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Martha Hope Merrill

posted Mar 3, 2015, 12:37 PM by Christine Merrill
We have a new baby! Sam, surprisingly, is all for this development. So are the other kids, but we weren't worried about them. The complete birth story will go below for those of you who are interested, but here is the "good parts" version.

Martha Hope

So, her official stats are:
Name:  Martha Hope Merrill. Martha after Martha Washington and Hope after TWO relatives, her Nana, Nadine (Nadine means hope) and her Aunt Rachel, whose middle name is Hope. Twin sisters get special treatment 😊
Size: 8.0 lbs, 20.5 inches. And the midwife stretched her good, to make sure it was a good measurement, after we joked about the variability of length measurement. Actually, when she told us the length, she said, "20.500 inches...exactly." Then she apologized for not having that in cm. Good sense of humor for 1 am!
Birthday: Feb 21, 2015.

It snowed all day on Saturday, then about 6pm, two things happened: the snow turned to freezing rain and I realized that those pesky braxton hicks contractions were actually really strong and close together. I spent some time in denial, but the truth was that if people were going to be there for the birth, they were going to have to know early, because the roads were icy, so we called a babysitter, the midwife and the birth assistant (nurse) and headed off to the birthing center. The baby was born 3 hours after we arrived. Labor seemed really slow, contractions really never got closer together than 10 minutes until right at the end, when we had the eternal 15 minute contraction, then I pushed for about 5 minutes, and it was over. Quite the rush at the end. The baby was perfect, and has earned the reputation of Golden Girl for how smoothly everything has gone so far. After she was born and we'd taken care of all the post-partum bonding and clean up, we were all feeling sleepy and tired, and instead of hanging out to recover for a few more hours, we decided to just go home and go to bed. It was actually really great to sleep in our own bed. Martha slept until 8am!

Martha's only mistake she's made so far is not waiting until Nana got here on Tuesday to arrive.


The long birth story:

There were some interesting things about this labor and delivery. The first was just how far apart the contractions were right until the end. It made me nervous, because I was sure it was going to gradually get worse, and it was going to be a long and tough labor. But, it all went really fast at the end, and for the first time, I skipped the "complete and total panic" phase that usually comes right before pushing. Wahoo!!! 

The birth center has two rooms, and when we got there, another woman was already there, reportedly at an 8. It was her second, and she was having a rough time. We could tell because she was moaning and making general noises of agony the whole time we were there. At one time, I was enjoying a fairly lengthy contraction, focusing on relaxing, and I could clearly hear the woman next door making noises of complete agony. Then her midwife chimes in with a very cheerful, "Great job!" and I started laughing. I paid for that, because it made my contraction really painful! After that, I focused on the music during contractions so I wouldn't get distracted any more :) We did sort of look pretty awesome compared to the girl next door - we came in hours after she did, spit out a baby very professionally, and left before she did. Though she did get her baby out before I went into transition, which relieved everyone there! It was funny, though, the contrast. And I'm not being prideful - I know it has nothing to do with my birthing skills, just how the baby decides she wants to come out. I've had miserable and panicky labors, myself. This one just wasn't one of them! And, I admit, I did get a little snarky right at the end. Fortunately, Marriner doesn't take these things personally :)

We put on The Messiah to listen to, and I have to say, it was awesome labor music! You're having a contraction, life seems a little tough, and you realize that in the background, someone is singing so happily about "For unto us a child is born!" And she was actually born to the Hallelujah chorus. It was neat. (Marriner here, another proof of the her being the perfect baby. I think the assistant/nurse was VERY impressed)

When we called the midwife at about 7pm and told her we were having contractions every 10 minutes, she said, "Ok, call me when they get a little closer together." I said, "Actually, I'm coming in now." She seemed to feel I was jumping the gun a bit, but with the icy roads, she couldn't argue. When we got there, she found I was dilated to a 6. My intuition wins! Marriner had his own winning moment when things started to get serious, and the nurse mentioned that the midwife had gone to lay down for a bit. Marriner said, "Actually, things usually go pretty quick at this point, she might want to get ready..." So the nurse called the midwife, and I think the baby was out 15 minutes later. And everyone was ready to catch the baby. It was fun to be working with people who have a high level of respect for intuition, because it was spot-on in this case! I'm sure the hospital would have been a much more crazy delivery, as I'm old enough to not care who catches the baby, it's coming out doctor or not :)

We've had a lot of questions about how we liked the birthing center compared to the hospital. Our general reaction when we were heading home was, "That was more pleasant." We enjoyed the "check-in" process, which did not involve any showing of insurance cards, filling out of paperwork or other bureaucratic routines. We just came in, they said, "Oh, we're so glad you're here! Do you want us to check how far along you are, or do you just want to go get settled down?"  So that was nice. I liked that they had all the conveniences of a hospital, but the comfort of home. And, surprisingly, I liked coming home right after. Marriner was a great nurse, and it felt great to be home with my family. Martha and I slept most of the day Sunday. So yeah, it was really pleasant. The hardest part was probably for Marriner, who didn't have so much sleep and had to get up and function, and for Sam, who is only 2 and just wants to sit on Mom's lap. And play with the baby. Poor Martha was only 8 hours old when she got her first "pat" from big brother. He really was trying to be gentle!

And, just for fun, a few more pictures...