You might have noticed we've been absent from this blog lately, and rest assured there's a very good reason. On November 20th we welcomed our daughter, Lily Madeline Grant. She was born at 3:23 am, was 19 inches, and weighed in at 5 lbs 14 oz. She's been our biggest and best project ever, and we'd love to share our birth story with you.
[Birth photos by Robert Paetz Photography]
I was originally due in the December 3rd to 5th range, but our doctor kept saying he thought our baby would arrive about 2 weeks early. When Ian and I looked at the calendar we realized that this was right around his birthday, November 19th. We joked that it would be fun to have a baby on his birthday, since there couldn't be a better birthday gift. For two weeks before, we tried all the baby induction techniques we could think of: walking, dancing, eating pineapple and Indian food, etc. I had been having painless Braxton Hicks contractions every 10 minutes for those 2 weeks, but by the time Ian's birthday rolled around I had kind of given up hope that the baby would be coming any time soon.
November 19th was Ian's 30th birthday, so I had a big day planned for him. We started out with a doctor's appointment (for me) at 9am in the morning. Our doctor's office is in the Beverly Hills area and after our appointment (where we learned that despite the contractions there was no major progress towards baby) we headed to the Nightmare on Elm Street house. Ian is a big fan of the Nightmare on Elm Street movies and we had always talked about visiting the house where the movie was filmed. The house is actually on Genesee Avenue, right around the corner from our doctor's office and it was kind of the joke that once she arrived we'd 'never sleep again'. After our appointment we went to the house and took a few pictures outside. Then we went to Chick-fil-A for lunch and got ice cream-filled cupcakes for dessert.
Fully stuffed and tired from running around, we headed home for a nap, planning on having a small birthday party for Ian that night. We laid down around 2 pm and never fully got to sleep because I started having powerful contractions out of nowhere right away. The contractions were 4 minutes apart and lasted a minute or more each. Since our doctor had told me to call when contractions were 7 minutes apart or less, so we called him and got the go ahead to go right away to the hospital. I had been practicing relaxation techniques through Hypnobirthing, so I tried to stay calm through the contractions. I think Ian was the nervous one, running around to get the car packed up. It was pretty funny to watch!
Our hospital, Cedars Sinai, is about 45 minutes from our house so the ride over was not a lot of fun. After checking in and getting examined, I was admitted. It was about 5 pm by then, so there was a very good possibility that we would actually have the baby on Ian's birthday. On the way over we called our birth photographers, Robert and Felicia Paetz, and they came to join us. Robert and Felicia are photographer friends who offered to document our baby's birth, and it was the best gift they could have given us [think, documenting probably the most emotional day of your life].
Robert and Felicia arrived shortly after I had an epidural and started documenting. With an epidural you can't really move around so I was stuck in the bed for the rest of the labor. I was really glad to have Robert and Felicia there not only for the beautiful photos, but also because they kept Ian company, took him to the cafeteria for dinner, and for a walk. It had already been a long day so it was important that everyone be fully rested for later.
I slept on and off for most of the labor, which ended up being 13 and a half hours. It's funny because my biggest complaint of the whole labor was that the epidural made me abnormally numb. I kept asking Ian to rub my feet so I could feel them! All in all it was much better than the pain of contractions. We hit midnight with no baby, and it ended up being just fine. This way we got the experience of going into labor on Ian's birthday but Lily gets to have her own special day. Around 2:45 in the morning on the 20th I started pushing, and Lily was born about 45 minutes later...not before spraying Ian's face with blood while shooting out [you can see the remnants in a few of the photos, he wore it with pride].
It was pretty much the coolest experience ever. There's nothing like getting to meet your baby for the first time. After months of thinking about her and dreaming about her, holding her in our arms was a surreal and beautiful moment. Labor and delivery were exhausting but there was such an emotional high afterwards. We didn't get to our room until about 6 in the morning, and after that sleeping was hard. I am so glad that the whole experience was documented, and I will treasure these photos forever. I can't wait to get to show them to Lily one day. We hope you enjoy them as well!
Here are a few photos starting *cough* roughly 6am when all normal people should be in bed. Time for Ian to start snapping away for himself [there was no way he was going to be shooting when I was pushing].
Sadly no sooner did we get home from the hospital, Lily decided to turn orange and back to the Neonatal intensive care unit we went with super elevated Jaundice. We spent pretty much our whole lives there for a few days feeding Lily on a 3 hour basis. Somewhat of a scary time in our lives, but we met some really wonderful people and had Thanksgiving dinner with the other parents in the ward. Made us quickly realize how good we've got things, Jaundice is a small hiccup in her life.
I hope everyone loves our birth story, and we hope to be able to share more photos of her growing up with you in the next few years!
-Tanya and Ian Grant