blythe's story

CLICK HERE to read the letters I wrote to Blythe before she was born.

Here is the "baby bump" picture I took Wednesday for my 39th week. Little did I know, in two more days I would get to meet that little bump. 
To start, it's surreal to me to be sitting here, listening to Blythe's little sleeping squeaks, writing my story of labor and delivery of my daughter. I loved being pregnant. And I'm not just saying that so you all think I'm awesome and strong and wonderful. I had an easy pregnancy, and I enjoyed all the milestones-- hearing her heartbeat for the first time, the sonogram [it's a girl!], watching my belly grow, feeling her first kicks, having her hiccup all the time etc etc. Though there were  some discomforts along the way, and having to use the restroom every 20 minutes was not overly convenient, I loved having her close to me at all times. I loved having this growing relationship with her before anyone else did. And there have been times that I do miss it.

But she is here now…and that is even more wonderful. Her little eyes slitting open to peek around. Her slurping sounds while eating. Her half smiles and folded hands. Her soft cheeks and her smell. Sigh. She is wonderful and it's safe to say I'm smitten.

But this is supposed to be the story about getting her here. Well, I really thought I would go past my due date. I said all along I thought she would be an April baby. I had started making sub plans at the end of February. I started with Monday, March 26th and continued them through to the end of the school year. This took quite a bit of time, but when I was finished I placed my hands on my belly and told her and God that anytime after Friday the 23rd would work great for me now that I had these plans ready to go.

Fast forward to the week of her arrival. Monday was the first day I uttered the words, "I'm ready, she can come any time now." I was just feeling a little more…uncomfortable…than I had been up to that point. I emailed Brent that day and told him I just needed a relaxing night at home, since our weekend had been busy. He delivered. He gave me a backrub and let me take a bath, and we went to bed early. It was perfect. Tuesday we ate supper and then spent the evening with the Blythes and watched "Biggest Loser" and spent some time with Paige before she had to head back to college. Every night I kept saying, "Brent, this is our last time we'll do ______ together…" and we'd laugh, but we always knew it was a real possibility. I felt like a ticking time bomb. Wednesday Brent went to youth group like he always does and I headed out to Mom and Dad's where Mom fed me pita crisps and repainted my toenails. And then Thursday I had a doctor's appointment. I thought I would have progressed slightly more from the week before, but my doctor informed me I was still at a 2, and was still about 60-70% effaced. This is what I'd been hearing for about three weeks, so I again was pretty confident that I would have to wait a little longer. After the appointment Brent and I ran several errands: Sam's club to get a new phone, Walmart to make a few exchanges and pick up a few items I still needed, and Kohls because, well, I had Kohl's cash and a coupon :-). I was on my feet A LOT. I was exhausted [and to be honest a little cranky], and when we got home we just crawled in to bed.

That night I woke up with some "crampy pain things." That is how I described them to Brent. Needless to say, I did not sleep very well. I was up and down most of the night, and couldn't find a comfortable position. This was a first for me. I thought about calling in the next day, but when I finally rolled over at 7:20, I knew it was too late to get a sub. "You'll be fine…suck it up," I told myself.

I informed my kids at the beginning of class that I wasn't feeling awesome. I've learned that if I tell them this up front, it's way more fair than snapping at them later. So they were great to me through the entire day. In one class when I told them I wasn't feeling well, a boy in the front slapped his hands up to his mouth and got huge eyes. I looked at him and he said, "Oh my gosh, are you, like, going to, like, have your baby right now?" I assured him I would wait until the end of his class period, at least. As I dismissed my students that day I said, "Have a great weekend! I don't know if I'll see you on Monday." Things just felt different and my "crampy pains" were kind of not going away. Brent checked on me a couple times throughout the day but I assured him I was fine. Since we had such a busy night before, he promised me another relaxing night in.

I left school and when I got home I plopped on the couch and didn't really feel like moving. Brent came home around 4:30, and I asked him to make us some Mac-n-Cheese because it sounded delicious. As he made it, he told me that his coworkers had given him some cash with the explicit instructions to take me out before the baby came. So we made plans for Saturday. We would go out to eat and then go see a matinee of "The Hunger Games." Sounded great. Pretty soon Mom called to check on me. I had let her know I wasn't feeling the best and she and Dad were getting ready to leave for Sedalia [about three hours away] to watch my cousin in a play. She was wondering if she thought they should stay--i.e. if I thought I was in labor. I told her to go. I really didn't think I was anywhere near labor, and if it turned into something I was sure they would have plenty of time to make it back and be at the hospital with us. And off they went.

And almost as soon as I told them to go I felt like my "crampy pains" were getting a little more intense. I told Brent I was going to start timing them, just in case. When I did, I realized they were between 5 and 7 minutes apart and lasting for about 40 seconds each. Hmmmm. Interesting. That sounded like something I should maybe pay attention to. I called Kali, my older, wise, and birth-experienced sister. "So uh, what do contractions feel like?" I cut right to the chase. I described what  I was feeling and she said, "Yeah, I think you're starting labor, Kels!" She suggested I call my doctor, see when they wanted me to come in, and then maybe go for a walk if I wanted to "speed things up." I wanted to make sure they were really something before I did anything too crazy. I sent Brent to Subway to get us something to eat [a little more substantial than the macaroni] and then I got in the shower and relaxed a little.

I looked down as the water trickled over my very expanded belly. I put my hands around it, and realized that possiblywithin the next 24 hours I could be holding my daughter.

Brent was back by the time I was done and was literally sprinting through the house and throwing last minute things in our hospital bag. At this point, he was more amped up than I was. I still wanted to make sure these contractions were the real deal because one of my fears was going to the hospital and being sent home. I just thought that would be the worst. Like, "Hey…yeah…you think this is labor? You sissy! Go home!" So we sat down and ate our sandwiches. I wasn't really hungry at this point, but the thought of not eating for hours and hours on end made me want to get a little more in my system. I was still timing my contractions, which were definitely beyond "crampy pain things" at this point and were actually taking my breath away. They were consistently 5-6 minutes apart and lasting for about 45-50 seconds and I had to stop talking when they came. I called and the nurse said I should come on in. We finished getting everything we needed and piled into the car. I laid down a big pad/sheet thing Kali had given me just in case my water were to break on the way.

And then my next contraction wasn't coming. It took 13 minutes. I told Brent I thought we should stay at the house a little longer, but when the next one his in 4 minutes, he made the call and said he really thought we should go. This ended up being a very wise decision. We let our parents know, but told them they didn't need to come until we were admitted, after all, first children labor lasts an average of 14 hours. Regardless, my mom and dad left the play at intermission.

We got to the hospital around 8 that night. Since my water hadn't broken, there seemed to be no rush. We had to wait at the reception desk for about 10 minutes or more, and I had 2 or 3 contractions while we waited. Finally they let us in, but put us in one of those "we'll-wait-and-see-if-you-really-know-what-real-labor-is-before-we-fully-admit-you" rooms and hooked me up to a monitor. Blythe's little heartbeat was going crazy, but the nurse said this was normal. She checked me and…I was at a 2. Nothing had happened since my doctor's appointment the day before. She kept talking like I would most definitely be going home. This was very disappointing.  They had a hard time getting the monitor to read my contractions though, and after an HOUR a new nurse finally came in and hooked me up to a new one. My contractions were happening about a minute apart now and lasting for 45-60 second or a little longer. I looked at Brent and said, "If this isn't labor, and they send us home, how in the heck am I supposed to know when to come to the hospital!?!" It sure felt like the real deal to me. However, I was trying to stay calm and when the nurse asked my pain level I didn't want to be too generous right away, thinking it would get a whole heck of a lot worse before it got better, so I said, "Umm…probably a six?"

After an hour-ish, the nurse came back and checked again. A twoI was so disappointed. However, my contractions were even more intense now, lasting longer, and coming closer together. She asked where we lived and I told her 45 minutes away. She said because we weren't right in town, they would keep me one more hour. I sent Mom a text and filled her in, letting her know they were most likely going to send us home. She responded, "Stay positive. I think this is the real deal." That would be the last she heard from us in awhile.

After that, things started to get crazy rather quickly. There was no more timing my contractions because they were happening all the time. I was still fairly in control. A contraction would come and I would breathe deeply and just say quietly while exhaling, "Okay. Oww. Okay. Ouch…" The meanest thing I said to Brent during this time happened when I got really hot and so he started blowing on my face. My response? "You need gum." He was a gentleman and didn't respond, "SO DO YOU!" though he probably could have.

At this point, around 10:30 or so, I told Brent I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom or push or something. The nurse came in and said I should walk around to try and speed things up before she checked me again [and sent me home]. I stood up as I was having another contraction and felt like I was going to have the baby right then and there. Wowsa. I sat back down. I didn't want the nurse to think I wasn't trying though, so when that contraction passed, I stood up as quickly as I could and started out the door to walk around the nurses' station. I didn't even get halfway and had another one. I had to get back to that bed and lay down! I told the nurse I was at least at an on the pain scale now…holy cow…at LEAST an 8, and asked when they usually gave epidurals. I was under no illusions that I would do this au-naturale. It was 2012, the drugs were good…give them to me whenever, please and thank you. The nurse just smiled and said it depended on the doctor, but they didn't want to give them too soon in case it slowed things down. It was about 10:30 and I'd only been at the hospital an hour and half, but I was pretty sure I didn't care if things "slowed down" a bit. The nurse finally actually stayed in the room while I had my next contraction, and though I wasn't screaming or doing anything hysterical like seen in movies, I think she could tell I was in pain. My back was killing, and Brent was pressing on it while I had contractions to try to relieve some of the pressure. She said, "Well, let me just check you one more time." If she were to say, "You're still at a two" I think I would have yanked the monitor off my belly and whipped it at her.

Instead her response was very…interesting. "Umm…I'm going to go get the doctor. " She apparently couldn't find the doctor and brought in another nurse who checked me and said, "Yep. You're having this baby right now."

What?! Huh?! Right now?! No, I was just at a two, I think a 3,4,5,6 … has to come next somewhere in there. But apparently I had jumped right to a "you're-going-to-have-this-baby." I looked at Brent who looked equally shocked. We had gone from "you're probably going home" to "let's have the baby right now, waddya say?in a matter of 30 minutes. Talk about no time to process things.

In a matter of moments, they had me unplugged, covered up, and were wheeling me, bed and all, down the hallway. Remember, I wasn't event ADMITTED yet? As we turned a corner I looked to the nurse and asked, "So is it too late for an epidural?" She sort of laughed and said it was, but that the hardest part was the labor and that was almost over. She assured me pushing wouldn't be as painful. I had my doubts.

Within seconds we were in a room--a real delivery room! What we had come for all along! Hallelujah. There was an entire calvary of nurses in there. Things were happening so quickly. A nurse grabbed my right hand and tried to start an iv in it, while another nurse was grabbing my legs, and then in walked the doctor. The nurse missed the vein the first time, and she didn't want to prolong it, because remember "you're having this baby right NOW" was what got me to this room. So another nurse grabbed my left arm and just stuck in the iv and we were in business.

"Okay, with the next contraction you can push." I felt her break my water, which was a great release of pressure, and I was ready to push at this point. I looked at Brent one last time and said something like, "I can't believe I can't get an epidural." He grabbed my arm and told me I was doing great.

And then it was time. There were several nurses around me, and when the one that was watching the monitor would say it was time they all joined in encouraging me and "helping" me push. There was one nurse in particular who was right by my head to my left…I'm not sure if she really existed because I think she may have just been an angel…and she said all of the right things at all the right times. I made it through the first pushing session and felt relatively relaxed before my next contraction. Brent said I was even making jokes/small talk with the nurses. I think I was still in shock that this was happening, I mean after all I thought I was going to be going home shortly.

The next contraction came, I pushed and breathed and pushed. And Blythe was partially in our world. One more contraction and some intense pushing, and then…then…

they laid my daughter on my chest.

Brent cut the cord.

We didn't cry, but just stared incredulously at each other. She was here.  Six and a half pounds of delicious baby to call our own. Blythe Kathleen. She didn't holler or cry after being put on my chest, and I just held her while the doctor…umm..finished up business [which hurt worse than the actual delivery…yowsa!]. Brent and I just kept giddily smiling at each other.

One nurse then took her to the warmer to measure and clean her etc. She told Brent it would be a good time to take pictures. We hadn't even brought in the camera at this point though, since we decided to leave our stuff in the car until we were admitted. He ran out and got the camera and snapped a few pictures while I signed the admittance papers…finally. They got to the consent form for the epidural and decided I probably didn't need to sign that one at this point and set it aside.

I had done it. I had delivered our baby girl, in a hectic and crazy and fast way, without any pain meds. Brent had encouraged me and loved me through it.

We decided we should probably call our family at this point, and both of our moms did not believe us when we said, "She's here!" Their response? "You're kidding right?" When they realized we weren't they were in their cars and on their way in a matter of moments.

Labor is definitely hard work. Even though mine went quickly, it was painful and exhausting. But it was incredible to see and experience first hand the incredible way in which God has created our bodies to endure it. And in the end we were handed this baby-- both a stranger to us, and yet someone we knew and loved intensely. And in that moment love filled up the space of pain and blood and fear.

And that is our story-- wherein Blythe, this beautiful little girl, was handed to us to take care of forever; where her life met ours.We are so glad she is ours.


Pink Pamalamma said...

Wow, how incredible! You're a superstar!

I'm really enjoying reading your writing. :)

Mrs Burns To You said...

I just read this (thanks for linking from your blog today!) and it is beautiful. I love hearing how "in the moment" everything was. I hope you don't wait when little lady #2 decides to arrive :)