I started writing Lydia's birth story about a week after she was born but haven't shared it with anyone. So... for anyone interested in our story, here it is!

Trying to find time to rest, see visitors, care for a newborn, AND get around to writing down the birth story is a challenge. So chances are it will take me a few attempts before this is completed. As I stated before, Mom arrived at our house on the 20th and we began the countdown to Lydia’s arrival. That night around midnight I woke up in a terrible coughing fit. I spent 30 minutes or so in the bathroom over the toilet trying to cough up the junk in my throat. I mention this only because I think it might finally have been what started the labor process. By 2AM I started to feel contractions. They generally ranged from 6-10 minutes apart and weren’t too unbearable, but enough that I couldn’t sleep very well. I didn’t want to get Brent and mom up until I was thinking things might continue, so I just got up and went downstairs to read up on the differences between real and false labor. Contractions continued so I eventually got Brent up, then later we decided to get Mom up so we could all be ready if we determined it was time to go to the hospital.

Brent loaded up the car while I showered and got dressed, but after I finished getting ready I noticed the contractions were slowing down. By 7:30 or 8AM they’d more or less stopped. I was disappointed that we’d thought this was perhaps the real deal and it ended up being a false alarm. The rest of the day we stayed home in case things picked up again but they did not until early Sunday morning. Once again around 1 or 2AM contractions started. Again they were around 6 minutes apart, but this time they were feeling much stronger. Considering the previous morning, I was hesitant to wake anyone up or get too excited for fear that they would stop again. I woke Brent up to inform him and then took a shower and got dressed before waking Mom up (since this was the activity that preceded the stopping of contractions on Saturday morning).Still unsure if this would go anywhere, we all got up and got ready then Mom made blueberry muffins for us to have for breakfast. We continued timing contractions and they stayed fairly consistent at 5 minutes apart, with some of them being quite strong. Just before 10AM, we made the decision to head to the hospital and hope they would confirm that our baby was indeed on her way.

We arrived at Toledo Hospital and Brent wheeled me up to the 3rd floor (Labor & Delivery). There we informed the nurses of my contractions and they took us into delivery room #5. By 10:20 I was in a gown and sitting on the bed waiting for word from the doctor on what we were going to do next. When the nurse (Erin) checked me I was 90% effaced but still just under 2cm dilated. We were told that I was still in early labor so I would have two options: Go home and labor there until in active labor, or stay and start a pitocin drip to speed things up. I was torn… part of me wanted to let the labor progress naturally in hopes that it would be easier to manage, but I was heartbroken at the thought of going home and waiting who-knows-how-long for active labor to kick in. At 11:00 I decided that I would get the pit drip and hope for the best. The drip was started at 11:30 and the doctor (Dr. Confer-Seeley) came in to break my water as well. I remember thinking at that point that there was no going back now… ready or not, Lydia was on her way!

After the pit drip was started, the contractions began to get closer together and more intense. I would get very intense pain in my lower back with each one, so I positioned myself to be able to roll to my side and have Brent or Mom massage my back with a tennis ball until each contraction passed. The nurses had told me that I could have an epidural whenever I wanted one, so when Erin came in and told me they were doing an epidural next door and could be in to give me one in 20 minutes if I wanted one, I decided to go ahead with it. They did not do another check of my cervix, so I have no idea how dilated I was at 1PM when I received the epidural. Wow… it was amazing how quickly the pain went away! The procedure itself wasn’t too bad (I refused to look at any of the needles) and as soon as they got it in I stopped feeling the contractions. Brent would look at the monitor and see I was having a contraction, but I didn’t feel the slightest change. So besides not being able to move around once the epidural was in, it was great! Mom and Brent went to grab some lunch since they weren’t needed for pain management anymore and I laid in bed watching Grease on TV.

Everything was pretty quiet for the next couple of hours. We talked and watched TV. Erin or another nurse (Wendy) would come in periodically to check on things and change my position (I was on my back at first, then moved to laying on my right side). At 3:10 it was time to check my cervix again. Now, we’d been told up front that this would likely be a very long process. The most time required to get to 4cm, then an hour per cm from 4 to 10, then up to 3 hours of pushing for a first time mom. So we were anticipating Lydia’s arrival being quite late in the evening and thus I assumed that this afternoon check would have me at around 4cm. I was completely shocked when Erin announced I was at 8! Brent quickly got on the phone and informed his family that they might want to think about coming to the hospital… still keeping in mind that it could be another several hours. But no sooner had Erin left the room that I felt the need to push (felt exactly like a desire to have a bowel movement). I called her back in and when she checked again I was at 10cm already. I went from 8 to 10 in literally a matter of minutes!

As the nurses started setting the room up for delivery and informed the doctor, Brent got back on the phone to let his family know that Lydia wasn’t going to wait much longer! By 3:35 I had started pushing. I still could not feel the contractions, so the nurse watched the monitor and told me when they were starting so I could get 3 pushes in each contraction. The epidural still kept the pain away, but pushing was definitely tiring… I can’t imagine having to do that for several hours! As I pushed, the doctor would tell me she could see Lydia’s head and that she had lots of hair. I couldn’t wait to see her myself!

At 4:14PM on Sunday, February 22nd, Lydia Beth was in my arms at last. I couldn’t help but cry as I heard her tiny cries and they placed her on my chest. She was absolutely beautiful… and very pink! Not all purple like some babies. The doctor and nurses even remarked that she was one of the pinkest babies they’d seen. She scored 9.9 on her APGAR! 7lb 9.9oz and 19.5in in length, with plenty of hair on her head. I hardly even noticed anything else the doctor was doing to me after I had Lydia in my arms.

Brent was so proud of her too. He likely held her more that night than I did! He claimed I’d had her for 9 months so it was his turn now. Eventually Mom had been patient long enough and asked for her turn to hold Lydia before the other family members came in. So right away Lydia was introduced to Nana, Grandma Rita, Papa Tom, Aunts Sarah, Devon, and Natalie, and Uncle Jay. As she got passed around to the family, I finally got to eat! I’d not had anything but some water and a few sips of chicken broth since our muffins in the morning and I was hungry! Thanks Lydia for showing up by dinner time.

Once I was done eating it was time to change to a recovery room and let them take Lydia for a bath and health assessment. I was really sad at how long they kept Lydia. It was a busy night and they had lots of babies in the nursery… but I wanted my Lydia back! Finally she returned and we were able to snuggle some more. We had a few other visitors that night including Brent’s grandparents (Jim & Nancy) and his Aunt Sandy. I was just so happy that Lydia arrived safe and sound.

What a journey it has been, baby! I’ve loved you every step of the way and will continue to do so for the rest of your life. You are an amazing blessing, Lydia. I can’t thank God enough for allowing us to have you in our life. May you never forget how loved you are and always have been.
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