This time around, I didn't even bother to schedule a C-section.
Both Thing One and Thing Two had been in breech position until mere days before they were born, and Petunia was following suit. Like her brothers before her, she spent months mercilessly pummeling the inside of my ribcage on the right-hand side with her head. I had a feeling that she would flip into the head-down position at the absolute last possible second just as both of them had, and I was right.
The ultrasound that confirmed her gender months before had really been a formality. With the boys, I had no morning--or any other time of day--sickness at all. Zero. During my pregnancy with Thing One, I actually asked my obstetrician about it: I was afraid that something was very wrong since I wasn't ill. I'd hoped for a girl the third time around, and when the nausea hit early on, I was pretty sure I'd gotten my wish. I still wasn't puking, but with her I could only eat between about 10AM and 4PM...anytime before or after that the thought of food made me gag. Himself, who would have been perfectly happy with three boys (the whole uber-protective dad-of-girl thing kicking in preemptively) got very nervous every time I mentioned feeling sick. When the ultrasound confirmed that I was carrying a girl, he literally turned a little bit green. Both grandmothers immediately did dances of pink-ruffled joy, though: Petunia is the only granddaughter on one side and the eldest granddaughter on the other.
Despite the fact that the boys were only 3 and 1 at the time and running me ragged with their energy and demands, that pregnancy was fairly uneventful once the nausea subsided. Thing Two's issues hadn't really manifested yet, blessedly. Besides the fact that an early-September baby meant that I was yet again very pregnant during the worst of the summer (you would think I would have learned something from my July and August babies, but no...) things were moving along quite well. But then, around 36 weeks, the final routine ultrasound suggested that our daughter had a cardiac arrhythmia.
For the next four weeks, I had a stress test every week. Things seemed to be okay, but we were waiting on tenterhooks for the other shoe to drop after the roller-coaster experience with Thing Two's birth. And when they told us that Petunia was measuring very large, probably too big for me to deliver if we waited much longer, we agreed to schedule an induction. We asked about the obstetrician schedule for the following week and picked the day that our favorite OB was on call.
September 4, 2007 was a Tuesday. My in-laws had come in the night before, and we left for the hospital bright and early that morning. As with the previous induction, it was difficult and painful, and this one took forever to progress. Petunia was born at 8:27PM, long after our OB of choice had finished her shift at the hospital and gone home!
As she was being born, I looked at Himself and said, "Forget about me; follow the doctor to the warmer and make sure that the baby is okay." During the whole delivery, all I'd been able to think about was our discovery immediately post-birth of the spot on Thing Two's head and the horrible five days of hospitalization that followed for him, and since I couldn't go and inspect her at that moment, I really needed him to do it for my peace of mind. Thanks be to God, she was normal and perfect. And ironically, although she was indeed the largest of my babies, she only weighed 7 lb 8 oz...a mere 5 oz more than Thing One, who'd been the smallest. Clearly I am consistent in my baby-growing (Thing Two weighed 7 lb, 5 oz), but I was also really annoyed that I'd gone through an induction for no reason: guess baby measurement is not a science.
I had my beautiful baby girl, anyway. And unlike the last time I was in the hospital, at least that time nobody asked me when I was going to try for my next baby!! That has to be THE dumbest damned question you can possibly ask somebody who's just given birth, but somebody posed it to me right after Thing Two was born.
The wording of the birth-announcement e-mail was classic Himself: "Mother and daughter are both doing very well. The boys and I are bracing for the inevitable shift in the intra-family power structure!"
Love you so much, my precious girl. You may not be a baby anymore, but you'll always be my baby. Happy 6th birthday!
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