(Looking for 7 Quick Takes Friday? Head over to Hallie’s place for this round!)
I’m exhausted and still here at the hospital, but wanted to say hello with a few pictures and notes about what we’ve been up to for the past couple of days!
Introducing Pamela Scholastica! She was born around 5:30 on Wednesday after about nine and a half hours of labor. She’s our shortest and heaviest baby so far, coming it at 7 lbs. 11 oz. and 18 inches long.
All through the pregnancy we had a different first name picked out, yet neither my husband nor I felt peace about it. We kept praying for clarity on what her name was supposed to be. Then, three days before her birth, we got it: We were supposed to name her for my mom, Pamela! We felt complete peace as soon as we considered that option. At first we thought about changing the middle name to, umm, something that might be a more natural fit with Pamela. But then we realized that Scholastica is just too awesome of a name to ditch, so we kept it. (If you’re not familiar with St. Scholastica, here’s her story.)
Me and epidurals. Why does this never seem to work out? I decided to get one fairly early on, but then towards the end it didn’t give me much pain relief AT ALL. The anesthesiologist was busy, so I pretty much got the, umm, full experience there towards the end — only I didn’t have the benefit of being able to move around to get comfortable. Overall, though, it was a good labor and I was grateful that nothing serious went wrong.
At one point early in the afternoon I heard some commotion out in the hall. I heard snippets of conversation like, “What was in the box? … Seriously?” Then, “Who was it? … Fulwiler?” A minute later a new nurse walked in the room and asked if I was Jennifer Fulwiler. When I said yes, she paused and said, “We have a situation…I have some bad news…” At this point I had been in labor for about five hours and immediately worried that it had something to do with my progress or the baby’s health. Instead, she said: “Someone tried to send you alcohol.”
“What? How could that be?!” I gasped, some kind of evolved instinct kicking in that prompts you to pretend like you’re not the type of person who receives gifts of alcohol during labor. While I put on my best “confused and surprised” face, I recalled a recent conversation with Hallie in which she asked what kind of flowers I would most enjoy receiving after the baby was born, and I replied with a dry joke that she send booze instead.
The nurse went on to inform me that the box was inspected, its contents discovered (a nice red wine), and it was confiscated by the pharmacy, not to be released to me until I’m discharged. The unspoken message there seemed to be that they imagined me yanking it out of the nurse’s hand, tearing out the cork with my teeth and upending it in between contractions. I’m guessing they’re going to be keeping a close eye on this shady Fulwiler woman for the rest of my stay here at the hospital.
This hospital is incredibly nice. My husband and I keep commenting about how lucky we are to have such luxurious medical care. The rooms are spacious and beautiful, with mahogany-colored hardwood floors and a surprisingly stylish guest couches and chairs. The beds have super-cozy Tempurpedic mattresses. Even the food is good! This morning for breakfast I had a tomato, mushroom and cheese omelette with bacon and hash browns with a yogurt fruit parfait. It was as good as anything you’d get in a restaurant.
And then there’s the free Wi-Fi:
The first night we were here my mom stayed with me, and instead of watching the TV in the room we streamed some favorite shows on Netflix. By putting it on full screen on my laptop, it was just like having our own personal television. Even as recently as 2004, when my first child was born, that would have seemed very futuristic and high tech to be able to carry around your own personal unlimited library of movies and shows.
THE ANSWERED PRAYER
By Thursday morning, I was in bad shape. Constant interruptions from hospital staff on top of long nursing sessions meant that I got almost no sleep the night before. That combined with some pretty intense aches and pains to put me in a miserable state. I was in such a rotten mood that I even cynically thought, I guess all the prayers didn’t work this time. No sooner had the thought crossed my mind than I heard a knock at the door, and looked up to see Fr. Dean Wilhelm, our parish’s pastor.
I had included him on the birth announcement email, but had never thought to ask him to stop by — our parish is huge and he’s a very busy guy. Yet he took the initiative to find out which hospital we were at so that he could come by. We chatted for a while, he blessed the baby, then we prayed and he gave me Communion. I’d never received the Eucharist outside of church before, so that was really special for me — especially when I realized that it was the Feast of Corpus Christi!
As soon as he left I was able to get a short nap, and when I awoke I felt like a new person. My bad mood was completely gone, all the depression and negativity that I’d felt earlier replaced with joy and hope. It was one of my most intense experiences of the power of the Eucharist ever. So thank you again for all your prayers, to which I give full credit for making it happen!
Having my new “postpartum chic” outfit that Hallie picked out for me at such great cost to her own sanity is everything I dreamed it could be. Check it out:
It’s just as comfortable as the pajamas that I’d normally wear during the day, but it lifted my spirits a surprising amount to feel like I was wearing a flattering, cute outfit when I greeted our many visitors.
Speaking of visitors, the kids were too cute when they came to meet their sister. My six-year-old son had gone to work with my husband that morning, and since it involved going to court he had his little suit on. It was too precious to see him greet the new baby all dressed up like that. All the kids were just delighted to finally meet the baby. I felt unbelievably blessed as I watched our new family of seven all interacting with one another.
But I think the best part of the kids’ visit was when my three-year-old daughter walked into the room and, with wide eyes, looked right past her baby sister and said, “You have a rocket bed!” (that first word pronounced “wocket”). She proceeded to hop up on the bed and was thrilled and awed as I used the remote control to make it go up and down, then each one of the kids wanted a turn. It was the broke big family version of taking the kids to Disneyland.
Okay, the baby just dozed off so it’s time for me to sleep. I’ll probably be doing more resting than blog posting over the next few days, so I hope you all have a nice weekend. Thank you again for the kind wishes and prayers!