James + Reece + Lola + Jessica

James + Reece + Lola + Jessica

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Queen Arrives...

I have so many feelings surrounding the birth of our daughter. Maybe it's the postpartum hormones, but I can't even think about the experience without tearing up. So I figure it's a good idea to document her story now, while the memories are still fresh in my mind.

I was scheduled to be induced on Tuesday night at 9 p.m. Reece and I woke up that morning and got ready for our final checkup with the doctor before the big event. Right before we left, I noticed a bit of leakage. Weird leakage (although all leakage qualifies as weird, I guess).

We mentioned it to my doctor during my exam, but she said it was nothing to call home about. Seeing as how I was still barely dilated to a half a centimeter, there's "no way" it could have been my water breaking. So we went on our merry way, eagerly anticipating (and partially dreading) the night's events.

We went to a movie, where I began cramping so badly I thought I might die. We went to lunch, where I was so nauseated I thought I would die. Then we came home to just wait. Waiting, as I've mentioned before, is not one of my talents. I spent a few hours curled up on my bed, freaking myself out about labor and delivery and parenthood.

The magic hour finally arrived, and we packed up the car and left the home we knew before Lola. I didn't really say much the entire ride. I was completely terrified out of my mind. We parked, unloaded and headed to the fourth floor.

We checked in at the front desk and were shown to our room. It was there that I changed into the sexy gown that would be my clothing for the next two days.

Our nurse came in to introduce herself, but the only thing I noticed was the IV kit she was holding in her hand.

Let me clarify:

Three distinct things stood out to me when it came to my anxieties about labor and delivery.

ONE: The IV. I have only ever heard horrible IV stories. "The nurse had to poke me 20 times!" "It hurt so bad my hand fell off!" "Blood spurted from my vein across the room!" Plus, who wants to look down at their hand and see a giant needle attached?

TWO: The epidural. Don't get me wrong, I'm ALL about drugs that keep me from feeling severe pain. It's just the means through which this drug is administered that freaked me out. Our lamaze teacher actually passed around the needle used to insert the catheter, and though I tend to exaggerate, I swear it was at least the size of the pipes under my sink. Gross.

THREE: The actual "wow there is a kid coming out of me and it's covered in gross stuff" part. Enough said.

Back to the IV.

Our overnight nurse was amazing, and got the needle in with just one poke. I couldn't look at my hand for the first few hours, but at least I still had a hand to look at if I wanted to. One terrifying thing down, two to go.

The plan was to start me on a pill that would help soften my cervix, which would hopefully lead to dilation. That would mean we wouldn't start the pitocin (to bring on contractions) until the morning. So basically, we were preparing for a marathon. The nurse decided to do one last check to see if I was doing any of that on my own, only to discover that my water HAD indeed broken, and I was in the middle of labor already.

Trust your instincts, folks. Sometimes a medical degree means nothing.

We got hooked up to the fetal heart and contraction monitors, and began the waiting process. Again with the waiting. After about an hour, my contractions started to get a lot more intense. They were coming very close together, and not even Arrested Development could distract me from the pain. The nurse walked in and asked us to turn off our show. I recognized the tone. Something was wrong.

The baby's heart rate was dropping with each contraction. Since I wasn't dilated yet, she wasn't certain my labor would be short enough to get her out before she went into distress. We needed to prepare for a C-Section. She gave me a 75% chance. The odds were not looking good.

I took the news in stride, until I called my mom to give her the latest update and completely lost it. There is something about talking to your mom that breaks any inhibition you might have. I was terrified. Terrified for the C-Section, terrified that my baby might be in danger, terrified of the unknown.

The nurse recommended that I get the epidural right away, in case of an emergency situation. By this time, the pain was getting fairly intense. I braced myself for what was perhaps the most dreaded part of the whole experience and called for the anesthesiologist.

He came rolling in with his little cart. Thank goodness his tools were covered. I scooted to the edge of the bed (with much effort) and bent over. Reece had one shoulder, the nurse took the other. I screamed when I felt the alcohol on my lower back. I kept rambling on and on, because that's what I do when I'm scared. I felt a pinch, then pressure. I kept on rambling. I asked the anesthesiologist if he was done. He said it was slow going because I wouldn't stop moving. I told him I was sorry. He told me not to apologize, because I wasn't the one sticking a giant needle into his back.

Then, as quickly as it began, it was over. I turned around to see the most handsome man I had ever seen. It didn't even matter that he was wearing a surgical mask. He was my McDreamy. The contractions began to fade. I stopped shaking. Two scary things down, one to go.

From this point on, I was in heaven. I LOVED my epidural. If it was socially acceptable to marry a drug, I would take to Vegas immediately. At one point I looked at the tube supplying the blessed medicine and actually said, "I love you." Reece said, "I love you to0." I said, "I wasn't talking to you."

There is nothing more satisfying than watching the contractions peak, and still feeling no pain:

For me, the epidural was more than just a life-saver. It was magic. Here's why:

The nurse waited until I was numb (blessed woman) to check for any dilation. I was already to a four! Once my body was able to relax, I dilated a centimeter an hour. All the C-Section talk flew out the window. Baby's heart rate stabilized. Life was as it should be.

Reece was able to sleep through most of the night. I stayed up, listening to the sound of my baby's heartbeat. I felt extremely calm (maybe it was the fact that I couldn't move my legs).

By the time 7 a.m. rolled around, I was dilated to an eight. By 8:30, I was fully dilated and effaced. My mom arrived just in time for the pushing to begin. That part, to be honest, is still a complete blur. I remember the nurse telling me to push like I was pushing out the biggest poop imaginable. Gross, but effective. She told me initially that most first-time moms push for at LEAST an hour, so I should gear up for a long struggle. She let me really start pushing around 8:45. By 8:55, she had called my doctor. By 9:00, my mom started crying. "She has hair! She has hair!" By 9:10, my baby girl was out, all 7 pounds 3.5 ounces and 20 inches of her.

This "scary thing" wasn't so scary. It was almost surreal.

Lola didn't cry when she came to us, she squawked. She had too much fluid in her lungs. My doctor didn't even let Reece cut the cord. She handed the baby to the special care nurses and started to work on me. I will spare you the gory details, but there was tearing, and I lost a lot of blood. Reece stood with the baby as the nurses worked to clear her lungs. My doctor kept telling me to focus, to loosen my legs (I think her exact words were, "I know this isn't normally a socially acceptable behavior, but spread your legs as wide as you can for me and keep then loose"). My mom stood by my side, crying and telling my how proud she was while straining to see the baby. I told her to go look after her granddaughter, mostly because I didn't want her to have to witness the stitching.

All I wanted to do was hold my daughter, but my legs didn't work, so I was out of luck.

Before I really even got to see her, they had taken her away to the special care nursery to help her breathe. I was scared, but almost too exhausted to know what was going on. I think I fell asleep for awhile. I really don't remember much about the three hours after her birth.

Finally, Reece brought our daughter to me and placed her on my chest.

Yes, she stuck her tongue out at me. And yes, I believe this is a preview at how our future relationship will be. After all, she is MY daughter.

We spent the next two days getting to know each other. It's amazing how you carry a child for 9 (10) months, and then they come out and you have no idea who they are. The more I got to know her, the more I fell in love. I wouldn't let her sleep in her little bassinet - she had to be in my arms all night. I spent the major part of our hospital stay just staring at this amazingly beautiful little person, wondering how I could have possibly created her.

While laying in my hospital bed, I watched Lola turn Reece into a completely different person. He refused to ever let her leave his sight. He faithfully wheeled her little bassinet to the nursery every time the nurses came to check her vitals. He knew exactly what she needed, when she needed it. He changed every diaper, gave her her very first bath and diligently stayed awake to burp and rock her every night. He has fallen for his little girl, and fallen hard. In turn, I have fallen even harder for him. Bringing a child into our family has strengthened our marriage in so many ways.

Lola is such a wonderful baby. She only cries when she is hungry, she breast feeds like it's her day job and she sleeps like a champ. Seriously, Reece and I are averaging 7 hours of sleep a night. We continue to fall more in love with her every day. I am so grateful that I get to be her mom. The night before we left the hospital, Reece and I agreed that we didn't even remember what life was like without her.

So now the adventure begins. I'm sure it will have its ups and downs, but I am so overwhelmed by how much more meaning my life has now. I thought I had a purpose before, but I realize now that nothing I've done up to this point even comes close to motherhood.

Okay, I'm done gushing now. I'm off to kiss my baby.


Kari McCallon said...

Jessica, I'm so glad she is here and healthy. Your story telling skills had me at the edge of my seat... even though I already knew she came home with you. haha. She's cute!

tara said...

so. very. darn. precious. That is the best story I've heard in a long time. I love the pic of Lola stickin her tongue out. She's beautiful! You did such a wonderful job! COngrats to you guys..can't wait to see you!

Kimba said...

wow! so glad it was such a good experience, and she's doing great. i love the tongue picture. :) way to go, mommy!

but i can't get over that 7 hrs a night thing. you are SOOOO lucky!!! i can't wait to meet this little girl, she is so sweet!

Cory and Hilary Belnap said...

Yay! When I have a baby will you write my post for me, because that was great! :) I"m so excited for you guys, I'm glad she sleeps well!!!

The life of a college girl said...

Love it Jess. Glad it was not as bad as you thought. Congrats mommy!!

Kim said...

I'm so glad everything went well for you and Lola (and Reece I guess). Let's pretend I didn't just bawl through the last 10 paragraphs.

The Smiths said...

i loved reading your story! Motherhood is the best- i guess everything they said in young women's was true afterall eh? THat's how i felt after having spencer. Congrats on a great sleeper! That makes a huge difference.

Amy said...

So glad it all turned out ok! Scary there for a while, but clearly she's just as perfect as she can be. :) Congratulations again!

The Grady's said...

That is so beautiful! I am so glad everything went okay! She is so cute :)

Jenna said...

That was so amazing, Jessica. It sounds like your life is perfect. I'm so happy for you. And way to make the pregnant lady cry with your birth story!

Abby said...

Oh, how I loved every word of this post. And oh, how I love you, and Reeceykins, and Lola, too.

todd + riss said...

that is such a great story, and lola is a doll! i'm so happy for you!

jaclyn said...

oh tears and more tears. i love it. she is so pretty i must come hold her soon

Madelyn said...

You are such a great writer! I'm glad everything went well and that mommy and daughter are both doing well (and Reece). Keep posting those beautiful pictures!

steph and brent said...

It's a good thing I'm still stunned by your beautiful writing and the thought of being in labor myself, because the next time I read through this my laptop will likely be covered in tears. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.

Kari Lyn said...

Oh Congratulations you too! I am so happy for you! She is adorable. If you need anything let me know!

Danielle said...

Yeah, that sounds about right. Made me cry a little, it's just so close to home. Little baby girls are the best thing that ever happened. And husbands that are excited to help are so very exceptional. I am blessed with one too:) I'm so glad she's here and that everyone is healthy and happy. Congratulations Jessica and Reece!

Julie Radmall said...

Congratulations Jessica and Reece! I have loved anticipating Lola's birth through your blog, and I am so excited for you. Our due date is tomorrow... hopefully we'll join you in this parenting thing really really soon!

Kelli said...

That was a beautiful story. I even cried. Congrats Jess I am proud of you and so excited for you!

Future Mama said...

Awww I'm so happy for you, and I SO want that! Loved your story, thanks for sharing! I can't wait!

Mal Mecham said...

Jess, you seriously just moved me to tears. What a lucky little girl Lola is to have you for a mom. :)

Fae said...

Isn't being a mom great? Just wait until 4 months when little personality really shows. My kid won't quit jabbering, laughing and drooliing. Good luck!