the much-anticipated date of november 27th-- my due date-- came... and went. the next day, my birthday, passed slowly and uneventfully, despite my wishes to have my baby on my birthday. days of the following week crawled by. one day past, two days, three, four. five, six, seven. i woke up on the morning of the eighth day past my due date anxious and excited. today was the day my doctor had told me to go to the hospital to be induced.
our check-in time was 6:00 PM. brandtly and i cleaned the house, made chocolate chip cookies for the nurses and doctors that would help deliver our baby, and watched episode after episode of grey's anatomy while cuddling on our couch, just the two of us. every episode of grey's included something about pregnancy: an emergency c-section, a still birth, an expectant couple who found out that the mother was carrying TWO babies, that weren't twins, and that they did not come from the same father (shocking, shonda. HOW DO YOU DO IT?).
we headed to the hospital, arriving promptly at 6:00, disappointed that addison shepherd wasn't my OB and even more disappointed that mark sloan was not gracing the halls. i was admitted, taken to my room, and hooked up to an IV and contraction monitor by 7:00. brandtly, my parents, and i talked and laughed while inviting every passing nurse and doctor to come hang out with us and eat cookies.
my nurse checked my cervix and i was dilated to a 1.
your cervix needs to be at a 10 (the size of a bagel... betcha won't ever eat bagels again after that image) and i was only at a ONE and i was EIGHT DAYS past my due date. i was convinced i would be in the hospital another week and/or i actually wasn't pregnant and my baby actually wouldn't ever come. they gave me a dose of cervidil to get that bad boy to open up (bad boy = my cervix) at 7:30, we ate more cookies, and then they checked my dilation again at 10:30.
i was now dilated to a 2.
they gave me another dose of cervidil and encouraged me to get some sleep, as it seemed that that night would be uneventful in terms of a baby being born. my parents left to sleep at our house, and brandtly and i ate MORE cookies, laughed about our stubborn baby, and started getting ready for bed. at this point, it was about 11:00.
brandtly reclined my hospital bed back down (he had a fun time with that), and i closed my eyes to go to sleep. EXCEPT. i realized i was a tad uncomfortable. my lower stomach kind of hurt, like the cramps that we lovely ladies get during that time (wink wink) of the month. i looked at the contraction monitor to the right of my bed and almost jumped for joy: I WAS HAVING CONTRACTIONS! i hadn't felt a single one prior to this moment, so i was pumped, because it indicated that things were actually progressing. EXCEPT. i was a tad uncomfortable!! i realized that there was no way i would be able to fall asleep; it was impossible to get comfortable and my stomach was goin' cray. it was now 11:30, and when my cervix was checked again, i was at a 2.5.
after that, my contractions progressed hard and fast. i was surprised at how closed my cervix still was because of how painful my contractions were. each hour they increased with intensity and frequency. i always planned to get an epidural, but i felt silly asking for one when i wasn't even dilated to a three yet! i didn't want to be a weakling and be the laughing stock of the hospital. what if derek shepherd were to find out?
i remember staring at the clock. it was directly across from my bed up above the door to the bathroom. i mentally divided the clock into four fifteen-minute sections, telling myself to just get through fifteen minutes at a time. i did those fifteen increments fifteen times, and the time was now 3:15 AM. my contractions were ninety seconds apart, i could feel the pain wrapping all the way around my back and spreading to my upper legs, and i was hard core sweating. when my nurse came in to check on me again, i asked for the epidural and she quickly went to get the anesthesiologist.
he came in, rolling his cart, and i said, "hey, doc. want a cookie?" "after", he said. "ok", i said.
he told me to lay on my left side to receive the epidural, which i gladly did because brandtly was already on my left side and i love looking at him!!!!! so i roll over and took his hand, looking into his loving and exhausting eyes. our gazes locked and we stared at each other with such intensity and love that could only be matched by our wedding day as we kneeled across the altar. he squeezed my hand and smiled at me, not saying anything, because he didn't have to.
"you're doing great, don't move, the needle is in", the doctor said. i hadn't felt a SINGLE THING. disney is right!! love truly is the strongest force in the world!! stronger than a pencil-sized needle inserted into your spine!
almost immediately, a warm, tingling sensation filled the lower half of my body. "WWWOOOOOOWWWWW," i said, returning to lay on my back, "no wonder people do drugs". it felt AWESOME. i felt so relaxed and so COZY. "you rock", i called after the anesthesiologist as he exited our room, munching on his cookie.
after that, i got a dose of pitocin and fell dead asleep. i was exhausted! i slept like a rock until the nurse woke me up at 7:30 AM. "you're dilated to a 9! and your water broke after you got your epidural!" WHOOOO! brandtly and i did a happy dance and i began to feel giddy with excitement. the nurse laid out the game plan: they wanted me to try to get a bit more sleep, they would check me again at 9:30, and then we would start pushing! "i would anticipate 1-4 hours of pushing," she advised, "since you were induced and this is your first baby. plan on having your sweet babe by lunchtime!"
brandtly texted my parents the update and they headed over to the hospital. we tried to sleep, but we were just too excited!! every time my nurse came back in and saw us laughing wide awake we would be like "hee hee!! sorry, can't sleep!! want a cookie?!"
around 8:00, i began to feel PPPRRRREEESSSUUUUURRREEE. it can only be described as feeling like a baby was trying to come out of your body! it wasn't necessarily painful (thank you, epidural), but it was extremely hard to NOT push! we would laugh every time as i tensed my body and tried to keep everything-- and everyone-- in.
when the nurse came back in at 8:30, i asked if i could just start pushing now. i felt ready, my adrenaline was pumpin', and didn't think i could keep her in much longer! she checked my cervix to make sure i was dilated to a 10 (which i WAS!!) and said, "she's super low! i can feel her head, and she has hair! let's get ready to push!"
SHE HAS HAIR!
brandtly and i completely lost it. i began to cry, not because i was in pain, not because i was scared, but because i was SO. EXCITED. i was about to meet a tiny person, fresh out of heaven, that i created with the love of my life. there are truly no words to describe what you feel moments before your baby is born.
the nurse explained the art of pushing (for every contraction, you push three times for ten seconds) and told me that the next time i felt pressure, i was to push! i was surprised at how fast it happened. for some reason, i expected some extensive tutorial and mental preparation before the infamous pushing. not so! i felt pressure and PUSHED! it was such a relief to do what my body was ready to do.
with brandtly's hand in mine, i pushed the three times through the contraction. the nurse's eyes widened as she said, "let me go get the doctor. you're pushing very well and the baby is coming fast!" brandtly and i laughed. kissed. stared at the door waiting for the doctor to come in.
our doctor came into the room and quickly got my legs into the stirrups. "okay!!!" he said, "PUSH!" i pushed as hard as i could and heard brandtly say, "i can see her!! keep going, sweetheart! you're doing so good!! i can see her!!" at this point, i was half laughing half sobbing and my body was doing this crazy shaking thing and it looked like i was having a seizure and probably looked completely hysterical. in an instant, the pressure was gone, and a tiny little cry filled the room.
i turned to brandtly, completely overwhelmed, and buried my head into his neck as we held each other and sobbed. moments later, our baby was placed into my arms. storie faye thornton. 6 pounds, 13 ounces, 19 inches long, and pure perfection.
she's all ours. and we love her.