I’ve left you waiting long enough! Baby Souder is here and it’s a GIRL! I mentioned last week that we welcomed our newest family member and if you follow on Instagram, you’ll have seen a few snaps of her first days! We’ve been home now for one week and are getting accustomed to each other and to our new roles as parents.
Sweet baby Maeve is more precious than I could have ever imagined. We are thrilled with her in every way possible. If you’ll recall, we did not know the gender of the baby before she was born. We talked two weeks ago (the day before I had her actually!) about gender wives tales and I was split 50/50 on if it were a boy or a girl. Truth be told, however, I had some intuition about the gender. In the beginning, I was so so so sick, craving only fruit, and breaking out like crazy on my back (which is super unusual for me). I had a few dreams about it being a girl and combined with some of my symptoms and just that feeling, I thought it was a girl. But, as the weeks wore on, my feeling because less and less believable. I started carrying her in the typical ‘boy’ way (basketball-ish), and then there was the baby’s size.
Toward the end, the last ultrasound we had revealed that the baby was very large. Not only was the head circumference in the 100th percentile, but so was the torso, the femur, and the amniotic sac. It was estimated that I was going to have a 10+ pound baby. Being a large baby myself, and armed with the knowledge that my sister had two large babies, we were all convinced this larger than life child was going to break me on it’s way out. I was having terrible pain in my spine and pelvis because the large head was trying to drop, but wasn’t quite fitting. The head was digging into my lower back and grinding against my hips just trying it’s hardest to drop further down, but it never did. At 37 weeks, the baby was estimated to be 9 lbs and if left until the due date, we were looking at between 10-11 lbs. Now, I know people always say the weights are way off, but one thing kept bothering me… the head size (which is a definitive measurement, not a guess like the weight) and the fact that the baby was not descending at all. Statistics show that most LGA (large for gestational age) babies are boys. So, I started really convincing myself that it was a boy all along. At this point in the story, I should tell you something that I did not mention in the gender wives tales post. There hasn’t been a girl born to a Souder male in 4 generations and over 100 years. Matt’s dad was an only boy, who went on to have three boys. Between Matt’s brothers, there are 5 nephews. Aunt Mabel, born in 1913, was the very last girl in the Souder family. So, needless to say, odds, genetics, statistics all supported the theory that I was indeed carrying a Souder boy.
In the Hospital
Long story short(er) I ended up having a c-section to bring the sweet baby into the world. Before we started the surgery, we told the nurses and doctor about the male dominated Souders. Everyone in the operating room was super excited to discover if the tradition would hold, or be broken. We all decided that when they got the baby out, Matt would announce to the room what the gender was. The initial parts of the surgery took a lot longer than expected due to the aforementioned head and the fact that the baby was sprawled out like a sunbather in the Bahamas with no intention of getting into the fetal position for the delivery. I was so nervous I could barely focus. When was this baby going to come out?
When they finally dislodged her from up near my ribs, the table shook with the force of the doctors and nurses trying to get her out. The held the baby up so Matt could see, and he was a little stunned, not announcing right away. After some prompting from the nurse, he finally announced, “It’s a girl!”
I was in total shock. I couldn’t believe it and kept asking, “what? really?” I cried, but whatever drugs they give you during the surgery didn’t allow for any tears to form, so it was a dry, face twisting cry of the weirdest variety.
She weighed in at 9lbs even, 21″ tall with a 15″ head circumference. After the hassle they had getting her out and the head size, everyone in the room was very pleased with the decision to move to a c-section. I was comforted by their resolve as well. As they continued to close me back up, Matt held our little girl up with me and we oogled at her button nose and silvery blonde hair.
I can’t help but be thankful that Matt got to spend that special time with her before I was able to hold her. For obvious reasons, the pregnancy and birth process is so centered around us women, so I was very happy he got to be such a big part of her first moments.
Up in recovery we got to know her even better. I nursed her and we learned about the basics of changing her, burping her, and comforting her. I had an amazing nurse who sat with us for over an hour with us helping us acclimate. To be honest, neither Matt or I had changed a diaper before and were grateful for the guidance in those first few hours.
The next few days were a complete blur of excitement and exhaustion. Recovery from a c-section is no joke. Aside from the obvious pain, the inability to get up and down was difficult when all you want to do is get familiar with your baby. I couldn’t get up to her out of her little bed or change her for the first two days. Matt was there to change all diapers and to hand her to me when it was time to nurse. By the time I was able to move around, I was still to wobbly, weak, and scared to walk with her. The nurses were so kind to bring her to me while Matt got some sleep and sit and chat with me while I nursed. It was a magical, crazy, and fulfilling at at once.
On the third day after delivery, I came home. I was a cleaning maniac right before the birth and upon walking in the house, I was immediately thankful for that! We didn’t have one thing to worry about except for caring for this little bundle, which inevitably meant just watching her sleep for hours on end. It felt good to be home and in our own space, to be alone and uninterrupted for the first time in days.
Still, I’m in awe of the fact that I have this baby. I sit up at night nursing her and just stare at her face, so thankful that she’s ours – completely overwhelmed with gratefulness that we were chosen to love and raise her. It’s an all encompassing, bigger than life feeling. I’m scared of missing even a split second with her. Everyone talks about how fast time flies and I want to sear every single moment with her into my brain.
We chose to name her Maeve Eloise after about 48 hours in the hospital. In the first few hours I found myself running through the names I liked in my mind, trying them all on her for size. We had about 3-4 top contenders, and each one we liked for various reasons. I loved the name Maeve because it felt unique and adventurous, but demure and feminine as well. It’s linked back to an old Irish legend of Queen Maeve and means, “The Cause of Great Joy”. Eloise is for her great grandmother (Matt’s grandmother) who passed away last year. Eloise means, “Healthy & Wide” which we got a laugh out of since not only was Maeve a sizable baby, but Grandma Eloise was also pleasantly plump in the most wonderful grandmotherly sort of way. Grandma Eloise was one of the most joyful and positive people I’ve known, plus since we cared for her into the last of her years, we were close in a way that most granddaughters-in-law probably aren’t. She was always a bright ray of sunshine in our lives. So with a chosen name and a family name, we were happy with where we landed. After a week, it feels so fitting, and I’m so happy with our decision.
Welcome Baby Maeve!
Photo credit: Me | Tiffany, the L&D Nurse | Big House Photography