I know I must have told this story 1000 times in the 7 years of Riley's life, but for me, it never gets old.
I had a pretty easy pregnancy with Riley, I was nauseous often, and sensitive to smells, and I was often sloth-like in my down time. There were a couple weeks of pregnancy I ate an unfathomable number of bags of chewy mini sweetarts. I gained very little weight (17 lbs if my memory serves) and pretty much just chugged right along. The doctor never had any concerns, nor did I, and each week was just a mark on the calendar until she would arrive.
I was 8 days away from my due date when I got the news that my step grandfather, Papa Russ, had passed away. A couple days later I was at my regular appointment and my blood pressure was a bit high. I told the doctor that I was sure it was stress from our family's loss, but she wanted to do some blood work and just double check. She also put me on bedrest and told me she would call me with the lab results soon. So I went to work, got my things, told them I would be back in a few weeks. I went shopping for books and magazines. I basically went all over town rather than home, where I was supposed to be. But eventually I settled in the bedroom and made my nest. That was on Thursday. Then Friday rolled around and by noon, I was stir-crazy. My grandfather's visitation was that night, so I convinced my husband and parents that I needed to go (and made lots of promises to sit quietly all evening). I think it helped my case that my sister was in Las Vegas for the week and wasn't going to be able to make it back. The funeral was the next morning. Saturday, August 12th. I didn't go to the funeral, but I did convince Sherman and mom and dad to go to the Missouri State Fair that afternoon. I had never missed one and I knew that I wasn't going to make it to the Fair if I didn't go that day. I don't remember my exact words, but something to the effect of "well, if the doctor hasn't called yet, it couldn't be something that bad". So we made a day of the fair. And it was hot, I was sweaty and my feet were dirty (since I was pretty much only wearing crocs at that point). But I was happy that I had gotten my annual visit in. We left the fair with intentions of getting back to Jefferson City and going out for dinner. Instead we were about halfway home when my phone rang. It was my doctor. Calling in person.
All she said was "as soon as you can get yourself ready, get on down to the hospital and let's get ready to have that baby". I was so excited I didn't even take a moment to wonder why I needed to get to the hospital. So I called mom and dad (who were in the car behind us) and asked them to follow us to our house and pick up Millie (our hound) so that we could go to the hospital.
We got home, sent Millie off, took showers, packed bags, and rushed to the hospital. Looking back I wish that I had taken a moment to appreciate that all a bit more.
Once they got me in a room, the IV's got started and the nurses started their first check of the night. Upon completion, the nurse asked me "Are you sure she told you to come tonight"? "Of course" I told her. And the words that I will never forget, "Well then you better settle in. You are 0 dialated, 0 effaced, and 0 ready to have this baby. You are going to be here a while".
The doctor did stop in sometime later. She explained that since she was on call for the weekend, she knew she would be the doctor available and it was a good time to induce me. She also explained that some of my blood work was concerning, and at this point she just thought that having the baby was the safest thing to do. She mentioned that they would be doing extra blood work on the placenta, and would draw blood from me frequently, and after all was said and done a hematologist would be meeting with me as well. I know there was more, but honestly, I was just wanting to have my baby.
So, the first 12+ hours in the hospital were just lying around. I made no progress. So 7am Sunday morning the doctor stops in, tells me we are going to try a couple other drugs. Those all start and at 10am I am dilated to a 2. I think this means things are about to start happening and get super excited. So the doctor comes back (in my mind reaffirming that it won't be long) and breaks my water. I restrained from kicking her in the face, even though every instinct in my body told me to, as the extraordinary pain from that little procedure rippled through me. I vaguely remember Sherman going to lunch. I was pretty much doubled over in pain with every contraction at this point. Sometime after noon, I asked for an epidural. I was dilated to a 5, and the anesthesiologist was already nearby so I got that done. As soon as that delightfully cold liquid hit me, I curled up and slept for almost 2 hours (and looking back that fact that they didn't wake me up to check me should have been a sign that I wasn't progressing, but whatever). When I awoke, I was certain it was going to be baby time. (I just realized we also banned anyone from coming to the hospital until after the baby was born. Mostly because I hate people waiting.) In fact I was dilated to 7 (I think, we are getting to some really hazy stuff now). Next thing I know, it is 7pm and nurses are changing shifts. I was extremely lucky that the nurse who strode into my room was actually an old friend from high school. I don't clearly remember the next string of events, but I know I was tired. I also know that at 9pm the doctor called in and gave the nurse instructions on changing and increasing my meds, and told me that I had one hour to get to a 10, and in one hour she was going to be there to either deliver the baby or perform a c-section. And shortly before 10pm I told the nurse that something didn't feel right. I assumed that meant I was headed for the operating room, but it turns out it was actually the pressure telling me to push. By some tiny miracle I had dialated to a 10. The doctor arrived and it was time to push. And I did. For nearly an hour and a helf. And around 11:30pm, on Sunday, August 13, 2006, Riley was born. Sherman cut the cord and they wrapped her up and handed her to him, where she promptly peed all over him. He showed her to me and honestly the look on his face is all I can remember, he was just so in love. At some point my parents got there, and then Riley was taken to the nursery to get cleaned up. I was shaking and vomiting and freezing. The nurse put warm blankets on me and I slept. I slept hard. I woke up and only kind of remembered that I had had a baby. At some point shortly after she came in to eat. I was moved to another room and I slept. And so did she. The next morning I took the greatest shower of my life. Seriously. I have never gone from feeling so disgusting to so great in any other shower. My sister and Seth arrived, then I can't remember. We had a lot of visitors. And all I did was lay there with Riley and I both intermittently napping. That evening, my mom brought me a homemade dinner to the hospital. It was just penne with sausage and peppers and cheese, but it was the greatest meal I have ever eaten. We went home on Wednesday (because they didn't get paperwork done on time Tuesday). And of course we had the car seat in wrong. But we made it home. With the baby. And all her stuff.
I don't think there is anyway to properly talk about how having your first born changes your heart. I can never be the person I was before that day. I can never put myself first again. I am so thankful for who Riley made me. Just by being born.