It was Thanksgiving day, Taylor and I were in the kitchen cooking the traditional feast together and as we worked I periodically would experience light and sporadic contractions. It was nothing to be too concerned about and I had experienced them the night before as well. It was 11 days before my due date and I was elated that these contractions meant a baby would soon grace our presence! Later that evening, we went to our friend's where we combined our forces of food and company and ate until we thought we might die. Which, let me tell you, trying to consume your regular dose of fifth helpings on Thanksgiving while trying to share your stomach space with a 7lb. baby was quite the undertaking but I refused to be defeated! And so conquer I did.
The rest of the night we tried to keep Theo from destroying all the ornaments on our friend's tree, sang karaoke, and I danced to my heart's content with the little kids to ensure to that this baby would come in a timely manner. Nine months pregnant and dancing to 90's music. I was a vision.
We went home that night, put Theo to bed, I whined to Taylor about not wanting to wash my face just as I do every night, eventually did it anyways, went to bed, and then woke up to contractions about 12 minutes apart. They kept me up for a while and around 4:00 a.m. I text my mom, who was not supposed to arrive until the 3rd of December, and told her that I didn't think this baby was going to wait that long to get here. Within the hour she had her flight changed and was due to arrive in Cody that night. And wouldn't you know, just a few short hours after my text to her my contractions stopped. Go figure. This was all following suit of my labor with Theo so I was somewhat prepared for a million hours of labor this time around. I went throughout my day with random contractions all day long and my mom arrived that night. I was so thrilled and grateful that she had made it on time! We hugged, we talked, we chatted, live, laugh, love, and then we went to bed.
Once again, around 1 a.m. I was woken up. They were stronger than the last two nights and lasted about 5-6 hours. Eventually they stopped, because that's what they do if you're me and I fell back asleep. My body doesn't know how to have babies very efficiently. It just really likes to see what I'm made of.
My mom and I decided to go grocery shopping to get my body moving and also because I was in need of some serious distraction at this point. Once we were there, however, the contractions really got going (Hey, thanks Walmart!), so much so that I had to periodically lean over the cart to breathe through them. I'm sure it all looked very dramatic. As I was checking out, I was having a particularly intense one and the sales clerk kept trying to talk to me. I tried to look normal and carry on the conversation but mostly I think I just looked weird and constipated.
We went home, unloaded groceries, watched a terrible ABC Family Christmas movie, turned it off because it was actually kind of painful to watch (you know, the ones where you get secondhand embarrassment for actors), and decided it was time to get the tub ready. Taylor went upstairs to start inflating and filling the tub but about a quarter of the way through, we ran out of hot water. Without skipping a beat though, Taylor promptly went downstairs, turned on every burner and began boiling water. It was some serious pioneer style up in here. Those pioneers ain't got nothin' on us. Just kidding. They do.
He must have boiled nearly 40 pots of water, running up the stairs to dump the hot water and running back down to boil more. He didn't complain once and just kept going until the water was the perfect temperature. And then my heart grew five sizes because that is LOVE.
At that point I was pretty far into the labor and it was getting tougher so I decided to get in the water and the second I did it was like pure magic. It felt as though the pain had subsided and I actually began to get a little worried that I wasn't quite as progressed as I thought I was...until I got out of the tub to run to the bathroom and then I was like, nope, I'm as far as I think I am. That thing called gravity does nothing for you when you're about to have a baby.
During each contraction my mom would push on my back and coach me through them while Taylor was right near my face telling me how great I was doing, rubbing my arms, and making me feel more loved than ever. There was a moment during the labor when I just stopped and looked around the room and was overcome by the love that I felt. It was such a surreal moment and one that I hope I never forget. I had some of my sisters on FaceTime silently rooting me, my mom on one side of me, Taylor on the other, my midwife and her assistant there for anything I needed; I truly don't know if there has ever been a moment in my life when I have felt so loved and cared for. It somehow all felt very heavenly and unearthly in that room and in that moment.
As I neared the end, and during one intense contraction, I was sure I couldn't do it any longer. "I can't do this, I can't do this." I said over and over into Taylor's shoulder. My energy was fading and it was getting harder and harder to continue. In an attempt to bring my energy back up I was given a giant spoonful of honey to revive the little bit of strength that I had left in me and it was only shortly after the self-doubt and dose of honey that I felt like I might be ready to push. My midwife checked me and lo! I was at a 10! I was so excited that I practically jumped back into the tub and started to laugh-cry at the realization that I was only minutes away from meeting our little girl.
I started pushing and three contractions later, she was out. And then that long awaited moment came when they laid her on my chest. And I would venture to say that there is no moment more perfect or magical than when you get to meet your baby for the very first time. When they are placed on your chest and you get to look at the face of that little human who is yours forever.
This little girl who spent the last nine months growing inside of me and who I came to know through her kicks and movements was finally and really here and mine. As she took her first breath on her own, no longer dependent on my body to breathe, so curiously and peacefully looking around at this new world, my heart overflowed with the love I instantly felt for her and I knew our lives would never be the same. She was beautiful and perfect and ours.
This little girl has no idea how much she is loved.