NOTE: I started writing this weeks ago and never finished. But I wanted to finish it up so that I would have it for posterity's sake. :) As I have since done a post with pictures, I'm not going to take the time to add any to this post.
My sweet baby girl is finally here! She is so perfect. I have never been so happy in my entire life. I want to bottle up the way I have felt in the past week and drink from that bottle for the rest of my life. I am so grateful that God shared with us the divine power to create. I am so grateful that Eric and I were married in the temple of the Lord, sealed together for not just time on earth, but for all eternity, so that we could bring this sweet girl to the world, knowing that she is sealed to us as well. I will never lose her. No matter how short (or long) any of our lives end up being here on earth, we will always be a family and we will all be reunited in the heavens. Having a baby has strengthened my testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ 100 fold.
Anyway, I'm going to write out my "birth story" if you will... I always love reading the stories of others and let's be honest, I'm a worse journal writer than I am a blogger so I need this recorded somewhere. It will probably be long, so I'll throw some pictures in to mix things up a bit. :)
Last Wednesday, I went in for my 38 (and a half) week check up. The doctor told me we had the option of stripping my membranes to try and move things along. I still had 2 days left at work and my due date wasn't until the following Saturday. My mom's first baby came 2 weeks late and I was pretty convinced my baby wouldn't be making her arrival anytime soon. So I went for it. I left the office that day 4 centimeters dilated, 80% effaced with a doctor's opinion that I had a 70% chance of delivering my baby in the next 24 to 48 hours. Woot! But I figured that odds are never really in my favor and I went back to work to continue training my replacement.
I had some very mild cramping the rest of that day, but nothing too serious. The next day I was pretty crampy and it was pretty consistent. I also had some back pain that would come and go and I knew it was back labor. I talked to my mom a LOT that day because she was going to hop on a plane as soon as I was in labor and we were trying to decide if she should come Thursday night or wait. The last flight out Thursday left at 6:30 pm and the next one left Friday morning at 6:30 am. My parents had a lot of stuff going on and lots to take care of. My "contractions" weren't super consistent time-wise and they were just kind of coming and going and were not intense at all. I figured even if I was in labor, it would be quite awhile before anything actually happened. So they decided to wait.
I went home to take a nap during my lunch break around 2:30. I was really uncomfortable and I decided that if she was going to come, I had a LOT that needed to get done. So I didn't go back to work that afternoon and little did I know, I would be gone permanently from that time on! I spent the afternoon cleaning like CRAZY! I took multiple loads to the dumpster, cleaned the kitchen, did some baby laundry (hadn't done any yet... I've always been a procrastinator, what can I say?) and just picked up the house. When Eric got home, we went to dinner and then worked on putting together the dresser/changing table (which we also obviously had not done yet.) Around 10:30, Eric was getting super frustrated with the dresser and I was having some much stronger contractions. So I laid down for awhile and started timing them. They were lasting about a minute and came about every 5 minutes but they weren't intense at all and I was told not to go to the hospital until I couldn't talk through my contractions.
I decided to take a shower because I hadn't washed my hair in a couple days and didn't want to be THAT nasty for labor :) While I was showering, I made Eric sit in the bathroom with me so he could time my contractions on the app I downloaded. After I was done, I laid back down and he sat with me, still timing my contractions. Around 11:30 we decided we should probably go in because I didn't think the labor was going to stop. I needed to go to the bathroom first and as soon as I stood up, I had a majorly intense/painful contraction and I started feeling leakage. So I ran to the toilet and lost my mucus plug and some fluid, although I guess my water hadn't officially broken yet.
From that point on, the contractions didn't stop coming. They were literally on top of each other and I was screaming in pain. It was WAAAAY more intense than I imagined it would be that early on in labor. I thought I would at least be able to catch my breath in between and allow myself to relax through the contractions. No way. Eric started dashing around the house, asking what I needed and trying to grab everything that we wanted to take with us. He was kind of frantic and it was pretty hilarious. I was just a nut job, screaming my head off and crying and wanting to DIE.
It hurt SO BAD to sit in the car, but Eric got us from Provo to the American Fork hospital in record time. Probably about ten minutes! We called my mom from the car and she was of course crying and sad that she wasn't there. Then we called my mother-in-law who lived really close to the hospital. She left right away and we beat her there! That's how good Eric did :) Then we called Eric's cousin who was going to be my doula. I told him to tell her that I didn't think she would even make it before the delivery (she lives in Logan) because I was convinced that these contractions were the "transition" contractions right before delivery. I seriously thought the baby was about to come out. Haha I'm laughing so hard at myself right now as I'm writing this.
Some funny moments happened on the drive up there. First of all, Eric had the hazard lights on while we were on the freeway and I (between my tears and screams) asked him why the heck they were on. He acted kind of scared and turned them off and said "oh, it's just a safety thing since we're going so fast." I let him turn them back on and I was completely oblivious to how fast we were going. Then we got to the hospital and stupid us, we never went in for a tour so we had NO idea where to go! haha! So Eric pulled up to the Emergency Room at the ambulance entrance. He got out of the car and tried to open the doors but they didn't open from the outside. So then he pushed a button to page someone and was like "hello??! is anyone there?" Someone came out and Eric told him that I was having a baby RIGHT NOW. He asked me if I was crowning... What kind of a question is that?? How am I supposed to know??
Then a couple of nurses got me in a wheelchair and started taking me to labor and delivery. They tried to take me through one door but for some reason I was in a huge, double-wide wheelchair and it wouldn't fit through the door! So they had to take a different route. Well then we got to the elevator and they couldn't get it to work because apparently that late at night, you have to get someone to activate it. So we had to wait for them to buzz someone to let us on. This was taking so long that Eric had already parked the car and joined us in time for the elevator doors to close.
So then we got to labor and delivery and the nurses asked me a couple questions and then put me in the triage room to check me. Keep in mind that I am still screaming and crying through every single contraction. The nurse who checked me said I was still only at a 4 and 80% (same as the day before!) I about LOST it and I told Eric I couldn't do it. I had been hoping to do a drug-free delivery, but as soon as I heard that, all those plans went straight out the window. Remember, how I thought I was about ready to deliver while we were in the car? Yeah, so the whole 4 cm thing didn't go over well. I still had 6 more to go!! Well, the nurse told me I had to wait an hour and then she would check me again and then admit me if I had progressed. I was NOT happy with that news. I told Eric I needed an epidural and I needed it IMMEDIATELY. He went out to tell the nurse and she told him I had to wait and he said, "Oh, she's not going to be happy about that." So the nurse came in to talk to me again. She ended up checking me again after it had only been about 15 or 20 minutes and realized that my water had broken. So she admitted me and got the epidural ordered and ready to go. Oh, I would like to add that my favorite doctor of the 5 in my group was on duty that night until 7 am and I was pretty happy about that. This doctor (Dr. Bean) happens to be related to me (his dad and my grandpa are cousins) and when the nurse told Eric I had to wait, I told him to go tell her that I wanted to speak to Dr. Bean immediately because he's related to me and he would admit me right then and there. LOL! I was being so unreasonable.
Anyway, the nurses put in my IV and then I got the epidural and it was HEAVEN. Oh my goodness. I was all smiles from there and super excited to meet my baby girl! Eric was SO relieved that I wasn't a monster anymore. I knew I wasn't going to make it without drugs, but I don't think he would have made it either! Then the waiting game started. Eric and his mom slept on the chairs and I dozed in and out while Erin (the doula) massaged my feet with oils. She was hitting pressure points that induce labor and it was so cool to watch the monitor because every time she pressed in a certain spot, I would have a contraction. I'm sure that part of the reason my labor went so quickly and I didn't need pitocin despite the epidural was because we had Erin there. It was great!
By 5 am I was complete and the nurse had me push to see if I should push until Dr. Bean was ready or just wait. After 1 1/2 pushes, she made me stop and said we needed the doctor. So then we waited and he came in right around 5:30. Once I started pushing I pushed for about 3 minutes before Harper was born! It was amazing and she was so perfect! She weighed 8 pounds, 1 ounce and was 19 inches long. It took us about an hour to decide on a name but Harper is definitely perfect for her! We love our baby girl and I couldn't be happier with how everything turned out.