Introducing Little Mary

Our sweet new baby is already two months old, so it's time to post her birth story and newborn photos.

I really wanted Mary to be born on a Monday. My mom's schedule, Simon's upcoming school schedule, my husband's work schedule, everything would be easiest if she would come that day. My doctor knew this, so at my last Monday prenatal appointment, she stripped my membranes to entice little miss Mary to come. (Stripping my membranes worked with our other daughters; they came within 12 hours.) All day Monday I hoped and prayed for labor to start, and finally about 6:00pm, I thought I felt a contraction.

I typically don't feel any contractions until labor starts. No Braxton Hicks, no pain, nothing. So, once the flutters started, we called our parents and told them to be prepared. An hour later I called my best friend to come hang out with our kids. I started packing a bag, and I did my hair and makeup. My friend Julie snapped this picture - and yes, I was in labor. In between contractions I was smiley and fine. But the contractions hurt when they came. We got kids ready for bed and left for the hospital.

Although the contractions were painful, I was completely normal in between. Johnny was worried that the hospital wouldn't admit us because I wasn't doubled over with pain. (This was our fourth kid, so he'd seen me in pain before.) I told him to take a detour to Kohl's so we could walk around for awhile. We ran into another friend at Kohl's and told her we were stalling before going to the hospital. She couldn't believe I was in labor since I was smiling and talking like normal. Johnny and I puttered around Kohl's for about 20 minutes, and then I told Johnny we definitely had to get to the hospital. Five minutes later we checked into the ER, and soon after we walked into the maternity ward. 

I was surprised when they placed us in a side room, since we went straight to a delivery room with all our other kids. I asked the nurse about an epidural, and she said that would be an option if they decided to admit us. "We're not admitted yes?" I asked in disbelief. Johnny joked that I should act like I was in more pain. The nurse seemed to imply I was too happy looking as well. After the nurse hooked me up to the monitor, I pointed out that my contractions were off the chart when they hit. Literally. The other moms on the monitor screen had typical ups and downs. Mine disappeared off the top of the screen and then came back down. I told the nurse that my babies come quick.

After 20 minutes the doctor came in for a check-up. I was sad that my own doctor wasn't at the hospital. The other reason we stripped my membranes that day was to make it possible for her to deliver the baby, but the baby was coming now, so I met the on-call doctor. Everyone was moving slow and calm-like until he checked me. I was dilated to a 7. That kicked everyone into high gear because they finally understood that this kid was coming out!

We hurried into a delivery room, and they called my own doctor to see if she could make the delivery. My blood work was taken; the epidural was ordered. I rationalized that twenty minutes of relief was twenty minutes of relief, because Mary was almost here. The anesthesiologist rushed in and administered the epidural. He walked out the door as my own doctor walked in. I was so excited see her and honored that she drove in for us! She checked me and said it was time to push. I joked that she should wait a few minutes for the epidural to actually kick in. "Nope, this baby's coming," she said. I pushed twice and out she came. Dumb epidural. It was only in for about five minutes. That's an expensive five minutes!

Mary's total labor was maybe four hours. I spent just over an hour at the hospital before she popped out. My doctor was shocked we stopped at Kohl's on the way there. The nurses were shocked that I looked so normal since I was basically in transition checking into the hospital. But out our baby came, beautiful and perfect. The quick labor popped some blood vessels in her eye, but that healed within a couple weeks.

It's amazing how quickly these little ones grab our hearts. Suddenly it's as if she was always part of our family.

The kids were so excited to meet and hold little Mary. They are so enthralled with her that there hasn't been any sibling rivalry. Mary is their favorite person.

I am so grateful that my good friend Judy took the remaining photos for us. If you live in the Austin area, visit her on Facebook. She's been photographing our family for years now.

Oh how I love this man. He is a wonderful Daddy!

We were excited to finally take our little girl home.

Being a mom is awesome! Yes, there are tired moments - I should say exhausting moments. And tears sometimes. And stress sometimes. But there are so many more sweet moments! Cuddling a baby that knows your voice and immediately calms down at your momma touch. Getting a squishy hug from your toddler. Hearing your kindergartner say, "I love you Mom." Receiving a dandelion plucked from the yard as a gift. Late night cuddles and smiles. The feeling that you are raising the next generation. Focusing on those happy moments makes motherhood a wonderful blessing.

Allow me to post two more pictures of our sweetie at home: