I can't believe the last time I wrote here was to write Hugh's birth story and now I'm writing Mae's. I'm so happy that I journaled about my labor and delivery with Hugh and have read it over and over so I am keeping the tradition alive and writing down my sweet girl's story.
I had expected her to arrive 10 days early just like Hugh did so I was surprised when she didn't come and then her due date passed and I was more than anxious for her to be here but also so nervous. The thought of two kids is seriously the most daunting thing ever! I can hardly manage Hugh! I had not really had any signs of labor and the doctor suggested I set and induction date. She was due Friday the 2nd of September and I set one up for that day and then it was pushed to Tuesday the 6th (thankfully—I don't know why, but being induced made me so uneasy, I just wanted her to come on her own.) Every little cramp made me think I was in labor and I took a walk with Hugh up the hill by our house every night hoping it'd bring on labor.
On Labor Day morning I woke up and thought I was feeling a little sick, ya know, the kind where you sit on the toilet 😂. I was crampy and felt pretty crappy, no pun intended. We were planning on going to my niece's softball game that morning so we hopped in the car. I realized that my "cramps" were definitely some sort of contraction but I didn't think anything of it because they were 20-30 minutes apart. By the time the game was over and we were back home, I was super disappointed because they had completely stopped. I took a nice nap (which I'm so thankful for) and then went out and cleaned and vacuumed our disastrous car. I wanted to take Hugh to the car wash and then had some groceries to get so we headed out. Hugh, by the way, was amazed by the car wash. His face was a perfect mixture of fear and amazement the whole time and it was adorable! It was my last moment with Hugh as my only baby. We walked through Walmart and I got 1,2, and then 3 contractions!! Yay! It was about 5 when we got home from the grocery store and I told Cam that I was pretty sure my contractions were back.
These contractions were wayyyy different feeling than I felt with Hugh. Baby girl was so low that they would start in my tail bone and then wrap up around my belly button. I knew one was coming on because I'd start to feel that pressure on my tail bone first. They seemed to be progressing really quickly. I thought it was going to go at about the same rate as it did with Hugh but by 6:45 they were starting to get unbearable. I hated that I was only dilated at a 4 when I went to the hospital with Hugh so I was trying to put off going but when I called my mom in tears around 7pm, she sounded alarmed and suggested we get to the hospital. Cam was scrambling to get someone over to watch Hugh, pack up the car, and clean the house all while helping me through my contractions. We ended up leaving Hugh with the neighbors downstairs until family arrived because I couldn't wait any longer.
We got to the hospital at 7:50ish and I was just as shocked as the nurses when they told me I was at 8/8.5cm! The nurse immediately moved me to the delivery room and told me that my "bags were bulging" (haha whatever that means) and that once the doctor came in, he'd probably pop my water and I'd start pushing. At this point, I reeeeeally wanted the epidural. Every contraction felt more and more like my back was going to break. I was laying on my side in the bed with Cam putting pressure on my lower back and a nurse pushing on my knees to relieve the pressure. When the Dr. came in and broke my water, it sort of just leaked out rather than explode like it did with Hugh because she was so low. Once they broke it, the nurse told me I was almost 10cm with a little bit of my uterus still there but she told me if I needed to push, to go ahead. Right when she said that, I had an instant need to push. I always made fun of movies where the women scream because I didn't feel that way with Hugh at all but man, I couldn't keep it in this time around, haha! I just started telling the nurse " I'm pushing, I have to push, I'm pushing!!" in a very interesting, primal sounding scream. [[You definitely don't know yourself until you give birth, because I've never heard that scream come out of my mouth!]] The Dr. rushed in from the next room, where he had just delivered a baby, while I was mid-push and had me scoot to the edge of the bed. I'm pretty sure I asked for an epidural right at this moment and they all laughed because they could already see her hair! It was a million times more painful than the last time though. In fact, I laugh now because the anesthesiologist was right outside the door and he'd poke his head in every time I asked but I am actually extremely grateful I didn't get an epidural because it would've been a waste! I pushed 4 times and my sweet girl was here!
Mae Florence Stephens was born at 8:46pm on September 5, ironically and appropriately on Labor Day. She was 7lbs 12oz , 19 inches long, and came out with the prettiest head of red hair! Besides her hair, we weren't quite sure what she looked like in that first hour because she came out hungry and ready to eat! She nursed for about an hour after, like a tiny, little, hungry champ. She has us wrapped around her itty bitty fingers and breaks our hearts with her tiny little frown before she cries.
We were shocked to see her hair. The entire pregnancy we said we'd definitely name her Sally if she had red hair but we never actually expected it to actually be red! We had a really hard time deciding on whether to call her Sally or Mae and ended up going with Mae because in our minds, that's what she already was. I honestly think either name would have fit her perfectly though. Her namesake is also precious to us. She is named after my paternal grandma, Dorothy Mae (my middle name is Mae, after her) and Florence after my maternal grandma, Floss.
The moment she was born, we could tell that she was going to be peaceful and sweet. She is the most perfect little thing and has been an amazing sleeper thus far! The first night home from the hospital, she slept a 6 hour stretch! Can't get much better than that! At 10 days old, she had already gained half a pound too. It's crazy how different each labor, delivery, and baby is! This time has been night and day compared to my experience with Hugh. Speaking of Hugh, he is so cute and wakes up wanting to see "baby" and gives her the sweetest little kisses on her lips! It kills me! I can't imagine life without my two babies and I feel the special presence of my little brother McNeil ever since she arrived. It truly feels like we have a little piece of heaven here with us.
I'm an idiot and never took professional newborn pictures of her but here are a few from these last 6 weeks.