By Gabrielle. Tattly with glittery sparkles, designed with love by Bekka Palmer.

When Addie sent me her birth story, she did so as sort of a favor. Or maybe it’s best described as a returned favor. You see, the birth stories posted on Design Mom over the years helped her through both of her own pregnancies and births, and so she hoped that hers would do the same for others. So sweet! And also exactly why I keep publishing these shared experiences: one story – perhaps even Addie’s – might be the very thing a new, nervous, nine month and counting mom needs to read this very minute.

Babies will keep on coming. And while every birth is break-the-mold unique, chances are there’s another woman who has been through something similar. I love the thought that she might very well come here and browse through our Growing A Family series. So welcome, Addie, and a huge thank you to you and all who keep sharing their hearts with the rest of us!

It was November of 2012 when we decided to try again for a second baby. Sawyer was now two years and two months old and we weren’t getting any younger, so as we decided to give it a go…which it turns out is much less exciting the second time! Counting days on calendars and willing yourself to make a baby while your older one is fighting a fever goes against every motherly instinct.

When we decided to try for baby two, we also decided the housing market couldn’t get any better and listed our wonderful little Cape Cod on an urban street, trading up for a brand new build in a better school district. As the months ticked by and we waited for you to be made and waited for the house to be listed and we waited for our house to be built, we tried to be patient and grateful. As March turned to April, the house was listed. The same week we got an offer on the house was the same week we found out we were having you.  What was an exciting time was also a very difficult time for me.  Between working full time, loving a toddler who did not understand why we were moving, actually moving, and growing a human — I felt empty and used up some days and depressed with nowhere to turn. What was supposed to be a happy time was all of a sudden difficult for reasons I couldn’t understand, and all the while I worried that I wasn’t concentrating enough on my baby inside.

As moving day approached, I finally decided in my heart that I didn’t want the last few days in our wonderful old home to be sad — they needed to be filled with joy — so we did what everyone does when the world feels like it is moving too fast: we threw a party. And then, as June was turning to July, we received the keys to our new home and immediately took on what in hindsight was the enormous undertaking of making a brand new house feel like home.

Between work and parenting and the moving and unpacking and nesting you grew — you grew big and strong and brave. I kept promising you when you were in my belly that I would slow down and hug you tight once you arrived. As summer turned to fall and fall turned to winter, we started to gather what we needed to take you home with us, and as your due date came and went an eviction notice was served on 12/14/13.  The early morning hours of the the 14th were quiet, still, and snowy. As we approached the hospital I grew with excitement knowing that soon we would meet you — we didn’t know if you were a boy or a girl, and I was so curious about what you would look like.

As I was checked in and readied for induction the nurse casually asked if my blood pressure had been high at all during my pregnancy — it had not — and mentioned that we would be keeping an eye on it during the day.  As the clock hit 6:30 am and the Pitocin was started and the Foley bulb was filled, I was anxious as to what the day would bring; would you come slow or fast, would it be painful, would it be easy? My blood pressure stayed stable but high, and I was finally 5 cm. The Foley bulb was deflated, your bag of water was broken, and the epidural was administered.  At 3:00 pm I was checked again. Only 6 cm, but I remember the nurse saying she thought you would be here by 5:30 pm. I just laughed, as  your brother took 2 days of labor to come!  At 3:30 pm I began to feel immense pressure — pressure that even an epidural could not take away — and 45 minutes later I was 10 cm dilated. Your dad was telling me to breathe, I was telling him I couldn’t breathe, and my body was actually pushing you out without me even trying.

The doctor readied for delivery, and I became more confident in getting you out. With a lot of pressure (and thankfully not a lot of pain), you were easily delivered at 5:12 pm. At once you looked familiar — a mop of dark hair ready to be styled — and you were a BOY, another son to love as only a momma can. After you were born and taken away to be checked I realized that I was not feeling great. I was shaking, and drained. That’s when I realized that the bleeding hadn’t stopped and that my blood pressure was now alarmingly high.

As the minutes ticked by I learned that you were eight pounds, 10 ounces and SO pink. The bleeding did stop after three extra bags of Pitocin, and your father held you tight while I tried to lie quietly to lower my blood pressure. After a few hours of rest, we were finally moved to postpartum where you received your bath and your brother met you for the first time. Seeing him meet you was one of the most amazing and unexpected gifts I didn’t anticipate. As evening turned to night and family went home, I received word that I was headed back up to labor and delivery for a 12-hour magnesium drip as I had developed pre-eclampsia postpartum – something I had never anticipated nor heard of.

What I thought was going to be the most difficult part of birth experience turned out to be the easy part. It was the recovery — though not from tearing or stitches as anticipated — that took weeks and months. After an extra night in the hospital I was sent home on blood pressure medicine and my own cuff, and the woman I thought I would quickly see return took months to emerge. Between taking care of an infant that was much different than baby one, and a three year old to love, coupled with the holidays in the midst of it all and two cases of mastitis, my vision of what this time would look like was not realized immediately.

Finding myself and healing took longer than I could have ever dreamed, but in the midst of it all I learned to lean hard on this wonderful husband of mine. I grew a heart that had love for two little boys, and I finally started to be gentle with myself — something I tell your three year old brother daily. We named you Atticus, a name that some say is a bit big for a small boy, but I knew the moment I looked you in the eyes and said your name that it was for you. You, my baby boy, are so strong and patient and you are everything we never knew we needed. And as promised, we hug you tight and you are always willing to hug back. We are the lucky ones.

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Thank you , Addie! I’m sure Atticus will love to read his story someday. I found myself nodding when you wrote that what you thought would be the most difficult part of your birth experience wasn’t remotely difficult! And how the part you imagined breezing through was more of a challenge. That’s always the way, isn’t it? This was a good  reminder that no matter how you painstakingly craft the perfect birth plan, something always comes up to add some spice into the story! Thank you again for sharing yourself with us all.

P.S. – Find all the stories in this series here. Do you have a story about birth, pregnancy, adoption or infertility? Send your story to me, will you please?