Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A new series: Abigail

 I began writing this blog when Abigail was 18 months old.  Which means, of course, that there are about 2000 pictures of her that exist only on my external hard drive and nowhere on this bloggedy blog that I use as a journal.  It's my goal to remedy that before the new baby is born.

Abigail was born during finals week of my first year of graduate school and at the end of Neil's junior year (he is almost three years older than me, but he was behind me in school because he spent two years serving his mission in the Philippines, and I finished my undergraduate degree in three years and began my master's program right away).  I was twenty-one years old (a few months shy of my twenty-second birthday in July) and he was twenty-four; we had been married just short of 2.5 years.

 At the time, my pregnancy seemed so hard (I was so tired! My sciatic nerve started acting up the final week of my pregnancy!) and now my aching back and I know it was a really awesome pregnancy.  :-)  But I was so excited to be expecting a baby, and I remember lying on the floor at my Grandmother Jere's house after Thanksgiving dinner and feeling that first little fluttering kick for the very first time.

We bought a digital camera just before she was born.  This is one of the very first pictures we took with it--I was nine months pregnant and sitting all folded up working on my thesis.  Note the awesome blanket hung over our window to block out our neighbors' porch lights.  (This blanket stayed on my window pretty much all throughout college. Jen and I used to refer to our freshman dorm room as the "bat cave.")

 Neil took the picture below on my original due date, April 13th (all of the dates on our camera were one day off.  Forever).  I was pregnant for another week and then my OB induced me.  Looking back, I really wish we'd waited longer, but I was so impatient to meet my baby!

The induction was nightmarish.  Absolutely awful.  I was given two doses of cervical gel 12 hours apart.  After the first one, they sent me home and I started having cramps.  When I came back for the second dose at 11 pm, the contractions set in immediately and they were so awful!  The nurses sent me to walk the halls for an hour and I remember that I couldn't walk--I just curled up on the floor crying with each contraction.  Neil was so embarrassed when I parked myself in front of the vending machines and just lay there sobbing.  I remember that he kept trying to persuade me to get up and I was so mad at him!

Eventually the nurses gave me a shot of morphine and sent us home (I really hated them for that).  I spent the night in the living room holding onto the legs of our end table and trying not to scream, because I wanted Neil to sleep.  Finally I felt like the contractions were bad enough that we needed to go to the hospital again.  It took me almost an hour to cover the ten feet to our bedroom (have I convinced you yet that this was awful?!) and when we arrived at the hospital, Neil completely forgot about labor and delivery parking and we ended up in the parking garage which seemed miles away from the L&D wing.

 I don't remember much about being in labor after that.  I know that after twelve hours of hard, intense, horrible labor I asked for an epidural; at that point I'd been awake for about 48 hours and I was completely exhausted.  I think I was on Pitocin and that was making things worse.  (I'd gone to Lamaze classes which were kind of a joke; looking back on this I was totally clueless about how to function when I was in labor and really had no idea what my body was doing.  Honestly, I didn't learn enough about labor and delivery until I did the Hypnobabies program with Luke and spent months researching what actually goes on during the entire birthing process).

Long story short:  I fell into blissful sleep after the epidural and took a much-needed nap.  When Abigail was actually born, my very least favorite doctor from the OB practice was on call, and he came in and draped me in these horrible plastic sheets.  I remember being SO sweaty and hot and miserable and hating that doctor during all 45 minutes of pushing! I was in labor for 24 hours total and ended up with an episiotomy--when I'd specifically told him NO on that--a third-degree tear, and a forceps delivery.  After Abigail was born I started hemorrhaging and I wasn't allowed to hold her for an hour while they worked on me (which was as fun as it sounds).

When I was finally allowed to hold Abigail, I thought she was the most beautiful baby I'd ever seen--that was the very first thing I said (closely followed by "look how long her little feet are!").  I couldn't get enough of her sweet rosebud lips and her tiny little hands and the way she always tried to nibble on her forefinger.  She had a fat little round head, and she was my heaviest baby (thus far) at 8 lbs 9 oz.  She was 20.5 inches long. She had stork bites on both her eyelids and downy brown hair with a little duck tail at the back.  The doctor who delivered her told me that she would be blond; I thought he was totally crazy.

I still think she was just the most beautiful baby.  So beautiful.  She was so sweet-tempered, and I hated putting her to bed at night and I would often (until she was about 3 years old) get her up late at night because I missed her and wanted to play with her.  She was such a good baby--a great sleeper, incredibly adaptable, and always cheerful and good-natured during the year that she spent navigating BYU campus in her stroller while Neil and I frantically traded her off during classes (she was queen of the TA lab and would throw Cheerios at the circuit sets when she was hanging out with Neil during his office hours, and played happily on the floor in my office when I was meeting with students).  But more about her later months in another post.


Meghan said...

M so glad we get to relive Abigail's early days. Though maybe not so much the delivery--I love it when she shows up and it gets fun!

Melanie said...

Ooh! I love this! You guys were one of the first married couples we knew that had a baby- as in, "Wow! People our age are having babies! We're married! We could be having babies, too!" I distinctly remember baby Abigail in her ladybug costume. Can't wait to see more!

Anonymous said...

So adorable! Abigail's pictures are precious. It is just me or did Isaac look a little like Abigail at that early age? You have beautiful babies...that is for sure!!!
Aunt Pam

Elise said...

So so sweet! I love her.

Jamie Zvirzdin said...

Thanks for sharing this, Rachael! I think it's very important to tell the bad with the good—I grew up with the mistaken notion that there would be angels and rainbows at Max's birth, and there weren't any. And that is okay (although it took me a while to realize that). I think you're wonderful and good luck with this next baby!

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