The night before she arrived Chris and I ate dinner and watched the final episode of Hard Time on Netflix and I had a sense that we might meet our girl soon. I had felt uncomfortable but not terribly painful contractions the whole time we were seated on the couch watching the finale of our prison documentary that had been consuming our evening viewing for the last two weeks.
I was up a few times that night with a contraction but nothing was regular and thankfully they were not all that painful. At 2:40 am I woke up with some cramping and went to the rest room to discover that my water had broke. I decided I needed to get into the shower and get Chris up and packing since my water breaking has always been the catalyst for serious labor in the past.
Chris called Cathy and she graciously arrived at our house by 3 am. We packed a lunch and school bag for Lakin, set out the kids overnight bag and got their carseats moved over to Cathy's vehicle and made our way to the hospital. Still feeling good, we even parked in the employee lot and walked the three blocks to the hospital.
By the time we checked into triage my contractions were probably two minutes apart and I was starting to feel seriously uncomfortable. The desk secretary had trouble finding me in the system and after multiple attempts was able to secure my medical records and get us checked in. In my head I was praying that we could move it along so that I could be admitted and start the epidural process. My body does not mess around once labor begins and I did not want to miss this valuable window of opportunity.
I got situated in triage and my midwife came to check our progress. I was contracting every minute and just barely able to talk through the pain. I knew we were losing daylight on the epidural. I was 6 cm, fully effaced and in stage zero - meaning baby was in the gate and we simply needed to dilate 4 more centimeters before the urge to push would hit. Cue a tiny bit of panic in my mind but I remained optimistic and hopeful about that coveted epidural.
This was my ticket into a delivery room and anesthesia was called to come and make all my birthing dreams come true. My anesthesiologist was quick to arrive and began prepping me for the epidural. There were a series of questions I needed to answer to make sure I was a good candidate for the epidural and I had to basically agree that if it killed me, I understood it would be my own fault.... I would have told that man whatever he wanted to hear to get some pain relief so I nodded my head in agreement and gave the wave to move it along. My IV was placed, my back marked and the spot prepped where my needle would be placed.
As I sat on the edge of the bed and waited out a difficult contraction the urge to push hit like a ton of bricks. There was no way I was going to get this epidural, this babe was coming and she was waiting for no one. I told the team I needed to push, they rushed me into position, asking me to hold any pushing until the team was in place and I was in a good position for delivery. I was pretty panicked and it was a tense moment as staff worked to deliver our baby. After four pushes, Julia emerged and we heard the sweet cries of life as I laid back in relief that this insane moment was done and our baby girl was born.
Julia was laid on my chest and Chris and I were lost in the moment as we met this little one we've loved for so long and had never met. Birth is a lot of things... but it is easily the most beautiful thing I have the privilege to experience.
I laughed through tears and told Chris that our dreams of eating one of Jason's omelets from the hospital cafeteria could be a reality since it was just shy of 5 am and breakfast would be served in the next couple of hours. We began to alert family and friends that our baby had arrived and spent the next couple hours soaking up our third child and magic of her arrival.
I think these kids and their quick deliveries might kill me. But I do have to give them credit. All three have been thoughtful enough to arrive at a time when Chris is home and able to be with me each moment of labor. While I obviously prefer the benefit of modern medicine and any comfort it might offer me, I'm terribly thankful that the process is quick. I would change nothing. I am so thankful that she was born in a hospital, with Chris as a witness and while Lakin and Bennett were in the loving care of someone who could help them process and savor the sweet reality of meeting their sibling. Miss Cathy, we are so thankful for you!
Due to the speedy arrival, there's not a single picture from Julia's birth - not that you would have really wanted too much documentation of me freaking out and probably the irritated eye roll of the anesthesia resident who was urgently called to the room, took time to prep me and then sent out as quickly as he came because there wasn't enough time to do his job. About that, sorry.
But we had lots of visitors all day Thursday and I do have some documentation of all the love our sweet girl was offered as our friends came to meet her in the hospital.
Brynn and Lindy were our first visitors of the morning. Brynn told Julia, "happy birthday," in the sweetest little voice.
Molly came over on her lunch break and again at the end of her work day. She promised to come over regularly and hold the baby as soon as we were home.
Chris and Julia spent lots of quality time snuggling. Thanks to Chris' amazing department and fellow residents, he was able to be completely present for the two days we were in the hospital. Our Rochester friends generously covered his patients, cases and all the details of the days so he could just enjoy his newest daughter.
After Lakin finished preschool Cathy brought the kids by to meet their sister. They were so proud, beaming as they entered the room and made a beeline for Julia's bassinet. Lakin was literally speechless as she met her sister for the first time and has been so good to snuggle, kiss, and provide for her baby sister. These two already have such a special bond.
Bennett also has embraced our newest arrival and there seems to be no jealousy or resentment. He is
Cathy is such a treasure to our family. She's known each of our babies since the beginning. She understands the unique breed of children we make and loves us and them anyway. :) She will always hold such a significant place in the lives of our kids and our family. Not sure what we would have done without her and the Shupert family.
Bennett was like a bull in a china shop in the tiny hospital room. He snacked on Oreos and got chocolate drool on any surface not covered. He climbed my bed, touched every tool attached to the wall and ran laps around the room. He was very excited to be there!
Casey and Isaac came and gave Julia some love. They happened to be there at the same time as the kids and I have to give Isaac major props for sitting so sweet and quiet, watching the insanity unfold as Julia's siblings moved about the room.
Party of five.
Bennett held Julia and was pretty good up until the hand off. We have to watch these kids and their well-intentioned touches. I think I have used the word, "gentle," about a million times in the last 48 hours.
Sara and Isla brought me a Chipotle bowl for dinner. She knows my heart so well. Won't be long and I'll be bringing my circus to her hospital room to welcome baby Rivera since her due date is one week after mine.
Erica came by and brought us her famous chocolate chip cookies. This dear friend has been such a gift.
Lakin and Bennett brought us some flowers (thanks Cathy).
Here's Julia a few hours after her birth. Such sweet peace she will never know again once she makes her way home. The hospital is so quiet. So, so quiet.
Chris and I used our time in the hospital to savor our baby and knock a few things off our to do list. We never have this much uninterrupted time together. I watched as much Bravo TV as my brain could handle. Somethings never change, Real Housewives of Atlanta.
Thank you for all the congratulations and well wishes on Instagram and Facebook. We are feeling the love!