July 10, 2011

Our Story

I had heard mothers speak before about the emotional experience it is for them to return to the hospital where they delivered their child, and yesterday I learned why. I didn't even go inside, all I did was drive past that dear Riverton hospital and the tears and goosebumps were immediate. My life was changed the day I had Ellie...
in fact, it was changed even before that.

I loved my pregnancy. When I see pregnant women now I am jealous. I feel giddy and excited for the unknown journey that lies ahead of them. The love they're gonna feel for that baby is beyond comprehension and the miracle of giving birth is life-changing. Pregnancy felt like the ultimate coming of age to me- I felt like I was living up to the divine potential of womanhood within me, and I loved it.

Toward the end I became impatient as I'm sure most women do. However, it wasn't because I was extremely uncomfortable or having trouble sleeping; I was simply dying to meet this little girl. Ellie was due on a Thursday and my last day of work had been the previous Friday. My mission then turned to doing anything I could to move this baby along. Long walks were in order, a little assistance from the husband, lots of praying, and eventually a hefty dose of castor oil.

On Thursday morning after a long, sleepless night of many trips to the bathroom, my labor began abruptly at 4:00 am. I had been so worried that I wouldn't know when I was having contractions- it quickly became very apparent that that had been a frivolous concern. My contractions were strong, immediate, and only five minutes apart. I laid down and tried to sleep in between each one until finally at 4:30 I called my mom to see what I should do. She told me to wake up BJ, get ready to go to the hospital, and if they were still strong and five minutes apart to head on out.

BJ was just like the husbands you see on movies: muttering in shock as he frantically prepared himself to go, asking me over and over again if I was o.k. or if he could do anything to help, and driving at scary speeds to get us to the hospital as fast as possible. In the meantime my water broke, I trembled with each contraction, and eventually waddled my way into a wheelchair in the hospital. BJ wheeled me up to labor and delivery and when we told them my water had broken they immediately took us to our room.  My mom, mother-in-law JaLayne, sister Katie, and photographer Kim arrived shortly after us.

An epidural was in immediate order. My labor began at 4 am and my epidural began at 6. Thank you modern medicine. My anesthesiologist was wonderful. He had me and BJ laughing the whole time he worked. It didn't hurt a bit, but I was surprised how long it took for him to do it. I was also surprised at how quickly it kicked in. : )  Pitocin came with the epidural since I was only dilated to a one. Now all I had to was wait. I was thankful this part would be done pain free.

 Everyone enjoyed the waiting process. We sat together and talked and laughed. BJ and I got a two hour nap while everyone went to get lunch, and then we talked and laughed some more. Dani Bree (sister in-law) and Daron (Dani's husband) came to visit to see how I was doing and just added to the fun energy of the room. I was dilating gradually. The hours were passing by. And all we could do was wait.

Nothing too eventful happened during all this waiting. The spirit in the room was light and cheerful. I had had a continual dose of medicine to keep from feeling any pain. I did my makeup, my mom rubbed my legs, my belly itched from the dressing they had me wrapped in to keep my monitors on, and I felt like I was going to go crazy from being so thirsty. I kept sneaking drinks of water and I eventually ate a popsicle. I think it might be needless to say at this point- but I would TOTALLY recommend getting an epidural when in labor.

Finally at 5:00 p.m. my nurse said I had dilated enough and I could now start pushing. I was thrilled. BJ was a little nervous but did so well holding my legs and encouraging me to push hard. After one set of pushes Ellie was crowning. Since my doctor wasn't even at the hospital yet my nurse told me I needed to lie on my side and put my legs together while she went and called my doctor. I did as she said and about twenty minutes later she came in and told me my doctor was twenty minutes away. I was frustrated now. I had a strong urge to continue pushing, my epidural had worn off quite a bit, and it was so uncomfortable to lie there and wait while my body was trying to move little Ellie along. I felt like they were stringing me along and I was discouraged and irritated. But once again, all I could do was wait.
I had planned in my mind that only my mothers and BJ would be in the room when I delivered, but I changed my mind after having my room so full all day long. I loved having the support and distraction of so many people I loved there, and I wasn't about to let em go now! Even my dad and Daron were in the room while all this action was going on. It looked a bit more like a party than a delivery, but I liked it that way.

         My doctor arrived at 5:47 p.m. and immediately got dressed and ready. Now I could really begin to push.

 Ellie again was crowning as soon as I started pushing. I pushed hard with each contraction and my mom, JaLayne, and BJ were encouraging me, saying each time "You're doing so well. We can see her! Look at her hair! Push Ellery, push!" Since the top of her head had been showing since the first push, I was surprised she wasn't coming more easily. The doctor was massaging me to help open things up and was actually playing with Ellie's hair while I rested in between each contraction.

I was so grateful I had said yes when the nurses asked me if I wanted a mirror in the room for delivery. Watching was miraculous and helpful. I continued to push. I was anxious and impatient. I pushed again and again as hard as I could and although I was making progress quickly, for me she couldn't come fast enough.

Finally, with a push that wasn't any different than the others, at 5:59 p.m. Ellie's tiny head emerged. I looked in awe in the mirror, leaning forward so I could see. It wasn't until about the third time that my mom yelled, "Elle, look at her!" that I realized I could actually look at the real live face of my baby girl- not just at her reflection in the mirror. There she was! I couldn't believe it. Our own sweet baby girl was here.
I had specified earlier that I wanted Ellie on my skin as soon as she was born. The minute she was out, umbilical cord attached and all, they slid her up under my gown and my life was forever changed. That sweet little newborn, not even a minute old, blinked her eyes and then stared into mine. The way she looked at me was incredible. I could tell she knew me. She knew I was her mama. 

After a while they took the babe to clean her off and do the routine tests. BJ was about an inch away from her the whole time- watching his beautiful daughter with love and admiration. She already had him wrapped around her finger. Both of us for that matter.

This lovely girl came to us on her due date. She weighed 8 lbs. 4 oz., was 19 and 1/2 inches long, and was as healthy as could be. We were blessed.

Because BJ and I were sealed in the temple our family will be together forever.
For this, we are eternally grateful.

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