“Hello! I am here to have my baby!” July 31st, 2015, I was supposed to arrive at 4 pm to get hooked up to monitors and an iv placed. To get all ready for a good night’s sleep before my 4am induction was to begin on August 1st. I was 39 weeks to the day, it was by a miracle that I was still pregnant and didn’t have to deliver any earlier. I was also the most pregnant I have ever been and incredibly ready to have this baby.
Marshall, a few months shy of four, is excited too. He knows that as soon as his dad meets us at the hospital, he gets to go to his cousins’ house. He adores it at his Godfather’s home.
I changed into the hospital gown, not an ounce of apprehension about delivery. Just hoping beyond hope that my little girl will be okay and born healthy. I exit the bathroom and my husband has arrived. Still dressed in his police uniform, we share our excitement before he leaves to drop off Marshall to his sister, Marshall’s aunt. The last time that we will be a family of three.
Two nurses come in to congratulate me and give me paperwork. I quickly initial everything. The shorter, good-humored nurse left me with the tall, blond nurse.
Her face was long and narrow, her eyes squinted as she tapped the inside of my forearm. “I can’t see a vein.” She murmured. I cringe internally here we go. “Yea with my complexion and the swelling from hypertension they aren’t super visible.” I say with a smile. Always be kind and patient with the person holding the needle.
She tells me she is going to go by feel. I look the other way repeating my labor mantra in my head. Every step is one step closer to my baby. I stay relaxed as she shoves it in. Not it! Not the vein! My leg involuntarily comes off the bed as she decides to try to dig sideways for the vein. The nurse is obviously annoyed and frustrated, she leaves the room without a word.
Now the friendlier one comes in. She explains that I have to relax and this may be difficult. I smile without a word. She painlessly and quickly glides the needle into my vein. “Wow! That went better than expected. Good job sitting still”. In my mind I’m rolling my eyes but I smile because I’m genuinely happy to be over that small hump.
I text back and forth with my sister and a few friends until Brad arrives back from dropping off Marshall. We laugh about the iv situation and take some pictures of me in my hospital gown in front of the delivery board. I stare in awe “My name is Violet Angeline!”
It was hard for my to quell the tears from rising in my eyes. The baby I have so hoped for, cried for and prayed for for years. She is coming and soon will be in my arms. The excitement in the room was palpable.
I video chatted with my sister for a while, Brad started to fall asleep and I too was tiring. Induction was to start at 4 am and it was quickly approaching 10pm; we called it a night, saying goodbyes and promising that I will call back tomorrow morning during the induction. With the close of the tablet, Brad went to the sleeper sofa on the edge of the room and I laid the bed back, willing myself to sleep.
Ohhh, ohhh okay, I was woken up, laying on my side, contractions were coming. Just sleep through it, close your eyes, you’ll get further the more relaxed you are. Sleep through it. I told myself that doctors have commended my pain tolerance, I fully believed I could will myself to sleep.
A cramp shot through me, my arms jutted out, grasping the bed rail. Nope! Nope, I cannot sleep through this. I sat upright, rubbing my belly, with labored breath I feebly called for my husband. No footsteps.
I look back at the clock, it is shortly after one in the morning. Looking over to the sleeper sofa and my husband is blissfully away in dreamland. Okay, just get to the bathroom. Let him sleep.
Another contraction shot through my body before I could stand up. Nope! No, he needs to help.
“Brad?” I again try waking him, he still sleeps. “BRAD!” This time I yell as the contraction rips through my body. He stirs.
“Huh? What?” He groggily replies, rubbing an eye. “I need you!” I groan, my head tilting back to the ceiling “help me to the bathroom!”
I go to the bathroom, still trying to convince myself that I have plenty of time. As I emerge Brad asks if he should page the nurse. “No, I’m fine, it’s okay.” As if on cue, another contraction jolts me “yes, call the nurse!”
Brad presses the page button and helps me to my bed. “I think this is it, Brad!” I tell him before I lay down “I’m in labor.”
“What?!” Brad asks exasperated, “But…but it’s not four o’clock yet” he murmurs, referencing my induction time.
If looks could kill, he’d be dead a hundred times over. Holding my hard belly as a contraction ripped through me “tell her that!” I snarled.
Luckily, Brad was waking up- and wising up- at this point. So he stopped talking and lecturing me about timelines, instead opting to silently rub my shoulders and hold my hand.
The nurse came in, the overnight nurse was amazing. Short with dark hair pulled into a bun, she treated me like an old friend instead of a patient. Her smile was wide as she entered, telling me her machines were telling her that my contractions were pretty much on top of each other at this point. Oh, did I know that.
“Did you want an epidural?” She asked, as she touched my stomach. “No, I think I can hold out a little longer.” I replied “Maybe just an iv pain reliever now, epidural when it gets unmanageable?”
“Honey, I don’t think you have that time!” She told me “I think if you want an epidural, you’re going to have to get it now.” I quickly rescinded my idea and opted for the epidural.
She checked my progress and her eyes matched that wide smile “Girl! You are at an eight and going! I can see the baby’s head and her hair!”
Oh that anesthesiologist better get his butt here, I thought to myself, I do not what to do this without help.
Sure enough, thanks to it being a small hospital (and 2am), the anesthesiologist entered my room in the blink of an eye.
I sat on the edge of the bed, hunched over, with the nurse rubbing my shoulders. “Sit very still” the anesthesiologist warned. Don’t have to warn me twice, I can sit like a rock if it means I get relief. . . that’s when the whole bottom portion of my body started shaking uncontrollably. “I’m sorry” I apologized “I can’t stop it, I don’t know why-”
“It’s okay,” my nurse gave me a reassuring smile and nodded at the anesthesiologist “you’re transitioning, you can’t help it, it’s okay.” The anesthesiologist quickly set the epidural in place and they laid me back in the bed. This is different, I noted, this isn’t like my epidural with Marshall.
“Is this a walking epidural?” I called after the anesthesiologist, praying that I was imaging that I had feeling in my feet. “No! Do not get out of bed.” He said.
“Why can I feel my feet and legs?” I questioned
“Because you should. We don’t want it too strong.” He responded
Too strong? Oh please. I felt my uterus tighten again, but I indeed felt no pain only pressure. “Now you tell me if you feel the need to push, okay? I’m going to page your doctor down here.” My nurse said with a smile.
“I don’t feel like I have to . . . okay I feel like I need to push!” Violet Angeline, you made a liar out of me at every turn. The nurse reassured me that my doctor was sleeping just down the hall, that she would be in the room at any moment.
She arrived and in came another nurse. The second nurse was easily seven to eight months along herself and was readying the baby warmer and all the things for Vi. My main nurse helped get my doctor ready in her delivery scrubs as Brad held my hand tight.
There were no lights on except for one spotlight from directly above and the warm glow of the baby warmer a few feet away. Everyone was quiet as they let me read my own cues as to when to push. It was all very peaceful and not at all what movies portray. I was not screaming or moaning in pain, I was focused on giving good strong pushes. Four quick pushes in minutes and Violet’s head appeared.
“Would you like to touch her hair?” the nurse asked me as she held one of my legs. I hesitated “No, I’m just going to try to push.” she laughed and assured me that no one actually does that. Jokes while my baby is half inside and half outside. This nurse was pretty perfect for me.
My doctor had me stop pushing, she murmured to the nurse “there’s two” and Brad went ghostly white. Brad thought she meant that there was a second baby, oy vey. In reality, the umbilical cord was loosely wrapped around Violet’s neck twice. She gently slipped the cord from Vi’s neck and pulled her the rest of the way out.
It was again silence. Violet did not make a peep, there was no wailing baby in this dark room. The pregnant nurse took her to the warmer and gently pat her back. Violet opened her eyes and looked around, not a cry to be heard from the strong little girl. They assured me that she scored high on her apgar tests and was perfectly fine from the cord incident.
My doctor was still tending to me as I strained my neck to see the warmer. She pulled on my cord for what seemed like an eternity “you have the longest umbilical cord I have ever seen!” she said, and I believed it- I felt like one of those reels that a hose comes out from. It turns out that while I fretted over Violet’s lack of activity in utero, it was actually a saving grace for my little girl. She stayed in the same position almost the entire pregnancy, if she hadn’t, the doubled cord around her neck could have tightened and caused very serious injury or death.
Brad went to his baby to start taking pictures and hold her hand, announcing to her that he was her papa. Meanwhile I was stuck delivering my placenta and watching it be bagged up for testing (due to Violet’s complications during pregnancy).
Neither one of us could believe that the baby we longed for was finally here, quietly looking at us and taking in the world around her. I couldn’t contain myself when she was finally given to me to hold and breastfeed.
Silent tears rolled down my face as I held her in the darkened room. 3:14 am on August 1, 2015, 7.0 lbs and 19 inches of a pure miracle arrived. She was gorgeous and we couldn’t stop looking at her, she looked like a perfect little doll and much to my relief took to breastfeeding like a dream.
She slept mostly from after birth and breastfeeding in the wee hours to a more acceptable time in the morning. Her papa changed her diaper when she needed it and we called to let Marshall know he is a big brother ahead of schedule.
The hospital was amazing. They decorated her bassinet in “little sister” signs and cut outs, brought individualized meals to both me and Brad, and even set up a very thoughtful celebratory steak dinner date for the two of us in honor of our new daughter.
I had an easy delivery and relatively easy recovery. We were released from the hospital the following day. Violet wore an FAO Schwartz tutu onesie that now lays in her memory box. She was wrapped in the love of her great-grandma Adeline as she lay in her hand-knit blanket with soft and light weight hat. All fitting for the deeply loved little girl that she is.
We waited for years, with much heartache along the way, it was like she knew she couldn’t make us wait any longer (dad’s timeline be damned) and showed up after two hours of labor and four pushes. Just as she was on that dark early morning, she is the light in the darkness for us. We love you so much Violet Angeline, we are eternally grateful that we get to be your parents and feel so very lucky to call you our daughter.