Motherhood: Welcoming Marin Mae
I never had intentions of documenting our birth story. Heck, I didn’t share a whole lot about my pregnancy experience over the last nine months, mostly because I felt there just wasn’t a lot to tell. I feel extremely lucky to be able to say that I felt just like my normal self the entire time. For that reason alone, my story seemed unrelateable. Everyone I spoke to talked of aches, pains, sleepless nights, nausea, fatigue, the list goes on and on. I didn’t have a lot to add to such conversations as I hadn’t experienced those symptoms myself. Surely there must be something wrong with me!
Looking back on it all, I realize my experience may not be the story so often shared, but it’s an important one none the less. There is so much FEAR surrounding pregnancy, birth, and postpartum today. I know I was scared! While access to information can be wonderful, it can also breed an unhealthy amount of anxiety and worry - especially in first time Mom’s like myself. I want to share my story in hopes that others embark on this journey with a sense of calm and trust in their bodies. To know that, yes, you are strong and capable of being a Mom, even if your journey to get there doesn’t look like the story you’ve read or been told time and time again. Pregnancy doesn’t have to be painful and arduous, nor does it have to be butterflies and rainbows. Pregnancy can be simple, natural, and dare I say… normal.
Let’s begin, shall we?
On Sunday, July 14th at 4:07am, our entire world changed forever. Tyler and I welcomed our beautiful baby girl, Marin Mae (rhymes with Erin)! She arrived in a hurry weighing 7 lbs 2 oz and measuring 19.25” long. We feel incredibly grateful for a healthy little girl, but my gosh did she ever make an abrupt entrance into this world! Here’s a timeline of events:
Thursday, 7/4 : 38 weeks pregnant. Headed to the doctor for weekly check-up. Weight, blood pressure, fetal heart rate, etc. all look great. They check my cervix for the first time today, and to my complete surprise, I’m 3 cm dilated and 70% effaced. Holy cow! This little girl may be making an appearance sooner rather than later. Still feeling great and no signs of contractions.
Thursday, 7/11 : 39 weeks pregnant. Headed to the doctor for another weekly check-up. He tells me there is no reason to check my cervix today if I was already 3 cm last week. Apparently 3 cm at 38 weeks is quite rare for first time Mom’s, especially with no contractions. He asks if I have any interest in being induced, but I kindly decline. I trust that my body knows what is best and mother nature will do her thing. I figure there’s no need to rush when I’m just 39 weeks, and baby and I are in great health. Still no contractions and feeling good, so Tyler and I decide to buy, haul, and assemble a giant sectional sofa from IKEA. Haha!
Friday, 7/12 : Normal day working from home. I have a gut feeling I may need to get things squared away, so I get lots of emails sent and update my calendar - just in case. Tyler and I run errands that evening like we always do on Friday nights. Still feeling completely normal, although I can tell I have a bit of a waddle when I walk. People are starting to stare…
Saturday, 7/13 : Tyler goes golfing with friends in the morning. I clean the house, do laundry, and work in the garden. The broccoli plants are officially done, so I tear those out and haul them away. I was told that working in the garden was a great way to prep the female body for birth - all of the bending over allows gravity to naturally do it’s thing! Tyler and I run errands late that afternoon and joke that it would be quite fitting if my water broke in a hardware store. No such luck! We have dinner at home and are in bed by 11PM - still feeling great and no contractions.
Sunday, 7/14 12:30AM : Wake up to my water breaking (gushing!) as I lay in bed. I had absolutely no idea your water could break while you were asleep, but I’m here to say IT’S TOTALLY POSSIBLE! I wake up Tyler and try to make my way to the bathroom without making a mess everywhere. He starts packing a bag (I had a few things packed for myself and baby, but he hadn’t done a darn thing. We thought we still had time! haha) and I call the doctor. I was told to call ASAP if my water broke, although I had no idea that it would break before I ever had a single contraction. They told me to head straight to the ER since it was after hours and they would be expecting us. By the way, the hospital where we plan to deliver is 35 minutes from our house…
12:45AM (ish) : I feel fine, a bit shaken and nervous/anxious/terrified, but totally fine. I tell Tyler I’m going to take a quick shower before we head out. I figure we have tons of time! First babies take forever, right? (Tyler is less than pleased. He REALLY doesn’t want to play catch. :))
1:15AM (ish) : Out of the shower and finishing getting ready. Contractions have started (I guess that’s what these are?), although are completely manageable. Tyler is pacing and installing the carseat! haha I’m throwing random stuff in my bag, hoping we have what we need. I tell Tyler to check traffic because the road we take to the hospital has been under construction and I’m fearful may have major delays. To our relief, everything looks clear.
1:30AM (ish) : I’m running around like a crazy lady trying to make sure we have what we need, although I can’t seem to think very straight. I try to use towels to clean up my side of the bed, but Tyler keeps telling me we need to GO! Contractions are about 5 minutes apart and getting much more intense. I have to support myself on a table/countertop/bed when they come. I think Tyler’s right…
1:45AM (ish) : In the car and speeding towards the hospital. Tyler sends a text to our parents to let them know my water broke and we’re on our way. Contractions are getting closer together and seem SO much more intense when I’m sitting down. I have to hold on to the center console and the door to brace myself as each wave washes over me. At the same time, Tyler drives faster and faster with each contraction, convinced we aren’t going to make it in time. We’re driving over 90 mph (not recommended!).
2:05AM (ish) : We make it to the hospital (record time!) and walk into the ER. I’m bracing myself on the nearest chair, trying to breathe through yet another contraction as the admitting desk asks for my ID and insurance card. Tyler is frantic trying to get them what they need. He goes outside to park the car while I wait for a nurse to come down. When she arrives, she asks if I want a wheel chair, but I’m convinced I can walk. Heck, sitting in the car was WAY worse than standing. I brace myself in the elevator for more contractions. The nurse comments that they are about two minutes apart.
2:30AM (ish) : I’m taken to an observation room and asked to change into a hospital gown and pee in a cup. WHAT?! You want me to pee in a cup right now? Oh, and then they want to get some bloodwork. My mind and heart are racing. Contractions are INTENSE. I had hoped/planned I wouldn’t want or need an epidural, but when they ask me at this point, I hesitate for some time but finally say yes - mostly out of fear, if I’m being honest. When labor comes that quickly, it can be extremely intense and frightening. I had no idea if I was anywhere near giving birth. Was I going to have to endure this intensity for hours on end? I could hardly breath! I also didn’t know that once you say “yes” to an epidural, it takes quite some time for them to actually administer it. It turns out that time wasn’t on my side… They check my cervix and decide to move me to a delivery room ASAP.
3:15AM (ish) : Things get really fuzzy for me at this point. I remember walking to the delivery room. They want me to lay down in the hospital bed so that they can start fetal monitoring. Contractions are coming in a flurry and I’m having a tough time trying to control my breathing. That epidural? Yeah, that’s definitely NOT happening. I don’t remember much other than my doctor walking in (probably 3:45AM?) and telling me it’s time to push! I don’t remember how long I pushed or how many pushes, but I do know that it wasn’t long before the doctor said, “alright, on the next contraction, your little girl will be here!”.
4:07AM : Our baby girl was born! The first words out of my mouth? “Is she okay?!” And my doctor says “Yes, she’s perfect.” as Tyler cuts the umbilical cord and they lay our baby girl on my chest for the very first time. All is right in the world.
Labor and delivery looked so much different than I imagined. I assumed I would start having contractions at home and it would be HOURS or DAYS before we actually headed to a hospital or my water broke (if at all). I had these visions of us walking miles on our country road, trying to encourage contractions to quicken, the neighbors all waving and wishing us the best. I thought I would have time to pick-up the house and gather all of our things. Heck, I thought we would have the car seat installed! I thought the contractions would be a mild progression. Intense, yes, but not for quite some time. I thought I would be able to prepare both mentally and physically, not be bombarded with head to toe shaking and contractions that completely took my breath away. It all played out like nothing I had read, seen, or heard.
I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised since the rest of my pregnancy didn’t look like what I had read, seen or heard either, but that didn’t make it feel any less abrupt or earth shaking. I feel grateful for a quick labor and delivery, but I have to admit that the intensity and speed with which our little girl decided to make her appearance was not for the faint of heart. She was a girl on a mission, arriving after just 39 weeks and 3 days of pregnancy. I have a feeling she’s going to be quite the force to be reckoned with.
Marin, pretty girl, you have completely rocked our world, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.