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I spent the whole month of December praying that Baby S would be late. I was dreading the newborn stage. Plus, we did not know her name at this point (I wanted Scarlet, Eric wanted Fiona, neither of us liked each other's favorite name [I did not want my daughter's name to invoke the image of Shrek!! Like anyone would really think of stunning Fiona from Burn Notice, which is where Eric got the name from] and neither would budge). On top of all this, Eric was supposed to take the GMAT on January 5 and apply for four MBA programs by Jan 15, one day before my scheduled induction. Oh, and it was Christmas, the first one Isla would (kind of) remember. AND I had not taken out any newborn size clothes for the baby. You could say I was totally unprepared in every way possible.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013: 37 weeks, 4 days
I woke up with what I thought were contractions (haha, Tracie). They were uncomfortable and they weren't going away. After laying in bed for two hours going back and forth between timing the contractions and reading on my phone (HP, of course), I decided to take a bath to see if I was really in labor. I texted Eric's sister-in-law to make sure she could watch Isla, just in case. Cut to 30 minutes later, and the contractions were gone. I was not looking forward to this for the next two and a half weeks. But I kept reminding myself that semi-contractions and some sleep was better than a body recovering from labor hell & no sleep.

Friday, January 4, 2013: 38 weeks
As soon as I hit the third trimester, I am always paranoid about feeling baby's kick counts. I didn't feel baby at all that afternoon and was worried about going into work that night. I talked to my doctor and he said to stay down for the evening. Fortunately, since I have the best job in the world, I was able to work from home. The contractions started up again, but went away after a few hours. I thought I would definitely have a baby by the week's end. WRONG.

Thursday, January 10, 2013: 38 weeks, 6 days
I was so tired and exhausted from all the fake contractions that were doing nothing! I had been at 2cm for almost three weeks and nothing was happening. My doctor (amazing!!! Worth the three exclamation points. Dr. Russell Smith @ Alta View Hospital in Sandy, UT) predicted I would have my baby before I was scheduled to be induced on Wed, Jan 16. My sister came into town in the afternoon. She watched Isla while I took a nap. I was having uncomfortable contractions, but nothing consistent.

I went over to my friend's house and she did my hair for me. I was too tired to do my own hair and didn't want to look like a train wreck like last time. I still wasn't sure if baby would come, but I was ready. It started snowing like crazy when I was at her house. She dropped me off so I didn't have to walk the 30 yards back to my place. As we were sitting talking in her car, my contractions started getting worse. They were pretty painful. I could talk through them, but just barely. As soon as I couldn't fully concentrate on what she was saying (sorry, Kelsey!) I decided to go in and time them. This was around 8 p.m.

At 10 p.m., the contractions were getting more painful and about every five minutes. Oh, and did I forget to mention I had not packed my hospital bag yet? Big oops. I did have a list on my phone however! I ran around grabbing things while the contractions kept coming. Eric's back was already packed. I am the official procrastinator in the family. We made it to the hospital by midnight, in spite of the massive snow storm outside. Thank goodness we were only a few blocks from the hospital.

There was no snow on the ground earlier in the day!
Cutesy photo I never did post to Instagram. Proof I finally packed my bag and that belly was huge!

Friday, January 11, 2013, 12:00 a.m., at the hospital: 39 weeks
Ok, these were really hurting now. I could talk through them, but just barely. We were buzzed inside the women's center and I went straight to the L&D floor. The nurses quickly got me into a room and hooked up to a monitor. These contractions HAD to be doing something to my body! They were too painful to be fake labor. According to the charts, I was having contractions every three minutes. I thought my baby would be in my arms by early morning. During every contraction, Eric would hold my hand so I could squeeze it. It helped, a little. I was squeezing pretty hard, and he didn't even flinch or complain once :) At 2:00 a.m., the nurse came back into our room and checked to see what was happening. Nope. Nothing. Nada. Contractions that I could barely talk through were not doing anything to my body. I was SO mad. So I was just supposed to go home and pretend to get some sleep while these contractions did a number on my back and come back in a few hours? I was one unhappy pregnant lady.

The nurse offered to give me a morphine shot so I could get some sleep. Um, shot? In my rear? No, thank you. I haven't gotten a shot in my bum since I was a kid, but I still remembered the pain. The nurse insisted that it would help me sleep. I finally relented because I really did want to get some rest, and the contractions were hurting pretty bad. She told me to get into bed within 30 minutes because the morphine would make me tired and a little out of it. I made the walk of shame out the hospital and into the waiting snow storm.

*30 minutes later*
Oh heavens. I now understand why people like morphine so much. Morphling addicts in the Hunger Games book? Totally get it. The shot took the edge off my contractions and I felt SOOOO-oh-oh-oh good. I don't know if Eric knew how loopy I really was. I am very sensitive to pain medication, so I felt the morphine-high pretty hard. I could not get a stupid, goofy grin off my face. I felt absolutely amazing.

iPhone pictures to prove it

 I fell into a deep sleep soon after I stopped taking pictures (seriously, I looked back on my phone later, and there were like 50. Why did my morphine-high self want to take so many photos??)

Friday, January 11, 2013: 39 weeks: 5:30 a.m. at home
SUPER PAINFUL CONTRACTION. I don't think I can properly give credit to the amount of pain I was in. It was like as soon as the morphine shot wore off, my pain level skyrocketed higher than ever before. Compared to Isla's contractions? Hers were a piece of cake! Every time a contraction would start to build up over my belly, I would tense up in horror of the forthcoming pain. It took every effort of my concentration to not have a major panic attack with each contraction.

I timed them for about an hour. They slowed down a little, to about every 7-10 minutes. I tried to get some rest. Not happening. I tried taking a bath to see if they would go away. Not happening. I finally told Eric at 8 a.m. that we needed to get to the hospital. We both ran around like crazy gathering things at the last minute. Every time I had a contraction, I had to stop, bend over, and breathe through them. The pain was incredibly intense.

I managed to get in one last belly shot before the hospital. Safe to say she dropped from the photo taken 10 hours earlier! Exactly 39 weeks here.

I was weirdly calm between contractions. It didn't feel like the day I was going to give birth to my second daughter.

9:00 a.m.: Back to the hospital
The car ride to the hospital was torture. I felt every bump. Eric had to drive super slow anyway because of the snow but it was very painful for me. Every time I had a contraction, I felt like my body was going to break in half. I couldn't believe my water had not broken yet.

Made it to Alta View Hospital in one piece. I did not slip on the icy sidewalk while I was walking to the building, which is a huge feat in itself for a hugely pregnant woman.

My doctor came to check on me.

Almost 6 cm. (FINALLY!)

Water about to break.

Which meant the pain I was feeling would intensify by like a hundred (or so my doctor and many friends said).

GET ME MY EPIDURAL NOW!!! {Please, pretty please. Pretty, pretty please.}

I spent the next 20 minutes praying to God that my water would not break. I could not handle any more pain. I would have passed out if my pain level increased. I made Eric pray, too. I was laying in the bed, Eric was sitting next to me, holding my hand, while I frantically prayed over and over again, please, please, please, do NOT let my water break before they put in that epidural. Please please please. I recited that short and to-the-point prayer over and over again until the World's Best Anesthesiologist came to my room around 10 a.m. I was SO over-joyed to see it was the same doctor who performed my epidural with Isla.

10:30 a.m.: Vain Tracie is vain
Epidural in and working. Water broke less than five minutes after. Sincerely heartfelt prayer of gratitude sent heavenward. Thank you for not giving me more pain than I could possibly bear.

I could still feel my legs like last time. Honestly, the epidural was a little scary but it hardly hurt at all. Not as much as last time.

I had gotten eyelash extensions a few days prior because I'd heard and seen so many good things about them. I didn't want mascara smudging everywhere like my last birth. I wanted to look and feel pretty. So on with my whole Laura Mercier/MAC make-up routine, minus the mascara (which was AWESOME). All those hours of watching Pixiwoo make-up tutorials were finally going to come to fruition.

11:30 a.m.: WHAT THE WHAT

I was taking my time, enjoying labor, expecting my second child would not make her debut until later that afternoon. Just like last time, right?

Wrong! Nurse came to check me an hour after my epidural and I had raced from 5cm to almost 10CM (!!!!!!) in less than an hour. WHAT? I was not expecting that! I was supposed to be able to watch all of Harry Potter 7 AND get a nap in before she came!

 Me mentally freaking out.

Minor anxiety attack. I couldn't believe my daughter would be here in less than an hour. (My doctor's hours end at noon on Friday, so he would be up to help me as soon as his last appt was over). I didn't know her name! She could not be born unless the final name was crossed off our list: Scarlet, Fiona, Brielle, Eva, Eleanor, Maya, Violet, Elle, Gabrielle, Savannah, Daisy. Nothing felt right. We would have to see her first before we picked a name from the list. I was afraid we would be ready to leave the hospital before she was named.

And what did I do with all my pent-up anxiety? Well, first I tried to nap.

HA. That didn't last very long. I was too excited and my heart was racing.

Then I started to feel super woozy and I felt really light-headed. The room started spinning. What was going on? I didn't even have the energy to keep my eyes open. I barely managed to get out to the nurses that I was about to pass out.

I made Eric take a picture specifically for my birth story writing purposes. It took all my energy to tell him TAKE A PICTURE. I fully admit the crazy.

My blood pressure dropped super low because of the epidural. This happened last time. I am prone to low blood pressure anyway. They had to give me oxygen and more saline. Started to feel better, although I was suddenly exhausted. Could still barely keep my eyes open.

12:00 p.m.
I was at 10 cm. My doctor was running slightly late. I started to feel very uncomfortable. Um, nurse? This baby is coming out NOW!! I seriously felt like the baby was literally going to slip right out of me. That is a very weird feeling. I thought for sure she would just come right out before my doctor came!

My doctor finally arrived about 10 minutes later. He assured me this was going to be a lot easier than last time. I hoped so! I hadn't fully recovered from my last L&D experience before I accidentally got pregnant again.

This is it. I was about to meet my sweet baby. I was actually excited this time. Maybe because I knew what to expect? Maybe because I knew she would look like an alien lizard?

Eric was prepared with the video camera and my new t3i. I had skimped out on paying for a birth photographer and was going to have my friend take pictures, but the hour I needed her, she had a super important work meeting she couldn't cancel. So bummed out, and I wish I had paid for someone to do it for Eric so he could fully concentrate on me.

My doctor had me start to push at 12:15 p.m. Eric held my hand and held the camera in his other hand. I pushed through one contraction then rested.

Eyes still not opening fully! WHY was I so tired? I could have taken a three hour nap if I wanted to.

My doctor had me wait and rest through one more contraction.

Baby almost slipped right out with no problem... but then my doctor announced her shoulders were stuck.

SHOULDER DYSTOCIA! IS SHE OK? (I had read about this online and was fully versed according to Google U). WOULD I HAVE TO HAVE AN EMERGENCY C-SECTION? WOULD SHE MAKE IT OUT OK?

All these thoughts raced through my head in less than a second. Less than 10 seconds later, my doctor managed to get her shoulders out without any problems. It was the longest 10 seconds of my life. Thank goodness my doctor knew what to do.

12:23 p.m.: The Birth

WHAT? She was here? That was it?! This birthing thing is EASY!!

She was here! She was here! I couldn't believe this tiny babe was mine and I couldn't keep this huge smile off my face. Baby girl S was born at exactly 12:23 p.m., January 11, 2013, on the same day as her cute cousin Olivia. 1-11 is an easy birthday to remember!

I was crying tears of joy this time (as opposed to tears of exhaustion last time). This sweet, purply, lizard-like beautiful baby girl was my brand-new daughter. It took her a few moments to cry, but when she did, it was the most beautiful thing I've ever heard.

I felt this rush of emotion well up inside me. I loved her. This new life was my new daughter. It felt right and it felt amazing.

(Ok, Eric gets major points for taking these pictures. He did an awesome job. He completely captured the emotion of the moment.)

I loved my little baby so much.

Eric was so proud. He kept calling her his little princess.

 Baby and mama rested for the rest of the afternoon.

Ok dear readers, this post is long enough. I'll finish it up with this. Next post will be about Isla meeting her new baby sister and how we finally named this sweet baby girl.

I have about 10 posts in drafts. I'm looking forward to writing regularly (like actually once a week!) again.

If you've been wondering where I've been and why I've been so absent: I've been working and writing for ksl.com.

You can read all my stories here and here and here and here and here.

Thanks for all the text messages, facebook messages, and instagram messages of support. I am so grateful for all my family and friends. I truly enjoy the friendships I have gained on this sweet journey called life.

Xo, Tracie

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