Sunday, September 19, 2010

Daisy Baby: The Zoey Grace Edition

After nine months of excitement and hopeful anticipation, she's here. Zoey Grace, welcome to the world! It was a long week for her mom, Caroline, but in the end it resulted in the birth of a beautiful, healthy, and happy carrot-topped little girl-- who Aunt Ashly thinks couldn't be more perfect!

Starting last Sunday night, I knew we were on Z Watch. Caroline had been feeling some small contractions and had started timing them. So I started to plan my trip to Oklahoma City so I could be there for Zoey's birth. Caroline promised to text me if she went into labor so I could get in the car and start driving. Caroline and I have been best friends since we were fourteen. I introduced her to her husband.  I was the Maid of Honor at her wedding.  No way was I going to miss the birth of her first born!

I got a text message at 6:30 Monday morning saying, This could be it! I'm at the hospital having contractions! They'll let me know in an hour whether or not they're going to admit me! So I hopped out of bed, made some coffee and stared at my phone waiting for word. And 30 minutes later I got it.

They're sending me home. :(

So we waited. And we waited all week. Caroline didn't even wait for me to ask. Every morning she just sent a text saying, Nothing yet. :( So by the end of the week, I figured, you know what, she's going to have the baby by Monday anyway (they scheduled an induction), so I may as well just go ahead and head to OKC Thursday afternoon. That way I can keep her company and maybe help her get the ball rolling while her husband, Kevin, gets things wrapped up at work before the baby comes. So I did.

I got there Thursday night and we took walks and ate Mexican food. She was having contractions, but they were mild and sporadic like they'd been all week. Friday morning we got up and headed to the mall to do some more walking around. Friday had a different aura to it than Thursday. And I've never given much credence to the evidence people have cited about women's bodies and hormones syncing together, but I am not lying when I tell you that my body may have known before Caroline's that she was going to give birth in the next 24 hours. Strange things were going on. And we'll just leave it at that. We were both a bit uncomfortable, but we trekked around the mall, trying to get her contractions to become more regular. We stopped for mani/pedis. And then we resumed walking. We headed home after a couple of hours. By then Kevin was home from work, so the parents-to-be laid down for a quick nap, trying to catch up on the rest they'd be missing out on in the next, oh, seven or eight years to come.

When they woke up and got around, it was nearly dinner time. So Caroline set out some pork chops to thaw and then we went for a walk around the block. The plan was to cook dinner when we got back. Well, let's just put it this way. We didn't get dinner. Caroline's last meal pre-baby was mall Chinese food. Her contractions massively intensified on our walk and by the time we got home she had to sit down. We tried to wait an hour and then re-evaluate. She made it about fifteen minutes and then said, It's time. Let's go. So we went.

She was in some pretty serious pain when we got to the hospital. They checked her and she hadn't dilated much, but the contractions were coming hard and fast. Between contractions, Caroline looked at me and Kevin and said, I don't care what they say, I AM NOT GOING HOME. And she was right. They had already called her doctor. Baby was coming!

A nurse came in the room and started her IV drip pre-epidural. She offered Caroline IV pain meds that would take the edge off her contractions. At first Caroline refused, but I said, Are you sure you don't want those drugs? One more contraction later she changed her mind. They put the pain meds in her IV and they made her a little loopy. She looked at me and giggled and said, "Ashly, your boobies are HUUUUGGGE!" And I laughed and said, "It's good to see you smiling, dear. The drugs must be working!" :)

Soon after, they moved her upstairs to the room where she would deliver and got her epidural started. By the time all the good drugs were administered, her mom and dad had arrived, and it was about 1:30 in the morning. I had decided once she got her epidural I was going to go back to the house and try to get a few hours of sleep before the big show began. Kevin promised to text me if anything changed, so I could come back up the hospital. I got back to the house, took a hot shower, and crawled into the oh-so-comfy bed. I closed my eyes. And my phone rang. She's at an EIGHT!! Come now!!

So I raced back to the hospital and headed to the sixth floor. When I got there, the doctor was checking her again, so I sat out in the waiting room with Caroline's family. Several minutes later we saw a nurse wheel an ultrasound machine by. Hmmm, that's odd, I thought. And then a few minutes after that, Kevin came out with bad news. That huge, hard bulge on the side of Caroline's stomach that had been hurting her so much for the last two weeks? It wasn't Zoey's butt like she'd thought. It was her head. She was sitting straight up in Caroline's tummy and wouldn't move. By this time her dilation and effacement were complete, but it didn't matter. That only meant one thing: emergency c-section. Caroline was upset. She'd been imagining this moment for nine months now. And it wasn't supposed to end like this.

The next few minutes were a little intense. Kevin was nervous, but he was handling things like a champ. I'm convinced that for guys having your first child is the last milestone at the entrance to manhood. It was interesting to watch. We're all just figuring it out as we go. Kevin was doing great and reassuring Caroline that things were going to be okay. But as they wheeled her past in her bed to the O.R. she was crying. And my heart broke. I wanted to run after her and tell her it was going to be okay and that things were going to turn out just fine. But as quickly as the parade of nurses and doctors had appeared, they were gone. Kevin strapped on his cameras and scrubs and went in to watch his daughter enter into the world.

At 5:32 a.m., she came. All 8.1 pounds and twenty inches of her-- with a beautiful full head of curly reddish-gold hair. Kevin texted us pictures from the O.R. And the next time I saw Caroline, they were wheeling her past us down the hallway back to her room. She had Zoey in her arms, and she was ALL smiles.

We all cried.

Finally, about 8 a.m., after they'd gotten her situated in a new room and sent in the lactation specialist, we got to visit mom and Zoey. She was breastfeeding perfectly and was quite possibly the most beautiful baby I'd ever seen. Caroline couldn't take her eyes off of her. She tried to express how completley overwhelming the experience was, but she didn't have to.  I could tell by the look on her face. People say pregnant women glow. If you wanna see a glow, look at a new mom holding her baby in her arms for the first time. It's amazing. And it was a little overwhelming for me. I felt so privileged to get a front row seat to watch the transformation of my best friend from a woman into a mom for the very first time. As women we are so complex and so versatile. And Caroline was so beautiful during her entire pregnancy and even her labor. It was awesome to watch the whole process. And I'm looking forward to watching Zoey grow up to be as beautiful inside and out as her mom. :)


tomorrowsmemoriesphotography said...

i'm crying happy tears...
Congrats Caroline!!!!!!!!!
And Ashly for becoming an Aunt! :D