I went to go bury my emotions in small twist ice cream only to find out my favorite place on planet earth was closed because it was a MONDAY. How fitting for a Monday and a roller coaster of emotions. So, I settled for Dairy Queen.
When my husband got home, I had to break the news to him that we would be having a baby tomorrow.
“But…I have basketball camp to run…” he muttered.
Oh no he didn’t!
Not any more you don’t. I admire your dedication, just not today. So that went over well…
We finalized our plans for the next day – assistant coaches could run camp, our oldest went over to grandma and grandpa’s for a sleep over, and I put the final items in my hospital bag.
As I’m sure you can imagine, I got little to no sleep that night. I was feeling all the emotions. I was excited, scared, happy, nervous, anxious, relieved, my mind could not rest. I stared at the clock next to the bed as the minutes slowly ticked by. 6:00AM came slowly, yet way arrived way before I was ready…funny how time can do that.
As we pulled into the hospital parking lot, the reality of what was about to happen finally sank in. If things went well, we’d likely be holding our newest family member within the next 24hrs. It was both thrilling and completely terrifying.
We got checked into our Labor and Delivery room and a cheery, young, beautiful blonde greeted us.
“Good morning! My name is Mary.”
I about fell over. Mary. Duly noted, Lord. You’ve put us in very good hands. And He did. She was our best (and we’ve had three great) L&D nurse. Caring, kind, gentle, funny. Exactly what we needed.
I put on the flattering (eye roll) hospital gown, got the IV (which for me is always the worst part – I hate that thing!) in, and the pitocin started flowing. Time to rock and roll.
It didn’t take long for the contractions to start. I was naive to the fact that natural labor contractions and induced contractions are VERY VERY different. With natural labor, there is a slow ease. Not with pitocin. That stuff is evil. The work of the Devil, some say. The contractions started quickly and they were fierce. My mental goal for dilating was 5cm before getting my epidural. If I could make it to that (which is what I made it to with our first), I would be happy. I don’t know why that was important to me, but it was.
The early phases of labor were filled with walking the hallway, telling jokes, and eating orange jello. I will never eat orange jello ever again.
“Grab be a puke bag! I think I’m gonna throw up!” I some how managed to shout.
“Oh good, that’s a sign the pitocin is working,” one of the nurses said as she took her time grabbing the bag for me.
Lovely. Just what I wanted to hear. I would have rolled my eyes if I wasn’t so busy expelling my last bites of orange jello into a very small puke bag.
By 4cm, I was experiencing contractions that were way stronger and way faster than I did with our first. I was ready for that epidural.
“Hit me up, doc,” I told the anesthesiologist as I patted the my back. I couldn’t look at that needle without shuddering, but I knew with that needle came some much welcomed relief.
Sure enough, the epidural kicked in pretty quickly. Now confined to by bed, I clung to my rosary beads and was speed-praying my Hail Mary’s and Our Father’s.
Mary went to lunch, and about 20 minutes later her sub decided we should check and see how dilated I was.
“Oh my gosh! You’re an 8!”
Say what?! A 4 to an 8 in less than 20 minutes, oh baby!
And all of the sudden, things got very hectic! My OB came in and broke my water. Poor Mary’s lunch break was cut short. And before we knew it, in flew a crew of people: doctors, nurses, NICU staff…I don’t even remember who was all there, but they were packed in like sardines; I don’t know how they all fit. Talk about being overwhelmed. My OB, Mary, my husband, and I all made quick guesses on boy or a girl and then it was time to push. Ready or not (and I realized I was not), here comes baby!
Three pushes and we heard the first (of MANY) screams that let us know our baby had arrived!
IT’S A GIRL!
4# 4oz and 17 inches of sass, spunk, and love had entered the world.
We smiled, we cried, we were overwhelmed with relief that she had arrived easy-breezy at 4:11PM, making my entire labor process roughly 8hrs- incredible considering I was mentally prepared for much longer. Her birth was so smooth and so easy, another answered prayer. I had kind of made a deal with God, and it looked something like this…
“Alright, God. I’ve already been through a lot. If you could do a me solid and at least give us a smooth delivery, it’s really the least you could do for me…” Talk about being a grateful child, huh?! Jeepers…but, despite my rude and demanding request, He provided.
All of my fears: How will I be able to love this baby as much our my first? Will I be able to care for this baby and all of her needs? What if this baby doesn’t look “normal”? …they all vanished the moment she was first placed on my chest. Her quick breathing, the pitter patter of her heart, her little baby snorts, her tiny body nestled into mine..in that moment, it was enough. As one beautifully written song says, “There’s no fear in love.” And love does not divide, it multiplies. She was absolutely beautiful and we were instantly in love with her.
We knew she would be going to the NICU, so I had braced myself for only moments of time with her. Much to my surprise, I was able to hold, kiss, and love on our baby for thirty minutes. After that time, they put her in a little baby space ship incubator (aka NICU crib) and Claire, my husband, and about a gajillion medical staff headed up to the NICU.
Meanwhile, I ordered french toast. Not kidding. It was delivered within minutes of Claire exiting the room. My OB started laughing, “You weren’t kidding about the french toast, were you?!”
Would I ever joke about food?! I was hungry, and I was not messing around. Besides the fact that I had a wonderful experience there with delivering our first, and my OB was great, I would also be lying to you if I didn’t disclose that food was another motivating factor in choosing to deliver at this hospital. I’d been dreaming of this french toast since the day I found out we were pregnant. Also, not kidding.
The road ahead was going to be far from easy- lots of bumps, set backs, and frustration would be meeting us head-on. But for now, the overwhelming sense of gratitude and relief was being soaked in. Our baby was here, she was safe, and now the next leg of our journey could begin.