Thursday, June 2, 2011


I've been sitting here in my hospital room most of the day cuddling the newest addition to our family. It has been quiet and I've had little to do other than to think about how much I miss my kiddos and want to go home. I contemplated going home tonight but then Dennis brought the oldest 3 in to visit and after 5 minutes of the ensuing chaos, I decided staying another night didn't seem so bad after all. I decided the extra quiet time would be nice to update my blog, get some decent sleep and remind myself of why I'm glad I don't have cable TV.

So here's the story on how yesterday went. Feel free to skip this part if you don't like delivery details. My doctor told me if I chose to be induced it would be considered a medical induction because of the distance from our house to the hospital. Because I like having things planned out as far in advanced as possible and because I knew it would be easy to remember her birthdate as 6/1/11, I decided to go ahead and schedule the induction. Leading up to yesterday I was certain my body would be more than ready for the pitocin and that as soon as I was started on it, I would deliver almost immediately. In the days prior, I had had multiple painful contractions and there were times she felt so low that she would fall out at any minute.

The pitocin was started at 8am but almost 6 hours later, I had only dilated 1/2cm, having started the induction at 2cm. I was so discouraged and frustrated! About an hour later my doctor came in and broke my water and things immediately started feeling different. Shortly afterwards I got my epidural which in one word, was heaven. It worked so well that I told Dennis that I didn't want to have the baby right away but that I wanted to enjoy the feeling of weightlessness on my body for a few more hours. I hadn't felt that pain-free and relaxed in months and I was loving it!

Dennis and I were enjoying watching Netflix on our laptop and dozing off when the nurse came in, checked me, and nonchalantly told me we were ready and that she guessed the baby would be born at 4:23pm. (???) The doctor arrived and after two half pushes (if you can even call them that) she slid right out. While my other kids came out of the womb wide-eyed and ready to explore the world, this little one came out, let out a few cries, pinked up a bit, and then put her head down and fell back to sleep. Her official birth time was 4:22 and by 4:35 Dennis and I were sitting in the room by ourselves with a sleeping baby, wondering what the heck just happened. It all seemed rather anticlimactic and without much fanfare.

This picture reminds me of one my mom took of Lauren, that is almost identical, taken seconds after she was born. Jimmy said Lauren's picture made him think "Ay, que frio." I think that would be the most appropriate caption.

After much discussion we decided to name her Calista Marie Merrick. Yes, we have received quite a bit of mixed reactions on our name choice (most of them being, “Hmmmmm….that’s interesting" or "Okaaaaaaaaaaay") but we both feel like it fits her and that it’s the right name. She weighed 7lbs. 6 oz. and measured 20 ½ inches long. She’s a great little nurser, almost too good in fact. It has made for a tired momma who for the first time asked the nursery to take her for the night and just give her a bottle. I didn’t think I could keep up with her voracious appetite all night long, especially considering how exhausted I was. I slept for 5 hours straight for the first time in longer than I can remember. I woke up feeling so refreshed, bright-eyed and bushy tailed that I wondered how I ever took more than 2 hours of solid sleep so for granted!

I have so appreciated the thoughtful phone calls, visits, and emails. Percy sent me an email that was especially touching. I love what he had to say so much that I wanted to share it:

Two nights ago in my dreams class our instructor talked about danger in traditional initiations. He said that part of the value of the tribal (male) inititation experience was knowing that not everyone made it, that sometimes there were casualties. I think about women, and how, in a sense, their bodies provide their own initiation into adulthood. If menstruation was not enough, then comes childbirth, a long-anticipated event looked forward to by almost every little girl with wonder, dread, fear, awe, and pride. The event comes and takes over a woman, passes her near the shadow of death, from which most return, but not all, ... and delivers her on the other side beaten, shining, perspiring, heart-rate again normalizing, cradling a new life now outside herself, by some miracle passed through. Her relations breathe a sigh of relief that she is with us still, that she made it through this ordeal, and many feel inclined to bend their knee or bow their heads in respect for this quiet new life, for this person who is the same, but somehow different. An ancient archetype of our species has emerged. Somehow she too is reborn. Queen - great mother - divine feminine - these are words that come close. I perceive a new strength in you Rita. I am glad you made it!

Once again, as with all of my children, I feel as though I’ve stepped further down a path towards completeness. I don't know how else to explain it other than a feeling of being whole. When the kids came to visit, my heart swelled with pride as I looked at my four, little, perfect creations. I thought what thrill their little spirits must feel to be reunited as earthly siblings from their time together in the pre-existence.


Liz Johnson said...

She is so beautiful, and I love the name!!! Congratulations!!

highheels2flipflops said...

I LOVE the name. I agree with how you feel complete. I look at my kids everyday and think "How did I make such CUTE little people!?"