Because birthdays should really be just as much a celebration for the mother as for the birthed, I'm going to treat myself to finally taking the time to write out our birth story. The birth of me as a mommy and the birth of my very special little girl.
So here it goes my dear Sienna:
I'll start by saying I loved every single minute of being pregnant with you. I loved how my body changed. I loved feeling my belly grow and I loved. loved, loved your constant kicking. I was one of those obnoxious pregnant mommies who delighted in the experience and couldn't relate to the commiserating among fellow moms-to-be. That has progressively changed now as I'm pregnant with #4 in 5 years, but with you, my very first, even the hardest parts of it was total bliss!
By the time the full Christmas season ended I was a plump Mrs. Claus waiting to meet my special gift from God. I was slowly starting to feel more and more back pain as the days went on, but for the most part I relaxed, nested and waited for the signs of labor. I was only 36 weeks and everyone said your first baby comes late....
So when Tuesday afternoon rolled around I was up to my normal routine not expecting anything more. During my brisk treadmill walk I decided that for dinner that night I just had to have one of the most delicious, greasiest, wonderful-est burgers in Enid, OK that was only available at a total dive bar (You'll learn what that is have a dozen or so more birthdays). Daddy certainly wasn't a tough sell for the burger, so we headed out to the Pink Flamingo and took the only available "non-smoking" table in the corner of the one room bar. I felt funny through dinner and decided maybe the greasy burger wasn't the best choice... that had to be what caused the "cramping" I noticed.
I couldn't get to sleep that night and was up chatting on the phone at 11:30 pm when I told my friend Christa that I felt like my water broke a little just then!! Or did it? I didn't want to trouble anyone with false labor and I wasn't soaked or anything... Besides, I had a check up visit scheduled for 4:00 the next day, so I figured I'd wait and see if any contractions came. I went to bed and before I knew it that back pain and cramps just got worse and worse. By 3:30 am I woke up Daddy and said I thought that maybe I wasn't sick, but actually having contractions, but wasn't totally sure. We timed them for an hour, but since there were 7-9 minutes apart I figured it probably some sort of Braxton Hicks. Daddy woke up at 6:00 am and I sent him off to the gym and then work. When he left I bolted out of bed, took a shower, ran to the laundry mat, made some chicken for later... the usual things you do when you might be in labor.
By 8:30 am I decided I was pretty uncomfortable and these were probably contractions after all. They were stronger and more frequent, so I called Daddy at work and said maybe he should head home early just in case, but not to hurry because I had to wait for the laundry to be done and if it was labor it could still be a while. He came home around 9:30 am and we decided I should go to the hospital and just see what they thought. But we hadn't packed our bags yet, because I was only 36 weeks. We quickly packed our bags and stopped by Walgreens to buy a few snacks and travel sized toiletries.
Walking through the aisles of Walgreens I became more sure that I would meet my little girl that day! I was so excited to hold you that every painful contraction was actually energizing!! Through the check out line Daddy asked if they had a military discount (like most places in the small military town did). The clerk said no, so Daddy asked, "How about my wife is in labor in your store right this second discount??" The poor lady's face went pale and she said quickly said, "What?!! Why are you here?? Hurry to the hospital so you don't have a baby in a Walgreens!" Daddy and I laughed and laughed.
We got to the hospital and sure enough I was more than halfway dilated. They admitted us and we energetically roamed the halls to walk through my contractions. The staff was shocked that we refused pain medication Most of the staff including doctors, nurses and anesthesiologists had never seen a natural child birth. Which couldn't made my first natural labor really difficult, but God sent Mommy a special angel that day. The nurse assigned to help Mommy was named Laura. Her husband was in the Air Force with Daddy and they had recently moved to town, but before she came she had started her classes to become a midwife and knew all about natural labor. God knew Mommy would need lots of help and encouragement for the battle ahead, which is why He sent Laura there to help me!
Daddy and I had never been to birthing classes. We hadn't read the books on our night stands that were all about childbirth yet. We hadn't even toured the hospital! We had no idea what we were getting into.
Laura taught us everything. She showed Daddy where to rub Mommy's back during a contraction. She taught us how to position ourselves to help you get ready to come out of my tummy. She showed me how to breath through the contractions to use them to help my body get ready for you. When I was in so much pain my body was shaking and I couldn't stop throwing up she squeezed both of my hands tightly together, looked me in the eyes and said "You CAN do this. You can do this for your baby girl and you will!"
By 2:30 pm I was scared you would never come. I was so tired and in so much pain that I didn't think I could do it anymore. I told Daddy I needed an epideral. I told Laura I was sorry, I tried, but it was too much. Poor Daddy was ready to do anything to help me. He was so tired himself! His arms were sore from massaging me and his body ached from holding me up in different positions. But when Laura came in she calmly said we were probably in transition, but she would try to see what she could do.
What she really did was trick us just a tiny bit.... As soon as I thought the relief of the epideral was on it's way I relaxed just enough for my body to get ready for your final journey out of my tummy! It was EXACTLY what I needed and Laura knew it! When Laura came back she had our doctor, Dr. Ferguson with her and told us she thought it was time for me to start pushing and there wouldn't be time for medication. I had almost made it. You were almost here!
Because no one in the hospital had ever seen a natural child birth it seemed like everyone wanted to watch. The room was so full of people I didn't know what was happening. We were too unsure of ourselves to ask people to leave. We didn't understand why they were there or that we were even allowed to tell them to leave. Luckily, God faded everything from my mind but your Daddy, Laura and you!
At 3:25 pm on January 16, 2008 I was ready to push you out! They told me to "bear down" which was a word I had never heard before. I tried pushing and pushing like they did on TV, but nothing happened. Immediately Laura recognized that I didn't understand the doctor's commands, so she showed Daddy how to help me squat and told me not to "push" like you might expect, but how to bear down instead. With just my first try your head popped right out and two good pushes later you came gracefully out of my tummy at exactly 4:08 pm weighing 6 lbs and 2.8 oz.
Laura quickly laid you on my chest and Daddy and I hugged and kissed you like we would never be able to stop. I looked at Daddy and saw tears of joy falling down his cheeks. The first tears I've ever seen him shed and they were for the joy of meeting the most beautiful little girl in the world. You were perfect! You had thick dark hair all over your head and 10 perfect little tiny toes. Daddy got to cut your umbilical cord and help give you your first bath. He wrapped you up in a pink blanket and brought you back to me to show me your special angel kiss right on your ring finger!! We knew God gave you a special birth mark on your left ring finger as a promise to help keep you pure and safe forever and ever.
You quickly started nursing and were happy as could be in our arms. I was absolutely starving and couldn't wait to order dinner! I don't think I've ever eaten as much food as I did that night. Daddy and I were so happy and so excited we could hardly sleep. The three of us stayed awake snuggling all together in our tiny hospital bed, talking to you and telling you all about how perfect the day was.
Laura had already stayed quite late to help you come out of my tummy, so soon after you were born she had to go home and be with her family and her little babies. She promised to come back and visit the next day even though it was her day off. Our new nurse came in a few hours after you were born and asked me all about how you were eating and sleeping and if you had a wet diaper yet. A wet diaper?! Daddy and I both looked at each other wondering how we were supposed to know? Didn't the nurses check for that? We were so excited to hold you and love you and snuggle you up that we forgot all about taking care of you!! You poor little thing had gone several hours without Mommy or Daddy even thinking about your diaper being wet. I hadn't even brought diapers to the hospital for you!
I felt silly asking where the diapers were and how often we were supposed to be changing you, but the nurse fought back her smile and showed me exactly what to do. I had changed a 1000 diapers before yours and I loved taking care of babies so much, who would've thought that my first few hours with my very own baby would be me feeling so silly??!!
All of our friends came to meet you in the hospital! Even though your grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles were far away they all called to welcome you into the world. On Thursday night a nurse took you to a special baby room next door for a little while Daddy and I were served a fancy steak dinner with a bottle of sparkling cider to celebrate your birth. The food was actually very good, but we ate it as quickly as could be so you wouldn't be gone for long. As soon as we finished we called the nurse only to discover you probably never even opened your eyes to notice your little field trip. You had been sleeping safe and sound in your bassinet the entire time. All the nurses adored you and had stood around just watching you sleep while we ate and were sad that you didn't even wake up to play yet.
By Friday afternoon they decided it was time for us to go home from the hospital. Daddy and I bundled you up in so many layers and blankets that we could hardly see your tiny face poking out of the car seat. It was extremely cold, windy and snowy that time of year, so we hurried you to the car and drove home slower and more carefully than ever before!
When we "finally" got to our little apartment not 5 minutes away we showed you all the rooms and showed you your brand new bed. I threw away the yucky chicken I had sort of cooked on Wednesday morning and forgotten all about. Then I folded the baskets of laundry I had done in a hurry. It all seemed so normal and yet so completely different I couldn't describe exactly how I felt. When I finished I just sat down on the couch and overcome with so much emotion I just started to cry. Daddy ran into the living room with you in his arms to ask me what was wrong and all I could do was start laughing and crying all at the same time! Nothing was wrong. Everything was exactly right, but it was all so strange and new that I simply wasn't sure why I was crying, but I was and couldn't stop! So there we sat as a brand new family laughing while I kept half crying until it was time for you to eat and go to sleep again.
Happy Birthday Little Love Bug!
We can't wait to see what adventures these next five years will hold!