Words cannot begin to describe what an amazing experience having this baby girl was. Overall, I had a VERY uncomplicated, easy… even enjoyable pregnancy with Olivia. I experienced a moderate amount of nausea and general tiredness during the first 12 weeks but nothing as awful as I’ve heard others describe. At about 10 weeks, I made the decision to step down from my retail management position to Fine Jewelry sales to decrease my stress level and avoid a “4th quarter” AKA holiday season in retail at 8 months pregnant. Around 12 weeks, like a switch was flipped, I felt like a whole new person. I’ve said before – I’m not sure if it was pregnancy or the healthier lifestyle (NO caffeine… or LIMITED caffeine, NO alcohol, healthier diet, less stressful job, etc.) but I’d never felt healthier and happier. I worked a full 40/hr work week up until 9 months… slowly cut back to around 30/hrs… but more or less worked up until a few days before Olivia was born.
Friday February 11th, I made the decision to leave work early thinking that labor was in my VERY near future. After several hours of pretty intense Braxton Hicks contractions I realized that I’d also not felt one of those precious kicks all day. Worried (first time mom), I decided to head to L&D Triage to make sure everything was OK. Slightly embarrassed when they told me everything was fine but encouraged that I was completely effaced and baby girl was already in the “go position.” Made it through the longest weekend of my life. Monday afternoon around 4pm, I started having more regular (still not time-able) contractions. Monday night, we continued on with normal everyday life, made a trip to central market for takeout, watched “Knocked Up” (Note: This is probably not the best movie to watch when you’re in labor). I think I finally mentioned that “this” was probably it and that we would probably be going to the hospital in the overnight hours around 8 o’clock. We decided to try to get some sleep. I was also determined to make sure that THIS really was IT… One false alarm for a first time mom is acceptable…2 is embarrassing. Daniel was successful (As always) at sleeping for a few hours. I slept in 15 minute increments… took a few baths… double checked that everything I needed was ready to go in my hospital bags (which had been packed and by the door for weeks). I still wasn’t experiencing much.. if any… real pain but since the contractions were definitely getting closer together. I decided to wake Daniel up and we headed to the hospital (Dallas Presbyterian) around 1am. We were moved from triage into a birthing suite by about 2:30. Since I wasn’t really in much pain, they told me I should sleep as much as I could… so I slept some more… in 15 min increments. About 4 am I was still only dilated to a 3, not much pain…I knew I wasn’t opposed to an epidural so when they offered and told me that now or later really made no difference, I decided that there was no time like the present…. So epidural around 4:30 am. More sleep until around 6:45.. When my doctor arrived, we agreed that a VERY minimal amount of Pitocin would be OK to get things going if necessary. The nurse felt like it would still be several hours until it “kicked things in to high gear” – gave me a tiny bit and told me to… yep, yet again… sleep a little bit more. My doctor also had decided to squeeze in an hour or so at the gym and… Nurse informed us that she would be leaving at 7am and the next nurse would be in to check on me shortly. At 7:15, our new nurse came in, followed by a few techs and a nursing student, flipped the lights on, started running through reports, charts, etc. and looked at me and said, “The baby’s heart rate has dropped a bit,” “Are you ready to push?” WHAT?! Wait a minute?! So many thoughts were flying through my head! What happened to my other nurse… the one who said it was going to be HOURS!? My doctor is at the gym! How can it be time already?! Oh, but it was. From 3 to 10cm in 30 min… Paged Doc Crites mid Zumba class… she got scrubbed in and Olivia was born at 9:53am.
Here are a few shots from Olivia’s newborn shoot at 12 days, by the talented Deena Riley. (Highly recommend for newborn portraits!)
A few things I’ll mention… 1) I definitely considered giving birth at a birth center down the street from our house with no pain meds. After meeting my doctor (I hadn’t had an annual exam in 3 years so first appointment, pregnant was SLIGHTLY embarrassing and yet I felt NO judgement) for the first time in June… I had pretty much abandoned that idea completely. 2)After such a wonderful and virtually pain-free delivery (I must have had the best epidural in the world) I’m still undecided as to wether I will try it the “other” way next time. Although I did feel somewhat “drugged” in the moments during/after… I was able to completely snap out of it as soon as I saw our precious baby girl. I also did not feel “robbed” of the experience… like less of a woman… or anything like that. 3)I probably should have done more reading and research on the cons for baby but Olivia scored a 9 on her apgar test both times and was perfectly healthy in every way.
The first 4 weeks – I was great about documenting little Olivia’s growth… quickly decided that a monthly documentation was totally sufficient. Oh! Holding Sophie for scale.
Hard to believe that little Liv will be 4 months old TOMORROW! I swear I love this girl more and more each day. Obviously I’m slightly biased, but every time I look at her I feel like she gets more beautiful. From the first few weeks – she’s had the most wonderful temperament. Sleeps wells, Eats well, generally happy… Sometimes I wonder, How did I get so lucky?