sadie's birth.

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Sadie was born right before midnight on July 8, 2016. She weighed 6 lb 5.7 oz, and 19.5 inches long. She was born at Alta Bates Hospital, in Berkeley- the same hospital that Eliza was born in. Sadie's birth was much different, though. You can tell by that first photo, for one. I'm laying in my hospital bed, with my hair done, and an excitedly giddy smile on my face. That is how I checked into the hospital that day, freshly showered and ready to go. On the day I gave birth to Eliza, I showed up at the hospital for the SECOND time after being turned away the day before because I wasn't dilated enough... this was after being in hard labor for TWO days, with one more to go. I hadn't showered or eaten in days, I was crying in pain, and could hardly put two words together. Eliza's birth was a whirlwind of pain and mental exhaustion. I find it interesting that I didn't write many details in her "birth story." It was so fresh, and sometimes still is. 

I wanted a natural birth with Eliza because I felt like it was the right thing for me- I wanted to be in complete control of the situation. And, while this option is just as beautiful as any other, and works so well for many women, I found it did not work for me. I felt exactly the opposite- I felt completely out of control. I felt like my body had a "mind of it's own" and none of the techniques I had practiced for months were helping me to reign in the pain. By the end I was begging for an epidural and it was too late. I pushed Eliza out, and all I could ask for was something to eat. (I threw up everything for two days.) The nurses laid her in my arms, as Sam spoon-fed me yogurt. It was a truly beautiful thing, but it took me awhile before I could recover enough to process the event in my mind. But, after all that, I ended up with this beautiful child in my arms and I was bursting with love.

I don't know why I felt the need to recount Eliza's birth, except that I think it helped me to process this second birth. Leading up to this day, I was purposely ignoring it. I was happily preparing for a new baby, but I was ignoring the fact that I would have to do this again- the child birth thing. Being pregnant a second time, people often ask you how your first birth went. I got to the point where I would just laugh and say, "Ha! I don't really want to think about that!" But, I started to feel Sadie getting into place so early. She was ready. And, the week before her due date I had a feeling that she would be coming. I started deep cleaning my house, scared that I would have to bring the baby home to a filthy house. I went about our day to day, deep down knowing that it could be that day.

The day before she was born, I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the floors, scrubbing my tub, and organizing the baby things. I only got through half of my floors that day. I met up with my friends for ice cream, and joked that I felt like something was happening- because I sort of maybe felt some minor contractions? In the middle of the night, my water broke. It was so different than what I had imagined, especially since Eliza's waters broke like Niagara Falls about 30 minutes before she was born. With Sadie, it was a slow leak that lasted for hours. I woke Sam up, giddy and excited, and he tried to convince me to go back to sleep to get rest.

For the next few hours, I had minor and inconsistent contractions that came and went, while my waters continued to leak. I called my doctor and they told us to come on in. I took a shower, got dressed, ate lunch, had a friend come over to watch Eliza, and we strolled into that hospital with smiles on our faces. We chatted with a grandpa sitting in the waiting room, before they escorted us to the delivery room. I mean, really? Do people actually have babies like this?

We decided to induce labor with Petocin, because of the risk of infection. Within a couple of hours I was in full hard labor, and ready for that epidural that I had been pondering for months. When those hard contractions started tearing through my body, I was shaking and crying and I was scared again. It felt like PTSD. I knew I couldn't do this again without help, nor did I want to. That epidural was exactly what I needed. I had a very good anesthesiologist who knew what he was doing. I couldn't feel the pain of the contractions, but I could definitely feel the pressure of the baby. In this way, I was able to relax and rest, softly chatting with Sam as the nurses came in and out of the room. It was so peaceful.

The contractions were supposedly moving along, I was almost dilated completely, but the baby just wasn't in position yet. I knew she was ready, though. She was so ready I could feel it through the numbness, and I was screaming for the nurses. When the nurses came, they checked me and concluded that it wasn't time yet, but humored me by allowing me a few practice pushes. After two pushes, the nurse realized the baby was already crowning and the room was a frenzy of preparation. They were calling for the doctor, who was across the street at the ob office. When she walked in, I saw her take one look at me and then she ran across the room, barely getting her gloves on before Sadie made her arrival.

It was honestly so strange. She looked exactly like Eliza. Her fresh newborn face, and that dark hair. It was like a weird and wonderful deja vu. They laid her in my arms and I just couldn't believe it. I made another one. I created this little thing. She was just inside of my body.

I love the feeling of their tiny, naked body against your skin- so unbelievably fragile and small. I love the way they breathe, a rhythm of little short, rapid breaths and long silent pauses. So comforting and so equally frightening.

I love the hospital. I have never had any hospital stays, beyond giving birth, so maybe that makes them more special to me. But, I love that "baby bubble" that you live in during those couple of days after giving birth. It's just Sam and I, and this tiny newborn baby. They sleep on your chest, while you softly talk about everything that is about to change. The nurses and doctors come in and out, offering help and pain relief. When I am nervous or hurting, I can press a little button and someone will always come. I love that first blissful shower, washing away the labor. I even love the food- it doesn't taste great, but it's such a comfort to have someone take care of you and bring you nourishment around the clock. Also, the lady that brings the food at Alta Bates has been there for years. I remember her last time, because she always calls you, "mommy," with her sweet Jamaican accent.

When Eliza came to visit, I was so happy I thought I would explode. She climbed up on the bed, touching and kissing Sadie, chattering in her high-pitched voice. "Oh! She is so cute!" "I think she loves me!" She was ecstatic to drink the milk box from my hospital lunch, and play with the buttons on my hospital bed. She told me all about her sleepovers with our friends, and the friend's birthday party she attended that morning. I am so grateful for good friends.

Sam was amazing. He was a seasoned birth partner. (We have a few funny stories from Eliza's birth in which he did all the wrong things, including setting up a tray of food in front of me to eat his dinner after I hand't been able to eat a thing in two days- like some sort of sick dinner theater. Ha!) This time, he knew exactly when to come to my side, and when to give me space. He held my hand tight when those initial contractions radiated through me. And, he told me I could do it. And, I did. When I look over from my bed and see that man with a tiny newborn babe on his chest, I just can't believe it's possible to love him more. I hold that baby in my arms and think- this little human was made by us. This little human is a piece of us.

We named her Sadie Lee. Lee, after the middle names of both of our mothers. She is a special baby, and I know she has so many great and beautiful things ahead of her. She has a big sister who is over the moon in love with her, and two parents who stop at least a million times a day to say, "She is so beautiful," and "I love her so much." Like, we just can't believe it.


  1. Like a total creeper, I've been hoping you'd write about this for weeks! Our new baby girl here will be here in roughly two weeks, and this was just what I needed to help me feel excited and up for the challenge. Thanks for being a great person/mom, Roxanne!