Birth Story: Avery Elizabeth
I am so happy to be sharing Avery’s Birth Story with you! Wheew, it was a little time consuming and honestly I had to wrack my brain a little to remember some of the details. I usually have a pretty good memory, but it is so true that you start to block out and forget parts of your journey with time. Thanks for stopping by for the story of how we met our beautiful little girl, Avery.
On Saturday April 7th 2018 my mom picked me up for a day of shopping for my upcoming baby shower. We grabbed the flowers for the arrangements and a few last minute items. After we ran our errands and of course grubbed at my favorite place (especially while I was pregnant), a Greek restaurant, I had her take me back to my house. I grabbed my overnight bag and my car because I wanted to drive myself to the town where the shower was going to be (about an hour away). Patrick had to work in the morning and spent the afternoon finishing up the nursery.
I arrived at my mom’s house where she and my sister were beginning to bake mini muffins, arrange flowers, and box up the decorations for the tables at the baby shower. But really we got together mostly just to chit chat! We talked about a whole array of things from labor and delivery to breastfeeding, and even stumbled across some not so tasteful baby shower cakes online. :) My sister asked me multiple times “when is that baby coming?” and said things like “I cannot wait until she is here.” Around 9:00pm, the time when I was usually in bed and almost asleep, we were still sitting around the dining room table talking and for some reason I kept contemplating driving home and coming back in the morning. My sister packed up and we made plans to meet in the morning at the baby shower location. I couldn’t shake the feeling of wanting to sleep in my own bed. They even teased me saying “What? You can’t be away from your husband for one night?” I just wanted to go home, it was a pulling feeling. I grabbed my bag and planned to meet my mom the next morning.
Patrick was still working as the opener every other weekend at a gym so he was in bed when I called to tell him I decided to come home. I crawled into bed and woke him up to tell him I had made it safely. As I nuzzled in under the covers I was laying on my right side and my back started to ache, which if you have ever been pregnant you know is not an entirely new problem. So I rolled onto my left side and the pain eased allowing me to fall asleep. I woke up every couple hours to go pee, again nothing new in my nightly routine.
When I woke up around 3:00am for my date with the toilet I realized that when I was done peeing, I couldn’t stop peeing!! No matter how hard I “tried to stop” I couldn’t! I started to think that something was not right, but I still stood in the bathroom for a few minutes processing this. I then journeyed into the bedroom, dripping, Patrick was laying partially half awake because he was supposed to get up to head into work. I said “Umm, I think my water broke. I was going pee and then I just couldn’t stop going.” He said “WHAT? Are you kidding?” I assured him that I would never play that type of mean spirited prank on him. He followed me into the bathroom and agreed that something was up, I mean c’mon I was talking to him while fluid was running down my legs.
He called the Birth Center from the bathroom and told them that I was 35.5 weeks pregnant and we believed my water broke. They asked me a couple questions, then agreed that it was definitely the case, and told us to head into the Emergency Room where someone would escort us to the Birth Center. After hanging up with the nurse nothing was clicking in my mind, the only thing I thought to do in that moment was to take a shower. While in the shower I was flooded with emotions, on the outside I was smiling because honestly I was excited to meet our little one but on the inside I was a slightly in denial. While Patrick scurried around packing up anything in sight he thought we may need (because we had yet to pack our hospital bags), I got dressed, my outfit of choice: a flowy black jersey material dress, a maxi pad (because that was going to stop the river of fluid), and my winter snow boots and coat. Now before you write me off as crazy we were expected to get a snow and ice storm that day hence the boots, now the dress… I don’t know.
We got in the car and started the half hour drive to the hospital. Patrick started in on the calling tree to inform the grandparents and everyone was shocked. “It’s too soon.” “Are you serious?” “What about the baby shower?” My mom even asked, “Who is this!?”
We headed into the Emergency Room entrance and the man at the desk told us to take a seat and he would let the nurse in the Birth Center know we were waiting. Ummm…no! I was not going to sit while I felt like I peed myself. We stood in the corner while the security guard naively told us about his first night on the job. We were escorted to the elevators where a friendly nurse point blank told us to adjust all of our expectations because this birth experience was going to be different since our baby was premature.
We were taken into our birth suite and we were still feeling like this was all so surreal. I was having light contractions (I would describe them as menstrual cramps) and my water was continuing to break, but other than that I had not come to grips that Avery’s birth story had begun. I changed into the luxurious gown and the nurse checked me. I was 3 cm dilated and it had started to hit me that I was not going home without a baby. The OB I had been with for my entire pregnancy was starting her on-call rotation in just a matter of hours so that helped me feel calm knowing that she was going to be on my team. Between Patrick, his parents, and my mom they let all the Baby Shower guests know that the party was going to have to be on later date because I was in labor.
My contractions started to increase in intensity to the point that I could no longer hold a conversation during one. Our nurse, Kat, offered to bring in essential oils and a diffuser (I opted for lavender). It truly helped me find my zen! Since the contractions were picking up and sitting in bed was not how I wanted to labor it was the right time to transition into the tub. Laboring in the water was one part of my experience that I was not going to change! I labored in the tub for about an hour, trying to relax. Then I hit a wall, I was too hot from the water and the adrenaline and I needed to change things up.
PAUSE on the Birth Story for a brief shout out: We had SO many AMAZING nurses during our stay, but our MVP was Kat. She popped in and out of our room and seemed to know when to offer support and when to let me do my thing. She held my hand and offered encouragement to myself and Patrick because it is a learning experience for dads as well. She was an angel and I am not just saying that. She was there when Avery was born and cared for her after she was born in the NICU and on other occasions during our ten day stay.
I went out into the room and swayed until BAM the contractions were coming really close together and hurt like a mother! The position that helped alleviate the pain was hunched over the bed with Patrick applying counter pressure to my lower back. I tried to focus on my breathing and not hold tension in my hands or shoulders. After about half an hour it was time to be checked by the doctor, by this point I felt like I was not getting any rest time and the contractions were VERY intense. I told myself that if I was not at least 7 cm dilated that I was going to need to try something to help the pain. When she checked me I was 9 cm.!! I couldn’t believe it, but I was also so thankful that I had made it through the transition part and was going to meet my baby very soon.
She left to check on another patient and told me she would be back soon (30 minutes) and it would probably be time to start pushing. It felt like a matter of 5 minutes and BOOM (here comes some TMI) I thought I may poop the bed. Hey, I told you it was going to be TMI! In that moment the nurse said “Never mind waiting for her to come back, I will let her know she should come back NOW.”
For me the hardest part of labor was pushing, I felt like I was not doing it right, I was not as effective as I should be, or I couldn’t quite get down the breathing pattern to push (looking back, who cares? I pushed a baby out didn’t I?). I felt a sense of power while laboring through the pain and contractions versus pushing. After pushing for about an hour and twenty minutes Avery was born at 12:24pm on Sunday April 8th, 2018. Only a half an hour before my baby shower was scheduled to start! She was so much smaller than I could’ve imagined, they had me guess the weight and I didn’t know what would be the “normal” for being 4.5 weeks early. She weighed 4 pounds + 13 ounces and she was my little, but mighty warrior. After they told me her weight she was whisked to the nursery due to her breathing not being sufficient on room air. The rest of Avery’s Birth Story is recapped in a previous blog that goes into detail about the ten day hospital stay.
Today, Avery is ONE and this year has flown by. The saying is so true “The days are long but the years are short.” She now weighs 15 pounds + 8 ounces, has 5 teeth, loves being close to Patrick or I at all times, bounces/shakes to Baby Shark (what kid doesn’t?), and is giddy the moment it is bath time. She had her first swim lesson yesterday and was like a little fish, and then was spoiled by friends and family. She devoured her chocolate cake, she is her mama’s girls, and then passed out during a stroller ride after the guests left. I am so proud of all that she has mastered in the last year. Motherhood has not been easy, but it is SO worth it!