Birth stories

(Note: Contains TMI descriptions of my labor and delivery experiences. Consider yourself warned.)

The Big Sis (January 2007)

I went for my 38-week appointment on Wednesday, January 24 and was still at 1 centimeter dilated and 50% effaced, no change from the previous week. My doctor went over the plan for what would happen induction-wise if I went late, so I wasn’t expecting much to happen soon. But, I also knew things could start happening at any moment.

On Friday, January 26, I started feeling more of a wetness during the late afternoon/early evening hours, so I began to suspect that my water might be leaking. I’d also started to get some bloody show during the day, enough for a pantyliner. But, I wasn’t convinced enough to call the doctor about it. The Husband and I went out that night, stopping to get some litmus paper at a hobby store so I could check if the fluid was basic, which would indicate it was indeed amniotic fluid. (Yes, I’m a dork for getting the litmus paper, but hey, it was cheap!) We went out to dinner and got home around 10 p.m. and I checked the pH, but it wasn’t showing up as basic, so it didn’t appear to be amniotic fluid. I just figured my discharge was starting to change in preparation for labor. Soon after we got home, I had quite a bit of diarrhea, which was yet another sign (especially looking back) that labor was going to start soon. Around 11 p.m., I started getting really strong, constant menstrual-like cramps in my lower back that sometimes were in my lower abdomen, as well. I knew from reading that this is often how labor starts, and since I hadn’t had any cramping during pregnancy, I really started to suspect something was up. I went to bed around midnight that night and started getting mild contractions during the night, but nothing major.

I woke up at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, January 27, andThe Husband and I dropped off The Dog at 7:30 for his previously scheduled grooming appointment. I let them know that I was likely in early labor and checked to see if we could board him there if it turned out I really was in labor. They said that wasn’t a problem. (So glad we had the appointment for that morning!) The Husband and I got home around 8 a.m. and the contractions, which were mostly in my lower back, were definitely painful. I wasn’t 100% sure this would be the real thing, but I went back to bed to get some rest just in case it was. I had to take my heating pad to bed because my back hurt so much from the contractions, which were about 15 seconds long and probably 8-10 minutes apart at this point (though we weren’t timing them quite yet). I slept until about 10:30 a.m. and got up. We started timing contractions around 11 a.m., and within an hour, they were 3-4 minutes apart and lasted about 45 seconds. We decided to get ready to go to the hospital. I took a shower while The Husband finished packing our last-minute items. By this point, my contractions were painful enough that I had to stop whatever I was doing in order to breathe through them. Leaning over onto all fours so my belly was hanging helped take some of the pressure off. The pains were still in my lower back mostly and sometimes wrapped around to my lower abdomen. I never really felt any contractions high up.

We left for the hospital around 1:30 p.m. and arrived at 2 p.m. We went to labor and delivery and got checked in, then they took me to the labor and delivery room. I changed clothes, used the bathroom one last time, then was asked a ton of questions (mostly health/pregnancy related) by the nurse. They checked me internally and said I was still only 2 to 3 centimeters dilated and about 90% to 100% effaced.

Around 3 p.m., they were ready to put in my IV, which was the worst part of the whole thing for me. It took three nurses and four tries to get in an IV–the first three veins blew–and I was bawling from the experience. Around 3:30 p.m., just when I was filling out my consent forms for the epidural, they injected Stadol into my IV to help take the edge off the contractions, which were becoming more painful, though staying at about the same frequency. I felt the Stadol nearly immediately, as the words on the pages in front of me quickly started running together. I was really surprised by how fast it took effect. It didn’t really take away the pain (I still had to breathe through the contractions), but it definitely made me care less about the pain!

At 4:30 p.m., the anesthesiologist (thanks, Dr. Bennett!) came in to administer my epidural. (I was already pretty sold on the epidural beforehand, and knew with certainty I would get it once I felt those early contractions.) The Husband had to leave the room, so he took that time to call my parents, who wanted to come to the hospital, and his family, who all live out of town. (We wanted to wait until I got the epidural since we didn’t want to tell them I was having the baby and then have it be a false alarm.) I was still under the effects of the Stadol when I had the epidural inserted, so I think that helped relax me. The numbing shot kind of stung at first, but I didn’t feel any pain after that. I could feel the catheter being threaded in, but it didn’t hurt. They also sent a small electrical shock down my left leg to ensure proper placement, but that didn’t hurt, either…just a weird sensation. From start to finish, the procedure took about 10 minutes. My epidural took effect immediately, and I didn’t feel any contractions from that point on. My torso was very numbed, but I could still feel my legs for the most part and could even move them quite a bit. It was weird because I had the sensation of itching sometimes on my upper legs, but scratching didn’t help make it go away!

The nurses had had a hard time finding my contractions on the contraction monitor, so they ended up putting in internal monitors for contractions and for the baby’s heart rate once I had the epidural. They also inserted the catheter at this time, which I could feel, but it didn’t hurt.

My doctor wasn’t on call that weekend, so I met one of his practice associates when he came in to check on me around 5 p.m. I really ended up liking him a lot…he had a good sense of humor and was just real laid-back. He checked me around 5 p.m. and I was only at about 4 centimeters and 100% effaced. He also broke my water at that point, which I couldn’t feel, but I did feel the warm sensation of the gush when it came out.

About 5:15 p.m., the blood pressure of both me and the baby plummeted from the epidural, and my temperature dipped quite a bit, too, and I started shivering. I was still feeling the effects of the Stadol, but I do remember them inserting blood pressure medicine into my IV a couple different times in order to stabilize me. I also was given oxygen to breathe for about an hour, which wasn’t so bad except the mask didn’t come close to fitting on my face, so it was annoying more than anything and I had to keep moving it around. I came really close to vomiting at that point and gagged a few times but managed to avoid actually throwing up. They finally got the vitals looking good for both of us and then started a pitocin drip in order to really get the contractions going. My parents arrived around 6:30 p.m. and chatted with us while I labored.

Around 8 p.m., the nurse told me to let them know if I started getting a sensation of pressure, especially in the rectal area. About five minutes after they mentioned that, I started getting that exact pressure and called in the nurse. The doctor came in again to check me around 8:15 p.m. and said that I was fully dilated and it was about time to start pushing. I was actually kind of surprised because I figured it would take longer before I started pushing. My parents went to the waiting room since I wanted it to be just me and The Husband for the delivery, and the nurse got things ready for delivery, including getting the bed adjusted into the right position, getting out supplies, and getting the stirrups in place.

I started pushing around 8:40 p.m. In the delivery room were just me, The Husband, the doctor, and one nurse. My epidural was still turned on, but I could feel some pressure at the start of each contraction. The doctor did good with telling me how to push. My first couple pushes weren’t great, but after he corrected me and told me how to make it better, my pushes were more effective from then on. We did three pushes on each contraction, with either The Husband or the nurse counting for me. The doctor would start talking/joking about random things in between contractions (and sometimes during contractions! LOL), like my career field and state politics, and I really think that helped distract me when I needed it. A couple times, though, the other three got into their conversation so much that they forgot to finish counting for me. I pushed as long as I could, then jokingly yelled, “Thanks, guys, you stopped counting!” At one point, the doctor asked if I knew what the vacuum was and started going over pros and cons of using it. At the next contraction, apparently I pushed even better than I had been, because he said, “Yep, mentioning the vacuum always makes them push better.” Perhaps not a sense of humor for everyone, but he really was amusing.

The Husband was able to be both by my side holding one of my legs and could see all of what was going on. (This was fine with me. I’d told him beforehand that it was completely up to him regarding how much he wanted to see himself.) He was fascinated by it all, and I’m actually glad that he was so into it. About 20 minutes into pushing, I suddenly started getting the overwhelming sensation that I was going to throw up, so they got the bedpan for me. I threw up just once (mostly just water since I’d purposely not eaten much that day in anticipation of labor and knowing that vomiting isn’t an unusual occurrence) and felt better after that. Before my last couple of pushes, the doctor went ahead and put on his delivery scrubs, and they called in the baby nurse, who would take care of the baby once she was born. I asked to reach down and touch her head once it was sticking out, and I’m glad I got to do that. Pushing to get the rest of the head and shoulders out hurt a little bit (but still not as much as the stupid IV hurt!).

Kathryn (Katie) Alexandra was born at 9:09 p.m., after pushing for about 30 minutes, and weighed in at 6 pounds, 11 ounces and 19 inches long. She had a rash on some of her face and most of her body, so they wanted to take her to the intake nursery soon in order to make sure it was nothing to worry about. They got her cleaned up and then I got to hold her for only about 10 minutes before they took her. They had my parents come in from the waiting room so they could see her before taking her. I ended up with no episiotomy, and just one minor first-degree tear that did not require stitches. We’d done perineal massage at the recommendation of my doctor ever since my 36-week appointment, so I’m not sure if that’s what helped, but it certainly couldn’t have hurt.

The Husband cut the cord (he was unsure if he wanted to, but the doctor had convinced him to do it and he later said he was glad he did), and then the doctor delivered the rest of the umbilical cord and placenta, saying, “And now you are officially not pregnant any more” when it came out. I was under the impression that delivering the placenta took longer, but it was fully delivered within just a few minutes of Baby B being born. The doctor put it into a bowl and showed it to The Husband then inspected it before setting it down, but I asked to see it, too, since I really was curious. It was turned inside out, but the doctor turned it back out for us so we could see what it looked like in utero. Yeah, it was kind of gross, but I figured I don’t have many opportunities to see something like that, so I might as well! I’m really glad I did. I believe they said Baby B’s APGARs were 7 and 8.

They took Baby B to the intake nursery to check her rash (which ended up being fine and was mostly gone by the next day) and to give her a bath and check all of her vitals. My parents and The Husband went to watch through the viewing window, and my best friend showed up just as my parents were leaving. They got me cleaned up, removed the epidural catheter, and around 11 p.m. they wanted to see how well I could feel my legs to know if I could be moved yet. I still felt a lot of numbness in the left side of my torso and in my lower back (that numbness lasted most of the rest of the night), but I could hold my weight and walk (with some help) just fine. They moved me to a wheelchair to take me to the mother/baby wing, where I would spend the rest of my time in the hospital. The Husband and best friend carried all of our stuff to the new room and they got set up there while the nurses helped me pee (I really had to pee once I could feel again!). I was able to sit down and get up off the toilet fine, and the nurses cleaned up a lot of the blood and gave me the mesh panties and pads to wear. They also showed me how to squirt warm water after I was done peeing in order to keep things as clean as possible. I walked back to the bed mostly on my own with some steadying from the nurse; they were surprised by how much I could walk on my own at that point.

I got back in bed and visited with my best friend while The Husband left the room to make phone calls to family and friends with the good news. They started me on two bags of pitocin in order to get my uterus to shrink back, and the nurses came in periodically to check and massage my uterus and keep an eye on my temperature (I’d developed a fever at the end of labor) and blood pressure. My best friend left around 12:30 a.m. and The Husband and I just sat and talked for a bit while we waited for them to bring Baby B to our room. She finally came around 2 a.m.–the first time I’d seen/held her since the short time I had her after the birth. We tried breastfeeding immediately, but it was kind of frustrating at first. It felt like everything I’d read about what to do went out of my brain, and of course she didn’t know what to do immediately, either. By the second day, that got easier, but it was certainly frustrating those first couple times. It also didn’t help that I was so tired and just not in the right frame of mind to be patient with breastfeeding, so I decided we’d get a fresh start the next day. We sent her back to the nursery around 4 a.m. so we could get a few hours of sleep. My bleeding was still really heavy at that point, but less than it was right after delivery. It was more manageable by the second day and much like period bleeding after that.

We had Baby B in our room all day on Sunday, January 28. I was definitely sore in the crotch, like someone had kicked me hard there, but I imagine it would have been worse if I’d had tears or stitches. Still, getting in and out of bed really hurt. The Husband did all of the diaper changes, and feeding went better that day. My best friend and her mom came to visit us that afternoon after church, and the whole day felt like a parade of people who came into our room, one after another…nurses obviously to check on us, but then the hospital photographer, the lactation consultant, the pediatrician, the on-call obstetrician, the birth certificate/Social Security person, etc. I finally got to take a shower around 8 p.m. that night and felt a lot better after that. My best friend came back later that night with her fiance to visit and stayed for about an hour. We sent Baby B back to the nursery around 10 p.m. so we could get some rest (with instructions to bring her back during the night when she needed to be fed, which I did around 1:45 a.m. and 4:30 a.m.). The Husband and I took a walk around the halls for a few minutes, which was the only time I got out of the room since I was so sore when I walked.

On Monday, January 29, they brought Baby B back to our room around 8 a.m. and we waited to be discharged, which they were hoping to do around noon. The pediatrician came and gave his okay to discharge Baby B (though we had to take her back to the doctor two days later since she looked jaundiced), but we were still waiting on my obstetrician to come talk to me and give me the okay to leave. We thought he would come while doing rounds before his office hours, but he never came and the nurses didn’t know where he was. We gathered up our stuff and watched TV while waiting for him. He finally came around 1:30 p.m. and sat down to talk with me. He said he’d been doing a c-section that morning, then had another delivery in the late morning, on top of keeping up with his office appointments, too, so at least there was a good reason for why he was later coming to see me. He asked me how things went, and I said that everything went way better than expected and that the IV was the worst part for me. I said that maybe it was a good thing hearing everyone’s horror stories because maybe that made things better for me! He started going over instructions on care for my stitches, but I told him that I hadn’t had any stitches. He looked surprised, checked my chart, and said, “Wow, you’re right.” I know it’s not the norm to not need stitches, so I really do count myself lucky there. I started asking a few questions about exercise and some other things, and he said that the only rule I had was that intercourse and tampons were forbidden for six weeks, but other than that, I could proceed as I normally would. He told me to continue my prenatal vitamin for as long as I was nursing, and to keep up with my iron supplement for about three months. He said I’ll get a reminder in the mail soon from his office to schedule my six-week post-partum appointment.

All in all, I really think things went extraordinarily well. From the start of the initial cramping, my labor was techically about 22 hours, but it seemed like less than that since my real contractions didn’t start until the next morning, and I delivered only seven hours after arriving at the hospital. I was prepared to push for a lot longer than 30 minutes, since I know it’s common to push for an hour or two (unlike what you see on TV and in the movies!), so I’m very glad that wasn’t the case. I really don’t think I could have asked for a better delivery, despite the few unpleasant parts about it.


The Little Sis (August 2011)

e here, I declared that The Little Sis was welcome to come anytime after lunch on Saturday (August 6) because we all had haircuts that morning and then I was going to my pedicure and manicure at the pregnancy spa. So the haircuts went well, then The Husband dropped me off at the spa while he and The Big Sis went to see the Smurfs movie. My appointment was very nice (thanks to The Husband for the treat!) and I was waiting outside the spa for him to pick me up when I thought I felt that my water had broken. This was around 1:30 p.m. Now, I’d had several times when I thought my water had broken, but that turned out not to be the case, so I wasn’t 100% sure at first. I felt another gush. Then another. And I was pretty certain that I wasn’t just randomly peeing myself. I went into a store to use their bathroom and sure enough more water came out. I got out my litmus paper (such a nerd) and sure enough the red paper turned dark blue, just as it should have if it was my water. I called The Husband from the bathroom and gave him a heads up that my water had broken and let him know that we needed to go home instead of going to lunch as planned. I went back outside, shorts fairly soaked (thankful that I’d worn black shorts so it wasn’t super obvious), and got in the car when he arrived. We didn’t really talk about it much on the way home because I didn’t want The Big Sis to know what was going on until we got home.

So we got home and did tell her what was going on, and she was beyond excited that her sister was going to be arriving soon. Since contractions hadn’t begun yet, we had plenty of time to finish packing our bags, The Husband installed the infant seat in his car, and we even planned to go out to an early dinner together as long as I was still feeling okay. The Husband and I both took showers, as well, and we headed out to a Mexican restaurant because that’s what we had the night before The Big Sis was born; we just thought that might be fun. Of course, I’d continued to leak quite a bit all during our time at home, so I left the house with towels to sit on, as well as extra pads and underwear. I’d say I went through probably 10 pairs of underwear in that time. It was definitely more fluid than I was expecting. We enjoyed a wonderful last dinner together and then stopped at Dairy Queen for some ice cream before going home to meet up with The Awesome Friend who was going to be staying with The Big Sis for our time at the hospital.

Around 8:30 p.m., we headed to the hospital, but first we shared the name with The Big Sis, because I was adamant that I wanted her to be the first one to know the name. Her reaction: She thrashed back and forth on the bed with a huge smile on her face, so she seemed pretty happy about it. The Husband and I left for the hospital, since The Midwife wanted me to come in within about 6 hours after my water had broken, even if I wasn’t having contractions (and I still wasn’t).

We arrived around 9 p.m. and checked in at the business office. We asked for the room with the tub (just in case I wanted to use it), but it was quiet enough around there that they had already assigned me that room. Score! We went in there and they had me get undressed and did the intake assessment that consists of a million questions. They checked me internally and said I was at about 2 to 3 centimeters and 50% effacement, so not that much different from what I’d been at my midwife appointment two days earlier. Because my membranes had ruptured, they wanted to check me as little as possible to minimize the chance of infection, so it was pretty much a waiting game to see if contractions started. The nurse wanted to start an IV, but I stood my ground and said I didn’t want one unless absolutely necessary. She tried to get me to do a saline lock, but I insisted I didn’t want that either. The nurse checked with the laborist (the OB on call overnight at the hospital, not associated with any specific practice) and they looked at my veins (to see how hard it might be to get an IV in quickly if needed) and agreed that we could wait on an IV. They asked about when I might want to start Pitocin, and I pretty much told them that I was willing to wait as long as they were. The laborist said she was okay waiting until sometime late the next morning, so I felt better about that. I really, really wanted to avoid Pitocin if possible.

They wanted to hook me up to the monitors the whole time, but I also spoke up about that and said I’d rather avoid that too. They agreed to let me roam free, but I had to return to the room for 15 minutes of monitoring every hour, as long as the baby was doing okay. I was okay with that. At this point, the goal was to get the contractions to begin naturally, but as it was getting late, we also had to factor in saving our energy. So our general MO was to walk the halls for about 30 minutes, then get an additional 15 minutes of rest either before or after my 15 minutes of monitoring. I don’t know how many miles we walked in the halls that night, but it was a LOT. (And side note: I’m pretty sure the nurses were eating something at the nurses’ station every single time we walked by.) Contractions that I had to breathe through finally came around 11:30 p.m., so we continued our method of walking and resting. More walking, more resting.

Finally around 4:30 to 5 a.m., the contractions started getting much stronger. Most of the time I was coping with them on my hands and knees, leaning over the back of a chair in the room, with The Husband giving counterpressure on my lower back. Other times I would lean against the wall or use the yoga ball, but the chair seemed to be best. (The yoga ball was good for lessening the pain in my lower back, but it seemed to amplify the pain in my lower abdomen. Same deal with squatting, so that wasn’t a good coping technique either.) Speaking of The Husband, he did great with supporting me. A few times here and there, he’d do something that I didn’t like (touching me somewhere other than my lower back, for example, or even just talking to me when I had to concentrate to get through the pain), but each time I was very good in redirecting him in a nice way and then letting him know how he could help. I think our communication was good during the whole time, and I never yelled or snapped at him once. Yay me!

The nurse wanted to check my dilation before the next shift came on at 7 a.m., so we planned to do that around 6:30 a.m. My contractions were much stronger (and my vocalizations much louder) by this time, so I was hoping I was farther along than the 6 centimeters and 90% effacement that I was (and baby was at -1 station). However, shortly thereafter, I knew I was hitting transition because I started throwing up. A LOT. Like maybe 15 or 20 times total within a fairly short amount of time (30 minutes?). I’m a pro at vomiting (unfortunately), so I was very businesslike about it, and I tried to remind myself that it was a good thing because it was likely indicating progress. They checked me again at 8 a.m. because my contractions were feeling different (stronger) and I was at 0 station and 7 centimeters. Once again I became quite nauseated around 8:15 a.m., and things really started picking up then.

Around 9:30 a.m., the baby had a decel on the heart monitor that the doctor didn’t like, so they wanted me hooked to the monitors all the time at this point. They also mentioned that I may be dehydrated (even though I’d been drinking a ton the whole time) and said they might have to do an infusion of fluids for me to get the baby perked up some. But first they said I could try lying on my side and breathing oxygen before doing fluids to see if that helped her, which was around 9:30 a.m. At this point I got pretty upset and started crying, because I had the thought of one intervention leading to another and ending up with a c-section after all I’d gone through already. Dealing with contractions on my side was pure misery. Maybe even torture, as I just couldn’t get to a position to alleviated the pain at all, so I felt everything. They also checked me again and said I was at about 8 or 9 centimeters and the baby was pretty low. I don’t remember how long I was on the oxygen (that time is pretty fuzzy), but they said it was helping the baby, so they finally told me I could move around to different positions.

They’d told me to let them know when I was feeling rectal pressure with contractions, which happened soon after, around 9:45 a.m. My screaming and vocalizations during contractions was pretty off the charts at this point. They checked me again and said I was at about 9.5 centimeters…that last half-centimeter was the fact that her head was tucked up above the lip of the cervix, but just barely. I had one contraction that was so unbearable that The Husband called the nurse back immediately, and all I could do was scream. Because my contractions were so painful at that point, they decided to let me go ahead and push. They got the stirrups into position at 10:10, and the pushing began.

I was secretly hoping I was going to be one of those stories where I did two pushes and the baby was out. No such luck, mostly because of that lip thing on the cervix. Pushing was one of the hardest things I’ve done. Instinct makes you want to push away from the pain and almost tense up against it, but you have to push toward it instead. At one point the OB (the one from my practice who was on call that morning) tried to manipulate the cervical lip herself, which made my pain and cramping even worse. The nurse that was with us was very encouraging to me, and she’s one of the big reasons I got through it. Actually, the OB and The Husband were great too, and I felt like I had awesome support. Finally they told me she was crowning, but the pain was so bad that I was nearly hyperventilating and was screaming like nothing else. (Too funny is the fact that there was a couple next door that had a sign on their door asking others to be quiet because they were using hypnobirthing techniques. I suspect my screaming was not contributing to their peaceful environment.)

Several times I said that I couldn’t do it, though obviously I knew I had to. Since I was crowning, I really tried to be brave and just get the job done. Stopping, while it was what I wanted to do, just wasn’t an option since it would only prolong the pain further. Indeed I felt that “ring of fire” as her head came out, then another couple of smaller pushes had the rest of the body out, born at 10:41 a.m. I looked down and there was my sweet girl, who at first glance looked exactly like The Big Sis did when she was born. My newest daughter, was born on Sister’s Day, of all days (and I’ll point out it’s the day I hoped/thought she’d arrive). They put a blanket on my chest and laid her down on me.

I felt relief, I felt exhaustion, I felt a little of everything at that point. Eventually they took her over to be cleaned off, weighed (6 lb. 14 oz.), and measured (19.5 inches) while I was being stitched (I did get a first-degree tear and needed one stitch), then they brought her back to me for some skin-to-skin contact. We tried nursing but she wasn’t particularly interested, but we still snuggled plenty. After about an hour of spending one-on-one time with her, The Husband got to have his turn holding her while they got me cleaned up and ready to move to the mother/baby unit, where we transferred right around noon. I felt pretty good overall. A bit beat up, perhaps, and definitely tired because of having been awake for more than 24 hours, but I was able to maneuver around just fine. We were sent to the new section of mother/baby, which has Tempur-pedic double beds in most of the rooms, so that was a nice treat for The Husband, who had to stay on the uncomfy chair/cot thing last time.

We ate lunch, then The Awesome Friend brought The Big Sis to the hospital to meet her sister for the first time. They arrived when she was receiving her first bath (in the room), and The Big Sis was certainly enamored. I’d say that first meeting went both well and poorly. She loved being able to hold her sister, but she was having trouble with the many new rules we had to establish for being around and holding a baby. However, I expected that might be the case, so at least I was prepared. (Thankfully subsequent meetings have gone much better and she seems to be understanding the rules just fine.)

I love that I now have two different birth experiences — one epidural and one med-free — each with their pros and cons and each being one that I don’t regret. Someone asked me if I’d do it med-free again, and while the experience is still recent enough that I can’t declare with full confidence that I would do it that way again (because holy hell it hurt!), I can say I’m glad I did it. I chose to do it that way for a variety of reasons, both practical and not, and I came out successful in the end. My body might not have done the natural thing to achieve conception, but it came through for me with the birth.

It’s interesting, though, that my second labor was NOT shorter than the first, despite that being a common trend. With The Big Sis, I had about 10 hours from first contractions to delivery; this time it was about 11 hours. Both times I was pushing for about 30 minutes. (Another interesting similarity: They were both born at 38w4d. Also, if you add up the digits of each of their birth dates, they both add up to 17.)

I will share the name once here, as I did with The Big Sis, but will refer to her as The Little Sis everywhere else (and ask that you do too). We named her Amber Victoria. Amber comes from Ambrose, which was the first name of the man who brought The Husband’s family to the U.S. from England in the 1600s. Victoria is the Roman goddess of victory, and after such a difficult time conceiving this baby, she really is quite the victory for us, so her name reflects that. Very appropriate for what I long called our mythical child #2, who has truly completed our family.

I love this pic because it truly captures the emotion of the moment:
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First family pic:
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