She was born November 18th of last year. (Yes, last year. That's how far behind I am.) She looked so much like her brothers when they were born that I accidentally called her a "he" a couple of times to the nurse. I had a hard time getting it through my brain that first day and a half that I had given birth to a daughter this time, not another loud, stinky boy.
Her name is Zoë Allison. Allison is my sister's middle name, and Zoë became "the name" when we found out it is Greek for life. Life. It is a beautiful word that I am still gaining understand of. I do know that life is uh.maze.ing. I just don't think I fully comprehend the depth of that awesomeness, yet.
I was induced with all four of my sons for different reasons. And fitting of a female, Zoë decided to shake things up a little for her entrance into the world. She decided to come on her own a week early. So even though she was baby #5, this was my first dance with that little experience called "going into labor".
It was a Saturday evening and we were going out to eat at Texas Roadhouse with the boys so that we could use the free kids meal coupons they had earned at school from having perfect attendance. I was having contractions that went from 10 minutes apart to 3 minutes apart pretty quickly and fairly regularly. And since this was my fifth baby and I had no idea how fast labor would be without pitocin, the doctor wanted me to go immediately to the hospital. Do not go home. Do not get your clothes. Do not take the four sons to the relative's house. Go. to. the. hospital. now.
It turned out not to be that urgent. I got to the hospital and the contractions slowed waaaaaay down. We decided to stay and be put on pitocin. It seemed like Zoë was determined to do things her own way, and we weren't sure how crazy this girl wanted to do things. We didn't want to go pick up four boys (who were at my bestie's house by now) and drive 45 minutes home just to have to turn around and rush back to the hospital.
Our excitement for the upcoming birth of our first daughter came to a screeching halt. We called my aunt to tell her we were getting ready to have Zoë, and my aunt had some incredibly bad news to tell us. One of our relatives (third cousin) who is the same age as my oldest - 7 years old - was involved in a tragic, freak accident in his grandpa's yard that same day. My aunt had been at the hospital all day with the family. The little boy was on life support at the children's hospital, it didn't look good for him.
My body was numb. I knew instantly that I had to try to shove this news to the back of my mind and the back of my emotions. I couldn't let this make Zoë's birth more difficult for her or me. I did a fairly good job putting it behind me for the moment, but I never lost that numb feeling. It was impossible for me to be excited or feel any of the emotions I felt when I was laboring with the boys.
The birth was smooth and very normal (except for the epidural which caused a spinal fluid leak and therefore a spinal headache that was excrutiating for the next few days and I had to get a blood patch for - but nothing life threatening). I was with a different doctor this time around than I had for the boys, and this was the first time I had given birth in this particular hospital. The epidural was cranked up so much that I couldn't feel anything. I didn't like that. At the last hospital - for all four of the boys - the doctor lessened the epidural enough so that I could feel what was going on "down there". I couldn't feel a thing this time. I couldn't feel that it was time to push. I was just told to push. How is a person supposed to push when you can't even feel muscles with which you are supposed to be pushing?!
So pushing took a lot longer with Zoë. With the boys, I was a champ at pushing. I pushed with Todd (my first) for only ten minutes. Then I pushed twice with Eli and Isaac (and the first push with both of these boys was just a "practice push" so that the doctor could see where they were. During my "practice push" with my fourth son, Peter, I was told to stop pushing so that the doctor could get ready for the delivery, but there was no stopping. I could feel him coming without me pushing, and he basically just fell out. And I'm glad the doctor was able to catch him!
But Zoë liked doing things her own way, and I was going to push and push and push with this girl. I actually got irritated after about 20 minutes of pushing because I really felt like I was out of sorts with the epidural making everything senseless. So I don't know if I could blame the extra pushing on Zoë being the drama princess or if it was the extra power of the epidural. She waited until early the next morning to arrive and was born on Sunday, November 18th. She weighed 8 pounds 1 ounce and was 19 inches long.
I wish I could say I was excited when she was born. My first thought was that she looked Asian, and neither one of us are of Asian decent. We did the kangaroo care, and it was interesting and neat. But when I got to my room she laid there in her bassinet and I felt nothing towards her. And it really scared me. I love being a mom and I love the first days in the hospital getting to know this little person who had been kicking me from the inside over the last few months. I love holding my newborn and kissing that fresh skin over and over and over. But with Zoë the numb emotions made it impossible to enjoy anything. I was going through the motions. She was my fifth child, so I knew what to do and I was just focusing on doing what I was supposed to do to care for her. I prayed to God that He would help me get out of this funk so that I could feel something for my daughter. I was afraid if I didn't feel something towards her soon that I wouldn't ever feel anything towards her. I was really just an emotional wreck over my third cousin. I was crying on and off just thinking about him and the last time we saw him and what his mom must be going through. I prayed for a miracle for him.
He didn't get the miracle I hoped for. On the same day as Zoë's birth - November 18th - my second cousin and his wife had to watch their little boy pass from their arms and from this world. I am still grieving. Every time I celebrate another month with Zoë, I know that his mom is remembering an entirely different kind of anniversary. The anniversary for an event no mom should have to experience. I think there is maybe no other way for it to be for me. This is just the reality of it. I think when we celebrate Zoë's 10th birthday, 20th birthday, 34th birthday I will have the thoughts of the other mom and the son she lost on my heart as I celebrate Zoë's life.
As for the good news - I got over my lack of emotions towards Zoë. I am so glad that it didn't take long - about one day (it was a weird, scary first day for me). Then the emotions came and I fell head over heels in love with this little princess who has brought sweet smells to our family.
Now for some "oooh"s and "aaaaah"s:
|Welcome to the planet! One day old.|
|Cuddling with Isaac|
|Love this sweetness! 3 months old.|
|Mom is having fun with BOWS!|
|Summer swimming at 6 months old|
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