He's Here.

It's hard to believe but our sweet son Loyal Gideon arrived almost two months ago, August 12th, at 5:09PM! He weighed 7lb 1 oz, and was 20" long. We've been in the newborn fog of being half awake, half asleep at all times, but I wanted to share with you all the first photos I took of our son when he was a day old, and a little about his birth!

As with Imogen, my water broke early and my labor didn't start right away! I can't really complain though because even at just 38 weeks I was SUPER OVER being pregnant. Poor Josh had to live with me in Whine City USA for way too long. Whadda guy - best guy I've ever known, come to think of it!

Another funny thing about going into labor: it never really happens how you envision it. I mean maybe it does, but for me, it seems like whatever birth plan I have carefully drawn up gets turned on its head. With Imogen, I went into labor imagining this ethereal experience, after reading about these beautiful natural labors (Curse you, Ina May...). I practiced the Bradley method and brought battery operated candles and lavender oil and my pretty robe and pictured myself glowing and beautiful holding a tiny, perfect newborn at the end of a magical day. As it happened, I was holding a tiny, perfect newborn at the end of the day (or rather, TWO days), but I learned a couple of things about labor that I took with me this time.
1) Why the H would you bring friggin candles to a your birth? Like, you're going to be in the most pain of your life and you're like, QUICK TURN ON THE FORTY-TWO BATTERY OPERATED CANDLES SO I CAN CHILL. 
2) A couple of hours in and you're gonna rip that pretty robe off because it is HOT AND EVERYTHING BOTHERS YOU.
3) Don't even bother doing your makeup before hand because that ish is gonna melt off your face and you're gonna be a sweaty, racoon-eyed goon holding a baby in your photos (not that it matters, by that point).
4) Still bring the lavender oil. Thumbs up on that one.
5) That natural labor you dreamed about might take way too long and you're gonna have to succumb to drugs, and despite yourself, you are gonna LOVE IT once the epidural kicks in.

So, noting that last point, I firmly decided I wasn't going to be an idiot this time, and spend 26 hours in excruciating pain when I could just get an epidural. Logical, right? I thought so.

We checked into the hospital with fewer bags than before (note: like a hundred battery operated candles we didn't have to carry this go around), and I immediately made clear that we were going to plan on getting the epidural. Definitely.

I guess it never occurred to me that even if you WANT the epidural, you might not be able to get it. Like, what if the ONE anesthesiologist guy in the hospital is in surgery for like four hours? And it happens to be right when your baby decides it's ready to come on out? You know, just usual circumstances. I'll spare you the long and hard story, but basically because I was on pitocin, I went from a 4 to an 8 super fast, and by the time I knew my body was trying to push, I knew there would be no more hope of pain relief- I was going to have this baby naturally.

So once I accepted that I had to push this kid out the old fashioned way, it all happened really fast. I followed my midwife's instructions, I probably yelled back at her a few times (sorry), argued whether I could / could not do it, and then finally, after about four or five pushes, the sweetest relief I have ever known, out into the world and into my arms came our Loyal.

In retrospect I'm really thankful for how this happened! What an experience. One minute I was sure I was dying and then the next minute, to feel no pain, just pure joy that Josh and I were able to share as we held our son for the first time. It was incredible and it's made me feel like a stronger person.

Nearly 8 weeks later and we are more in love with this guy every day. He's almost doubled his birth weight and he still doesn't sleep much, but he gives us some pretty incredible smiles in the middle of the night, so it evens out. :)

Josh took this photo the night Loyal was born. Pretty incredible, right?