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Micheal and Madison
2 weeks early, epidural, vaginal delivery

When my husband and I were trying to get pregnant, it seemed like everyone else in the world was but us. His friends were pregnant, my friends were pregnant. His sister had just announced she was pregnant. Everyone was pregnant. That is, everyone but me. On February 9th, 2000, my sister-in-law announced to the family she was going to have a baby. I cried. I didn't just cry, I cried for days. Three full days to be exact. Well, I am normally a very happy, well adjusted person. This, of course, lead my husband and the rest of the family to believe something was very wrong. Of course there was! My sister-in-law was going to have a baby and I wasn't!

Later that evening, my husband took me to buy an ovulation predictor. We thought that might help to target the "best" time next month. I decided to buy a couple of pregnancy tests to go along with it (they were on sale). On the way home, because I had been so wacky, my husband talked me into doing one of the tests. I knew I wasn't pregnant. I didn't want to take the test and see the negative response. But, take it I did, and guess what? It was positive (big surprise, right?)! I couldn't believe what I saw. It was the faintest of pink lines, but it was there. Just to be sure, I took another test. It was the same. Still not believing, I called my sister-in-law. I went to her house and took another. It was the same. In the course of the next two days, I took eight pregnancy tests. Finally, I decided to trust them. I WAS PREGNANT! So, I called my OB/GYN and made an appointment. They made me wait two weeks because I was MAYBE 10 days pregnant! I was due to have my long awaited child on October 24.

My pregnancy was relatively uneventful. I had some minor unexplained bleeding in the first trimester, but regular ultrasounds concluded that the baby was fine. I thought it was a boy. Okay, I knew it was a boy. I even did the "pee in the Drain-o" thing, and that said it was a boy. On June 9th, I found out that I was expecting a little girl. I was elated. My husband asked the tech to make certain. He was stunned. All he could imagine was dating, proms, a wedding. All I could think was PINK. Not just pink, but bright Barbie pink. So far, this was the best day of my life.

I am a fourth grade teacher and my students were really into the pregnancy. They loved to feel the baby move and make fun of my ever expanding waistline. They knew I was leaving on October 13 for maternity leave. I just knew that would give me plenty of time and some much needed rest before the baby came. On October 6 (Friday), my husband and I went to my sister-in-law's for dinner (she was due October 18). Our doctor was going to induce her on Tuesday, October 10th, so we thought we'd all get together for one last pre-baby dinner. Half way through dinner I got the most tremendous headache. It was so awful we had to leave. I went home and crawled into bed. The headache just got worse and worse. So, I called the doctor and she told me to go to the hospital for some monitoring. When I got to the hospital they took my blood pressure and it was sky high. I mean it was in stroke territory. Well, my headache went away and my blood pressure went down so they sent me home.

The next day passed without incident and so did most of Sunday. Sunday night it all started again. This time the headache wasn't so bad, but the blood pressure was worse. I went to the hospital again and this time they tested for preeclampsia. Fortunately, everything was okay. My blood pressure went down and I went home. That was at 2:00 AM on Monday morning. I crawled in bed for a little sleep before work. At 5:30 AM my husband got up for work and I laid in bed trying to wake up. While he was in the shower, I got up. As I did, my water broke. Everywhere. My doctor told me it would trickle. This was a geyser! My husband hopped out of the shower (soap and all) and we went to the hospital. When we got there, I asked the nurse my chances of getting breakfast (I was pregnant, food was my most forethought). She told me slim to none. The race was on. I had to eat!

I wasn't having contractions. In fact, I didn't have a contraction for over 4 hours. It was 10:00 AM before I had the first one. At that time, I was dilated to 2cm, and had been for a couple of weeks. About 12:30, my husband left to go get batteries for a little fan I had. My mother-in-law was with me. My contractions were coming one on top of the other. I felt the overwhelming need to push. My mother-in-law called for the nurse. Just as my husband returned, the nurse came in. She wanted to see if I had dilated any further so that maybe I could have my epidural. She thought I might be at a 4 by now. Well, when she checked, I was a 9!!! I cried. I thought I had missed my opportunity for an epidural. Thank God, they gave it to me anyway. Relief came and I took a break. I ate a popsicle. I must admit, it was the best popsicle I'd ever had. About an hour later the epidural wore off (that's another story unto itself). That was okay because I had dilated completely and was ready to push. I pushed through 6 contractions. The baby was crowning as the doctor was dressing. It happened so unexpectedly, my husband and the nurse held my legs because they couldn't get the stirrups on the bed fast enough.

My beautiful daughter, Madison Micheal, arrived in this world at 2:05 PM on Monday, October 9, 2000. She was a whopping 5 lbs. 3 oz. (no, I didn't smoke or drink and yes, I took my vitamins) and 18 and 1/2 inches long. She was so tiny and absolutely perfect. She is almost 5 months old now. She weighs almost 12 lbs., and she is more beautiful than ever.

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