Thursday, February 16, 2017

Madeline's Birth Story (+ newborn photographs)

It's hard to believe our sweet girl turns one year old tomorrow. This year has been by far the most incredible year yet and I can't even believe that day that changed our lives forever was a year ago. So much of the day she came into our lives seems too personal to share but I do want to write some things down so I don't forget.  

In true Madeline fashion, she surprised us in the best way possible by not waiting until her due date. Our sweet Madeline was born ten days before her due date on February 17, 2016. It is so incredibly amazing how much your heart can expand and grow in one day. That tiny bundle was placed in our arms and our family suddenly felt complete, even though we didn't know something was missing. Isn't that the craziest, most surreal feeling? The day before (a year ago today) I'd been really busy at work. I was scheduled to work until the next Friday but was pretty sure I was going to be written out after my appointment that Thursday due to how swollen I was. My doctor had already mentioned it and I had been very adamant about trying to make it to that day so I wouldn't have to change my return date from maternity leave. 

All along I was convinced she would arrive late. My parents prayed and prayed for a pregnancy for almost four years and then when my mom was finally pregnant with me, she went nineteen(!) days past her due date before having a c-section. So, I really just knew there was no way Madeline was coming on her own, much less early. I did talk to her inside my belly pretty often and ask her not to make her debut on Leap Day so maybe that helped get things moving.

Exactly one year ago, on the night before Madeline was born, I stayed pretty late at work getting some things finished for my long term sub and made piles of things to do each day for the rest of the week so that I would be ready. My sub binder was finally finished and perfect and I posted a picture of it to Instagram. Then, I ran a few errands and rewarded myself with a milkshake and headed home. Perhaps this was my version of nesting because my classroom had been a total disaster recently. Corey grilled burgers and made roasted broccoli and homemade sweet potato fries for dinner and I got a few more things done at home. 

We settled in on the couch and I graded papers for hours. Graded work goes home on Wednesdays so I wanted to have everything off my plate and enough to send home the following day and get started for the next week in case I ended up going out of work early. Corey had had a terrible day at work and finally went to bed around ten and I graded until 10:45 then packed my bag for work and got ready for bed. Around 12:30, I woke up in a small puddle and I was pretty sure I knew what that meant but I didn't feel anything special or out of the ordinary. Surely, the impending arrival of our daughter would have felt more....monumental? So, I went to the restroom, put on a pad, and googled "How to know if your water broke."

The overwhelming results of that search concluded that as a pregnant women at that stage either my water broke or I had a bathroom accident, to which I immediately knew was impossible because I go six or so hours at work every single day without having a chance to pee! Teachers have bladders of champions, even while pregnant. So, I called my doctor's call service. They said I would get a call back in 30 minutes so I tried to tiptoe around and get things done without waking up Corey. You know, important things like finishing packing my hospital bag.

I also went downstairs to neaten up because our cleaning lady wasn't due until that Saturday and if this was really it then my mother in law would get back to our house before I did. Not to mention friends would be coming and going to take care of Riley and they could just not come in without everything in its proper place! Corey could sense me walking around and woke up to ask if everything was ok. I hadn't wanted to wake him until I heard back from my doctor because he'd had a crazy day at work and had been a little grumpy so I knew he needed rest just in case this wasn't actually it. I'm pretty sure I was in denial that she was really possibly coming that day!

I blurted out that I thought my water broke and he was wide awake. I told him to figure out how to install the car seat (#procrastinators) and clean the kitchen. Meanwhile, I painted my nails because my manicure was starting to chip. No photos holding the baby with chipped nails! By the time my doctor called, I was sure my water had broken but had no contractions so she told me to get to the hospital within two hours to be checked and we would start pitocin in the morning if nothing else had happened. So, I took a shower and changed our sheets so they would be fresh when we returned and then we were finally off. Corey couldn't believe I was taking so long to do these things but I didn't want to come home to a messy house!

We arrived at the hospital and were greeted by a nurse I grew up with so that helped put me at ease. It was about 3am when we got settled and I was 1.5cm  dilated so they assumed I'd need to start pitocin at 6 when my doctor came for rounds. 

I tried to get some sleep but couldn't. I was just too excited so I drafted out texts to everyone I needed to tell and typed instructions for my long term sub's surprise first day so I could send them to everyone at 5:00 on the dot - a reasonable hour for teachers. Sometime in there I started having a few very minor contractions but by 6am I was 4cm and progressing on my own. 

In the wee hours of the morning, my contractions started to get pretty intense but not unbearable. The doctor on-call from my practice checked me and said we'd go ahead and have an epidural since I was progressing so quickly. I was super proud of my body because you sweet mother (yes, the one who went nineteen days past her due date) was induced on a Monday before finally having a c-section on that Thursday so I really did not believe I would labor naturally...or quickly. I was a little surprised that it was already time for this. The anesthesiologist was in the ER for the delivery of twins so they told me it would be just 30 minutes or so. In the mean time my dad stopped in on his way to work and visited for a couple minutes. 

Then I had my epidural, which I had envisioned to be awful and it was not at all. Just a tiny pinch. The anticipation was far worse as was the knowledge of knowing I would have to have a catheter, even though I wouldn't be able to feel it. This totally creeped me out. Sometime soonish after this my mom arrived to spend the rest of the morning with us. The hours passed pretty quickly since I was busy texting updates to everyone. Around 11:00 things started to get pretty miserable. I was starving because eating on the way to the hospital was not something I thought to do in my haste to get my nails painted and my house ready for post-baby guests. And honestly, you hear all these stories about people pooping during labor and I was not adamant that this was not going to happen to me! When people say you just feel pressure with an epidural, I was pretty naive to how much pressure I would feel. I'm sure it is different for everyone but I could feel tons and tons of pressure, which was uncomfortable but not painful because of the epidural. Some flowers were delivered from Corey's office and a flower, balloon, and bear from my mom's co-workers so that was a brief distraction.

I was still pretty impressed by the whole process because it had not been anywhere near as bad as I anticipated, which made me feel like I was either getting off easy...or the worst was yet to come. You see, not many of my close friends have children yet so I don't feel like I'd been adequately informed about the pushing process that was to come next. When I was told it was time to start pushing, I was thinking even if this is really bad it is almost over, right? Thank goodness for my delivery nurse, Mandy, who was incredible and I couldn't have done it without her because the next hour and a half was so miserable. My blood sugar dropped and I got a major migraine just as it was time to start pushing. Finally, after an hour and a half more of pushing (which our OB friend said is not actually all that much for a first baby?!) our sweet girl arrived and it was all worth it.

And to be totally honest here the two things I had completely, obsessively stressed about way too much regarding labor were 1.) pooping and 2.) tearing or having to have an episiotomy and neither of them happened. Which was a small victory in the whole process! 

And just like that our world was forever changed. It is pretty incredible and this little girl is amazing. It is so cool how you instantly fall in love with someone you just met. We love her more and more every day and I often wonder how there was ever a time she wasn't the center of our world. We are so thankful that she arrived safe and sound and what a blessing she is to our family, especially after a really tough year before she was born. She is just the perfect addition and I feel so very blessed that she has joined our lives. I can't wait to see who she grows up to become.

Madeline, thank you for all the joy and happiness you've brought us this year!

All photos are property of Meredith June Photography and reproduced here with permission. Thank you in advance for your respect of their copyright.


  1. Such a sweet story! Your nail painting and pooping fear crack me up!!

  2. My mom was 17 days late with me and had to be induced TWICE!!! Crazy how late the doctors used to let moms go!!! Also, I was terrified of pooping too! Ha! After Ella was born, that was the first question I asked my OB: did I poop?! LOL. Loved reading her birth story! Hope she has a fabulous birthday tomorrow!!!


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