I have been working on this post since I first started this blog and it has been edited and reedited so many times that I just need to hit “PUBLISH”!
You were born on Saturday, June 6, 2009 at 1:18 am.
On Friday, June 5, I was almost 39 weeks pregnant and eight days from your due date. The day was like many days of my pregnancy; I met my friend Rachel and her then eight month old, Lilee for a walk and lunch. We walked 3+ miles up and down Swami’s Beach in Encinitas and for much of the way I pushed Lilee in her BOB stroller. It was one of the last pieces of baby gear that your dad and I were researching and I wanted to give it a test drive. I got very winded pushing it up the ramp at the Cardiff Camp Ground, but other than that, I felt great! And as you know, fell in love with the stroller.
After walking for almost an hour, we had lunch at one of my favorite restaurants, Luxus 101 Bistro, where I had the same thing I always have there: a grilled chicken sandwich with sliced apples, Havarti cheese and tomatoes. It was a good visit and a yummy lunch. I even managed, despite my swollen belly to hold Lilee for a while. She is an adorable baby with a smile that lights up a room. I remember thinking how much I had been enjoying getting to know her and her mom and had appreciated all of the new mommy advice she had been giving me.
After lunch, I went home, checked my e-mail and Facebook page and changed my “status” from “walking on the beach” to: “I’m ready!”. It’s ironic now to think that in some way I was putting it out there into the universe that I was ready to have you. I had not felt that way until that week.
The day before, I had a routine doctor’s appointment (NST fetal heart monitoring and an ultrasound) and you were weighting in at roughly seven pounds, six ounces, you were facing down, assuming the position. Typically after my doctor’s visits, I ran errands; usually to Babies R Us to return, exchange, or check out products. But after Thursday’s appointment, I didn’t have anything I necessarily needed to do. All of your furniture had arrived and been put together, your room was completed, clothes were washed and put away, we had attended all of the classes, had a short list of our top five favorite names, the car seat was installed and my hospital bag was more or less packed. We were ready for you! The last thing on my “Before Baby To Do List” was to discuss my birth plan with our doula*. I had sent it to her earlier in the week, but had yet to review it with her. We had been playing phone tag all day trying to schedule a time to get together so that we could also meet our back up doula, in the event that she would be unavailable on the big day.
Back to June 5…
After playing on the computer for a while, I showered and got ready for a “date night” with your dad, I started to feel stronger than usual Braxton Hicks contractions but didn’t really think anything of them, after all I was almost a week away from my due date and I had pushed the stroller up that big hill. Maybe I had overdone it that day, I thought.
That night, we were going to another one of my favorite restaurants in Encinitas, Via Italia, which not only serves wonderful Italian food, it also holds very significant meaning to us. It is the restaurant that catered our August, 2007 wedding and it was also the location where I told your dad we were pregnant. We hadn’t been back since that night!
On the way to dinner, I declared that I was going to have a glass of wine and I enjoyed every sip of it through our appetizer, salad, main course and dessert. Our conversation was light and although I can’t remember any specifics now, I know we talked about you and your impending arrival. Your due date was so close, that we talked about you a lot! All the while, I was having contractions and thinking nothing of them. I mentioned them to your dad, but in a very off handed way.
During dinner, my doula returned my phone call and so on the way home I called her back and actually reached her…finally! I told her about my evening and what I was feeling. She said to have a big meal (done!) and go to bed, that it sounded like I might need my rest, but that chances were slim that anything would happen until the morning. Boy, was she wrong!
Before going home, we stopped in to say hello to our neighbors. At this point it is about 9:15. They had just had their second child two weeks earlier and we thought they might be able to offer some insight into what I was feeling. While sitting in their bedroom, as they were all snuggled in for a movie, I had to get up and leave the room a couple of times because the contractions were starting to get the best of me, if that’s even what they were. At this point I still didn’t know for sure. All of a sudden all I wanted to do was go home, get into jammies and into bed.
Once we got home, a mere 30 steps away, my stomach was cramping up and I felt sick and sore all over and I could not get comfortable to save my life. The contractions were just way too strong and too painful and I wasn’t able to get any kind of rest in between them, they were coming so fast. All the breathing techniques that we had learned in our child birthing class went right out the window!
What was your dad doing during all of this, you ask…. well, let’s see; he was running around our room sort of packing his stuff for the hospital and maybe sorting laundry. All I know is that he kept turning on lights and moving around too much. I just wanted dark, stillness and to not feel like my insides were being turned out. Maybe he was freaking out in his own way, but I only remember being annoyed with him, although there were no expletives…yet.
He did call Leah to tell her that she should plan on driving out in the morning, that she should get a good night’s rest and that she’d probably have a nephew some time the next day. He also called the doula to see if she should come over and was told that she was off at 10:00. This was the first we had she had “hours” and needless to say, we were very disappointed. We talked to her a couple more times that night and she coached me through one bout of painful contractions, but other than that, our doula experience wasn’t what we had hoped for in the least bit. Oh well, live and learn, right? I am thankful that she was the one that ultimately decided it was time for me to get to the hospital and I have a feeling if she hadn’t told us, you may have been born at home without a professional in sight.
The short 15 mile car ride to the hospital was excruciating for me and I will spare you the details, but as you can imagine, there was a lot of screaming and yelling of four letter words. Luckily, it was after 11:00 at this point, so there was zero traffic. Once we arrived, I was still in a lot of pain and believe it or not, still somewhat in denial that I was actually in labor. I was relived that we had made it and as my eyes rolled back in my head, I knew I was now in good hands.
Once I was admitted and on a delivery table, everything happened so fast. I was checked, heard I was 8 centimeters dilated, my water broke and I was ready to push. The only word that describes the next 90 minutes is primal. I was destroying a wet wash cloth with one hand and gripping the headboard behind me so hard that my arms hurt for days afterward. I kept hearing “one more push”, “one more push” and it was way, way, WAY more than one more push. I don’t know how long I pushed, I just know that you decided to make your entrance at 1:18 AM and I was never happier. I have never experienced relief like that before and it rushed over my entire body. Finally, the pain and pushing had stopped and you were here and suddenly, in a split second, I had become a mother. In that moment I experienced for the first time the love that only a parent can feel for a child, a love that has remained in my heart ever since. I loved you before you were born, but not like this.
My goal had been to deliver vaginally and without any drugs and that’s what I did. The steps it took to get to that moment were not part of my plan, but I was okay with that. I had wanted a doula to coach your dad and I through labor and delivery calmly and lovingly and instead it happened fast and furiously, but I was okay with that too. The hospital staff was amazing and you were just perfect.
I held you in my arms the entire rest of the night and you and I watched the sun come up together from the dinky little window in our room. It was truly magical and I knew that the best was yet to be.
*A doula is an assistant who provides various forms of non-medical and non-midwifery support (physical and emotional) in the childbirth process. The word doula comes from Ancient Greek δούλη (doulē), and refers to a woman of service.
Incidentally, the doula we hired had her back up meet us at the hospital and she was very helpful, but not what we had hoped for.