Harlow: A Love Story
This is a piece of writing I did after our first night at home with Harlow. .
If you'd had a window into my bedroom this morning, you would have seen the exhausted aftermath of the chaos that is the first night home with a new baby. My husband was snuggled up behind me, holding on to me for dear life after the craziness of this past week (also, snoring in my ear), I was half-on, half-off the bed- one arm and one leg reaching out towards the newest member of our family who was FINALLY snoozing away in her rock and play at 6:30 in the morning.
Our daughter has arrived.
Harlow June was born at exactly 5pm on Tuesday September 22, 2015. Weighing in at a respectable 7 pounds, 1 ounce and 20 inches in length, she is the best human on earth.
My labor and delivery experience was long, grueling and interminable. After what would have been categorized as a perfect pregnancy, things kind of started to disintegrate pretty quickly. I went in for my 38 week check up on Tuesday, Sept 16 and had one elevated blood pressure reading which caused my midwife to thrust a whole lot of blood tests at me without really giving me any information. They checked my blood pressure again and it was perfectly normal- a fluke. Later in the day, my midwife called and told me that my tests all came back fine but that she did want me to go in for an ultrasound and to have my blood pressure checked again.
On Wednesday I went in for an ultrasound. Everything was fine.
On Thursday I went in for a blood pressure check. The previous two days had been beyond stressful due to the lack of information being given to me about what was going on. So, naturally, when I arrived at the clinic, I was nervous and scared. Had an elevated blood pressure reading. Tried again twice and they were back down to normal. The nurse sent a different midwife in to see me and she told me she would call me later and let me know if there was further monitoring that needed to be done.
An hour later, she called me and told me she had gotten a second opinion and that I was being admitted to the hospital for induction and I needed to be there within the next two hours. Basically she said that nothing was really wrong, but better safe than sorry since I was so close to my due date.
Harlow was not ready to be born, nor was my body ready to give birth.
Between Thursday night and Saturday morning, I was given an onslaught of drugs to induce labor. All of these drugs are incredibly invasive in the way in which they are delivered into the body. They cause your body to start having contractions in the hopes to get you to dilate. I went through 6 rounds of these drugs and 36 hours of contractions to be told on Saturday morning that my body still wasn't responding and they were sending me home to rest for a few days. I was devastated and exhausted and in pain.
We tried to enjoy a couple of days at home. We cleaned the house, went on a walk, all with this looming cloud over our heads of what we had just been through.
Monday morning we trudged back to the hospital to start all over again. Over the next 12 hours, I was given another 3 rounds of the induction drugs until finally my water spontaneously broke at 10pm and launched me into full-blown screaming pain contractions. By 4 am I couldn't take it any more and begged for an epidural. My poor husband was terror-stricken this entire time.
I was in and out of consciousness for the next 8 hours as they continued to pump me full of pitocin to get me to dilate. I went from 3 cm to 10 cm in the matter of two hours and that's when shit got real. At 3pm it was time to push. It was just me, J, and a nurse in a sun-lit room pushing for two hours. Finally the midwife came in and I primal-roared my child into this world.
It was finally over.
The relief I felt was instant and all-consuming. J looked at me with tears in his eyes. Harlow looked up at me with these gigantic, curious eyes and suddenly everything was fine.
It's been 3 days since she was born. In those 3 days I think i have felt nearly every emotion there is to feel. Most of all I just feel love. Harlow is a joy. She is such a relaxed baby. Except, of course, when she's not quite happy about something, in which case she lets you know. She's sweet and cuddly with the biggest eyes and weird little elf ears. She loves making faces and curling up in a tiny ball. J and I have spent the better part of the past 3 days just staring at her and I think I could probably spend the rest of my life just staring at her, to be honest.
Motherhood, man. It blows everything else out of the water.