I’ve been wanting to share Lucy’s birth story for a while now, but haven’t found the time to get all of it down on paper until now! Lucy was due on April 19 – the middle of a semester for me. I hoped to work right up until the end, and almost made it! The week before she was due, I was getting ready to teach my long, three-hour class and started to feel really nauseated. I’d been sick quite a bit throughout my pregnancy, so it wasn’t new to feel like I needed to have a drink of something fizzy or have a few crackers to settle my stomach, but those things didn’t work this time. Instead, during the break, I went and threw up in the bathroom! I still had two hours left and was going to try to make it through, but about five minutes into starting class again, I told them I wasn’t feeling well and barely made it to the bathroom a second time before throwing up again. I cancelled class, and probably should’ve called Aaron to come pick me up, but drove home and threw up a third time in the parking lot! The next 24 hours were a horrifying blur – I would take a few sips of water, and then wretch that up 20 minutes later. Aaron was up with me all night, holding a trash can since I could hardly walk. About 36 hours later, we drove into the hospital. Here’s the crazy thing – we found out later that this wasn’t pregnancy related at all! Aaron caught whatever bug I had, and then my mom had it a few days later. They gave me some Zofran and a few bags of fluid, and I felt so. much. better. Then they sent us home!
The other issue that caused quite a few problems during the last week was round ligament pain. How is this not a thing I’ve ever heard other people talk about before? I kept having this terrible, tearing feeling in my lower right abdomen that got so bad I could barely walk and was sleeping in the rocker because it hurt too much to lie down. And now that I know a little bit about it, something like 30% of women have this during late pregnancy in varying degrees!
I had an appointment with our midwife on the 16th or 17th – I can’t remember exactly – and when they hooked me up to the fetal monitor, they said I was having contractions (baby ones – lulled me into a very false sense of security, ha!) but that it was too early to admit me. So we went home again! That night, I kept getting in and out of the bathtub, as the water was the only thing that relieved some of the ligament pain I was feeling. Aaron was so helpful – drawing the baths and sitting with me. That night around midnight, the contractions were within the timing framework needed to go back in, but they said I was only dilated 3 cms! They said we would have to go home again until I was further dilated (we about died at that point – we were so incredibly tired and I was in so much pain from these other issues I’d been having). Also, the birthing center was so busy that night! As we were waiting in the ER, another woman’s water broke! And there were so many women in the triage waiting area, they didn’t have beds for everyone.
On a quick test before I left, my blood pressure was high and because that hadn’t been an issue for me during pregnancy, they re-tested it several times. This was the miracle we needed – the midwife told us, “Well, you won yourself a spot here. We’ll give you something to get your BP down, and then let’s induce you!” I honestly don’t even remember too much of the rest of that night – I had a bad reaction to one of the medications they gave me, and felt completely out of my body for a while. I remember sweating profusely in the bed and feeling like I wanted to ask for help, but couldn’t make my mouth form the words. It was strange – like being in a dream that you want to get out of, but can’t.
The next morning, my contractions kept getting progressively stronger, only the equipment in the room to monitor them wasn’t working! They brought in another machine with a Jeopardy-style “buzzer” for me to click at the beginning and end of each contraction, but that wasn’t working either. The contractions were getting really strong at that point, so Aaron got his phone out and was tracking them on that while they were doing their third attempt at monitoring my contractions and Lucy’s safety with a scalp monitor. They placed that successfully, and it was a relief to have some affirmation that what I was feeling was really late-stage labor! At about 6 cm dilated, I had an epidural, and it was so incredibly wonderful. The anesthesiologist was a young guy – probably in his 20’s! – and I was nervous, wondering how many of these he’d done before! He placed it without any problem, and said it was the easiest one he’d done all day.
I slept for a few hours and then woke up again when I started to feel like I needed to push. I had my mom and Aaron in the room with me, and my mom was holding my head and Aaron was holding one of my legs. The midwife was going in and out of the room, as there were two other women in the birthing center pushing at that time as well! One of the things I wish I’d known better is how normal it is for the pushing stage to last for several hours – for some reason, I had some recollection of hearing an OB tell a woman, “you can do this in 3 pushes or 30 pushes, it’s up to you.” So I thought if she wasn’t coming out quickly, it was because I wasn’t pushing hard enough! I think I pushed for about an hour and a half, and afterward, the midwife said she’s had lots of women push for 2.5-3 hours. I remember crying at one point and saying to Aaron, “I can’t do it, I don’t think she’ll come out,” when I’d been pushing as hard as I could and didn’t know if I could do it. And then – one long push – and I felt this rush as her head came out, and Aaron said “that’s it, she’s almost here!” and then one more push, and there she was. Our sweet girl arrived on Good Friday, 4/19 at 4:19 PM.
As I’m writing this, I have tears in my eyes remembering this moment! They put our precious girl on my tummy, and I remember putting my hands around her and holding her close. I couldn’t believe that after all those months on the inside, she was here – so tiny and absolutely perfect. She was 7 pounds, 6 ounces, and 19 inches long. Aaron went out and told the rest of our families she’d arrived, and we spent the next several hours together – just Aaron and me with our girl. I breastfed her, and Aaron read her a book called “You Belong Here.” When they were ready to move us down to the recovery floor, we had another really special moment – they were doing a tour for pregnant moms and their partners, and all of these expectant women were lined up in the hallway as they wheeled us out! They all clapped for us, and it was just this really special moment of connection with these other to-be moms.
The next few hours were full of family – both of our sets of parents were there, and my Auntie Joanne was there from Seattle too. We have a special tradition that my Auntie Joanne has been doing for Casey and me since we were born: she “named” each of us with an animal when we arrived. Casey has always been “Courageous Casey,” symbolized by a lion, and I have always been “Precious Lindsey,” with a rocking horse. Each year at Christmas, we get an ornament of our animal – so I have a 34 rocking horse ornaments! In the recovery room, Auntie Joanne gave us a little package for Lucy: a sweet little vintage lamb ornament. So our “little lamb” she is! Casey and Jenn arrived early the next morning – they’d been so excited my whole pregnancy, and it was so fun to see them with their niece! Aaron’s sister Rachel and her partner Gavin and their three kids all came that Easter weekend, and we have such good memories of the little ones meeting their new cousin.
Recovery went relatively really well – I was up walking right away, and didn’t have too much pain. It was so helpful to have family stay and give us a hand with nighttime, fixing meals, etc. We also had so many special friends visit over the next few months. It’s made me so grateful for friends who feel like family! One of my oldest friends, Juliana, came up with her daughter Noelle (Juliana was a bridesmaid and Noelle was our flower girl a few years ago) and on her way out, she grabbed our full diaper pail bag and hauled it out to the trash. Like I said – friends who feel like family. We are so lucky to have such a wonderful group of people in our lives.
Fast forward and Lucy is now five months old! She’s growing so incredibly quickly… she is now at the height of an average 7 month old! She’s long out of 3-6 month outfits and onto 9-12 months. She surprises us every day with the new things she’s learning: giggling when we sing “itsy bitsy spider” to her, splashing around in her tub, lifting her arms to be picked up, and giving us lots of coos and smiles. I remember one of my friends wrote in our baby shower book, “prepare to have your heart broken wide open in the best possible way” – which is exactly how we feel! We love our sweet girl more than we ever imagined we could.