Well, according to my due date (December 17th), I should be right in the middle of the uncomfortable anticipation of pregnancy week 40 right now. Instead, I’ve been blessed to have little Anna Marie in my arms for 3 1/2 weeks. Yep, Anna made her entrance 4 weeks early on November 17th at 6:39pm. Talk about a surprise! Since Audrey was delivered right on time, I wasn’t even thinking about being early, much less THAT early! I thought I had 4 more weeks to knock off the hundred things on my get-done-before-Anna-arrives list. You can guess how many of those have been accomplished.

I was feeling great in week 36 of my pregnancy. Having alot of braxton hicks contraction and some of what I thought might be real contractions, but nothing regular.

I had my first internal exam on Tuesday, the 14th and I was already 2-3 cm dilated, but with this being my 2nd pregnancy I knew that really didn’t mean alot. In fact, I was ready to travel up to my Aunt Beckie’s for Thanksgiving (against the doctors advice) because I was feeling so good. On Thursday, I noticed that I seemed to be leaking a tiny bit of fluid. For those of you who haven’t been pregnant, understand that late in pregnancy this isn’t out of the ordinary. In fact, Justin always teased me every time I sneezed because I just never knew what might happen 🙂 So, I was a little hesitant to call the doctor thinking that I was probably just peeing my pants or something equally embarrassing. Imagine my surprise on Friday morning when they told me to go ahead and go to the hospital to have it checked out.

I flew around the house getting a bag together for me and one for Audrey just in case this turned out to be something after all. After dropping Audrey off at Angie’s and making my way to the hospital to meet Justin, I still was telling myself that I’d be home within a few hours. Justin and I joked at the hospital that this was a false alarm and after 2 negative tests for amniotic fluid, we were making plans on where we were going to eat lunch. Then the 3rd test came back – positive! The nurse said, “you’re going to have this baby by dinner time.” Yikes! It was a small leak, but they were worried about infection, so they decided to go ahead and induce me.

It was the strangest feeling sitting in that hospital bed. Since we really weren’t prepared, Justin took off for several hours while the pitocin was doing it’s thing to get my contractions going. I had a lot of time to be by myself and marvel that this little one inside of me would soon be in my arms. It never did feel real until it actually happened. The entire experience was very surreal. Even when they had the neonatologist come in to prepare me for the potential problems of delivering a premature baby, I had a quiet confidence that all would be ok. My doctor was even out of town in Jamaica! I quickly progressed from 4 centimeters (which is what I was when I arrived at the hospital) and when the contractions started getting really strong they broke my water and I received my wonderful epidural (TOTALLY worth the $1200 it cost my insurance company)!

I pushed a handful of times and our lovely Anna was here. I’m convinced it was the easiest birth in the history of man (haha). I didn’t need any of those nasty stitches…didn’t tear at all…and best of all, I had NO PAIN what-so-ever after the birth or any time since. It really was amazing. Anna was 6 pounds and 18.5 inches long. Her lungs were wonderful and except for being jaundiced, she was absolutely perfect in every way. I still get teary-eyed just thinking about it.

Justin was once again the proudest daddy in the world, holding another precious little girl and Audrey was more than adorable the first time she saw her little sister. She just held Anna’s hand, lovingly stroking it in an almost absent-minded way. She put her lips to Anna’s head and rubbed them on her hair just the way I do. Justin and I both had tears in our eyes as the knowledge that the two of them would always have each other began to take hold.

The next two days were a mixture of happy chaos, with visitors coming all day on Saturday, and blissful bonding between mother and daughter in the quiet moments spent alone. The experience of having a second child was so much more peaceful and natural for me without the anxiety that comes with being a first-time mom. I trust my instincts this time around and know that however difficult it becomes…no matter how inadequate I feel, Justin and I can do this together with the help of family and friends. My girls are the best things I’ve ever done and I thank God every day for giving me them to love.