I am writing this in retrospect (turns out having three kids three and under makes for a little less free time) so some of the exact details of Caroline's birthday are a bit hazy now, but I could never forget the way I felt on that special day.
July 17, 2014
She was due July 27th. We had a doctors appointment the day before she was born on the 16th. I was hoping that my doctor would say, "WOAH you are already in labor, you better hurry over to the hospital!" But no such luck, just the typical, "looking good, see you next week." I was feeling bummed because I didn't go into labor on my own with Cora or Evelyn and I was really hoping for that experience with Caroline. So we just went ahead with our afternoon plans to go to the car dealership and finalize our purchase of a larger car since mine would not fit 3 car seats. I don't even remember what we did that night. I would imagine I probably watched tv, ate popcorn and complained about how large and uncomfortable I was.
I do remember the next morning. Michael left early for work and the girls were up early, as usual, and I felt like all I wanted to do was hold and cuddle them all day. Its funny how God puts things on our heart in His time. I even took this picture, not knowing it would be that last one I would take being pregnant with Caroline.
So we lazied around for most of the morning and didn't really have any plans for the day. At some point mid morning, I started having contractions. I had been having false contractions on and off for about a month so I wasn't too concerned. But I got up and went about the business of being a crazy nesting person, organizing and reorganizing unnecessarily, but this time the contractions didn't stop. They even started to pick up a little.
(Sidenote, I have an irrational fear of thinking that I am going into labor and being wrong. I spent the night in the hospital three weeks before Cora was born, only to be sent home with an order to drink more water. The pregnancy walk of shame out of the labor and delivery wing was something that I did not want to do again.)
So doubting that anything was really going on, I called my friend Claire, who is a birthing expert, to explain to her what I was feeling. She told me that it sounded a lot like I was going into labor and that I should take it easy and rest to see if things slowed down or progressed. I took her advice, and sure enough, the contractions started coming more frequently and more intensely. I called Michael to tell him that I wasn't quite sure if I was in labor, but that I thought we should maybe go to the hospital just incase. I called Tara, she was downtown but said she would come back immediately. I called Kristin who was pulling out of her driveway to go downtown also, but thankfully caught her just in time! We packed our bags and hurried out the door when Michael got home even though I was still saying that I wasn't sure that this was really "it."
We drove to Sugarland in the pouring rain, and quickly checked into L&D. Luckily my doctor was already there and we saw him right away. He assured me that I was definitely in labor and that we would get to meet our girl by the end of the day! We were taken to our suite and got all settled in. I could not wrap my head around what was happening. With the other two being induced, I had a lot of time to mentally prepare, but this happened so fast! As they started my epidural, I got all teary eyed, partly because it hurts and I am a giant pansy, but mostly because I was just overcome with the emotion of it all. After some calming words and prayers with my sweet husband, I was ready to go.
Everything went pretty quickly after that. Family members started trickling in, which made us feel so loved. Our parents and siblings are our greatest supporters. They came from near and far to accompany us as we prepared to welcome our newest little lady. I remember being able to feel their genuine love and excitement.
Before we knew it, it was time to push. And about 10 minutes later, there she was.
I always hear people say that they are filled with intense love the first time they lay eyes on their baby. For me, it is a bit different. I would relate it to opening presents in front of people, except it is the most amazing gift from God himself, and well, its a human life. It is such an intense moment that I fail to grasp the full gravity of right away. For me, it trickles in over the following couple hours and days. For example, the first time I got to examine her perfect little pink face.
The first time Michael and I were alone with her. The first time I was able to comfort her.
The first time her sisters met her.
Every moment was so precious, so special. I loved watching everyone pour out their love on her.
Even Father Eric came by to give her her first blessing.
But the best part, by far, was getting to bring her home.
Evelyn started crying because she wanted to hold her first.
This is her idea of holding her.
And just like that, we were a family of 5. Life just keeps getting better one little girl at a time.
Sweet Caroline, you bring us so much joy and love. We are humbled and grateful that God is allowing us to guide and witness your precious life. We pray that you always feel His great love for you and know that you were made for a purpose that is unique to you and you alone. You amaze us every day.