Daisy Reese was born on Nov. 23, 2017, Thanksgiving night. Her story really begins six months before she was conceived. Daisy and Juliet (my oldest) had a brother, named Madsen. I got pregnant with Madsen literally days after our eldest turned 1. I carried him for over three months, before having him at home on Jan. 16, 2017. He had one extra chromosome that caused his heart to form improperly. A month or so, after he was born, the sky opened up for a break from the rain, beholding the most beautiful rainbow. I knew it was a sign from my son. The next day I got a positive pregnancy test. Daisy was on the way. A lot of fear and uncertainty filled this pregnancy. Genetic testing put some of my worries at ease, knowing she didn’t carry the same burden. At 30 weeks and 2 days, I went into preterm labor.
This is where Madsen and Daisy’s stories come together. While preterm labor is still somewhat a mystery, it was a consensus between my medical-care team that my body was tired and still traumatized from my going into labor so early just prior to this pregnancy. It’s an honest guess amongst those studying me, and I agree with it.
While it should of scared me, I knew even if she was born 10 weeks early she would be just fine. I’d had a 4D ultrasound done just a day earlier, and I held comfort in the images that showed a pudgy baby with a full head of hair. My hospital stay was long and intense. I was able to go home for a bit between stays, with close monitoring, inevitably back in labor and delivery a total of five times. Dominican Hospital took wonderful care of us, the NICU team is sensational. I felt a deep gratitude every day I stayed pregnant, as I watched the other NICU parents and babies fighting for growth and health just down the hall.
I loved the genuine comments of surprise of me still being pregnant, every check-in and hospital visit, from the doctors and staff. Id grown to be friends with these ladies.
With a great deal of medical assistance, medications and modified daily activity, we kept Daisy cooking all the way to 39 weeks, to the day! The night before she was born I started having very intense and regular contractions. We called Sutter Maternity, our local birthing center, and they were full. I felt so discouraged and angry. I had finally made it past 36 weeks (the limit for delivering at Sutter), and I couldn’t deliver there like I had hoped! I chose to stay home and wait, which was brave given I’d been walking around at 6.5-7 cm dilated the last 24 hours.
I kept visualizing having my baby in the car, on the way to the birthing center. I doubted my knowledge of my body a few times. Though, through, and through I knew, I knew my body. Truly. We made it to the next morning. My water started a slow leak around 6:15 a.m.—it was Thanksgiving morning. I knew It was time to go.
Dreadfully, I called Sutter. They were COMPLETELY open! How was this possible?! We were admitted into a room right away. Only one other mama was laboring in the whole birthing center. Nothing was really progressing, so I was put on a very low dose of pitocin, still just coasting. My water fully broke around 10:55 p.m. and Daisy was born at 11:10 p.m. So. Gnarly. Those last few centimeters felt like a train through my hips.
I only had to push a few times, I knew my body and what it needed, the pushes were so effective and brought relief. In between my second to last, and last push, Daisy began shimmying her way out on her own. My midwife looked at me and asked if I was pushing, I said no. She said she had never seen a baby do that in all her years. I felt proud. She was strong and a fighter. During the last push, as her chest fully emerged, she let one mighty cry out. My husband delivered Daisy himself, what a victorious and healing moment. My midwife could not get over how big she was, 2 oz shy of 9 lb.
After all the fear of preterm birth, it was a great moment to see a plump babe. She latched on right away, and we’ve been nursing like champions ever since. Her natural nursing skills were so impressive the lactation consultants came just to watch. Jokingly, they asked if we could teach a breastfeeding class. Difficulty breastfeeding was one of my biggest fears with preterm birth. It was greatly appreciated praise to receive. My sweet booby baby. Our family brought us heaping dishes of Thanksgiving food. It was the best Thanksgiving of our lives.
Written by Rachael Mann