Wednesday, November 18, 2015
EVERLY RAE'S BIRTH STORY
I was due in 4 days, just shy of 40 weeks, but when I woke up with a start early that morning, I knew that the day I had been anxiously awaiting for months had finally arrived. We had taken the birthing class, washed all the tiny clothes that I thought would be way too small, and cleaned the house (mostly). But this being my first baby, I thought for sure I would be late and still have another weekend to really finish everything.
The day before was Labor Day. I hadn't slept well and was extremely irritable the whole day. Luckily I had forced myself to run those errands I had been putting off for weeks. I waddled around Target and picked up groceries and other items I had read I would need postpartum. The cashier asked if this was my last shopping trip before the baby came, and I laughed because I was sure I'd be back again later in the week stocking up on more necessities.
We were running late driving over to my parent's to meet them for dinner. My mom texted and asked if I felt ok, perhaps already having a premonition that I was in pre-labor. We finally made it and headed to Texas Roadhouse for one final hurrah before a baby would make our leisurely meals more difficult. I was in a terrible mood, but I'm so glad my parents took this picture of us that night. This is the last picture of us before baby.
I went to sleep that night and then woke up around 6am to a pain in my stomach. It felt like a cramp, and I had a passing thought, wondering if this was it. I couldn't fall back asleep, so I watched a little TV and tried to dose, but was conscious of the cramping in my stomach. I decided not to go in to work and told Wade to stick by his phone. About 9am, I called my mom and told her it was happening! My contractions were about 5-6 minutes apart and while they were getting more intense, they were not bad yet. I remember thinking that this was going to be a piece of cake. Oh, how naive I was. I took a shower, finished packing my bag, and told Wade to come home in an hour or two.
Around 11am I had a strange sensation and felt like my water had broken. It wasn't a gush of water and didn't even soak my pants. It was just a feeling I had. That feeling, coupled with my contractions coming less than 5 minutes apart made me want to head to the hospital ASAP. I ate a sandwich and loaded up on water and snacks since I was told I wouldn't be able to eat once I was checked in to the hospital.
Wade came home and asked me if I was for sure in labor. I was so offended, but worried that maybe I really wasn't and we would get sent home. The fear of having to go through with labor without an epidural, though, was motivation enough for me to risk embarrassment of being sent home. The only part of the main house that we hadn't cleaned was the dining room table. It was covered with papers, baby stuff, and other odds and ends. I could not leave the house without cleaning that table, because the idea of coming home with our new baby to that mess pissed me off. Needless to say, Wade wasn't too jazzed about my timing for cleanliness. We squabbled over it for a few minutes until he finally just took a huge box and shoved everything into it in a huff. Then he threw the box in the garage. Out of sight, out of mind. Good enough for me! We were off!
We got to the hospital around noon and I went to get checked out. I was only dilated to 1cm (wah, wah), and the nurse didn't believe I was in active labor since I wasn't crying through each contraction. I told her that I thought my water had broken and she kind of smirked at me and said she would do a test just to make sure but that it was unlikely my water had really broken. We walked around the halls for about an hour to see if I would progress. I didn't. She was ready to send us home, but I asked her what the results of my water breaking test were. She went out to check and came back saying that my water had indeed broken so we would be checking in to the hospital! Honestly, I was pretty annoyed with this nurse. She had acted so cavalier about everything and wasn't really listening to me. I get that she sees this happening all the time, but this was my first baby. It just reinforced that sometimes you have to be your own health advocate. You know your body the best.
Once I knew I was getting checked in to the hospital, the reality of the fact that I was having a baby that day hit me. Of course I was excited to meet my baby girl, but at that moment I was very scared and was on the verge of a panic attack. A trio of nurses tried to put in my IV and only had luck after a few tries. I hate needles anyway, but how much they were talking about my veins and having to "float the needle to the vein" really grossed me out. I was a blubbering mess and could hear the nurse ask Wade if I was usually like this. If I could have talked through my sobbing at that point, I would have yelled at her to have a little compassion--that I was just a bit overwhelmed at the moment. Geez! What do they expect? Women to just be all easy going about everything when they're about to push a basketball out of a hole measured in centimeters? The logistics still didn't make sense to me.
So once the IV was in, we went to the birthing room. My mom was already in the room, and I ran over to hug her. I love my husband so much, but there is nothing better than having your mom there to tell you everything is going to be ok. We talked about it just being Wade and me in the birthing room, but I was so nervous about labor that we asked my mom to be there, too. I'm so glad we did, because it was wonderful to have her calming presence there. They let me eat a little more before they cut me off since I was still only dilated to 1cm and assumed I had a long road ahead of me. At that point, the contractions were only about 3-4 minutes apart and getting more intense. My dad came by the room a little later and then my brother, sister-in-law, nephew, and niece a little after that. It was so fun to have them there and see their excitement. My happiness started to wear off pretty quick, though, as the contractions got more intense. Now it was about 5pm, and I was crying through each contraction. The nurse checked me, and I was still only dilated to a 1. How could that be?!! Regardless, I wanted the epidural NOW! The nurse tried to persuade me to sit on the birthing ball or stand in the shower. Nope. Epidural time.
The guy with the juice came in a little later. Boy was I glad to see him. The problem was that my contractions were every 2.5 minutes now so it was really hard to sit still. The mean nurse told me that getting an epidural was elective, so if I couldn't sit still they would not try. That scared me enough to force myself to be as still as possible. Getting the epidural didn't hurt as much as I thought it would. It was more the idea of a needle in my back that was unsettling. After that wonderful concoction streamed through my system, though, it was worth it. I felt immediately relaxed and relieved to have a break from the pain. I think it was about 7pm by this time. I took a little nap and Wade and my mom settled in for a long night since the nurse thought I wouldn't be ready to push until the next day.
A new nurse came in a few hours later and checked me. I was already at 9.5cm! We were all shocked! It was about time for the main event. I started pushing about 10-10:30pm. I was happy that I could still feel the pressure of the contractions so that I could push well, but there wasn't any pain along with them. Being pretty modest, I had told Wade to stay up near my head and to not look "down there". When you're in the war zone, though, anything goes. The nurse had Wade holding a leg and flipping me over. After about an hour of pushing, the nurse said to stop since she could see the baby's head. She hit a big blue button and a football team of people came swarming in. The doctor got in position, and I kept pushing. And suddenly I heard, "here she comes!" The cord was slightly wrapped around her neck, but the doctor scooped her out and laid her on my chest at 11:46pm. Through every push, I closed my eyes, because I was scared about seeing the blood and everyone staring at me. When they put her on me, though, I couldn't take my eyes off of her. My baby girl was here. Her eyes were wide open and staring straight into mine. And her little hand wrapped instinctively around my finger. Everyone else fell away. I know people were still milling about and things were still happening down there, but it was all in the hazy background.
Everyone said how I would love her instantly, but I didn't anticipate how all consuming that love would be. It was a tidal wave of emotion that came over me as I cried and held her close. She was here, she was healthy, and she was mine.
All the worry that had plagued our minds--would she be healthy? would a boy pop out and have to live in a peach room? would we know how to take care of her?--all those thoughts wafted away when I met our sweet Everly Rae. I was her mom. She was my daughter. It was so simple, yet utterly life altering. Seeing Wade hold his little girl was magical. I said a little prayer and thanked God. Birth is truly a miracle. I've tried my best to put into words that moment when our eyes locked, but nothing seems to be able to capture it quite right. I guess as corny as it sounds, it was pure love and gratefulness for this little life that changed our lives in the biggest way.