It's been about 6 weeks since I delivered Esme so I thought I should finally get around to writing about it before I forget. So here goes. Long post, readers, sorry in advance.
On Wednesday, January 29 I was feeling exhausted from all the kitchen renovating that we had been doing since Thanksgiving and just wanted to rest. I had my 37 week appointment in the morning and right before I had to leave, my mom called me in a little bit of a panic and asked if I was okay. She had heard on the news that there were terrible snow storms in the north and wanted to make sure we were fine. I told her everything was ok, that I was feeling ok in my pregnancy, and that I had to get to my appointment. She told me to be careful on the roads and we said goodbye. At my appointment my midwife, Nannette, said I looked like I was right on track and suggested that I start taking a nap after lunch so I could get the rest I needed before the delivery. I asked her how I could do that when I have Olivia to look after, and she said to let her watch a show and just nap on the couch while she watches it. So that afternoon I did just that. And looking back now, I'm soooo glad I did.
That night I also asked Adam if he could take the night off from cutting the counters and assembling cabinets and we could just watch something and go to bed. I couldn't remember the last time we had done that since the renovation began and I knew we both needed the relaxation. I remember telling him that we should "rest now while we still can." He agreed and so we watched an episode of Arrow (which is surprisingly good btw) and then hit the sack. Right before I laid down I kept saying that I just wanted to sleep and not have to deal with being uncomfortable anymore. I complained about a dull pain in my back but just shook it off and tried to sleep.
At around 11:20pm I started feeling some cramping and wished they were just Braxton Hicks but I had felt false contractions before and these were more intense and coming faster and faster. I knew something was up even though it was 2 weeks before my due date. So, at 11:30pm I began timing them. They were already 2 and a half minutes apart and I started feeling a trickle from my water bag. I shook Adam's arm to wake him up and told him I thought it was time. In his sleepy haze he chuckled and tried to cuddle me. I wiggled away, turned on the light and said again in a more serious tone that I thought it was time to go to the hospital. That woke him up. I ran to the bathroom to take care of the trickle from my water bag and he ran into Olivia's room trying to figure out what to pack for her. We did not expect to have to take Olivia to the hospital but with it being almost midnight and with no family around we had no choice. In between painful contractions, I was getting myself ready and helping Adam pack for Olivia's potential hospital stay. I just kept saying "2 weeks early! Why are you 2 weeks early?!" and clutching onto whatever I could when another wave of contractions came.
Around 11:50pm we finally piled all of our bags and ourselves into the car and drove to the hospital. We got to the hospital at midnight and I was taken into a room to see if I needed to be admitted or not. My nurse, Barbara, timed my contractions which were now 2 minutes apart and checked to see how dilated I was. I was only 4 cm but the contractions were so intense! While I was on the bed and she was monitoring me my water bag broke with a gush. After it happened, she stopped what she was doing on the computer and told me with a smile, "You're staying with us!"
At around 12:30am they checked to see how dilated I was again. Only an hour after my contractions had started, and I was already 7 cm. About 8 hours of labor in less than an hour! By 1am I was wheeled into my birthing room where they set up a cot for Olivia and turned on the TV to distract her, but as it turns out not everybody loves Raymond. Ba-doom-chhh. So as I was writhing in pain, the nurses took her out into the hallway and looked after her while Adam stayed with me.
After they set me up in my birthing room my midwife, Nannette, who was on-call at the hospital that night came to me. I was so happy to see her! My contractions were getting stronger and lasting longer and she coached me right through them. But I just couldn't stand the pain any longer and finally asked for an epidural. I probably asked for it 10 times, but each time Nannette and Barbara said they needed to wait just a little longer for my platelet count to come back to see if it was safe to give to me. Then I suddenly felt immense pressure in my pelvis. It was Esme's head moving down further and further in my body. I felt my pelvic area expand and I just started saying "She's coming! She's coming!" over and over again. I asked for that epidural again one last time and this time Barbara looked at me and said "Beverly, you're not getting an epidural. There's no time." I could've burst into tears but like she said there was no time. Nannette turned me onto my left side and when the next contraction came she told me to "Puuuushhh!!!" I pushed hard with all the strength I could muster and when the contraction was over I breathed hard, like Nannette had taught me, to get myself over the wave of unbelievable pain. I pushed for 10 excruciating minutes when finally, at 1:37am, Esme was born.
I was so relieved to hear her cries, and I was overjoyed that my labor was all over. It was crazy to think that just 2 hours earlier we were in bed, enjoying our last night without a newborn! Nanette said, "This is what we call a 'drive-by birth,' because it all happened so fast!" They laid her on my chest. She was so warm with a head full of the softest brown hair. I was so happy!
In the weeks leading up to her birth, I had been worried that I wouldn't love her as much as I love Olivia. After all, I've had 3 years to fall in love with her. But as soon as I held Esme, it was like my heart burst. How can you help but love this beautiful girl?
The nurses brought Olivia back in. Turns out she had a great time at the nurses' station! She had told them it was her birthday, so they had been singing Happy Birthday to her for the past half hour. Oh, Olivia! She had them all fooled.
Olivia met her new little sister for the first time. At first she looked at her with curious eyes, but it didn't take long for her to warm up to Esme. She was so excited to be a big sister now, and wanted to give her kisses and hugs. She was so sweet!
Eventually, we all settled down, and Olivia laid down on her make-shift cot. Nanette said I should try to breastfeed Esme. And at 2:50, not even 2 hours after her birth, Esme latched on. It was like she said "Okay, I'm hungry, I'm ready to go!"
And as I laid there, with my new family, I kept thinking how strange it all was. My mom calling in a panic, Nanette telling me to rest that afternoon, me telling Adam that we needed to enjoy a night to ourselves. It all just made me realize that there's a reason for everything. It was out of our hands. But in this one day, everything worked out. Not as we had planned, but perfectly.