*Note: Contains medical information about her birth. Please don't read if you're sensitive to this.
1:25pm on September 22, 2011, the last official day of summer. The day and time my little girl's life outside in the world began. To me it began before this day, on a cold January morning nine months before when I was in a rush to get to work. I had taken an early pregnancy test just out of curiosity, but of course it was more than that...there was hoping :) I remember looking real quick and seeing one line and going to toss the "dumb test" and then I did a double take. There was the faintest second line ever. Was it even there? I must have shown it to Chris a hundred times for confirmation.
As you all know, I was scheduled for an ultrasound at 9am on the 22nd. I hadn't slept well the night before. I had a few painful contractions every now and then that woke me up and kept me tossing and turning, but by the morning they were gone. Chris took the morning off to take me to the appointment and watch the boys. I grabbed my hospital bag "just in case." I was due in 7 days and I knew that if they found anything significant I would be sent to the hospital. As fate would have it, no other nearby screening places had appointments open, only a place near the hospital (which is an hour away from us).
I went in and the tech remarked how small I looked for 39 weeks. I said "I know, that's why I'm here." The scan went on and didn't look good. I could see on the screen that 35 weeks, kept coming up whenever she took a measurement. I asked concerned and she kept trying to reassure me, "Maybe it's just a small baby, I don't have all the calculations yet, etc." I was getting stressed and getting contractions. She finished and told me to wait to leave until I heard from the doctor and see what s/he thought. That's never good, if things are fine you go. I waited and started timing the contractions: 2mins, 3mins, 2mins, 5mins. "These really hurt, I think I'm in labor," I thought.
They let me go around 10:20am and I couldn't talk through the contractions. I know they say to wait till contractions are 2-5mins apart for over an hour and it had barely been 30 minutes since they started, but I didn't want to risk driving all the way home to have to come back or possibly not make it back to the hospital. I called a nurse and she said to go straight to the hospital, after looking over my records and seeing how fast my other labors were.
About an hour into being in the triage room, around noon I was in serious pain and started getting "vocal" with contractions. We were still waiting for family to get there to get the boys who were enjoying an episode of Sesame Street in my room. The nurse could hear me from the hall and got concerned that I was progressing quickly. She called upstairs and they were wheeling me there as my two sisters got there. My sister who's in high school took the boys to the waiting room (huge props to her for handling both till my parents arrived). My married sister Elizabeth came with me to L&D as a support person (she's also a RN herself). Once I got into the room, they called my OB who came to check. I was 8cms and 100% effaced! I had only been in the hospital for less than 2 hours.
|Here's the last pregnant pic of me in L&D. The smile is fake and taken in between a contraction.|
My OB was also a certified midwife and she never left my side till I delivered (a rare thing since only one doctor is on call). She knew different techniques like rubbing my lower back which helped so much. My sister was really good too. She held my hand so I could squeeze it while they tried to get an IV going without me moving. Her and Chris kept encouraging me and telling me it was almost over.
I was so emotional and kept breaking down in tears, partially from the pain and also because it was happening so fast I was overwhelmed. Around 1:15pm, they had me try push to see if I could dilate to 10. I had been begging them to push. I started pushing with all of my might. I never worked that hard with either boys, pushing was pretty much effortless with them. At 1:20pm, I was complete and pushing for real. It was definitely the most intense labor I've ever had. I mean I was screaming like Katerine Heigl in Knocked Up. I remember someone shutting the door so no one outside could hear me. Pushing was so much work. I was using every ounce of energy in me to do it as hard as I could. The worst was the burning and stretching as she came out. I kept asking if the baby was out yet and everyone kept answering almost. I felt like it never was going to end. Finally they told me to look down and the doctor said "Dad, do you want to tell us what it is?" Before anyone could say, I saw it was a girl!
It's so strange because whenever I watch someone give birth on TV or write about their experience, it always makes me cry. However, when I'm in that moment right when they hand me the baby, I never can cry.
|Being transported for a follow up ultrasound outside of the womb :)|
...and that's how the summer of 2011 ended :)