The Arrival of Princess Lydia

On Thursday, August 13th, I came home from work and told my husband, “I have a good feeling about this weekend. This is the weekend baby Lydia will be born.”

I went to sleep Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night with anticipation. I just knew my water was going to break some time in the night, like it did with my first born. I had my overnight bag ready and Lydia’s bag was packed. The only thing we needed to do was install the car seat (which my husband neglected to do, saying that we still had “plenty of time”). As Sunday came to a close and I was still very pregnant, I was overcome with melancholy.

“What’s wrong?” my husband asked as I heaved a big sigh.

“I just really thought she was going to come this weekend,” I replied.

“The weekend’s not over yet,” he said.

At 11PM that night, I was awakened by a slow trickle that I knew wasn’t pee. Despite my excitement, I managed to sound sort of composed as I woke my husband. He leapt out of bed to get me a towel. I proceeded to waddle onto the bathroom tile and make my phone calls while he gathered his things. My grandparents came over to watch our son. My parents in California were alerted; my mom promised to head over first thing in the morning. Then it was off to the hospital.

My experience was much like the first one except that I had to wear a mask the whole time and I felt a lot more pain. The gal who put my IV in dug around for a while, looking for my vein, before she pulled the needle out and tried again. Try as they might (and, boy, did they!) the nurses couldn’t find my cervix or determine which position the baby was in. Thankfully, they were able to find an ultrasound tech who answered that question for us without shoving her whole arm up my woo-ha. Lydia was head down and ready to go but I wasn’t dilated in the slightest. So they put me on that wonderful pitocin to get things started.

The anesthesiologist, as professional and courteous as he was, stabbed the epidural needle into my spine before I was numb. I couldn’t eat anything because the epidural made me nauseous (I had a headache so I washed down some tylenol with a bit of apple juice I couldn’t even keep that down!). After twelve hours of laboring, my epidural seemed to lose its potency. I was given a control that would blink at me when it was okay for me to administer more of the epidural to myself and I was smashing the button at every opportunity. And I still felt every contraction, especially in my lower back. It was pretty miserable. Thank God, it only lasted thirty minutes or so.

Then my OB came in and pronounced me ready to push. That was the best part. All I had to do was give three good pushes and it was over. Kicking and wailing, Lydia Grace Fox made her entrance into the world.

My husband raced out of the hospital to get us some Chipotle as soon as we were left alone. We took turns holding our baby girl while feasting on our long awaited burritos. Eventually, we were moved out of the birthing suite and into a recovery room which was where we stayed for the next three days and two nights.

Feeding was rough. Like her brother before her, Lydia didn’t take to the breast very well. We had to supplement with formula until my milk came in and I could pump enough to satisfy her. (Unlike her brother, Lydia has a healthy appetite.) After countless tests, many doctor and nurse visits, a breast feeding consultation, and a discharge class, we were finally allowed to go home.

My mom stayed for the first week, cooking, cleaning, and helping care for the children so that I or my husband could sleep/eat/shower. My mother-in-law came next, racing to get here from her home in Wisconsin. She’s taken over my mom’s duties these past two weeks. She leaves tomorrow morning. Then the real work will begin. Bennett could always count on one of his grandmas to play with him when Mommy or Daddy were otherwise occupied. I could always count on one of them to run to the grocery store for me or throw in a load of laundry. My husband can help when he’s not working but for those hours when I’m alone…it’s going to be rough.

Thankfully, I do have family and friends in the city who can step in if I need a break. And I know everything will be okay once we develop a routine and once Bennett has gotten more acclimated to having a baby sister. Lydia won’t be up every three hours forever. Life will go back to normal. Until then, we’ll endure. In the midst of the sleep deprivation and constant activity, there are sweet moments. There are times when it still doesn’t feel real. I’m still just a kid myself; how can I be raising kids? It’s scary and wonderful all at the same time.

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So children…

I’ve wanted to be a mother since I was fifteen years old. I know, I know. I’m weird. Normal girls at that age are thinking about boys, school, their friends, and the latest gossip. Well, I was mostly invisible to boys, I wasn’t too crazy about social gatherings, my friends didn’t attend my school, and gossiping about others has never appealed to me, so the only thing left to really think about (other than books and movies and my stories) was the future. At fifteen, I knew I wanted a big family. After all, I came from a big family. Being an introvert and a bookworm wasn’t such a bad thing when I had three siblings to hang out with. I knew having all of us kids must have been hard on my parents, but I also knew that they wouldn’t trade us for anything.

At fifteen, I knew what kind of man I wanted to marry. Having just broken up with my first boyfriend, I decided I didn’t like heartbreak. I didn’t like feeling like I wasn’t good enough for someone, like I was stupid for letting my guard down, like I had completely misjudged this person I once claimed to love and know everything about. I decided I wasn’t very fond of this thing called dating. It was fickle and unreliable and temporary. I wanted something more permanent. I wanted a husband. After only one year in high school, I knew none of the boys there were husband material. Call it instinct, call it very good observation skills, call it whatever you want, I just knew my future husband was not the guy sitting next to me in Biology. (There was a time when I wished he was. My sophomore Biology partner was a year older, Hispanic, into dirt bikes and adrenaline rushes, and thought I was cute. I might have been able to convince myself that he could have been my future husband if he had any interest in God…No regrets, though.)

Sure, I crushed really hard on a few guys and almost started dating two of them, but in the end I couldn’t see myself marrying either of them. Both had admirable qualities, but I had made a list of attributes I wanted in a husband and I was committed to sticking to it. (I went over this list repeatedly, adding things as I grew up, erasing things that I realized weren’t very realistic.) I prayed about it all the time, asking God to give me the strength and the patience to wait for my perfect fit. (I hope I’m not starting to sound holier-than-thou; I have a point here. I promise I’ll get to it quickly.) Anyway, God was faithful and did eventually introduce me to the man I’m married to today. Believe it or not, he has everything on my list, including some habits and qualities that I never knew I wanted. He also comes from a big family and has wanted to be a father for as long as he can remember.

Because we both feel so strongly about it, the subject of kids came up early in our relationship. (I learned three things about my husband in our first month of dating; he liked to travel, he wasn’t afraid of anything, and he wanted children.) Shortly after we got married, we compiled a list of house rules for our kids, just because we wanted to be prepared and on the same page about some things. (If you haven’t noticed yet, we’re very weird. That’s just who we are.) The older we got, the more real this concept of being parents became. Witnessing hissy fits at the grocery store, being thrown up on while volunteering in our church’s nursery, over-hearing bratty kids in the line at Chipotle, and watching movies starring lazy, disrespectful kids has done little to dissuade our desire to have children.

I was told once that if I waited for the day when I could afford children, I’d never have any. I’m sure whoever said that was half-joking, but I’ve spoken to several more parents since then and they’ve all seemed to reach the same consensus: there is no perfect time to have kids. Still, I was raised by a very logical, realistic father who always thought carefully about things before doing anything life-changing. (This instinct, his sweet tooth, and his stubbornness are some of the things I inherited from him.) My husband and I have needs that should be met before kids enter the picture. My husband’s truck has lived longer than any car either of us has ever owned; it needs to be replaced. We’ve started setting money aside and building up our credit for the day it finally craps out on us and we’ll be forced to replace it. I’m eight credits away from finishing my creative writing program and being done with school (at least for now). Thirdly, my husband is trying to get into the police academy because his current job is sucking the life out of him. Plus, a larger paycheck would be nice. I figured it would be wise to wait until we’ve accomplished these three things before trying to have children, and my husband agreed.

And then last week he tells me, “I’m ready when you are, babe.”

Cue panic attack.

Suddenly, there are lots of reasons not to have a child. I’m too young. I haven’t published a book yet. What if I’m a terrible mother? What if the child comes before my husband gets a better-paying job? What if we can’t pay the bills and are forced to move back into an apartment? After living in a spacious house for eleven months, we’ve accumulated some extra things and I really don’t want to have to rent a storage unit. I don’t know how to talk to children! Bring on the spit-up, the poopy diapers, the sleepless nights, and the endless screaming. I can deal with that. But a talking child, who is old enough to reason and make their own deductions, will be able to tell that I have no idea what I’m doing. What if I say the wrong thing? What if I drop the kid? What if I ruin his life?

Suddenly, I’m not ready.

Or am I? My mother was nineteen when she had my oldest brother. My dad was the only one working for many years. Mom stayed home with us. We didn’t have much, but we always had something to wear and we never went hungry. If God could take care of us then, He can definitely take care of us now. Sure, I have a hard time interacting with other people’s children, children who can take one look at me and sense the uncertainty. But it might be different with my own child. My mom said the wrong thing once or twice and she dropped me as a baby, and I turned out all right. She made mistakes and she didn’t ruin my life. I’m pretty sure if I try my hardest and I love the snot out of the little person who comes out of me, I’ll be a good mom.

I’ve never been so confused.

Should I or shouldn’t I?

I’ve been praying about this ever since my husband brought it up last week. I wish God would just tell me what I should do. He does that sometimes, makes the path that I should take crystal clear. And then, at other times, He leaves it up to me. I feel like He’s doing that now, like He’s saying, “You’ll be okay either way. You decide.”

Ugh. It would be easier if He just told me what I should do. Then I wouldn’t have to have this same argument over and over again in my head. I’ll keep thinking about it and praying about it. Who knows? Maybe I’ll even write another blog post about it. Sometimes, it just helps to think out loud.