It's a GIRL! We decided on Katie Maren DeGraaf and are going to call her by her middle name...but we are now rethinking the first name....We are going to sleep on it and will let you know if anything changes. She was 7 lbs 14 ounces and 20 inches long, born at 9 AM this morning, 8 days early. For those of you that don't want any more gory details that should sum it up, but it's a pretty good story if you want to stick around. And I think this story beats Kelley's...as funny as THAT was. (For those of you that missed it I wrote about it here.)
Many of you know that I was SURE this baby would be early. Kelley was 10 days early on her own, Tyler was 2.5 weeks early. I had to be induced with him because of preeclampsia and almost was with Kelley for the same thing. I also have been having Braxton-Hicks with this baby for months and almost thought I might end up with a preemie! So we passed the preemie mark, 2.5 weeks came and went, 10 days early came and went and I was starting to think I might end up with a Christmas baby after all. It seemed like the one time we really wanted an early baby we weren't going to get one. My due date was the 22nd, but I thought it would be so ironic if I ended up overdue with this one.
At my 37 week appointment I hadn't made ANY progress, but was dialated to a 2 + last Thursday, so was hopeful at that point. My midwife offered to strip my membranes to see if we could encourage things to start on their own, so that was tentatively planned for tomorrow morning. In the meantime I was taking warm baths, eating spicy foods, trying to encourage the natural process along. Last night I finally finished typing up arrangements for the daycare kids and put the finishing touches on the Christmas program I was in charge of for church. The kids rooms were switched, my house was cleaner than it has been in a LONG time, I was actually feeling like I was ready to go. I put on my facebook status that the 14th seemed like a good day, but figured that was probably just more wishful thinking.
This morning I woke up at 1:30 AM, 3:30 AM, 4:30 AM...like most nights lately. I couldn't get back to sleep and so finally decided to just go shower. I started to have a few painful contractions, but they didn't last long. Still I had this feeling I'd better get my hair fixed and makeup on if I was going to. Right before 6 AM I started to have more regular contractions. They were painful and 4-5 minutes apart, but not very long in duration and still bearable. At 6:45 I told Joey he might want to get up and get showered because we'd probably end up at the hospital this morning. I also texted my sister and told her I might need her at the daycare this morning. About 7:20 I decided to lay down and see if they went away. They didn't go away completely, but slowed down to almost 10 minutes apart, so I figured we could wait until it was time to take Kelley to school at 8:30 AM. Karmin showed up, Joey got up and dressed. Contractions were still bearable. Just before 8:30 AM I had one or two contractions that were pretty painful and so we started shuttling kids out the door. Joey gave me a blessing before we left. It very quickly went to the point I was thinking there was no way I was going to get through the natural labor I had planned.
I had another contraction hit me as I was getting in the car. It was all I could do to crawl up onto the seat kneeling backwards and within the two blocks it takes to get to the school I'm yelling at Joey "get the kids out of the car NOW!" We had Kelley and the other 7 year old neighbor girl from across the street with us and luckily they thought it was pretty funny and so were just giggling the whole way. I'm glad it wasn't traumatizing for them :) We stopped at the school and my water broke and then there was all this pressure at one time. I crawled out of the car thinking there was no way I was going anywhere else. Joey kept telling me "you have to get in the car". I insisted I couldn't two or three times, but finally crawled back in. We headed off to the hospital and by this time I was certain I was going to die. Joey turned on Lund Highway instead of Airport Road like he was supposed to. Luckily it wasn't right in the middle of a contraction, or I might have killed him. Traffic was CRAZY though...I mean for Cedar City. There was three or four people ahead of us the whole drive, so he couldn't just pass them all. (Had I been thinking I would have told him to just put on his flashers and gun it). He was thinking though and trying really hard to get us to the hospital in one piece. Of course everyone ahead of us was taking their sweet time.
Funny side note here...I will freely admit I was yelling my guts out in the middle of those contractions. I kept thinking about my mom. She had all five of us naturally and whenever we would see a movie with a women screaming during labor she says "That's not really how it is..." Apparently she was not a screamer. I was thinking about this as I could think of nothing else to do besides scream and hold Joey's hand. I didn't want to break the windshield or something and so was trying to be as still as I could. So at one point in the middle of a contraction Joey says "your pushing....don't push...just breathe". I said "I CAN'T, I'm pushing I don't care!!!!" I also told him "If I'm not at least an 8 when I get there I've got to have an epidural!" So much for the natural birth...or so you would think....
Well we finally made it to the hospital and he pulled up to the ambulance entrance thinking it would be faster. There was no one there though, so I hopped out of the car. I had kicked my shoes off, so only had socks on, walking through the snow around the corner to the ER entrance. There was a wheel chair in the front entrance and Joey got me to sit down. He wheels me in and I'm yelling "This baby is coming now! Laurie...." Laurie is my midwife and luckily her office is in the hospital right next to the ER entrance. Her staff saw me come in and everyone is staring at us, but a few people in their right mind wave us down the hall to labor and delivery.
I have to admit at this point I thought I was probably being a little melodramatic. I wasn't sure the baby was coming right away, but that was all I could think to yell. Joey got me down to L & D and they directed us right to a room. I ran in the room and dropped my pants as fast as I could kneeling by the side of the bed in the middle of another contraction. Probably the biggest relief of my life was when I asked "is the baby coming?" I got a big fat YES! I don't know what I would have done if it wasn't at that point. The nurse kept telling me "Laurie's on her way, do what you have to do. I don't want to deliver this baby on my own, but I can...." Laurie walked in, I pushed maybe two or three times and she was here. Apparently she was already more than crowning when I got into my room. That was 9 AM.
It was really cool because almost before I realized that she was out Joey saw her and told me it was a girl. I was standing up next to the bed and I think he was behind me, so he had the perfect view as soon as she was born. It was neat to have him see that and let me know. No one else even thought about it until later. Of course most of the people there didn't even know my name, let alone that I didn't know my baby's gender yet.
And that was that. Five hour labor with Kelley, Tyler's was four, Little Maren was only about 3 hours total and nearly born on the highway at that. It was funny because I kept telling people I was afraid I wouldn't know when to go to the hospital and that something like that would happen, although I didn't REALLY think it would. That happens in the movies..yeah, just like people's water doesn't ever break in public places.... Kelley and Tyler were both pretty much no question as to when I needed to go in. People kept telling me "oh you'll know". Well I'll tell you what, until about 30 minutes before I delivered I didn't "know" for sure! My contractions weren't consistent or very long. Laurie told me afterwards, "Next time, you come in when you START having contractions...." Ya, that's a good bit of advice I think I'll follow!
Well, she's perfect. I feel great! It is true that recovery is SO much easier with a natural birth! I will have to write more later, but for now, I think I'll get back to my baby :)