Nina Louise Elvira Thyr was both fast and slow about joining the outside world. She was conceived much more quickly than Sam. The pregnancy was much easier as well, up until the last month anyway ;). We did have to deal with the results of the triple screen which indicated an increased risk for Down's syndrome. That made me mentally anxious for about a month until the thorough scan that revealed no soft markers for Down's; that scan also strongly suggested baby was a girl. Nina doesn't have Down's, and sure enough, she is a girl. :)
I continued to breastfeed Sam while pregnant, and that is probably the reason that at week 34 I spent a weekend in the hospital with fairly regular contractions. Luckily these contractions did not affect my cervix. Lauren came up and kept me company at the hospital. Auntie Åsa came over to help out and was at Cross St. when I came home from the hospital. I am convinced that Auntie Åsa's presence was the key to helping things settle down and keeping Nina inside for a bit longer. She took Sam out every day, cooked, picked up, and generally made it possible for me to rest. During this visit Sam learned "Lappricka Paprika" and his Swedish pronounciation improved dramatically (e.g., became less like mine...) When Auntie Åsa left there was a brief gap in the "additional helper" role which was a very stressful time for me as my biggest worry about delivering was who would take care of Sam. Grama's arrival was delayed because of snow. Luckily when she got here Nina had gotten readjusted to life inside so Sam and Grama were able to get reacquainted with each other. Grama brought over the "House Construction Ahead" video from the Fred Levine series and that is pretty much all we watched for several days. ;) Grama also found an "Usborne Big Machines" book at the library that covers bulldozers and excavators, thus inspiring Sam to learn how to do Google image searches for excavators.
After my weekend in the hospital I realized that if I wanted Nina to stay inside I would need to stop breastfeeding. This was very difficult and very abrupt. It is not at all how I would have wanted it to happen and part of me wishes that breastfeeding were still part of Sam's life because although it wasn't consistently working in the "getting to sleep" arena it worked maybe 60% of the time and that is a tool that we could certainly still use. I also didn't handle the transition very well because I was so upset that I didn't think about what I was going to tell Sam so I ended up telling him that if we did it any more Mommy would end up back in the hospital. Hmmm, the wonders of hindsight, that was really a bit drastic.
Anyway, on the evening of February 3rd, Sam was having trouble going to sleep. I decided I wanted to try breastfeeding, reasoning that Nina was far enough along for it to be ok if that caused contractions. We had a cuddly time but Sam didn't go to sleep. It did calm him down though and he went to sleep quickly downstairs after that. Which was lucky because a short time after lying down I heard and felt a funny pop. I told Håkan and Mom that I thought my waters might have broken, and called the hospital, and they said to come in. After about ten minutes it was very clear to me that I was in serious labor.
So sometime after 9PM on February 3rd we left the house after giving Grama last-minute "how to take care of Sam" tips and pulling together some final items for my fairly well-packed hospital bag. As I was leaving the house I had to bend over double so I knew it was really labor. I made some last-minute phone calls on Håkan's cell phone in the car en route to the hospital. Some lines were busy, I left at least one message, and I reached Grampy. I had spoken to Dad (Grampy) earlier that day and said that the name of the day was "Nina." I thought he seemed very skeptical. So when I reached him that night I said, "Hey Dad, did you really dislike the name Nina? Cuz we're on the way to the hospital now..." "Wow! No, I like the name Nina just fine!" said Dad. Which was a relief because Nina she is. There was a woman who worked at Ben&Jerry's named Nina whom I really liked. There's Nina Simone, Nina of Baxter, and Nina of the Cardigans. Also Nina of "99 Red Balloons." Auntie Karen's good friend Andrea has an aunt named Nina that Auntie Karen likes, and Lauren has a cousin Nina that she likes. Al Hirschfeld hid the name "Nina" in every one of his cartoons as it was his daughter's name. Plus I like the "een" sound in names and it's a solid international name. Louise is Auntie Karen's middle name, was the first name of Great Grandma Edwards, and is the name of a good friend of Grama's. Elvira was Farmor Märta's mother's first name.
Now realizing that I never wrote about Sam's name, I'll take that opportunity now: we have an Uncle Sam Edwards, Sam is Frodo's loyal friend in the Lord of the Rings (which I re-read while pregnant with Sam), and Samuel L. Jackson and Sam Neill are sorta cool. ;) Christopher is Uncle Jason's middle name, is the first name of The Flying Gardener, and is a good solid name. Mauritz is Farfar Sven's middle name, as well as Uncle Hans and Cousin Gustav's, and was FarFarfar's name as well.
So we got to the hospital sometime after nine and about ten feet from the maternity ward the rest of my water broke. We were shown into a delivery room, which was called "The [something] Family Room" and left alone. Håkan set up the music and I rang the call button. A midwife assistant came in and said "They'll be with you shortly." Meanwhile I entered the "transition" phase of labor, so I grabbed hold of Håkan very hard and yelled that I couldn't do it. He was like, "Yes you can" (of course). I rang the call button again. The midwife assistant came back and said, "They know you want help, they'll be in soon." Meanwhile there was also a bit of a frenzied search for a CD player which turned out to be kind of like the food search during Sam's birth, in that it was successful but not really necessary. ;) Because we actually already had music but only the MP3 player but that was all we really needed. It might seem funny to mention the musical situation but as I told Håkan, it was my second most important pain killer (right after laughing gas). I don't remember what song was playing when Nina actually came out, but as she was getting very close I heard the remix of Low's "Over the Ocean." I know it was a female singer's song when she came out, and maybe someday I'll figure out which one it was. ;)
I rang the call button a third time and a midwife came in. She didn't seem too pleased by my frequent ringing. I was like, "The baby is coming and I need gas." She was like, "OK, hi, let's check it out." So I went over to the bed which was a low funny-shaped foam number, no bedframe, and I got on.
"You're gonna have to let me have a look."
"We need to see what's going on."
"Beth, they're gonna have to take a look," said Håkan.
At this point I had gotten hooked up to the gas so I finally let them look. They could see Nina's head. I tried laboring on all fours and that was working pretty well, but then it got too difficult. At some point another midwife had come in and she was very encouraging and said, "Good job," and patted me, and I said, "Can you please stay? I would really appreciate it and I promise to be fast." This caused some consternation among the midwives but she agreed. I ended up switching to my side. The midwife I liked held my leg and everybody coached me with the pushing and the midwives coached me with the gas and before long, Nina was out. It was SO EASY. What a sweet pea to make it so simple for Mommy. :) I barely tore at all and according to my notes the second phase took something like 10 minutes and the third phase took 22. So Nina was born!