I had gone in for a prenatal appointment on Friday, just the day before. I was about one week away from my due date, and the doctor said, “You’ll deliver any day.” We had been debating the wisdom of a planned induction seeing that we now lived about an hour and a half drive from the clinic, and my last two labors were fairly short. Knowing this, he gave me a little white pill in a bottle and told me to take it at about 6:00 on the morning I wanted to come in and have the baby. I had decided that if I hadn’t gone into labor on my own by Wednesday, I would go ahead and take the pill. And then I woke up to regular contractions early on Saturday morning.
We quickly got ourselves ready to drive to the clinic. There was a bit of scrambling around as we had a U.S. group at the camp that morning for breakfast (returning from a week in the jungle) and the person who had agreed to watch the boys for us wasn’t answering her phone. In the end, one of Jhon and Laura’s girls came up to the house to stay with the boys, and Josh, who was already planning to come out to the camp that day to help take the group into Quito and the airport, just took the boys home with him to stay at their house for a night.
We made it to the clinic in plenty of time – no emergency delivery on the side of the road in the backseat of our car! Actually, my labor with Elizabeth ended up taking a little more than 7 hours, longer than either Benjamin or Stephen. It was definitely my nicest birth experience of the 4. The clinic is so lovely and peaceful. And there were all kinds of natural comfort measures for laboring women – from massages to warm cloths laid across your back (great for back labor!) to huge labor tubs.
Elizabeth was actually born in water, which was a unique experience that I’m grateful for. It was interesting – I had always heard that being in water was such a great pain relief. However, in my case, it just helped me relax more… I still definitely felt the pain of the contractions! And I felt like I had to work harder to push in the water, maybe because I was more relaxed? I think the first words out of my mouth after she was born were, “I forgot how much that hurts!”
And then of course, it was all forgotten in the miracle of the tiny new life I was holding in my arms – my daughter. After three boys, I almost didn’t dare hope for a daughter this time, but now here she was, and perfect in every way. She took to nursing like a champ, and she had a long period of quiet alertness a few hours after her birth.
She was born about 12:40 p.m., and later that afternoon, Josh and Julie brought the boys by the clinic, along with their kids, to meet their new sister / cousin. It was such a joyous, happy time! Later that evening, I had a little surgery to have my tubes tied – no more babies for us unless they come into our family through adoption! It was a quick procedure. I was a little worried about the spinal tap, but it ended up being pretty painless, and then I went pleasantly numb from the waist down and thought, “Ah, I get it now, why women want these when they’re in labor!” The irony that I was getting my first “epidural” after 4 natural childbirths was not lost on me!
We spent one night at the clinic, and the next day after lunch, we went home! Elizabeth settled into life in our family very smoothly. She has slept well almost from the beginning and generally been just a very content and “easy” baby. She is a joy and a delight to our family, our perfect “happy ending,” as I call her. Her brothers are enamored with her and at first, they practically smothered her with their love and affection. Of course, she has her daddy wrapped around her little finger. For my part, I am finding having a daughter, and especially dressing a daughter, to be so much fun!
Here are a few pictures of the birth (don’t worry, nothing too gross or revealing) and the first few days:
|Elizabeth weighed 3200 grams and was 50 cm. long|
|Daddy loves his little girl|
|I have a daughter!|
|So awake and aware, just a few hours post-birth|
|First photo as a family of 6!|
|Ben meets his sister. "What, I'm not the baby anymore?"|
|With Dr. Diego, our wonderful doctor|
|First bath. She barely cried|
|All nice and clean and sleeping peacefully|
|At home in her cradle|
|The Camp Bellevue staff came to visit and brought a lovely bouquet and a fruit basket.|