Bienvenue, Margot Milli

 

It had been 14 days since we stepped foot on European soil. After 13 glorious afternoons spent in Italy, we were rounding out our trip in Paris with a flight back home first thing the following morning. 9 years together. First international vacation. Third 'are we actually pregnant?’ moment of terrifying fear and uncontrollable excitement.

Tonight was the night. We would finally take the pregnancy test we had been guessing on for the previous 4 nights.

We had a delicious coursed dinner at a fantastic restaurant in the 6th arrondissement.

We stopped by a pharmacy on the way home.

We went to our room and found out we were expecting our third amazing baby - out of the blue and right on time.


Fast forward 9 months

and we were banking on little lady’s arrival mid-week following my last Friday in the office. That day came and went. And the next day. And the next day. And 11 days after that.

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Since we had planned to deliver her at the same amazing birthing center where we brought Costine, our first daughter into the world (same room in fact), we were coming up on a deadline that meant the possibility of being forced to change our birth plan and potentially be medically induced at a local hospital. Now, this is not the end of the world at all. It’s the exact birth plan of so many happy and healthy moms. In fact, it was exactly the case with my first baby boy, Benjamin. But Benjamin’s labor was… hard, long and powerful beyond words and I wasn’t prepared to go through that intensity, unmedicated again. It wasn’t my vision. It wasn’t the plan.

So without all the super interesting details, the amazing midwives at the Atlanta Birth Center helped us get our daughter moving along naturally and sent us home to wait and see. The expectation was that we would be going into labor in a few hours or not at all that day.

I crawled in bed. I turned on Beyonce’s Homecoming concert. My kids came up and watched a few songs with me. Costine danced. And the contractions started coming. Like the real ones. Not strong, but I remembered the feeling of them from my last labor experience and I was so happy I could cry. I did.

A few minutes passed and the contractions grew stronger so I started tracking them on an app. 10 - 12 minutes apart. Several minutes later they were averaging 7 - 10 minutes apart. Several minutes later Ben crawled in bed with me as the first “take my breath aaaaaaaawaaaaaay” contractions hit. We sent the kids downstairs. 10 minutes later I was crying through contractions in our upstairs bathroom while Ben called the midwife to let her know we were on our way and my contractions shot down to 2 -3 minutes apart. Shit.


Ben loaded me into his 1996 Nissan truck

(a smoooooooothe ride when your transitioning in traffic, let me tell you) and we hit the road. Our birthing center is 7 minutes from our house but thanks to our beloved Atlanta United, that increased to 23 minutes on our daughter’s birthday. A lot of things happened in that truck that shall not be named here. But let it be known that my husband DID pay the $80 biohazard fee when we hired a professional crew to clean his truck out the following day. Hahaha that part still gets me every time.

We made it to the birthing center at 8:15pm and Margot Millicent Richardson was born into my own hands at 8:30pm. Perfectly healthy. 10 fingers. 10 toes. 12 days ‘late’ but out of the blue and right on time.

We were home by 3am, snuggled in bed and excited to drink our own coffee, out of our own mugs, with all our babies in one queen size bed to greet our new normal in the morning.

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12 days later I am drinking a mezcal margarita

while Ben is back at work. All 3 kids are asleep. And i’m letting the tequila set in after my 4th day as sole provider for the babies. The past 12 days have been the most tired I’ve ever felt. At the same time, there is a lot of peace in our home and that is a welcomed emotion amidst lives that are typically pretty fast paced.

We are all showing each other grace as we adjust to not only life as a family of 5, but life with 2 desperately tired parents and 2 desperately excited toddlers adjusting to sharing our attention.

There are a ton of facets to maternity leave for a full-time working mom but I can only truly speak for myself. For me, a few of the front-runners are:

  • The joy of pressing pause on life in order to stare at a new magical human.

  • The fear of boredom.

  • The fear of getting tired of my kids after being with them 24/7

  • The fear of loving it so much and not wanting to work another day in my life

  • The excitement of planning outings that we typically don’t get to do as a family during the week

  • The exhaustion and newness of nursing (again) ruining the dream of those outings 80% of the time

  • The crippling doubt that we could ever actually make it as we phase out of maternity leave and back into real life.

The roller coaster goes on and on. I remember each of the highs and lows as I experience them again.

  • Several nights of crying in a rocking chair as Margot and I try to find our nursing rhythm.

  • The first night of 2 solid streaks of sleep and how cute her little face was the next morning.

  • Sleeping on my belly for the first time and crying again - this time happy tears.

  • The first drop of whiskey on my lips in over 9 months — so good that I, you guessed it, cried.

  • Watching my ‘big’ kids soothe their new sister with no coaching from me whatsoever (‘it’s ookkkkkk baby’ ‘mama’s here, papa’s here, it’s ooookkkk we’re all here’)

  • Watching my husband swaddle her up and walk her up and down our bedroom with soothing chit chat, this time with confidence (so sexy)

  • Becoming OK with the dishes not being done and the rugs not being vacuumed and the floor under the kids kitchen chairs being constantly covered in breakfast, lunch, dinner and playdough.

It’s all so new yet so familiar. And yet again, I’ve never been happier.

So if today you find yourself in the middle of your own maternity leave dream state,

know that you are not alone.

I too am posting beautiful pictures to Instagram whilst my shirt is wet from my boobs leaking yet again and there is undoubtedly dried spit up in my cleavage.

I too am yelling at my kids more than usual and picking arguments where there just doesn’t really need to be one.

I too have forgotten to look at Margot’s face and tell her that she is the cutest third baby I have ever seen in my entire life today. Please hold while I go do that…

I too ate frozen raviolis twice today and felt vindicated because they had spinach inside and I added more vegetables to the sauce. Then texted my husband to ask him to bring ice cream home.

I too threw a pillow at my husband last night out of anger. Just me? OK. Maybe that’s just me. Not proud.

We are all just making it. And in the middle of the thing there is this new life and norm being born that I will look back on and wonder… How did I get here? Why am I so blessed?

Not yet. But it will happen. Out of the blue and right on time.

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Maddie Richardson