I woke up around 5am on New Years Eve feeling some pretty intense cramps.
While that would normally be annoying, on that particular day it was awesome!
You see, that’s the day that my sweet Avery was due to be born.
But whoever comes on their actual due date??
Apparently my sweet little girl :)
The night before I had been feeling particularly overwhelmed by the pregnancy. I’d somehow gotten it into my mind that she would come early, so every day closer to my due date felt excruciatingly long. Not to mention uncomfortable.
I finally understand the late pregnancy desperation I’ve heard about from other women. With Grace I was unexpectedly induced more than 2 weeks early, so I never got to the “get this baby out of me now” phase.
But Sunday night, just before Andy made a frozen yogurt run for me, (yes, he’s wonderful!) I broke down and cried. I was ready to meet my little girl, I was ready to get rid of the raging heartburn, I was ready to be able to move freely and have energy to keep up with Grace again. I was just ready.
God must have sent Avery the memo, because she started working her way out the very next morning :)
I had intense cramps starting around 5am and they were coming about every 10 minutes for a while so I thought things were going to move pretty quickly. I was making plans in my mind for how the day might go, while at the same time realizing that birth runs its course and can take a long time. I didn’t want to be the girl who alerted the press only to find out that they were Braxton Hicks contractions.
So I kept cool, downloaded a contraction tracker app on my phone (yes, there’s an app for that!) and stayed in bed until Grace started making noise in her room.
By that point the contractions had spread out and were more like 13-17 minutes apart. I was starting to think it wasn’t going to be “the day” afterall.
But then they’d get closer together again and they would feel really strong, so I started thinking maybe things were turning around.
At that point Andy encouraged me to page the midwife just to let her know what was happening and have her weigh in with her expert opinion on where things really stood.
When she called me back, I could tell that New Years Eve was not the day she was hoping to have a bunch of deliveries. She’s a wonderful, friendly single girl who’s probably younger than me, so I’m sure she had rockin’ NYE plans despite the fact that she was on call. She didn’t exactly say she had plans, but I could tell in her voice that delivering two babies that night (another lady was already in labor) was not exactly what she expected.
I know it’s part of her job description and after doing it for years she knows the drill, but it didn’t stop me from feeling bad that I might be the reason she had to miss out on her party!
She asked how I was feeling and how far apart the contractions were. Because they were erratic and my water hadn’t broken, she reminded me that I could still have a long road ahead of me. She told me to call again when they were 5 minutes apart and lasting for a minute each for a whole hour, but also to trust my body and contact her again if I felt I needed to since this wasn’t my first rodeo.
This all happened around 10am, so I just kept going about my day (and by “going about my day” I really mean laying on the couch obsessively logging my contractions on my phone) while Andy manned the fort and took care of Grace and all the little things that needed to be done that day. I love that man :)
The contractions continued to be pretty intense, but wouldn’t follow a perfect pattern so I kept telling myself to chill out in case today wasn’t really going to be it.
I have no idea why I thought a natural process like childbirth followed some perfect time pattern and didn’t have any anomalies, but I did. So every time my contractions changed from being 8 or so minutes apart to 10 or 15 minutes apart and then back down to 8 again, I was convinced that things were too erratic to be legitimate.
Was I ever in for a treat :)
By mid-afternoon I was starting to feel a little discouraged. I really really wanted to have the baby that day, but I was worried that I was having such a tough time with the contractions so early in the game. I kept thinking to myself, “I remember it getting so much worse than this…if I’m tired and freaked out a little by the pain now, how on earth am I going to survive the real pain?!”
Turns out I was having real pain, I just didn’t know exactly what to expect this time around since Grace’s birth was induced and my contractions with her were fueled by 2 days of Pitocin. Regular contractions are very different.
One of my fondest memories of laboring at home on the couch was when I was in the middle of a particularly strong contraction and Grace was laying on my legs watching one of her shows on TV. She was all cuddled up on me with her blankie and I was in the middle of my labor to bring her little sister into the world. It just felt like such a “hippy” moment and it was worlds better than being hooked up to a million monitors while laying uncomfortably in a plastic covered hospital bed.
I had it so good that I wish I would have realized that I was having the labor I always wanted instead of convincing myself all day that it probably wasn’t the real deal.
I can be so weird sometimes! LOL
Around 6:15pm things were getting even more intense and I thought it would be a good idea to get in touch with my mom (who lives an hour and a half away) to let her know that things were “probably” happening and that she might want to start heading to our house.
Again, I can’t believe how long I waited to contact her…I was in some kind of alternate universe!
So what did I do? I texted her to see what she was doing that night. LOL!
My mom, being no stranger to childbirth, immediately started rounding up her things to get on the road and make her way over to our house.
I waited a little longer trying to see a “perfect” pattern of my contractions being 5 minutes apart and lasting 1 minute long for an entire hour and when things got “close enough” according to me, I paged the midwife again.
This was at 6:17pm.
Sure enough she had delivered her other baby already and was headed home from the hospital to get ready for her rockin’ New Years Eve. Doh!
I told her that I thought I was “in the zone” and she told me to pack up and head to the hospital.
Fortunately, we live around the block from the hospital so I knew we’d get there in no time flat. Andy called my sister to have her come over straight from work in case my mom wasn’t here when we had to leave. In the meantime I was struggling through really rough contractions and getting more worried by the second that maybe somehow I’d become a wimp since my last birth. I didn’t know how I’d manage to keep going for hours longer until things “really got going.”
Again, I was obviously in some parallel universe of the mind…
After yelling at Andy to get me a bowl right! this! second! I threw up and things started feeling even more intense.
At that point I somehow dragged myself off the couch, cleaned up a little by brushing my teeth, and I waddled downstairs to pack my bag.
TO PACK MY FREAKING BAG!
Any normal pregnant woman would have done that days ago, or at the very least sometime that morning, but not this girl. Not the girl who probably wasn’t really even in active labor.
So there I was lugging my beloved black and white Thirty-One utility tote around the basement, throwing necessities into it while stopping every few minutes to brace myself for the next contraction. I’m sure it was a sight, and I think I’ll always look back on that and laugh.
I got the bag packed, grabbed my purse and coat, hopped into the car that Andy had running and warmed up and I struggled through another contraction…continuing to freak out about how I was going to survive the pain for hours more.
I impatiently honked the horn letting Andy know he needed to get into the car STAT! He rushed out the side door and into the car and we were on our way.
About 2 minutes later we arrived at the Emergency Room entrance (at this point it was just shy of 7pm) and I got into a wheelchair. I noticed that Wendy (the midwife) was there to greet us (although I didn’t even look up at her because I was so focused) and then I sat for a few minutes while Andy parked the car.
It felt like an eternity, but he came back in a jiffy and wheeled me up to the maternity ward. We were greeted by the staff at the desk and ushered into a room where they took my id/insurance cards. I was so desperate to be laying down again that I asked Wendy what we had to do in this room and when I’d be taken to my real room.
She got the ball rolling again and they wheeled me into a triage-type room where I assume they were going to check me and take my vitals before moving me to the birthing suite.
As soon as we got to the triage room, I tore my clothes off and changed into a hospital gown so I could just LAY DOWN ALREADY!
Only seconds after getting into the bed I felt the urge to throw up again and fortunately Andy grabbed me a puke dish in the nick of time.
Wendy told the nurse that we were probably a lot closer than we thought and to get the room ready for me. She checked me and thank the Lord in heaven above, I was dilated to a “very loose 8 cm”!
Moments later they wheeled me down to the birthing room and I somehow managed to shimmy onto the nice queen sized birthing bed. I was laying on my side diagonal across the bed just trying to survive each contraction as it swept over me and all of the sudden I felt the urge to push.
Only about 4 or 5 big pushes and Avery Jane was out!
They laid her on my chest and I was soooo happy for everything to be over and to have her in my arms.
Just like with Grace, time seemed to slow down and everything felt perfectly even. I’m a high and low person so it astounds me how very even keel I feel just after giving birth. I don’t get a crazy surge of high emotion, but rather everything stands still in such a peaceful way and I am so very “in the moment” when I’m holding the fresh, warm little body and staring into my baby’s faces for the first time. It’s wonderful and definitely outweighs all of the discomfort it takes to get there.
I got to lay quietly with my sweet girl for more than an hour and a half before they wiped her up and got all of her measurements.
8 pounds 2 ounces.
20.5 inches long.
13.75 inch head.
Perfect in every way :)
Welcome to the world my sweet girl. We all love you so much and are thrilled to have you in our family :)