Aria's due date, March 5th, passed without event.
Days went by without any changes, and our doctor scheduled us for an appointment to induce labor on the morning of March 10th. My delivery with Alexandra was induced with pitocin, and I wasn't excited to repeat that experience, so I hoped that I'd go into labor naturally.
Around 1am that morning, I started feeling regular contractions. By the time Steve and I showed up at the hospital at 8am, contractions were pretty painful, and I knew that I was close to delivering our baby. The nurse checked, and told us that I was 6 centimeters dilated (over halfway there). To help labor along, the nurse recommended a low dose of pitocin via an IV. She asked if I wanted an epidural for the pain. After a moment of consideration, I said no. No epidural. The pain was bad, but I figured if I could do it with my two previous births, I could do it again.
Soon after receiving the pitocin, contractions came faster and stronger. Around 11am, I was asking (probably yelling, actually) if I could start pushing. When you say this to the nurse, a flurry of activity is set in motion. The doctor and aides jumped into action, setting up all their medical gear, breaking my water, and finally saying, "Okay, go for it...start pushing!"
Side note: our actual doctor was running late, and so a different doctor did the delivery. That happened with ALL three of our births.
I pushed with each of the next 3-4 contractions, and Aria came out. Healthy, calm, and alert. Steve cut her umbilical cord. She was wiped down, and wrapped up in a blanket, and handed to me.
Oh, the joy and relief and burst of love at meeting our daughter!
Her name, Aria, means "lioness," in Hebrew, and "air" in Italian (also used as a musical term for an operatic solo). A blend of strength, beauty, and nurturing. All our children have Chinese middle names, and Aria's is Li Mei, meaning "strength and beauty."
This third delivery was just as painful as my others. I fantasized about the baby just slipping out without much effort, but alas, that was not my experience. Contractions, pushing, and an episiotomy were all really rough. But in the end, I had another un-complicated, non-pain-medicated, healthy delivery, so count me grateful.
We are enamored with Aria. Aaron and Alex are adjusting to having a newborn sister - with some grace and some turmoil. Steve and I are living on less sleep and figuring out how to parent "zone defense" style.