Baby Girl is here!!!
And she was born in the front seat of our car, into her mommy's hands, while her daddy drove.
Yes, you read that right.
December 7, 2012
7 lbs, 2 oz, 20.5 inches
So while I have it all fresh in my mind, let me tell you her incredible birth story...
I'll start here...12:02 pm on Friday afternoon I took this picture of my 39 week bump and shared it on Facebook and Instagram with the caption "I really hope this is my last belly pic!"
Other than walking around for the past week at 2 cm dilated and 50% effaced, I really had no convincing evidence that it would be my last belly pic, and last moments being pregnant...I was just being hopeful :) Then I went about my day as usual. Started some BBQ pulled pork in the crockpot, Took the kids to and from school, wrapped some Christmas presents, even climbed into the attic to get out some more Christmas decorations :)
At about 4:30pm I got really sleepy. John came home from work and we were having our friends over for dinner later that evening, so I told him I was going upstairs to rest. John and my mother-in-law took the kids out shopping. I ended up falling asleep for an hour, which is so weird for me because I never nap. But it felt great.
At 6pm everyone was back home and I joined them in the living room. My mother-in-law made me a cup of coffee and it was the best cup of coffee ever! It woke me up and I was feeling great...and moments later is when I felt my very first contraction...although it wasn't intense enough to know whether it was a strong Braxton Hicks, or the real thing. So I kept quiet and just waited it out. Those strong BH's lasted over the course of an hour. I remember telling John that these felt a little different, they were starting to get painful. But I didn't want to cry wolf...
By 7pm our friends came over for dinner. We were sitting around the table and I was having these contractions, but still able to talk through them (kinda) and felt pretty good. I even ate a whole pulled pork sandwich there at the dinner table with them. Again, I didn't want to cry wolf or seem dramatic if these were just some strong Braxton Hicks, so I would tell everyone "Don't look at me!" when I had to stop and breath through a contraction. It was pretty funny.
By 8pm, after 2 hours of these contractions, I was pretty convinced this was the real thing. I was in labor. I was still downstairs visiting with our friends though, and I remember thinking to myself, well this is fun way to pass the time in early labor! I asked John to blow up our exercise ball though, because sitting in a chair or on the couch was getting uncomfortable. I had 2 or 3 contractions on the exercise ball, then I had to excuse myself...the pain was becoming intense. I went upstairs, used the potty, and realized I had my bloody show...that coupled with the contractions confirmed it to me, I was in labor. Exciting!!
So I announced my bloody show to everyone downstairs (they are all close friends and family who don't mind some TMI!) and I heard a few "woo-hoo's" and laughs. I told John that I would give our midwife a call, and my phone shows that I called her at 8:15pm to give her the "heads up"...she said to just keep her posted if anything changes, and that I should probably try and get some sleep because I might have a long night ahead of me. I hung up the phone and decided to get in the shower instead...I totally needed to shave my legs!
Well things got intense in the shower...I managed to shave my legs though! The contractions were long and strong with nearly no break in between and this is when I realized things were moving waaaaaaaaay fast. I was all alone in my bathroom though, so no one downstairs knew how bad I was laboring upstairs. As soon as I mustered enough strength to get myself out of the shower, I called down to John that we needed to go to the birth center and to pack the car. He moved into action, and I called our midwife at 8:39pm to tell her we would be leaving for the birth center as soon as I got dressed...things were moving fast. She was on her way to meet us there.
This is where everything becomes pure craziness. I managed to get dried off and dressed and down stairs, all between some intense contractions that stopped me in my tracks. At 9pm, I was outside about to get into the car, but right before climbing in, I had a HUGE contraction, and in that moment, I felt the slight urge to bare down. Uh oh...this is going to be a looooong car ride...
I had some fluid leak during that contraction so I had the smarts to tell John to put some towels down. Then I climbed in and braced myself for the longest car ride of my life...we pulled out of the driveway just after 9pm.
Now, with every contraction, I was feeling the urge to push more and more. I was telling John, and all he could say was "Don't push babe, you're doing fine." And I tried with everything in me not to push during those contractions, but it was out of my control. My body was pushing the baby out no matter how much I panted like a dog and fought those contractions...I could feel the baby with each contraction getting lower and lower and moving through my pelvis. CRAZY doesn't even begin to describe that sensation.
I remember telling John, "we're not going to make it to the birth center in time." I gave him the phone and had him call the midwife and tell her I was unable to control the urge to push. My phone shows that call being made at 9:08pm. She told John to put on his emergency flashers and put the pedal to the metal...so that's what he did. But we were still only 8 minutes in to what usually is a 20-30 minute drive.
I was very aware the entire time of our location and how far away the birth center was. I was aware of all the stupid cars who refused to get out of John's way as he drove aggressively with his flashers on to get us there before I had the baby. I was also very aware that this baby was on her way out, and there was nothing we could do. It was hands down the most surreal experience of my life...
John made it to the end of the 385 freeway, and onto Church Street...we were so close to the birth center but not close enough. While John went 80 mph in the 45 mph zone, I felt the distinctive "ring of fire", reached down, and felt my baby's head emerge. Through tears I cried out to John, "her head is out" to which John replied, "good job babe, it's okay. Get the rest of her out!" (he was oddly calm and collect, just focused on driving and telling me over and over we would be okay) and in one gentle contraction, the rest of her body slid out, into my own two hands. I pulled her to my chest, and she immediately let out a cry, was wide eyed, and moving her head and limbs about...letting me know without a doubt, she was okay. We would be okay.We are okay. It was 9:15pm.
John called the midwife and told her the baby was born. I remember sitting at a red light while he spoke to her, holding my baby,using the sweater I was wearing to keep her warm, saying over and over "This is crazy! Did this really happen??" and looking at the cars next to me at the red light, thinking, they have no idea what just happened in this car. It was UNREAL.
Three minutes later, at 9:18pm, we were in the parking lot of the birth center, met by the midwife. She was ready. She had a towel draped over one shoulder, a chuck pad draped over the other, and her scrub pockets filled with tools. She opened up my door, and was the most calm and reassuring presence I could ever imagine. She looked over the baby, said how great she looked, then wrapped her in the towel and handed her to John. Then, right there in the front seat, she cut the umbilical cord. She helped get my pants all the way off (at some point when I realized Ivy was going to be born I managed to get my pants down to my knees) then she shoved the chuck pad between my legs, then helped me through the front doors of the birth center, while John followed holding our baby girl. The midwife did a more thorough exam of the baby, giving her an Apgar score of 9. She was perfect, calm, and alert. Then a few minutes later, I passed the placenta. Everything and everyone was normal and healthy. It was done.
By 10:30 at night, Ivy had nursed for the first time, and the three of us, John and I and our new baby girl, were snuggled up in the queen sized bed at the birth center. John and Ivy slept until 5am...me on the other hand, I tossed and turned all night, high on adrenaline, and in pure and utter amazement of what just happened, I mean would you be able to sleep after laughing, visiting, and eating a pulled pork sandwich with friends at dinner, then 2 hours later giving birth in the front seat of your car??
But another reason I couldn't fall asleep is because I just couldn't stop giving thanks to God for watching over us; giving me strength to birth my baby, unassisted, into my own two hands; giving John his calm courage to drive safely and be my rock and loving support; and giving us both our gorgeous, healthy firecracker-of-a-baby-girl named Ivy.
|Our midwife Amy checking over Ivy the next morning.|
We also talked about Ivy's middle name, Carolyn, which is the full name of her great grandmother Carol who just passed away the weekend after Thanksgiving, and whose birthday was December 5th, just two days before Ivy's. There are a lot of connections between Baby Ivy and her great grandmother already, and my mother-in-law joked that Ivy is like Carol, who wasn't a fan of going to the doctor and thought she knew better than they did sometimes. As though Ivy was born in the car just to say, "You can't make me wait for a doctor to be born! I'll do what I want, and who needs doctors anyway??" If Ivy has even half the vivacious spirit and generous soul of Grandma Carol, then the world is lucky to have her!
After spending the night at the birth center, we woke up feeling great. Amy ordered us a super yummy breakfast from Panera Bread and then checked us all out again. After she told us Ivy was healthy, and I was healthy too (no tearing and very minimal bleeding), John and I were eager to go home. We got discharged around 11am Saturday morning, and took Ivy to meet her Grandma and big brother and sister waiting for her at home.
|We had a beautiful Welcome Home message greeting us in the drive way :)|
John, Angela, Jade, Cole, and Ivy
Ivy is just perfect. She's a strong nurser, and extremely alert when she is awake, although right now she's pretty sleepy most of the time. And with my mother-in-law being such an incredible help holding down the fort, Ivy and mommy have been doing plenty of this...
Welcome to the world Baby #3, our Baby Girl, Ivy Carolyn Harmon!