Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Paisley Elizabeth Knox West

On January 31st at 1:44pm I became a Mom to the most perfect little girl I have ever seen. She was early and so unexpected that I refused to believe I was in contractions for at least five hours but she came anyway and I couldn't be happier.

I went into labour on the afternoon of January 30th. I was so tired all day and getting increasingly mad at myself for being so lazy when there was so much to be done. By the time Brian arrived home from afternoon classes I was in agony but insisted that it was probably just bad gas. I sent him to the store to secure some relief and only after that didn't work and the pain intensified to what surely would have been the worst gas in human history, I demanded to be taken to the hospital. We packed the hospital bags that we had been meaning to pack for weeks and headed to the hospital (where a part of me was still sure they would tell me it was a false alarm). They checked me out and sure enough, I was having contractions and was dilated 3cm.

Labour is a normal (and very useful) part of having a baby but when said baby is breech and has her head tucked neatly under your ribs instead of in your pelvis, it raises some major concerns. They tried to stop the labour by giving me morphine (Hallelujah!) and while that worked to slow things down they were still progressing. The Doctors were really torn about whether or not to c-section right away...I, on the other hand, was not. Brian and I repeatedly asked the doctors to proceed since I was probably going to be sectioned within the next 2 weeks anyway and I had already been in labour for 12 hours. They eventually concluded that they had no choice and assured us we would be next in line for the operating room.

We waited another agonizing 4 or 5 hours after that due to an emergency twin c-section and while I wandered in and out of my morphine haze, Brian managed to sleep for a few presumably uncomfortable hours on the hospital room floor. Soon enough they brought Brian his booties and surgical hat and we were rolled into the delivery room. The whole procedure didn't last longer than half an hour. At the point at which the doctors grabbed the baby's feet and started to pull her out Brian was invited to stand up and look over the drape. I will never forget the look of wonder on his face and the tears that started to well up as soon as he saw his little girl. We were both crying and when I heard her cry and knew that everything was okay, I completely lost it. They cleaned her up and handed her to Brian who took her to me and the two of us held our baby together for the first time. Words cannot describe how that felt - to know that this new little person was half of me and half of him and that we were embarking on this new journey together was without a doubt the biggest moment of my life.

The baby was originally named Hannah after my Grandma who passed away last year. Grandma was my best friend and a huge influence in my life and so I wanted to honour her by giving my baby girl her name. After calling her Hannah for a couple of days though it just didn't seem to fit. The name Hannah will always make me think of my Grandma and the more I thought about it the more I realized that this new baby was a new person and deserved her own name. My Grandma was one of the most interesting, funny and special people I have ever known and I thought it best to leave the name with her. It was hard to call my Mom and tell her that we had changed her mind but as always she was very understanding and she made me feel much better when she said "Grandma would have killed herself laughing about this!" and she's right. That the way Hannah was.

Paisley is the name of the Scottish town where my Grandma is from. My great-grandma lived there, my grandparents were married there and I was baptized there so it has a lot of significance for me. Not to mention that Brian and I loved the name and as it turns out, she looks like a Paisley.

Because of my diabetes Paisley had some struggles in the hospital with her blood sugars. The first two days were long as we struggled to get 3 good sugar levels in a row. Each test required a heel poke which hurt her and Brian was getting increasingly frustrated (and protective) with every poke. Each time we got a bad sugar we would have to start back at square one. Eventually though we did get it and her little pancreas woke up and realized it was on its own. She had some jaundice as well which necessitated another 24 hours in the hospital. It was long but she was a tough little cookie and we came home yesterday afternoon - 5 days since Brian and I first arrived in the maternity ward.

I can't believe how quickly we have fallen in love with her and how it almost feels as though she was always here. For 29 years I lived without her, and now that she's here, it sort of all feels like a blur. It could be hormones or a severe lack of sleep but it's just as likely that sometime between January 30th and today, I have truly become a Mom.

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