After months of waiting and wondering just when this little bundle was going to make her appearance, she finally arrived on Saturday, July 13, at exactly 35 weeks, 2 days weighing 8 pounds, 10 ounces and 19 3/4 inches long.

Talk about a nerve-wracking pregnancy with a total of FOUR trips to Labor & Delivery and weeks of almost constant labor before she decided it was time to come.

The early stages of the pregnancy flew by since we’ve all been so busy getting settled into our new house while trying to finish its construction.  At four months pregnant, I could still crawl around underneath the house helping to identify leaks and other plumbing issues.  Hehe!  However, by the time I reached week 28 things were starting to catch up to my body.

Our first trip to Labor & Delivery was at 29 weeks then 31, 33 and 35 weeks.   The medication I received at the hospital never really stopped the contractions but would slow them down enough to help keep me from dilating and delivering the baby too early.  Since we had already been to the hospital three times prior to our final visit, you can imagine how fearful I was of it being just another false run.  I was so worked up over the thought, that I tried to wait until the last possible minute to head to the hospital.   I had been up since 1:30 the morning of the thirteenth with strong contractions and decided that before I would wake Tim up, I would get the house clean.  If nothing else, it would either keep the contractions coming strong or they would stop altogether but i would still end up with a clean house.   Seemed pretty logical to me at the time. 🙂

Tim’s mom arrived at the house a little after 3 a.m. to stay with the boys.  Tim and I decided that to be on the safe side, I had better start heading in the direction of the hospital just in case things really picked up speed.  We didn’t want to be almost an hour away when hard labor hit in case we ran into complications.

Around 4 a.m. we were on our way to the hospital with a few short pit stops to make.  We made it to our church (halfway) and I begged him to stop so I could run in and use the bathroom.  Thank goodness for having his keys on him at the time!  Haha!  Our next stop was the gas station down the street from church where Tim parked the vehicle and ran inside to grab a coffee.  While sitting in the truck waiting, I noticed a police car kept circling around the gas station and stopping close to where I was waiting in the parked truck.

After what felt like an eternity, Tim finally made it back to the truck with coffee in hand and an explanation for why it had taken him so long inside the store.  Apparently a lady in front of him in line needed help with finding directions to a certain town.

Well as soon as we pulled out onto the road to get back onto the interstate, blue lights started flashing behind us.  Yes, that’s right!  Pulled over on our way to labor and delivery.  Haha!  The officer was very nice and had pulled us over to inform us that the tags on the truck had expired.  Tim explained that the truck was his mom’s and we were just borrowing it on our way to the hospital.  The officer asked Tim if everything was okay, whereupon Tim calmly explained that we were heading to the hospital to have a baby.  The flashlight beam immediately flew up to shine on my face and extended abdomen.  The officer then urgently told us to get out of there and make it to the hospital as safely as possible.

My original plan was to just have Tim park in the parking deck near the L&D entrance and I would just continue walking up and down the ramps without interruption until I couldn’t walk any more.  Well that didn’t happen because my bladder kept getting a workout from all the contractions so we ended up a few floors down from L&D where I was able to walk back and forth down the hallway in front of the elevators and take a bathroom break every few minutes.

Every time a nurse would see me pacing up and down the hallway, she would stop and ask if I needed a wheelchair or any help.  I would smile and thank her but reassure her that I was completely fine.  Each time we would get  the response, “This must not be your first!”  Haha!  Nope!  Fourth times the charm. 🙂

When things started getting more intense and closer together making walking more difficult, we headed up to the L&D floor where we found a deserted waiting room outside the check-in area.  I continued my pacing in semi-private the whole time battling with myself whether or not I needed to check in.  I did NOT want to go through the whole process yet again if it wasn’t the real thing.  I was so afraid of being stuck multiple times with an IV and the discomfort of the entire process that I was beginning to talk myself out of being in labor.  I was clamming up instead of relaxing and letting my body just do what it was designed to do.

Tim finally jumped in and made the decision for me.  I was admitted to the hospital around 6 a.m. and after being checked and told that I was dilated to 4 cm I was wheeled into an actual delivery room and not kept in triage.  My contractions didn’t peter out this time but continued to build in intensity.  I thought for sure that I was dilating but when I was checked again at 10 a.m., the doctor informed me that I was about 4.5-5 cm.  Ugh!  We were given the option of just allowing the labor to continue on its own or allow the doctor to rupture my water.  Either way the doctor would not be sending me home until the baby was born.  She would either be born that day or in another 24-48 hours.

I don’t know if it was all the mental battles I had been waging the last half of the pregnancy with the fear of the baby being born so early she would have to overcome a lot of physical problems or just the fact that my body was totally exhausted from the weeks prior to that day of contracting every two minutes for hours at a time, but I was WORN OUT!  I knew that if I had my water ruptured I would end up wanting the epidural because the pain would become too intense for me to handle at that point.

I did ask for the epidural but had to have a bag of fluids pumped into my IV before I could receive one.  It took an hour for the fluids to get into my system because my IV port kept clogging.  Then when I was finally hooked up to the pump, I was only given about 10 percent of the pain medicine to see if I would have a reaction.  I did.  My blood pressure dropped drastically within a minute and more fluids along with blood pressure medicine was pumped into my veins as fast as possible.  During all of this, my labor hit transition time and became unbearable.  I had enough pain medicine in my system to only numb the bottom half of my left leg but nothing else.  It was enough to keep me from being able to get up and move around to cope with the pain but not enough to help alleviate it while lying on my back.

The nurse noticed that my contractions were really strong and coming closer together so she asked to check my progress.  She told me that I was still only dilated to 5 cm but was now 90 percent effaced.  Immediately after that I had two huge contractions one right on top of the other.  At the end of the second contraction, I hollered out that I needed to push.  The nurse rushed over to check me again and then ran out the door to grab the doctor.  My body had dilated from 5-10 cm in just under 2 minutes.  Guess my doctor’s original fear that when I delivered it would be extremely fast was right on the mark!

I was able to deliver Hannah’s head just fine but then something happened.  There was a change in the room’s atmosphere and I could hear a tone of urgency in the doctor’s voice when she gave Tim and the nurse rapid-fire instructions.  My bed was quickly lowered so that I was flat on my back and both Tim and the nurse grabbed a leg and started bending it them back like a pretzel.  There was a huge rush of overwhelming pain as I was instructed to push with everything I had.  The pain was so intense at that moment that had it lasted a few seconds more I wouldn’t have been able to control my gag reflexes and would have lost my stomach over the side of the bed.  Thankfully it didn’t last forever and I heard my baby girl give her first lusty cry and saw her chubby cheeks.  It turned out that all the anguish came from the fact that Hannah’s right shoulder had gotten stuck underneath my pubic bone.  Her little body and face were all bruised up because the doctor had been trying as hard as she could to pull her out to no avail.  Hense the immediate call to action to contort my body so that she could literally “pop” Hannah out by jamming her fist down onto my uterus during that last final contraction and push.

Even though this had been the most difficult pregnancy and most painful delivery, Hannah’s post-delivery was the BEST.  Out of my four children, this was the first time I was able to care for my newborn minutes after she was born.  She never had to stay in the nursery or under the heating lamps.  We even got to go home together after only three nights in the hospital.  What an answered prayer and dream come true for me!!!!

I am so thankful for my husband Tim and all his support and encouragement though these last few difficult months.  There is just no way on earth I think I would be able to endure the birthing process without him by my side!

Big brother already smitten with this brand new baby sister.  This was the first time that E got to hold her.  He still asks to hold her every chance he gets. 🙂

All the boys getting a better look at Hannah after being introduced to her.  Now that they are more accustomed to having her around them, even the little ones fight over who gets to hold her next.  They all dote on her and are quick to give hugs and kisses whenever the opportunity arrises.