*** If you’re looking for the photos that I’ve NEVER shared of Holland on social media, scroll down!!***
One year ago, I watched the sun rise just outside the window of my hospital room. I vividly remember requesting room seven. And I distinctly remember the vision that I had leading up to Holland’s birth. It was of me and Andrew inside our hospital room laboring away while the sun was coming up. To me, it represented peace, joy, a “new day,” literally and metaphorically. It was a vision I carried with me throughout my entire pregnancy.
You might be wondering how I knew which hospital room to request. And if you’ve ever been to the hospital, or labor & delivery, you know that “requesting a room” isn’t really a thing. I knew which number room to request in order to see the sun rise, because we had been in triage twelve hours earlier walking the halls. We had passed each room, one by one, at least two dozen times. Sometimes stopping at the doorways of the open rooms to peak in, and other times stopping because a contraction made moving too difficult. I never completely nailed the whole “breathing during a contraction”, or handled it well. Although, when you’ve been contracting at five to seven minutes apart for over twelve hours, with no end in sight, it’s hard to win the mind game. And so we continued to pass room after room, memorizing the paintings over the beds and in between the rooms in the hallways. Being there during the morning hours meant seeing the beautiful morning light coming through the windows facing East. And It was the sunrise I had been waiting for, but I just didn’t know it wouldn’t be until sunrise the next day.
I was sent home on the morning of May 8, and continued to labor at home. This is my favorite part of Holland’s birth story. Andrew’s parents arrived to my parent’s house. I labored there all day with them just inches from me. We talked in between contractions, and I had to keep moving so labor wouldn’t continue to stall. I could hardly stand, the labor and fatigue felt so crippling at that point. I was going on 24 hours of contractions that were anywhere from 3 – 7 minutes apart, and still was considered in “early labor.” Finally, in the evening, as the sun set, we drove all of two minutes back to the hospital when I couldn’t labor at home any longer. At the hospital we learned that I was hardly 4 cm. dilated. That was grueling, and so discouraging to hear.
I have such intense memories of looking deeply into Andrew’s eyes, crying out in pain. Of not being able to lay down because the contractions were low in my back. I remember my baby’s heart rate dropping so low, and then my own, that the nurses and midwives rushed in with oxygen, not once but two times. I remember that my water wouldn’t break on it’s own, so they had to pop it. I remember receiving an epidural, and then needing MORE medicine because my body kept stalling. I remember feeling like my body wasn’t doing what it was supposed to be doing, and somehow that meant I had failed. And yet… the sun was rising. The beautiful light was coming through the windows, and I made sure that all the blinds were open. It was refreshing, and comforting.
And then I remember when the THIRD midwife on call of my hospital stay came in, finally giving us the best news we had received after 40 grueling hours of labor… I was 10 cm and ready to push. Andrew couldn’t look at me. His eyes were filled with so many tears. He had been my rock throughout all of labor. And this little girl was wrecking his heart already, not even here yet. Holland was born 18 minutes after I started to push. Most people have a different experience, but the pushing was the easiest part, for me. Most people also don’t labor for 40 hours 😉 And so… just as dramatically and stubbornly as she was to enter our world, we had “our little girl wrapped in pink, so soft and warm.” She was born at 9:16 am.
Becoming a Mom is the best gift that I never knew I needed. But God.