It's time to revive the the blog for my once a baby post - the birth story post. Baby girl, I can guarantee you won't get a post every month, but I won't let my memory fade before I write down the day I first saw you face to face.
Living away from family and being pregnant is quite an experience. We did it with Tiny and survived. Knowing we had some back up plans if he decided to arrive before my mother in law was in town. But in pandemic time, the number of people jumping to take on 3 kids was low. So, Baby Baby's arrival needed to be well timed. If that wasn't stressful enough, her due date was close enough to Christmas that I was limited on options as far as when to encourage her to get moving along. I knew I wanted to avoid a hospital induction and planned to have my membranes stripped since this method had worked so well with Tiny. However, my options were to have this done on the 23rd or wait until the 28th. If it didn't work it would then be a couple more days before I could go to the hospital for an induction as a last ditch effort to get her here before Nina left the following Saturday.
In the end, we chose to have my membranes swept on the 23rd, knowing this could mean I went into labor before Nina arrived later that evening and/or that I would be in the hospital on Christmas day. The fallback plan was to be induced on the 29th. My appointment was at 10am and by 2pm I was having regular contractions (during a counseling session) about 10 minutes apart. After my session I let Jason know, there was a real possibility that we would be going to the hospital that night and he should let his mom know. A few hours later the contractions dwindled to about once an hour having a strong contraction. I decided the membrane sweep had tried its best to get things going, but that ultimately, I may be getting induced on Sunday.
The next morning, I went to get a COVID test done (because pregnancy during a pandemic) and continued to notice semi strong contractions about every 20 minutes. I didn't want to set off any false alarms again, so I mostly kept it to myself. Throughout Thursday, the contractions came and went, at times feeling stronger and more consistent.
As the day went on, I was trying to talk my body out of going into labor. At this point, labor now would mean missing Christmas morning with my boys and missing Christmas Mass, and I just didn't want to do that. So yes, I was in denial. As dinner approached I let Jason and Nina know that my contractions seemed to be getting stronger. By eating time I think everyone but me knew that I would be going to the hospital that night. By the time dinner was done I had made a very sudden 180 on my decision that the kids couldn't open a Christmas Eve gift to YES absolutely please open one so that mommy doesn't miss everything. By 7:45 I told Nina I would try to get Tiny down for bed before we left and by about 8:30pm I was flooding Nina with information about where all the Santa gifts were hidden and who they belonged to and oh also good luck with Tiny, and telling Jason we'd better go now or he would get to deliver his baby girl in the car.
COVID policy meant that I went up to triage by myself while Jason waited anxiously in the car. At this point I was certain I was in labor and was just praying for a better experience in triage than I had with Justin...in which they refused to admit me until Justin was on his way out because "it's not possible to progress much in such a short amount of time". Anyhow, the triage nurse checked me and I was at a 6. I let her know my history of quick labors and lightning fast deliveries and she made the very wise decision to get me into a room ASAP. I texted Jason that he was welcome to join me in the delivery room.
Not too long after sitting on the ball the contractions became more intense and I became more intense. I started to groan more during contractions, which according to Jason, means things are getting serious and delivery is imminent. I insisted we wait a little longer before calling in the nurse to check. He agreed but I have a feeling he was also pretty eager to have someone else in the room just in case a baby needed to be caught. After a few more contractions we called in our nurse.
After describing how I was feeling, I got back into bed and she called the resident to ask her to come in and check me. After a couple more contractions, during one of which I said "uh oh" due to the amount of pressure I was feeling, our nurse called again urging the resident to move a wee bit quicker. I had progressed to a 9 and the resident said they could break the water at this point and I would likely be ready to push or we could wait. The time was 11:50pm. Essentially I was deciding if I was going to have a Christmas baby or a Christmas Eve baby. But really I was deciding, do I want to sit through more contractions? No. No I did not. I asked to have the water broken.
Jason sent a text to family at 11:52 letting them know they were breaking my water and at 11:55pm they received a message saying Baby Baby had arrived. It. Was. Fast. Super fast. I tend to be a mostly quiet laborer, but I am not I quiet deliverer. My optimistic outlook tends to go from I GOT THIS. To, nope can't do this. But at that point, there is clearly no turning back. The head of family medicine ran in just as Bethany was being born. He apologized he wasn't there earlier because he had just taken off his mask/face shield/head covering in his office. He said he was lucky he didn't also take off his booties or he would have missed the whole thing. A few weeks later he apologized to Jason for missing the birth; he makes a point to be in the room at each of the births that happen when he's on shift. We were also told there were bets going on between the nurses and doctors about who would have their baby first on the floor, who would be a Christmas Eve baby, and who would be a Christmas baby. Apparently a doctor named Dr. Behan had bet we would be first and came into the room to watch as I made her victorious. When we were told Dr. Behan had been in the room, I couldn't help but smile. Dr. Behan is the name of the OB who delivered both Zilla and Panini and my favorite Catholic OBGYN.
And baby Bethany was here in our arms. I will never ever get over the amazing feeling of holding a newborn baby after months of waiting. To feel her warm slimy little self all snuggled up on me. I love it. It is the thing that can make me look back at pregnancy, labor, and delivery and say YES I would want to do that again.
Christmas was different but I am so grateful for her story. There were points on Christmas day where I broke into tears just thinking about going through labor on Christmas Eve. Thinking of our Blessed Mother bringing Christ into the world on Christmas. It was truly remarkable. I wasn't able to go to Mass that day, but I was able to celebrate His birth in a whole new way with a whole new appreciation.
And last, what's in a name? Our sweet Baby Baby, Baby Ice Cream, Bethany Rose. Since being pregnant with Zilla, Jason and I had the name Abigail Rose picked out for a girl. We wanted the name Rose in honor of Rosita, a woman who played a big role in Jason's life. But part way through this pregnancy I felt moved to ask about the name Bethany. Bethany means "House of Welcome". Bethany is the place where Mary and Martha lived, two women who teach us about the interplay of contemplation and action. Bethany is the place where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. And Bethany is a homage to my Meemaw, Betty.
Sweet Betty Rose, we sure do love you.