Thursday, May 9, 2013

Introducing Our May Day Baby, Elizabeth Ellene Hajjar!

On Wednesday, May 1, James, Sammy and I welcomed Elizabeth "Libby" Ellene Hajjar into our lives. I can't begin to express how much I love having a daughter. Or how much I love having a family of four. Or how much easier things have been (thus far) this time. But let me try.

As apparent by my last couple bumpdates, the couple weeks leading up to Libby's birth were not exactly ... well, my favorite. I was horribly sick with some sort of sinus issue (which is still lingering, but almost gone), the anticipation of going into labor was making me insane, and I was just a ridiculous ball of emotional instability. I was driving everyone around me crazy, nevermind myself. 

After a few particularly rough days, the Sunday prior to Libby's birth, I woke up determined to change my attitude. (I believe that's when I posted my last bumpdate, where at the end, I declared my newfound change of attitude.) It was a gorgeous day out, and I was just tired of being miserable and anxious. James took hold of Sammy for most of the day, and I got to have one last push of "me time". I walked around my block a zillion times, had some great conversations with friends that had just given birth (or were soon about to - one went into labor that night), and got a final pedicure. 

Stretching out my new Boston Strong tee. (And there's a reason why this photo is not taken from the front.)
After my multiple walks, I actually became convinced that I could go into labor that very day. And that night, for over two hours, I had contractions that could be timed - only to come up with nothing. Eventually I went to bed, thinking that if it were truly labor, I'd wake up in the middle of the night.

But then Monday came. I felt nothing, and went back into my previous miserable state. I was still uncomfortable, I was tired, and just in a bad, bad mood. (The chilly gray weather did not help matters.) Thankfully, James worked from home and thus was able to help out with Sammy again, which made things a million times easier on me.

Tuesday morning I woke up, and in my pregnant-bipolar fashion, felt like it was going to be a great day. It was gorgeous out, and I had a doctor's appointment that afternoon, which I hoped would shed a bit of light on whether I had progressed or not. I assured James that he should go to work and I'd be fine.

As soon as he left for work however, I began having contractions again. And these were definitely a bit more noticeable than the ones I had on Sunday night. Again, the thought crept in me - today could most definitely be the day.

I even dressed up on Tuesday, wearing something other than workout pants for the first time in weeks.
I was super uncomfortable all morning and very emotional, but eventually made lunch plans with a friend so as to keep my mind occupied. The contractions kept coming, but they weren't painful, and they seemed to vary in timing - most averaging 10 minutes apart. Still, when James checked in with me, I said, I really think this could be the day! I hated to be that girl that kept crying wolf, but I honestly believed something would happening soon.

James decided to end his day a bit early, and accompanied me to my doctor's appointment. Because I go to a larger group practice, I ended up having a doctor I hadn't seen at all throughout this pregnancy, and one I didn't particularly love when I was pregnant with Sammy. After checking me quickly, it was revealed that I hadn't progressed at all. I continued to be 4 cm dilated and 70 percent effaced, just as I had been the previous two weeks. I was super disappointed, but asked the doctor to strip my membranes again, just to be told - in a very cold fashion, mind you - "Um, no, I don't do that. Plus, you're not even at your due date yet. We'll talk about it again next week."

Clearly this [expletive] doctor was not well versed in how to talk to a 39-week emotionally unstable pregnant woman.

I started sobbing the second she left the doctor's office, whimpering to the receptionist as I made yet another appointment, and continued sobbing for the next half hour or so. In typical James fashion, he suggested that we get out and about to get my mind off of things. We decided to take Sammy to a playground we discovered a town over, and then meet up with some friends for dinner at one of my favorite pizza places. Ironically, the night before I went into labor with Sammy, we had met up with the same friends in the same town. We laughed at the thought of these friends as being the catalyst for another labor, but lo and behold....

Wednesday, May 1, I woke up feeling pretty good. It was May Day, and I was actually rather glad that we hadn't yet met Baby Sister. April was James' birthday month, and this baby deserved her own month. Plus, May is perhaps one of my favorite months of the year. Flowers are in bloom, the weather is gorgeous, and Spring is in full effect.

Again, James went off to work. And about a half hour later, my contractions started up again. I carefully got ready, but was getting uncomfortable to the point where by the time I got to my clothes selection, I just threw on what was convenient. (Back to the old workout pants it was....) I began timing contractions in my head (by this point I could not deal with my contractions app on my phone), and brought Sammy outside to play. I felt super slow when having to chase him though, and just grew more and more uncomfortable. Finally, I realized that after about two hours of timing them, my contractions were regularly 3-4 minutes apart. At one point, my mom texted or called (I can't remember now) and I got very emotional. (Even more so than usual.) I finally called the hospital, told them what the deal was, and quite nonchalantly, the doctor on call said, "Come on in!"

By that point, my mom was already on her way, so I called James to tell him the news. Similar to Sammy's birth, I sort of thought I'd be sent back home, but felt a bit more confident that we'd be staying.

By the time James got home and my mom arrived, my contractions were getting stronger and stronger - to the point where I'd have to stop and stand still when they occurred - and they were getting closer. Like 2-3 minutes apart closer. We gave Sammy big hugs and kisses goodbye, and were off.

Upon checking into triage, I was found to be 6 cm dilated and was overjoyed - I'd definitely be staying! I was ushered into a delivery room rather quickly, assured that things would go much quicker than my 18-hour labor with Sammy, and my epidural was on its way.

I believe I got my epidural somewhere between 12:30 and 1, and it wasn't a moment too soon. My contractions were rough at this point, and so close together (still at two minutes) that I was more than ready to be done with that pain. The administration of it went totally fine - the burning sensation of it was much easier to take than the insertion of my IV. And within minutes, I was a new, much happier person. God, I love that epidural.

Pain-free, and happily slurping down some cranberry juice.
We had a great nurse, as well as a super nice nursing student, who had never witnessed a labor before. (I apologized a number of times for what she was about to encounter, and still wonder if I traumatized her for life.) And this time, I was actually allowed liquids! Thus far, I was having a really great labor - if such a thing can be had. The only somewhat negative thing was that I was forced to lay on my left side the entire time, as if I moved to any other position, Baby's heart rate went down.

For the next three hours, I rested, watched television, checked my phone, and happily continued to drink my liquids. The pain completely stayed away and I wasn't dehydrated in the least. Some time around 3 p.m., I finally began feeling a little pressure and had James alert our nice. Upon checking me, she said, "Yup! You're at 10 centimeters and ready to push!" She phoned the doctor on call, who turned out to be in the car, thus delaying my pushing a bit.

Around 3:20, the doctor had arrived (thankfully it was one that I really liked, who actually lives just a couple streets away from me), another doctor was ushered in, and the nurse and nursing student were all set up. Because there were so many people to help, James got to stay up by my head, which I very much appreciated. I pushed for about 15 minutes, and could not believe it when after about four or five pushes, our little girl made her debut!

Arriving at 3:40 p.m., Elizabeth Ellene weighed 7 pounds and 11 ounces - almost a whole pound heavier than her big brother! - and measured 20 inches in length. She was rather purple for a few minutes (which James kept mentioning over - and over - and over), and cried for what appeared to be forever. Similar to Sammy's birth, I'll never forget the feeling of having her put on top of my stomach for the first time. It is just insane that this little warm body goes from being inside of you to on top of you in a matter of minutes.

All in all, it was probably the best and easiest labor anyone could ask for. My one issue occurred right after Libby was born, as the doctors had a difficult time in delivering my placenta. No need to go into details there, but I was super close to having surgery to get it out. The doctor kept saying, "Thank goodness you got a great epidural as there is no way we would be able to deliver this thing had you not." Again - I love the epidural. Love, love, love.

But back to what I love even more.

Little baby feet
Our fabulous nurses
My sweet Libby

I couldn't get over how much hair Libby had (most of it is in the back of her head), and love how the lower half of her face looks almost exactly like Sammy's. I also love that she almost definitely has my squinty eyes. (At the very least, I deserve to have some part of me to show after carrying two babies!)

James and I got to spend about an hour and a half with Libby before we were transferred to a new room, and she was whisked off to the nursery to be cleaned up and checked. Soon after, my parents, sisters and big brother Sammy arrived!

Sammy gave his new sister a glance here and there, but otherwise was more excited about being at the "hops-it-al", his new excavator toy, and the snacks we had laying around the room.

My first born
The rest of our hospital stay went pretty similar to the days leading up to Libby's birth. There were some good, peaceful moments, and there were a few emotional anxiety-ridden moments. Libby slept great the first night, and on the second day and night, had a bit rougher go at it. Around that time, I made the decision to only formula-feed her, and felt a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. After that, she got some sleep, we got some sleep, and I felt like I could really and truly enjoy my little girl and this whole newborn stage.

Where is my neck in this picture??

Friday morning, we were discharged easily and quickly, and were back in our home by lunch time. It's funny as I had really been looking forward to our hospital stay this time around, and yet by the time it actually came, I could not wait to get out and get home.

I want to do a separate post on things that went my way this time, and things that didn't - as well as a more thorough discussion on recovery the second time around. But in the meantime, I'll just say that recovery seems to be going much better this time. However, every time I start to feel like I'm really ahead of the game, something happens that makes me realize that - oh yes, I actually did just give birth to a nearly 8 pound child within the past week.

But for now, I'll just leave you with a handful of pictures from Libby's first week home. It's been a wonderful, wonderful week.

Libby's coming home outfit

Someone is a little unsure of this new person sharing his couch space.

A day or so later - she's not so bad. As long as she doesn't interrupt her brother when Thomas the Train is on.

My handsome boy, who apparently grew another foot taller and gained about 20 extra pounds during my hospital stay.

Everyone enjoys story time, regardless of age.

A fleeting brother / sister moment.

First time out with the double BOB!

I am really, really enjoying dressing a baby girl each day!

A big yawn on her one-week birthday!


  1. Great post! Love all the pictures - especially the ones where she is smiling and yawning. Sammy looks like he's ready to start the college application process at this point!

  2. That's one sweet story..well written. <3

  3. H. and E. need a twin photo - we have the same whale outfit :)