Jeneen joined us on February 20th after 24 hours of labor and nearly two hours of delivery. We’re already celebrating a one month milestone and she has changed so much in just four weeks. Her features are changing daily, she’s becoming more alert, enjoys tummy time, loves to cuddle, and I think we even got a real (not gas related) smile the other day!
Jeneen arrived exactly a week before my due date. Three days before I went into labor, I had a feeling I was going to deliver a bit early. It’s like my body was saying “alright folks, it’s a wrap!” I was just SO tired. In fact, I left work in tears one day from the pure exhaustion and discomfort. On Sunday night we went to the movies to see Black Panther (great movie, by the way) and after eating an enormous bucket of buttery popcorn I went into labor. I woke up at 2am feeling mild contractions and I was surprisingly very calm, I didn’t even wake my husband to tell him. Since my maternity leave wasn’t supposed to start for another week, I was planning on tying up loose ends that Monday morning at the office. So instead, at 5am with contractions 15 minutes apart, I hopped on the computer and sent out my last batch of emails, pausing in between hunched over in pain!
I had my regular 39 week OB appointment scheduled that morning and when I called to tell them I was having mild contractions, they said to come in and keep my appointment anyway since the contractions were still too far apart at the time of my phone call and the doctor could check how far I was dilated. They told us to bring our hospital bag just in case. By the time my husband and I made it to the doctor’s office at 10am the pain was unbearable and the contractions were about five minutes apart. My sister met us at the doctor’s office and we all immediately left for the hospital. Shortly after checking into labor and delivery, my water broke. My sisters, mom, and husband’s grandmother were close by throughout my labor. It was great to have them around, especially since they kept the mood light and funny.
Labor was manageable but my delivery was exhausting. It took a while for her to drop and and after 24 hours I was running on empty. Despite having an epidural when I was about 4cm dilated, I felt an enormous amount of pressure when it was time to push and thought I’d never be able to do this. My sister and husband were incredibly encouraging and once I heard the nurse paging the doctor to come in, I knew I was close. This gave me a burst of energy and a couple of pushes later, there she was. When I saw her emerge, I kept repeating “habibti!” over and over again, which is Arabic for my love. My sister recorded a video of the final moments, for which I am forever grateful! She was born 6lbs 10 ounces and 20 inches long.
Jeneen is named after a city in Palestine. We wanted an Arabic name but also something that would be easy to pronounce in English. The original spelling of the city is Jenin so we changed the spelling so there wouldn’t be any confusion in pronunciation. With it being a somewhat common (and old fashioned) name in English and a well-known Arabic name as well, it was a win-win for us!
Now that we’re home and falling into a routine, we’re starting to get the hang of things. Real talk though: The first two weeks were probably the most challenging weeks of my life. Despite all of the steps I took to prepare throughout my pregnancy, those weeks were a complete whirlwind and quite honestly a blur right now. It’s exhilarating, exhausting, and definitely “on-the job training.” Breastfeeding gave me so much anxiety, I was seriously sleep deprived, sore from delivery, and very weepy. However, we are so lucky to have a loving support system. Our family, friends, and co-workers have shown us more love and support than we could have ever imagined. From meals, to babysitting, to advice, we’re incredibly lucky to have them.
Baby J is a blessing and life as we knew it has changed forever…for the better.