Our beautiful Josephine Violet Cobb is here. We’ve spent the past nearly four weeks snuggling her, learning to navigate New York and basically life with two girls, and enjoying visiting family. I’ve been dying to share her birth story, among other things, on this blog though. And now she’s down for a nap, and James, Margaret, Chris, and Catherine are out braving the rain to see the Museum of Natural History, and so I find myself with some time – how much, I never know, could be two minutes or two hours – before Josephine wakes up, in which to write.
Let me start by sharing her birth. She arrived in nearly the exact same fashion as her big sister! My mom and sister Mary came up two days before her due date. We spent Thursday, Friday, and Saturday hanging out and enjoying the waterfront and walking around New York.
Each night, we watched a little TV or a movie and then went to bed, wondering if that would be the night it happened. Mary took this picture of us on March 7, the evening of my due date.
When we took this photo, I was actually frustrated because I felt anxious about capturing our family of three before the baby arrived, yet generally hate getting my picture taken. Luckily, Mary has a knack for bringing out the best in people in photos, so I knew she would get some good ones. And I feel like this photo captures how I was feeling the weeks before Josephine’s birth. Which is calm, happy, and very in love with my family.
That night we went to bed. Just like we did when I was pregnant the first time, with Catherine. And that morning, in the wee hours, at 2:00am – just like with Catherine, except that time it happened at 3:00am – I was dreaming that it was time, and that we were rushing around looking for my doctor to deliver the baby, when I felt a little gush and woke up. I knew my water had broken. And because Catherine had come just six or so hours after my water broke, I knew this baby would likely come much sooner! I questioned whether or it was my water or just a little pee and even laid back down a couple times, just for a second. But deep down I knew it was time and that we needed to GO. So I woke Catherine up and moved her into our big bed just because somehow I felt she was closer to me that way. I told her what was happening, and kissed her and told her how much I loved her and that I’d see her at the hospital soon. She had a bag of goodies and presents for the waiting room, and most importantly, my wonderful mom and sister, so I knew she would be beyond fine!
Then we grabbed our bags and went downstairs to catch our Uber. Chris ordered a nice SUV. Perhaps just in case I delivered there? That was a good thing, because by the time we reached the hospital, my contractions were very painful. They’d picked up in intensity rapidly. I knew our baby would be here very soon! As I was quite vocal about my pain, the poor driver kept assuring me “Don’t worry ma’am, we’re almost there.” Lol.
We arrived, and I made sure to let the nurses know that the baby was coming – sooner than later. I could tell they were skeptical at first but I convinced them pretty quickly and they understood the situation and rushed to get me in the delivery room fast. Meanwhile, they were trying to stick a needle in my arm and a scalpel up “there,” at the same time I was having a very, very painful contraction! But I was extremely impressed with the nurses at my hospital. I couldn’t have been happier with how they handled things. I felt very grateful to them.
By the time the anesthesiologist arrived, I was staring at the door willing him to walk in. I did not have to be in pain for as long with Catherine. The second the contractions got unbearable, I got my epidural. But this time it was happening so fast, that I found myself in a strange zone for coping with the pain. I sort of swayed and lifted my feet one at a time slowly without even consciously choosing to do so. I also said the F word a lot. It seemed to help. Then the anesthesiologist arrived and gave me the epidural, and the obstetrician arrived and check me and I was ten centimeters dilated. It was time to push. This was at 4am. Just two hours after my water broke and woke me. We delayed pushing for a while, while the nurse arranged some things and Chris and I took a moment to soak in what was about to happen. I requested a mirror, like with Catherine. I made a little joke about how they must wonder why in the world I’d want TWO pregnant vaginas in the room. No one laughed, but I thought I was pretty funny. Chris told the doctor that last time he’d held my leg, and he wanted to this time, too. I was really impressed with how he wanted to be involved. It touches my heart to think about it. But I suddenly found myself nervous to push. I told the doctor I didn’t poop on the table with Catherine, and I wanted to keep my record clean. They told me “you HAVE to push hard” so I let go of my modesty and four pushes later, at 4:44am on May 8 – Mother’s Day – her head of dark hair came out and then her body followed right away.
I reached down and grabbed her and looked her all over. WOW. She was stunning. I was madly, utterly, head over heels in love with this perfect, pretty little peanut. I was floored by how pretty she was! I was so proud of her. I looked over at Chris and he was crying. He asked to cut the cord, and did. Then I decided to give her the chance to nurse. This time, instead of letting the nurses assist as I did with Catherine, I relaxed and put our new baby on my breast. She found my nipple, latched on right away, and didn’t let go for an hour and a half. I just kept saying ecstatically to Chris, “She’s a champ!” and this isn’t something I normally say. Even when Chris and the nurse took her to the table to weigh her I just stared after her saying “I’m soooo happy.” She weighed 7 pounds and 1 ounce, and was 20 inches long (though later the pediatrician’s nurse would measure her in their office at 19 inches). The nurse looked at her and said, “Wow, she is a little peanut!” And her hair! It is so long and dark and lovely!
So that’s part one of Josephine’s birth story. Somewhat graphic and quite hastily told, but it’s better I get it down quickly while I can. And I’ll be back for part two, which includes Catherine meeting Josephine, our hospital stay, and the first few days at home.