Everyone tells you that the day you welcome your child(ren) is the best day of your life. It actually ties with the day Brian asked me to marry him, with a little bit more pain. 😉
The week before Kate’s arrival, I had the week off of work. Boy was I ever glad to have that time! It just worked out that way as I had to use my vacation days by June 30. Since my due date was the 23rd, I decided that my last day of work would be Friday, the 20th.
That week was spent running last minute errands and also soaking up our time at home before the chaos set in. I was nervous, excited, a little scared, and VERY emotional. I remember Brian (who tries very hard to scare me for fun much of the time) came over to me and tipped the recliner way back that I happened to be sitting in. Well, if you know me, I am not born with grace by any means…I was so scared I was going to fall out and got REALLY mad at him. I don’t know who was more ready for me to go into labor – me or Brian!
To be very honest, I still (thankfully) wasn’t terribly uncomfortable that week I was overdue. I think it was more that I was just scared of what was to come. Would I have a difficult labor? Would I have a c-section? Would our son look like Brian? (Ha!!!!)
Last belly shot before leaving for the hospital…41 weeks pregnant!
When Sunday night came, it was very surreal riding to the hospital. I always pictured our “last meal” being something very nice or quaint. Well, we ended up getting Jimmy John’s. 🙂 Hey, they are freaky fast! I gobbled up the veggie sandwich since I knew I would have to go awhile without eating.
We arrived at the hospital at 6 p.m., and by 7 we were all checked in and I was in the hospital gown ready to go. By 8 p.m. the nurse had inserted cervadil, and the hope was it would put me into labor (or at the very least, ripen my cervix. Mmmm hmmm). I was about 1.5-2 cm dilated and I believe almost 100% effaced, so I was excited we were getting the show on the road!
Anyway, Brian and I spent that evening chatting, watching a movie (Gravity…confirming I will NEVER be going to outer space), snacking, and visiting with Kristy (she graciously brought us a memory card for our camera and stayed for a bit…I was terribly nervous and it helped to chat with her!).
The cervadil was a little bit uncomfortable, but not horribly so. To be blunt, it felt like having an uncomfortable tampon in. I started to feel crampy a couple of hours in, so I hoped it was doing its job. Honestly, the worst thing of that evening was the stupid monitors. I had a belly monitor for the baby and contractions, and the baby’s monitor kept sliding around. Every time that happened, the nurse would have to come in and readjust it. I felt so bad…it made me terrified to even move! I’m such a tosser/turner when I sleep that I was even scared to sleep, since I knew the monitor was being so finicky. Thankfully I did sleep for about 3-4 hours that night.
Morning came and I knew that one of my favorite doctors, Dr. Dupler, would be coming in around 6 or 7. He is both of my sisters’ doctor and just the sweetest man. A new nurse came in that morning, too. She was very nice, but I would say out of all of our nurses there she had the least pleasant bedside manner. Which still wasn’t horrible…she just wasn’t who I’d pick to be in the delivery room with us. Ya know?
They started the pitocin at 8 a.m. on Monday, the 30th, and we were off! I was so nervous as I have heard pitocin can throw you into an intense labor. I hadn’t made much progress through the night, and I believe I was still just about 2 cm dilated. At around 10 a.m., Dr. Dupler came into check me and I was around 3 cm. Slowly but surely! (Also, this was probably the most physically painful part of labor/delivery for me – when he checked me this particular time. He said my uterus was posterior – I think? – and hard to reach. To be very honest, it felt like someone was stabbing me…up there. It took me aback and I think I let out a small scream, and my eyes started to tear up. The first thing I said was “I am so sorry!” because I felt incredibly embarrassed. Dr. Dupler was so sweet…you could tell he felt horrible, but obviously it was not his fault at all!)
By 11:00 they broke my water, and man…what a feeling that was! People aren’t lying when they say there is a TON of fluid. I just kept thinking, “Okay, surely it’s done now.” After I got cleaned up, I really wanted to walk around a bit. “They” say sometimes that can help you progress, and also I wanted to get up since I’d been in bed all night and morning (bathroom breaks aside).
We walked a few laps on the postpartum wing (since our wing wasn’t very big), which was actually motivating. I remember hearing a baby cry and thinking, okay…this will be us soon over here! The contractions were getting more painful and I usually would stop to breathe through them. Brian walked right by my side and held my hand through the painful ones.
When we came back to our room, our nurse came in immediately to tell us that the anesthesiolgist on call was getting ready to go into an emergency c-section for twins. He could be gone for up to 1.5-2 hours if we needed him. She told us that if I wanted an epidural, she highly encouraged me getting one now. Since I’d had the pitocin and my water broke, labor could progress quickly and I’d be without the epidural for up to 2 hours. When she left the room, my eyes teared up. I had no idea what to do. I didn’t want to get an epidural until it was very, very painful (like an 8 or 9 on the pain scale), and I felt like I was only at a 5! But then…the idea of being without one and needing one terrified me, too. I also really wanted to try and “tough it out” as long as I could. I remember my friend who’d just given birth a month before me was talking about how she didn’t get an epidural until she was at 5 or 6 cm, and how the pain really wasn’t that bad. Would that make me a wuss if I got one so early?!
In the end I decided to get it, and honestly, it all worked out. I was so worried it would slow my (already VERY slow) labor, but I felt reassured when they checked me the next time. The moral of the story –> don’t over think things too much during labor and don’t worry about what other people think! I knew there would surprises and it wouldn’t go exactly as I planned, and this helped me to really see how that all didn’t matter.
The epidural was administered at 12:40 and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be. They administered a local anestetic, so I couldn’t feel the “big needle” go in. And then immediately it felt like cold water was running down my spine…so strange! My legs slowly but surely started to go numb, and sure enough I couldn’t feel them after a bit. When they checked me at 4:45 p.m. I was 4 cm and 100% effaced…at least we were getting somewhere!
My epidural started to wear off around 5 p.m., so I told the nurse and they contacted the anesthesiologist to give me an epidural “booster.” Of course it takes awhile before the anesthesiologist can get to you….the contractions were starting to get pretty painful. But thankfully at 6:30, she walked in the door. After she administered the booster, I was at 6-7 cm. Wahoo! Progress.
About 5-10 minutes after the booster, I started to quiver a lot. My parents and sisters came back to see me and I remember shaking a LOT as I was talking to them. Apparently it’s just a reaction some people have with an epidural. I wasn’t going to complain, though…it was MUCH better than feeling those contractions. 🙂
We visited for a little bit, and honestly the rest of the night was kind of a blur. I was so excited to be dilated to 6-7 cm….it was finally becoming more real that I might get to push this baby out! We also had a new nurse come on for the night shift and she was an ANGEL. She had 4 kids of her own and couldn’t have been sweeter. I will never forget her kindness…she just made the whole experience *that* much more special. I could only hope we have her again next time!
We also had a new doctor come in that evening, Dr. Teter. Now, in my practice, there are about 8 or 9 doctors that deliver babies. When you’re pregnant, you see ALL of the doctors at least once. That way, you’ve met them all and a “stranger” isn’t delivering your baby. Now, I know that would turn a lot of people off. However, ALL of the doctors in this practice (with the exception of one…and he actually delivered Reese–Kristy said he was fantastic during labor/delivery) have the best bedside manner you could ever hope for. They are truly the best of the best, and I wish all of them could deliver a baby of mine! 😉 But in the end, I did have a few “favorites.” The BEST thing about being induced was that my sweet doctor, Dr. Mernitz, let me pick when to come in based on who was on call. So I picked to come in when Dr. Dupler (Kristy and Kelly’s doctor–such a sweet man) and Dr. Teter were on call.
So….getting back to Dr. Teter. I hope if you’re reading this you have seen the movie “Airplane.” If not, GO WATCH IT RIGHT THIS MINUTE. One of my favorite movies! Anyway, Dr. Teter reminds me of Leslie Nielsen, both in looks AND personality. I remember during one of my appointments, he asked if I thought I was going to have a big baby and when I thought the birthday would be. I said YES, because my husband was huge (9 lbs, 10 oz –God bless you, Mary Dolan) 2 weeks early, and I thought the birthday would be June 30 (called it! I figured I’d have to be induced some my mom and Kristy were). He stopped me and said, “Wait. Did you know your husband was that big before you married him?” I told him I did. “And you STILL married him?” he asked me. This was my kind of guy! I remember leaving that appointment hoping I’d get to see him again.
That evening he walked into our room, and Brian asked how he was doing. “Well. I’m sober. That’s a start.” I know some uptight people might not find any humor in that, but Brian and I busted out laughing. He cracked jokes and put our minds at ease all evening, and that is EXACTLY what we wanted. Needless to say…I’m so very happy he brought our Kate into this world.
Okay. Sorry about the tangent….I just love Dr. Teter!
Around 10 p.m. he came in to check me. He said we were getting close, but he wanted me to do some “practice pushes” first. Now, I had read about these practice pushes. And from what I’d read, if you do well on the practices, it’s go time. Well, I have never been more determined in my life! After a few pushes, the doctor just said, “Okay!” And quickly began to take off the end of the hospital bed. Our nurse started to shuffle about the room, and I remember wanting to ask, “is this really it?” Not wanting to feel stupid, I didn’t…but quickly figured out that it WAS almost time!
I started pushing at 10:25 p.m. Yes, I do remember the exact time. I mean…what else am I doing? I would do three pushes (for 10 seconds long, I think…) and then take a one minute break. Pushing is hard work! It wasn’t painful, but it was exhausting. Hard to explain, but true! They’d asked me about 15 minutes into pushing if I wanted the mirror, since our nurse told us she could start to see the head. I was unsure if I’d want to be able to see everything, but in that moment of COURSE I did! I felt like it would be good motivation, too. I am so glad I made that decision. I could see with each push the head inching a TINY bit closer.
Close to about 11, they whisked the mirror away (I mentioned that I didn’t really want to see myself…um…tearing), and I knew it was time. The doctor and nurse couldn’t have been more encouraging. And Brian was simply amazing. I honestly don’t think I could have gotten through this without him. (Of course, I wouldn’t have BEEN there without him….) 😉
We had the music set to the Avett Brothers station. “Murder in the City” played (one of my faves), and then came “February 7”. This is the song our sweet Kate would be born listening to. (Listen to it! I love this song because it reminds me of the sweet moment our lives would be forever changed…in the best way possible.)
I am SO glad we decided to film the last few minutes of labor! From the head down…no worries. It was all such a blur. I remember the doctor commented and said something to the extent of, “Ahhh….yes, that explains it.” I didn’t ask what he meant, but Brian later told me the cord was wrapped around Kate’s neck as she came out. And then we heard her very sweet cry and she was placed on my belly. (Brian also later told me that she pooped on me immediately. The first of many times…but I will take it!) Our nurse said to Brian, “Well! Tell her what it is!” Brian announced that this was our daughter. Wait…what??!
For a slight second I thought he was joking, then of course I realized he would (should?) know better than to joke at a a time like this. We had a baby girl!!!
(From day one I had envisioned a baby boy in my belly, and everyone – I’d say about 95% of people I encountered – told me they thought boy, too. Even most of my co-workers guessed “boy“! Obviously I had no preference, as long as the baby was healthy. But I would be lying if I said I didn’t want a daughter at some point in my life. I’m not sure if it’s the fact that I grew up with girls, or that I got to see my sisters have their baby girls, or what….but I was just over the moon, crazy excited to have a sweet, baby girl!)
We spent the following moments oohing and aahing over our baby girl, and announced to the nurse and doctor that she would be Kathleen Margaret. We quickly learned that she weighed 8 lbs., 12 oz., and was 20 inches long. From the moment she was born, I could not take my eyes off of her. Not for a minute.
After we FaceTimed with Brian and Mary (I wish there was a way I could have caught that on video…I will NEVER forget that moment!), we invited my family in to tell them the good news. We were all over the moon, crazy in love with our sweet little Kathleen Margaret.
Words simply cannot express how wonderful and complete you have made our lives. I wondered for years if I would ever become a mommy, and when I met your daddy, I knew I wanted him to be the father of my children. Now, looking at you, it just all makes perfect sense.
I will treasure each and every moment I have with you. Even the bad ones (not that there will be any of those….because you are perfect). From the day you were born, we loved you with everything in our hearts. You are sweet, beautiful, and just….perfect.