With Ingrid's birthday just a few days away (have I mentioned that yet...?:), I have been pausing to reflect a lot on this past year. But as her birthday approach's, I have been enjoying reliving the day we met her. After Ingrid was born, I wrote her birth story down, in a letter to her. I know she will never care about all of these details as much as I do, but every time I read it my heart swells with love and my eyes swell with tears. I thought it would be fun to re-read (for the 20th time).....here it is!
Ingrid Nightingale DeMars
Born: August 16th, 2009 at 9:34pm
6lbs, 14oz and 21 1/2inches
It was Saturday August 15th, 2009 and your dad and I were having a very lazy day. We spent the entire afternoon doing nothing but laying on the couch watching the Food Network. Your due date was quickly approaching (August 18th) and I had been so worried about having to be induced. That day I was having horrific heartburn, worse than I had experienced through out my entire pregnancy. I must have taken about 50 tums that day, but nothing would do the trick. Your dad joked that “Maybe it’s the start of labor” I laughed it off, but inside I just KNEW it was something! In addition to awful heartburn I was having Braxton Hicks contractions that were so strong I couldn’t even walk through them. I went to bed that night at about 10pm, but didn’t fall asleep until 11pm. Then it happened. At 12am Sunday, (after only 1 hour of sleep) I woke up with a very acute pain in my abdomen. I told myself it was just normal pregnancy discomfort, and tried to go back to sleep. But I didn’t have time! A few minutes later I had another pain that lasted a bit longer. Your dad was already asleep by this time, so I didn’t want to wake him up. I decided to just “wait it out” and see if the pains continued….and they did! I was up all night long with contractions that were about 5 minutes apart. Finally by 2am, I had come to terms with the fact that I really was in labor. I was so excited! I knew that soon I would be meeting my precious baby girl. That night, I laid in bed-rolling back and forth with each contraction-just concentrating on breathing and relaxing. Finally, by 5am my contractions were getting so strong and painful that your dad woke up. He looked at me and asked what was wrong. I told him that I had been up all night with contractions. I think it took him a while to digest what I had said-but finally he woke up enough to realize that I was really in labor! (he is groggy when he wakes up) He felt so bad I was up all night alone, but I just didn’t want to wake him up. I look back at that night now and feel so nostalgic. For those 5 hours, I was the only person on this earth who knew that I was in labor. It was me and you kid. That being said, when your dad was finally up I was so happy to have company and support! We sat in bed together at 5am, it was completely dark outside, the streets were quiet-and we talked about what we should do. We decided to call the phone nurse and tell her what was going on. When I told her I had been having contractions all night she asked me how far along I was. I told her I was due in 2 days and she said “Oh! We will get a room ready for you” She also told us to call back if we decided to come in. So we got up, showered, ate breakfast and called the hospital to let them know we were on our way (It was now 9am, and I had been in labor for 9 hours already). It was such a strange feeling carrying our hospital bag downstairs, and pulling out of the parking lot-just knowing that we were on our way to have a baby. The ride to hospital was only 5 minutes, but I remember each turn we took on our way there. We got to the emergency room parking lot and I couldn’t help but wonder if this was real or a dream. Maybe it was lack of sleep, or the mind numbing pain I had been in for 9 hours, but I couldn’t believe this was real. We checked in, and then a nurse sat me in a wheelchair (which I thought was stupid) and wheeled me up to the 5th floor. I barely remember this wheel chair ride up to labor and delivery; I do however remember each contraction, and the time distortion that came with it. Finally we got up to our room, I put on my attractive gown, and the nurse put a monitor on me to check how far apart my contractions were. I remember when she told me I was having contractions every 5 minutes that I was just so happy that I wasn’t imagining this! Finally around 10am my doctor (Dr. Hill, with a wonderful Georgia accent) arrived and checked me. I was at a 4!! They told me I could stay, it was really happening! I was in a lot of pain, but still in good spirits. The nurse encouraged us to walk around, so we did. On our painful walk we passed by the nursery. There was a tiny baby girl all wrapped up and sleeping in her bassinet-your dad and I looked at each other and it really hit us-we were about to meet our baby girl! To fast forward a bit: I labored all day long with out any pain medication. I wanted to have an all natural birth, and I did! It was so hard, but I never once even thought about getting pain medication. Each contraction became stronger and more violent. By 2pm (12 hours of labor under my belt, and only 1 hour of sleep) I had dilated to a 6, and was becoming more and more exhausted. I decided to labor in the water, because I had heard that it helped ease the pain, and for me-this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Later we would find out that you were stuck, with your head turned-so I was experiencing a variation of back labor. At this point I remember thinking that I just didn’t want to do it anymore. I was done. Exhausted. I felt like I didn’t have a lot of fight left. I moaned through each contraction, anticipating its end. Finally I had dilated to a 7 around 3pm! Since the “transition” part of labor is from 7-10, the nurse got out all the birthing tools and told me she thought within a couple hours you would be here! She also told me she had a natural birth just like me. I asked her how the “end” was…..she looked at me with a look of empathy and said “It gets intense”….I wasn’t sure what that meant, but I knew it couldn’t be good! Unfortunately transition lasted more than a couple hours, in fact I spent over 5 hours stuck at a 8 and 9. Finally around 5pm the doctor came in and talked about breaking my water. Even though I wanted my water to break naturally, we agreed since I had been in natural labor for 17 hours, that we would go ahead and release my water to help speed things up. My doctor and nurses were great; they allowed me to have the exact natural birth I wanted, without suggestion of drugs or IV’s. But I think everyone knew, including me, that we needed things to speed up. After he broke my water we realized your head was turned to the left, which is why my labor was taking so long-you were wedged in there pretty good! Once we realized what was going on, I asked the doctor if he thought I’d be able to have you naturally, without surgical intervention. He looked at me with such sympathy and said in his charming southern accent “I sure hope so dear”. I was momentarily worried, but decided then and there that there was no way I just spent 17+ hours in labor without any medication to end up with a c-section. We prayed, and just concentrated on progression. Finally, around 8pm that night I had dilated to a 9! I had such a burst of energy at this point because I knew I was almost fully dilated. After being checked the nurse realized I had a cervical lip, which she had to manually stretch out while I pushed. That might have been the most horrifically painful part yet! Finally, after another 45 minutes of laboring I was at a 10! The nurse looked at me and said “Laura, you’re at a 10, you can start to push”. I will never forget that feeling! It was here. Despite my exhaustion and delirium from the pain, I thought I might jump through the roof with excitement. I was determined to push my heart out. I didn’t have time or energy for lazy pushes. So with my first push I gave it my all, and the nurse looked at me surprised and said “wow, that was great”. As I continued to push for the next hour I remember thinking…”There is no way this baby is coming out”. Even though I felt like I wasn’t making any progress the nurse looked at me and said “you’re doing great, I can see her head”. With a few more pushes your head was out. I was shocked when they told me this because I didn’t even feel it. Then the doctor and nurse told me to stop pushing. I remember frantically telling them I had to push. I got a stern reaction of “No, don’t push Laura; the doctor is getting her shoulders out”. And then it happened. Within a split second you transitioned from one world, into the next. I felt your tiny arms, hips, and legs come out. I thought to myself “That was a real child”! All of the sudden everything around me fell silent. I felt as if things were moving in slow motion. The doctor held you in front of me and it was as if I had always known exactly what you looked like. You’re hair, eyes, nose, mouth-I had always known you. Then reality hit. I looked at your dad, and with tears in his eyes and a look of shock on his face he said “I think we know who’s nose she got! (at the time, we were thinking it was his…….currently it’s still under investigation) Dr. Hill suctioned out your mouth and again with that charming accent said to you…”I’m sorry dear, give Dr. Hill a hug”. The nurse said “Let’s give her to mom”. Then it happened again. Everything slowed down and things went silent. The people around me were talking and moving, but I couldn’t hear anything because at that moment she put you in my arms a euphoria came over me that nothing else could imitate. I remember saying “Is she really mine?”. Your warm, wrinkly skin close to mine, your crying deafening, I said over and over to you “I’m so sorry sweetie”…you had just been through quite the journey yourself! I couldn’t stop kissing your sweet head and cheeks. You were here. All of those hours wondering who you were, what you would look like, all of those pieces of the puzzle finally fit. My soul has never felt so full. And to this day, I can’t think of any word to describe those first minutes (and frankly, hours) with you other than euphoria. It was all worth it. 22 hours of natural labor. It was worth it. You were always meant to be. I love you.
Ingrid Nightingale, you are a blessing. You have filled our home with joy. We are grateful for everyday we get to wake up and see your beautiful face. We couldn’t love anything more. Welcome to our family.