This week, I wanted to share part II of our first birth story as parents, continuing from our previous post sharing the Birth Story of Our Sweet Baby Girl – Part I. When she arrived, Genevieve was more than Kaleb and I could have hoped for. She arrived at 6:32am on 2/8/16 and was 7 pounds and 2 ounces of absolute perfection. Her due date had originally been set for Valentine’s day, but she arrived a week early and surprised us with her early appearance at 39 weeks pregnant. One of my biggest curiosities the whole pregnancy was what she would look like and also if she would actually end up being a boy. Kaleb has plenty of boys on his side of the family and I have heard stories of people finding out they are due to have one gender at the doctor only to deliver the baby and find out it is actually the opposite. That was a huge fear since I’m a serious planner. We had a pink room with pink everywhere and the last thing I wanted to do was return a ton of baby stuff for a different color. On the looks of our girl, I had a dream halfway through our pregnancy that I could actually deliver the baby early to meet the sweet baby early at about 13 weeks pregnant. But then the doctors would have to put our baby back inside me to grow the rest of the way and develop the organs that determine the gender. This dream was before I knew the gender. In my dream, I delivered the baby, which wasn’t hard because it was so tiny and the baby started running around and actually looked exactly like Dora the explorer. From that point on I had a feeling our baby would be a girl and look like Dora.
When she was born though, my first thought was, “Of course you are the most perfect you!” She didn’t look like Dora. She probably looked a little more like me those first couple weeks or months, but she had long legs like Kaleb and also BLUE eyes! Once they cleaned her off and put her on my chest, I was in complete euphoria and so was Kaleb. For some reason the whole time I was pregnant, I kept not allowing myself to actually get too excited about having a baby. I was scared something would go wrong or that I might have a miscarriage. We still prepared her room ahead of time and made our home ‘baby-ready’ with the minimum requirements, but I wouldn’t allow myself to let go of that fear. Once she arrived and was in my arms and opened her eyes for the first time, I couldn’t help but cry tears of joy. I couldn’t believe we had actually produced a baby and that she was perfectly healthy – and also that she was the most perfect thing I’d ever laid my eyes on.
Although we had taken classes to prepare for having a baby, all of that had gone out the window with my ‘baby brain‘ taking over once she was born. One of the nurses showed me how to breastfeed and that was weird – when as a woman you go from not using them, to using them all the time. The baby isn’t born knowing how to breastfeed either, they are only born with a sucking reflex, so breastfeeding is a learning experience for everyone. I had only ever seen or heard about breastfeeding being so natural. If anyone reading this plans on having a baby, we highly recommend taking a breastfeeding class and also seeing a lactation consultant once your milk comes in. We did both and it was still hard for even up to 6 weeks. Not only are you doing something you’ve never done before in your life, but also there may be times where you have to do in public places. And there can be a lot of equipment involved that you’ve also never used before if you are storing milk.
Breastfeeding while at the hospital remained a hard task. We stayed for an extra day after Genevieve was born and we both felt that we basically hadn’t slept in 3 days. I was ready to leave and be home. While I enjoyed having help from all the nurses and doctors at the hospital, they needed to check on the baby and I every few hours even through the night to monitor and make sure we were both healthy. This was nice, but also slightly annoying to me because we were all tired. My blood pressure had been high and remained that way after the delivery so they needed to keep monitoring me. I felt that this made me more nervous and my blood pressure remained high the whole time. They were especially concerned since preeclampsia is a risk even after delivering the baby. I continued to have doctor appointments for the next few weeks simply to check this.
However eventually my blood pressure came down on its own a few weeks after, and really after I was able to develop a normal routine with our baby and learn how to be a mother. I think one thing people don’t tell you is that when you have the baby, you might not know how to be a mother yet. I do say that some of my friends came out of the womb as mothers and its a natural fit for them from the beginning of being pregnant to raising that child. But for me, it has been a learning experience. I love being a mother with every bit of my being. But there were so many moments especially in the beginning where I had no clue what I was doing. I was sweating in public places, almost in tears myself, and carrying a screaming Genevieve out the door as she’d scream the whole way home. I saw a quote recently somewhere by Dr. Steve Maraboli,
“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.”
And I think this quote couldn’t describe parenthood more perfectly. You get stronger and you have to care less what people think so that you can do the best you can to take care of your baby and family. So far we are loving this adventure with our new little one. It feels like only a few weeks ago that I was delivering her in the hospital. The best part of our birth story and delivering our sweet baby Genevieve, is that she is a healthy baby girl whom God has entrusted us to raise: “But I will give repeated thanks to the LORD, praising him to everyone.” (Psalms 109:30). And we will especially give praise to Jesus Christ above for giving us this precious gift. Most days I don’t know how we got so lucky and what we did to deserve such a blessing. But each day I wake up excited to see our little Genevieve and hold her in my arms. Every day it gets better with our ‘new normal’ and every day she is developing into her own little person. We feel so lucky that we get to be her parents.
Photography by Kaleb Nimz