And finally, to wrap up our May birth stories series, I have Olivia's story. Here is the story of my sweet mini-me, the one who taught me what the word "love" really means...
On November 16, 2013, I married the love of my life, Dave. I knew that I was ready to marry him the moment I told him my "secret" baby name (we all have them...you know, those names you keep secret in the back of your mind for use when you have your first child). I had the urge to tell Dave this sacred name because I just knew at that moment, when I told him, that he would be the father of the child that would some day be named my secret baby name, Olivia.
On December 21, 2013 (almost exactly 1 month later), I took a pregnancy test and found out that I was, indeed, pregnant. I ran to the closest convenience store to buy 2 more packages of pregnancy tests (one can never be too sure) and a bib that said "Baby's 1st Christmas." I took the tests and got 3 more positive results (I was serious, I really wanted to be sure) and took one of the pee sticks, placed it in a plastic bag and wrapped it in the Christmas bib that I had purchased earlier. I placed all of this in a Christmas gift bag and basically stared at it until Dave got home.
When Dave arrived home I asked him to open his Christmas present and, per his usual, he declined and told me that he wanted to wait until Christmas. I basically gave it away without using actual words when I wouldn't let it go and kept saying that the package had to be opened right away. He finally opened it and was more excited than I have ever seen him. He immediately grabbed his car keys and said we were headed out to celebrate!
Fast forward 5 months later and we found out that this oh-so-wanted first child of ours, set to make her debut 9/4/14, was a girl. Dave, in true perfect husband fashion, told me that it was settled, we were having our "Olivia." There was no negotiation, no tossing around of other girl names. I had known since I was about 23 that my first daughter's name would be Olivia and Dave had known it, after hearing the name for the first time, too.
Fast forward several months of nesting and excitement later and I was headed in to the doctor for my 37-week check-up. We were down to the final weeks (finally) and I was being seen on a weekly basis. as is routinely done. After being checked-out by my doctor, she didn't really give me too much information but requested that I head over to ultrasound so they could take a quick peek. Not being a doctor and having an extremely active baby growing inside of me I was truly not concerned and was totally nonplussed because I was being given another opportunity to see our little lady on the screen again (yay!).
Upon entering ultrasound I ran through the motions, saw my little lady, shed some more tears like I always did just thinking about her being with me soon, etc. The ultrasound technician then asked me to return to my doctor's office. I was starting to see that maybe something wasn't right as I never had gone back to the doctor's office before, which was starting to make me nervous especially since I had just seen Miss Olivia and she was just as active as ever. At this point my husband had arrived (we lived extremely close and he had gotten off work) and escorted me back over to the doctor's office.
Our doctor came in to the room where we had been waiting and told us that no amniotic fluid had been visible on the ultrasound. She said that this could mean a number of things and that there was even a chance that there was fluid and the monitor just had not been able to pick it up, but something had to be done to ensure Olivia's safety. Our doctor recommended that I first head up to labor and delivery and receive an IV to try and up my fluid level. She wanted us to then head back to ultrasound the next day to see if my fluid level had increased and/or become visible. This was a little scary to me but when I heard that I could return the next day I assumed it must not be too serious or something would be happening more quickly.
The next day my husband and I returned to check on our little princess again and, unfortunately, the same thing happened. We went to ultrasound an no fluid was picked up on the monitor and we were asked to return to our doctor's office to discuss options. This is where we found out that our lives were about to change a little sooner than we had expected...our doctor was worried that Olivia may not have room to grow without the necessary fluids and recommended that I start the inducement process. After many tears and nervous jitters, my husband and I agreed that this was the best thing for our daughter. Our doctor called to let birth and delivery know that we would be there but told us to head on home and grab our bags, have dinner and then return by 8 PM.
We immediately ran home, called our family members to let them know that Olivia would be arriving the next day, ate a large Mexican feast (shoot, now I want tacos) and returned to the hospital. I was hooked up to all of the necessary monitors and the hubs and I watched a movie on our iPad to pass the time. After the movie, Dave fell asleep but I could not settle my body enough to get some rest, I mean, hello, I was going to wake up and have a baby!
Morning finally came and, bright and early, at 7ish AM the Pitocin drip was started on my IV and the waiting game began. I waited and waited, the Pitocin was upped and I waited some more, and some more...literally nothing was happening. No contractions, no nothing. The Pitocin was upped some more... and some more... somewhere in there I was prepped for an epidural (praise Jesus) and then around 12 PM (after being hooked up to an actual monitor to see if I was having contractions and just not feeling them) the Pitocin had been upped just enough to send my body in to 1 minute apart contraction mode. There were no early, spaced-out contractions to warn me that stronger contractions would be coming. The contractions literally hit me like a ton of bricks...on my uterus...I screamed epidural and (praising Jesus again) the anesthesiologist was available and loaded me up with the good stuff.
After receiving the epidural my doctor arrived (she is the greatest person alive, she drops everything for her patients... shout-out to Dr. F!) and she checked my cervix. Oops, I was 10-centimeters dilated and I probably should NOT have received an epidural when I did (I had been 1-centimer the ENTIRE first half of the day so this had been on no one's radar...no complaints here though as this totally worked out in my favor, hehe). It was go time. Dr. F told me I needed to get to pushin' before the epidural kicked in all of the way or I would not feel a darn thing (fingers crossed, right?)
Unfortunately, the epidural was super effective (unfortunately or fortunately? It depends on who you ask) and I could not feel a darn thing which made the delivery portion of Olivia's story a little less exciting. Luckily the contractions monitor was still connected and we were able to figure out which times to push, but I seriously could not feel a thing and ended up pushing for almost 3 hours as my pushes were based solely off of when my doctor told me to do it. Still not bad for an entire labor and delivery to be only slightly over 6 hours from start to finish.
Finally, at 4:16 PM on 8/20/14 (15 days early), Miss Olivia made her appearance. This was the exact moment that this story becomes more of a love story. She was 6 lbs, 5 oz of the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. My husband was also instantly in love and, the moment she was all checked out and cleaned up, he requested to have a moment with his baby before any one else entered the room. We had our own issues during the newborn phase of Olivia's life (jaundice, giving up on nursing after a zillion issues, living off 20 minutes of sleep daily...not exaggerating, etc.) but these are talks for another day. Despite all of that, Olivia's birth changed me in a way I did not know that I needed to be changed. I needed to learn the patience and understanding that IS being a mother and I will always be ever so grateful to my sweet Olivia for teaching me how to do that, among so, so many other things.