She's here....and our lives will never be the same.
People tell you that....that you aren't prepared for how much you will love your child - and they're right. I thought I wouldn't be overwhelmed with how much I love her. I thought my previous experiences had me prepared for how much she would mean to me. I was so very wrong.
I will never forget how it felt to bring her into this world. It was, without a doubt, the single most awe inspiring moment of my life. I've had some big moments in my life....saying my vows, being present for the death of my beloved grandmother are among the top two...until now.
This one tops it all - there is nothing like that instant where she moves from being safe and sound inside your body to breathing her first breath. I don't have words for it.
Which, is not to say her delivery was a piece of cake. Well, the delivery part was - honestly, I actually enjoyed the pushing. Of course, I had an epidural by then, just strong enough to take away the major pain, but not the feeling. Up until that epidural, however....all 26 hours up until that epidural... it wasn't so much fun. I'd thought perhaps I'd be able to do it naturally, but man alive was I not up for that.
My labor started around 3 am on Thursday, January 15th. It started as heavy menstral cramps. Strong enough to be painful, but not enough to make me think I was in actual labor. Pregnant women have cramps all the time. The difference, this time, was that they were coming in timable waves. Being the true trooper I was (that's a shameless grab at an 'atta girl), I started working about 6 am. I was uncomfortable, but able to concentrate. By 10 am, that wasn't the case. I was on conference calls and had myself muted because I was having to breath through the cramps. By noon, I couldn't concentrate and I called it a day, thinking these were Braxton Hicks and I'd be right back at it the next day. Her due date wasn't until the following Tuesday, after all. However, my girlfriends convinced me I should time them before I laid down - which I did. They were about 10 minutes apart.
For the rest of the afternoon, I tried to nap. My husband kept saying they were just BH contractions, I couldn't possible be in labor. But at this point, I knew I was in some sort of early labor. BH goes away when you change positions, drink water, lie down. These hadn't gone away.
By 4 pm, they were about 5 minutes apart and I called my OB. Her nurse suggested we hang out another hour or so before going to the hospital and wait for them to be 5 - 3 minutes apart.
The next several hours weren't fun. My contractions would go from 3 minutes apart to 5 minutes to 7 minutes to 2 minutes. They were all over the board - and strong enough to bring tears to my eyes. I wanted to go to the hospital! I was sure I must be dialated to a 3 or 4!
Jim thought we were going too early - and he was right in the end - but I didn't care. We got to the hospital, I was checked, and sure enough - I was a 1 :( They didn't send me home, however, but let me labor in the tub for an hour. In that time, I progressed to a 2. However, there were other signs things were moving along, so they monitored me for another hour. In that time I moved to a 3 and they decided to admit me for good around 11 pm.
The problem was, my contractions weren't in a steady pattern. They were "coupling", which meant they'd come one on top of the other, then several minutes, then a contraction, then several minutes, then several contractions. This isn't considered "productive" laboring, so I was dialating slowly - which meant no epidural.
For those that go naturally, I applaude you. However, I do not handle pain that well....and I was not a happy camper. I didn't yell, I didn't scream. I just cried - a LOT. I ended up having a dose of pain medication. I'd wanted to avoid any narcotics, but I was hurting so terribly, and the nurse assured me we were far enough away from delivery, it wouldn't adversly affect Maddy. That helped for an hour.
Finally, at 4:30, I had a series of contractions that moved me from a 5 to a 6 in ten minutes. Those hurt ALOT....but...they ended with the doctors agreeing I could have an epidural. Ahhhh, pain relief, you are my friend.
Once the epi was in place, I was a happy camper. Jim and I were able to relax - he slept for a few hours, I dozed. We were back up around 10 am. My doctor had stopped in about 7 to check on me. Things hadn't progressed much, so she broke my water. That didn't do much, so I was started on a pitocin drip. By noon, things were far enough along that it was time to push.
Pushing was awesome. It didn't hurt - it was a lot of pressure, but it didn't hurt. And it was exciting to me! It meant Madelyn would be in my arms shortly. I was warned I would push for hours, but after my "test push" at 12:15, I got down to business and pushed her out in record time - an hour and a half.
And life will never be the same.
Things have been interesting, to say the least. She had water on her lungs when she was born and gave us all a bit of a scare. She had a slight case of jaundice, which lead to some feeding issues that have been hugely emotional for me at times. Life just doesn't go exactly the way you planned it to. But with the help of my husband and an amazing pediatrician, we're on the right track.
There are other stories to tell...but little miss is giving me signs it's time to eat - so I must go. But not before I also say that bringing a child into the world with the man you love is amazing - and will make you fall in love with him all over again. Jim is the most amazing father. I don't know what I'd do without him. He has been right by my side, changing the late night diapers, making the bottles, and fussing so over his little girl - she's so in love with him and he's so in love with her - and I'm so in love with them both.
And these are the two little words I've waited most to say.... "she's here".