Ken, Fenix, Grace, and I took a walk down to Dutch Brother’s this morning. We were out of coffee filters, and I become all the more aware of my dependence on coffee. I just couldn’t imagine starting my day without a cup of joe. It’s more of a habitual addiction than an actual physical addiction. Nonetheless, we have a Dutch Bros at the entrance of our neighborhood. It’s not my first choice, but beggars can’t be choosers, right? And, this morning it did the trick. As we were walking back, we were talking about a new breakfast restaurant that has opened up down the street from me. For whatever reason, maybe it’s because Mother’s Day is next Sunday, I took a few moments to remember back to our last trip to eat breakfast as just Ken and I. It was Mother’s Day last year, and I was incredibly pregnant, Grace was due on the 12th, and Mother’s Day fell on the 8th. I wasn’t officially a mother yet, but Ken and I planned to celebrate anyway. We usually wait to do something with Fenix, and Ken gives me the traditional gift of a hanging plant. (I used to give my mom a hanging plant each mother’s day.) Our plan was to head out to breakfast and then stop by Fred Meyers to choose a plant. We were going to celebrate with dinner on Wednesday with Fenix, provided we weren’t in the hospital awaiting the birth of Grace. There was a huge wait at Denny’s for breakfast that morning. We spent a good chunk of time in the waiting area. At one point we caught an older couple smiling and commenting about my gigantic pregnant belly. They asked when I was due and congratulated us. They were strangers, but they were genuinely happy for us and excited for the journey which we were about to embark on. Little did we know, we’d begin that journey that very day. The memory makes me happy. In fact, it brings tears to my eyes. (I’m a sap like that.) But as I recounted the memory to Ken, starting with “Do you remember when we had breakfast last Mother’s Day?”, I cried. Last Mother’s Day changed my life. My daughter was born. She was the greatest gift I could have ever asked for, and she came on Mother’s Day. Her birth was going to be special no matter what, but having her arrive on Mother’s Day made me feel like my mom was definitely watching and pulling some strings with the big guy upstairs.
I have been meaning to write Grace’s birth story for a while now. I need to get it in her baby book, and I’d like to share it. So, what better time than now, when we are a week away from Mother’s Day, and two days from her first birthday?
I’m writing this to tell you the story of your birth, although before that I want you to know that I have loved you much longer than the time you’ve spent in this world, and I waited for you well over the nine months I was pregnant. Your dad and I wanted you long before we knew you were on your way. In some ways, it felt like I was patiently waiting for you for years. I knew some day you’d be here, and it was just a matter of waiting for the right time.
Your dad and I found out that I was pregnant on Labor Day. I took a test that morning, and a faint pink line appeared. I almost couldn’t believe it. I had thought out the many creative ways I could tell your dad we were expecting, but then when it came down to it, I was so excited, and in such a state of disbelief, that I immediately had to share it with your dad. He too, was just as excited as I was. The doubters in us had to take one more test just to be sure though. We had plans that day to go to a family get together, so off we went. When we arrived home later that day, we took one more test, a digital one, to be sure. It read pregnant almost immediately. Our plan was to wait until 12 weeks to tell anyone, or at least until we went to the doctor’s, but we couldn’t hold our excitement, and soon the word spread like wild fire, to your Aunt Sharie, and Sharlee and both Amanda’s. To your grandpa Jay, and and then after our appointment at six weeks, to your brother, to your Grandma and Grandpa Thayne, to your many Aunts and Uncles. At twelve weeks I told my students that I was expecting, and they were almost as excited as I was. They talked about your arrival daily. They brought you gifts, a crocheted blanket, hats, an outfit. They daydreamed about you with me. They say that pregnant woman glow, and I felt it. I was filled to the brim with excitement and love for you. I loved being pregnant with you. I would lie on the bed or the couch in the evenings and wait for your little kicks, your punches. When your dad got home, I’d press his hand up against my belly to wait. And, when we reached 37 weeks and it was O.K. for you to join us, and I got the go ahead to exercise, you daddy and I walked non-stop to bring on your arrival. We walked and we walked and we walked. We ate spicy food. I jumped up and down. For two weeks we tried. We walked so much I was perpetually sore. But, you had your own time frame in mind. You’d come on your own time table, and you did.
On Mother’s Day, four days before your due date, your daddy and I got up and went out to breakfast. I remember feeling tired that day, like I could lounge around on the couch all day and be perfectly content. My body must have known that it would be the last day where I could do that. We went to Denny’s because it was close, and we sat on the benches in the waiting area for an incredibly long time, as the many other people who were there ate their Mother’s Day breakfast. While waiting, we met an older couple that wished us and you well. At this stage in the game, it was quite evident I was pregnant, and they struck up a conversation about when you were due and how much we’d love the journey we were about to embark on. After breakfast, our plan was to go and buy a hanging plant, which seems to be the traditional Mother’s Day gift in our house, only I was exhausted and so we decided to spend a little time at home, curled up on the couch.
So, we went home and settled in for a day of relaxation and T.V. At around 11:30 I began to feel contractions. They didn’t really hurt, and so I told your dad they were most likely Braxton Hicks because I had been having those since around 30 weeks. So, we continued to watch T.V. About an hour later, I began to time them. Everything I read said to wait until your contractions were about five minutes apart before heading to the hospital. My body is made kind of funny, and so at 20 weeks the doctor discovered something that made preterm labor, and quick labor, a bigger possibility for me than most (In fact, your mother had to muscle through 20 weeks of shots in her hips to make sure you’d stay put until you were healthy and your body was ready to join the world. You were worth it though:). Our doctor had said that if we wanted to come in once they were ten minutes apart we could.
Once the afternoon rolled around, we were at ten minutes, so we started to pack. By 5:30, they were five minutes a part, and we were on the road! I wasn’t sure if I would be the type of person who would want to be touched and massaged while I was in labor. During those incredibly long, and somewhat frightening labor classes we took to be prepared for your arrival, the teacher introduced different massage techniques. I love massages, so I have to admit, a part of me was excited to be able to ask your Dad for massages non stop. I learned on the car ride to the hospital, when the contractions really began to be painful, that I was NOT the touchy/massage during labor kind of woman. Your dad was expecting the possibility of this, so he didn’t have hurt feelings.
Once we arrived at the hospital, they registered us, and brought us to our room in triage. They checked my contractions and some other things, and decided (even though my contractions were about five minutes apart) that they couldn’t admit us just yet. They suggested walking the hallways for an hour and they directed us where to go. So, we walked, and we walked, and we walked. And, as we walked, we slowly watched the minute hand on the clock tick by.
(Funny story: While we were walking, another couple was doing the same thing. You could tell the woman was on a mission! She had a determined look on her face and was huffing and puffing away, madly marching the hallway, while her husband stood by eating out of a bag of fast food! Oh, it made your dad and I laugh. Your dad did not stand by while I walked. In fact, he walked each step of the way, lending me his shoulder when a contraction came on, making me laugh when I grew impatient of walking and waiting.)
When we made it back to triage, it was nearly 8. My contractions were three minutes apart, I were dilated to a five, and we were on our way to being admitted!
I had planned to have pain meds. Never was there a time when I wanted a natural labor. If that’s the route that you decide to go when it comes time to have your own children, I will support you 100%, but it was not the route for your mom. I had done my research early on and talked to my doctor to make sure you’d be safe and alert when you arrived (and you were!).
In triage they offered me an epideral, but I said no. The contractions weren’t THAT bad, and for whatever reason, I decided to hold off (not sure what I was thinking:).Once we made it to our room, things moved really quickly. The doctor came in at 8:30/9 and checked everything out, broke my water without much wanring, and really jump started everything. I asked for the epideral then, and I’m glad that I did, because you were on your way. We waited for the anesthesiologist, and then for the medicine to take effect, and then we began to push. The epideral took the edge off, but I was still able to feel each contraction. Your daddy had a look of shock on his face from the time they broke my water on:) I’m not sure how long we pushed, but at one point we stopped to wait for the doctor, and then there you were!
They immediately laid you on my stomach while Daddy cut the chord. I was so enamored and taken by you, that I didn’t even notice I was crying until your Daddy told me I was later. I remember as they handed you to me that I said, “But I’m not sure what to do!” and then you were in my arms and it clicked, the whole world falling into place.
They cleaned you up, and weighed and measured you. Six pounds and fourteen ounces, 20 inches long. Daddy held you for a bit, and your aunt, and then we made our way upstairs for the night.
I was so excited to have you. You daddy and I fell in love with you immediately. From the minute you were in my arms I couldn’t imagine a world without you in it. In the birth class that we took, they suggested sending your baby to the nursery so that you could rest. In class, that made sense. Once you get home, there won’t be nurses to help when you’re tired. But when it came down to it, once you were there and in my arms, I couldn’t let you out of my sight. During the time you were in the hospital you spent a total of maybe 2 and a half hours in the nursery. Once, on the night you were born, when you began to choke up amniotic fluid, and one other time, when I decided to take a nap. That last time, you were gone thirty minutes before I sent daddy back in to get you. I didn’t want to waste a moment away from you.
I spent that first night holding you and staring down at your face. I had dreamed about that moment, never being able to clearly picture what you looked like, and then there you were, it all made sense, like I had been picturing you all along.
You changed our lives baby girl! You have made our lives so rich and so full! I am so happy and proud to be your mother. I’m so grateful that I was entrusted with you.
You turn one in two days. It has gone by so fast that it’s frightening! How quickly will the next year go? The next 10? 20? I love you my Gracie Girl! I am looking forward to it all, every minute!