Two Years Ago Today (The Story of Eleanor's Birth)

Eleanor turns TWO today!!!

I've written down the story of Eleanor's birth for my own records but it's detailed and long winded (as I tend to be) but in honor of Eleanor's 2nd birthday I thought it would be fun to share a shortened version on here.
On Wednesday, January 8th I went in for my (almost) 39 week check up where my doctor told me that he didn't expect me to go in to labor for at least another week to two weeks.  He didn't check if I was dilated or anything but was just basing his assumption off my charts.  I believed him, after all I hadn't felt a single braxton hick or contraction; however, I was still crushed.  I felt like he had just given me the life sentence of being pregnant forever.

We ate stir fry for dinner that night and decided to watch a movie in bed since I was feeling kinda bummed about not having a baby any time soon.  My stomach was feeling crampy but I thought it was just dinner not sitting well.  Aaron fell asleep during the movie but I just couldn't settle down. (I wrote more about all of this last year on January 8th.)

Around midnight the crampy-ness was still going on and I kept getting up to go to the bathroom, still never having fallen asleep.  And I was starting to feel pressure in my lower back.  Lower back pain though was nothing new as I was having a lot of back pain that last month.

I was sure I wasn't in labor but thought to just google "signs you are in labor" for fun.  Articles mentioned that contractions could feel like cramps in the beginning. They also mentioned that contractions could start in your back and then eventually wrap around to your front.

My first thought was, "If I really am in labor then I have things I need to get done!"  I went into Eleanor's nursery to straighten things up and made a list of last minute things needed to gather for our (mostly packed) hospital bags.

Then I thought, "What am I doing?  If I really am in labor then this is my last night of real sleep!  I should go to bed."  So I went to lay down and tried to will myself to sleep, still not really believing I was having a baby any time soon.

I was in and out of sleep and up and down to the bathroom until about 3 am when I decided to give on sleep.  The back pain had definitely wrapped around to my front now and I was hurting.  I didn't want to wake up Aaron though--at least one of us should be getting some good sleep!  But he heard me moving around 3:30 am and lifted his head to sleepily say, "Are you ok?"

I said, "I think I'm having contractions."

He sat bolt up.  "What?!" he said, now wide awake.

And then he was in "go" mode.  He followed me to the bathroom and started timing my contractions.  They ranged from 5 to 7 minutes apart.  He thought this meant we were headed to the hospital soon whereas I thought for some reason that we still had a ways to go before the hospital would admit us. For some reason, I had it stuck in my head that your contractions were supposed to be consistently 5 minutes apart for an hour before hospital time.

From 3:30 am to 6 am, I switched off from the bathroom to our bedroom to our other bathroom and suffered through contraction after contraction.  Aaron insisted they were getting stronger and closer and that I needed to call the doctor.  I kept putting it off, not wanting to wake our doctor up and not wanting to show up at the hospital to be turned away because I was just dilated to a 1.

Finally at 6 am I gave in and called the doctor.  He asked my pain level on a scale of 1 to 10.  I remember thinking, "How am I supposed to know what a 10 feels like?  I guess I'm not dying...and aren't you supposed to be dying of pain when you say 10?"  So I told him "7" and he said, "Well, maybe you should wait to go to the hospital.  You could come in to the office at 8:30 am and I can check you if you'd like."  All of a sudden, 8:30 am felt like forever away and I knew I couldn't wait that long.

So I caved and told Aaron we could go to the hospital.  He was very relieved as he had been begging us to go for an hour now.

Surprisingly, I still didn't feel the need to hurry.  I kept trying to get him to clean the apartment more (was it too early in the morning to vacuum?) and grab last minute things for the bags.

Finally Aaron insisted and we made it to the car.
^^We took this picture right before heading to the car.  It took everything I had in me to force that smile but I wanted one last picture of me pregnant.

I remember pulling out of our apartment and seeing the clock read 6:28 am.  Seeing a clock right in front of me forced me realize that my contractions were coming just 2 minutes apart now.  And I had a moment of panic.  Really, 2 minutes???  When did that happen? Holy cow, are we going to make it?! 

About 7 minutes away from home we realized I had forgotten my license and insurance card so we quickly turned back for them, which seemed crazy but necessary.

Aaron rushed to the hospital.  I think he still stopped at red lights but he was sure speeding on the freeway.

We walked into the hospital and Aaron wheeled me up to labor and delivery in a wheelchair.  He was running down the hall at this point, which seemed very movie-like but then I leaned to the side and threw up (he didn't stop) and all of a sudden it didn't feel so glamorous ;)

A nurse wheeled me into Room 8, asked me to change into a robe and pee in a cup.  It was 7 am.

A nurse came in while I was in the bathroom and said, "When you're done, come over to the bed and I'll check your cervix."  I remember sitting on the toilet looking over at the bed.  She might as well have asked me to run 10 miles, that's how far away the bed felt.  I couldn't move.  I was in so much pain.

Somehow I sucked it up after a couple of minutes and made it to the bed.  I was writhing in pain on the bed and the nurse said she'd wait for the contraction to end to check me.  She waited for a bit but contractions were not stopping so she just went ahead and checked me while I was writhing away.  She looked up with a shocked expression and said, "You're complete. You're a 10."

News got out fast in the hospital that I was a 10 and my room became a flurry of activity all of a sudden.

It was clearly too late for an epidural but I was terrified of having a baby naturally.  My nurse Barb (we love Barb!) reassured me that I would actually start feeling better once I started pushing and that I could do this.  Just what I needed to hear.

Aaron still had to go move the car and our doctor still needed to get to the hospital and change into scrubs.  And in the midst of it all, my body took over and I felt this crazy urge to push.  I had to hold back that urge though because I was not having this baby without Aaron there.

Finally, it was 7:25 am, Aaron was back at my side, my doctor was there in his scrubs and it was go time.   I started pushing in the midst of my doctor telling me to "bear down" in his Asian accent and Aaron and Barb holding my legs.

My doctor broke my water at 7:34 am and after a couple more pushes and a feeling of intense fire, Eleanor was born at 7:40 am (although Aaron just told me he really thinks it was 7:39 am).

I looked at the doctor holding her up in the air and felt shock and amazement that there was my baby and that she had just been inside of me.  She looked huge and real and whole!

The nurses brought her right to my chest and I just remember feeling so overwhelmed by the whole thing.  It was so much to take in.  My baby was on my chest!
After some time with me, the nurses wrapped her up and gave her to Aaron to hold.  I was in awe of my husband holding our baby.  It was all so surreal and incredible and wonderful.
A nurse asked Aaron what the baby's name would be and he said, "Eleanor Ruby McKell."  He sounded so proud to be announcing his baby girl for the first time and my heart swelled.
^^Still in our labor and delivery room, just after Eleanor's first bath 
^^With Barb, the best labor and delivery nurse we could have asked for
And now that sweet little baby girl is 2 years old and we love her so so much.  It blows my mind to think that that little newborn is the same girl as this curly haired, talking, walking, thriving girl in front of me every day.

Happy Birthday Eleanor!  We love you babes!

As a side note, I can't wait to go through this whole experience with another baby, as crazy and painful as birth is.  Aaron just makes me promise that next time around, I will listen to him and leave for the hospital sooner.  We'll see ;)

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