Dear Olive Kate,
I can’t believe that it’s already been 8 weeks since you were born. We are so lucky to be your parents; what did we do before you joined our family? Here is your birth story:
We had an appointment with our OB on the afternoon of May 28th. She said she’d check my progress and we’d make a 39-week game plan. Your dad and I went to the appointment together and we were anxious. It was pouring rain all day long. We saw the doctor and she was really pleased with my progress and said, “Let’s have a baby!” She started the paperwork and said that I needed to come back in a few hours to be induced. My blood pressure had been high throughout my pregnancy and we were both being monitored closely for the last 8-10 weeks. We made plans to return to the labor and delivery floor sometime around 9:00 p.m.
We squished under one umbrella and hurried out to the car. We were both smiling and slightly nervous as we hurried home. Then we had to run an errand or two, make phone calls to our families and make sure we had taken care of the last minute details around the house. I announced to the cats that they were going to have a sister tomorrow. They were confused but happy to have some extra attention. We’d mostly packed our hospital bags but I double-checked them to make sure. I did some cleaning and tidying up since I was full of nervous energy.
I called the hospital to check in like I’d been instructed to do, and they gave me a check in time of 9:30p.m. and a set of directions – no food after I got to the hospital, bring everything I’d need, and then she listed the things they provided. We ate dinner, kept smiling all evening because we knew our baby was coming soon. I would get waves of nerves when I’d think about going to the hospital to have a baby. Your dad kept comforting me telling me that the nurses and doctors would walk me through everything. I had him take a few pictures since it was my last night to be pregnant.
The hospital was about 15 minutes away so we started loading up the car. Kevin was giving me a hard time for packing so many bags! I was pretty thorough in my packing and wanted to have everything I’d possibly need.
We arrived at the hospital and it was storming like crazy. Dad tried to drop me off at the door, but I wanted to walk in together. So we pulled out our umbrellas, got our bags and headed up to the second floor of the hospital. I’d been in the hospital so many times for appointments and NSTs, so it seemed surreal to be coming to the labor and delivery floor to HAVE A BABY! You have to be buzzed into the hospital and they ask you why you are there. We said, “We’re here to have a baby!”
They buzzed us in and we proceeded to fill out paperwork. Once we were done, they put us in a room where I would have the baby and they’d move me to a permanent room where we’d stay for a few days.
We unpacked a bit and I had to change into a gown. I met my nurse, Heidi, and she explained out the evening would go. They’d start giving me medicine to get labor going all night and then start pitocin the next day. The nurse checked on me all night, I was having small contractions but nothing big. I had an IV in my hand that was killing me. Baby and I were being monitored closely and I was hungry. Depriving a pregnant lady of anything but clear liquids seemed cruel. I had my share of apple juice throughout the night. The nurses worked in 12-hour shifts so I said goodbye to Heidi and hello to Rachel at 7:00 a.m. Rachel was kind, friendly and anxious to get to know us. She knew her stuff and told me it was her job to take good care of me. She asked questions and worked hard to ensure I was as comfortable as possible. Needless to say, Rachel was my favorite nurse of my whole stay. She said she hoped I’d deliver the baby during her shift, which ended at 7 p.m. and I agreed.
My OB came in to check on me around 8 a.m. She said she was surprised because I hadn’t made much progress overnight and was a little concerned that baby Olive wasn’t ready to make her big debut. She said that I might respond great to pitocin but that there was a chance I wouldn’t and I’d end up having to have a c-section. The decision was up to us whether we should stay and have a baby or go home and try again in a few days. The baby and I were perfectly healthy, so she was fine with our decision either way. We had a few minutes alone to discuss. We both were in agreement: It was time to have a baby! We were at peace with our decision and would be okay if I did have to have a C-section. My doctor returned, we told her about our decision and she high fived me and said, “Let’s have a baby!”
She washed up and said she was going to break my water. I didn’t know what this would entail but I was a little nervous that it would hurt. Kevin was right beside me; and my nurse and my doctor had their game faces on. I guess I thought it would be like popping a balloon, quick and easy but it took several minutes. It didn’t hurt but was a little uncomfortable. Kevin said it was an intense procedure. I could tell he was a bit grossed out because his eyes were as big as saucers! We were both a bit surprised at the whole process and were excited because we were really going to have a baby within a few hours. We were both texting our family to keep them in the loop.
Rachel started my pitocin and the contractions started coming harder and faster. They were regular and I was making super progress. My OB came back in around lunchtime and she was thrilled with my progress. She said she was feeling pretty confident that I’d have my baby naturally. I asked for my epidural mid-morning because I didn’t want to be in any unnecessary pain. Within 20 minutes, the lady anesthesiologist arrived. I was feeling the contractions so I was thrilled to see her! I underestimated how painful the epidural would be. It was not a pleasant experience, but I knew it would be good in the long run. She was so nice and made fun conversations to distract us.
We didn’t have a specific birth plan other than to have our healthy baby at the hospital. I didn’t really have a preconceived notion about how things had to go for us and was kind of naiive about the whole process. I was content with everything that was going on and starting to feel pretty numb by early afternoon. They had to put in a catheter and reality was sinking in that baby Olive was coming!! My belly was totally numb, my legs were feeling heavy but not totally numb. I had a button to push for pain and my nurse kept checking on me. I started feeling crampy and didn’t think I should be feeling it. My nurse confirmed that and the anesthesiologist came back to give me another dose. I was feeling better but I started feeling a lot of pressure down low.
Kevin was trying to make conversation but I wasn’t really in the chatting mood at that point. I was drinking ice water and eating ice while burning up! Contractions were coming along nicely and I was dilating more and more. I wasn’t feeling up to texting updates to family and was just trying to rest. There was a constant flow of nurses in and out of the room. They all were encouraging and saying that things were going really well. My contractions were getting stronger and stronger.
Kevin was sweet and kept asking if I needed anything. I wanted a meal but no food was allowed until after I had the baby. Starving a pregnant lady seemed like torture. I started feeling hot and queasy. I put my hair up in a ponytail … so much for the picture perfect look. Then I got sick because apparently chugging water isn’t the best idea, either. Good to know.
I rested for a bit after that and started getting pretty uncomfortable. I felt a lot of pressure and the nurse kept saying things were going great. (They didn’t feel so great so I was hoping she was right.) I couldn’t seem to get comfortable anymore and Kevin asked if I thought I needed to start pushing. Being a newbie mom, I wasn’t sure, but I was up for anything to see if I could get some relief. My nurse wasn’t sure it was time so she had me do a “test push” and baby was moving, so she said we could start pushing for real.
My nurse warned me that first time moms often have to push for two to three hours before the baby arrives. I was surprised at that number and was determined to do it faster. Pushing was hard work and I wasn’t really up for that marathon.
Kevin, Rachel and I were inseparable for the hour or two before I delivered Olive. She was giving us both instructions on how to breathe and how to help me. She was amazing; so kind, helpful and encouraging. We didn’t attend childbirth classes in advance, so we were thankful to have such a wonderful nurse. She talked us through everything and answered all of our first time parent questions.
I didn’t have any desire to see what was going on down there so occasionally I’d ask Kevin for an update. He told me that our baby had dark hair! I was thankful to hear that she had hair because I was a pretty bald baby. I couldn’t wait to meet her and it gave me extra incentive to work hard to deliver her. I was still pushing, sweating and feeling pretty uncomfortable. I naively thought that by having the epidural I wouldn’t feel much pain. Wrong. My pain was dulled and but you could still feel what was going on down there.
Rachel would give me updates and say things like, “You’ll probably have her within the next 15 minutes.” I also thought that things would go faster towards the end and that they’d be calling the doctor anytime. However, I pushed for about 40 minutes and then my doctor was called in. I felt fortunate that my doctor worked on the 3rd floor and my room was on the 2nd floor of the hospital. It didn’t take long for her to get there once she got the call. A whole team of people, equipment and tools came bustling into my room. People were suiting up and I was just hanging out, having contractions and following instructions NOT to push for a few minutes. The finish line was in sight and I had to stall. They were trying to get everything in place to properly greet baby Olive.
Once they were all ready, it was go time. I continued to push and get instructions from my nurse and now my doctor. They were so encouraging, and I felt like I had a little team of cheerleaders. Kevin kept checking in on me and giving me ice chips and patting me with a cool wash cloth. I kept pushing and felt like it was a personal challenge to have this baby ASAP!
Kevin was smiling and everyone said the baby was almost here. I was dying to meet her and for the doctor to show me my little girl.
I kept on pushing and following instructions. Once her head was out it was just seconds before I heard her cry. She cried right away and they put her on my chest. Olive was surprisingly clean and not too gooey.
She was so pretty and I was thrilled to finally see her face. I kissed her head, got a kiss from Kevin and then we had to hand her off to a team of nurses. The doctor, my nurse and I had some things to finish up for me, and I asked Kevin to go to the other side of the room to see Olive. I wanted him to snap some pictures because I was a little busy at the time. He kept smiling over at me and was taking pictures as the nurses were checking her out.
Olive was doing great. 7lbs 11oz, 20 inches long, but she was having a little trouble catching her breath. So they gave her some oxygen and said she’d have to be on it for a little while. My team of doctors/nurses were finishing up and congratulating us all the while telling me how much Olive looked like her Daddy. I was slightly jealous that they were getting to see so much of her when I was confined to my bed. They took her to the nursery for more monitoring and Kevin went with them. He came back a few times to say hi and check on me. At one point he came in and I was crying, tears of joy because I’d just been through a lot and finally had a moment to myself. The nurses delivered flowers from my sister and a balloon bouquet from my parents right after I delivered. My super nurse, Rachel, brought me my dinner ASAP (exactly one hour after I’d delivered). I was starving, so I’d never been so excited to see a tray of food.
Olive responded really well and was doing great, so she just had to be in the nursery for about 30 minutes. They brought her back to my room and I was excited to get to snuggle her/check her out. She did look like her dad and she was such a sweet little bundle to hold. They wanted me to try and breastfeed right away so they helped me to get started. Things went well and we were moved to our real room. At our hospital, they play the chimey music to signify a baby being born when you are moving from the delivery room to your real room. The nurses said they wanted the mom’s to be able to hear the song for their baby. It made me a little misty eyed to hear the song, while holding Olive as I was being wheeled in a wheelchair to my room. It all seemed a bit surreal at this point.
We got settled into our new room down the hall and we thrilled to be alone for a bit. Just our family of three. We were all exhausted, starving and ready to relax. We made phone calls to family, facetimed and took turns holding Olive.
My sister made this mini bunting for my family baby shower and suggested I use it for Olive’s bassinet at the hospital. She did something similar with her last baby. All of the nurses and guests LOVED it. They couldn’t get over how cute it was and thought it was such a good idea. My cute baby had to have a cute basinette.
Day 2 in the hospital was tough because I was really sore, tired and people were in the room all the time to check on me or Olive. I’m not used to round the clock attention and it made me mad when a nurse would wake me up. There should be a no waking mommy or baby rule in the hospital. I tried to get some sleep when I could but I didn’t sleep very well. Kevin was great to run errands, get food and help out but he was exhausted too.
Olive was so snuggly! We only sent her to the nursery once to have her first slumber party on our last night in the hospital. The nurses in the morning were so bummed when I went down to pick her up. They wanted to keep her in there all the time! I had to keep telling them to take a hike when they’d come into my room to ask if I wanted to send Olive to the nursery.
The hospital has a special dinner for the new parents. We chose the night we wanted to have it, we both placed our order, they brought in a special table and a delicious dinner for us. It was so fun to have a little date night while in the hospital. The frame on the table said, “Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in our hearts.”
After three days, we were more than ready to take home our little bundle of joy. The nurses loved Olive and couldn’t quit talking about how pretty she was. They said he had such a pretty face, great skin, such a nice shaped head and was so sweet. She won them over with her cute faces, adorable headbands and snuggly nature.