Elaina is five days old now. I still can't believe she's finally here. We had tried so many methods of naturally inducing labor because my midwife was scheduled to leave town two days after my due date. There were several other very capable midwives available for backup, but I really wanted Noel to be there. She's just so wonderful. So at 39 weeks, I started trying things. I tried castor oil (twice), and so many other foods and herbs and tricks. I got some decent contractions going, especially with the castor oil, but they always died off. It was frustrating. So I was hesitant to believe that I was really in labor on Wednesday afternoon. But when I realized I had to stop what I was doing and couldn't talk to my toddler, I told Bryan to come home. It was a little after 3. Then my mother-in-law came to pick up Chloë, and then Noel and her apprentice/assistant Aki (who is also an RN) showed up shortly after 4.
Then after 6 hours of active labor, she was born. My little girl. My second daughter. My Elaina. Finally.
The labor was just as hard and painful as it was with Chloë, but so much shorter. I was very grateful.
A couple of hours old. Our sweet Elaina.
It was so surreal finally holding her and becoming familiar with the details of her tiny face. In some ways she looks so much like her big sister; but she is her own person.
The next morning, after very little sleep. I was just too excited to sleep. She was here! I could stare at her and hold her, and stroke her soft face. What joy.
Then Bryan's parents brought Chloë home. I was so excited to introduce my girls to each other.
The moment Chloë met Elaina. (Thanks Austin for capturing this and passing it along!)
Chloë wasn't quite sure what to think. All of the grandparents and some of the aunts and uncles were crowded around, making for quite the audience. But Chloë was sweet and affectionate, despite being slightly confused.
The girls with Grams, Pops, and Aunt Laura.
The first afternoon. A nap with my girls.
I love my life.
When she is awake, Elaina is quite the alert baby.
Enjoying life with my girls.
Papa naps with his grandchildren. I called my parents when I realized I was truly in labor, and they hopped in the car and made the four hour drive. They got to meet Elaina just a couple of hours after she was born.
Her eyes are actually a really dark blue. I love it when she is alert, turns to the sound of my voice, and tries to focus on my face.
Kisses from my mom- her Mimi.
My cup runneth over.
This is her grumpy face. Her little brow seems to be furrowed about 90% of the time, whether she's awake or asleep. It's quite the serious look for such a tiny person.
Elaina has a surprisingly strong neck. She only holds her head up for a few seconds here, but she has held it up for a couple of minutes at a time when she's awake and looking around. I'm really impressed. She's just really strong. Trying to get her dressed can be quite the challenge when she flexes those little arms of hers. I now understand those in utero movements. It's not so much that's she's constantly active, but that she's strong.
Our little attempt at a photo shoot. We got a couple of decent pictures, but she wasn't happy about being all alone.
3 days old.
My little family. God has blessed me so very richly.
Here's a video of her sleeping, from this morning. I love the faces and noises, but especially that smile.
We just liked the name Elaina, and have been saying it with a soft "eh" as opposed to the harder "ee". It means "bright light" or "torch." Halcyon (pronounced "HAL-see-un,") is my grandmother's name. My dad's mom. It means "calm," and we're wondering if there's any chance her personality will live up to her middle name.
We're all doing so well. Bryan gets a week of paternity leave, and it's wonderful having him around all the time. Chloë is more interested and affectionate with Elaina every day, and seems to be adjusting pretty well. Elaina is sleeping and eating like a champion. She loves sleeping against a heartbeat, and still has that wonderful newborn smell. I'm taking it easy and recovering wonderfully.
We love our new life as a family of four.