Today my mom and I took Madeline to get her newborn photos taken. We had them taken by a very talented photographer named Nicole McDaniel. She had her own studio up in Monument with lots of beautiful props. When we got there the studio was nice and toasty warm. It was so fascinating to watch Nicole work her magic. Madeline stayed asleep the entire time through all the prop changes. I was just so happy that I could relax and watch instead of stressing out behind the camera. The photos turned out beautifully.
I just had a feeling my entire pregnancy that Madeline would come early. How early I wasn't exactly sure. All the kids came a few days to a week early so I figured my odds were pretty good that Madeline would be early as well. As my due date drew closer I started to feel really awful. I had a few days of just feeling sick to my stomach with really bad heartburn. The night before I went into labor I was laying on my bed just thinking how I was going to survive two more weeks until my due date. Emma was so sweet to me. She rubbed by legs with lotion for almost an hour. It was such a good distraction from how awful I was feeling. Everything ached and I was just plain uncomfortable. I remember the kids saying how cool it would be if I went into labor on Labor Day. It seemed like a nice thought at the time but I wasn't counting on it. When I started having contractions on Labor Day around 5pm I didn’t think much of it because of the false labor I had 5 days earlier. By 6pm I realized that I should probably start tracking how far apart my contractions were. Since I was the most comfortable sitting in the rocking chair I sat there and tracked my contractions while watching, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” on my iPad. By 8pm I knew we needed to head to the hospital as some of the contractions seemed pretty close together. Mike called over to the Bishop’s house where Andrew was attending a youth activity and arranged for someone to drop him off at the hospital. We dropped the girls off at the Garlock’s house and then headed to the Memorial North Hospital. Peter and Andrew were such good helpers that night. I think they were more excited than anyone else. While in triage the contractions got a little bit harder and every time I was having a contraction my face went flush. The boys thought that was the funniest thing. There was no doubt in my mind that I was in labor. The nurse contacted Dr. Hammond to tell her I was in labor but since she was not on call that night I was told I would be under the care of the OB on call. My heart sank. I cried a little bit. Of all my pregnancies in the past, not one ended in my actual OB delivering me. I was so hopeful that this time would be different. After my small meltdown I got my game face on and tried to just focus on what I needed to do in the moment.
By 9:30pm they finally admitted me after they realized that my contractions were there to stay. We headed over to the Labor and Delivery suites to room 2210. The boys' first reaction was, "Wow, this room is so big." When we were in the triage room they thought that was where I was going to be all night. They were pleasantly surprised by how nice and big the labor and delivery room was. I didn't waste any time and requested the epidural. By 10pm the anesthesiologist was in my room administering the epidural. The boys had to leave the room while I had that done as it was protocol. The anesthesiologist had to do it twice and so I had to sit there longer just breathing deep and praying it would be over soon. Mike sat there right by my side holding my hand. It was nice having him right there with me. I was SO glad that I choose to get the epidural as my labor ended up being longer than expected. I had the best nurse that night. Her name was Jill. She was great about making sure that I rotated from side to side to help my labor progress and to help the epidural to continue to work on both sides. Shortly after getting the epidural my BP went way down and they had to give me some meds to bump it back up. I remember feeling really light headed and then sick to my stomach. I ended up throwing up a few times before the meds kicked in. It took a few rounds of meds before my BP finally stabilized. Since my labor was progressing very slowly we all settled in for the long night. Mike and Peter slept on the pull out couch while Andrew tried to sleep in the rocking chair. By 3am Mike switched with Andrew so that he could sleep on the couch next to Peter. I did get some rest but I don't think I ever really fell asleep. I labored ALL NIGHT LONG. I remember thinking how exhausted I was as I lay in bed. I wasn't in any pain because of the epidural but boy was I exhausted. My body was definitely working hard.
As the sun came up the next morning I was starting to get worried that I hadn't progressed past a 7. I thought for sure that I would have had the baby by this time. The new shift arrived at 7am and I sadly had to say goodbye to my nurse Jill. The good news was that my OB would be able to deliver the baby. Mike took the boys to get breakfast a little after 7am and shortly after they left Dr. Hammond and my new nurse came in. My new nurse was also excellent. She had me use the peanut pillow between my legs and had me rotate sides as well. It was something different and I was pretty much desperate to try anything to get things moving. Dr. Hammond and I discussed finally breaking my water. Not once in any of my pregnancies has my water ever broken on its own. I knew from my other labors that my labor would progress fast after my water was broken so I texted Mike and the boys to come back to the room. It was literally only 20 minutes later that I was ready to push her out. I went from a 7 to a 10 in less than 20 minutes. The pressure was so intense that all I could do was to keep breathing. Peter just held my hand and that gave me a lot of comfort. Everything up to this point I had handled with grace but I was really nervous about the pushing part. After a little pep talk from the nurse about what exactly she wanted me to do during the pushing I held my breath and pushed as hard as I could. It only took 2 contractions and little Madeline was out in less than 2 minutes, arriving at 8:15am. I couldn’t believe how much easier she was to deliver than all of the other kids. Everything about my labor and delivery led me to believe that I was being blessed and watched over. I was so happy that all my boys were there with me. Andrew and Peter got to see the birth of Madeline. We had initially intended for them to stand behind me as she came out but in the end everyone just watched the miracle of childbirth. It was a beautiful moment and one they will always remember. They immediately put her on my chest and let me hold her for a few minutes before cutting the cord. Peter was so excited to be the one to cut the cord. Since Madeline was having a bit of a hard time breathing they whisked her away to get her body warmed up and a little oxygen on her face. The boys followed to be with her and to enjoy those first few moments of her life. She ended up being just fine and weighed in at 6 lbs 3 oz and about 20 inches long. She was a tiny little thing and she just looked like a little angel. She really was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen.