The Arrival of Sarah Catherine!

I started this post about the day Sarah Catherine was born a few days after we came home from the hospital, but I felt it so clumsily written that I didn't want to post it and just saved it in the drafts.  Sometimes it seems there is so much pressure to document everything when you are in a newborn haze and can barely remember your name.  Now that Sarah Catherine is over four months old,  I find that I'm forgetting little details.  Of course, I will never forget the extreme joy that I felt, but I'm starting to realize how special and beautiful the day was, despite its challenges. So here is the story of how Sarah Catherine came into this world.

They had scheduled our induction date for Saturday, October 17th, and we were both excited and nervous, and I'm not sure how much sleep either of us got the night before. I remember falling asleep wondering if maybe you would come on your own accord, and the first thought I had when my alarm went off is that you had not come on your own.  We sleepily got ready and I even drove us to the hospital, since I'm more awake in the morning than your dad and it would be awhile before I would be driving again. It was so nice to just feel excitement over the anticipation of your arrival instead of labor pains!
The nurses checked us in, got an IV going and we took care of all of the paperwork, which wasn't much.  We were ready to begin the process of you being born!  As you may have noticed, I am not a very brave person, and getting all of the IVs going was scary for me, but I tried to concentrate on the fact that we would meet you today.  The whole process lasted about an hour, and then we just had to wait for the doctor to check me to see what would be best.  Fortunately, I was already dilated 2 cm, so that meant we could start the pitocin around 8:00 am.  I hadn't eaten breakfast because I was afraid of getting sick, but the doctor encouraged me to eat in case the labor was very long.  Your dad went down and got some toast, and I'm so glad he did, because the whole process lasted quite awhile.  They started me on a low dose, and the contractions really didn't feel that bad.  I was also very thankful that I had made some progress on my own, and I credit it to all of the walking I had done the week before in my attempt to motivate you. Well, that and it was a week past your due date! My parents came to the hospital around 10:00am to see how things were going and we visited. They were still increasing my dosage of pitocin, but I was pretty comfortable.  Around 11:30am, your Uncle Will and Aunt Sabrina arrived.  It was a beautiful fall day outside, and I remember looking out the window and being happy about the sunshine. They had gone to Carter's Mountain Orchard earlier that day and brought apple cider doughnuts for your dad and grandparents to enjoy, which everyone was excited about.

At that point, I was getting less comfortable sitting on the bed, so I decided to move to the glider.  The combination of being distracted by family (your Uncle Will always makes me laugh) and the movement really helped the time go by and kept my mind off the pain.  I was really thankful that they could be there. The doctor came to check on me around 5pm, and I was dilated to 6 cm.  At that point, they broke my water and my pain increased considerably.  Since I was already at a 6, I decided to go ahead and get the epidural.  It was a weird sensation, as I could still feel the contractions, but the pain was manageable.

The doctor then checked on me again at 9:00pm, and it was go time!  I was really thankful that I had progressed this far, but now the pressure was on.
The nurse with us was pretty optimistic that it would be fast, but the whole process ended up taking over three hours.  I was so focused on the task at hand that the time went by pretty quickly.  However, my mom and your dad were there to help me, and I think it was harder on both of them.  Having them there was very comforting and motivating, and I can't imagine how you would have come into this world without them.  Your dad and my mom took turns chanting, "Push,  Leslie, Push" and then counting to ten until they were both hoarse.  It was so special to have my mom there with us, even though I know it was hard on her. She had almost been awake for 24 hours! We tried a few different positions for me to push, and at one point, I was worried that it might not work, just because it was taking so long.  I think perhaps a little subconsciously I wanted you to be born on October 18th, because I like even days better.  It's silly, but when our induction date was scheduled for the 17th, I was a bit disappointed because I wasn't a huge fan of the date.  Fortunately, you took care of that on your own and at 12:58am on October 18th, you arrived in this world.  We were all exhausted, but it was so exhilarating to hear your cry and know that you were okay.  Your dad and I were deliriously happy, and I remember I kept saying how beautiful and perfect you were.  And you are, Sarah Catherine, you are absolutely beautiful and perfect, and truly a gift from God.  Your grandma (my mom) was so teary and thankful, and she came to my side and told me what a miracle it is to remember the night I was born and now for me to have a daughter of my own. Your dad could not have been prouder of you; he took as many pictures of you as was humanly possible and came over to my side to let me know how beautiful you were.  At that moment, I was so proud of your dad and I knew what an amazing father he had already become.   They examined you and the nurse came over to let me know that the doctor thought she had a cleft palate in the back of her mouth, but they would be sending a pediatrician down to check her and confirm. In the meantime they put you on my chest and I tried to get you to feed, but you couldn't latch because of your cleft palate.  You were crying because you were hungry and I was discouraged, but your grandma was reassuring.
Then your dad held you and you instantly settled down.
It was early in the morning by this point, almost 3:00 am, and we were exhausted.  They needed our room, so we were moved out in a hurry, which was a bit upsetting because my dad and your uncle and aunt weren't able to hold you.  We went to our new room and you were wailing (we still hadn't figured out how to feed you), and you were letting the world know that you had arrived.  Once we got to the room, the nurse showed me how to feed you and you settled down.  We did have a bit of a scare because you still had some amniotic fluid in your lungs and I didn't know what was happening.  Your dad was able to get the nurses though and they explained it was normal and showed us how to use the syringe to extract it.  By now we hadn't slept in a day, and we were terrified of sleeping and something happening to you (you were so small and fragile), so we asked that you be brought to the nursery.  We got three hours of sleep, and I remember waking up missing you already, just as the nurse brought you back in to eat.  Once visiting hours started at 9:00am, my parents, your aunt and uncle officially got to meet and hold you.

These first few days in the hospital were a haze, as we worried over your every movement and proudly proclaimed to each other that you were the most most beautiful baby we had ever seen.  Looking back, it's easier to wish that we had taken better pictures of your first moments here on earth, but I am just so thankful for these.
We love you so, sweet beautiful girl.

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