A week after Ford was born I sat down and wrote out the story of his birth. And now that he's turning two years old tomorrow (so crazy!) I thought it was about time I told the story of February 8th of two years ago.
Here's the short version: At 39 weeks pregnant, I realized I was having contractions at 3:11 am. We got to the hospital not too long after that and I was already dilated to an 8 the first time they checked me. There was no time to have any pain medication or really do much of anything. Ford was born at 5:31 am, perfectly healthy and strong. We were on cloud nine and so happy to have him with us. My labor was quick with Eleanor and proved to be even quicker with Ford (although not as frantic and rushed the second time around).
And now for anyone interesting in knowing all my thoughts and feelings, here's the longer version that I wrote that week after Ford was born...
I woke up Sunday morning (Feb. 7th) and decided that this baby was probably never going to come. I was 39 weeks pregnant. I had not felt a single braxton hick at this point and there were no signs he was coming soon. Of course, there were really no signs of Eleanor's birth--one night I went to bed and the next morning she was in my arms. So every night I went to bed this time around I made sure that the house was clean and everything was in order because I could go in to labor at the drop of a hat.
We went to church that Sunday (I was bummed I had to scrounge up yet another Sunday outfit to fit my large belly, ha) and I told person after person that I didn't think the baby would be here soon. We came home, had spaghetti and meatballs for dinner and put Eleanor to bed by 7 pm. I worked to complete a bunch of Stake Young Women assignments and e-mailed them off so that I wouldn't have anything lingering when the babes came. We did the dishes and picked up the house and headed to bed around 10 pm. We brainstormed for a minute about things I could do this week so I'd have something to look forward to and then we drifted off to sleep.
Sleep hasn't been my friend lately--with mild heartburn and some back pain being the main offenders--so I didn't think any of it when I kept tossing, turning and getting up to go to the bathroom. I would try to go right back to sleep but kept having this same repeating dream where I needed to figure out how to fold a pamphlet to take to early morning seminary the next morning (so random!).
After many, many trips to the bathroom, I started to think, "Is something up? Am I feeling more discomfort than the norm?" My lower abdomen was feeling tight but again nothing to really take note of. When I had Eleanor, labor had started with cramps, lower back pain and bleeding. I could see how my tight stomach could possibly be the beginning of cramps but there was no blood when I went to the bathroom so I kept pushing aside the idea of labor.
I resisted looking at my phone to see the time as that just drives me crazy and keeps me up more. Finally though I admitted defeat on sleep and clicked my phone's home button to learn it was 3:11 am. I sighed and decided to go get a drink of water. While in the kitchen I wondered what I should do, maybe sit on the couch? I decided to hang out in bed instead and debated if I should tell Aaron if something was up or not. I was still VERY unsure that this was anything to speak of and I knew that the minute I told Aaron I might be in labor that he would jump into "go" mode. He had been trying to convince me for the last 9 months that right when I felt anything we would head straight to the hospital. I wanted to be sure it was "something" before committing ourselves to a middle of the night hospital visit. Plus, Aaron was sick and I knew he needed a good night's sleep. And going to the hospital meant waking up Jessica and making her come over to our house and I really didn't want to do that unless I knew it was the real deal.
I was debating all of this as I climbed back in bed. Thankfully Aaron turned over right at that moment and seemed partially awake so I decided to just fill him in. I told him I was having a hard time sleeping and that my stomach could possibly be feeling crampy, but I wasn't sure. He was surprisingly calm and said, "Ok lets just talk a little and see how you're feeling." It was probably 3:20 am at this point. We talked for a couple minutes and I was starting to notice the crampy-ness was coming in subtle waves. I really had the urge to take a bath so Aaron said he would go start one for me. We were both wide awake at this point and talking like it was the middle of the day. It's amazing how adrenaline kicks in.
As I got in the bath, Aaron started gathering up the last minute items for the hospital bag (I kept a list on my phone of what we still needed). He came to me holding up a BYU shirt and said, "What do you think about this being the first shirt my son sees me in?" I love being married to this man and I love that he loves his Cougs.
The bath felt amazing and I never wanted to leave it. Aaron said we should probably call Jessica to give her time to come over. At this point I was pretty confident that this was the real deal and said I would call her if Aaron brought me my phone. When he came back with the phone though I started having a contraction that was uncomfortable enough that I asked him to call her. He said that she answered and perked up right away, "Ok I'm ready!" We have had Jessica on high alert for weeks now (the poor girl) and she's been telling me that every night she turns up her phone in case we call. She was at our house in two minutes flat. She's amazing. I had climbed out of the tub, made our bed and got dressed in comfortable clothes. Aaron was putting stuff in the car and I was trying to tell Jessica some quick instructions about Eleanor before we left.
Finally, there was nothing else to do but go so I hugged Jessica, grabbed an apple and got in the car. The time on the clock was 4:11 am when we pulled out of the driveway. I had been up for an hour and had been having contractions for an hour. I tried to keep track of the timeline because I love remembering the details of events.
While we were driving and I was eating my apple, Aaron called the doctor's office to tell them we were going to the hospital. The operator lady said that our doctor wouldn't be on call until 7 am so most likely he would be there to deliver me seeing as it was only a couple hours away. Aaron told her that we hoped so but that I have babies quickly so we should still notify the current on call doctor to be ready before 7 am.
We kept talking about life and this baby. Once I finished my apple, I decided to put on some mascara. This was all so ridiculously more calm than our drive to the hospital with Eleanor. That drive was all about speed and I had been writhing in pain constantly in the front seat. This drive we were laughing and I was putting on mascara, it seemed absurd and also wonderful.
We pulled in to the Emergency Room side of the hospital since it was after hours and I told Aaron I was feeling great and could walk in to the hospital. For some reason I really wanted to walk because it would show just how different this whole experience was to when I gave birth to Eleanor. The car clock said 4:24 am as we pulled in.
We got to the desk and started checking in. I was rubbing my lower abdomen as it hurt but I was able to carry on a conversation with the check-in lady. I kept thinking, "They probably think I'm silly for being here so early because I'm not acting like someone who is just about to have a baby." The lady though said it was good we were coming in early because they had been having several moms deliver at home accidentally and having to come in by paramedic. That was Aaron's worst nightmare (and of course mine too), so I smiled at him thinking, "Look how responsible we are being this time!" (Side note: When I arrived at the hospital for Eleanor's birth, Aaron was sprinting me down the hall in a wheelchair. I was dilated to a 10 when I got to the hospital and Eleanor came just 40 minutes later. It was so crazy and quick. We were determined to avoid all of that craziness with Ford's birth.)
They had us walk over to the hall and sit on chairs to wait for someone to come get us. We sat there taking silly selfies. It felt like we were there for longer than we should be. Shouldn't people be rushing around when they hear you are in labor?
I rode in the wheelchair and swore that if we ever made it big one day that I would buy the hospital more comfortable wheelchairs--I felt every bump and jerk in that thing.
We pulled into triage and they had me get out of the wheelchair and go to the bathroom to do a urine sample. I asked Aaron to come with me because I remembered getting stuck with pain in the bathroom when I had Eleanor.
We then made it over to a bed and they handed me a gown to put on. As I climbed in to the bed, I said out loud, "I just hope I'm at least a four." I was in more pain at this point and just really wanted this whole laboring to go pretty quickly. I thought I was past a four but was just preparing myself to learn I was not too far along. It felt so much less rushed and stressed than when we had Eleanor so I knew that I wasn't completely dilated already.
The nurse hooked up a monitor to my belly and then checked me. "You're already an 8," she said. I laughed and Aaron laughed. How do I progress so quickly? I'll never know. I am grateful for it. The same flurry of excitement, shock and sudden activity set in with all the nurses in triage as it did in the hospital with Eleanor when they told me I was a 10 after just getting there.
They wheeled me in the bed to a labor and delivery room. As we entered the room, I saw the little bassinet waiting for a baby and thought, "My baby is going to be in there!" It helped put the pain and discomfort into perspective and I got even more excited for this baby to come.
It was about 4:50 am when I got to my room. They had me climb off that bed and into another bed in the room. I laid on my side which felt awesome and asked Aaron to start massaging my back. I really wanted to climb into a warm bath but the room didn't have a bathtub and they were already hooking me up with an IV so I knew that the bath wasn't going to happen.
The nurse did a rush job on the IV and man did it hurt. She put it in such an awkward place on my arm that after Ford arrived I could barely nurse him. They ended up having to move it after he came but there was no time for adjustments before.
They checked me around 5 am and I was at a 9 and the on-call doctor was on his way. I was so relieved that I was progressing quickly because I was hurting a lot at this point.
As I laid on the bed with Aaron massaging my back through contractions, the nurse went through all the standard hospital check-in questions (did you bring in any valuables? a wallet? a camera? etc. etc.) and I kept thinking, "Can this wait til I am through this contraction?" I feel like any other time you are in tons of pain people stop and cater to you and reassure you. However, when you are in labor and writhing around they act like it's totally normal and ask you a bunch of random questions as if you are having a conversation over sandwiches at a cafe. So weird.
I could feel the contractions come and go. The small break between contractions was such a relief. I just kept asking Aaron to push harder and harder on my back. It felt so good and made it possible for me to keep going.
The doctor arrived and introduced himself and confirmed I was a 9. I asked him urgently if I could start pushing right away when I reached a 10. I just wanted it to be over and I knew I was close.
At about 5:20 am they said I was a 10 and asked me to roll on my back so we could start pushing. Laying on my back was incredibly painful because there was so much pressure on my lower back. I would have given anything to get off my back. They had me put my legs in the stir-ups and the doctor coached me on how he wanted me to push. I started pushing at 5:24 am. Up until this point, I had felt like everything was tolerable and I could handle the pain, but pushing felt like the hardest thing I had ever done. With Eleanor, pushing felt like a relief but this time it just burned. I am in awe of anyone that pushes for a long time. It took everything I had to push for those five minutes.
The doctor would have me push and then pause. He said he was going to try really hard to keep me from tearing so even though going slow was painful I was hopeful that it would all mean I wouldn't tear. I do remember being in between pushes and looking up to see everyone (the doctor, Aaron, a couple nurses) all looking at me. I put on a big smile and looked at each of them as if to say, "Well isn't this a funny situation we have found all of ourselves in?" It is odd to have a room full of strangers helping you through this incredibly personal experience. Anyways, they seemed shocked I was smiling in the middle of pushing so they all kind of smiled in shock back to me. The happy moment was over quickly though and it was back to pushing.
Finally, I felt Ford's head make it through and there was an instant relief of some pressure. I looked down to see my baby and there was this wave of emotion rush over me. There he was! All this waiting and I couldn't believe I was finally getting to see him. With my first delivery, I had all these feelings rush through me at the sight of my new baby. Then I had felt the weight of becoming a new mom and had lots of random thoughts ("Whoa she was just in side of me! Wow, that's my baby! I'm a mom! I don't know how to be a mom! This little baby needs me and is totally dependent on me now!"). With this second delivery though, I didn't have to worry about adjusting to motherhood. I was already very comfortable with my identity as a mom and as a result I could just focus on my sheer joy that this adorable baby was now apart of our family.
I was able to push his whole body out with the next push and there he was! It took a second to hear him cry and even then it wasn't a super strong cry. They carried him over to that bassinet I had spotted when we first came in the room to kind of rough him up and get him crying more. They kept him for longer than I would have liked (although it must have only really been a matter of minutes) and I just kept asking, "Can I hold my baby? I really want to hold him." It was this innate urge to hold him on my chest. They brought him over and I loved having him on me. He was so handsome! I was just in awe and loved the cuddles.
I wanted Aaron to connect with Ford too as soon as possible so after a little while I handed Ford over to him. I always feel a little shaky right after birth so it also felt safer for Aaron to hold him at that point. There's not much better in life than seeing your husband hold your new sweet baby. He was so cute introducing himself to Ford and saying, "I'm your daddy. You're my son!" The sweetest.
Now two years later, this all seems a little dreamy to be reading through again. I can't believe this active, sweet little boy we have running around was just our tiny newborn two years ago. Ford has brought so much joy to our family and we love him to pieces.