We have a baby! The last two months were a whirlwind. It feels like I’ve been sleep walking and I’ve really struggled to find time to update you all on what’s transpired. But, now that I’m up in the middle of the night taking care of our little one, there is no moment like the present to tell you about how all our dreams came true.
Let me take you back to June for a second. After our pug, Gizmo, passed away, we were devastated. So it was a bit surreal that same weekend when our surrogate, Ilsa, and her mom, Marilyn, came out to San Francisco for our baby shower. We had a beautiful afternoon at Mersea restaurant in Treasure Island overlooking the San Francisco Bay with our family and friends and it was just a perfect day. The love and generosity we felt from everyone was so special – it was very healing for us. Not to mention the joy we felt in seeing how warmly everyone embraced Ilsa and Marilyn as family.
The rest of June and July in all honesty was a blur. We had the house remodel underway (it’s still going), work for both of us was crazy and we were racing to finish the nursery. I want to do a big reveal for you guys so stay tuned for a nursery-related blog post.
Now, back in my chronology, we were coming up to the end of July and DJ and I were preparing to head out to South Dakota to be on “baby watch.” Our girl was due on August 15th so the plan was for DJ and me to fly to Rapid City, South Dakota on July 27th and start a 3-day road trip through the State. We figured, heck, baby is not due for 3 weeks so we can spend 3 days checking out Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse and the Badlands and then drive over to Sioux Falls with plenty of time to spare for us to be here safely for baby’s arrival.
Yeah, not so much.
So it’s Thursday morning around 8:30am and I’m about to head out the door for my company’s annual volunteer day. I’m trying to fill up my water bottle and the faucet is not working because the contractors turned it off to adjust a pipe. So, I’m chasing around one of the workers trying to get them to fix it so I can leave. Then I get a call from Ilsa that sets up a chain of events.
Basically, Ilsa tells me that the itching she had complained to us about the day before was actually being caused by elevated hormones in her liver. The test that Dr. Salama, our OB had ordered, revealed that the hormones were so elevated, that it raised the chances of our baby being still born. She did not want to risk it and ordered Ilsa to be induced that evening at 7pm. As Ilsa was telling me this, time slowed down…I could hear the words coming out of her mouth, but I was trying to process what she was saying. Ilsa joked later that I sounded very matter of fact as I said, “OK, ok…we’ll figure this out.”
At the same time that Ilsa is telling me this information, I have the contractor also trying to talk to me to ask about the water pressure and I damn near cut his head off with my eyes as I pointed at the phone and I said, “this is an urgent phone call. Stop talking to me!” No doubt, I startled him, I certainly startled myself, but I was trying to figure out what Ilsa was saying and what I needed to do.
So, Ilsa and I hang up and I immediately call and text DJ. He had just headed to the doctor and doesn’t respond. I text again, “URGENT! Baby is coming TONIGHT!” He later told me, he thought I was joking. Yeah, no.
Then I was in beast mode trying to get everything sorted. DJ comes home and I make a list. I put him on baby packing duty with a LONG list of things we need to bring with us while I change all of our travel arrangements. I’m texting Ilsa trying to figure out alternative airports near Sioux Falls to see if we can arrive any earlier to make 7p. We can’t. So we opt to take a connecting flight that is scheduled to arrive at 11:30pm. Not ideal, but we cross our fingers.
Next, I’m cancelling our hotel in Grand Rapids, trying to change our Airbnb and rental car in Sioux Falls and just getting everything else sorted. In the middle of all of that, Dr. Salama calls to give a little more background on why inducing is necessary – she leaves a message and I just remember listening to it and not understanding a single word. It was like the parents in Peanuts doing the “wah wah wah wah.” All I could focus on was our to-do list.
We get to the airport to try to fly standby on an earlier flight, but they won’t let us on as it is packed and we have Coco with us (yes, we brought our cat with us given that we are remodeling and don’t have anywhere safe to leave her.) And, apparently you can’t ride standby with a pet. So, we wait for our flight and cross our fingers that we’ll be able to make our connection in Denver. We do, because the flight from Denver to Sioux Falls is totally delayed. Like, painfully so. We don’t end up in Sioux Falls until 1am. Luckily, Ilsa’s dad, Waldo, picks us up from the airport, we drop off our bags and terrified cat at the Marriott Residence Inn and we head straight to the hospital.
We find Ilsa and her mom in the maternity ward just hanging out and watching House Hunters. We learned that when you induce, it’s not something that happens instantaneously – it takes time, especially when we’re talking about a baby that is 37 weeks and likely didn’t have any intention of coming out for 3 more weeks.
We hug, relieved that we’ve made it and that now we’re only 10 minutes away from Ilsa rather than 10 hours. It was exhausting – but, our marathon was just beginning.
27 hours later – it’s now go-time! It’s around 9pm and Ilsa’s painful contractions have been getting stronger. She’s in so much pain and we felt so helpless to find ways to ease that suffering. We’ve always had tremendous respect for women, but seeing Ilsa go through the birthing experience really reminded me of the strength that women possess that men can only dream of. She was our Wonder Woman. Tía Ilsa is always going to be our hero!
And then just like that at 10pm on July 26th, 2019, Ava Isabel Aguirre was born. At 6 lbs, 2 oz and 19.25 inches long – she was tiny, but so strong. She wailed as we did skin-on-skin. And, she was hungrily searching for nipples on us from the moment she arrived – I’ve been calling her my little Walking Dead baby, her mouth wide open searching for her next meal. This girl has not found milk she does not like – formula, breastmilk? Warm or room temperature? In a Dr. Brown’s or Avent bottle? Don’t matter…this girl will eat it. She is definitely an Aguirre!
After 2.5 years, our dream came true. And, if we’re being honest, a dream that is far longer than that. Ava is perfect. As I write this and look over at her and her little nose, her little eyes and cheeks, her little murmurs and funny noises. She is pure love incarnate.
Now, we’re living our dream which is a good thing, because we are doing less sleeping and therefore, less dreaming right now. But, we wouldn’t have it any other way! #love