Our baby was born at 12:07pm on April 22, 2010 - one day before her due date. It was a rainy Thursday. Kenny was there (of course) as was his sister, Amelia, who pulled double duty assisting me with the "pushing" part of labor all while photographing the event. DeAnne, Kenny's mom, waited patiently just outside eager to welcome her fourth grandchild.
The day before was fairly routine - nothing to signal that I might be going into labor a day early, anyway. In retrospect the searing back pain that, at one point, had me on my knees (at my desk at work) may have been a sign. Anyway, no new-comer to back pain, I kept working from my knees, jumping to my desk chair whenever someone walked by my office . I even put myself through a lunch-time gym session (stair climbing) hoping the activity would loosen my back. (It worked for a little while.) That night we had a fantastic dinner with some friends (the Brewer's) and got to bed early. I had a doctor appointment the next morning and hoped to get a good night's rest and to get to the gym before the appointment. I got neither.
Fast forward to 2:00am. I was wide awake with more back pain.
3:00am: I gave into any hopes of a decent night's rest and hit the shower. The shower eventually turned into a bath. Still wide awake I "got ready for the day" (i.e. hair, make-up, etc.). My thinking was that I'll just take advantage of being awake and hopefully tire myself out enough to get a nap in before my doctor appointment. The back pain was getting worse and I found myself again on my knees while drying to effectively blow dry my hair.
5:00am: I crawled back to my room and, with Kenny's help, quite literally climb back into bed where I assume a modified child's pose and beg for both a back rub and the computer (thinking I'll multi task and finish addressing my thank you cards). Kenny declined my request for the latter and instead handed me a watch. "Start timing," he instructed and he started trying to get a hold a Amelia.
But I couldn't focus on the stupid watch.
Truthfully I didn't last five minutes. "Maybe we should pack a bag," I finally suggest. Kenny began to throw things in a suitcase, returning every few minutes to rub my back when the pain would flare up (oddly in short, fairly regular intervals). I refused to admit that they might be contractions.
We got to the hospital just after 6:00am. We couldn't get a hold of Amelia and didn't ever call my doctor. Kenny finally called Sarah Windes and asked her to drive over to Amelia's and tell her to get to the hospital, which she did because, you know, she's awesome.
For my part, I remained convinced that the baby wasn't coming anytime soon or even that day.
"Kenny, they're going to check me and tell me I'm only at a 1 and send us home," I worried.
"Jill. You were at a "2" over a week ago and lost your plug 5 days ago. You aren't going to digress," He reassured me.
I got all checked in and signed a whole bunch of paperwork (while sustaining ever-worsening contractions). The nurse finally checked me around 7:00ish.
I was 5.5 cm dilated and 80% effaced.
"Do I have to go home?" I pathetically asked the nurse
"Uhh...no. You definately are NOT going home," the nurse chuckled.
And so Kenny started making the calls. My game plan was to just "see what it felt like" before deciding on an epidural. Given the back pain, I gratefully accepted it when offered (an hour later). Amelia showed up, camera in hand, and DeAnne came in to say hello and check on us. Labor moved quickly and by 10:00am, I was ready to push.
I pushed for two hours.
I declined my doctor's offer of the vacuum the first time he suggested it. But I practically begged for it at the end. Thankfully, he used it only for the very last push. I figured the baby would for sure have a cone head at this point anyway and that the vacuum wouldn't be used long enough to cause any serious damage. (I hoped.) Also, I was sooooo tired at this point that I needed any help possible.
(Side note: I really don't know how a person can go through labor and not be in shape before hand. It was physically exhausting.)
The epidural had worn off toward the end and I was crying pretty hard. My nurse, Michelle, asked me at what point "where does it hurt, Jill?"
I'm told I didn't even open my eyes and blurted out (while sobbing) "emotionally! I'm so tired...please, just get it* out"
*we still didn't know gender...thus "it" remained an It until It was finally out.
Well "It" was a girl. A 7 pound 6 ounce beautiful (but very swollen and cone-headed) baby girl with blue eyes and lots of dark brown hair. And a very healthy set of lungs. After a minor set back with the whole breathing thing, she made sure we knew those lungs worked just fine.
I was stunned to learn she was a girl. We were convinced she would be a he. I couldn't even call her by her name that first day...I think I just referred to her as Buddy all day, at least until Kenny reminded me that she wasn't an elf.
So that was how She came into this world. Nothing unusual or particularly interesting, but it was my experience, and I want to remember it. Truthfully, I'm incredibly grateful that nothing "interesting" happened. Everything worked like clockwork and we have a healthy baby. I wouldn't have wanted anything else. It's cliche, but it's hard to believe it has been a whole month and yet it seems so much longer.
How's motherhood, you ask?
I guess it's what I expected. I love her. So much. The first day was so disorienting and I was so tired that I don't know what I felt. Overwhelm-ment? Does that word work? Overwhelmed by many often conflicting emotions. I don't love every minute I'm meeting her needs (I mean, can one really enjoy cleaning up poop?), but I do it happily, knowing that I willfully signed up for this and that it means I get to see her thrive and be happy. So, on the whole, I love it. I'm so grateful she's here. And, yes, I think she's perfect.
I predicted my favorite thing would be getting to watch Kenny interact (finally in person) with this baby, and it has been the coolest thing to watch. At the moment, he's balancing Bottle Cap candies on her nose and them eating them off her. I'm excited to see how their relationship develops.
I was told once, in a very personal and special moment, that this baby and I knew each other "before" and had a meaningful relationship. I believe that. Everyday I feel a little closer - a little more "reacquainted" with her. And somehow more complete...and more comfortable in my new role.
Anyway, this has taken long enough. My girl is asking for attention and I want nothing more than to give it to her.
(When I get the photos from Amelia, I'll post a few. They're awesome.)