Wednesday, February 14, 2007

18 months ago…

A little girl named Emma entered our lives about a week and a half earlier than expected. Although my actual labor was pretty darn short, I have to be annoying here and give every last detail. If you want to get to the "good stuff," skip to the paragraph with the *. If this stuff bores you, don't feel like you have to read this. I really just did it for me and Emma.

Early Signs
While Emma was born early Sunday morning, I believe the whole labor "process" began that previous Thursday. I woke up that morning extremely tired and had horrible stomach pains. Knowing I had deadlines to meet at work, I forced myself to take a shower and get dressed. One my way out the door, though, I started feeling awful and proceeded to, well, go to the bathroom—A LOT. I was sure I had a stomach virus. I called into work and said I needed to rest, but would be in around lunchtime. I never went in.

However, the next day I woke up feeling fine and happily went in for casual Friday. I was getting Braxton hicks all day, but not the "menstrual-type" contractions everyone told me would be the signal. Still, Jeff and I decided not to go to small group that night and instead went for a million walks around the block (to Jeff's dismay!).

I went to bed Friday night feeling very frustrated. My last OB appointment showed that I was 2-cm dilated and 75-percent effaced, so I had been on pins and needles for days. I had no idea when I would "know" when it was the real deal. My biggest pregnancy fear wasn't my water breaking in public or giving birth on the way to the hospital, it was showing up for the hospital to only have them send me home.

Almost There…
I woke up early Saturday morning with what felt like menstrual cramps. I remember laying in bed thinking, "Is this it?" I knew I was going to drive myself crazy thinking about it, so I got up and made a lasagna—at 5:30am. Hello, sign number one?! I wasn't a big cooker then, but I had bought the ingredients so I could make a pan to freeze for after the baby was born.

Jeff woke up around 7am and asked me what I was doing. Making red sauce, of course! Soon after that, the contractions started, and we began timing. They were sporadic at first, but then got fairly regular as the morning went on. Jeff went upstairs around 10am to take a shower, and then we were going to call the doctor, assuming we were going to the hospital. But I'm not kidding you, the second he walked down the stairs, the contractions stopped.

I was so frustrated. With contractions on and off all afternoon, the day seemed to drag on. Jeff and I decided to go to my cousin's graduation party, even though he lives about 50 minutes away. We were both sick of hearing me complain.

After we all ate dinner, I started getting contractions again. I was trying to casually time them so no one would notice. I had told my mom of the earlier contractions, and she was watching me like a hawk (although I could have just been paranoid!). About an hour went by, and my contractions were still about every 8-10 minutes. I told Jeff we should probably head home.

Of course, on the way home, they stopped AGAIN! I told Jeff we were definitely going for a walk when we got home. This baby WAS coming if I had to jump and down to make it happen.

*Once we got home from my aunt's house, I was too pooped for the walk, so I laid down on the couch while Jeff played Playstation. All of the sudden I heard this popping noise. I asked Jeff if he heard it too. He hadn't.

And then I heard—and felt—the second pop, and the tidal wave began. There was so much water! I told Jeff that I thought my water broke and I stood up, and gush!—a second title wave. I quickly ran to the bathroom to analyze the color and odor of the water (love those pregnancy books!), while Jeff was asking what we do now. I told him to hand me the phone so I could call the doctor while he ran and got me a new pair of pants and my hospital bag.

The Hospital
Once we go the okay from my OB, we were on our way to the hospital. And then the REAL contractions began. They were strong, they were in my back, and they were every 2 minutes. Meanwhile, Jeff is calling everyone he knows to tell them the news. (Okay, so just our parents and a few siblings, but I felt like he was on the phone F.O.R.E.V.E.R.—I was in pain people!)

When we finally arrived at the hospital around 11pm, we had a hard time getting in. The entrance they told us to use in our labor/pregnancy class was closed because it was the weekend. The main entrance was closed because it was after 10pm. Finally, we went to emergency and a guy rolled out a wheelchair. As soon as I got out of the car, the third tidal wave decided to come. Just how much water is in there?!!!

Jeff parks the car, and I wait in the waiting room for him to come back, all the while trying to remember that breathing stuff they taught me. My very excited husband quickly returns but has forgotten my purse with my ID and my insurance card. So I wait again. I must have been quite a sight. Breathing like a dog, wincing in pain, and looking like I just peed my pants.

Once all the paperwork was finished (WHY did we pre-register again?), a nurse wheeled me down to the labor and delivery room. I remember her condescending tone as she told me to relax my breathing because I had a LONG way to go. (Ha…little did she know!)

Once we got to my room, I stood up and lost my plug. I was so sick of being wet. I couldn't wait to get into a bed. By that time, my back contractions were very intense and were about 1 minute apart. And my legs were shaking like crazy. The nurse who checked me said I was about 4cm dilated. Once I found that out, I agreed to have an epidural. I couldn't fathom 14 hours of this pain.

Funny Story
In the meantime, my sister arrived at the hospital. She was downtown with her friends when we called her. The funny thing is she called me BEFORE she went out to make sure I wasn't going to go into labor. I told her not to worry and go have fun. Oops!

She had driven down there with a friend, who apparently wasn't willing to leave yet, so she took a cab ALL THE WAY TO THE HOSPITAL. Um, yes, $105 later, my sister arrived at my bedside.

It's Time!
There was a little confusion after that. My sister was popping in and out with water; Jeff went to greet my parents in the waiting room, and I was eagerly awaiting the anesthesiologist's arrival. My OB had stopped in somewhere in there to say hello. I think I waved.

I was so happy when the man with drugs finally arrived. I remember telling him, "You must be the most loved man in this whole place." I don't remember him laughing.

Anyway, Jeff and my sister were asked to leave the room during the epidural. As I tried desperately to hold still as my legs continued to shake and my contractions continued to intensify, the anesthesiologist asked me why I was still breathing so hard. I told him I was still feeling contractions. He said, "You are?" Um, yeah, why? He then asked the nurse to check me again. She told him I was just at 4cm about 20 minutes ago, but he insisted she check again.

So she did. Her eyes got real big and the two of them exchanged glances. She told him I was complete. Hello, am I not sitting right here people? I asked what was going on. The nurse flipped some switch and said I was ready to push. Uh, okay… where's my husband??!!!!!!!!!

Meanwhile, Jeff was outside the room and saw a light go off above my door and nurses starting scampering. He came in and asked what was going on, and I told him it was time.

The nurse then asked if she should get my sister. I hadn't planned on having anyone but Jeff in the room, but she then said, "She paid over a $100 to be here, and you're not letting her in?" I looked at Jeff and he said he was fine with it. I told him to go get her… fast!

My OB hurried in, and we began pushing. The epidural had finally kicked in, so I couldn't feel anything. I remembered my girlfriend telling me to push like I was taking "the biggest poop of my life," so I hung on to that as my strategy. Of course the time I needed to feel the contractions, I couldn't feel a darn thing.

Although I have to say I was in the best mood ever. I remember chatting with the doctor about my wedding day and the weather. I also remember laughing about how I was sitting there with my legs spread and having casual conversation with around five people like it was totally normal. My sister said I said that out loud, but I don't quite recall that.

The pushing went on for about 40 minutes until I saw Jeff's eyes practically pop out of his head. He looked at me as if I had just won an Olympic medal. He was so happy and proud. He didn't need to say a thing.

Then were the three words I DIDN'T expect to hear: "It's a girl!"

What? I thought all along this baby was a boy. We didn't find out, but I WAS SURE OF IT. Looking back, I think I secretly wanted a girl, so I said boy so I would be happy either way. I just wanted a baby.

Emma Kay
Our baby girl was born at 1:42am on Sunday, August 14. She was 7 lb, 2 oz and 21 inches long. She was absolutely perfect.


My mom, dad, mom-in-law, father-in-law and sister were all there to hold her for the first time, and Jeff was in total awe. It was so late by the time everyone left that I told Jeff to go home, get some rest and come back in the morning.

On his way home, he said the song "I Can Only Imagine" by Mercy Me came on the radio, and he sobbed. What an overwhelming, awesome day it had been.

So there you have it: the story of our little peanut. She came into this world just as hard as she plays in it now. We've had some struggles along the way, but she sure did make labor easy! And she has certainly made life more enjoyable than we could have ever imagined.

Happy 18 months, baby girl. We love you!!


Anonymous said...

Hey! That's not fair, your blog is supposed to make me laugh - not cry. But they are truly tears of joy. What a blessing you have been in all of our lives, my precious little one. Just the thought of you makes me smile 8-) How in the world did 18 months fly by so quickly? You are growing up WAY too fast - but I guess that's what your supposed to do, and your'e doing it so well 8-). I love you very much.

Anonymous said...

These posts always make me cry!
I agree Emma, you are growng up so fast, but it sure is fun watching you grow and getting to know you! You are the sunshine in so many of our lives!
Happy Valentine's Day!
Love you always!

Anonymous said...

I could read birth stories all day! I'm one of those that loves watching the babystory marathons on TLC!! LOL.

My friend had an epidural and she couldn't feel a thing either! I just can't imagine it. It must be nice though!

Happy 18 months!

one hot momma said...

I love birth stories! Isn't it amazing how it seems like it just happened. When I think about my oldest's birth I can still smell the hospital soap! Those memories are so precious and it's wonderful that you're sharing them so Emma can have them to cherish!
Oh, and don't you just love the memory of your hubby's face, I certainly have treasured up that memory in my heart! Oh, and it's just as genuine with each baby! I know it seems unimaginable, but it's true. Love just GUSHES with each baby!
Happy 18 month birthday Emma! You're truly blessed with a mommy and daddy that love you more than life!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE birth stories! Happy Birthday and a HALF!

Jen said...

Happy 18th Emma! :-) I love birth stories too. . .Except when I'm preggers. Too real!

Anonymous said...

I already heard this but it's just as exciting and awesome the 2nd time around. Happy 18th month birthday Emma! What a better world this is with you in it! xoxo

Anonymous said...

I just re-read this again (never get sick of birth stories) and I realized you left out my favorite part...when Jeff kept bringing you the wrong pants and eventually carried the entire drawer down :) I can totally picture you two...

Butterfly Mama said...

How wonderful!!! She's so beautiful!!!!!! - You look terrific too!!!!

Anonymous said...

What an AMAZING post!! How fun to hear all the details of Little Miss Emma's arrival! We were so excited she was here sometimes you miss all the details! Things that are NEVER boring! I must admit, I thought you were for sure having a boy too! :) Emma is too beautiful for words....