A week before Finley was born, a woman at the UPS store blatantly told me, “Nope. You aren’t having that baby any time soon. You haven’t swelled up and don’t look miserable yet.” I politely
clenched my teeth smiled and said, “you’re probably right”, though I disagreed 100% in my mind. Truth is, not every woman is miserable during her pregnancy! Aside from the difficulty bending over, and waking up multiple times during the night to pee in the last trimester, I really enjoyed my pregnancy. I loved the newness of it all. That first experience is so incredible! I felt lovely and special and embraced the giant bump that grew in front of me!
Much to my disappointment, at my 39 week appointment I hadn’t progressed from the week prior — still 2-3cm and 90% effaced. That same day, I had Cory take a maternity picture of me before the sun went down. I knew exactly what I wanted and felt I had to have at least one “professional-looking” maternity photo. Little did I know, I would have never gotten that photo if I waited just one more day! I’m so glad I didn’t wait, because I’ll cherish this forever…
Throughout the last trimester, I worried about whether or not I would know if I was in labor. Would my water break? How would I know for sure if I was having contractions? Well, my contractions made a grand entrance at 2am that night… each one lasting 30-60 seconds, five minutes apart. And, they hurt—bad. Because the lady at the hospital made me feel like I didn’t need to go in yet, I laid in the fetal position in bed for nearly two hours, repeating myself through the pain of each contraction, (I even apologized to Cory for probably sounding annoying!) finally making the decision to go in around 4am. (For the record, Cory did not think I was annoying and he graciously did whatever I asked of him if I thought it would help me; like get me orange juice and water, and rub my shoulders or not rub my shoulders, and talk or not talk or ask questions! If you’ve been in labor, you’ll understand how wants+needs are all over the board! A woman in labor changes her mind with each contraction.)
Before leaving, I found a dozen red roses on the counter for me, as well as a Valentine’s Day card from Cory and one from our soon-to-be daughter. Little did Cory know that that soon-to-be-daughter would actually arrive on Valentine’s Day!
Despite the inch of fresh snow covering the roads, we made it to St. Paul. While Cory was on the “red phone” to get the maternity ward doors open, I had a contraction and had no choice but to get down on all fours in attempt to be the most comfortable. You do what you gotta do with no shame during labor! Shortly there after, we saw a wheelchair and put it to good use. And just like out of a movie, Cory ran into the doorway while pushing me into a room. 🙂 (I still love him.)
While I was pregnant, I worried about getting an epidural, but that and the IV in my hand ended up being a piece of cake. My philosophy is that contractions put real pain into perspective…
The next five hours consisted of calling family+friends, resting/napping, rotating positions, and watching Finley’s heartbeat (and mine) on the monitor. It amazed me to have a contraction and not feel the pain.
I had a fever when I was admitted and it only went up so my nurse told us that they had to assume the worst which would be an infection in my uterus, which meant that Finley could have the infection too. Because of that, Finley would have to be in the NICU to be monitored and I wouldn’t get to hold her immediately after she was born. Hearing that broke my heart, but I was grateful to know beforehand vs. them whisking her away without me knowing why.
A doctor came in to break my water around 9am and said it wouldn’t be long. But I didn’t start pushing until 12:30 when my doctor arrived. Thank God for her. She was so amazing, encouraging, and reassuring during it all. I remember at one point when I started giving up, she said, “Think about Lambeau Field and ALLLLLLL those fans that fill the stadium. Each one of those people was born.”
Finley’s head had been low for a long time, they could already see it. So naturally, I thought a couple pushes and she’d be out, how tough could it be? We talked and laughed in-between pushes. Cory played Bon Iver Pandora on his phone for me because the elevator music channel (complete with serene photos of streams and foggy forests) annoyed me. Turns out, after a couple pushes, Finley wasn’t budging. After nearly two hours, I was reaching complete exhaustion. When the doctors saw meconium, they got serious about getting her out asap, and that’s when they told me they would use the vacuum suction to help. This. Was. Terrifying. All I could think was that I didn’t want them to have to use the forceps too. Then I started having visions of being rushed into an emergency C-Section. More than anything, I was worried about Finley. Again, my [fantastic] doctor told me to look her in the eyes and she said, “Do I look worried!? No. This baby is going to be born and everything is going to be ok!” After that, I closed my eyes and was the most determined I’d ever been in my entire life, because my baby’s life depended on it. At 2:59pm, Finley Kathleen took her first breath and let out the most beautiful cry I’ve ever heard. Soon after, Cory showed me this picture on his phone…
My first thought (other than how perfect she was) was that she looked HUGE! She was, by no means, huge, but was bigger than I expected—7 lb. 4oz. Healthy+Perfect. Before I knew it, she was bundled up and handed to me for the first time. Her sweet, glimmering eyes looked up at mine and I told her I was her mama as tears of happiness+relief+exhaustion+love+pure joy rolled down my cheeks. I dreamed of that exact moment for so long.
(I swore I wasn’t ever going to show anyone this picture of me because if that doesn’t look like the stereotypical women who just delivered a baby, I don’t know what does! But despite my face not looking beautiful, the moment was beautiful, and that’s something to cherish.)
She was taken to the NICU to be hooked up to antibiotics and monitored in case of an infection. Turns out, she never ended up having any type of infection. She scored an 8 and 9 on her Apgar tests and was as healthy as they come!
And you know what, she is exactly what I imagined her to be… 🙂