Yesterday, our beautiful daughter turned one week old. In her first week of life, she is already learning all about what it means to be a “coach’s kid.” (Seriously, she’s been on two outings so far—both to the baseball field!)
Early in the morning (around 1:30 a.m.) on Thursday, August 18, I knew we were getting close to delivery. I started having painful contractions about every ten minutes. This continued through most of the morning. Due to some nearby fires impacting air quality here in Southern California, the baseball team was not able to practice outside, so early morning weightlifting was moved to the afternoon. I went to the gym with Coach to do some walking on the indoor track while the team worked out. By this point, the contractions had spread out quite a bit, but I still felt confident labor was imminent.
In the early evening hours on that Thursday, my contractions started getting closer and closer together. We’d been told to go to the hospital when contractions lasted one minute and were five minutes apart for at least one hour, so when we reached that point at around 7:30 p.m., we went to the hospital. I contacted work and my sub to cover my Monday/Wednesday class and begin my maternity leave. Coach cancelled early morning weights for Friday morning because we figured this would be it. We were in the hospital for a couple of hours, and we watched most of the Angels game which did a nice job of distracting me from the contractions. My cervix was dilated to only two centimeters, so they sent us home. The nurse said she expected to see us back before the end of our shift but that we should wait until contractions were consistently almost exactly three minutes apart for at least two hours.
We stayed up all night timing contractions. They would stay three minutes apart for about an hour, and then there would be one that was six minutes apart, and we’d have to start the clock over.
On Friday morning, August 19, I started having longer contractions that were still mostly all three minutes apart, but some were lasting for two minutes and were very painful. We’d heard long contractions could be dangerous because the baby doesn’t get enough oxygen during contractions. We called the hospital to ask about this, and they told us to return. We got there at about 10 a.m. My cervix was still dilated to only two centimeters. The doctor told me I was not feeling “real” contractions and that I would experience a notable difference when the real ones came around. They gave me a shot to help manage the pain, though I’m fairly certain it did nothing, and they sent us on our way around 1 p.m. Coach stayed home from practice. (This was the only day he completely missed work.)
That day and through the night, the contractions continued, and on Saturday, August 20, the contractions continued throughout the day as well. Saturday night I was in so much pain that my husband said we needed to go back again. When we got to the hospital around 10 p.m., my cervix was still only dilated to two centimeters. They had us stay the night, though, and they tried again (unsuccessfully) to help me manage the pain so I could get some sleep.
By around 6:15 a.m. on Sunday, August 21, my cervix was dilated to nearly four centimeters, so they admitted me and started administering antibiotics since I was positive for group B strep. I had planned to attempt labor without an epidural, but after three and a half days of contractions, I changed my mind. They gave me an epidural around 9 a.m. and gave me a few hours to sleep; I didn’t sleep much, though, because there was another Angels game on to watch. Around noon, they gave me Pitocin, at 3:30 p.m. they turned off the epidural and broke my water, and by 4 p.m. it was time to start pushing.
When they broke my water, there was a bit of meconium in it, so they had a respiratory team ready to come in and check her as soon as she was born. The pediatrician would also check her right away for signs of issues associated with group B strep.
To be honest, most of everything else from that point on is a bit of a blur for me. Coach remembers it much better than I do. I mostly had no idea what was going on except that I was exhausted. I do remember being told I was so close to getting her out, but after that, she didn’t budge for a very long time. At one point, her heart rate started dropping, so they attached an internal monitor to keep track better.
Eventually, the doctor came in to help get her out. The doctor gave me an episiotomy and used a vacuum to assist delivery.
Finally, at 6:32 p.m., Elaine “Lainey” was born.
She was whisked away for her testing. She was still in the room, and Coach stood by her the whole time while the doctor worked to stitch me up. The nurses around me kept going on and on about what a great coach my husband was. They said they wished he could teach other dads and support people how to coach moms through delivery. I just said, “Well, he’d better be a good coach. It’s what he does for a living!”
At 7 p.m., I finally got to hold Lainey. I held her for an hour, and then Coach held her for an hour. After this, the nurses weighed her and cleaned her up. They took her hand prints and finger prints, and we prepared to move to our postpartum room where we would stay until Tuesday afternoon.
On Monday, Coach went back to work while I stayed in the hospital. On Tuesday, we had only a few minutes at home as a family before he rushed off to practice.
Thursday was Lainey’s first outing. We went to the hospital first to meet with the lactation consultant who had been off work since before our delivery, and then we went straight to the baseball field for the afternoon.
This little girl may have taken her sweet time getting into the world (even though she was technically born four days before her due date), but that doesn’t change how much our world revolves around her now. She has her daddy wrapped around her tiny finger. Not that we’d ever ask him to, but he’s even said he would give up baseball for her.
It’s amazing how a little human can change your whole world so much. Everyone says it’s true, but I don’t think we ever fully understood this until she was born.