Olive’s Birth Story
Michael and I knew Olive was coming soon for a few days before her actual arrival, and each new occurrence made us that much more excited to meet our little daughter. The events leading up to her arrival went something like this:
December 23: lost mucus plug (yum) and had sporadic and annoying contractions all night long; no sleep.
December 24: discovered a small amount of blood and was convinced we were going to have a Christmas baby
December 25: fine all day, until 10:00pm, when painful, regular contractions began. Michael and I went to the hospital at 3:00am to get checked and after an hour on the monitors, discovered that while the contractions were painful, they still weren’t the “real” thing. I felt so discouraged and embarrassed. How could I not recognize labor? Isn’t it obvious, like in the movies? J
December 26: infrequent contractions, enough to rest and convince myself to set an induction date with my doctor…until late that night…
1:00am: OW. This would become my favorite word to use during the actual labor process. Contractions started again, painful, but was able to catch naps between them. I convinced myself that, again, this was not “it” unless I was not able to walk or talk through them.
10:00am…yep, these contractions were definitely painful, but still not at regular intervals and I refused to start timing them (and thus getting my hopes up) until they were regularly-occurring.
1:30pm: OW. I decided to start timing them and for the next couple of hours, they were about 8 minutes apart. Then 7. Then 6. Then 5, when I remembered the “5-1-1- Rule”: if you’re having painful contractions that you cannot walk or talk through, every 5 minutes, lasting a minute each, for an HOUR, you should go to labor + delivery. Since I was gripping the nearest piece of furniture and trying to concoct some imaginary breathing technique that would make the pain subside, I called Michael at 4:30pm and told him to come home from work.
5:30pm: arrival at hospital. Again. Same desk clerk, to which I replied, “Hi, I think I’m in labor again. For real.” Got checked and was 3cm dilated – I couldn’t believe it. We were so excited because we thought this day would never come! After an hour on the monitor and progression to 4cm, I was admitted to the labor and delivery suite, where I was basically acting like a possessed person going through an exorcism, begging for an epidural, trying to bargain, plead, charm my way to getting the magical epidural. After about 783 hours of paperwork and questions and people telling me to breathe (my reply: “I can’t. Don’t say that anymore.”), they paged anesthesiology. The time was now 8:00pm.
8:15pm: my favorite person on the Earth at that moment shot me up with drugs and I was so, so happy to have a huge needle in my back, I didn’t care how scared I was before, I was begging for it now! Begging! I thanked the doctor about 500 times after that and took a photo with him. Weird, I know.
8:30-1:00am: Labor. Contractions. Dilation. I didn’t feel much of anything; it was actually fun. I had some family come in and visit (where, at 10:00pm, I was like, “I think my water broke…” and everyone looked at me strangely because it was so calm. Usually, you see in movies people where their water breaks and all hell breaks loose. Nope. We watched Christmas Vacation and Anchorman until 1:00am, made jokes, carried on. Everyone left when it was time to get down to business.
1:00-1:53am: Pushing. Lost all modesty and didn’t care one smidge about anything that I previously thought I would. Michael held a leg and coached me through everything, ice chips, Chapstick applications, the works. I just tried to get my daughter here as soon as humanly possible. When the nurses and doctor said they could see “lots of dark hair”, I was ecstatic. I never imagined that we would have a baby with hair, since Michael and I were both baldy babies. Then, at 1:53am, our beautiful daughter was born. We both had tears in our eyes and I kept saying, “Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh!” Olive Kathryn Fahey weighed 6lbs, 9oz. and was 20 inches long. She cried for a good 40 minutes after birth, and when they finally handed her to us, she was swaddled up like a little angel, with bright, blinking eyes and we fed her for the first time together. We instantly fell in love with each other, all of us, all over again.