Welcome to the World, Violet!

June 3, 2015 at 1:54 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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It was like a self-fulfilling prophesy. In the morning on Mother’s Day I told James I wondered if I’d be getting the best gift ever: my baby girl…and to not be so dreadfully, largely and uncomfortably pregnant anymore. I still had another 10 days to go before her due date, but I think we all had a feeling I wasn’t going to make it quite that long. I’d been having intermittent contractions all day, but nothing worth heading to the hospital for.

We decided to celebrate Mother’s Day with an early dinner at Olive Garden. I loaded up on the spicy food: a spicy calamari appetizer and the spicy Italian sausage soup. I’d take a bite…pause…contraction…take another bite. Sensing these contractions were starting to kick into high gear, we opted to stuff ourselves silly and ordered dessert. Hospitals are notorious for starving you until delivery. With a full belly I waddled to the car, Liam waddling after me and proclaiming that he, too, had a baby in his belly. A food baby! A couple laughed at his antics in the parking lot. This kid is such a clown.

By 6 PM the contractions were coming faster, within the requisite 5-6 minutes, though they weren’t nearly as intense as they’d been six years ago. No back labor, huzzah!! I called my neighbor, Renee, and we packed a bag for Liam to stay the night with her family. We finished packing up our stuff for the hospital, and away we went. Totally chill. No rushing, no worrying. This might even be a false alarm.

We got to the birthing center, settled into our room, and after testing to see if my water had broken (apparently it had), they set me up with a Pitocin drip and informed me this baby was on her way. I couldn’t believe my water had broken without my noticing it. I guess her little head, nestled so snuggly in my pelvis for weeks, had plugged it up all day. It’s standard practice to deliver at least 24 hours after the water breaks to guard against infection, hence the need for Pitocin.

Disappointedly, I was informed that my doctor wasn’t available for a Sunday night delivery, so his partner and one of the residents would be handling things. Dr. Sobbing (what a name!) chatted with us a bit and put our minds at ease. Honestly, after the ordeal we had with Liam’s delivery in DC with a doctor we had only met the week before, this wasn’t that big of a deal. The resident, a young guy in chunky glasses, did most of the checking in on my progress, and James and I joked that Doogie Howser was delivering our baby. The nurses fussed about with my fetal monitor – my belly was so strangely oblong that I had to lay on my side to keep the damn thing on. I sat at 3 cm dilated for most of the evening, and then around 10 PM a very surprised nurse managed to un-wedge Violet’s head a bit and – GUSH!! Now that was what I expected with my water breaking. At least it didn’t happen at the Olive Garden!

After that the contractions started getting much worse, and I decided it was time for the good ol’ epidural. It was creeping on midnight, so no Mother’s Day birthday after all. But May 11 was still fine by us. (Interesting fact: Violet’s birthday is the same backwards as it is forwards: 5-11-15) The anesthesiologist was apologetically late, and after much painful prodding and, as she described it, bee stings (ouch!!), I was able to relax. Natural childbirth, whatever.

11165232_1000097550000359_3949268310741926055_nAt 3:41 AM, after just four pushes, out little Violet Annabelle came! She weighed 8 pounds, 1 oz, measured 20 inches long, and was covered in goo. The nurses wiped her off, and because James was too squeamish, I cut my own cord. Which was the coolest thing ever, I must say. I didn’t even realize that was an option. And then we got more than an hour of skin-to-skin cuddles. James and I couldn’t get over how much she looked like Liam. But with lighter brown hair, and a slightly more upturned nose. After some nursing (she latched right on!) and marveling at our little miracle, it was time for me to put an end to our baby-making once and for all. So I handed off our little bundle to James and they wheeled me into the operating room for a tubal ligation. They asked me, like, 20 times if I was sure. Yes, two kids is enough for me, and besides, in the immortal words of Roger Murtaugh, I’m too old for this shit. I’d never had surgery before, so being wheeled on the gurney and having all of that blue cloth draped over me was kind of surreal. I stayed awake for the procedure, and before I knew it, I was back in my room and ready for rest. James had alerted the whole family. Such a difference six years makes: With Liam we were calling my parents, his parents, my sister, etc. This time we texted everyone photos and updated Facebook profusely. News travels much faster these days. 

11210450_1000207763322671_4164116482467511542_nMy parents drove up to stay with Liam while we were in the hospital, and they were Violet’s first visitors. Liam came up after school to meet his brand new baby sister. After holding her for a minute, he seemed to have gotten over the “newness” factor almost immediately. Oh well. My parents were thrilled to pass her back and forth, taking photos with mom’s iPad.

Because I had a hepatitis B infection (apparently fairly common in pregnancy), Violet and I stayed in the hospital for two days. And I needed every hour of that for recovery. My poor 37-year-old body was worse for wear, recovering from both childbirth and surgery. I had to wear a catheter because I’d mysteriously lost the ability to urinate – three weeks later I’m still recovering from that – and James had to stay the night just to get up and pass me the baby so I could nurse her. (I’d handled it on my own the first night, and even with the nurses helping it was totally EXHAUSTING and cumbersome.)


After we finally made it home, my parents stayed through the weekend to help Liam through his last week of school, and I cannot thank them enough for all the help they provided. It amazes me we managed to do this all on our own when Liam was born! But with Liam needing attention and my recovery much harder this time, we definitely needed help.

A week later my mom-in-law arrived, along with James’ sister Kim and her hubby Jacob. They were also a tremendous help, especially with entertaining Liam. In fact, Liam has gotten a ton of swag from his relatives since Violet arrived. No sibling rivalry to report yet!


Three weeks have just flown by, a blur of sleepless nights, dirty diapers and hourly feedings. Violet has a healthy appetite, nursing every 1-2 hours, even through the night. She’d already gained her birth weight back and then some at her two-week doctor’s appointments, so she’s already ahead of Liam. I’m optimistic that breast feeding will come more easily this time around. We’re still working on our latch – for some reason the left side is still painful, maybe because I’m right-handed. Pumping that side and nursing on the right during the day has provided some relief. We plan on letting James bottle-feed her some in another week or so. She doesn’t care for pacifiers, but she does love bouncing on the yoga ball, so she’s a challenge to soothe. We’re wondering if we should have invested in that fancy $250 swing we saw at the baby store that does all the bouncing for us. Our old backs are about to give out! Fortunately for us she’s a pretty chill baby, so she doesn’t cry all that much. Nursing or bouncing almost always does the trick.

Violet has gotten so many clothes that I doubt she’ll wear the same newborn-size dress twice before she outgrows it. I’ve been taking lots of photos on Instagram (@afletch77). She’s like my little wiggly dress up doll – so fun!


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