Last Christmas Stephen got me a new camera. I was extremely surprised and therefore determined to learn how to effectively use this gift. During my self-teachings I fell in love with something very specific: birth photography.
It’s been over a month since my newest niece was born and I thought it was a good time to share some pictures from the event.
I can not express how beyond honored I was (and still am) that my sister allowed me to capture Addisons arrival. To be able to document that day in a way that they can always remember. To have a way to see and recall all the tiny details. It was such a beautiful experience that I will always cherish.
I hope you enjoy them.
Jeff did an amazing job being there to support and encourage Miriah through their delivery. She did an incredible job and was able to have a natural delivery, like she wanted.
It was an amazing experience and I hope to one day get to do it again.
I just had the realization that one day Sarah is not going to remember all these days I’ve had with her. While she’s young. I knew this when she was an infant, and even a baby, but as a toddler that fact doesn’t change.
All these moments when she gives me a hug without me asking, or tells me she loves me without prompting.
These are the days, weeks, months and years that only I will remember.
Motherhood is the most emotional experience of my life. And this is only the beginning.
I hope I never forget days like today. Days where we didn’t do anything but sit around and play and laugh. Days where I blew raspberries on her tummy while she giggled and told me to stop and then immediately after I stop says “Do it again?!” Over and over.
While I was putting Sarah to bed tonight she asked to watch “one more” episode of Curious George. I told her no, that she already got to watch ‘one more’. She started to cry and get upset and I had to stand firm. To be the parent, even though all I wanted to do was cuddle with her on the couch. Some days are tougher than others, but I have learned that if she doesn’t get her rest she will show it tomorrow. It isn’t hard to do after an especially looong day. When I’m ready to turn my brain off. Now I am sitting here on the couch and the house is quiet. Real quiet. Too quiet. It’s funny how much you miss your children and all their noise while they are peacefully sleeping.
This post started because of a text I sent my mom. She is on a trip and incommunicado, which makes me realize how much I normally talk to her. I had to send her a message, even though she won’t get it for a few more days, to thank her for being what I am trying my best to be. For the past [almost 30] years I had the best example of a loving mother. In the beginning days, months and years that only she knows the stories from. One day I will look at pictures with our children and will have to tell them the story behind them because they don’t remember. It will be some of the best moments, I can already tell.
All this to simply tell you, mom, and all moms, thank you for being this for us. For showing and teaching me that, while motherhood is the most exhausting and demanding role, it is the most beautiful and rewarding gift I could ever give and receive.
I can’t imagine a better life.
I love and miss you.
I looked at Jenny with a dumbfound look. Am I ready to have our baby? Did she really just ask me that? All I knew at that moment was that I was beyond thankful that she was done checking me. That contraction was the worst, and all I was concentrating on was not pulling away from her while she did her job. I couldn’t believe we were at this point already. Was it actually go-time? With a bit of excited confusion I asked her back “You tell me, are we ready?” I don’t know what I was thinking or expecting, all I knew is that I hadn’t mentally prepared myself yet. I was in labor with Sarah for over 24 hours, and this time it had only been 7 hours since my first contraction. I think she could sense my hesitation because she asked me how I was feeling and I told her I felt a lot of pressure and like I needed to push. It’s true when people say you feel like you need to go to the bathroom. And yes, I do mean “bathroom” as in you feel like you need to poop. Thankfully it’s just the sensation that feels similar, and not the outcome! She told me if I felt like it was time to push then it was exactly that, time to push.
While some nurses scrambled around we discussed birthing positions. I did a lot of research on this subject and told her I was interested in squatting. She got a nurse to grab the squat bar and attached it to the end of the bed. I tried standing and getting into a squat position and it was.NOT.happening. It hurt my knees and was far from natural feeling for me. I blame my height, squats have never been my thing. I hated them in high school and I guess I still don’t like them to this day. Jenny suggested what I’m going to call the “C” position. After deciding on a position that felt comfortable and natural I got mentally prepared. Just like that. It took me less than 10 seconds to realize and accept that this was happening. I was ready.
While Jenny was getting prepped, and I was working through a contraction, she asked me my feelings on having med students in the room for the delivery. I don’t know if it was my honest thought, or being asked the question during a contraction, but I told her “sure”. (This split second decision would prove to be rather interesting a bit later). Jenny got all her medical gear on and asked me if I wanted her to break my water. It wasn’t a question I had thought much about. I guess I just assumed it would happen on it’s own, naturally. I asked Stephen what he thought and neither of us were against the idea so we went for it. Less than a minute later I felt the strangest and warmest release I’d ever felt. I had heard from a lot of people that after their water was broken they felt a lot of uncomfortable pressure and their contractions were a lot more painful. I didn’t feel this. I guess I could have felt pressure, but wasn’t aware because it was after this that I started pushing. While trying to get into position a contraction started and I did my first set of pushes. I had no clue what I was doing during the first 2 pushes. They told me “curl your body like a C” and all my brain heard was “you’re doing it wrong” and I kept thinking “how the crap does my body make a C?” Turns out it’s really simple to figure out when you aren’t trying to think during a contraction.
I finally figured out the correct positioning and it was time to push again. I grabbed the hand grips, held my breath, and pulled my chin into my chest. Jenny and all the nurses were telling me “Push! Push!”, so I did. I did 3 pushes during that contraction. While waiting for the next contraction Jenny was telling me she could see the head. We were only 1 contraction in and she could already see our baby. I was excited and shocked. Before I knew it it was time to push again. I was pushing as hard as I could, 1 push and then another. I know it may sound crazy but I really don’t remember any pain. It certainly wasn’t painless, but it wasn’t so unbearable that I didn’t want to push. We made it through that 3rd push and Jenny told us “Look at all her hair.” I looked down and could actually see our daughters hair. It was incredible. She had a lot of dark hair, just like her sister did. It came time again and Jenny, Stephen, and the nurses were cheering me on to push. I pushed as hard as I could through 2 pushes and on the 3rd I stopped. I needed a break. The nurses were all saying “Push” and I told them “Hold on. No, I need a break.” I know my body, and I knew to stay in control and keep my energy up I needed to stop, so I did. I told them “I feel like I’m going to pass out, I just need a moment to breathe”, and they all listened. Holding your breath while you push is tough. During my very first set of pushes they told me not to waste any energy on making any noise, put all your concentration and energy into your pushes. That’s what I was doing, and that’s why I needed a moment to catch my breath.
I was feeling good again and then it was time to go another round. My contraction started and I pushed as best I knew how. I remember while I was pushing I could hear Jenny saying “keep pushing, her head is almost out”, so I did just that, I kept pushing. After that contraction I looked down and saw our little girl for the first time. I remember hearing Stephen say “Cassie, she’s so beautiful” and I remember saying “Look at those cheeks!” She looked just like Sarah, except with the cutest little chunky cheeks I’d ever seen. I love that I have such a vivid first memory of seeing our daughter. Being so aware and alert just staring at her face while Stephen held my hand. Another contraction came and I closed my eyes and pushed with all the energy I had left to push with. It was during this moment that Elanor was born. It was an incredible sensation, feeling our daughter being born. I watched as Jenny had her in her hands and immediately brought her up and laid her on my chest. She had started crying while they were rubbing her off and Stephen and I just stared at her. Then, it happened. That instant and incredible love that people talk about. The one you worry you won’t have with a second child. Stephen and I both asked it…”Will we love her enough?” “How can we possibly love her as much as we love Sarah?” It’s the most amazing thing feeling that new bond while your heart fills with love for this new child. I didn’t get to experience those thoughts and sensations with Sarah, and I was so thankful that I was finally getting to have this moment.
It all happened so fast. It had been less than 30 minutes since Jenny came into the room to check on me, and we were already holding our new baby. I never would have thought that it could go by so fast.
Stephen was kissing my head and telling me how happy and proud he was. I was able to have my dream delivery, and it was far beyond anything I could have imagined. Any pain I had felt was gone. I honestly don’t remember it hurting. I know that probably sounds crazy, but it’s true. The moment I was done with that last push and they were bringing our new daughter up to our arms all I felt was joy, excitement, and love. The endorphin rush was stronger than anything I had ever felt.
While we were admiring our little girl Jenny came and gave me a hug. I loved having such an open and strong relationship with our doctor. We told Jenny exactly what we were wanting and hoping for with this delivery, and she helped us achieve just that.
I was physically ready this time. I even thought I was emotionally prepared, but anyone who’s had a child knows there is no way to prepare yourself for the overwhelming love, joy, and thankfulness that fills your heart and mind. The emotions are all there, along with feelings you can’t explain and weren’t expecting. Then, before you know it the experience is over and you have your story. The story you’ve been dreaming about for 9+ months. That, my friends, is the beginning of Elanor’s story.
It was slow, but it was something. The nurses watched the screen a bit and one of them left the room with instructions to grab a few things. Her heartbeat wasn’t as strong as it should be. She was fluctuating between 90-115 bpm.
They started by giving me something to stop my contractions. I knew this was what they needed to do, but it also had me worried it was going to completely stop my labor, like what happened with Sarah. They then started a bag to hydrate me. Because we came in first thing in the morning I hadn’t drank much or eaten anything since the night before. The nurses wanted to hydrate me and said that could help solve everything. We waited for 30 minutes while the IV bag emptied and there wasn’t any progress. Her heart rate was still low. Next they started another bag, but this one had dextrose. The thought was that some sugar/energy would cheer our girl up and have her back to normal. Skipping breakfast wasn’t like me, but that day was far from our average morning and I simply forgot to eat. Not even 5 minutes in and her heart rate was picking up. Praise God, it was working! Seems our little Elanor is like her momma and gets cranky and difficult when she’s hungry. By the time that bag finished she was back to normal. Strong heartbeat in the 150-160 range. The nurses were finally comfortable and going to give Stephen and I some time alone. They instructed me to stay me in bed a while longer, no walking or moving, giving her some more time to recuperate.
The peace and quiet was nice. I think that was the first time I took my eyes off the monitor since everything started. This whole crazy thing began at around 9:30 and I wasn’t allowed to get out of the bed until after 11:30.
When I got the go ahead Stephen grabbed the Ab ball for me so I could start moving around. There’s something relaxing and kinda fun about laboring with an ab ball. Stephen sat and talked with me while I rocked around hoping to get my contractions back and steady. After about 15 minutes on the ball I was able to start walking around again. It felt great. Things were finally getting back on track. While stuck in the hospital bed I had stopped feeling the contractions because they’re intensity had slowed way down, but based on the screen they were coming every 5 or so minutes. They were short and weak, but I was so very thankful that my body hadn’t decided to go backwards.
At noon my midwife came in to check on us. We chatted for a bit and Jenny asked if I wanted her to check me then, or wait until she came back at about 1:30. I voted to wait. An hour and half wasn’t a long time, and I wasn’t emotionally ready to find out if I was still at a 5 like I had been earlier. I knew that if I heard I hadn’t progressed any it would be a big blow to my confidence. That, and checking for dilation isn’t exactly comfortable on a laboring woman, so getting the option to wait was nice.
It was just Stephen and I again, I was listening to Enya on my phone while walking my earlier path and started having to take bathroom breaks. Thankfully my walking path lead into the bathroom, so it was pretty convenient. After alternating between walking and the exercise ball I needed a change. We buzzed our nurse and she came and helped us get the whirlpool filled with some warm water. This was the best decision yet. I stepped into the tub and slowly lowered myself into the water. I had to lift my gown I was wearing and because the fetal heart rate monitors were waterproof I didn’t have to adjust or move them. The moment I sat down I felt instant relief. Warm water has a way of doing that, relaxing the mind and muscles. After sitting down I noticed that the jets for your back were positioned kinda weird, but the foot jet was wide open, so I sat with my back to the faucet so the jet could hit me directly where I was feeling my contractions. The water pressure was just right. I just sat there, for close to 30 minutes, listening to music with my eyes closed. Stephen would come check on me every once in a while and chat for a few minutes. I felt like I was in my own world. A world with no pain or back labor. I wasn’t feeling any discomfort during my contractions, so I stayed in there until just a few minutes before Jenny was supposed to come and check on things. -
It was just before 1:30 when I got into the bed. It didn’t take any time at all to start feeling the contractions again. They were coming fast and sitting in the bed made them pretty uncomfortable. After about 15 minutes I felt a contraction starting and asked Stephen to help relieve the pressure. He started to press on my lower back, like he had done numerous times that day, and as soon as he started to push in I told him to stop. The contraction in my lower back hurt and the extra pressure felt horrible. I had 2 contractions like this. The second one happened when Jenny was coming into the room. Stephen was telling me to remember to breathe and I was swaying sideways to relieve the extra weight on my hips. It was this moment that confirmed everything I had read and heard about laboring in a bed being the worst place possible. Jenny walked over and checked the monitors. My contactions were coming less than 2 minutes apart. She asked me how I was feeling and I told her. I felt great before I was sitting in this bed. The last 2 contractions were the most painful I had felt all day. She listened to me talk and then asked me to lay back so she could see where we were at.
Not 10 minutes before, while we were waiting for Jenny, I had asked Stephen to pray that I was a seven by now. 7cm dilated, that’s all I was hoping for. I wasn’t too tired, and things were going really well, so I was hoping to hear we had progressed some after everything with the IV’s and bed-rest from that morning.
I was laying down when Jenny started to check me and it was at that same moment that I had another contraction. It hurt like all get out. Jenny is known to help stretch you, which any laboring woman appreciates, but that doesn’t mean it’s painless, and to have a contraction at the same moment was far from pleasant. I was arching my back and squeezing Stephen’s hand, hoping to hear her say 7cm, when something completely different happened. I heard Jenny say “she’s in +2 position and over 9cm”. While I heard the words I didn’t really comprehend what she said. Not a moment later Jenny looked at me and asked me the last thing I was expecting, “So, are you ready to have a baby?”
In case you missed it, here are the links to the earlier posts of the Labor Story: Part 1 & Part 2
Sitting here and trying to think how to start this isn’t easy. Putting this experience into words makes it so final. My pregnancy is over. I no longer get to feel our baby move inside my belly. It’s strange how you countdown the days to the end of your pregnancy, but then when it’s come and gone you miss it. I actually find myself wanting to rewind the clock. We prepared for months for the day we would get to meet our little girl. I take that back, I’ve been preparing and hoping for this beautiful story since my experience with our first daughter. You can read about that here if you missed it before, or just want a refresher. We’ve been looking forward to the labor and birth of our second daughter since we found out we were pregnant again. Choosing our midwife, and then building a real relationship with her isn’t something I feel prepared to give up. Reading book after book, and preparing our birth plan. We were ready this time. Ready to bring our daughter into our lives the way WE wanted. I just didn’t realize how much I hadn’t emotionally prepared myself for the after.
I’m proud, excited, and honestly a bit sad to share this with you. Writing this out is the hard truth that Elanor is no longer just my experience, she is becoming part of everyone’s story. She now decides and writes her own path. This, friends, is the start of Elanors life story…
We were nearing the end of November and I was feeling like labor would never get here. I wasn’t due until December 11th, but with Sarah coming a week early I figured we would have the same experience this time, if not a little sooner. At my 36 week appointment my midwife, Jenny, checked to see where we stood. I was, quite unexpectedly, 3cm dilated and 80% effaced. We were shocked. She told us to make sure our bags were packed and ready and that because this was baby #2, and we lived about 40 minutes from the hospital, to watch for early signs of labor and not wait it out too long bc we didn’t want to have a baby on the side of the interstate.
I’d be lying if I didn’t say we were excited. Could the time really be this close? It was 1 week before thanksgiving and we were both hoping she’d come before December. Before December, but after Thanksgiving, to be honest. Ya, I know, we were hoping for a 1week window. Talk about crazy hopes. So we are 36 weeks along and my hopes for a pre-December birth just skyrocketed.
Five days later I had another appointment. We were at the weekly-appointments point now and because it was the week of Thanksgiving (and I was a tad bit too curious) I asked Jenny to check if I had progressed any. I was quite disappointed to find out we were at the same point as the week before. All that walking and nothing had changed. I suppose this should have been good news. Stephen had a wedding rehearsal on Friday and was performing the ceremony on Saturday. Plus, all of my family was going to be out of town for the holiday weekend. They were our Sarah-watchers while we would be at the hospital. All these things combined made for a very inconvenient week/weekend to have a baby. Thanksgiving came and no change. I hadn’t even had any Braxton Hicks contractions. Actually, according to Jenny I must have been having some bc I was 3cm, but it wasn’t anything that I had felt. I had back labor with Sarah, never a single contraction until the day I went into labor. I had no idea what braxton hicks, or regular contractions, even felt like. Back labor is a completely different experience than the other, and Jenny told me not to expect back labor this go around because it isn’t common.
Friday came and we went with our friends Brandon and Nicole to get our Christmas tree. When we got back to their place to decorate I was feeling a little crampy. I texted my friend Sara and asked her if that was normal. She gave me some tips and tidbits about what contractions feel like. Jenny explained it by pushing against my forehead with my fingers. If my stomach is as hard as a rock, or my forehead, than I’m having a contraction. These weren’t painful, but my stomach was rock hard. I asked Stephen to push on my belly and tell me if these were real and he confirmed my suspicions. Hooray, I’m finally contracting! Could this be the day? Was I going into early labor?! I helped Nicole decorate the tree and tried not to get excited. Don’t over think this Cassie. Women have contractions for weeks, even months, without going into labor. As the day continued so did the contractions. They got more frequent and a little more uncomfortable. We were headed home where Stephen was dropping Sarah and myself off while he went to the wedding rehearsal. On the way there Stephen asked what I was thinking. Should we go to the hospital? A few friends offered to come stay with me and Sarah while Stephen was gone. We decided I would stay home with Sarah and let her play outside while I walked around. If the contractions picked up I’d call him and we’d head to the hospital. Stephen left and less than an hour later the contractions were gone. Looks like we had our first false alarm. Thankfully we didn’t go to the hospital to find that out. We also discovered that Stephen had zero cell reception at the wedding location, so going into labor really wouldn’t have been good. The weekend went by and still no baby. Looks like Week37 wasn’t going to be the one.
The next Tuesday came and I went to my next appointment. I told Jenny about our false alarm and she told me she would have been there ready for me because she delivered 2 babies that Friday. She followed it by apologizing to me. She knew she had gotten our hopes up and we had all expected a baby by now. This just reaffirmed our decision to use her as our midwife. She wasn’t just the woman that was going to deliver our baby, she was a real person, and treated me like one too. I had decided I didn’t want to get checked. No point in giving ourselves false hope again. Plus, lets be honest, getting checked isn’t exactly comfortable. We went over our birth plan, she gave me some extra exercise tips. If I really wanted to get things moving it looked like I’d be doing some squats for the next few weeks. Just before leaving Jenny told us that Wednesday night was a full moon, so maybe that would bring us our baby. I appreciated her optimism.
I spent Wednesday at my parents house playing with Sarah. Like the previous few days I had some contractions on and off, but nothing painful, just that funny feeling of having a rock hard stomach. I had decided to take this time and truly enjoy my time with Sarah. It would never be just her and I again. We were fixing to bring a new family member into our home, and Sarah and my time would be different. No more uninterrupted naps on the [very rare] days Sarah would pass out next to me. Not with a hungry and breastfed baby on the way. We played outside that entire day. Sarah LOVES to play chase, so I happily obliged. Her giddy and contagious laugh makes it worth the crazy exhaustion her crazy mamma usually feels soon after, but not today. I had an extra burst of energy that day. I think it was accepting the notion that my time was now limited. After her baby sister arrived I wouldn’t even be allowed to pick up our sweet Sarah for a few weeks. I wanted to soak up every second I could, and she very excitedly obliged me
Stephen came to pick me up so we could head home for the evening. My parents were letting Sarah stay the night since I was coming back in the morning. No more staying at home by ourselves, you know “just in case” something happens. That was a mid-wife order. Stephen dropped me off at home and headed to church for the Wednesday service while I settled in on the couch to watch a Christmas Movie. Stephen got home a few hours later and we headed to bed. I remember sleeping really well that night. I didn’t wake up once until 5am. That’s a huge improvement compared to my usual 3-4 times a night. Stephen and I woke up and while in the shower I started to feel that same tightening in my stomach. Stephen had become my ‘contraction tester’ because sometimes I have a hard time differentiating between contraction and Elanor adjusting and pressing against my stomach. While getting ready they continued and were about 5 minutes apart, just like that Friday before, only this time I was also feeling pressure in my back. We left the house and were headed into town when Stephen decided we’d go up to the hospital just to see if these were anything more. It would be an easy thing to check before he dropped me off at my parents for the day. We called to let my folks know we’d be a bit longer. I didn’t know it at the time, but that long and precious night of rest would soon prove to be very useful.
I love listening to musical families. I think that is one of the things that drew me to Stephen when I first met him. Back when we were dating I used to sit on the couch in my parents living room and watch Stephen play his electric guitar. I would quietly observe as he picked through the different notes making them produce familiar tunes, such as the Mario Bros theme, or Jaws, and my personal favorite, My Girl.
I’m happy to report that I think we lucked out and Sarah has taken after her father in the music department. I may have played piano as a young girl, but that was with the help of lessons from a teacher. Not Stephen. Stephen hears a tune or a song and moves his fingers across the keys finding the notes required to duplicate what he just heard. It’s incredible. It’s something I can’t quite comprehend, and I absolutely love getting to watch his eyes and fingers go from thought to production. When he reads this he will think and probably tell me that he is far from a musician. That he doesn’t have real skills with instruments, but just knows his way around a few notes and songs here and there. Hogwash. My husband is humble, which is one of the many things that I love about him. Sure, he may joke about being awesome and rad and asking you for a high five when hanging out with friends and youth groups, he’s a kid at heart and I’m pretty sure he’ll always have that quality that keeps me laughing. But while he is a kid at heart, and a jokester to the core, he is also a hardworking husband, father, friend, son, youth leader, worship team player, employee, and mentor. That’s a lot of roles for one person to manage, and I’m sure he can get overwhelmed at times with filling those parts each and every day. After being together for over 7 years I think I know how he stays sane. Music. Music is an escape from the world and it’s many responsibilities. It’s a way for him to reconnect and focus all of his responsibilities around the most important role in life.
I know writing this won’t suddenly make his believe that he has a gift with music. No matter what you tell him he still won’t, and that’s not why I’m writing this. Stephen knows great musicians. He knows people that get paid to play music. People with top of the line equipment and almost a lifetime of experience. People that he admires and asks advice from. I’m sure they have helped contribute in his ability to learn new instruments and how to best work with what you have. The first guitar we bought Stephen was at a yard sale for $7. He still owns that guitar and I hope we never get rid of it. I’ve seen and heard him worship using that piece of equipment and it’s been some of the most humbling experiences of my life. To have the honor of listening to my partner worship our God that has given him that exact talent.. The God we have given our lives and marriage to. I hope that is something I never take for granted.
Music is part of Stephen’s soul. He gets joy out of showing others how to play and giving them tips that have helped him along the way. In my eyes, my husband IS the greatest musician I know. Every time he sits at the piano with our daughter in his lap and encourages her to bang on the keys, he is a teacher. When he grabs his guitar and sits on the couch to sing to our daughter, he is a vocalist. When he plays around with different tunes and cords, he is a composer. Even back when he put headphones on my belly when I was pregnant, he was a DJ. Every small thing he does, especially when he dosen’t know someone’s watching, he is using his gift to encourage people. He is using wood, strings, keys, and drums to show, speak, and spread his love for God and all the people who need to hear of that love. He is using something he enjoys for a cause much bigger than himself.
Today I got to watch the start of our next generation using an instrument for joy…
She’s no Beethoven, but it’s my favorite piece to date.
In case the video’s being goofy, click here
The next 2 1/2 hours crawled by. The pain wasn’t really worse, but it wasn’t better either. Maybe I pinched a nerve with all the house projects I’d accomplished during the week. That would make sense. I did discover that the pain would let up when I sat down, not in a chair though, on the toilet. Just plopping down (with my clothes on of course) and sitting there took the pressure off. It didn’t work on the couch, or in the desk chair, just the toilet. Weird.
Stephen was on the computer researching labor identifiers while I rotated between walking around and sitting down. It was close to 6:00 now. Things weren’t feeling any better. I brought up the big question. “Do you think I’m having back labor?” Stephen quickly looked up the symptoms and asked me questions about where the pain was, then we would time how long it lasted and the length of the breaks in between.
How did people know what to look for before the internet? I had read several books, talked to all my friends with experience, but none of it prepared me for this strange feeling. We decided that if we went to the hospital and this was in fact false labor, or something stupid like gas or a pulled muscle, we would keep it quiet. I didn’t want the world to know that we rushed to the hospital because I had a gas bubble and was too dumb to recognize the pain. Plus, this way Stephen could drop me off at my mom and dads and head to the Bachelor Party and me be just a few minutes down the road, rather than 45 minutes across town.
It was time to decide what we were gonna do. The pain hadn’t subsided and it was raining cats and dogs outside. Either way I wasn’t staying home alone. If I started to feel better we would drop me off at my parents so I was in town and near Stephen in case things started up again. The guys were meeting at 7:00, that gives us 1 hour to go to the hospital to get checked out. That way Stephen could make it to the party in time when we found out I was just having back pain from all the extra weight I was carrying around.
We already had our hospital bag packed, along with the diaper bag and car seat. Stephen ran to and from the car, loading it up in the rain. Before we left I remembered to grab my pillow, just in case. We got on the road and avoided the highway, taking the city roads because of the weather. It made our trip longer, but was well worth the peace of mind. We arrived at the hospital and Stephen dropped me off at the entrance and went to park. I found a bench and sat down to wait. While I sat there waiting for him I was watching the rain pour down and drip off the overhang. It would be pretty funny if we were in labor. The bad weather reminded me of our wedding day. The day before it had been sunny and gorgeous, but we celebrated our union running to the car in freezing wind and rain. A lot like the weather at this moment.
While standing there time seemed to slow down. My brain started to process all the possibilities of what might be happening. Could we really be having our baby tonight? Would I finally get to hold her in my arms and see what she looks like? I’d dreamt of this day for years. I then saw Stephen walking towards me and we headed into the hospital. We stopped at the desk and asked the man where we go to check for labor. Apparently there is a place called ‘Triage’ and he directed us there. We walked to the elevators and pushed the button to the 2nd floor. While heading up Stephen stopped and gave me a kiss. I think we both had our hopes up, we were both ready to welcome our little girl into to the world and into our family. The doors opened and we headed down the empty hallway. When we opened the door there were 4 nurses at the front. I felt silly, suddenly unaware of what to say. They asked me how they could help and this is what I came up with: “Umm, I think I might be in labor, but I’m not sure?” Yes, you could actually hear the question mark in my voice. The nurses smiled at me and gave me a clipboard with a form to fill out. I quickly filled it out and we were taken to a room where they gave me a gown. I headed to the bathroom to change and empty my always-full bladder. I made my walk back to the room with my hands holding the opened-back outfit closed so I didn’t moon anyone on the way. When I got back Stephen was waiting for me and smiling.
The nurse came in and hooked me up to some monitors. After asking what felt like a million questions she did a check to see if I was in labor. We were excited to hear that I was 4 cm dilated, which is 2 more than I was at my appointment on Thursday. Could this really be it? Were we here for the long haul? The nurse left and said she’d be back in a while to check me again. We sat there not sure if we should be excited or nervous. I didn’t want to get ahead of myself, I know some women that have sat at under 5 cm for weeks waiting to actually go into labor.
The nurse came back after about 45 minutes and discovered I had progressed to 5 cm! Stephen and I were both shocked and excited. I had increased 1 cm in under an hour. Our baby could be here in the matter of a few short hours! This was it. We were going to meet our daughter. Over 9 months of waiting and dreaming were finally here.
The nurse came back to let us know that my doctor, whom I love, was not on call that night. My heart sunk. I had such a great connection with my doctor. After we moved I searched and searched for a doctor I felt safe with and trusted. I know that the Lord led me to my doctor because it was by accident that I found her. She also happend to be the same doctor that many of my friends had with their pregnancies and births. I had been looking forward to sharing this experience with her. She answered all my crazy questions throughout those 9 months. I shared my birth plan with her and she was 100% behind my wants. She made me feel comfortable and relaxed, I trusted her. After all those months of relationship building I just found out that my life and my babies life were in the hands of a stranger… I wasn’t sure how to feel.
I looked at Stephen and he could tell what I was thinking. The next question from the nurse really threw me for a loop. The doctor on call wanted to know if I was ready to go on Pitocin to speed up the process. I lost my breath for a moment, I felt like I had just swallowed my tongue. I haven’t even met this doctor and she’s ready to pump me full of drugs to rush this process. This was not my plan. This was the complete opposite of my plan. I looked at Stephen for reassurance and answered with a firm, and possibly a bit aggressive, “No!”
The nurse left to talk to the doctor and I just stared at Stephen. He didn’t have to say anything, he could tell what I was thinking. He held my hand and let me process everything that was going on. I felt so lucky to have such a caring husband and partner. He reads me so well and knows that sometimes all I need is for him to be by my side for comfort, to let me think and digest all the information that was thrown at us.
The nurse came back and said it was time to move us to a labor & delivery room. We packed up our things and were ready to make the transition. This was it, we were here for the long haul. Wether it was my dream delivery plan or not, we were finally going to meet our baby girl.
After two weeks of doctor visits and showing no change on the hopeful arrival of baby Ringl I was convinced that we were going to hit the due date, pass it, and then have to be induced on the last possible day allowed. I was incredibly scared and nervous at the idea of being induced. To induce labor they use a drug called Pitocin. I have read many horror stories about it, as well as had conversations with friends about having gone through a Pitocin-induced delivery. Pitocin is used to start and increase uterine contractions. It isn’t a gradual drug, like with natural labor you gradually get increasing contractions as you dilate. Not so with inducement, it is an all-at-once, major pain filled, contractions are brought on every 60-90 seconds for as long as it takes, kind of delivery. For someone that wanted to have a natural childbirth Pitocin is not your friend.
We had an appointment on March 3rd and I was the same as the week before. Sitting at 2cm dilated, which can last for weeks, I was discouraged that we hadn’t made any advancement. I discovered that the end of pregnancy is a lot like the beginning. Time seems to stop. The last two weeks seriously felt like 6 months. It was like I was living that scene in tv shows and movies when a kid watches the clock in class and it slows down to where you can literally hear each tick-tock crawl by. We were ready. I was ready. We wanted to meet our little girl and finally hold her in our arms.
The next day, Friday the 4th, our friend Shaw had come into town for a bachelor party weekend in his honor. My mom and sister in law, Kelley, had come over to keep me company. We went on a walk. They were joking with me that I was walking crazy fast trying to get this baby out. While that was partially true, I also informed them that when you have 40 extra pounds of weight on your body the lbs and momentum just push you forward. We went on two solid power walks. I was willing to try anything to get this baby moving. I was already adding hot sauce to everything I ate, and had now added walking to my regiment. That night my friend Nicole came over while the guys had the party at her and her husbands house. We baked some cookies and watched a movie. It was a nice relaxing night. I woke up Saturday morning and decided to make us pancakes. I don’t remember the last time we had them, and Stephen loves ‘em, so I decided I should do so while we still had a weekend to ourselves. Later that morning we decided to take a nap. A great Saturday activity in my book. When I woke up I had a backache, which wasn’t surprising since sleeping comfortably while pregnant was way in the past. I decided to take a hot shower because heat helps with back pain. A while after my shower my back was still hurting. I knew I must have really over-done it on those walks yesterday.
It was now 3:30. My back was hurting. Hurting worse than before my shower. Worse than “I over did it on my walk yesterday”. This was a completely new pain to me. Could I be in labor? No, of course not. Our precious baby had decided she was going to stay inside her warm cocoon as long as physically possible. Would I even know if I were in labor? I sure thought so, but I hadn’t had any braxton-hicks during my entire pregnancy. Maybe that’s what this is. Yes, of course, I’m experiencing fake-labor pains. Those were the thoughts I had within a 1-minute span. You can’t leave pregnant women alone with their thoughts, we are a crazy breed of people.
It was 3:32, it was time to wake Stephen up. I was leaning over the end of the bed, trying to relieve the pressure, when Stephen woke up. We decided I should walk around to see if the pain subsided. I was hopeful, but it didn’t work. I got on the computer and google’d “how do I know if I’m in labor?” Yes, I typed the question mark too, Stephen made fun of me for that. I took a few “how to know” quizzes and they weren’t helpful. Since I was just having pain in my back it seemed I was experiencing false labor. We decided to wait it out until 6:00. If the pain didn’t go away we would go to the hospital just to get checked out. Stephen had plans at 7 to meet up with the guys, and the hospital was on the way if this kept up.
One of the easiest ways for me to accidentally waste time during the day is through online shopping. Technically I can’t call it ‘shopping’ because that means I actually make purchases, but I am a fantastic online wish-list maker! We did almost all of our Christmas shopping online this year, which saved me SO much time driving around and standing in lines, so I guess that habit is now building for clothes/home accessorizing as well.
Taking after the lead of my hubs, I’ve started an Amazon wish list for future holidays/bdays. I mainly did so because I will see things I like and then forget about it and be blank when ppl ask me what I want for my birthday or Christmas. Hopefully this will help prevent that.
One recent online ‘wishing’ didn’t go as well as I’d planned. I received some money for Christmas and was going to use it to buy some home items I’ve been eyeing. After making a nice sized shopping list on Ikea.com I went to narrow down my list to place an order and discovered that not a single.solitary.item I chose was available to be purchased online. Talk about annoying! I was especially upset that I wasn’t able to score this awesome rug for the nursery:
Oh well, I’m sure I’m not the first person that that’s happened too.
I’ve also been browsing the internet for some maternity wear. While I usually enjoy going to the store and searching the racks for a good deal on some cute clothes, that has become more of a chore than enjoyment lately. I found a few cute things that are on my ‘wish list’ right now. Here are a few fun items I found at Gap.com & OldNavy.com
Online shopping is the picture perfect scenario, getting to sit in your pj pants and enjoying a cup of coffee, ALL while shopping. Plus, it’s like bonus points when you find a free shipping coupon!
If anyone knows of some super sweet online sites drop me a note, I’m on the hunt for some 3rd trimester and early post-pregnancy comfort!