this was finally it and woke Christian promptly because I was so ready for this to be real labor. The contractions also seemed to increase a bit in intensity as the night went on, so although I had wanted to labor at home as long as literally possible this time (which I did with Goldie by accident) because I had already had so many false labor nights, and I had a little bit of fear about whether the baby might be under stress, as far down in my pelvis as she was (holy pressure), we decided to head in.
We also had my in-laws in town to watch Goldie when I went into labor, and I preferred to leave for the hospital in the middle of the night while she was asleep to avoid a dramatic and tearful goodbye (on my part).
So we grabbed our bags and drove the 6 minutes to the hospital in the wee, pre-dawn hours of the morning.
When I got checked to see if I could be admitted to the hospital, the nurse announced that it was indeed baby time and that I was dilated to a four. I was so relieved and happy to know that these contractions were progressing me because at 38 weeks I’d been checked by my OB and hadn’t been dilated at all.
I decided to go ahead and get the epidural again for this birth, though I’d once again had an open mind and was curious about trying to go unmedicated, because I really just wanted some rest. The nurse who checked me thought my labor was going to go very fast (she thought my water broke after I was checked for dilation and got up to use the bathroom – but it turns out there’s many kinds of fluid you can leak during labor. Overshare? My bad.
On that note, this first nurse we had was definitely an interesting one. I told her that I didn’t think my water had broken (I remembered what it felt like with Goldie), and a nurse midwife who came in didn’t think it had either. But she acted fairly certain about it. She also told me numerous times she didn’t think I needed an epidural and that my breathing was great for a natural birth — which was fine, but did make me feel unsure about my decision. She made a couple other miscalculations as well (the first being that my water was, in fact, still intact, which my doctor later confirmed) during her time with us: like thinking I was dilated to a 10 the next time she checked me when I was really at a 5/6 (as confirmed by another nurse before calling in the doctor), believing the baby might be butt down during one final ultrasound, and placing my IV with a very shaky hand, which ended up making that process honestly one of the more painful parts of the whole birth.
I was all *positive vibes* though — and didn’t get upset about any of the above, although I won’t lie it was unfortunate thinking I was dilated to a 10 and then being told I wasn’t. The only reason I write/share this part of the birth experience at all is because it added some color and detail to the night — aaaand because it is part of the story. I think in the rush of oxytocin and bliss that happens once the baby is born, it can be easy to forget or gloss over some of the background details of birth — but the behind-the-scenes stuff is the real stuff!
This nurse eventually switched out with a new nurse when her shift ended, and the second nurse is the one who was present for the birth of our baby.
When her shift began, she checked me and baby and determined that, as I’ve made clear, baby was comfy and cozy right where she was, but that my contractions had slowed down with the epidural and that she and my doctor wanted to start me on pitocin to get things moving. This was not part of my original, ideal birth plan (although being flexible was), so I was a bit reluctant, but also felt soo ready to meet our daughter. That, combined with having a toddler at home that we wanted to get back to as soon as possible with a baby sister in tow, convinced me to “Okay” the intervention.
So they started me on pitocin and things picked right back up, and apparently I didn’t need much of it all. They took things very slowly and let my body do the rest. By the time I was ready to push, I was so excited. I hadn’t slept the entire night or morning because I’d had too much adrenaline, and didn’t let Christian get more than 30 minutes of shut-eye right before it was time to push, either, because I was just too chatty (oops).
I’d started feeling pressure, and my nurse had me try a practice push – but soon stopped me, hands in the air, because the baby was right there, and she said we needed to get the doctor into the room because she was going to come quickly once I really pushed!
But… no one was in any kind of rush, it would seem, except me. The baby showed all signs of being perfectly content and not under any stress, even as close as she was to greeting us, and apparently there was a situation in the hospital that required my doctor and the charge nurse to be present, which meant we had to wait for their arrival before I could push.
You never imagine waiting once you’ve been told a few pushes would allow you to meet your baby (ugh).
But then, finally…. finally!!
It was time. Once my doctor and the charge nurse
came into my room, it was time to push. And I could feel my contractions now and even lift one of my legs because the epidural had begun to wear off. I didn’t want to push for more anesthetic, though, because I wanted to be as effective at pushing as possible. It was actually amazing to feel the pressure of the baby and to know right when I needed to push.
With 3 pushes, we saw the dark, beautiful hair of baby’s head, and on the fourth, she emerged entirely, and I felt the most immense, immediate rush of relief and joy and wonder looking at her small, perfect body, inky hair and tiny little face – so familiar to me and yet so unique to her at the very same time.
Christian started crying right when she was born and as I looked at the emotion on his face and at our baby girl, I cried as well from the kind of complete happiness I’ve only felt after the births of my children. While holding our new baby to my chest, feeling her warm and doughy newborn skin, brushing my thumb over all her little features, and nursing her with ease right away after she was placed on me — my heart grew and changed and I was not the same. I was a mom of two.
Christian and I looked at each other when they asked us for our daughter’s name, and we knew our original choice was the right one: Hermione Roux Mapes – Minnie for short. Her name was obviously inspired by a well-known and beloved character in our favorite book series – but it also means earthly and messenger. Minnie is a vintage name just like Goldie, and we are very into nicknames. Roux is French for red/ginger (the color version of the name Rue). We liked the color association because Marigold (our first born’s formal name) is also a color.
Hermione met and was immediately loved by her older sister, and we can’t wait to watch them grow up together.
Minnie Roux Mapes, it’s like you’ve always been here. You are magic, my girl. ❤