I struggled with whether or not I would document her birth on the blog. I didn’t document the experience with Mads and so I thought something would be incomplete. We would be able to re-read the details of one but not the other. But then I thought, if I were going to maintain this way of thinking with two kiddos, I’m going to drain myself. Therefore, I’m doing what’s in my heart and jotting it down …
Today, Grace is 8 weeks and 4 days old. She’s knocking on two months and is a joy. But more on that later. Let’s go back 8 weeks and … 6 days. It was Saturday, March 18, and I was officially 39 weeks pregnant. We went to birthday party for Madeline’s friend, and while we were there, I had a conversation with a few of my mom friends. It was the “Oh, my goodness, how are you still pregnant – are you read to be done – when do you think it will happen” conversation. I shared with them how I’m hoping and praying that my body (and Grace) decide to come before any type of intervention is necessary. They understood. We laughed and they shared stories about “multiples”, if they are thinking about having more kids and if baby fever hit anyone else.
The next day, Sunday, was of course Sunday family dinner. All ten of us were sitting around and chatting as we do. My grandma asked if I was ready, along with a few other comments that are only appropriate and acceptable coming from a grandmother. Yes, I was ready. I remember leaving dinner that night that I was so tired. So tired. But everything else seemed okay. No big contractions.
Because I work out of the home, I made the decision to work up until I couldn’t … whether that be labor or something else. The next day, I woke up, just like any other Monday, but I had no idea what was in store for me that morning.
As I woke up, I felt a small contraction. Nothing alarming. It was the same feeling I had felt many mornings before. Third trimester brings all sorts of new things. I jumped in the shower, got Mads ready for school, said goodbye to my husband, and drove off to Mads’ school and my work. As I was driving, I started to feel contractions. I watched the clock. During the clock-watching time, I dropped off Mads and went into work. When I sat down at my desk, I texted my husband several updates.
Looking back now, I realize that yes, my contractions were irregular but almost consistently 5 minutes apart (aka the timing I should go to the hospital per my doctor’s instructions). If I was really honest and watched the clock better, I could probably put money down on the fact that contractions were coming 5 minutes apart between 7:09 a.m. and 7:24 a.m. However, I didn’t think the contractions were terrible. I could still work through them, talk, write emails, etc. But the rational part of me knew something was up.
In a text to my husband, I let him know that I would be leaving work early … around 12:30 p.m. Well, I didn’t make it that long. I was in the office for about 2 hours until I tapped out and said I would be working the rest of the day from home. I told my husband that I would continue to watch the clock and keep him posted.
On my way home, I dropped off our taxes with our CPA. He looked at me, and he said, “when are you due, Ann?” I said that my due date wasn’t for four days, but that I think I may have it that day. He chuckled and said “well, I won’t keep you.” He took our paperwork, and NOW I was on my way home. While driving, the contractions started to get more intense. I called my doctor, and they said to not worry and that it sounded like I had time. It made sense to me so I kept on driving. (Oh, Ann … seriously, what were you thinking??)
I think women have a sixth sense about certain things … or maybe it’s that we just know our bodies that well. I had no idea that I would know so well, subconsciously. When I arrived home, I logged on to my work email and answered a few things. At that point, I started sharing times with my husband. I told him I was packing an overnight bag for Madeline. I texted my brother and dad. I took a deep breath. And then I finally just called my husband.
When Justin answered the phone, I let him know my pain level and how far apart were the contractions. I told him not to worry (silly request on my part), that I would be taking a shower around 2 p.m. and then he can come home. I told him I wanted to go get checked at the hospital.
At 2 p.m., I took a shower and started a load of laundry. (Yes, I know … nuts.) I let work know that I was logging off for now. I was breathing slow and trying to relax. Again, it wasn’t really painful. I was walking okay. Without many words, Justin came home, started gathering our bags and putting things into the car. He knew. I was still in denial
Before we could go to the hospital, we needed to do two very important stops (pause for my tears…). We stopped by my parents to let them know again that we were headed to the hospital and to drop off Madeline’s bag. With the happiest of tears, my dad wished us luck. Then, we stopped by Madeline’s school. I completely forgot to hand off the emergency contact info before I was in labor. Whoops. And I needed to give Madeline a hug. One more hug, with just us two. After our sweet exchange and the daycare director urgently telling me to get back into the car, we headed to the hospital. Contractions really started to pick up in the car, and I was breathing like crazy. We parked. We walked. We entered the birthing place. They checked me. I was 4 cm dilated and 90% effaced. They were keeping me. I texted my family that the baby was coming … sometime soon.
After that, it seemed like it all went so fast. I was officially admitted around 4 p.m. By this time, the contractions were coming harder, and I was breathing through them the best I could. The nurses were sweet, and my husband was a champion. During this time, I kept thinking to myself that my body is doing this on its own. She’s coming in her own time. I was so, so happy.
One thing my body didn’t do was break my water. The on-call doctor and nurse came in to break my water, which revealed meconium, which was both terrifying and disgusting. I was reassured that everything would be okay and that it was not uncommon.
Around 7 p.m. I received my epidural. I was seriously thankful for the medicine by this time. I wish I could get into the mindset of natural childbirth, but it’s not in the cards for me. Perhaps more thoughts in another blog post. Where were we …
Also by 7 p.m,. I was about 7 cm dilated. Everything was moving right along. My wonderful nurses checked me for the last time around 11 p.m., and I did a practice push. She felt the head. And finally at 11:43 p.m., I had my final contraction. I pushed three times, and our sweet Grace entered this world. We couldn’t have hoped for an easier or memorable experience. Like with any childbirth, it was surreal as it was exciting. We were drunk on exhaustion and love. Justin cut the cord. Grace laid on my chest. And we were instantly a family of four. Guys, it was awesome.