So here's the scoop
My due date was July 17th. Sadly that day came and went with no baby in tow...well actually she was in tow, just not in my arms. Our family motto after that day was "Due Dates are Dumb" because seriously we were all just so ready for her to be here! I had volunteered to be in charge of a celebration dinner we were having at church on the 19th.
*Now you might ask, why would you volunteer to be in charge of an event so close to your due date? Well because I had convinced myself that baby would come 2-3 weeks early and I would have everything done before hand for the event and just be toting a cute little 2 week old baby to the event...duh!!!
All along Jeff has said, "your going to go into labor the night after the church event", and all along I have thought "what does he know, he's not even pregnant, I will show him when we have this baby 2 weeks early". Well the day of the event came and we headed up to the church about 3pm and had a great night celebrating, eating delicious food, and hanging with some awesome people. I felt really good all day but as the day and night went on, I did notice that my belly was REALLY hard and I didn't feel as comfortable as I had been, I kept squirming in my seat to get my big ole belly comfortable and nothing was working. But no cause for alarm because I wasn't feeling contractions and still felt good. Any-hoo, by the time the event was over and we got home it was around 10pm. As you can imagine carrying that belly around all afternoon and evening was hard work and I was soooooo tired. I headed straight to bed and was hard core pregnancy snoring by 11!
|The walk of shame false alarm at 38 weeks pregnant|
*Side Note*Having G was not the greatest experience. I was in denial most of the pregnancy so didn't see a need to take any classes or educate myself about what was going to happen during labor. Jeff was serving in Iraq, flew home 2 days before we induced labor which was 2 weeks early so clearly didn't read or know what the heck we were getting into. I wish I had a picture of us both checking into the hospital that night, I'm pretty sure both of us had these care free looks like "hi were here to pick up our child" like we were picking up dry cleaning or something. The poor nurses probably still talk about the weird girl who would not put on the hospital gown, would not take off her yoga pants, ordered her poor husband out of the labor room right when it was time to push because she was too nervous and they had to convince her to let him back in. That plus not getting the epidural like I had planned cause the 1 anesthesiologist in the little hospital had 2 emergency c-sections, and G taking his sweet time in coming made for a not so great experience for a young woman who wasn't entirely ready to do this thing they call motherhood.
This time around Jeff and I read a couple of books, took an online class, I did my pregnancy work-outs all 9 months, walked almost everyday throughout my pregnancy, did daily belly breathing, and followed all the "how to's" for "an easy, natural labor". For all practical purposes we were ready to blow the roof off labor! But as I realized it was really time, all I could think about was how painfully awful labor is and how torturous it was!! Jeff was great, the entire ride to the hospital he talked me off my cliff, reminded me of all the things we read and how prepared we were for this, how sweet we finally get to meet our baby girl, how strong I was, basically all the things he was supposed to tell me according to the books we read :)
When we got to the hospital at 5am they sent me up to the maternity ward to see if I was indeed in labor. They don't check you in the ER, they send you directly to the baby people! The nurse put the monitor on and checked me. I was having strong consistent contractions, and dilated to a 2 (that kinda sucked I was really hoping for at least an 8). They took us to a room, I put on my own labor clothes (I really have an issue with the gowns, I just hate them, I don't put them on until I absolutely have to, seriously hate them), and game faces were on.
|Checking in at 2 cm!|
Look beyond the smile into my eyes and you will see the "oh crap it's about to get real up in here!" look.
|Up trying to pretend I still have sanity 5cm.|
|I can't even explain how great Jeff was, I am so blessed.|
|I'm not going to lie, these pictures make me feel sorry for myself. I am so amazing :) Having babies is hard work, good thing the reward is a sweet baby girl! 8cm|
When the birthing pool was ready the Dr. checked me and said I was totally dilated and ready to push, so get in the pool and push when I'm ready! I don't think I showed it on my face but I was thrilled beyond measure!! Now let me assure you, there was no instant relief when I got in, those so called feelings of comfort and relaxing, the perfect labor position, the energy and pain killers that magically appear on the wings of flying unicorns were no where to be found in the pool...not so textbook. Paer must have brought the wrong pool!!!! I wanted the one with fairy dust pain killers and a side of chamomile tea! Since Paer brought the wrong pool I was in the pool pushing for an hour and half at which time I had to get out because he only let's you labor in the pool for a max of that. Little girl was taking her sweet ever so painful time, just like her older brother. She hadn't moved down any and he said I might be pushing for a while longer, at which point I started crying because seriously that's just ridiculous, pushing is supposed to be the shortest part! Where did my text book, all natural, embracing what your body naturally does labor go?
|My sweet husband, and the nurse who nearly lost her arm|
Jeff was standing there hugging me as I cried, when Dr Paer threw out the word epidural...I instantly threw my hands up in there air and said I give! Yes I want the epidural!! (This is also where I gave in and put on that awful hospital gown, they broke me) Now mind you, Jeff was under strict orders to ward off the epidural like it was the plague, I HATE needles, HATE hospitals, and really do believe that our body was created to do amazing things like child birth and any day of the week would choose the natural method over modern medicine...but not today. Jeff had that deer in the headlight look, because he has been lectured for months about how no matter what I say during labor, it's his job to help me make it through without unnecessary interventions. I can't tell you how many times I told him "No matter what I say, no epidurals!" So he gently said "Ash you told me no matter what you didn't want one, you can do this, we are so close now", poor guy was going to loose no matter what happened at that point. Standing there squeezing his arms, I told him to forget everything I had told him before and I for sure 100% no matter what wanted an epidural at that moment. He read the look in my eyes correctly cause he made the right decision :) The bummer was it took another 30 minutes for the anesthesiologist to get there, and by the time he finally got there, I hated him.
Now let's talk about comfort, relaxing, pain killers, and a renewed energy...I was a new woman for the last 45 minutes of labor, I resumed normal signs of communication and just kept thanking the anesthesiologist and telling him how much better I felt. He was really sweet, he must have known I hated him for taking 30 minutes to get to the hospital, so he was going over and beyond to win my approval. He won me over, he became my 4th cheerleader in the room. He sat up by my head and encouraged me and told me I was doing wonderful the rest of the time. I will forgive him just this once, but seriously he better not let that happen again. I can't tell you how thankful I am for that horribly long scary needle they call epidural. I will drink chamomile tea with him any day of the week.
|Jeff all suited up ready to go|
|The look of relief :)|
It was another 45 minutes about 12:10pm before little missy made her way into the world, and nothing else mattered once I held that sweet precious baby. The long night and day, awful pain, lack of magical unicorns, and doctors who take there sweet sweet time, all disappeared as I got to hold this little gift from God. Nothing in the world mattered but that tiny little sweet baby girl, and I was simply deeply in love.
|My sweet girl was finally here!|
|I couldn't quit staring at her|
|Also couldn't quit crying|
|We did it!|
|A mother's love is an amazing thing|
|Jeffs baby tattoo|
Whew, what a journey right? I'm in awe of how this whole process started a full 9 months ago, the transition my body went through over those 9 months, the long 12 hours of labor, and how it all brought us to this sweet moment where we have a baby girl. God is so good!
While labor is...labor, we had a great experience at the hospital here in Costa Rica. It was very different from the States and overall we would both say our experience here was better. The biggest difference being there was much more focus on me as a person. Our Dr. was delivering our baby no matter what day or time she came. Although he didn't get there until closer to the end, because I dilated really quickly, he was there the rest of the time and never left. I didn't feel rushed or like a stranger came in at the very end to catch the baby and leave, I really appreciated the emphasis on the relationship and respect for what I wanted. At one point it was rather funny as I realized there was only me and 4 men in the delivery room: my husband/biggest supporter, my doctor/coach, the pediatrician/baby's coach, and the anesthesiologist who sat up by my head and no joke gently patted my head telling me how amazing I was...also no joke I felt so encouraged and thankful for all 4 of those men, they really did an amazing job at bringing sweet Mae into the world! Who knew a group of men could be so supportive, compassionate, and gentle???? Take that traditional gender roles! :)
Our Dr's spoke perfect English and most other people spoke enough English we had no problems. The only misunderstanding was when I asked one of the nurses for some ibuprofen for swelling and she told me that ibuprofen wouldn't help me, I would just need to work out to get rid of my stomach! Hahahaha Jeff and I couldn't quit laughing :)
|Back in our room and exhausted|
|So happy together|
|I think we both couldn't believe she was finally here!|
|Maelie meeting Babie, Pop, and Nate for the first time!|
|Dad's first talks with his little girl|
|Jeff had that sweet smile on his face for the first week :)|
|You were entrusted to good hands sweet Mae, you have a wonderful daddy|
|Us girls worked hard and were so tired :)|
|I love this picture|
|Getting ready to leave!|
|We couldn't wait to get out of there and meet brother, we were missing him so much!|
|Few things in life have brought me greater joy|
|Why do they make you do this? I just wanted to walk on my own!|
|It's been real CIMA|
I can't even express how blessed we are here with dear friends. There was a group of our friends that were all on call at a moments notice to take G, Molly, us, anything we needed when baby came. I was so thankful to know that Gentry and Molly were in great care. Between the Sara, Sarah, Pamela, and Dale, there was literally nothing for us to worry about. You ladies are a true gift from God, I am so thankful I am for each of you! Thank you, thank you, thank you, I owe you all!!
G did not get to wear the outfit he had picked out to meet his sister in like he had planned cause he was coming home from school :) His response was really sweet. He was not overly excited or happy, but very curious about little Mae. He mostly stared at, poked, and at the end of the night had one last meltdown about not wanting a baby, but it was minor and he has been all smiles since :) He loves her a little more each day.
|G had this special outfit laid out in his bedroom for 2 weeks before baby came :)|
|We came home to a decorated house :) Yay we are home!!|
|His embarrassed/excited/happy face when he first saw her :)|
|He had brought her a Maggie from the Simpsons lego and put it together for her.|
|She might not seem excited, but I know she loves that lego he got her.|
|He even showed her how to put it together|
|I love his excited/embarrassed face|
|Literally minutes after we got home, Mathew our neighbor came to check out the baby.|
|Already teasing his baby sister|
|This is how he interacted with her for the first week|
|Poking to make sure she's real|
|Jeff tricked G and talked him into smelling Maelie so it looked like he kissed her...which lead to G's small meltdown :)|
|This is after G had his little meltdown, Jeff and I couldn't help but laugh|