so sunday started just as any other day...
except it didn't.
i guess it all started on saturday night, when i was consumed by a need to clean the house. like, CLEAN clean the house. like maybe i should clean in between the rungs of the spindles on the kitchen table chairs kind of clean. chad definitely noticed, especially when, after i said i didn't want ice cream, he returned with his mint chocolate chip and i was STILL cleaning. i guess that was the first clue that something was afoot.
in the morning, i popped the baked oatmeal i had made the previous evening (like i said, i was CONSUMED the night before), and after eating, my sister and her partner came by for a visit with finn. i felt SO WEIRD, but couldn't quite place it, denying the fact that i could be in early labor. i was less than entertaining during that visit, though, and am pretty sure my sister's partner thinks i'm a total bore now (sorry, cat - really, i was just having a baby!!).
throughout the day, i was definitely having contractions, and started timing them around 8 minutes apart. but i was still totally sure that they were braxton hicks contractions. like TOTALLY sure. once finn went down for his nap, i tried calling the midwife on call, but found out that there WAS no midwife on call, and instead a DOCTOR was.
OK, so i've been working with this team of midwives for the past nine months and some dude doctor i don't know is going to be delivering my baby? no, i don't think so. i'm so obviously NOT in labor.
in the meantime, i receive a call from my step-mom, who informs me that my cousin, who is a week late, is in labor in wiscasset - yay!! obviously i can't be in labor - this is her moment to shine! i tell my step-mom about my contractions, and she's a bit more sure that i'm in labor than i am and suggests i find out when the doctor goes off call...i do as she suggests and am told that he's on until the following day.
so finally, i break down and ask him to call. i tell him my contractions are 5-6 minutes apart, about 20-30 seconds each, but that, as i'm on an island, i'm trying to "make a call" about whether i should head off on the last boat or stay put. in the meantime, my doula arrives and we chat. she doesn't think my labor will really get started until after finn goes down for the night and the sun sets.
she is a smart cookie.
so i forgo the last boat, and continue with my evening plans of a quarry swim and dinner with my dad and step-mom. the contractions continue, but are pretty mild and i'm convinced that this is going to take a while, if indeed i AM in labor. the swim is lovely and dinner is delicious, but by the time we're done eating, i've made the call that it's time to make the trek across the bay.
the race is on. putting operation: birth into action.
first, call and make sure the captain is ready to ferry us to the mainland...not only is he ready, but he's secured a totally sweet speed boat that makes the normally 1 & 1/4 hour ride a mere 20 minutes.
second, call hope, our doula, who arrives with her bag packed moments later.
third, call the woman who is going to watch finn overnight. she's difficult to track down, so my step-mom comes over until she arrives a couple of hours later.
it's just after 8 at this point, and it's time for finn's bedtime. i go up, read him stories and sing him songs like any other night, in the midst of contractions, now coming about every 4 minutes apart, but still pretty mild, all things considered.
at 8:45, we're pulling in to park at the wharf where the boat stands ready and waiting. moments later, we're speeding across the bay, into the setting sun. it is the most beautifully calm night, and the balmy air whips past us as we head for the mainland. i'm able to enjoy almost every moment of this ride as there's only time for about 5 or 6 contractions along the way.
by the time we get to rockland, the sun is almost set and it's just after 9. little do we know, we'll be meeting our daughter in just over two hours...
once we're on the mainland, we make the executive decision to postpone our arrival at the hospital and i'll labor as long as i can at hope's mom's house, which turns out to be just 10 minutes from the hospital, a gorgeous octagonal cabin in the woods with no running water. we walk through a field of fireflies and can hear owls hooting in nearby trees. it is a truly magical place. i wish i could stay here, but know there are two days of room service waiting for me at the hospital if i can get there ;)
about an hour later, we're ready to transition to the hospital. things are getting pretty intense, and i'm pretty sure i'm fully dialated as i'm feeling an urge to push already, but for some reason want to slow down the process. i spent so much of the day pretending that i wasn't in labor that i want to take a minute to wrap my mind around the idea. lorelei has other plans.
we arrive at pen bay at about 10:45. we have to stop twice along the way to the maternity ward for a couple of contractions to pass, and we land in the delivery room. i'm disappointed that the room with the birthing tub is already occupied, but to be honest, there was no time to fill it up. my initial hunch about being fully dialated is confirmed, but for some reason, no one mentions pushing. i'm lying down now, which is not helping things, but i just suddenly got scared. it was a "this is it" moment - i realized that as soon as i got up into my laboring position (which for me happens to be on all fours), our lives were going to change drastically. it wasn't the pain i was afraid of, but of the unknown - how this was going to affect our family, which is pretty awesome as it is - and why mess with perfection? once i was able to verbalize my fear, i think it helped me get over my stage fright and "assume the position" as it were.
i don't want to say what followed was easy - there is no way to describe it as that, but as soon as i let go of my fear, i feel like my focus really shifted - i was still having intense contractions, but they didn't hurt as much because now i was in control, i was doing something about them - namely pushing my baby out! it was an incredibly liberating feeling to let go and take charge all at the same time.
after all the concern about the doctor delivering my baby (and really, i think it was pretty clear who was doing the delivering), he showed up with enough time to put on gloves and catch miss lorelei as she entered the world 35 minutes after our arrival at the hospital.
july 14th was literally the most magical day of my life and i can't imagine it having been any different... lorelei joined us in exactly the right way at exactly the right time. we were absolutely blessed by everyone we encountered that night and in the days to follow (one particular nurse at the hospital made our stay an absolute dream - thanks, alicia!). as bittersweet as it was to finally leave the hospital, we were SO missing our little boy and couldn't wait to unite our family for the first time.
finn, as i'm sure many of you are wondering, is the most spectacular big brother. he is so gentle and sweet with her and i just know they're going to be the best of friends. it literally brings tears to my eyes to see them together - they're both such dreams.
as for miss l, she's the most mellow, chill baby i've ever met. she eats, she sleeps, and she makes us all ga-ga for her during the short hours she's awake and shining those big beautiful eyes on everything she can see (which, admittedly, is not much quite yet).
so there we are. the arrival of miss lorelei angeline. there may be more to come in the next few days. i feel like i have a lot to say. blame it on the hormones.
oh! and lorelei's cousin, harper eden, arrived just a few hours later in the early hours of monday morning. so many blessings.