(photo by the incredible Jon Carmichael: our family just before Isla Josephine made her appearance)
It's 9:14pm on 11/1/2016. Exactly one year ago today I was at Kaiser San Leandro hospital with my doula, Diana, and my husband. I'd been admitted less than an hour before (or thereabouts). The Kansas City Royals had just won the World Series. And my labor had only started that afternoon. After a 40 hour labor for my son James' birth three years prior, I was expecting the worst and hoping for the best for my second go at this whole birthing thing. I think I got the best. Isla was ready to meet us. She waited a day past her due date. Unlike her brother, who came three weeks early- helping explain why my body wasn't quite "open" to letting him out during the labor process.
So 9:14pm on 11/1/2015. This second time around a lot of things differed from my birth story with James. This time, I had a doula. Thank the Lord! I called her around 4pm or so- explaining that I think this is it. At first, I had started to feel some contractions in the late afternoon while James and Zac were both napping. I took a shower and they didn't go away, like they had been doing in the weeks prior when I'd had some braxton hicks. So I woke Zac up from his nap and told him I thought the moment was actually here! I timed some contractions as to not jump the gun, then I called my mom. :)
Some people recommend having a "labor project" to help pass the time in early labor. I'm not that creative, so I decided my labor project would be making dinner. And at 40 weeks pregnant, in fact, making dinner can be quite an ordeal! I asked Zac to take James to the park while I cooked, and kind of "got in the zone". I still think it's interesting how I wanted that alone time to kind of get calm and gather my strength. I remember chanting my 'oms' through those increasingly intense contractions in the kitchen, I had learned the chants in my beloved pre-natal yoga.
So when the boys got home from the park, I offered them some fettucine, and Zac called his parents to let them know we'd need their help watching James while we got ready to meet our "little nugget" as we affectionately called Isla before knowing if she was a girl or boy. It was getting real! (I also remember Diana, our doula, telling me not to have any of the fettucine alfredo sauce because it would most likely make me nauseous during active labor.. let's just say she was right!)
By the time Zac's parents arrived, my contractions were getting intense. Everything happened kind of "just in time". I remember my best friend Kim asking me to take of picture of myself while I was in this early-ish stage of labor, and to date I think it's one of my funniest selfies- with a sort of "are you kidding me?" look on my face:
Diana arrived maybe just before 8PM. We left for the hospital what seemed almost immediately for labor, maybe 15 minutes after she arrived. For some reason, Zac asked me to "navigate" while he drove us. I proceeded to put the wrong hospital into the iphone (because I was in labor!!). After we realized we got off at the wrong freeway exit, I had a slight 'moment', and we arrived at the hospital shortly after.
While I was walking the halls to the labor and delivery area- I started referring to the baby in the feminine pronoun for the first time in my pregnancy- which I'm still impressed by how us mommas just 'know' somehow, even subconsciously.
The hospital memories are somewhat short since she came quickly, but they are still vivid. I remember we had a great nurse, but she didn't have to do much. A midwife delivered Isla- and I feel like I barely even interacted with her! I give so much credit to Diana, our doula. She was right there with me, through the entirety of the hardest moments of my labor. I gave birth on all fours, like a straight up Amazon woman, and somehow was able to do it without an epidural like I had for James. Well not somehow, I was able to avoid an epidural and possibly a longer labor because of Diana. While I was yelling our code word for "give me the damn epidural", Zac was strategically trying to stay out of it, and Diana looked at me and, after avoiding my demands for long enough, explained that I could either get the epidural or get ready to meet my baby. So I moved to the hospital bed and remember grunting/ yelling at the top of my lungs to push our little girl out. Zac says he had to check twice because he's the one who got to proudly announce that we had a girl. We were both in shock. Except, as I was pushing, I had another trippy moment where I kept calling the baby Gwenyth with each push. I told Zac I thought it was a sign that we had to name her Gwen (which was a top name on our baby name list)... but Zac sweetly, and almost with a pout said, "but I really liked the name Isla Josephine"- and so it was. And just like that, our family became four (and a half... we can't forget Brewster, our protective doggie! :)
Meeting Isla Josephine for the first time (and her first EVER picture:)
with nose picker and all at Thanksgiving a few weeks later
and a slightly more festive look at our first ever family photo shoot (Isla's fussiest day to date- she cried the whole time)..
And now.. a year later..
swoon! (photo by Jen J photography)
It only took a year, but I hope the long awaited blog post was worth your time! Now, Isla is an engaging, walking, curious, determined, silly, almost toddler with 6 teeth and the thickest, most perfect thighs you could ever imagine. Time really does fly when you have kids. <3