One week ago today, Darrin and I drove to our 41 week checkup appointment eager to see an overdue ultrasound image of our baby girl who had decided that her cozy space inside my belly was just a bit too cozy to leave once her due date came and went. We left thinking about how many more days we’d have to wait, what her little face might look like, and whether or not we should treat ourselves to lunch on our way home.
We had our ultrasound and were all ready to head out to our soup and salad lunch plans when our midwife returned with her fancy clipboard of medical information and “highly recommended” that I be induced within the hour. Throughout this entire pregnancy, my blood pressure numbers tended to sound like the results of a high-scoring basketball game. Preeclampsia was on her radar, she told us, and if we waited any longer for Baby to arrive, there could be some serious complications. For me AND for baby.
So our lunch plans changed. We agreed that if induction was a medically safer route then waiting at home for this baby to arrive, then induction was the way to go. And let me tell ya, it can be a real shocker to learn that rather than leaving the hospital with just an ultrasound picture you’ll most likely be leaving a few days later with your newborn daughter. I was scared. Worried. Excited. And terribly hungry because gosh darn it when you cancel a 41 week pregnant woman’s lunch plans. So before we headed over to the delivery center to check ourselves in for the night, Darrin, being the thoughtful husband that he is, drove me to our favorite bagel shop for one last date before we became “Beekman. Party of Three.” The same bagel shop that satisfied my food cravings throughout the entire first trimester. The one in our old neighborhood, where we sat near the window and shared sandwiches on the day we learned we were having a girl. There we were again, sharing sandwiches before we left to bring her into the world. It was one of those “full circle” moments that had us saying a whole lot to each other through teary-eyed looks rather than words.
We checked ourselves into the hospital shortly afterwards and struggled through a long night of mild contractions paired with the frustrations of limited monitor mobility and getting my blood pressure checked almost every half hour. By 11am the next morning, they started me on Pitocin, and I had Darrin’s poor hand in a vice grip with every painful contraction until the saving presence of my epidural came two hours later. Labor contractions are something that you never fully understand until you’ve experienced them. So to all you mommas out there who have gone through labor and delivery (in any shape or form), you’re straight rockstars. I’m serious. The pain that accompanies delivering a baby into this world is no joke, my friends, and I was so thankful that our baby girl was working with rather than against my body throughout the entire process.
When it finally came time to push, Darrin held my hands and counted me through every 30 second interval of pushing as each contraction continued. Our 9lb 1oz baby girl was delivered in under 15 minutes (much to the delight of one nurse, who’s shift was apparently ending soon), and the talk around the hospital bed was how wonderful it was to see Olivia’s tiny head of strawberry blonde hair. I’d try to explain to you what it felt like to hold her against my chest for the first time as she worked her little lungs and opened her eyes for the first time–Darrin standing over us with a huge smile on his face–but sometimes its best to just let some of life’s moments be “moments” rather than descriptions. And there really aren’t any words that seem adequate enough.
We spent the next two days in the recovery ward, staring at her every move and trying to wrap our minds around the presence of this sweet little person cooing in the bassinet beside us. Feeling thankful. Exhausted. And extremely happy.
**The photos that follow were taken by First Day Photo at the UMN Masonic Children’s Hospital. So happy we decided to use their service as we recovered.**
Olivia Jean Beekman.
Born on October 1st at 7:01pm.
9lbs. 1 oz.
21 inches long.
Welcome to the world, baby girl. You were so worth all 41 weeks. Time for a new adventure.