Introducing our sweet long-awaited Ella <3
I don’t know how moms who go past their due date survive. The oldest two were born at 38 weeks, the next two at 37 weeks and we (as well as our midwives and nurses) fully expected little Ella to arrive by 37 weeks too. But the days ticked by and she seemed perfectly content to stay put.
Then contractions started, grandparents picked up the big kids, and the contractions stopped. Then started again. And stopped.
Prodromal labor. It’s bewildering, exhausting, and enough to make you question anything you thought you knew about having a baby. Funny thing is though, at least for me, that after a pregnancy that seemed to bounce from morning sickness to aching veins to insomnia to shooting joint pain (with near constant brain fog and exhaustion), whenever the contractions stopped I felt amazing and slept more soundly than I can remember for ages.
So after a couple days of whining and wishing that SHE WOULD JUST COME ALREADY, I tried to just enjoy it. Which was pretty easy because the kids were having a blast with grandparents and Josh was able to work from home for several days. Then the kids came home (because I was missing them like crazy and who knew how long it might be!) and we soaked in the last few days before adding a new baby to the family.
An *almost* family picture (It was nearly 11:00 p.m. when the kids came to see their new sister and Ned was sound asleep. <3 )
After a week of starts and stops, active labor finally started. Due to complications in the past, we consulted with specialists, ran numerous blood tests, and had multiple precautions in place for her birth. (Plus I took enough medications and supplements throughout the pregnancy to make me feel like I ought to be turning ninety!)
God was gracious and answered the many prayers for a smooth and uncomplicated delivery. We had an amazing birth team and Josh could write a book on how to be a perfect labor coach. Ella greeted the world with gusto and bright-eyed curiosity. We couldn’t be more blessed.
The days since she arrived have been so sweet. With all four of the other kids, we either had complications or a ten-hour-trip home days after delivery. Plus, Josh either had to plunge straight back into law school classes, take the bar exam, or frantically prepare for a jury trial. This time we drove eight minutes home and Joshua got to take paternity leave. (A modern politically-correct trend I absolutely love!)
She is such a sweet, alert baby and has already brought so much joy to our family. The older kids can hardly get enough of holding her. One of them suggested the solution was to have quintuplets. I think we’ll just work on taking turns.
We’ve been so ridiculously spoiled with food and help from family and friends so that we can soak in these first fleeting days with her. It’s amazing how much change a new baby brings, and yet how quickly life without their presence is unimaginable. So grateful for our Elanor Jaël.