Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Happy, Happy Birthday!

Today is the day! My sweet Natalie's 1st Birthday! Because I am still awake, I started typing this at 12:36 am - the exact time I gave birth to my baby girl ... and I thought, since it's still very fresh in my mind, perhaps this would be the perfect time to reminisce and share my labor story ... afterall, that's what got me here, to this point of celebrating my baby girl's first birthday!

The short version: My water broke about 8:00 pm. Got to the hosptial at 9:30ish. Natalie was born at 12:36 am. Yes, that's just 4 and a half short hours!

The looong version:
At about 8:00 pm on July 14th, I was in the loft above our garage - checking email - when my water broke - what a surprise! With a bit of panic in my voice, I yelled to Chad - he was in his workshop (the garage, just below where I was) - “Babe, my water just broke!” As I expected, he was shocked but also calm, and he immediately came up with a plan. Call the doctor, take showers, and pack a bag. So that’s just what we did. While I showered, Chad started putting all kinds of things in a suitcase - books, CD’s, clothes, snacks, … none of which we needed, but I’ll get to that. And then while he showered, I called my friends Heather in VA and Liza here in the neighborhood; it was so good to hear the voices of friends who had been through this before. I must admit, I was getting a little nervous at this point.

In the car on the way to Overlake Hospital, I called my mom to tell her the exciting news, and that's when it really hit me ... "I'm having a baby!" I started to cry - tears of both happiness and nervousness. I was about to become a mom and talking to my own mom gave me a dose of reality but also a sense of calm. My mom was very surprised and a little sad; she was disappointed that it was two weeks before my due date and she wasn't here to go to the hospital with us.

I had 5 hard contractions on the way to the hospital; to be honest, they didn't hurt as much as I expected. But I definitely had to stop what I was doing until each one subsided. Also, keep in mind that I had been on bedrest since the end of May and had contractions, controlled with medication, for most of that time.

We didn't really hurry to the hospital because we assumed that many hours would pass before the actual birth, which explains why Chad packed so much stuff! But it ended up that he barely set our suitcase down before "things got interesting" and a very short time later our baby girl was born.
You see, I was already dilated 7 centimeters when we got to the hosptial! I looked at the nurse like she was crazy and suggested that she check again. But she was confident in her original assessment and asked me if I wanted something for the pain - an epidural. I was still trying to comprehend that I only had 3 centimeters to dilate before being ready to push! Feeling really brave and excited, I decided to give birth naturally. The contractions continued right on schedule, and Chad was amazing through each one. By 11:00, before Doctor Maplethorpe had even arrived, I was ready to push, but the nurses kept telling me to breath through it ... an answer that I didn't particularly like to hear, but I did my best to do what they said. Soon after the doctor arrived and the pushing began ... a lot of pushing, like an hour and a half of it! My biggest complaint was the stupid IV line stuck in my hand; it flopped all over the place and got caught and just bugged me!
And at

At 12:36am on July 15, 2007, we got a wonderful surprise, our beautiful baby GIRL was born! Both Chad and I had strong "boy" feelings - we didn't find out the baby's gender via ultrasound, so it really was a surprise! We had lists of names for either scenario, but the other girl names were quickly forgotten when I saw her. Without hesitation, I called her Natalie Helen, a name that suits her perfectly. The next minutes, hours, and days, after Natalie was born are kind of a blur for me. I look back at the pictures, and I am so glad to have them.

When I think back over this past year, I can't help but feel like that one evening was such a teeny tiny slice of a much bigger story. I mean, it was an amazing experience, one I thought about and worried about for a very long time. But it was just a single event that set in motion an amazing new chapter in our lives. It has been a good year. A year of challenges, sleep deprivation, uncertainty, ... and a year of celebration, happiness, and much love.

1 comment:

Emmett Joseph (and Mama) said...

4 1/2 hours...really...you lucky girl, you! I am so happy that Natalie Helen came into your lives (and my life!). What a beautiful little girl with amazingly loving and proud parents. I love that every birth story is unique, and every little life is equally unique. Happy Birthday, Natalie!

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