Abby Grace’s Birth Story {May 14, 2004}

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I wasn’t blogging when Abby Grace was born (or when Reese was born, for that matter!), but I wanted to share both of their birth stories. I love reading birth stories and I love sharing mine! While there are so many things I would go back and change if I could, I am blessed to have had very easy pregnancies, labors, and births. There were a few (minor) complications, but nothing to ever complain about. 

Shane and I had barely been married a year when we {surprise!} found out we were expecting. I had planned to wait until we had been married about five years to begin having children, so I could get my master’s degree before becoming a stay-at-home-mom. Somehow, I always knew I would stay home with my kids. I also had an idea that I might homeschool my children, although I had no idea at the time what that looked like.

I was in my final semester of college, and student teaching at a local school. Morning sickness, while sporadic, was not fun, and I even experienced vertigo for the first (of many) times.

I will never forget the first time Shane and I saw Abby Grace on a sonogram. We thought we were about 10 weeks along, but the sonogram pointed more toward 12 – 14 weeks. Abby Grace (although we didn’t know she was a she at the time) was on her back and you could distinctly see her 10 little fingers and 10 little toes. I was in love (and secretly hoping for a girl!) immediately.

Our official gender sonogram was in January, and both Shane and I were ecstatic to find out our first child was going to be a daughter. She was immediately named  (by her father, I might add!), and plans for a little girl began to take shape.

As we got closer to her due date (May 6), I dreamed about having her early; I was just so ready to meet her! And everyone around me was having their babies (some of them firsts) one and two weeks early, so I kind of had that mindset. So, imagine my disappointment, when at my 39 week appointment, I was nowhere near ready for a baby. Same at my 40 week appointment. Didn’t this kid know I wanted to be a “real” mom on Mother’s Day (May 9)?!?! As her due date came and went, I decided she simply didn’t want to leave her happy place. So, I waddled around, gaining water weight every. single. day. I gained a few pounds that last week!

Seven days later, I began having contractions every ten minutes or so, and stayed in touch with my midwife. By noon, the contractions were every five, and by 1 pm, they were every three. I was so excited and very nervous because we were an hour and a half away from the hospital. I was worried we wouldn’t make it in time!

Shane and I arrived at the hospital at about 3:15, and imagine my surprise when they told me I was dilated to a 2-almost-3. They sent me to a park to walk, and walk I did. I sped-walked around that park, trailed by our families, who had rushed there, as well. After a few hours, and trying to swallow a burger before going back (this was NOT my brightest moment), we went to Walmart for a few things. I almost passed out and finally – TMI alert – passed my plug there in the Walmart bathroom. My contractions really increased in frequency, as did the pressure in my abdomen. I was convinced this was *it*.

Back at the hospital, the student-midwife checked me and tried really hard to be encouraging when she told me the news: I was not even a 1. HOW was that possible?! I was just a 2/3 a few hours before! How do you go DOWN in dilation? {Side note:: believe me, it’s possible. This happened again with Reese. Needless to say when they mentioned walking with Meleah, I told them heckno.}

At that point, my 41-weeks-pregnant self burst into tears and begged the midwife to not send me home. She broke my water and I breathed a sigh of relief. It was about to happen. Well, sort of.

This was about 6:30, I guess, and when I was about a 4 or 5, the anesthesiologist gave me my epidural. BIG mistake. The contractions weren’t painful, but I was scared and wanted the epidural. If I had known how long it would stall my labor, I would have said to forget it, although Shane says watching the big needle go into my back was, “Really awesome!”

I laid in bed (with a catheter! A catheter, people! Those things HURT!) at a 7 for over three hours. It was the middle of the night, and Shane was snoring on my right, and my poor mom struggled to stay awake on my left. I was watching tv and resented not being able to sleep. Finally, at about 4:30, the midwives took pity on me and told me to call my family. My very pregnant sister-in-law (and her two littles) got there at about 5, and that’s when I was able to begin pushing.

The epidural had since worn off, and I felt pretty much everything. It did, however, take the edge of the pain off, so while I could feel it, it didn’t hurt. I was able to anticipate every contraction, which was amazing. Shane, my mother, my sister-in-law, and my mother-in-law were all in the room with me. My dad, father-in-law, and two nieces were on the other side of the curtain.

Birth is a pretty amazing experience, and Abby’s went so slowly, I was able to experience it quite differently than my other births. I was able to feel her hair as she crowned, and I believe I was more focused during her birth than any of the others.

After she was born, when it came time to cut the cord, the scissors were offered to Shane. He hesitated, and his sister told him he had ten seconds to decide or SHE was going to do it! (My kids are blessed with an aunt that loves them like they are her own children.) Needless to say, he took the scissors and cut it himself. He will confess to not peeking during the actual delivery, though; he’s not squeamish by any account, but that is something he said he just didn’t want to see. It’s funny how things change! He has watched the subsequent births with great delight!

Abby Grace was born at 5:45 am on Friday, May 14, 2004. After 41 weeks and 1 day of anticipating her arrival, our little girl was finally here. She weighed 7 lbs, 14 oz, and was 19.9″ long. She had wispy dark hair, and an excellent set of lungs. Instantly, I was flooded with feelings only a mother can understand: this fierce love and the need to protect her at all costs. I was officially a mom, and it felt great.

These were the days before texting AND when cell phones in hospital were frowned upon, so Shane had to step outside (for an incredibly long time in the cold rain) to call everyone. A few people called back, very concerned. Shane had mixed up her weight, and rather than telling them seven pounds, 14 oz, he told them FOURTEEN pounds ans seven ounces. Ouch!

We went home the next day, and recovery was surprisingly easy. Abby Grace was a champion nurser, although I felt like I was a really clumsy breastfeeding mom. I didn’t quite get how to nurse in front of others, and began to feel very isolated when she needed to eat. I regret it now, but I weaned her at about 4 months old because I honestly couldn’t do it anymore. Regardless of how she ate, Abby Grace thrived and was – in retrospect – a very easy, happy, content baby.

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