I went in for my 41 week ultrasound on a Friday, February 15th. Ryan was working so I asked if my dad could drive me. Sure, I was capable of driving into Boston, but at 41 weeks I was pretty achy and tentative about solo travel. At MGH, dad waited downstairs in the cafe and I went up to get my belly looked at – just a routine check to make sure everything’s good.
The ultrasound tech showed me my baby’s little profile, her little heart, her little fingers up against her mouth. She looked beautiful. Then the tech pursed her lips a little and called the doctor in to take a look. After a few minutes of scoping around he said, pretty casually, that the fluid was low and I should come back in a few hours to induce labor. No emergency, but he’d feel best if we delivered in the next 24 hours.
Have the baby in the next 24 hours. Have the actual baby. In a few hours. Panic swelled up in my throat. He called Labor and Delivery and let me know that they could take me around 7pm.
Dad was reading on his nook in the cafe looking particularly grandfatherly as I approached. I had to let him know fast that there was no emergency, because a 41 week pregnant lady with tears streaming down her face after a doctor’s appointment is a potentially scary sight, I imagine, especially when she’s your daughter.
My dad is a professional at “no big deal”. He currently works with high school kids, where this expertise in de-escalation must make him indispensible. I’m very lucky he was there, and we took care of the pragmatic things.
1. Call Ryan.
2. Get a chicken salad sandwich.
I cried the whole way home, scared to death, and he made sure I had the kind of chips I liked for my last pre-baby meal.
When Ryan came home, he relieved my dad and we commenced the preparation. The hospital bag that had been packed and ready for weeks seemed inexplicably incomplete. We went over checklists upon checklists and Ryan ran around making everything right and ready. If my dad is an expert in “no big deal”, Ryan is a world class champion at “right and ready”.
My sister and her boyfriend/my husband’s bffl/ Mike came by to babysit Lucy the wonder-cat, and we were off to get a baby.
The first 12 hours were awfully painful. You know, labor and all that. At 8am something wonderful happened. I caved in and got the epidural. The beautiful sweet epidural–it was the most divine failure of will. I was afraid I would regret getting the medicine sooner than I had planned, but instead it turned out to be one of the best decisions of my adulthood. Honestly. Probably only second to marrying my wonderful husband who sat in a chair next to my bed for 24 hours and let me know how much he loved me while we waited for our daughter to debut.
I dozed through the day, and we watched Back to the Future and the heart monitor for another 12 hours until she was ready. Then, in the blink of an eye, it was time to push.
Then, there she was. Our Emmeline. The doctors and nurses were shocked at how fast she arrived and before we knew it she was on my chest, looking up with dark blue eyes and stretching out her tiny fingers.
The previous morning I had been planning on getting some pancakes Saturday morning because I needed something to look forward to. I was expecting another day of huffing and puffing up and down stairs and rolling uncomfortably off the couch to go to the bathroom every five minutes.
Instead of pancakes, we got a miracle. A 7lb 13oz miracle with light brown hair and an infinite feeling of pulling love, full and ready-made.
A post about the realities of sleeplessness and milk puke is certainly to come. There’s a lot to talk about and I hope to find the time to document it all — but I wanted to tell this story. The story of how we got a girl.
My Emmeline, my Ryan, my family.