Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Story of Addison’s Birth

Addison was due on June 3rd 2012. Her original due date was May 27th, Austin’s birthday. Even though I felt huge, and school (I am a teacher), was just over when Austin’s birthday came around, I was happy that I made it through that weekend. We packed it full of eating, and outings with friends and it was a kinda last hurrah of the life we knew as just the two of us and our then mostly childless friends. By the middle of that next week, I was bored and just plain uncomfortable. - at home alone, obsessing over the dust I seemed to be able to find everywhere. I took Cooper, our dog, to the park and watched TV, but I never was good with being unoccupied. My Mother in-law came down for a couple of nights that week. She kept me company and cleaned every nook and cranny of the house. I felt at least, when the baby did come, the house was in good shape and the laundry was caught up. Friday of that week, Pam left, and I remember telling her and Bryan (my father-in-law) before they headed back up the hill, “Well, hopefully we aren't calling you to come back down as soon as you get up there!” mostly joking. Little did we know - Addison already had a sense of humor. My Mom came over and suddenly we were running tons of errands. We were off to the second hand baby store, on a hunt for some kind of specific fern that sucks out toxins and bad voo doo out of the nursery, and finally a pedicure, even with my protesting. The nail tech was nice enough to ask me if the swelling in my feet was due to “all the extra weight” and then had the gall to ask how much I weighed. Ugh! At any rate, I would have pretty, puffy feet when I went into labor. :)
My husband, Austin made dinner that night and I was camped out on the couch. When he announced dinner was ready and I attempted to get off the couch, I got a jolt of pain. It stopped me right in my tracks. I told Austin but basically thought it was a shifting pain, and nothing more. Against my better judgement, I went ahead and ate dinner. That ended up being a mistake!
Contractions continued through that hour about 10 minutes apart and I called the midwife line. After speaking to Diane, she confirmed it sounded like I was in labor. I called my Mom and best friend, Kelli to put them on notice. Austin called his parents when it looked like it was real, I was in early labor. They had of course, just gotten home. So Austin told them to shower, pack a bag and head on back.
Contractions only stayed about 10 minutes apart for the first hour - then took a violent shove into FAST. Suddenly they were 4 minutes apart, I could hardly recover in between, and I even lost my dinner. I began to think I might just have food poisoning and that I wasn't really having a baby. :) We called Diane again to update her, let her know I was now suddenly about 4 minutes apart and that I was getting sick. She assured Austin that this was all very normal and to come on in when we felt it was “time”. I did my best to labor at home, pacing about the house and getting in and out of the hot shower. Finally, around midnight, I decided I wanted to go in and we grabbed our stuff to go to Gilbert Mercy. Sitting or holding still during contractions seemed to be an impossible feat. As I stood by the Kia passenger door I remember asking Austin, “How long does it take us to get there?” He replied - about 10 - 15 minutes. I thought,  “Dear God, I can’t do this. I am going to have to SIT through 3 or more contractions!” So - I did my best to make due, and sat in the car with my knees on for floorboard, facing the seat. I did have about 4 contractions in the car on the way there and started to feel like I was going to get sick again just as we pulled up to the hospital, so my grand entrance had me hanging my head out window like a dog. :)
We checked in via the ER and I am pretty sure I scared most of the waiting patients. I was pacing around, groaning, and woman approached me and said “ I know you are unhappy right now, but in a little while, you’re going to be SO happy”. She was more than right.
In general, I think we were both feeling that it was all happening SO FAST. Here you have 10 months to prepare and NOW its happening all too fast! :) I think we expected it to start slow, contraction here and there, stay at home for a long while and labor there. I only ended up laboring at home for 4.5 hours before I was 4 minutes or less apart and just felt like it was really time to go. Austin was a trooper, coaching me and staying totally calm (at least on the outside :)  )
Apparently I looked like I was going to have this baby any moment, because the admitting person brought me a wheelchair instead of waiting for them to come down and get me. I looked at that chair as if it were the iron maiden. I told her “I can’t sit in that”. She says “Its a long walk”. I told her “ I’ll walk, I don’t care” . Basically, walking was not an option  - so I reluctantly sat, splayed out like a starfish and away we went.
We finally got to our destination and I saw Diane, the midwife on call, sitting at communal area for doctors and nurses. I told her “I have an appointment with you on Monday that I don’t think I am going to make”. She coyly replied, “Good, I didn’t want to see you anyway” :)
I was taken into tirage to be hooked up to a monitor and asked lots of irrelevant questions. Being made to hold still for that first 20 minutes of monitoring was sheer torture. But at last, I was free. Diane checked me and I was 4.5 cm dilated and 90% effaced. I was considered to be in good active labor and was released to walk the halls until a room was ready for me.
It was a full moon, and the maternity ward was completely full. After walking my one lap around the ward, a room was almost ready for me. I went in to use the restroom and my water broke. There was no mistaking it. They changed me into dry clothes and I asked if they could get an epidural going for me as I didn’t think I could make it to my goal of 6cm. I was worried that with my water breaking that things were going to get even more intense. By this time, Kelli, Pam and Bryan had arrived to join my Mom. I felt like I was being squeezed by a giant python and was sitting on the bed, unable to move around any longer because I was getting IV fluids in preparation for my epi. Suddenly, feelings shifted and it was as if I was possessed. I started to utter guttural noises like some sort of ape, and could not open my eyes or respond to anyone with real words. The nurse asked if I felt like I needed to push and I could hardly render a response. They decided to check me again and I had progressed from 4.5 to 8 in that last hour!
The nurse asked Diane under her breath if I still wanted to epi. I could only violently shake my head. I knew I was towards the end, however, it was all happening SO FAST I could hardly adjust and I felt like I just could not make it through one more contraction and I needed some reprieve. I was however, worried about getting the epi so close to what felt like the end, as I was worried I would not be able to push well. The anesthesiologist told me he would put it in light and that I would then have a button to push to control it. The process of getting the epi was fast, but a total blur. It is clear to me now that I was in the “transition” stage of labor, the phase we were warned would be the toughest - and often when women think they can’t take it any longer. This was me! I suppose when you are that overwhelmed and in that much pain you can not rationalize to yourself to “wait it out”. At the point I felt like she was coming too fast for me to deal with.
I was sat up on the table and bent over a pillow for the epi to be placed. All I remember was grabbing for hands to hold to get me through the couple of contractions I had while the process was taking place. If someone asked me if getting the epi hurt, I couldn't tell ya. All I know is he was done pretty quickly and telling me to lay back.I could feel a wonderful tingly sensation and the medicine slowly started to take the edge off. It was such a relief!
Poor Austin, apparently in mental survival mode, hit a wall at this point. The nurses got me comfortable, and made a bed for him as well. It was nearly 2am at this point and we thought we would be having her very very soon. With things calming down, he laid down to rest for a while, and so did I.
Time goes by, I am flipped and rotated like a rotisserie chicken in order to help her head come down. Suddenly, its light out, and I am thinking - “What in the world? Things were going so FAST and now this?” I thought for sure I would have her by daylight. By 8am my contractions had begun to slow quite a bit and so they decided to put me on pitocin on order to encourage my contractions to stay strong and close together. A few hours later, I was finally at 9 cm, and Austin was sleeping like a baby. My Mom, Kelli and Pam would come here here and there to check on me or help turn me.
The epi was still working, however at times I would need to press the button again as the medicine settled and parts began to come alive again. We continued the impatient waiting game. Hours went by, but I was told by Diane and the nurse there was no point in them continuing to check me until I, myself noticed a change in pressure. I rested here and there, but also watched the clock change from 9am - noon. Diane assured me that we would simply, wait. I was fine, she was fine, and she would make her way down eventually. Finally, around 2:00pm, we were ready to push. I made sure Austin heard that and told him “OK honey, we are getting ready to push now, need you to get up” :) We were both well rested (so to speak) at that point and had maybe, adjusted to the idea that this was actually happening. Our labor and delivery nurse gave me a quick tutorial on pushing, Austin made a couple calls to put everyone on notice and just like that, away we went.
I got the hang of it and we were making good progress. The strangest part was how calm the room was. You see on the movies, lots of screaming and hand-breaking. It was not the most comfortable thing in the world, but surprisingly, calm. When we got close, Diane asked if I wanted a mirror, I declined. She then asked if I wanted to feel her head. I did - she had hair! After 9 + months of waiting, there WAS actually a baby in there! It sounds so silly but it was amazing to actually be able to touch her and not just imagine this little person. Within 45 minutes from start to finish, we went from pregnant, to parents! 

Our baby girl (as she was not yet named ) was placed on my chest. It was at this moment that Austin in his dazed and excited stooper, “I’m thinking about the name Addison”.  From then on our “Little Peanut” would be known as Addison Ray McLaren. Surreal - does not even begin to cover it. She was here! I really can’t even say what exact emotion I had, it was a combination or relief, excitement, and love for this new little person we were just meeting. For some time, I just held her, Austin over my shoulder, touching her and saying hello while nurses scurried around, hardly noticed, taking her APGAR score and getting me cleaned off. We stayed this way for a while, just admiring her. When I was ready, I handed her off to a nurse for a quick bath and for her stats to be taken. She was born at 3:03pm on June 2nd, 7 pounds 6 oz, 21 ¾ inches and perfect. Even at only a few minutes old, she was the spitting image of us both. Wide-eyed and taking it all in.

While she was being attended to, I got cleaned up and changed. Suddenly I was “unpregnant” and we had a baby in the room with us. Austin went out to share photos with our parents and we were moved to our recovery room. Soon after, they all came in to see us and to meet Addison. We spent that night and the next in the hospital. We came home a family of 4, (can’t forget about Cooper!) Mommy and Daddy as well as husband and wife. We had no idea how much that our little Monkey would change our lives forever. :)

Well, that’s pretty much it. In short, the story of how our little Addison Ray came into this world, and made our lives better, happier and more complete. On the days when she is a teenager, and driving us nuts - I know I will enjoy having this to look back on and remember my thoughts and feelings at this time. Our labor and birth experience was truly a defining moment in my life - as a woman, a wife, and now a Mother. I have never been more proud of myself and what my body was capable of. I think it changes your relationship as husband and wife as well, our bond was deepened that day and we both found a new respect for eachother. We made a new life together, she was and is a little piece of both of us... - and here I thought joining our phone plans was a big deal. :)

Proud Momma: Ashley

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