It’s hard to top a moment like this, or not just jump right ahead to talking about it. But for the sake of trying to not forget any little detail of meeting our littlest sibling, I’ll start back at the beginning. Be forewarned, it’s going to be a long post and it’s going to talk about childbirth. And how fitting that we’re sharing this on her official due date!
Overall, we’ve had three perfectly smooth deliveries. But, I’d rank Miss Aubrey’s somewhere right between Mitchell and Julia. Mitchell’s was so very special because we were welcoming our first baby, but bitter sweet because Steve was in Afghanistan and wouldn’t be home for several months to meet him. So that was a tough pill to swallow. Oh, and it lasted 13 hours, so there was that. Next up was Julia, a quick 18 months later. Just like Mitchell, my water broke and she arrived right at 39 weeks and 1 day. But this time, Steve was there to help me through every little moment. We got to the hospital, they hooked up the drugs, and only a few hours and three pushes later we were holding our first sweet daughter. My recovery was all of a few days and I bounced right back. This third time, my water didn’t break. In fact, even when they thought it would break on its own, it still didn’t! They say third babies are supposed to be quicker and smoother than those before, but Aubrey was a little stubborn. I started to become pretty impatient when 39 weeks and 1 day passed and I was still pregnant. After all, I’d never been that pregnant before and people always say babies come a little earlier and easier each time. On the week of the delivery, I was scheduled to work on Monday (worked a half day and took the rest off for a doctor appointment). Side note for Monday… I about lost my mind with stress. I caught a last minute assignment at work I was rushing to finish, my normal amazing midwife called in sick and I ended up seeing a different midwife who was pretty rude and opted not to strip my membranes like they originally planned, Mitchell wet the bed during nap time at school, Julia kicked a kid in the face at daycare and drew blood requiring me to sign an incident report documenting that my kid kicked another kid in the face and drew blood, and the day’s only redeeming factor seemed to be the fact that I was going have Mitchell on time for soccer for once. Only to find out it was a rescheduled game and not practice and all eleven other players had their uniforms. And Mitchell was wearing bright blue instead of red tie die. Steve got off work a little earlier than expected and came in clutch with the uniform as the game started – and my dad unexpectedly got to see Mitchell play in the first game he actually participated in, and we celebrated with a steak dinner, so that was a silver lining. I was off work Tuesday (the day I anticipated having this baby at 39w1d because that’s all I’ve ever known), and back to full work days Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Mentally, I was checked out after Monday and I had no intentions of going back to work. Especially when I was having some contractions on Tuesday throughout the day and all through the night. But they stayed super mild and never closer than seven minutes apart, so when I woke up on Wednesday at 4:30 with my alarm and I was still pregnant, I figured I might as well go. I stuck with my usual morning routine – feed the dogs, let them out to run, kennel dogs, eat breakfast, run the vacuum downstairs (so much dog hair here!), unload the dishes, shower/get ready, wake up kids, get them dressed and ready, toaster waffles and vitamins for them, backpacks and kids in the car, and daycare drop-off. My FitBit usually has about 2,000 steps by 6:30am, and that’s without a morning workout. So by the time I got to work, the contractions flared back up and I had the app out on my phone timing them all day. Of course, I work in an office with ten guys and me, so I kept it to myself and didn’t want to get anyone excited. After all, I’d had them all day the day before.
My dad decided to extend his trip to Thursday, so he could catch my mother-in-law, scheduled to arrive in town on Wednesday. At that point, we had no idea when baby would come, but we had a nice dinner with both sides of the family at Mission BBQ after I finished work on Wednesday and picked up the kids from daycare. Contractions still seven minutes apart… all day… but still seven minutes and pretty mild. That night my mother-in-law was settling in the house and we were wrangling kids after a late dinner, so Steve and I weren’t in bed until about 10:00. I fell asleep and finally gave up on the contractions that were still seven minutes apart. Until about 10:30 (yay for 30 minutes of sleep, ha!) when they woke me up. Really not so mild and now five minutes apart. By 11:00 they were pretty strong. The hubby was sound asleep and had no idea, but I figured I’d take a hot shower and they’d slow down so I could go back to sleep. I figured wrong, because about 10 minutes into my shower they were now three minutes apart and I figured I should probably get checked. I was also thankful that the hubby didn’t have to be at work the next day until 1:00pm, because they were having a late training night. He’s in a training right now that’s pretty rigorous, so I completely figured he’d be there long enough to get me in the recovery room and have to go back to work. (This is normal for us – remember, he was in Afghanistan for Mitchell… and after Julia’s delivery he met our movers for our household goods shipment and moved us into our house solo with 18 month old Mitchell’s help). Yay, military for making us have really low expectations, ha! Anyway, Steve let the dogs out and then let his mom know we were headed to the hospital. Being that she was sleeping hard from a long day of travel and excitement of grandkids, and had just arrived in town, I’m not sure she realized that us going to the hospital meant we were actually having a baby. Steve found a spot in the expectant mother’s parking, and by this time the contractions were three minutes apart and painful enough to slow me down walking. We walked in the front door and up the stairs to labor and delivery and met the lady I talked to on the phone before we left the house. They hooked me right up to the monitors, and in the very first contraction, the baby’s heartbeat dropped down into the 70’s. (As they explained it, 120-150 is pretty normal at this point). She told me to get comfortable because a heart rate drop like that is enough to show the baby is in some distress and we’d be meeting our baby that night. At that time, I was dilated to 5 cm, so we walked ourselves from the triage room to a delivery room down the hall. Thinking ahead, I packed my military ID, phone, and camera in the purse, so I had all the essentials for the delivery, ha!
By the time we were settled in the delivery room, it was 1:00am. At that point, I realized our baby’s birthday would be March 23, which is an odd number, but the contractions began to get strong enough that my even number OCD wasn’t even my top concern. I told the nurse that the only thing I planned for the delivery was an epidural, and she said they’d get right on it. Music to my ears. Until we waited three hours with zero pain meds for Seth the anesthesiologist to make his way in to do the paperwork. Steve was nice when he later described him as “wordy.” I just thought he was slow – though in all actuality he was more than likely working at completely normal pace and I was beyond impatient, because labor. I just wanted him to hurry up. And I really wish he would have hurried up when his 90’s style beeper went off and he whisked away to a c-section. With the drugs. Leaving me with an estimated time of at least an hour before he’d return and the nurses reassuring me that there was a small chance he’d make it back before my water broke and the baby decided to show up. At that point, I asked them not to touch me with a ten foot pole, because three hours of contracting after being at 5 cm with a third baby had me not in a good mood. The last thing I wanted was for my water to break and hurry things along, so I quickly accepted the offer for some IV meds. Cue the fentanyl. That stuff is good. An hour and a half later Seth finally came back and I’d never been so relieved… especially since it was right about the time the fentanyl wore off. Once that was flowing, I was much happier and breathed a sigh of relief for a little bit. By this time, they came back to check me. I was at 9cm, but the head hadn’t dropped yet (later we’d learn this was because the umbilical cord was pretty darn tight around her neck and was holding her up there), so we waited some more. A few hours later, her heart rate began to do some really wonky things, so a bunch of nurses and two doctors came in the room and it was showtime. Cue the scary part of the day. With the baby’s heart rate still in distress, I overheard them paging a doctor for an emergency c-section. They gave me oxygen and kept telling me to breathe deeply so the baby could get some air. They kept rolling me around (epidural was going so I couldn’t move myself) trying to get the heart rate up. I still had no real idea what was going on but they told me it was time to push. Just like Julia, it was three pushes and she was out. Hallelujah! Once that darn cord was unwrapped (and it was tight), they held her up. At this point we still had no idea whether it was a boy or a girl. They didn’t shout “it’s a girl!” like in the movies. They held her up in front of me and two things were pretty obvious at that point. We had another daughter and she had a whole lot of red hair. Those cries rang out and we breathed a sigh of relief, because the 30 minutes leading up to that was a whole lot of panic. She was perfect.
During all of that commotion, the doctors never tell you that something is wrong. But it was pretty obvious from their voices that they were worried. And when they sound worried, you worry. Every time I looked at Steve, he just gave me a calm and reassuring smile. I told him later that it seemed like nothing phased him. At all. Maybe he didn’t hear them calling for the c-section, or he couldn’t see the heart rate monitor or didn’t know none of this was a smooth sailing delivery? Nope. He is just designed to be the calm reassurance in every situation, no matter how scary things are. And when I told him this, he replied, “Well, duh. I disarm bombs for a living. I better not panic easily.” You’ve got a point there, hubby.
She was 19.5 inches and 7 pounds and 10 ounces of pure perfection and we were both over the moon over our sweet new daughter.
We settled into our recovery room, luckily without a roommate since apparently they were extremely busy and had no vacant rooms! There must have been a deployment homecoming nine months ago! 😉 It felt so, so good to get the IV out and change out of that hospital gown… once my legs were working again!
Steve was given an unexpected Thursday and Friday off work, which meant he could spend time with us in the hospital for the first time ever! This was such a blessing. Watching his love for our three little babies is one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received.
After Aubrey and I were all settled in our room, Steve was off to meet my dad for a pass to get on base (his was expired since he was supposed to be leaving!) and pick up the kids from daycare. I was so excited to see Mitchell and Julia meet their littlest sister! I am so grateful my dad picked up the camera and snapped away!
Julia wanted to crawl right in there with Aubrey.
Meanwhile, Mitchell stayed true to his tender-hearted little personality. He talked to her in the softest, quietest, high pitched little voice and told her he was her brother and not to cry. He is going to be the BEST big brother. I’ve already caught some moments on video that make my heart melt away.
Then it was Grandma Martin and Grandpa Brim’s turn to meet sweet little Aubrey!
Eventually Mitchell and Julia were ready to get out of that tiny little hospital room and back home. Julia could no longer be entertained with my hospital cheesecake, and when the kids don’t want cake, you know it’s time to wrap things up.
Mitchell had soccer practice that night, so Grandpa Brim and Grandma Martin teamed up to conquer the older two while Steve rested up at home (he hadn’t slept in two days!) and Aubrey and I snuggled at the hospital.
That night, Steve brought me Wendy’s. The hospital food was beyond cold and less than appetizing and I needed a cheeseburger and coke. We had some visitors that night – our two absolutely amazing babysitters, who brought the most adorable homemade onesies for Aubrey and offers to bring me more junk food. They are seriously the best. Check out Katy’s blog here, and keep an eye out for to get her own post here pretty soon. Their blog is the cutest and is plastered with pictures of their sweet golden retriever, Jax, and will soon chronicle their PCS across the country to California! She had a delayed wedding (yay military life!) last week and I was beyond thrilled when she asked me to take her bridal portraits! Until I realized that she was getting married on the week before I was due and Melanie was in the wedding… in Texas. No sitters and an impending birth?! But we survived without them. 😉 I could go on and on about how greatly we’ve been blessed with amazing sitters, but I think a friend best described our sheer luck when she said, “they look like they walked out of a care.com babysitter add!”
Aubrey and I got the most sleep yet on our first night in the hospital. Girlfriend has days and nights mixed up now, so hopefully we get that figured out soon. We spent her second day cuddled up in bed all morning and packing up all afternoon! She showed up with some long fingernails and I was super happy I had a onesie to cover those fingers because she scratched her face all up on day one!
It was a bit like pulling teeth to get out of the hospital and get home. By 10:00 on day two, her weight was holding steady, all of her labs and stats were normal, I was cleared for discharge, and we were ready to get home! After waiting 4 1/2 hours for the doctor to come in and sign the papers, we practically had to beg to get them to let us go! But once we were finally released, it felt like freedom and we were headed home with our third baby for our usual Friday night pizza night!
So, there you have it! We’re now settling in at home and working on our routines… mostly our eating and sleeping routines! I am so grateful for these next few easy months to adjust to parenting three little ones before we’re back to crazy life as we know it!