Getting to Know You

She’s been a surprise all along, and she continues to astonish us. Maisie Gale was born four days early on August 12, 2018. She weighs 8 lbs, 1.3 oz and is 21″ long. She just barely beat her brother’s stats – by an ounce and an inch.

I woke from a dream at 2 a.m. Sunday morning, feeling a trickle fall down my legs. I knew it wasn’t an accident, but I went to the bathroom anyway, and lost more fluid on the bathroom floor. Honestly I was slightly annoyed because I had planned to work in the office most of this week, but I was equally amused that it actually happened like all the text books say. (My water didn’t break with the first pregnancy.) I woke Steven up and told him I would finish packing and call the hospital.

As I went downstairs to call my parents, I noticed that our dog Jake had an accident in the family room. I grabbed some tissue to clean it up, squatted to do so, and the flood gates opened. I nearly clogged the half bath after flushing down so much toilet paper from both accidents. And then I went back upstairs to change clothes for the third time.

Mom and Dad hurried over to house/Wes-sit for the early morning hours while we went to the hospital, registered and checked into triage. Within an hour, we were in our room, where we waited for my contractions to gain in intensity. I was about 4cm dilated when we arrived, and hardly felt the every-2-minute contractions. No one tells you that the amniotic fluid keeps escaping after your water breaks. It was quite annoying and uncomfortable to sit in a constant puddle, but there you have it.

Because of the fast progression of Wesley’s birth, the nurses encouraged me to go ahead and get an epidural after we had waited a few hours. I wasn’t in much pain to begin with, and the anesthesiologist complimented me after receiving it: “In 20 years of doing this, I’ve never had a patient ask me questions while getting their epidural. You just made my morning!” When I’m nervous or anxious, I tend to be chatty, so it was the only thing I could do to take my mind away from the stick and pressure of the needle. Steven beamed with pride (and then teased me later).

We got a little rest before my parents and Wes came over to hang out. Wesley’s expression when he entered our hospital room was priceless. He ran up to the side of my bed and put both of his hands over his wide smile: “Mama, I’m SO EXCITED!” The room was perfect and spacious for them to join us. About every 2 hours I had gained another centimeter, so we played the waiting game. It was nice to have company to distract me from the obvious.

To pass the time, Steven made updates to the white board in the room, which has also entertained the nurses on rotation. The board originally said “Have a baby!” under Today’s Plan, and it has periodically changed to “Had a baby!” and “Keep a baby!” Today it said, “Take a baby!” in anticipation of our discharge for home. He later added under Questions for Care Team: “Why is baby?” / “What is baby?” which prompted nervous giggles from staffers.

Around 11:15 I had called the nurse about increased pressure and fluid. She at first didn’t believe me – “maybe in about 50 minutes we’ll be ready to have this baby!” – but after a quick check she changed her mind. She alerted the OB on call (we heard her run down the hallway), Mom and Wes were whisked out the room (Dad went to church earlier that morning while they stayed with us), and all the troops and supplies were wheeled in. By the time they had everything ready, Dad had returned, so he and Mom traded places watching Wes. Mom came in the room just in time to witness the birth.

There’s debate about how many pushes (10?) over how much time in total (20 minutes?), but I was told by a nurse that it was a “perfect birth.” Maisie Gale was born at 11:52 a.m. on a beautiful, sunny day. Steven and I spent the next hour alone with Maisie – our daughter who cried minimally and was extremely alert during those precious first moments.

The extended Shattucks and my sister came that afternoon, and a couple close friends visited yesterday. Everyone agrees: she’s fantastic. We have spent the last couple days getting introduced to each other. A song from the musical King and I has been floating around in my head:

Getting to know you
Getting to know all about you
Getting to like you 
Getting to hope you like me

And she certainly is well-liked! Wesley, who she resembles (it’s unreal by how much!), is becoming a pro at holding her, “teaches” others how to keep her warm and safe, and has told everyone who will listen about his new baby sister.

It’s sweet to see Steven with his little girl. He snuggles her close and teases her in his endearing way. Our quiet evenings are my favorite time to watch them.

We’re smitten. It’s so nice to finally meet you, Ms. Maisie. Welcome to the family.

Haven’t you noticed
Suddenly we’re bright and breezy? 
Because of all the beautiful and new 
Things we’re learning about you 
Day by day

More photos of Maisie’s first days!

Posted: August 14th, 2018
Categories: Leah
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