Sunday, October 9, 2011

...and then there was YOU! ♥ (part one)

Norah Jayne's first birthday is just a few days away so I decided to write about the day of her arrival. It was a red-letter day, and one I hope never to forget. 

A picture I took while on my walk the day before Norah Jayne arrived.
It is a deliciously golden tree right outside of our home!

On Sunday, October 17, 2010 I bet you can't remember what you were doing. 
Well, I can. I was having contractions. They were not regular, but they were persistent. And while they were not unbearably painful, they were uncomfortable. 
I went for a walk- THREE miles to be exact. It was exhausting to say the least. But I was determined that this little girl was going to come sooner than later.
It seemed to make my contractions more frequent so I called my doctor. 
She said to time them for another hour and to call her back.

I did. They were still irregular ranging from five minutes to 20 minutes apart and still not too painful.

But, believing that I had an extraordinarily high tolerance for pain, I was worried that I could be in  labor and not even know it. (Ha!) The Doctor said to come to the hospital and they would check me out.

At 10:00 PM, I got to the hospital and they took me back to the triage area... hooked me up to the monitors and did some investigating. Turns out I was having a lot "uterine activity" (aka: contractions) but they were just not the kind that "meant business."

The nurse pretty much told me that I needed to "chillax." She told me I looked dehydrated and exhausted and that my body wasn't going to be able do what it needed to do as long as I was so worked up.
She had a lot to say and she meant business.
She gave me fluids and two Ambien (sleeping pills) and sent me home with instructions to relax and sleep. By the time I got home (around 1:00 AM) the pills were taking effect and I guess I started saying some pretty crazy things so Kirk put me to bed. Kirk said that as he helped into bed I asked him, "Do you think this boat will hold both of us?" Ha!

At 5:00 AM I woke from a sound sleep with what I can only describe as the most awful pain I. have. ever. experienced. It was like the stomach flu on steroids. In my haze of pain I vaguely remembered the nurse telling me that if I started have regular contractions that I should not rush to the hospital, but wait about TWO hours. She said, "Do whatever it takes to relax: get in the bathtub, walk, breath, lay on your left side, etc..." I did all those things. I felt kind of in a daze (compliments of the Ambien I am sure).

I was watching the clock. The contractions were every 5-6 minutes.

Finally, at one point, when I was on all fours in the middle of the living room breathing through a contraction, my mom said, "We need to go NOW!" 
But, I wasn't sure I should because it had only been an hour and half and not two hours. 
(Obviously MY common sense was not in working order at the moment.) 
However, mom's common sense won out... and off we went to the hospital. 
I didn't even get out of my PJ's!  If anyone saw me and was scandalized by the sight of a pregnant women in her PJ's... on campus...come see me, I'll apologize to you in person. 

Kirk, upon entering the hospital lobby, politely (yet slightly panicked) asked no one in particular- "Can I get a wheelchair!?" A dear woman wearing a uniform in the lobby assessed that I was in active labor and volunteered to get me to Labor and Delivery post haste.
Once back in triage I was greeted by the same nurse who I'll fondly refer to as "Nurse No Nonsense."
(Honestly, she kind of scared me... but it was nice to see a familiar face.)
She checked, sure enough I was having the real thing this time.
Upon investigation she exclaimed that I was already dilated to 7 cm!
I believe she patted my leg and said, "Good girl!"
I never felt prouder.
They took me directly to the labor and delivery room. I barely got my epidural.
Either that or you are one brave momma. 
The pain of each contraction was so intense I thought I would pass out.
So much for my theory of having a high pain tolerance... I am only flesh after all. **wink**

Once I got the epidural, all was well. I won't say labor was entirely without discomfort, but NOTHING like what it was before.

They investigated again, and I was complete! Time to start pushing...

I pushed for about 45 minutes. My epidural was not so strong that I could not feel the contractions building which really helped me to push with all my might. Also, they had this handy mirror positioned so I could see all the commotion. (I have a strong stomach, fortunately.) It was great motivation to push a little harder when I could see her head start to crown! And of course, Kirk was there helping me all along the way giving me a strong hand to hold and lots of encouragement.

She was ready!
So was I...
And then she arrived.
All 21 inches, 8 pounds and 13 ounces of beautiful Norah Jayne Marshall.

Kirk was all set to cut the cord, but at the last minute the doctor decided to do it because the cord was looped around Norah's neck. Blessedly, she was OK and her APGAR score at one minute was an "8" and at five minutes was a "9".

Side note: The pediatrician said it was virtually impossible for a baby to get a 10 because it would look like they (the professionals) didn't "look hard enough" or "pay close attention to the details" if they gave a baby a 10... weird, slightly paranoid, but... interesting trivia.

They laid her on my chest... goop and all. I remember thinking how lovely and pale her skin was and how pink her lips looked in contrast. She was beautiful! They took her away to clean her up, and I don't know what all transpired... but at some point they brought her back to me and I kissed her pretty little mouth. It makes me emotional to recall the moment my life completely changed. I have a new ache in my heart. It is not a bad ache... just a tender and vulnerable spot that I now carry. She is our baby. Our little girl. Wow.

We had several visitors: Nana Freeman, Nana and Papaw Marshall, the Reiff's, the Durr's, Leroy, Emilie Leach and President Avery stopped by too!

You could see our house from my hospital room window!
Kirk and I stayed the night in the Hospital. I was running on endorphin's and/or adrenalin so I insisted that Norah stay with me through the night. 
Sleep didn't really matter.
She would cry out and I would attempt to feed her.
She would fall asleep within a few minutes of being in my arms.
I would lay her back down.
She would cry... and so the night went. At one point I just fell asleep with her in my arms.

The next morning, after a rather abrupt awakening from the doctor, I decided that I wanted to go home and not stay an additional night. Hospitals stress me out and I wanted to be at home with my little one... So the doctor discharged me.

On her way HOME from the hospital!

More to come...

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