Happy second birthday to our Lucy Jane! ♥️ I really don’t know how we got here. *Sniffle.* To think that we assumed a second child wasn’t in the cards, and then along came our beautiful Lucy.
(We struggled to get and stay pregnant for a long time, and ended up going the infertility route to have Emma. Two years later, I showed up in complete and utter shock at my doctor’s with another positive pregnancy test, looking for an explanation. My doctor said that the first pregnancy likely repaired my uterine lining—sorry, TMI—which made the second pregnancy possible. 😭)
So today we feel incredibly grateful and lucky. Lucy, you are perfect, and we love you so, so much! Happy birthday, Goose!
It’s nap time right now, so I thought I’d dig through my blog drafts and pull this one up. I wrote it a long, long time ago 🙈, but never got around to publishing it because it just felt like a LOT. (It’s a little choppy and all over the place. We’re just going to go with it, though, because I love that it’s like a little time capsule!)
I was talking with Jess, and we likened my reluctance to hit publish to how she never shared her wedding on her blog. Ask anyone, and it was the best wedding ever. (It really was! So much love.) But there was also a forest fire and they lost their venue like three days before and the photographer went MIA and I threatened him with some football players backing me up and stole his SD cards and then it started pouring and we danced and laughed the night away under the stars covered in mud. PHEW.
Again, these two dates were the most wonderful days ever, but they were a lot… and it’s no wonder that both Jess and I needed breathers after all was said and done. 😉
Long story short? We moved and had a baby on the same day. I would not recommend doing this, but we did it and lived to tell the tale! So here it is:
Lucy’s Delivery Story
It was moving day! After an emotional couple of years going back and forth on the matter, we’d decided to plant permanent roots in Chicago—and our friend Conor even helped us find our forever home in the school district we were set on. (Thank you, Conor! Best realtor in Chicago!)
As anyone who’s done it before will tell you, buying a home is not for the faint of heart. It can be extraordinary confusing and nerve-racking, so much so that the process is often described as more stressful than having a baby. (This is obviously very subjective, haha.) Our home-buying experience was particularly rough because we were dealing with an identity theft problem that created massive delays with closing, which actually almost cost us the house. Mitch tried to keep most of the drama from me for the sake of my sanity—I was in my third trimester when all of it went down—but let’s just say that it wasn’t always possible. (While I tried my best not to eavesdrop on his calls, it was hard not to overhear him yelling over the phone!)
By the grace of the gods, though, everything was sorted out just in the nick of time, and The Real Mitch Larkin stood up in the end. 😂 I can’t tell you how relieved we were, especially considering that I was 38 weeks pregnant. We’d pulled it off! My in-laws took two-year-old Emma for a few days, and we woke up the morning of move-in day giddy with excitement. It was all happening.
I should note here that New City Moving, a full-service moving company here in Chicago, handled the move for us, and they were a godsend. At 38 weeks, I was so out of breath that even walking around was becoming exhausting, and I’m certain that the move could not have happened without NCM. If you’re in need of movers, I highly, highly recommend them. Nicest crews and not a single thing damaged. Pricing is also extremely competitive!
I can’t say I felt any differently that day. The baby was up against my lungs, so I felt winded nearly all the time… but that had been going on for a while. So Mitch drove me over to the new house where I would be supervising the move-in, and then he drove back to the old place to monitor the other end. I just sat there with my giant basketball tummy and answered the movers’ questions or waddled around organizing things.
When the last box had been dropped off, Mitch and I reconvened and then decided to get a quick bite over at Derby, our favorite restaurant in Lincoln Park. (It’s now closed, which is heartbreaking!) Mitch was definitely stressed while we were there. We had a showing for our old place the following day and needed to get it into shape. So we were in and out of Derby in less than an hour, and then headed over to the old house to sweep and wipe down surfaces one last time.
When we got there, Mitch instructed me not to lift a finger, but I couldn’t help myself. While he was cleaning the basement, I grabbed the broom and started sweeping up the dust on the first floor. And then—drumroll please—I sneezed… aaaand my water broke.
While my water hadn’t broken with Emma, there was no mistaking this. There was a very steady leak. Mitch was convinced that it was a false alarm, which I can’t blame him for. (I was admittedly the queen of false alarms.) But after I went through two rolls of paper towels in 30 minutes, we called the doctor and she told us we should head to the hospital to get checked out.
I was PISSED, haha. We had so much to do! I’d wanted to get Emma’s room set up before she arrived to make the move easier on her and to make her feel comfortable in her new home… and I’d generally just wanted the new house in working order before our families came in for the new baby’s arrival. Instead, there were boxes and piles of stuff everywhere, and I felt overwhelmed and panicked. I know, I know. I shouldn’t have felt that way. Who cares, right? Well, I did. I cared. I cared so much. My hormones were raging and I just needed a sense of control in that moment.
Mitch was like, “Get in the car.”
And I was like, “Hell no. I’ve got stuff to do.”
So we compromised and he let me put my shoes in my closet.
That weirdly made me feel a lot better.
(Let us not forget the time that I went into labor with Emma and refused to leave the house until Mitch had vacuumed. Was literally on the floor crying, glaring at my worried husband, growling, “Vacuum.” You’re welcome for that visual.)
After the shoe squabble, I threw some stuff in a bag—no, I hadn’t packed one ahead of time—and we were off. This time, the drive down Lakeshore Drive was so much calmer. With Emma, I was in a lot of pain until I got the epidural. (SUCH a good delivery. Read the story here!) With this little baby, though, I felt nothing. No contractions… just nothing. It was weird and confusing, but it also made for a very pleasant arrival at Northwestern. Whereas Mitch literally threw the keys at the valet guy in a panic in 2016, we leisurely handed them over and made polite conversation in 2019.
Inside the hospital, we were told us that there were a ton of women having babies at the moment, and it might be a little while before they could take me considering our situation wasn’t urgent. After a little while, though, they brought us to triage and a nurse examined me.
“Well, you two are not leaving here without a baby,” she told us.
I thought Mitch—exhausted from the move and clearly still holding out hope that this was a false alarm—was going to fall over.
“WHAT?” He asked. “ARE YOU SURE?”
I’ll pause here and say that triage was the worst part of this delivery, even though I still wasn’t feeling contractions. Because the hospital was short-staffed and things were moving relatively slowly for me, the nurses didn’t come to check on me very often, and thus I sat in my water—ugh, gross, I apologize—for very long periods of time. You wouldn’t think this would be too bad, but it was really awful, and I was near tears for those few hours. Meanwhile, Mitch looked like he was on the verge of death. (Eyes beat red, color drained from his face.) Looking back, the triage experience with Emma had been way worse. But I nearly hugged the nurse who told me that a delivery room had opened up and they could move me upstairs!
It was then that Mitch contacted our families to tell them that it was happening. I remember my brother Patrick—whose birthday is May 5th—texting and saying, “May 5th is a pretty great day to have a baby! You’re going to be great!” (The cutest.)
When we got into the delivery room, I remember feeling an overwhelming sense of calm. While pregnant with Emma, I’d felt such fear about childbirth; I deeply doubted my body’s ability to deliver a baby and was convinced that I would die. (Sounds extreme but I’ve just never been the strongest person in the physical sense!) But because Emma’s delivery had been such a wonderfully positive experience, I felt so much more at ease this time. (I also still wasn’t feeling contractions, which helped enormously, haha… and I was finally clean and dry.) Mitch and I chatted with the nurses as they hooked me up to all the machinery, and they told us that believe it or not, they saw a lot of women have babies on moving day.
“It’s the stress of it all,” they said. “So many people try to get the move in before the baby arrives, and then ‘oops!’ So common!”
(Makes sense, but still so wild, right?)
Once I was all hooked up, I watched the contractions register on the monitor.
“No pain?” My assigned nurse asked, eyebrows raised, looking from me to the monitor.
It was the weirdest thing, especially for someone with such a low pain tolerance, but the nurse didn’t seem too concerned—it apparently happens!—so I thanked my lucky stars and told Mitch to please get some shuteye on the partner couch so be could be alive for the actual birth. (He obliged.) After an hour or two, my nurse told me that the anesthesiology team was finally free if I wanted to get the epidural. I remember wondering whether I needed it considering I wasn’t feeling the contractions, but then mentally slapped myself.
The team was amazing, just as they’d been with Emma. (If you have fear and anxiety re: epidurals, please read my very experience with it here!) Mitch had to leave the room for sterilization reasons, but the lovely doctor and nurses made conversation with me to distract me from the anticipation, which was very effective. ;) They helped me sit up and dangle my legs on one side of the bed and lean over, and then told me I’d feel a teeny prick. Because this totally numbed the area, I never even knew when they put in the epidural. I also never saw anything! Such a cinch. (And remember: zero pain tolerance over here!) Everything below my waist grew warm and then numb. A weird feeling but not an awful one. And while my legs felt heavy, I could still move them on my own.
An important note: Choosing to get the epidural is a personal choice, and it does not make a woman any less—or any more—of a mother. Report cards and gold stars are not given out in delivery rooms. Speaking for myself, it helped me be present and enjoy the births of my daughters, and I’m extremely glad that I opted to get it. But talk to your doctor… and you do you!
Once that was done, all that was left to do was wait. The nurses dimmed the lights and told me to try to get some sleep, but that was nearly impossible since they kept coming in the room to check on me. I also knew I was about to have a baby and was pretty excited!
It was around that time that we learned that the same doctor who delivered Emma would be delivering the new baby. She wasn’t our doctor, but this felt like a good sign. :)
A few hours later, the nurse came in for a routine check.
“Oh wow,” she said. “It’s go time!”
Another important note: As I said in Emma’s post, I am a firm believer in sharing positive birth stories. Yes, there are some that don’t go as planned, and my heart goes out to women who have had negative experiences. But when I was a pregnant with Emma, I was shocked by how many people—friends, family members and complete strangers—were eager to tell me horror stories. I understand the need to share, as births are deeply meaningful and life changing days. But hearing those stories while pregnant traumatized me and only intensified my anxiety and fear. It was my doctor who eventually was like, “Whoa whoa whoa! The vast majority of births go off without a hitch, and it’s important to remember that!” That was hugely helpful. Most.deliveries.go.extremely.well!
And that was that. The doctor rushed in and helped to get me in position—sitting up, with my hands holding back my knees—and suddenly I was pushing. (Zero pain because of the epidural. Only pressure. Felt like I needed to use the rest room!)
What stands out most from pushing was the doctor telling me to slow down, as the baby was coming out very quickly. (This can be common with second children.)
We waited a bit between each set of pushes, and during that time, the doctor asked us what we thought the sex was. We both said boy, and that we were going to name him “John Christopher” after our fathers and call him “Jack.” Jack Larkin. It had a nice ring to it!
“And if the baby is a girl?” the doctor winked.
“ARE YOU TELLING US IT’S A GIRL?!” I said, eyes wide.
“No! I don’t know. Just asking.”
We looked at each other. Very honestly, we hadn’t talked too much about it. The baby really felt like a boy to me, and Mitch agreed. Then again, Emma had really felt like a boy, too… and look at how that ended up. ;) But the same girls’ name kept coming up whenever we did talk about the possibility:
Once I got to the third set of pushes, I heard the doctor say “here’s the head,” and before I knew it, the baby was being handed to me.
“It’s Lucy!” The doctor exclaimed.
Disbelief. TWO LITTLE GIRLS?! I need to admit right now that I had always dreamt of having two girls. I don’t know. I didn’t have a sister, and had always wanted one. (Still do!) That bond. Much like it was with Emma, the rest is a blur. I remember her tiny little button nose. I remember how seemingly tan (?!) her skin was. I remember her full head of brown hair. I remember crying. I remember Mitch crying.
Leading up to the birth, one of my biggest concerns—and I know this might sound silly—was that I wouldn’t be able to love another child as much as I loved my first. I just couldn’t fathom loving someone else as deeply. It didn’t seem possible. But in an instant, I realized that oh, yes. It’s absolutely possible. The heart simply grows and makes room to love a second child just as wildly. I loved this tiny little girl with everything I had, and the experience was just as magical—perhaps even more magical because I’d been far less fearful this time around. Everything was perfect.
The doctor stitched me up—again, didn’t feel anything because of the epidural!—while Lucy was cleaned and her vitals were taken. All I could think of was how blessed and lucky we were. Two precious, healthy little girls. How?! It felt like a fairytale.
After a few hours, we were moved to the recovery room. (The room looked out onto Lake Michigan. So stunningly beautiful.) I honestly can’t really remember what happened after that because I was so tired, but I think we all tried to get as much sleep as we could for the next few hours. Both sets of parents were inbound, so I cleaned myself up as best I could once the epidural started to wear off, and everyone (INCLUDING EMMA 😭) arrived just before visiting hours ended. (Though the hospital was really great and let them stay for a while.)
With Emma’s birth, I had been really reluctant about visitors coming too soon; I was just so nervous about everything and didn’t want the pressure of knowing I’d need to pull myself together for “guests,” if that makes sense. But the second time around, I didn’t care at ALL, haha. I was so excited for everyone to be there.
When the girls met, my heart burst. Emma was pretty timid around Lucy; she seemed like she didn’t know what to make of the whole thing. “The baby” had been a bit of an abstract concept for her, and as much as we’d excitedly pumped her up for her role of Big Sister, the sight of the actual baby came as quite the shock to her. But then Lucy “gave” her a present—Anna and Elsa dolls—and all was well. Within an hour, Emma was even snuggling in my hospital bed with us!
“Do you want to hold Baby Lucy?”
(In case you’re wondering, it took Emma a couple of weeks to warm up to Lucy. What helped the most was telling her what an incredible job she was doing as a big sister, and how helpful she was with the baby. She started taking great pride in her new role, and eventually she became very attached to Lucy! Something else that helped was saying “Lucy, you’re going to have to hold on a minute. Emma needs me right now.” I forget who told me to do this, but putting Emma first made her feel like she hadn’t lost her parents to another child. Her family was just growing!)
Our favorite story from our hospital stay, though, has to be about our first night there with Lucy in the bassinet next to us. In the middle of the night, she started shrieking. Guys, it was wild. I’d never heard a noise this loud come from a human being before. Mitch jumped up and screamed that she must be dying. It was SO loud. We hit the emergency button and nurses rushed in to help—and after a minute or two, one of them was like,
“Isn’t this your second child?”
“Yes but our first never screamed like this!” Mitch said in desperation.
“Well, this one does.”
She was totally fine, haha. And that’s when we realized that Miss Lucy would always be her own person. Girlfriend is hilarious, spunky, sharp-witted, stubborn, cuddly, loving and artistic. (And loud. 😜)
She keeps us laughing and on our toes, and she completes our family.
Lucy Jane, HAPPY BIRTHDAY. We love you so much!