Dec 17, 2014
Marnie had her 1 month birthday on Monday. Time is flying by so fast and it's slightly upsetting. This newborn phase passes by so quickly and I am just in that tired loopy phase of new baby - sleepless nights and stealing naps during the day, and just loving on this baby when she is awake. She has the prettiest dark eyes that just stare into mine and observe the world around her, and it feels like we've known each other forever. But both my kids are asleep right now, so I'd thought I'd take advantage of this free time to share a few things from the past month.
I'm not going to share my full birth story here, but I'll give some of the highlights. I went into labor at 41 weeks and 1 day, on November 15. Those of you following along may already know - that is Henry's birthday. And yes - spoiler alert - Marnie and Henry have the same birthday. So that will make for an interesting family birthday dynamic! Contractions started lightly around 11pm on Friday evening, November 14, and I spent most of the night on my bedroom floor breathing through steady contractions - taking a bath, using the exercise ball, and sleeping as much as possible in between contractions. At 7:15, Henry was awake, excited to have birthday waffles. We made his waffles, while I took contraction breaks every 3-5 minutes.
We left for the hospital around 9am, had three strong contractions in our taxi on the way there, and at 9:30 we were admitted by the midwives to the Birth Center, and I was dilated to 5cm. I spent the next two hours pacing around a dimly lit room to the music of Beach House, kneeling over an exercise ball, using gas and air to get through the more difficult contractions, and finally got into the birthing tub around 11:30. I wasn't planning on a water birth - only planned on laboring in the tub - but when the moment came I couldn't imagine getting out of that warm tub, so I stayed in and I'm so happy I did.
I pushed for about 15 minutes and she was born at 11:54am. I lifted her gently out of the water and brought her to my chest. It was one of the most powerful and beautiful (and painful!) experiences of my life. I wish I had better words to capture how it felt and how I felt. We cuddled for a few minutes and then Mark cut her cord, and we just marveled over our little baby girl who looked so much like her big brother - same serious face and even the same little nose wrinkle.
I absolutely loved everything about the experience of birthing at the Birth Center at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. I love the midwife model that the UK uses, and I love the support they offer to mothers who want to try and birth without an epidural. I tried so hard to have a natural birth with Henry, but it just wasn't in the cards. I can't even compare how much easier this birth was. As my friend and former midwife told me, "Second labors are what keep the world populated", I was so happy to have a positive birth experience and grateful for the midwives who kept me motivated and cheered me on when I felt like I couldn't go on any longer. I literally said at one point, just pull her out of me, i can't do this anymore, but they cheered me on and told me you're almost there! you can do this!
We named her Marnie, which is a Scottish name meaning "of the sea", since she was born in the water. June is a throwback to June Carter - a little bit of Americana to remind her of her roots - even though she was born in London. And no, she does not qualify for British citizenship, she is an American citizen. We already have her passport (taking a 6 day old to the American embassy was crazy to say the least).
We've been settling in happily as a family. Henry adores Marnie and kisses and hugs her all day long. My dad has been here for the past few weeks to help with Henry and the baby, which has been the only thing keeping me sane (and rested. lots of sleeping while the baby sleeps while Henry entertains Papa). I feel so lucky to have two healthy children, and grateful for the chance I have to raise another sweet little baby. Two kids! I still can't believe it!