ANNNND part two:
In the end I was in labor for about 10 hours and pushed for about 45 minutes (which would probably have been less if the doctor was already in the building). When she came out they didn’t tell us if she was a boy or a girl, the nurse just laid her on me and said, “You were right!” Even though it’s a really small part of the story, it’s my favorite.
They let me keep her on me for as long as I wanted, which I loved and was very thankful for. I cried and cried and couldn’t get over how crazy the whole thing was. She had just been inside of me and now here she is. She wasn’t a cartoon anymore. She was real. It was real. Weird.
When they weighed her and told us how little she was, I was amazed. 10 days before she was born I had an additional ultrasound because my stomach didn’t measure where it should. When you hit a certain point in your pregnancy, your uterus (generally) measures in centimeters however many weeks along you are. At 37-38 weeks, I measured 34cm. I had always been on the smaller end of the measurements but at that point I had fallen off the “acceptable” range. So they had to do an ultrasound to make sure she was still growing. The ultrasound gives a (very) rough estimate of weight and they put her at 6.5lb – so we were expecting a 7ish pound baby, not a 5ish pound baby! At 5lb 12oz she was considered “Small for Gestational Age” (if she had been one more ounce she would have been considered normal) and when that happens babies have to have their blood sugar monitored because they are at risk for their pancreas working too hard. She ended up being completely fine – other than very upset that they had to keep pricking her foot over the next few days.
After the doctor was done with me and things calmed down, I fed her for the first time (super crazy but amazing) and Derek and I took time to be alone with her before any family could come in (which probably drove them nuts knowing that she was born but still having to wait). This was really important to us. We made sure that this happened because we didn’t want to get caught up in the whole situation and look back and regret that we didn’t take time to really process and appreciate the situation. It was so amazing to see Derek hold her for the first time. I was probably still crying at this point. Giant soppy tears.
It was such a wonderfully amazing experience. Everything about it went better than I could have imagined. I’m glad I spent so long without an epidural. I’m glad I got an epidural. Derek was so supportive and perfect. Everyone was healthy and there weren’t any major complications. Even being at Zeeland Hospital was amazing. I was initially hesitant about having to deliver there – they are smaller, don’t have a NICU, not one of the “popular” hospitals in the area. But I am so glad we were there. We had 1:1 (amazing) nursing staff the whole time, stayed in the same (huge) room for delivery/recovery, it was so quiet and sound-proof, it was easy to get to and for friends/family to find us. All of our babies will be born there if I can help it.