Saturday October 20 was just a regular day. Travis and I slept in, knowing this would be one of the last times we ever got to do so, and spent an enjoyable day together. In the evening we ran some errands and ended up at Outback for dinner. We had gone out to eat three previous times during the week calling each one our “last date” before the baby arrived. Since the due date had passed with no signs of baby we carried on and even thought to ourselves “maybe she will just never come.” After all, we had tried going on long walks, running up and down stairs, massage and reflexology but nothing brought on labor. So, we enjoyed our meal at Outback stuffing ourselves beyond belief. At the end of the meal I decided to snatch one of their throw-away cardboard coasters as a momento of our forth “last date.” We kind of laughed to ourselves thinking we’d have another date still as we had the three previous times. As we normally do on the weekends, we made a trip to Wal-mart for some essentials. On my way to the bathroom in the store some teenage girl commented “wow you look ready to pop!” and went on to tell me about her 21 cousins and how some of them are pregnant. I’m just trying to close myself in a stall at this point thinking, “Girl, I feel ready to pop! I wish there was something I could do about it!”
That evening we were home watching Kitchen Nightmares on TV. Around 11:30 I started feeling contractions. I was timing them and they were fairly regular but not too strong. They started getting uncomfortable but I grew tired so around 1:00 am Travis and I went to bed. At 3:30am I woke up with much stronger contractions. They were unlike any sensation I’d ever felt before. I lay in bed for a while before waking up Travis, mostly because I wanted someone to talk to. He woke up quickly asking if it was time to go to the hospital. All through the pregnancy I had shared my biggest fear ith those who asked- not knowing when it was time. How would I know when to go to the hospital? I have a fairly high pain tolerance so I figured what might have been very strong contractions for someone else may have been manageable for me. People’s response was always “Oh, you’ll know.” Well I didn’t know. I just kept thinking is this me knowing or is this me not knowing?! We laid in bed a while knowing that whatever was going on was different than contractions I had before. We debated going to the hospital and I kept putting it off not wanting to get ourselves excited over what might turn out to be nothing plus the embarrassment of being turned away at the hospital deterred me from going. The pain grew stronger and Travis offered to give me a Priesthood blessing. There, in our bedroom, in the middle of the night, he blessed me with strength and comfort. I don’t remember all of his exact words but I know that his blessing from Heavenly Father eased my mind. I knew that he would be by my side as well as the Lord throughout whatever was to come next.
Since I wasn’t ready to go the hospital I told Travis he could go on back to sleep. I was going to take a bath and would let him know if anything exciting happened. So, I sat in a hot bath for a while allowing the heat to ease my muscles. I thought for a while it might be enough to stop the pain until the contractions were too strong for even the bath to ease. I tried laying on either side in the tub but eventually it was too much. I got out and woke Travis back up. At this point the contractions were so much that while they were going on I found it necessary to grab hold of something (the side of the bed, the sink, the wall) to keep myself upright. Although I still wasn’t totally sure we needed to, Travis and I decided we may as well just go to the hospital. He was very comforting and assured me that if they sent us home it would be ok but since I was in so much pain it would be best to get checked out anyway. We set all systems to go and got to packing. Travis took our dog, Ranger, outside to use the bathroom and I tossed in the last few necessary items into my overnight bag for the hospital. In a matter of minutes we were up and ready to go. On the short ride to the hospital Trav asked if I wanted to listen to some music. I wasn’t in the mood to listen to much of anything but I let him play the hym “I Need Thee Every Hour” for the brief drive.
We pulled into the Emergency Room parking lot around 5:40am and made the slow walk through the to the doors joking to each other that we’d be back in the car in just a few minutes when they would send us home. We walked through the automatic doors to where a desk attendant and a security guard were sitting. The guard asked if he could help and I responded “I think I am in labor.” He said, “Oh… wow” before getting up and getting me a wheelchair. It was like they were caught off guard to have someone walk in the ER doors actually needing attention. They radioed up to the OB floor and let them know I was coming. Before heading up we stopped into a tiny office where a lady checked my information and put me into “the system.” She strapped wristbands on us and then a nurse named Anna came to wheel us to the correct floor. All during the trip I was feeling contractions strong and much more regular than every 5 minutes. (It is advised to go to the hospital if contractions are closer than 5 minutes apart for longer than an hour.)
We were taken into a labor and delivery room that looks exactly like the one we toured before. It was large with wooden floors and an uncomfortable looking hospital bed in the middle. It is a newly built building and is a very nice facility. I was told to undress and put on nothing but a hospital robe and a nurse would be in to see me. When they checked they told me that my cervix was either 50-75% effaced (thinned) and I am dilated 2-3 cm. It isn’t enough to admit me right away but is enough that they don’t send me home immediately. We were still expecting to be sent home but I was feeling better knowing that at my appointment the Wednesday before I was 25% effaced and only 1 cm. The nurse directs us to walk around the hospital and meet back in our room after an hour. She says this will help move things along. The last thing I want to do is walk around the hospital in pain wearing a silly hospital gown but we do as we are told. We stay on the Labor and Delivery floor making about a million laps through the area. Travis was by my side the whole time allowing me to hold onto his arm and slowing to a near crawl when contractions were at their height. We walked out of the L&D area and meandered through the patient rooms on the other wing of the floor. It seemed like geriatric patients by the look of the portable toilets outside the rooms and the amount of wheelchairs and coughing. We didn’t like the feel of it so we decided to stick to our wing. Throughout the hour we would stop by various windows and watch the sun rise. There wasn’t too much to say to each other at this point. We could either be having a baby within the day or they could send us home still, we had no idea. We didn’t want to alarm our families by telling them we were at the hospital in case it turned out to be nothing so we walked around the corridor, mostly in silence hoping that our baby would make her appearance soon.
When back in the delivery room I continued to pace while Travis used the bathroom. While he was in there a metal pot fell causing a loud clamor. That made the nurse at the desk outside my door jump up to see if I was ok. I waved to her that all was well and I continued pacing. A new nurse, Rachel, came in and checked to see if the walking had caused me to progress any. It had, but barely. They were going to call Dr. Aamodt, the doctor on call, and see what he would advise doing. By this point my pain was less manageable. I had been hooked up to monitors checking the baby’s heart rate and my contractions. I started to get very worried. I was in a lot of pain, what was I going to do if they sent me home? How would I know when to come back? How could I manage my pain by myself? Nurses continued to come in and out checking my progress and asking me the questions necessary to admit me. Hours had passed since we had first come to the hospital, our families were, no doubt, at church and we were missing ours.
Finally, it was decided that we could stay!! I got hooked up to an IV to pump me full of fluid and antibiotics. Months prior I had tested positive for Group B Strep, a bacteria, that could transmit to the baby at birth so they wanted to take all necessary precautions. I was in and out of a light sleep since I had gotten next to none the night before. With pain increasing and my sense of time diminishing it was decided that I could sit in the Jacuzzi to help ease the pain. Travis and the nurse, Rachel, helped me in the tub where I sat for what seemed like hours. The water was hot and the bubbles helped me to relax. I propped my head into my IV’d hand and dozed on and off. After a while, Rachel came to get me out. The doctor wanted to check me and they were going to hook me back up to the monitors for at least a half an hour. By this point I lost all sense of time and coherence. I asked, at some point for pain medication and the nurse changed from Rachel to Chasity. The pain meds were through my IV. It was advised that I not have an epidural yet since it can slow the labor process down and it was already taking a long time. I was told that the pain meds may cause dizziness but it will remove some of the discomfort of labor so I should try and get some sleep. No such luck! I have a weakness for hospital grade pain medication and they always make me sick. I asked Travis to hand me a bucket since I was feeling a little nauseous once the medication kicked in. By now it was late morning/ early afternoon and I had not eaten since Outback the night before. Needless to say, my stomach was empty. But, that didn’t stop the nausea. I got sick four separate times during labor, each time just as uncomfortable as the time before. Travis was great about it though. He wasn’t grossed out and even cleaned out my bucket for me once or twice. Eventually the IV pain medication was completely ineffective and I got an epidural. This being my first time giving birth I didn't know exactly what an epidural was to feel like. During the end of labor and the birth I was in excruciating pain. I felt every contraction and push to its fullest extent. Apparently that isn't what it's supposed to be like with an epidural. My right butt cheek sure was numb though, but that's it.
The nurses and doctors continued to check on me as I laid in bed sleeping on and off as the pain would allow me. All of a sudden it seemed the pressure was so intense I started to cry to myself. Travis was so good to me and stayed close by my side. Chasity came in at one point and asked if I was ok. Clearly I wasn’t so he let her know. Eventually she came back with the doctor and they checked me again. By this point I was feeling the urge to push with the contractions (which I was feeling with all strength thanks to my lack of a working epidural). They said I could wait another two hours before having the baby. But that didn’t work for me. That threw me into complete crazy-lady mode. I started crying and asking to go home. They told me not to push that if it was too early it could cause my cervix to swell and delay the process even more but I couldn’t help it. That’s when they realized that I wasn’t waiting two more hours, I was having the baby now. The nurses and doctor did what they do to get ready, pulled out the stirrups and folded down the bottom of the bed. I regret now that I kept my eyes closed most of the time because I don’t remember a lot of what happened. But, the pain was so much and I was so exhausted that I couldn’t keep my eyes open. Pushing a baby out was likely the hardest physical challenge of my life. I had a lot of encouragement but my body was so tired.
After 17 hours of labor and twenty-five painstaking minutes of pushing a little baby girl was born. Travis cut the umbilical cord and then they placed her on my chest. I was in complete shock. It didn’t seem real that the agony I had just been through had produced such a wonderful outcome. People say that you forget what it is like to be pregnant or in labor. I don’t think I’ll forget, I just think that (if there is a next time) I will know how worth it all of it is. The first thing I said when I held the baby is “I love her so much.” We just sat there looking at her while they were stitching my episiotomy back up. Then, they took her to weigh and measure her. She was born at 8:37 pm on Sunday October 21, 2012. She weighed 8 pounds 7.4 ounces and was 20 inches long.
Things settled down and Travis and I sat together looking at our beautiful little girl before having Grandma Susan, Grandma Lori, Todd, Sarah and Kim come in. They visited and held the little baby for about thirty minutes before I was wheeled to a recovery room. As soon as we got there I passed out for about three hours. When I woke up I thought it was morning and felt wide awake. Travis was asleep on the pull out couch and the baby was beside me in a bassinett. I held her and looked at her for the longest time. A nurse checked on me a few times and tried to get me to go to sleep but I was so excited, I just couldn’t!
Monday morning came and my mom joined us back at the hospital. She had stayed at our house overnight. The rest of the family had gone home the night before. We spent the day loving on our little girl and feeling a complete sense of awe and gratitude. Lactation consultants, nurses, and a photographer came in and out all day long checking on me and the baby. We still didn’t have a name for her set in stone although by the end of the day we had come close to deciding. It was the middle name that was giving us trouble! Before the birth we had been sure that we would name her Sierra but after we met her it just didn’t seem to fit. We had tossed around Bailee earlier in the pregnancy and came back to it in the hospital. She seemed like a Bailee to us J We had to have the social security lady come back about three times since we hadn’t settled on a middle name. I wanted something pretty that would accent her first name. Travis wanted a Hawaiian family name. We just couldn’t agree. Finally we settled on Meleana. It was Hawaiian, it was a family name (a long distant cousin) and it was pretty. It means honey and translates to Melanie or Marianne.
Tuesday we were allowed to go home. We spent the morning being checked by nurses preparing us for discharge. They told us Bailee was incredibly healthy. She lost 5 ounces since birth but would gain it back quickly. We packed up our things in awe that they would actually allow us to take home such a fragile infant. We dressed Bailee in her first outfit and put her in her carseat. I was wheeled out to the front door where Bailee and I waited for Travis to pull the car up. We loaded her in and I sat in the back beside her. For the short drive home we were overcome with gratitude and love for such a precious daughter of God. We realized how much we had been blessed and what a great responsibility had been placed upon us to care for this little girl. Overwhelmed with the spirit we rode home. All of the waiting and anticipation was over. Our sweet little angel had arrived and it was like she had always belonged. All of the clothes and baby items we had prepared weren’t just for any baby, they were for Bailee.
Since the day we brought her home she has been so sweet. She is eating a lot which is time consuming but I don’t mind. All her doctors and nurses are happy with how she is growing. She was back up to her birth weight by Thursday of her birth week. Now she is over 10 pounds and has grown to over 22 inches in length. She is a happy, healthy, sweet little girl and we can’t wait for what life has in store for us!