The day? December 8. A day I will never, ever forget. It was the day that we welcomed the sweetest baby girl into our family and made us a family of four. It was the day that made us famous in the hospital. It was the day that made my heart entirely, completely full.
Back in April, after years of trying to get pregnant with our second child, I decided to take another pregnancy test. Within seconds of taking the test during the early morning, the test revealed a positive sign. Two more tests with positive indicators later, I began to shake with excitement. I was finally pregnant again. We were going to have baby #2.
I took a onesie from our son’s closet and wrote “Big Brother” on it with a marker. I rummaged through out stationery and found a “thank you” card. Inside the card, I wrote, “Thank you for the promotion.” I had our son walk into our bedroom to wake up my husband by handing him the envelope. After reading the thank you note, my husband had quite the puzzled look on his face. “Promotion?” he asked. “Yes, read Hudson’s shirt.” After reading the shirt, his eyes grew wide as he excitedly asked, “Really?” “Really,” I replied and planted a big hug and kiss on him before explaining to our son that he was going to be a big brother.
The next three and a half months were filled with life as usual as I struggled to get through the first trimester. From experiencing nausea 24/7 to losing weight to trying to find work-life balance, the pregnancy was proving to be a bit of an uphill battle. I couldn’t believe just how different the pregnancy was from my pregnancy with our son.
Between the nausea and the exhaustion, I was barely making it through every day. Pile on a toddler, endless to do lists, work … the list goes on and on … and I’m not sure how I made it through every day. I guess it was the mama bear in me that made me think “mind over matter” every minute of every day.
The second trimester was a bit easier in terms of my health. However, we also encountered a few scares that left us with so many questions and unknowns as we ventured into the third trimester. During one of the sonogram appointments, the baby’s limbs were measuring on the small side. As a result, the doctor discussed Down Syndrome with us, as well as the possibility that the baby would be born as a little person. But, after looking at my size and stature, the doctor said that the baby was measuring to be similar to my measurements (yes, I’m short with short limbs and a long torso). The doctor didn’t order any further tests to help cancel out anything so we were left with minds full of questions and unknowns.
As we entered the third trimester, we soon learned that the baby was breech and was in a position where the possibility of the baby turning was slim to none. During one appointment, the doctor discussed a C-section with us and, as protocol would have it, also went over the dangers, warnings, and steps of a C-section. When she left the room, I took one look at my husband and started to cry. He pulled me into his arms, gave me a big hug, and told me that everything was going to be fine. “If anyone can handle this, it’s you,” he said.
After gathering myself together, we headed to the checkout counter, scheduled the C-section for November 29, and then updated our family members and friends on the delivery plans.
Since the baby was due so close to Thanksgiving, we decided to host Thanksgiving at our home and invited both sets of parents over to celebrate. With a house full of people, I couldn’t help but feel all sorts of emotions … from excitement to nervousness to anticipation to appreciation to thankfulness. My husband, parents (who visited from Michigan), parents-in-law (also from Michigan), brother-in-law, and sister-in-law all came over to celebrate one of my favorite holidays as we started to play the baby waiting game.
And then, what seemed like it was against all odds, the baby flipped. So, we canceled the C-section and my parents-in-law headed to my brother and sister-in-law’s house while my parents stayed at our home. We waited …
… and waited …
… and waited …
… and waited …
The baby’s due date of December 1 came and went. Still no baby.
Unfortunately, due to work, my Dad had to fly home so the in-person waiting game ended for him. My Mom continued to stay with us as we found ways to keep us entertained during the endless waiting game.
During our appointment on December 5, the doctor told us that we would be able to schedule an induction on December 6. After calling the hospital on the morning of December 6, I was informed that all of the beds were full and that I would have to call back two hours later to see if any beds were available.
I called every two hours throughout the day on December 6 and, unfortunately, that was the day the hospital encountered what they called a “baby explosion.” When the clock struck 7:00 p.m. on December 6, I called the hospital and was told that I would have to wait until December 7.
So, the waiting game continued.
At 6:00 a.m on the morning of December 7, I called the hospital and was told to shower, eat breakfast, and head to the hospital by 7:30 a.m. They finally had a bed available.
My husband, Mom, mother-in-law, and I headed to the hospital only to continue to play the waiting game that entire day. When the clock struck 7:00 p.m. on December 7, the doctor visited my room and saw that I was only dilated to 1.5 cm and was 50% effaced. He told my Mom and mother-in-law to head home to get some sleep since he was confident that I wasn’t going to go into labor until the next day. After giving me medication to help speed up the labor process, our moms left and it was just my husband and me.
We waited …
… and waited …
… and waited …
… and waited …
And then the contractions started around 4:30 a.m. I sat up in bed and battled through contraction after contraction. My pain level was around a 5 out of 10. I was still only 1.5 cm but effaced at 60%. Because I wasn’t far enough along to get an epidural, the doctor decided to give me pain medication to help me fight through the pain while my body prepared for active labor. At 6:00 a.m., the pain medication was given to me. It was at that point that I looked at my husband and said, “I’m never going to have this baby.”
Boy, was I wrong.
At 6:30 a.m., labor was kicked into overdrive. With increasing pain, I soon realized that instead of calming down the pain intensity, the pain medication put me into full on active labor and didn’t help dull the pain whatsoever. The pain I experienced was unlike anything I ever experienced. With every contraction, I laid on my side, grabbed onto the bed rails rigamortis-style, and let out a scream that I’m confident woke up the entire hospital. I looked at my husband and yelled, “Call the nurse! Call the nurse right now! The baby is coming out!”
The nurse rushed into the room, ordered my husband to start moving furniture into the bathroom, and frantically called the doctor. The room was hectic as I let out excruciating screams while my husband prepared to help deliver the baby alongside the nurse. It was at that point that my husband wrapped his head around the fact that him and the nurse were potentially going to deliver the baby without the help of the doctor.
As I clutched onto the bed rails with a death-like grip, I could hear the nurse say that I was in no condition to get an epidural. My head was foggy due to the pain medication, I could barely see straight … and that’s when my husband grabbed my hand and the nurse looked me straight in the eye and said, “You can do this. You just need to push a few times and the baby will be here.” Little did I know that I went from 1.5 cm to 10 cm in 15 minutes.
My husband quickly grabbed his phone and called his Dad so that he could wake up our moms and get them to the hospital.
After prying me from the bed rails, the nurses positioned me for the delivery. With the baby almost out, the doctor came running into the room and got into position to deliver the baby. After four pushes, the waiting game was finally over. The baby arrived at 6:56 a.m.
The doctor held the baby above me, turned the baby toward my husband, and my husband said, “It’s a girl!” He then turned to me and said, “We have a daughter.” The tears started to stream down my face.
Because the baby and I were under the influence of pain medication, the nurses immediately rushed the baby off to the side to keep a watchful eye on her. My husband walked over to her, saw just how perfect she was, and then walked over to me and told me that she was a healthy baby girl. A nurse who was working on the baby asked, “What’s her name?” And I breathlessly exclaimed, “Isla Ann!”
I then looked up at my husband and asked, “Did that really just happen? Do we really have a daughter? Am I dreaming?”
At that moment, our moms came running into the room, saw the baby, and immediately burst into tears. Hugs, kisses, and tears flowed freely in the room as we all couldn’t believe all that just happened within a matter of minutes.
On December 8 at 6:56 a.m., our baby girl Isla (pronounced eye-lah) was born. She was 8 lbs 15 ounces and 20 1/4 inches long of pure perfection.
Baby girl, you were worth every second of the wait. I will forever be in awe of you as you continue to fill my heart with love.