Week 39 - Birth Story
~ Meet Brianna Noelle
First off, I want to apologize for taking such a long time to get my final journal entry written. I never thought a month could fly by so quickly!! Our little bundle of joy, Brianna Noelle, came into our lives only a month ago and it seems that she has taken over every waking (and sleeping) moment of our lives, even if it's just staring at her while she sleeps! Everything she does is absolutely amazing! But I digress . . . back to the story of how she came into the world.
Week 39 looked as if it was going to pass us by relatively uneventfully. We made it back home after celebrating Christmas in Kansas. The week progressed with nothing but the usual aches and pains of being later along in my pregnancy. On Tuesday I had my fifth (and what would turn out to be my final) weekly exam appointment. After much research, thought, and discussion, I had pretty much come to the conclusion that, depending on my progress (or lack thereof) at this appointment, I would have the doctor strip my membranes (since I was 39 weeks and 6 days) in the attempt to avoid the baby getting too large and forcing a c-section. When the doctor did the exam and told us that I was still at 2 cm, we discussed stripping my membranes with her and decided that was what we wanted to do. The procedure was over in about 30 seconds and when she finished, my husband commented, "Really? That was it?" Apparently he was expecting something more. The doctor told us the "usual" - I may bleed for a couple of days, call if we had any concerns - and had us set up an appointment for Thursday, my 40-week point.
We returned home and I was a bit uncomfortable and sore, so I took about an hour nap and then decided that I should probably get out and run a few "last minute" errands. We were planning on celebrating Christmas with my parents the following week and I wasn't sure how much longer I had to get everything in order. I went to the nail salon for some "me time" and got a pedicure then headed to WalMart for a few things. I was still a bit uncomfortable . . . sore and crampy, but no noticeable pattern or any cause for concern. I got the things that I needed (and then some!!) and headed back home to wrap gifts.
I think I finished wrapping about six things and my husband noticed that I was not myself. I guess I was breathing heavier than normal and shifting my weight around in the chair since I was constantly trying to get comfortable. He asked if I had been timing my contractions. I told him no, but I would start and they'd probably just go away. After about an hour of relatively consistent 4-minute contractions, we decided that we should probably get something to eat "just in case". Another hour went by and I was still having 4-minute contractions. We decided to head into the hospital, but I figured they'd probably end up sending us back home. We got to the hospital around 8:30 Tuesday evening.
They checked me in and wheeled me up to a birthing suite to monitor me for changes for an hour. The nurse did her initial exam and I was at 3 cm. An hour later I was at 4 cm, so they went ahead and called the doctor and admitted me for the duration . . . we were going to have a baby!!
Around midnight, when they came in to take my vitals, they found that I had a temperature and decided to break my water to be sure that the fever wasn't being caused by an infection in the amniotic fluid. It turns out there was no infection, but breaking my water sure did increase the intensity of my contractions!! Up until that point, I had been able to handle the pain of the contractions without any medication, but somewhere between 6 and 7cm (around 1:00am), I opted for the epidural. My husband said that if I hadn't gotten it then, HE would have!!
The rest of my labor and delivery was uneventful . . . I reached 10cm around 4:30am and began pushing shortly thereafter. Brianna was born at 5:00am on December 29, 2010, with a full head of brown hair and little baby blues. She weighed 8 lbs 1 oz and measured 21 inches long. If you ask me, she was PERFECT!!
Apparently, we weren't the only ones who were looking to welcome a new addition to the family before 2010. Later that evening, one of the nurses came into our room to let us know that they may be moving us to a regular recovery room for the rest of our stay because all of the rest of the birthing suites had filled up and they may need ours as well. As it turned out, we never did have to change rooms. We later learned that none of the other women who were in the hospital during that time ended up delivering, and Brianna was the last baby born in 2010 at our hospital . . . a fun fact that we can share with her later in life. We brought her home on New Year's Eve . . . what a wonderful way to celebrate!!
The last month has been all but a complete blur. Friends from our squadron at work brought us homemade dinners the whole first week that we were at home . . . what a blessing THAT was! Who would have thought that something as simple as cooking dinner would be the absolute LAST thing that I wanted to do?! Everyone was so excited to welcome the first granddaughter on both sides of the family. My parents came into town the following week, as did my sister and her family, and that helped out tremendously. My husband's parents came into town at the end of the month to visit as well.
Needless to say, things are finally starting to wind down and we are just beginning to settle into our roles as mommy and daddy. Most days, it still seems surreal and dream-like . . . I can hardly believe that she is here and she is ours. I can pass the hours just staring at her, trying to take in every moment, knowing that I will never get this time back again, and that all too soon, I will have to head back to work. So, when do I get to do this again??
Until next baby . . . maybe?!?!