Zoe is here! Hear the story.

Greetings, all! I write this at 3:14 am while baby Zo sways gently in her swing (life-saver of a device) and listens to nursery music on repeat. I feel like there are going to be many moments of, “welcome to the parent club,” and this one feels like one of those.

We’re transitioning as well as sleep-deprived new parents can! We’re extremely fortunate that she is an amazing eater (and was since birth), and she’s calm except for when you change her diaper or try to put her on her back. We’re also very lucky to have my folks here to help us get used to all this newness, help us get some sleep, and generally keep the wheels on the bus (ah, lame mom humor. It begins. Though I’d venture to guess that Steve would say it had started many many years ago).

If you haven’t gathered already from the Baby Watch post, Zoe Eloise made her appearance on October 25, 2022 at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing. I know, I know. “You guys live near Detroit, what the hell are you doing having a baby in Lansing?!” Well, long-story short: we moved to Canton three months before the pandemic, so finding new doctors in the area got put on hold. I also had the most fabulous OBGYN in Lansing, and I was terribly sad to have to find a new one. Luckily, the providers weren’t concerned with us being an hour and a half away for first baby, so we decided to stay with my Lansing OB. Despite the tediousness of the once-a-week drive towards the end, I’d make that same decision if I had to do this all over again. If you ever need an OBGYN recommendation for the Lansing area, I got you.

But I digress. You’re here because you want to hear about how baby was born! Well it started Monday afternoon with our appointment at the office. I wasn’t in labor, and the non-stress test came back totally good, so we were basically told, “head back home, this could take days.” So off we went back home, and I was feeling fine; no contractions, and I went about my day. At about 6:30 pm, however, things started taking off. I felt the contractions coming at regular intervals and I was gearing up for how to cope with them. Steve quickly found an app for us to use that would track the contractions’ timing, but it also played soothing sounds and had image and focus-words for me to focus on during contractions. It wasn’t something I had thought about, and amongst all of the coping techniques, that app and focused breathing ended up being key for me. Steve stayed up with me for a while and helped support and comfort me while I worked through those buggers. I was basically bent over our ottoman in our living room, listening to Friends episodes, and deeply breathing for about five or so hours. I can’t say that it felt like five+ hours; time compressed for me. Steve, however, has a completely different perspective on how this whole marathon went down.

Before we left for the hospital, we spoke to my doctor on the phone to make sure the timing seemed right. We wanted to avoid the whole drive there just to be turned around again. Luckily, she suggested we come in since my contractions were about 6 minutes apart at that time. I can’t say that contractions on a car ride are fun, but having heated seats and listening to music were nice! Steve did awesome about driving us there safely in the middle of the night and keeping his nervousness at bay.

When we got there, we went to OB Triage where they decide if you need to be admitted. I was still having regular contractions, and they had gotten closer together at that point. However, they checked me and I was still 1cm - maybe 2 - dilated (though further effaced). My heart dropped. I didn’t want to go back home, and I didn’t want to turn right back around. When the doctor came in, we talked about the different options. She was definitely considering our drive and we landed on letting me labor there for a couple hours in triage to see how I progressed. The idea being that if I didn’t progress, then this could take days and we’d go home. If I did progress, then I’d be admitted. They gave me some medicine to help me rest during the contractions (thank goodness!) and off to sleep I went. Poor Steve sat in the worlds worst chair, hungry and tired, while I slept.

A few hours later, we got the good news: we were being admitted! It was early morning sometime (I can’t remember exactly. I just remember seeing the sun) and we were moved to a room. Steve and I were able to get some food and I was coping with the contractions well. After having slept for a few hours, I was feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed!

I’d like to take this moment to shout out the nurses that worked with us. They were FAN-FRIGGIN-TASTIC. I could not have had a better hospital experience, seriously. Knowledgeable, kind, patient, accommodating, consistent, reliable. I trusted each one of those women and I’ve sent their manager a glowing review of each of them. Again, I’d choose to have baby girl in Lansing all over again if I had to.

Once admitted, I labored and gradually progressed over the course of six or so hours. I was living in these little three-minute increments: 45 second contraction - rest for 2 mins. 45 second contraction - rest for 2 mins. Again and again and again. That whole time I was on my feet, hands squeezing the rails of the hospital bed or the sheets, and rocking from side to side with Steve putting counter-pressure on me during each contraction. For me, time compressed. For Steve, he said he had no idea how I stood there like that for so many hours; his body ached so bad!

I’d like to take this paragraph to say how incredibly proud and lucky I am to have Steve as my partner. The man was steadfast and calm, there for me every single step of the way, without a single complaint. Whatever I needed, he was there. And despite the fact that he was under the stress of becoming a new parent, and he was watching his wife go through pain that would only get worse, he remained solid. I love him with every fiber of my being. Words cannot describe how grateful I am for him; I'll never be able to write it justice. But just know that I know that I’m the luckiest woman in the world.

I received my epidural and the pain subsided, but the pressure was still there so I could listen to the cues my body was giving. In the end, I pushed for 45 minutes with the help of my awesome doc, nurses, and Steve, and then baby Zo appeared! Steve got to see her being born, and I’d never seen such swells of emotion overcome him. It was truly very beautiful.

Zoe Eloise came out in her own special way - a hand next to her face, a leg up by her shoulder. In other words, she was kind of breeched, and it wasn’t expected. However, in the flurry of after-delivery, she was looked over by multiple docs and nurses, an individual from the NICU, and physical therapy. All in all, she was eventually cleared and everyone said she should be totally fine. Her little knee could hyperextend a bit, but it wasn’t overly concerning and would fix itself as time went on. Her hips looked good on the ultrasound, but we’ll do another in a few weeks to ensure that they’re developing as expected to avoid early onset arthritis and/or later-in-life hip replacements. But the conclusion was good: baby was healthy.

There are so many little details that I hope remain burned in my memory about this day. And even though it still seems surreal to say that I have a daughter, it also seems quite normal now to be sitting in my living room at 4 in the morning with our little nugget sleeping peacefully next to me.

Thank you for reading this novel and sticking it out to the end! Tat-ta for now!