Our sweet little second-born arrived on November 25th, 2016. Here is the long (and not-too-graphic) story of her birth.
We started off Thanksgiving day with the Louisville Turkey Trot–a wonderful, free 5k that is all about collecting food and clothing and spending time as a community. It was a gorgeous, sunny morning albeit quite windy.
We planned to walk the 5k, and I felt great. But I was also feeling some internal pressure, for lack of a better word, so we actually took a shortcut and walked a tad more slowly back to town. I didn’t think anything of it and was ready to enjoy our big turkey dinner over at Matt and Molly’s house. We went, we ate, we conquered, we didn’t take any photos. We went home full and were glad to have the next three days off to spend with Tyler.
The next morning, Friday, I woke up feeling…something. But nothing alarming. My favorite yoga teacher instructs the 9:15 Friday morning class at the rec center, and I was determined to go because I knew it would be the last time I could for a few weeks. All three of us went to the rec and we dropped Tyler off at the daycare there. I went and placed my mat in class, but came back to find Eric and tell him, “I think we’re going to have a baby today!” He was taken aback (obviously!) but I assured him I’d be fine for awhile.
I actually felt painless contractions during yoga, but know that these things supposedly take awhile. (And also that we were warned to get to the hospital sooner rather than later because Tyler came quite quickly.) I finished the class, and we got home about 10:30am. I told Eric he needed to make the calls to get Tyler taken care of, and that I would call the hospital. I had a few more contractions with a pain level of zero. And then, as I was putting the final items in my bag and Eric was waiting with Tyler in the driveway for his ride, I had a BIG contraction. Pain level of 7. And then 8. We almost took Tyler to the hospital with us because it was happening too fast. I called my parents to let them know I was in labor. Our friends came for Tyler (and I was crying about leaving him). And then we drove to the hospital, and didn’t get pulled over this time.
We parked and I walked in, and we were up in our room in just a few minutes. I was doubled over with pain. It was 11:25am. The nurse tossed me a gown and Eric must have helped me change because I don’t remember that. All of that stuff we brushed up on in Labor Lab to ease the pain and pass the time went out the window. I was 6 cm. I demanded an epidural. Fortunately, the anaesthesiologist was there almost right away. But something happened, we’re not sure what, we heard them talking about an equipment failure. The anaesthesiologist said it didn’t work because I moved. Anyhow, I didn’t get an epidural. But thankfully, oh so thankfully, they gave me a spinal. My contractions were so much more than a 10. Through the roof. I calmed down with the spinal, maybe a little too much, because Eric said my eyes were rolling back in my head and they gave me oxygen. Somewhere in there my water broke.
And then they said I had to push. Now. What?! I just got here. It was tough, mentally and physically. I was terrified because I didn’t have an epidural and was also totally out of it. I couldn’t wrap my brain around what I needed to do. But Eric is the World’s Best Cheerleader and got me to push. It all just happened so fast. Completely unromantic and totally undignified. But all of a sudden–at 12:37pm–there she was. SHE. She. A girl!
I think I was laughing. I know I didn’t cry like I did with Tyler. We were thrilled and in disbelief. Among my first thoughts was What are we going to name her? Because that had been contentious for our whole pregnancy. We had finally agreed upon a name for a boy who we suddenly didn’t have, but for a girl we wanted different names. Elizabeth for a middle name was a given as it’s also mine. Eric was flexible; there were several names he was rooting for. But for me there was only one name. I had seen it on the screen at church months ago, before we were even pregnant, but I knew if I ever had a daughter that I would love for that word to be her name.
She didn’t have a name for an hour or so. The nurses came and went doing their checking and measuring and administering, and we called her Baby Girl. Eventually we were alone with our daughter. Eric looked at me and said, “Mama, what’s her name?” I was nervous and happy and sad and I said, “For me, there’s only one name. Salem Elizabeth.” And Eric said, “OK. She’s Salem Elizabeth.” And then I cried, because I was so, so happy to have our healthy daughter here with us, and her name would be Salem Elizabeth. Salem means “peace” in Hebrew and I think it’s perfect. Her arrival brings us peace after a difficult time of not knowing whether we would ever have another baby.
Of course, Eric pointed out before she was born that Salem also refers to glamorous things like cigarettes and witch trials. I just figured we could tell people the origin of her name if they asked, and assumed that they wouldn’t think we actually named our daughter after a tobacco product or a terrible time in American history.
Salem was born 11/25/16, the day after Thanksgiving, on Black Friday. She weighed 7 lbs 5 oz and measured 20″ long. She was born one hour and twelve minutes after we checked into the hospital; two hours and seven minutes after I left yoga.
Tyler wasn’t so sure about her in the hospital.
We took her home when she was 27 hours old, beating Tyler’s record by five hours.
I remember taking Tyler home and Eric driving about 10 mph and me sitting in the backseat trying not to freak out. This time, when we clicked the carseat into the van, we realized I couldn’t sit next to her because Tyler’s carseat was in the other captain’s seat. So I sat up front like a grown-up and Eric drove the speed limit, and then we were home. Just like that. And Tyler came around!