Hope's due date was May 19th. At the time, she was named "Either Hope or Juliette" if anyone asked, but in my heart I knew her name was Hope. As the date got closer I began to wonder when this little girl would arrive. Jackson had been premature, and I assumed she would make an early appearance as well. But as the weeks ticked on, I got the feeling that she was going to keep us waiting. It's never too soon to have a prerogative, right? And hers was clearly, "Hold your horses, mom". When I went in for my 39 week check up on May 11th, the Doctor and I discussed inducing. I had been hovering back and forth with some potential Preeclampsia symptoms, although it looked like things were going to be fine. To be on the safe side, we decided to induce that weekend. Afterwards, I called my husband (who was at home with our little guy) to let him know. Although this news was not surprising, it did make him a bit nervous.
|Jackson being swallowed by the baby belly, a few days before she arrived|
But with this pregnancy we had spent the last several months making sure every detail was ready. And now we even knew the exact date she would be arriving. Part of me wished for that long anticipated and spontaneous moment when you 'just know' that labor is coming. I had been wondering for months about what the moment would be like when she decided to join this world. What would I be doing? Would my water break suddenly like a popped balloon as it did with Jackson, or would it be a slower, more typical labor experience? But, for many reasons, it made sense to have her induced and we were definitely ready to welcome her! What opposites these two babies (and pregnancies) were turning out to be!
Later that night Brent and I took turns not sleeping. He woke up at 1:00 am and didn't come back to bed for a couple more hours. Then I couldn't sleep, so I got up and went to the living room where I sat on the couch and started to cry. The end of pregnancy can feel like a departure and a goodbye. Which is so odd because you are about to meet your child! And yet. Suddenly you feel alone, and like you are losing something. You feel the need to just rub your belly, and tell this little one who has been taking over everything inside of yourself that you will be there on the other side, waiting for them. You hope your arms are good enough, safe enough, to protect them on the outside just as you did when they lived inside you. But you know it won't be the same. Nothing will ever be as comfortable, as easy, as perfect for them like that bubble, literally, they have been living in. It will be life: huge and unexpected and uncontrollable. With no walls and no promises and no safety nets. While thinking all these deep thoughts, the tears started to flow and I released 9 months worth of hormones and emotions. All at once and while watching sappy homemade You Tube videos of other people's random kids as inspiration for my own imaginary montage of post birth photos with THIS SONG playing on repeat.
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When the next day finally arrived, we had several hours to fill. We were not scheduled to arrive at the hospital until 7 pm. Besides taking random belly shots in the bathroom mirror from every possible angle, there was not much left to do.
|Random belly shot, last day of pregnancy, shortly before we left for the hospital|
|What's more exciting than a lolly pop ring? It was a 'spoiling day'.|
|Tractors + Gravel + Friends = 3 year old Heaven.|
6pm: Brent and I dropped Jackson off at my parent's house. The plan was for him to stay there until Hope was born, and at that point Brent was going to pick him up and bring him to the hospital so he could meet his little sister with just the four of us in the room, so it wouldn't be too overwhelming. I wanted to say hi to my sister and mom before we headed out, but only my dad was at home. I don't know if it was a hormone surge or what, but I started getting weepy again as I left their house.
A Few Minutes Later: We stopped at Albertsons to grab some post-epidural reading material and fried chicken for the drive to the hospital (in case we didn't have the opportunity to eat after we arrived). I started obsessively checking the car to make sure we didn't forget anything. We had packed our digital camera, video camera, lap tops, IPODs, IPHONES, and our I-everything-chargers. We wanted to document the labor and birth. We went a little overboard this time, but we had regretted not bringing any of that stuff for Jack's birth. All we have from his first day are a few cell phone pictures (and we're talking flip phone pictures).
7pm: We checked in to the hospital. I immediately started taking pictures of chairs, medical equipment, and the paper print-outs that showed my squiggly-line contractions. Brent was being just as ridiculous and began video taping the linoleum floor and the view from our room. I thought this was a great way to pretend we were on 'Baby Story'.
|Baby contractions. No mountains yet!|
|I was really enjoying taking my pictures.|
|This blog posting not sponsored by wheat thins. (Obviously.)|
|Brent giving me encouragement.|
|Our lovely view|
|Jessica and I bonding over our new baby girls. Jennifer, you're up next.|
|I used this a lot.|
|Pretty much every Expectant Mother's emotions vs the Expectant Father's emotions.|
Teresa arrived soon after to keep us company, and that's when the party began. A series of questionable video taped interviews and photos began to emerge from what I would call 'The Beginning of The Blurriness Period." Somewhere between the adrenaline, the fried chicken, and the Jessica Simpson US Weekly article we started to get a little silly. And this was before the Ambien. So, I'll explain about that. Around 9 pm, the Nurse had come in and gave me something to 'relax my cervix' or, as I called it: "cervix chillaxin time'. Then, observing our rowdy and un-lady-like behavior, she strongly recommended I get some rest, and asked if I could use a sleeping pill. I had never taken a sleeping pill before, and I figured it would be awhile before anything got started, (I wasn't scheduled to start pitocin until 6 am the next day), so I said sure.
|Me imitating a pregnancy monster. This was taken pre-drugs.|
...stay tuned for part 2 and some awesomely amazing video clips...