Stella's birth was by far my most painful delivery. It was emotionally difficult, but physically difficult as well. My water was broken at 4pm and the induction drugs were started. For many hours I felt great, I was simply chatting with Shawn and my mom and waiting for the real contractions to arrive. Eventually they came with full force and began to run into one another without a break. Stella was face up and needed to turn. As a result, I was labouring on all fours in an effort to get her turned around. Once the contractions were on top of one another and I didn't have a break in between, I began to think of Hope often and was emotionally overwhelmed. At 5 cms I asked for an epidural and could barely stand the pain as I waited for the doctor to arrive. The epidural went in easily and as I finally started to feel a little bit of relief, I felt intense pressure and wanted to push. The epidural had only been in for 10 minutes when I asked the doctor to check me again. He was surprised to find that I was now 10 cms and ready to push.
Unfortunately, my labouring on all fours had not done it's job completely. Stella had turned, but only half way. She was coming out sideways, shoulders stacked on top of one another! As a result, she was quite stuck and pushing her out was slow and extremely painful. Unlike the other two deliveries, I screamed with each push and begged the doctors to hurry up and get her out. It was about 30 minutes before she finally arrived and was placed on my stomach. I was instantly aware of how much she looked like Sadie. She doesn't look like Hope at all, it was Sadie's twin! Although I'll always wonder what Hope would have looked like as she grew up, I'm thankful that Stella looks like Sadie.
Stella has now been home with us for two weeks and we are so thankful for her. Sadie is absolutely enthralled with her sister and is asking to hold her constantly. She is always willing to help out with her little sister and is so excited to introduce her to others. We are proud of Sadie and the way she has adjusted so far to Stella being home with us. Stella is an extremely easy going baby. She rarely cries, unless she's hungry or you're changing her diaper while she's hungry. She sleeps well during the day and is starting to sleep more at night. She eats a LOT and is sure to grow with the amount she consumes in a day.
I feel such gratitude for her healthy life and after all we went through with Hope, I realize what a blessing her health is. Getting up to nurse her in the night is a privilege, not a burden. I remember what it felt like to get up and mix feeds, pump, run a tube feed and then sterilize all the equipment with Hope. That was not easy in the night and we were exhausted. Getting up to cuddle in a chair with a sleepy baby nursing is a completely different experience. Sleeping in my own bed, instead of a rock hard mattress in the hospital is incredible. We spent so much time at the hospital with Hope, our time at home with her was so brief it's hard to even remember how it felt. Each day at home with Stella is a gift. I hope the gratitude never fades as I enjoy the blessing of having both my girls at home. I'll always know that a third little girl is missing from each family photo, but I'll continue to find comfort in the knowledge that Hope is pain free in Heaven.
I love getting to watch Sadie enjoy her sister on a daily basis. I love that I can care for Stella's needs and still be a mom to Sadie at the same time. Caring for Hope often involved not being able to care for Sadie, that was never easy. Newborns are a lot of work, but after the journey we had with Hope, it feels like a much easier road than the one previously travelled.
Thank you to everyone that prayed for us through my pregnancy and the arrival of Stella. Your prayers have clearly made an impact as I find such peace in caring for Stella and welcoming her into our family.
Many people have asked me if I will continue to blog. This blog was started to share Hope's story and her story has already been written. I have decided that since Hope was with us for 412 days on this earth, I'll write 412 entries onto this blog. After that I'll enjoy my girls at home and no longer write about the ins and outs of our daily lives. This entry is number 409, that leaves 3 entries before I'll finish, likely just in time for the one year anniversary of Hope's death. Thank you to everyone that has journeyed with our family. It has been a long road and was full of a lot of ups and downs, we don't even want to imagine how it would have felt to walk through that without all the support we've been given from you all.