This is the story of Molly Jean's arrival. It will probably take longer for me to type it than it did to happen in real time.
Yesterday (9/8), I felt pretty good. I stayed home from church with Abigail during the morning because she had been sick and we were trying to make sure she was fully virus-free before heading back into the public. We had a pretty normal Sunday afternoon, at lunch, the girls and I made soft ginger cookies to take to the nurses (hopefully within the next couple of days), and I napped from 4:00-5:30. Our kitty, Cammie, curled up under then blanket up close to me, with her head right next to where Molly's head would have been. I've always heard animals can sense what is about to happen, so I choose to call my cat a genius whom I should have paid closer attention to.
Amy didn't know this, but around 330pm I started feeling like I was getting sick. My throat felt like I had a sore throat coming on. I didn't want to tell Amy, because I knew me getting sick would not help in having a baby.
I woke at 5:30. Paul had gone over to church for a Deacons' meeting before evening services. I felt a little "blah" when I woke up, having a dull headache and just feeling like I ate way too many soft ginger cookies. Because I had. Paul would be at church roughly from 6:00-7:00 p.m. for evening service, and I was home with the girls.
At church I had the folks pray for me to not get sick, so I could help Amy have the baby when the time came. I was not feeling great.
At 6:53, I felt my first contraction. I had had some sporadic contractions Friday night, but they were high across my belly. Samantha, my doula, had said they were probably "warm-up" contractions, and that the real ones would be lower down and feel more like cramps. When I had it, I knew immediately that it was a real one. I leaned against the kitchen counter and took some deep breaths until it passed, about a minute later. Paul got home shortly after this one, and I kind of nonchalantly said, "It's probably nothing, but I had a real contraction a few minutes ago. No big deal, we will just wait and see." He decided to run to the store to get some snacks for us to take to the hospital....for those long hours of labor we expected to be ahead of us. I had not made any dinner yet, so he also was going to pick up some Subway. I had another contraction at 20 minutes later, and decided to call Samantha just to give her the heads up. As I talked to her, I felt another one. I tried to calmly say, "Hang on just a minute" and then breathe. Each time I would feel one coming, I would stand up and lean against the wall, counter, table, whatever was nearby and breathe.
My mind was thinking, Yep. Just as I thought. I am totally forgetting everything Samantha taught us. Good thing she is coming to the hospital. Shouldn't I be squatting...or bouncing on a ball...or rocking? Breathe, breathe, breathe....
I began thinking when she told me about 20 minute contractions that probably some time late that night we might be heading to the hospital. I was feeling weak and sick and wanted to go get every preventive over the counter pill possible from the store to keep me from getting sick. I also loaded up on vitamins before leaving. It took me a long time when I left because Subway was extra slow that night for some reason.
Samantha told me to check in with her a little later to let her know how they were doing. I then called my mom to tell her I had had a few contractions that were about 20 minutes apart. I had started to write them down at this point. While talking on the phone to my mom, I had two more contractions that had jumped to about 11 minutes apart.
Wait a minute. I thought it would go 20 minutes, 19, 18, 17, etc. You mean they can make that big of a jump? That can't be right. Maybe they get random for a while, like it will be 20 minutes, then 11, then back up to 15. Breathe, breathe, lean against the wall, breathe....
I got back home while Amy was on the phone with her mom. I was getting our girls all set up for (a very late) dinner and getting a bit frustrated that Amy wasn't joining us for dinner. She told us to eat without her. At this point I had no idea that the contractions were shorter time than before.
|Talking to her mom.|
My mom, who will now be called The Woman I Should Listen to Always and Do What She Says, said, "Those weren't 20 minutes. I think you need to call Tammy to come be with the girls and you need to get ready to go." And I was still trying to act calm and said, "Okay, I will call her and go shower and get ready. I'm not worried." I called our friend Tammy and said, "Hey, it might not be anything, but I've been having some pretty strong contractions for an hour or so now. Don't rush or anything, but could you maybe come be with the girls?" She said she would head over. Oh yeah, laboring during bedtime makes things a little crazy, too....at least for my husband.
At this point I was updated by Amy at was what going on and handed the sheet of paper keeping time of her contractions. I knew it was time to move quickly to get the girls ready, get all our stuff packed into the van, and make sure Amy was doing well. Crazy time had begun.
I got in the shower to get cleaned up and I think had one contraction in the shower. By this point, they were coming about 6 or 7 minutes apart. I was realizing this was probably not going to slow down at this point. I showered much faster than normal. I got out and dressed, and dried my hair really quick (it usually only takes a few minutes to dry). I had to shut off the hair dryer twice to breathe through a contraction. I also put on make-up. Yes, I did. In hindsight, probably not the best decision, but whatever, everyone has their moments of vanity and I wanted to not look scary in pictures. The funny thing was, the contractions were so close and intense, but when they passed, I would feel fine and think I can at least put on some eyeliner... Paul was all over the place getting things in the van, getting the girls settled, getting instructions to Tammy. Then he would come in and see me breathing through it against the sink and would rub my back and then be off and going again. He said he had told the girls what all was happening and I just needed to go kiss them and say bye. They were ecstatic that it was time for Molly to come and that Miss Tammy was there at bedtime...how fun for them!!
The minutes going by at this point were crazy, especially before Tammy came. I think God looked down on me and gave me energy that I've never experienced before, and there might have miraculously been two of me working simultaneously at this point. I was getting girls ready for bed, packing up the van, trying to be there for Amy during contractions, changing the bed sheets for Tammy, and trying to calm down a crazy Sadie and a worried Abigail. Amy was the truly amazing one though. It was a thing to behold to see her get hit by these hard contractions and then when it passed she would go right back to getting ready like no biggie. Every time she had a contraction I'd rub her back and then when it was over I'd run into the kitchen to write down the time, tell her what it was, and then get back to work. Thankfully when Tammy showed up we knew the kids were well taken care of. That was a huge relief!
|Putting on make-up in between contractions.|
|Time to go!!!!|
|Girls were taken care of.|
We got to the van and I had that first thought of I don't think I can make it all the way to the hospital, which is a good 25 minutes from our house. Getting in the van was too big a chore at that point. I laid a towel across my lap in case my water should break on the way. I closed my eyes and breathed the entire way. My breathing was hard, and would intensify when a contraction hit. Paul put some worship music on the radio, and we mostly drove in silence, or he would say encouraging things to me. At one point I opened my eyes and realized we were about half-way there, and I thought Oh, Sweet Lord, we are not going to make it. I said at that point to Paul that I really didn't want to have this baby in the van...because that suddenly seemed very possible. Contractions were 2-3 minutes apart at this time, and Samantha had texted to say she would meet us there. My thoughts were all over the place and I was trying to calm myself with positive things, but would interrupt myself.
I am calm. God with with me and I am safe. My body is a flower opening up to allow this baby to come. No, wait. Close, flower. It's not time to open yet, you can't open yet!! I am calm. Breathe, breathe, breathe. My body is doing what God made it to do. No, body, don't do what God made you to do until you get to the hospital. I am grasping at straws right now. Oh Lord, this hurts. Pound the window with my fist.
This felt like the longest van ride known to man. I really didn't know what to do at this point. Amy had entered some zone of what seemed like a constant contraction. She was shutting the world out. I didn't even think there was anything I could say. So I was trying to drive fast without speeding like crazy. I didn't want to get pulled over, because we didn't have time for that. I wanted to play her sweet and comforting music. I put it on WBGL (Christian station). Unfortunately about every cheesy sounding Christian song came on during that ride. I kept trying to find something more comforting to no avail. There was one good song that came on and I remember speaking out loud some of the words that might be comforting.
As soon as we left I told Amy not to worry about me being sick, because I had a burst of adrenaline, and that there would be no problems. I also called the hospital and made sure they knew we were coming and asked what entrance I should use, and if I could leave my car there. Amy's mom called also while we were on our way. I told her to let people know on Facebook to pray for us, because this baby was coming.
At this point I thought the baby was coming, but not for a few hours. I had no idea that Amy was basically holding the baby in. When we hit West Terre Haute she finally talked. I could see the frustration on her that we weren't closer to the hospital. She said something about having the baby in the van. I said, "Honey, you are not having this baby in the van. We are almost there. We will get there." I believed it. I had no clue that we easily could have had the baby in the van.
When we got to Terre Haute I began talking to her more. I was just letting her know how close we were getting. I was holding her hand. She was clearly miserable at this point. I may or may not have ran one long red light:) I was so happy when I saw that hospital entrance.
|Holding hands at the final stop light.|
|The much anticipated entrance.|
Paul pulled up to the hospital entrance and got a wheelchair for me. When I got up from my seat in the van, I told him it felt better to stand than sit, so I would just hang on to the wheelchair and walk. A guy came out the entrance for a smoke break and watched me as I bent over the chair and breathed through another contraction. I really wanted him to go away and stop watching me. We walked in and I may have had to stop at one point between the van and Labor and Delivery. Paul had called ahead so they knew we were coming. We went through the doors and got to the nurses desk. I was pretty much in a constant breathing hard state by this point.
Getting from the van to the labor and delivery desk felt like it took as long as the van ride. Amy could simply not move fast. When we got to the front door I was hoping for a nurse to be ready for us there, but all we saw was the smoker guy. I was thinking, "Dude, go away. You're ruining our moment." Since Amy wanted to walk, I loaded essential stuff into the chair and we slowly made our way into the building and through all the doors and hallways we needed to go down. I remember passing by two pregnant ladies that were not near delivery time. They looked at Amy like: "I'm not saying anything to that woman. She's ready!"
"Are you the ones who called, Dr. C's patient?"
They quickly assessed that I needed to go straight to a L&D room. They told me to get in the wheelchair and they would push me. (This conversation was all very intense and fast) I shook my head. "I can't sit. I gotta...stand...Oh, I gotta push!"
They tried again to get me in the wheelchair, and then we just took off toward the room. I called back, "My doula's coming! Her name's Samantha!"
This was very intense. Amy could not move, she could not walk, she could not get into the chair. And she just kept yelling that she had to push and they kept strongly saying she's got to move. At some point there was a break in her contraction enough that they got her moving. I think an angel might have been helping at this point. Amy asked me to remember to tell them Samantha was coming. I totally forgot and find it hilarious that Amy remembered to yell that during all the craziness. I was so glad to see our birthing room was only the first or second room we came to.
We got into the room and they directed me to get on the bed. I kicked off my shoes in case my water broke. I told them I could NOT get on the bed. I couldn't have willed myself to do that for a million dollars.
"You NEED to get up on the bed."
I got to the edge of the bed and leaned my hands down on it. "I can't! I GOTTA PUUUSH!!!" Water gushed down on the floor like someone had just launched a water balloon directly at my feet. Someone pulled my bottom clothes down. I could feel her sliding out.
This all happened very fast. Amy kept yelling about needing to push and the nurses kept yelling that she needs to get in bed so they can measure her. I'm thinking about our birth plan and how I know Amy wants to stick to it, but this is just too crazy right now, and I didn't know what to do. At that moment Amy's water broke and I instinctively reached down to catch (as did a nurse). So I was on the right side and the nurse was on the left side. At that point the nurse quickly helped Amy pull her bottom clothes down.
And then without Amy realizing it, our little Molly's head came right out. Her face was facing me. I was staring at the face of my daughter. I couldn't believe it. We just got in there. There's my kid. Whaaatttt???? Wow!
All I could think was, I have to stop. This has to slow down. I could hear them saying, "You have to push! Just push!"
"No, I can't!"
Paul said, "Honey, her head is out, you just have to push."
When I looked down between my legs, all I saw was a clamped and cut umbilical cord. Molly was across the room and I had not even seen her yet. I had not even looked at any of the nurses faces, or even Paul's, since we walked in the building. I was breathing hard and said, "Oh....wait...I wanted to wait til the umbilical cord stopped pulsing...."
Paul said, "Honey, it's okay. It's too late and it's done. Molly's here and she's fine."
As soon as Molly was born another nurse came over and cut the umbilical cord. There was no time to stop her. We wanted to wait on that and then later I would cut the cord just as I had cut our other two girls' cords. I'm not sure why the nurse did it. I think it was the heat of the moment. But there was nothing that could be done about it, so I just tried to comfort Amy.
At that point they were taking Molly to the heat lamp, and all I could think of was that Amy wanted immediate skin to skin when Molly was born. So I blurted out, "She wants immediate skin to skin!" And I think the craziness of the moment hit one of the nurses and she kinda snapped at me that they're doing all they can. I quickly apologized and said we've never done a natural birth before. They said they would get her to Amy as soon as they could.
At that point they were wiping Molly off and warming her up and I finally breathed enough to take the first pictures of our precious girl.
|The first picture.|
They helped me into bed to check me over. A doctor came in and introduced himself. He was not my doctor, nor was he the on-call doctor. We found out later he was a resident doctor, and I'm pretty sure he was just as surprised by all of this as we had been. Samantha came in right after him, and we all laughed and hugged and recapped the entire crazy story. The entire thing lasted (central time) from 6:53 to 10:10.
|Our doula arrives!|
What a story you have, Molly Jean. What a crazy, wonderful story. Thank you for giving me the birth experience I wanted....or at least the one you knew I could handle. Your daddy and I love you, sweet girl.
Shortly after Molly was born I took the van to a parking spot and the moment hit me. I got a little teared up walking back to the hospital and took a few pictures of the door ways for memory sake. I walked into the room and sat down. The sickness God held off hit me like a hammer. I had no idea I had the beginnings of an 8 day virus. It made our first week rough with me having to stay away from our new little girl. But that's the way it had to be. Thankfully neither Amy nor the baby every got sick. And we were eventually able to bring them home to our excited girls who were ready to be Molly's big sisters.