Following suit with the other Two Ladies, today I am sharing my sweet little Lillian’s birth story. She will be one next Wednesday so now is the perfect time to tell our story.
We found out we were expecting a baby on January 16th 2012. That just so happened to be Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which meant I had the day off of work. We were planning a family, so I was just waiting for the time to be right to take a pregnancy test. I had already taken two just a couple days before and they were negative. I waited for Brian to leave for work before taking another test because I knew he’d make fun of me and tell me I was wasting time and money testing again so soon. But I had a feeling. My feeling was right. He couldn’t have possibly cleared the stop sign at the end of the street before I got the positive. I was overwhelmed with excitement! There was only one problem. Brian wouldn’t be home from work until late that evening. I was alone with my excitement for the whole day! I thought I would explode! As such, I knew I had to keep myself busy. I thought out the perfect plan to surprise him with the news. So I went shopping. I purchased craft supplies and a cake. I made an apron which I was wearing when he got home from work that said, “Bun in the Oven!” I also made shirts for our two basset hounds; one said brother, the other said sister. The cake that I purchased at our local Wal-Mart bakery was probably the funniest memory of all. I asked the lady behind the counter to write, “You’re going to be a dad!” on the cake. Instead she wrote, “Your gonna be a dad.” It was the perfect cake wreck. When he stepped through the door, I was wearing the apron, the dogs were wearing their shirts, and the cake was lying on the counter along with the positive tests. Brian’s reaction was, “Wow, so soon?” Yes, so soon. We were well on our way to becoming parents.
The first few months of the pregnancy were pretty scary for us. Just a few months before, we had suffered a miscarriage, so we really guarded our hearts out of fear of experiencing the same pain. We were thrilled, but very cautiously so. We told only our closest friends and family. We made the decision to wait to share the news with the rest of the world until the end of the first trimester. Thankfully, our cautions weren’t necessary at all.
Unlike many women, I didn’t experience morning sickness. I never felt ill from being pregnant. I did, however, feel extremely bloated. At 9 weeks I was already showing. Clearly this wasn’t from the baby as she was the size of a seed at that point. It was all bloat, but I couldn’t hide my pregnancy for long. I felt her move for the first time at only 13 weeks. I was sitting at my desk at work and felt three little butterfly movements. That was the very moment I became completely comfortable with the idea of getting excited. This was really happening. My baby was really in there.
By the second trimester, things were continuing beautifully. I loved being pregnant and really enjoyed that season of my life. On May 11th,with a room full of her grandparents from both sides, we watched the ultrasound screen scroll over the proof that we would be welcoming a baby girl into our family. I was shocked. I fully believed we’d be having a boy. From the second they said, “It’s a girl!”, she was Lillian. We already had her named weeks before.
At 31 weeks, I began experiencing some pain that would come in waves. Brian is a doctor and knew what I was describing didn’t sound good. He had me call my doctor and they asked me to come in immediately. They discovered that I was already dilated to 1cm and sent me over to the hospital to be monitored. When I was hooked up to the machine, it confirmed that I was having contractions. It was unbelievably scary. The contractions continued, so my doctors decided I would need to be given some medicine to stop them. Thankfully, the medicine worked and I was sent home to rest. Then at 33 weeks, the same thing happened again. Once more, the medicine was able to stop them, but my doctors decided at this point I needed to be on bed rest to ensure that our sweet pea stayed put a little longer. So I quit my job and started my career as a stay at home mom. Bed rest was long and miserable! I didn’t think I’d live through it. Of course, I did! I was given the okay to stop my bed rest at 36 weeks. At this point, we were certain I’d go into labor just any time. Nope! All of that bed rest encouraged her to stay a little longer. I continued my weekly appointments and at each one, I would have dilated a little more.
On September 10th, my doctor felt to discover that I was dilated to 3 ½ cm and had a bulging bag of water. She did a membrane sweep and then sent me home with orders to walk as I felt like it. It wouldn’t be long. I spent that entire day walking. I walked until I thought my feet would fall off. I wanted my baby and I wanted her right then! I went to bed that night sad that there had been no progress. I woke the next morning, watched the news coverage of the 9/11 memorials, and laced up my shoes to start another day of walking. As I did, I felt a hot gush down below. I instantly checked to see what had happened and discovered a little bit of fluid. I picked up the phone to call my mom. She had done this three times; I knew she’d know. I explained to her what had happened and she said, “It should be a little more than a little.” Just as the words cleared her mouth, I flooded the floor. My water had broken at 8:45 a.m. while I was on the phone with my mom. She quickly hung up to get her things to make the drive to come be with me. I called Brian, who conveniently happened to be in between patients or I wouldn’t have gotten through to him. He said, “Are you serious?” To which I replied, “No honey. I thought I’d just call to interrupt your day. YES! I’m serious!” He left the office immediately to come home and get me. I took a shower and waited for him to get home with the excitement of knowing my baby would be in my arms soon.
We got to the hospital around 9:30 a.m. and settled in. We went through all the usual registration and I just relaxed and waited for our parents to get there. After a few hours of very few contractions, my doctors decided to start a low dose of Pitocin to progress the labor. Just a little bit was enough to get me going. I wanted to experience the true pain of contractions and I did. By the time I got to 5cm, I asked for an epidural and have no regrets about doing so. I was relieved. The day continued on and I continued to progress. I spent the day with a room full of family enjoying our time together while we waited. It was perfect. Around 7:30 p.m., I was finally fully dilated and nearly ready to push. My doctor came in and told me it would be time to push within the hour. I lasted about 20 minutes and then made the announcement that I was ready regardless of whether anyone else was or not. I had to push!
Brian had wrestled with the thought of delivering the baby himself for months. In a way he wanted to deliver his own baby, and in another way he wanted to just be dad. At the last minute he decided that he’d be delivering the baby. So with him and my OB at my bottom, my mother and mother-in-law on one side, and my nurse on the other, I labored to deliver our baby into the world. I had to get oxygen a few times, which I hated, but mostly it was such a powerful experience. I worked to deliver her. I wanted my baby in my arms and I knew I’d have to do the work to make it happen. It was amazing having Brian coach me and tell me just what to do. As I was pushing and he was telling me what I needed to do, we’d lock eyes and I knew we were thinking the same things. We were delivering our baby as a team. It was the best experience of my life.
At 8:55 p.m. on 9/11/12, the most precious gift I have ever been given took her first breath and was laid on my chest. I was instantly overwhelmed with love and could barely focus, I was so overjoyed. She peed on my chest and then settled into me and looked up at me with her beautiful eyes. In that moment, I found my reason for living. I was born to be this little girl’s mother. This is what I’ve searched my whole life to find. She is my purpose. I never really believed in love at first sight, until it happened to me that night. I loved her when she was in my womb, but seeing her, feeling her, holding her, ignited my love like never before. Her daddy and I spent a while loving on her and getting to know her, while her grandmothers watched and shared in the joy. Eventually she was weighed and the baby, who doctors guessed would be around 7 pounds, was a tiny 5.8 lbs and 19 inches long. Then, the rest of the family was allowed in to take a peek at her. Our family was overjoyed. After a while, her blood sugar was a little low, so the nurses took her to work on that. I rested and ate and then she was brought back to me to nurse. She nursed a little and then snuggled into me and fell asleep. That first night with her Daddy curled up on an uncomfortable cot next to us, I held my baby and really got to know her.
A year has passed since that night and I don’t even feel like the same person anymore. Lilly has taught me so very much about life. She’s taught me patience. She’s made me see the sacrifices of my own parents. She’s shown me my own value. She’s taught me unconditional love. Today, Lilly is curious, determined, smart, demanding, fun, sweet and cuddly. At just a year old, she already has a mind of her own and knows just what she wants. She has her Daddy’s beautiful, shimmering eyes, my big lipped grin and both of our hearts. She is our whole world and being her mother is my greatest blessing. So, today, I’m wishing my precious baby a very Happy 1st Birthday. What a year it’s been!