Guest Blog: Anne Marie's Birthday Story

Let me start by saying that I have never blogged before, so this is a new experience for me. Hopefully I'm doing it right! :) Ali invited me to be a guest blogger in order to document my version of the birthing experience... so here we go! 2 months later! Haha! I started this a while back, but taking care of the baby got me sidetracked. Imagine that.

In case you were wondering, I am Ali's oldest sister and my name is Amanda. I am 27 and I live in Nashville with my husband, John. I teach kindergarten and have to go back to school in exactly one week. I AM DREADING IT!!! I have always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, and it scares me to death to go back to work. Teaching is just one of those professions that takes everything out of you- I'm nervous about balancing teaching and motherhood. I've always been the type of person to demand excellence from myself and I just don't see how I can do a good job in both areas at the same time. And I don't want to do bad in either one! But back to baby...

Anne Marie's due date was July 28th, which happened to be the day after teachers reported back to school this year in the Metro Nashville Public Schools (CRAZY early, I know!) I worked for several weeks in July at the very end of my pregnancy, feeling very hot and very big, scrambling to get my room together for my substitute, worrying/wondering the whole time about who she would be and how she would handle my classroom while I was gone. She wasn't hired until July 24th, a mere 3 days before she was supposed to start her interim position!! We met together in my room on Wednesday the 25th to go over important details, and thank goodness, she is a great person- straight out of school with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. She has taken the anxiety off of my shoulders so that I can focus on being at home with my daughter. The 25th was a Wednesday, and before I met her at school I had gone to see the new Batman movie with my husband. I fell asleep during the movie because I hadn't gotten much sleep the night before, and I woke up to a crampy-type feeling. It wasn't painful, but I noticed it would happen, go away, and then happen again. Because of that, I figured that maybe they were contractions. I nudged John and told him about it, so he kept glancing at me throughout the rest of the movie. I'm sure he was nervous that I was about to go into labor right there in the theater. We'll have to put the movie on our Netflix queue because I'm pretty sure neither of us were paying attention to the details after that! I felt a bunch of different emotions all at once- I was apprehensive, excited, and wondering how everything would turn out. The crampy feelings kept happening until we got home, but then I didn't feel anything for the rest of the day. I was pretty let-down that evening because it was such an adrenaline rush thinking that I was finally going into labor.  Ultimately I was glad that it didn't happen because I would've hated to go into labor already feeling tired. Even so, I was a BIG crybaby all day Thursday because I felt sooooo bored compared to the excitement the day before. I pouted to everyone that would listen, which unfortunately didn't help a thing!

I continued my pouting into Friday, until that afternoon I started feeling the crampy-type sensation again. I started trying to pay attention to when I felt them come and go, and wrote it down on an index card. I had told John's parents that I would come over for dinner while John was at work, mostly because I knew they were feeling anxious and wondering how I was doing. All throughout the dinner I kept feeling the crampiness, but like I said, it wasn't painful, so I just talked and ate a little bit and they had no idea that I was pretty sure I was having contractions! I couldn't tell them because I was afraid they either wouldn't let me leave the house or would freak out and take me right to the hospital!! After dinner I went back home and kept making note of whenever I felt the "contractions". Even though I thought they were contractions, I had no idea if they really were. I thought it was weird that they didn't hurt and weren't extreme, but the fact that they came and went on a pattern made me think that they were in fact contractions. I knew John was supposed to get off work at 9pm, but around 9:05 he hadn't called yet to say he was on his way home, so I called the restaurant. Apparently he was right about to walk out the door, but he came to the phone and I told him what was going on. I could tell he was really excited and nervous for me, and he still had a 45-minute drive to get home! He promised to drive carefully and headed on his way.

We relaxed around the house, and at midnight I decided that we should head to the hospital to figure out what was going on. I wasn't entirely convinced that I was having contractions, but I knew something was happening. We decided that even if they sent us back home, at least we'd know if I was really in labor or not. Shortly after we got in the car I wasn't wondering anymore- I knew it was happening. I started having obvious contractions, with the pain mostly radiating from my back. Looking back, the timing couldn't have been more perfect. I wasn't really in any pain until I was already on the way to the hospital. When we got there we waited a short bit and then went into a triage "room" which was really just an area separated from others by a curtain. I had to pee in a cup when I got there, which was really hard to do because 1) I hadn't been able to see down there for quite a while because of my big belly and 2) It is not easy to squat while having contractions or when your hand is shaking from being nervous! But once I accomplished mission impossible, I noticed that I was bleeding quite a bit and from then on nurses mentioned to each other that I had a significant bloody show and that always made me nervous. Anyway, back in triage the nurse told me that I was 2-3cm dilated and that if I kept progressing, they would keep me at the hospital. When she left the "room" I turned to John and told him I didn't care what happened, they were keeping me!! The contractions were getting progressively more painful and it really hurt my back. I had John apply pressure on my back and that helped a bit. I didn't do any fancy breathing exercises- who can remember something like that anyway? I just took deep breaths in and out, after some reminding from the nurse and from John. The nurse checked me again, said I was at 4cm and that they would keep me at the hospital! My prayers were answered! She took some of my blood and said she was taking it to the anesthesia people for "whenever I was ready for an epidural". I told her that I was ready right this minute and to please let the anesthesiologist know, lol. I did not want to feel that pain a minute longer!!

They took me up to a delivery room and I didn't have to wait too long for the anesthesiologist. It was about 2:30am at that point. He asked me to move around on the bed so that he could give me the injection, and he commented on how "nimble" I was even during contractions. I told him I would do anything he asked me if he would just give me the medicine. Haha. And WOW what a relief it was!! I could just relax and talk to John and take a second to savor the moment and think about the fact that our baby was almost here. It was the first night of the Olympics, and once I had the epidural, John felt safe to turn on the TV. Cycling was on, which was pretty boring and lulled me right to sleep. I woke up a few hours later- my eyes were still closed but I heard the song "Call Me Maybe" and I wondered what in the world had come on after the Olympics. Haha. But it was Missy Franklin and the other Olympians lip syncing in their little music video that was so popular. To this day that dumb super-silly song has a special place in my heart because right after that a nurse came in to check me. Keep in mind, the last time I was checked was around 2:30am and I was at 4cm. It was about 6:30am when the nurse came in next- they had let me sleep, which was amazing, but I was sooo curious to see how or if I'd progressed. She told me that I was at 10cm and she would go call the doctor!! I couldn't believe it!!!! I had been expecting the worst, partially to protect myself from being let down and partially because of Ali's crazy birth experience. But instead, it all seemed to be happening pretty fast! I had heard that lying flat slows down labor, so once I got the epidural I made sure to lay almost sitting straight up in bed since I couldn't get up and move around. Wonder if that helped?

By the way, the doctor she was calling was someone I'd never met before. Because my doctor chose that one time out of the whole year to go to Disney World. Of course. It was about an hour and a half from the time I found out I was 10cm to when the doctor got there. Apparently the hospital was very full of women going into labor and giving birth. But in that hour and a half I pushed a little with just a nurse or two, and they seemed to think that everything was going great and that I wouldn't have to push too long once the doctor arrived. I turned to John and told him I felt really hot and asked if he thought so. He felt my forehead and said no, that I felt pretty normal. I should've known better, I think the forehead trick is a woman thing. The nurse felt my leg and said I was really warm and that she wanted to take my temperature, and sure enough I was at about 101. She wanted to make sure I took some antibiotics before the doctor got there and before I gave birth. That way the baby would get some of the antibiotics before she was born, too. It made me VERY nervous for the two of us, because a fever could mean all sorts of crazy things. Part of the wait was just waiting on the medicine, which worried me for a little while. But the medicine came and they added it to my IV, and then soon enough, the doctor was there. She was really nice, but at one point when I was pushing her cell phone rang and she asked a nurse who it was. If I could've felt my legs I would've kicked her in the face. My nurse and a lady that I called the cheerleader-nurse both noticed that I was distressed at the fact that she was concerned about her phone and started reassuring me. I never caught cheerleader-nurse's name, but she made me feel like an absolute rockstar, like I was the best person at giving birth on the whole planet. Like her only job was to cheer me on and tell me I was doing a good job. It was SO FUNNY but at one point when I was pushing the doctor said, "Look at all that hair!" and I thought she was talking about me and the fact that I wasn't ummm, completely groomed, if you know what I mean. I was so embarrassed for about half a second until I realized that she was talking about baby Anne Marie once they could see her head!! Hahaha! But while I was pushing I didn't feel any pain because of the epidural, but it had worn off just a little so I could feel the pressure from the contractions. I felt like that helped me to know when to push and kinda helped keep me into the whole process. But essentially, I pushed for about 30 minutes and our beautiful baby girl was born at 8:29am on July 28th! Her due date! She was 7lbs 9oz and 20 1/4in. long. She had a fever of 103 when she was born which freaked me out, but sure enough, both of our fevers came down. They handed me that slippery baby and I sure didn't know what to do with her! Haha! But it was such a rush and such an amazing feeling. John snapped her very first picture while they were weighing her, and then they brought her straight back to me for some skin-to-skin time. 
The rest of our hospital stay went really well. I actually enjoyed the experience of being there! Exception #1- The hospital didn't bring meals for John, just me, and those weren't great anyway, so the only minor inconvenience was that family had to bring us our meals. But I don't think they minded too much! :) Exception #2- My first night there, the nurse kept waking me up all the time! The second night we had a different night nurse and I liked her a lot more. Exception #3- The ultimate annoyance of how difficult it was to just go to the bathroom! I hated the pads and disposable underwear and peri bottle!! But overall I loved the nursing staff, I loved how John never left and was so so sweet and watching out for me and the baby, I loved trying to get the hang of this parenting thing while still under the supervision of other people who actually knew what they were doing! :) Side note: I was SO GLAD that my sisters were there. I don't know what I would've done if they weren't there. Ali and Ashley made me feel so loved and taken care of. It was like their very first priority was taking care of me, even though I know they had to both be wanting to spend time with the baby! They were so selfless and great at the hospital, and then also especially when we went home- they made food and just did so many things to make me feel so comforted.

This is my favorite picture of us from the hospital, taken by Selena, Ali's mother-in-law, who we all absolutely love. I loved it when John climbed in the bed with us, our new little family of 3.
By the time Monday morning rolled around, I was ready to go home. Ready to be back in my bed. Ready to not have quite so many visitors all at once. But still in shock that they were actually letting us take a baby home and keep her!! We took this picture as we were leaving the hospital- she looks so different! Newborns always do.

Well, that's my story, or what I can remember of it! :) Anne Marie is a great baby and I am so blessed to be her mom! I can't wait to see the person she will grow into and to be there all along the way. My prayers and thoughts go out to other moms out there- pregnancy, birth, and motherhood is such a journey and such a difficult, rewarding, crazy, unique, amazing experience! And we all have our own special stories to share.

Comments

  1. I was trying to find a Facebook page for your blog or a way to email you but I couldn't. :( But I just wanted to let you know that you were nominated! :)

    http://littlemixedfamily.blogspot.com/2012/10/nominated-for-award.html

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh. My. Gosh. I am laughing so hard still about the, "Look at all that hair!" comment. That is the funniest thing I've ever heard in a labor story. Glad your labor went smoothly! Your baby girl is gorgeous. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahahaha - yes! That was honestly the best!!!

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    2. This was great to read Amanda. How lucky you were not to have the pain I had when trying to deliver your 9 pounds and 10 ounce baby Amanda. Love you.

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