I’m sitting here writing this with a perfect little 3-week old lying beside me. Amelia ‘Millie’ Lynn Tolsma, our All American girl.
If you follow me on social media then it’s no secret that I was anxiously awaiting August 10th, when my C-section was scheduled. My actual due date was Aug 17th but the C-section was scheduled at 39 weeks and it couldn’t come soon enough. This pregnancy seemed much easier than my last time around with Dallas and I was able to swim up until the very end and bike and run longer than I was able to with Dallas. But as the weeks went on and I got bigger and bigger, the exhaustion set in, and I was just straight up feeling uncomfortable. Needless to say, I was counting down the days!
In late July, Brian, Dallas, Jake and I took a 13-hour road trip to South Dakota for a much anticipated family reunion that I didn’t want to miss. We debated not going as it it was only 3 weeks from my due date. But we mapped out hospitals along the way, had a lot of pee stops but made it there and back without any issues. And I’m SO glad we did. Being able to spend 3 days with almost 60 of my extended family and introducing Dallas to so many of his cousins, aunts and uncles. And of course spending time with my parents and my sister with her family. It was a trip I will never forget, complete with a trip to Wall Drug and Mt. Rushmore. And who doesn’t love a road trip ?!
We arrived back in Chicago on July 28 and on Aug 1 jokingly made a post on Facebook asking people to guess the day and time that I would deliver. As Brian and I went to bed that night, he rolled over and said, ‘sorry babe, but I think you are going to make it until Aug 10.’
Famous last words.
As usual, I didn’t sleep well that night. Then around 3am this weird feeling and a gush of water. Yup, my water broke. I laid in bed for a little longer wondering if that’s really what it was, were these really contractions and wondering when I should wake up Brian and what were we going to do. Keep in mind that my mom was scheduled to come the following week and be here during the delivery. But this was 10 days early and we had no plan.
I came up with a plan in my head as I laid there and realized that yes, these were contractions. At about 4am, I woke up Brian and said, “my water broke, we are having a baby, and we have no plan.” Then I continued with the plan I had formulated that consisted of me driving myself to the hospital (a 30m drive), Brian staying home and waiting until 7am when he would bring Dallas to daycare and then come meet me at the hospital.
Well, Brian turned my genius plan down pretty quick and I’m so glad he did. I ended up calling by bff Keri who thankfully answered the phone at 430am. She graciously said it was no problem to bring Dallas over. So we woke Dallas up, tried to explain to him why it was still dark and that he was going to be a big brother very soon. We packed up quickly and got into the car (with Jake) and headed off to Keri’s.
The water kept coming (it’s amazing how much there actually is) and the contractions were getting closer. As we drove to Keri’s Dallas asked for the Star Spangled Banner so we played that and all sang along as we drove at 445am, on a dark Tuesday morning while I was clearly in labor. Seems so fitting.
We got to Keri’s, dropped Dallas off with a big hug and headed on to Prentice hospital.
As we got closer we were frantically calling or texting anyone we knew who might be able to take Jake the dog as we knew he wouldn’t be allowed in the OR. A huge thanks to Dave Z and our dog walker Jan who collaborated and got Jake from the hospital so Brian could come into the OR with me!
By the time I was admitted I was 4 cm dilated, the baby was breach and I needed a C-section. So it was crucial that this baby got out sooner rather than later and I was bumped ahead of a few others waiting for the OR. This was a good thing because me and contractions don’t get along and they were becoming more intense and closer together. I used to think I was tough but then I realized contractions are no match for losing a leg. For real. They hurt.
I finally was brought to the OR around 730 and given pain meds. Brian came in soon after and sat by my head as we looked at a big blue sheet separating us and the doctors and listened as they made the incision and worked on delivering our baby.
For the next 30ish minutes Brian and I sat there wondering out loud if it would be a girl or a boy and thankful that we didn’t follow my plan because he would have missed it all! Then we just sat in silence listening to the bustle around us and the magnitude of the moment waiting for the much anticipated first cry.
Then, at 815am the doctor says ‘Are you ready?’ And she continues with ‘Congratulations, it’s a GIRL’. And the tears come. And Brian and I hug as best we can while both voice how we are nervous to have a girl, all we know is boys! Then Brian gets up to cut the cord, sees our little girl and brings her over to me. I see her face for the first time and am blown away by her beauty. He perfect nose and eyes, full head of hair and two dimples. She was absolutely perfect. And she was ours. We said her name for the first time, Amelia Lynn Tolsma, to be known as Millie. And it seemed so surreal that somehow this tiny, 7 pound, 7oz perfect baby landed in our arms.
Eventually we were transported from the recovery area up to our room where I would be for the next few days. She got to come with us every step of the way which was new to us since Dallas was whisked away to the NICU when he was born.
We got to our room and Brian went to get Dallas while I was able to call my parents and hold this tiny little human against me. A few hours later Brian and Dallas came into the room with Dallas wearing his ‘I’m a big brother’ shirt carrying a huge bouquet of flowers that were appropriately in a dump truck vase. I give him a huge hug and congratulated him on being a big brother. He looked at her, wanted to give her a hug and a kiss and handed he a small stuffed dinosaur that he had picked out for her a few weeks back. He handed it to her and in his cute baby voice said, here you go Baby Millie. And my heart melted.
In the days that followed we had some visitors and both Brian and I got re acquainted with how to feed, swaddle, burp and manage diapers so tiny. We also remembered the pure joy of baby cuddles and the reminder that there is no better feeling than a sleeping baby on your chest.
Three days later and I was discharged from the hospital. Dallas was so excited that she was coming back to ‘his home.’ From the start, he has been SO sweet with her. He has so many hugs and kisses to give and although he likes to poke her eyes and ‘hug’ her by laying on top of her, he shares his toys, loves to push the stroller, ‘help’ change her diaper and make sure she is ok when she is crying. Aside from being a 2-year-old and having what I hope are normal 2yo meltdowns (sweet and sour by the minute) he is going to be the best big brother and I am so proud of him.
Three weeks later we are gradually adjusting to a life of 5. (Jake counts). My mom came for 12 days and she was such a help, I can never thank her enough. The best house helper, cook, cleaner, finder of great deals on baby clothes, kitchen organizer, scrabble player, distraction for moody 2 year olds and so much more. It was also great to introduce Dallas to my dad, her Grandpa Pat and Grandma Deb. I can’t wait to introduce her to my sister and some friends in the weeks to come!
So for now I am spending my nights and days getting whatever sleep I can find, soaking up baby cuddles, playing with Dallas and his dinosaurs while trying to figure out how to parent an almost 3 year old and dreaming about the day I can start swimming, biking and running again. They say I have to wait 6 weeks but will they really know if I start in 5…
Jake hasn't left us yet. I don't think he's so much as looked at Millie but he doesn't seem to dislike us anymore than he did when we had Dallas. So I guess that's a plus. I think it's added bonus that we have a yard and he's able to spend his days rolling in the grass. We had another baby but we gave him a yard. I guess it's the little things.
I will start traveling and speaking again in the near future and as much as I look forward to getting ‘my’ life and ‘my’ body back, I know these are fleeting moments I need to live in them with our little girl. Our daughter. Our baby Millie. She truly does make our family complete.
Until next time, where I can hopefully boast about how much sleep I’m getting,
(ps. Check out Millie's first piece of mail in the pictures below and have some tissues handy. Hint: it has a Presidential seal.)