Christmas day when I woke up and went to the bathroom I saw some blood after wiping, not too much but it was there. As the day progressed it continued to happen to the point that I got worried and called the doctor. Dr. P had delivered Audrey’s first two daughters and had become my doctor mid pregnancy when I had moved up to NY/NJ and needed to be seen. He is an older man, has delivered over 5000 babies and was always in a rush. Each appointment I was in and out, so fast in fact that I wondered if he even knew who I was. But that day when I called and said I was bleeding he said , well Carolyn you are 37 weeks, baby has been low for a while now, and it is your third pregnancy. It kind of stopped me in my tracks, he remembered all of that? He asked me the details and told me not to worry but to call him if it got worse, the night went on with no major changes and the next morning, Monday December 26, he called me around 10am to ask if it had stopped. Since it hadn’t he told me to meet him in the office around noon to be checked. When I arrived no one else was there except for one nurse who seemed annoyed she had to be there.
He called me in and checked me saying I had lost my mucus plug and was about 2 centimeters dilated and the baby was low, then he told me to meet him in his office. Jim and I went into his office and he proceeded to say that he suspected the baby would be born in the next 48 to 72 hours. He asked me to call him around 4 or 4:30 and let him know how I was doing. When we walked out of the office I called bullshit. I had been induced at 39 weeks with both the boys due to my gestational diabetes and the plan was for baby girl to be induced at 39 weeks as well. With the boys I was dilated for a few weeks leading up to my induction, I was 3 centimeters when I went in (not in labor) for my first induction and 2 centimeters for my second so I just thought that dr. P had it all wrong, not to mention I was only 37 weeks so no way was I having this baby.
Jim and I went to lunch and then he went home and I headed to get a much needed manicure. After my manicure I contemplated a bikini wax but decided against it so that I could do it the following week and be ready for the birth. When I got home we hung out and waited for our dear friends and their two boys to get in town, they were going to be in the city for the night before heading upstate and we were excited to hang out with them. They arrived around 3:30 and the boys started to play together, while the fathers chatted and I decided to accompany my friend to grab a coffee. On the walk I noticed I was having a few Braxton Hicks contractions but thought nothing of it, they didn’t hurt at all and I wrote it off as normal. By the time we got back home it was getting close to the time I was suppose to call dr. P but was busy chatting and hanging out with our friends.
By 4:30 I realized I needed to call so I picked up the phone. He asked me how I was feeling and I told him about the Braxton Hicks but told him that none of them hurt and there was nothing to worry about. He asked me how often I was having them and I said I wasn’t sure, then he asked how many I had had in the last hour and I said maybe 7 or 10, maybe, again I wasn’t sure, but I was adamant that they didn’t hurt. He told me to meet him at the hospital at 5pm to be checked. When I hung up I was almost annoyed, I was sure that it was nothing and we had dinner plans with our friends and all the kids. I told Jim what dr. P said and he told me to get my bag ready. I told him that I didn’t need to bring my bag I was just being checked… Jim proceeded to tell me that if the doctor tells you to go to the hospital to be checked it means you might be having the baby and you should bring your bag. Since I was being stubborn he ended up calling dr. P to ask him if we needed to bring our bags to which he replied YES.
The next 20 minutes I was trying to get my stuff together and the baby’s and figure out what I needed. I had a stomach cramp, just one, and then went to the bathroom and figured it was probably gas. After that I had another none painful Braxton Hicks so again I was sure it wasn’t labor. We got in the uber right before 5 and made our way to Lenox Hill hospital, it was just up the road so we got there fast. When we walked in I told the nurses that I wasn’t in labor but my doctor wanted me to come in to be check and was meeting me there. Triage was full so I sat in a chair outside the room and waited, as I sat there I had another small painful twinge but nothing major and somehow I still did not think I was in labor. I was called in around 5:15 and hooked up and then dr. P came in to check me…
I was 4cm dilated, 90% effaced and my contractions were 2 minutes apart, I was being admitted…. My reaction – WTF!
I was told I had beta strep and needed two doses of antibiotics that needed to be administered 4 hours apart so they didn’t want my water to break for as long as possible so that hopefully I could get both doses. I was confused, why wouldn’t I be able to get both doses, I then turned to dr. P and asked if he thought the baby would be born after midnight, so baby could be born at least one more day away from Christmas. He laughed and said no way. My birthday is December 21st so being so close to Christmas I was hoping to have my baby’s birthday be as far away as possible, originally I was hoping way into January but baby girl apparently had other plans!
I was officially admitted at 5:46 and brought to my labor and delivery room. Jim was on the phone with my mother telling her that I was admitted and in labor and telling her to come, she jumped out of the uber she was in heading to dinner and turned around and head to the hospital. Then he called Audrey and told her to grab her camera and head to the city!!
The next hour went by pretty quickly, not too much pain at first but the contractions started getting stronger and I started getting more and more uncomfortable. I had a fear of the epidural from my first birth but didn’t want to be stubborn like I was the second time around so when the nurse said that it would take a while for the anesthesiologist to arrive and not to wait too long I started thinking it might be time to call him. My mother arrived a little before 7pm and Audrey shortly there after but I was in with the anesthesiologist at that time and they had to wait until he was done before they could come in. By 7:15 they were in the room with us, I was comfortable since the epidural had started giving me relief and we were all getting ready for what we thought would be a long night ahead. About 20 minutes later I heard a pop and gush and realized my water had just broken, I called for the nurse who called dr. P to come in and check me soon there after. The contractions were stronger and coming closer together and dr. P said I was 6 centimeters, we assumed that meant it would be a while longer so Jim ran out to call his mom (reception sucked in the room) and let her know what was going on.
Less than 10 minutes later I felt like I had to push! I didn’t understand how it could be possible but dr. P came in again and said I was 10 centimeters and it was time, he said we just needed the father! Audrey and my mother called him until the reached him and he flew back up stairs, just at that time dr. P was ready and it was time to push. Dr. P had a big smile on his face the entire time, encouraging me to push, saying Caroline you can do this, come on Caroline push! Ten minutes after I started pushing…
at 8:16pm on December 26th Adelia Anna was born!
A mere three hours after I walked into triage, believing I was NOT in labor, she was on my chest. Her tiny hands, her full head of hair and her big bright eyes are the things I remember most from those first few moments. I couldn’t believe it, I had a daughter, truly I still can’t believe it.
The next little bit was spent with baby and I skin to skin, she latched on easily and she went on and off in between my happy tears and kisses, while dr. P was attempting to loosen my placenta. Jim and I both heard a little chatter that sounded like concern and for a minute we both began to panic as the nurse was preparing to up my epidural but just before it was necessary the placenta came out and all was ok again.
Dr. P remained calm the entire time and cheerful and supportive and so many other wonderful words. I thought he was wrong when 8 hours earlier he told me I would have this baby in the next three days… and I thought he was wrong 3 and a half hours earlier when he told me to get to the hospital to be checked… but dr. P knew what he was talking about!! I am so grateful for him and for the experience that I had because of him. After he cleaned up he came back to check on me, as he approached me he took my hand and said, “remember a healthy baby is a blessing, not a right.” That it is, she is, such a big huge blessing.
The journey was long to get here, long and treacherous. Far more treacherous than most know because talking about it was just too painful. My last miscarriage, a little over a year before I lay holding my newborn baby girl, was by far the most painful. On one of my worse days, when the tears couldn’t stop and I didn’t know if I could peel myself off the floor, a friend said something to me I would never forget… one day you will be holding your baby and know that all the waiting was for a reason, it was for this very baby, because it couldn’t have been anyone else. And there I was holding HER, the baby I had been waiting for and yes, she was so so worth the wait!
I am beyond grateful that my best friend and crazy talented photographer Audrey Blake Breheney was with me not only to witness the birth of baby adelia but to capture it. All images in this post lovingly taken by Audrey!