Note: There might be some spelling and grammar errors. I’m a little sleep deprived. Just let me know if you see them and I’ll be happy to correct.
Everything about this pregnancy was a lesson in similar, yet different. It was déjà vu at times, yet a study in contrasts.
Pregnancy was a familiar face this time around. It was something my body had known just 10 months earlier. The anxiety that rightfully comes along with that first-ever positive pregnancy test evaded me throughout the entire 39 weeks and 2 days of gestation and a sense of “this-ain’t-my-first-rodeo” took over.
Throughout my pregnancy with “Baby 2011” I felt amazingly similar to how I felt when I was pregnant with Lila Ross… yet I felt so differently.
I had traveled this road before, but it was different.
I found out I was having a girl, as I had once before, but it was different.
I had a second c-section, but it was different.
I held my daughter for the first time, but it was different.
And in my world?
Different is good.
Fast forward to how our baby got here.
Baby 2011 was due on Monday, January 30th, 2011. My “programmed c-section” was scheduled for January 27th so that our baby would have her own birthday — January is a heavily-laden family birthday month and I wanted Baby Girl to be born on her own day. After our appointment on Tuesday, January 18th – we quietly made the decision to move the c-section up to January 24th for a variety of reasons.
I’m so glad we did.
This gave me Wednesday through Sunday to prepare for the birth of our baby. I wrapped up loose-ends at work. I bonded with Baby Girl’s sister. I attempted to sleep. I organized, cleaned and nested.
Then, came January 23rd.
It felt like Christmas Eve.
And I can never sleep on Christmas Eve.
The anticipation of knowing that in less than 24 hours I was going to be meeting my sweet baby girl was almost too much to bear. (I know C. felt the same way.)
After a sleepless night (I mean, how do you sleep knowing that tomorrow morning you’re giving birth?), morning came and Craig and I got up with Lila and she ate her breakfast. We bid her adios and left her in the capable hands of her Mimi who had arrived just the afternoon before. (Craig’s Mom.)
We walked out to the car and got in. And I smiled. Why? There was an infant seat properly stationed to the left of Lila’s big-girl car seat.
Friends, there are two car seats in my car. (Whose life am I living?! Aren’t Craig and I still just kids ourselves?!)
So, off we drove to the hospital. Three minutes later we were there – not hardly enough time to mentally prepare for what was about to be. We filled out paperwork and were taken to a room where a nasty little nurse took my vitals then ordered me to “take off your clothes” and put on a hospital gown. I didn’t like her. Then she jammed an IV in my arm. And it burned. And I called my Mom and told her that it burned because she’s my Mom and she would know how to fix it. And then I realized I hated the nurse. And the hospital. And this whole process.
At this point I’m truly thinking to myself, “Nothing about this process is normal. Nothing about planning this birth is as it should be. This nurse sucks. This IV sucks. This ‘programmed c-section’ sucks. I want to go home and wait for my baby to come.”
I fought back the tears. No one was forcing me to do this. This is what I had chosen; what we had chosen for a variety of medical reasons. The anxiety of the situation was hitting me.
I needed to put my big girl gown on and go have a baby.
I just closed my eyes and tried to convince the anxiety to subside.
My doctor arrived and came in to see me and we were taken upstairs to get the party started. Me in a wheelchair, Craig trailing behind me wheeling our suitcase.
[I cannot even fathom what Dads go through when their significant others are giving birth. The anxiety, the worry, the inability to truly do anything to help the situation… Oy. I’m not sure which role is more desirable. Craig, however, handled himself and his duties as he always does: nobly, calmly, protectively and quietly. I’m so glad I married that man. Heavy sigh…]
I was taken into a pre-op room by myself while Craig was asked to stay back. I waited for the anesthesologist to arrive so that I could get the spinal.
I was by myself.
Well, sort of.
I was by myself, rubbing my baby/belly and inwardly telling my sweet daughter that we’re going to be ok.
That we can do this.
That all is going to be just fine.
That God has this all under control.
Trust me, I’m your Mommy.
In hindsight, I’m so glad that I had these 20 or so minutes by myself to decompress.
I closed my eyes.
And my heart was still and calm. I could feel my blood pressure decreasing.
Then, I was wheeled into the operating room and the sizable needle was placed into my back. The sensation slowly left my lower extremeties – yet I was still awake and cognizant.
Next, my mid-section was prepped to be opened.
And when I say I was, “prepped” – I mean my gown was pulled up to my up-top and some very short Mexican man proceeded to iodine my stomach for what seemed like far too long.
It’s amazing how the birthing process, while empowering, can also feel so ridiculously demeaning.
There I was in a freezing-cold, arctic operating room with Spanish-speaking people swirling about and acting as if the whole of my lady parts weren’t out there in plain view.
As the little man painted my stomach, the sweet anesthesologist stayed by my head constantly asking me how I was doing. If I felt oddly, I told her and she fixed it. Immediately. She was incredible. The nurses prepped for the surgery, Lila’s pediatrician arrived to tell me how everything was going to go and then finally my husband and my doctor arrived.
The blue curtain went up dividing me from my full-moon belly… and we waited.
Oh the waiting…
A planned c-section takes some time. Lila’s emergency c-section happened in minutes. This one? I think it took 25 minutes before our sweet baby was born…
Oh, the anticipation…
And then the doctor told me, “Just a few more minutes, Kylee.”
And then there was a tug.
And a larger tug.
And then she was here.
She came with a cry that truly sounded like an angel’s sigh to this Mommy’s ears.
Oh, how I smiled. And I closed my eyes and gave the earth permission to start turning again.
She was here.
My sweet Vivienne Kate was here…
…and I kissed her and properly introduced myself.
Hello sweet baby girl. I will be your Mommy.
Oh how I love her.
Oh how I love her.
Oh how I love her.
She passed her APGAR test with flying colors, showed no trace of vernix and had a head semi-full of dark hair.
And I was euphoric. And exhausted. And proud of myself.
I was sutured together and taken back to my room and was holding and nursing my baby within an hour. (Maybe even less time than that. Craig?)
My initial feelings were… and I’m being honest… numbness. I kept trying to look at this little being and find pieces of myself in her. Or pieces of Lila. Or pieces of Craig.
I couldn’t believe that this baby in my arms AT THIS MOMENT is my baby. (I remember feeling the same way with Lila.) It was as if I was holding someone else’s baby… but as the night wore on and by the next morning the gravity of our new reality pleasantly nestled in and I thought to myself, “Oh yeah. This is my baby.”
But the more I gazed at her, the more I realized that she’s her own lady. She’s not like anyone else and my job is to love her. Easy as that.
Vivienne Kate is precious. And she’s exactly what we prayed for.
She is similar to Lila, but is so different.
Vivienne weighed 7 lbs. 11 oz. (Lila weighed 6 lbs 8 oz.)
Vivienne is 20.8 inches long. (Lila was 22 inches long)
Vivienne’s hair is dark. (Lila’s was light.)
Vivienne’s eyes are dark. (Lila’s were blue.)
Vivienne’s complexion is darker. (Lila’s was fair.)
They resemble one another – yet are different.
Exactly how sisters should be.
As I write this several days after having been the channel by which new life passed through, I’m quieted.
(I just thought of Khalil Gibran’s poem:)
Your Children are not Your Children
They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
I’m humbled by what my body can do.
The first time, around new-mommy anxiety clouded my ability to just wait, watch, learn and appreciate. I was anxious. And scheduled. This time around, I’m quieted, humbled and calm and allowing the process to lead me.
I’m amazed by how a baby learns to nurse, how my body knows exactly when to produce milk, how those first few sleepy newborn days are a gift from the heavens that allow new parents to rest and just be.
I’m floored that when she hears my voice, Vivienne immediately calms.
I’m thankful that my body is healing so very quickly this time around.
I’m quieted by the reality that we’ve brought another perfect life into this world.
The connection between myself and my daughter has already blown me away; and because of Lila, I know that it will only get better.
…and while the birthing process usually leaves little space for the Daddy, I have to say that having these babies with Craig makes me love him more than I could ever describe. There’s no one else I could imagine traveling this road with.
This experience has been incredible.
The room that I was hoping I’d have reserved in my heart for another little being has been immediately occupied by Vivienne Kate.
Life is good.
Holding up both of her legs about an inch or so off the bed while in the hospital. Already doing ab exercises.
Little baby sleeping.
Sweet baby. Great hat.
Preparing to leave the hospital. Hanging out with cousin Chlo.
Ready to go home. It was Tuesday night around 10:30 p.m.
Just moments after meeting her big sister for the first time she was hugged. Lila was DELIGHTED with her sister.
Lila’s first time holding Vivienne.
I can’t resist a baby in a beret.
Love. (Lila is gazing at Vivienne.)
A close-up of Love. (Lila was hugging her.)
Hanging out on Daddy’s arm.
Our little burrito.
Behind the name:
I was on a plane about 4 years ago and was reading an airline magazine and in it was a spotlight on the designer, Vivienne Westwood. Immediately I knew that was to be my daughter’s name.
I loved that I could call her, “Vivi” for short. (Pronounced Viv-vee). I loved that when she’s a rebelious teenager she could simply sign her name, “V” and feel cool. And I felt that a grown, professional woman could easily be respected with the complete, “Vivienne.” (Me? I pronounce it “Vivi-ENNE” — but it’s so slight. If you pronounced it, “Vivi-INN” you wouldn’t be terribly off. In fact, I probably would never know.)
Immediately, I got off the plane, called Craig and told him: “I have the name of our daughter. And she’s Vivienne. End of story.”
He was on board.
(Now, this was when we were still mired in the infertility world and I was experiencing negative pregnancy test after negative pregnancy test.)
Then, literally days later a certain celebrity couple had a certain pair of babies and named one of them Vivienne.
I lost my mind. I cried. I lamented. It pained me that someone, a CELEBRITY (gasp!), had stolen my future baby’s name. Now, when I named my daughter Vivienne, everyone would say, “Oh, like so-and-so?”
Flash forward to when we found out we were having our first baby girl. We tossed around Vivienne, but for some reason Lila just took. We knew Lila Ross was meant to be Lila Ross. I think her name is perfect for her. She’s far too busy to take the time to spell, “Vivienne.” She’s more of a, “Lila” girl.
Next, after we found out about Baby Girl 2011 we had a few names that we loved. Georgia and Scarlett were frontrunners for quite some time… but Vivienne was always in the back of our minds. Finally, it was decided and there was no going back. Vivienne for sure. And Kate? Well, we’ve always felt that it was classic and lovely and elegant.
So, my sweet Vivienne Kate was meant to be years before she was even conceived.
Welcome to the world sweet, Vivienne Kate.
Mommy loves you more than you could ever know.
Next chapter: The introduction of the sisters. Stay tuned to the [plethora] of pictures and the wobbly home video.