I was supposed to have a baby, today.

November 27th - that was D-Day (or Delivery Day).  And after our last doctor's appointment last week - I fully expected to go past today with my belly still serving as safe haven for this little girl who seemed all too happy to remain until Christmas.  I expected to go past my due date, and I was still encouraged.  My doctor told us he saw no reason I wouldn't be able to try a VBAC.  The dreaded "C" word was not even mentioned. Bill and I left the office feeling relieved, refreshed, and reminded to be patient.

That's what this child-baring experience is all about.  Patience.

Today was the goal I had set my eye to these long 9 months. But Someone had a far bigger far better plan for me - and I would not trade this past week for all the Jade in China.

Here's how it went down.

FRIDAY, Nov. 20th: 10:30am
Bill and I left Wyatt in the care of a friend and neighbor.  We headed to the Doctor's office.  I was nervous - I was eager to see if I had made any progress toward having this baby, I was eager to see how she was doing, and I was anxious about having to have 'the discussion' with the doctor about VBAC vs. C-Section. Bill and I were determined to finally express to our doctor our honest feelings on the subject and to have an open discussion about what we wanted so that we left feeling like the doctor really understood where we were coming from.

The appointment was a success - I had progressed (minimally in my eyes, but the doctor was encouraged), Moeb was doing well, and I could 'go at any time' - though if I made it to my due date (today) and came to my doctor's appointment that was scheduled for today, they would schedule an induction date.  December first, they would break my water and throw me into labor.  Naturally.

Surgery was not mentioned as a possibility. There was a very real end in sight, and I was going to get to try to do things my way. The possibilities opened up before me - my body was going to be given a chance!

Bill and I were grinning. This was good.

Back at the home-front, I sat in my glider chair to share some conversation with Tamsin before she had to go. As we all sat there talking about doctors and chances and her own precious Sprinkle (scheduled to make his debut this February!) - I felt something.

Something leaked.

That was odd. I logged it away to address after company left, and continued conversing.

I leaked again.

And again.

Finally, I excused myself to the restroom to check things out.

(Narrator Interruption: don't worry, you will be spared all gory, disturbing, disgusting, or otherwise unseemly information in this post. This will not be an overshare, but an honest account for those of you who have so generously and so honestly cared about this story and how it would pan out.)

Restroom self-check - Something was definitely going on.

When Tamsin graciously excused herself to tend to her own wifely and soon-to-be motherly duties, I attacked Bill with the information.

Suspicion: I was leaking amniotic fluid. Or, in other words, my water broke.  Just very, very slowly.

Bill convinced me to call the doctor's office (for some reason I was slightly embarrassed to do so as I had JUST left there, and also...I was leaking. That's not something you generally call someone on the phone to share. This is why God puts us in marital pairs - so that when one of us is acting like a doofus, the other can step in and suggest we knock it off and do what needs to be done).  The lovely nurse suggested that I wait a bit and see if it kept happening - at which point I should high-my-tail to the hospital (no need to call back, dear) where they could check to just make double sure that it actually was the amniotic fluid and not some other freak fluid - I mean really?  What else would it be??? I'm pretty sure I can tell if I'm wetting my pants or not - but to each her own.

It did keep happening.

So Bill and I with a shrug on our shoulder and only slight panic in our step hurried and packed a hospital bag, did the dishes (nevermind the rest of the housework - we'd get to it that night), and called in the Reserves to help with Wyatt (thanks, Megan!).

We even did an errand or two before we headed to the hospital to 'check on things'.

Honestly, that's all we thought they were doing.  We never really expected them to not let me leave.

3:00pm - At the Hospital
"Yep, it's amniotic fluid."

"Okay, so what do I do now? Just go home and be careful until labor starts?"

"Oh, no, honey. You're not leaving. Not until you have that baby."

And NOW the panic. "Well," I said with a bit of a forced laugh. "I guess I better call the babysitter."

Wyatt was handed from the capable hands of my sister to the capable hands of my parents where I knew he not only would be safe, but would have the time of his life.  That kid has fun grandparents. And this was important, as this was Friday - and the next day was Wyatt's birthday.

After I got off the phone with sister and parents, I burst into tears. I mourned the loss of Wyatt's second birthday to Bill - we had plans! Oh we had such plans to make this the birthday of his dreams!  After all - this was to be Wyatt's last hurrah with his parents wholly devoted to only him before the arrival of his sister.

Too late.

I was going to miss my son's birthday.

This broke my heart more than I expected it to - so much so that I was full on weeping when the nurse came back in to check on me.  We explained that tomorrow was our son's second birthday, which earned us an appreciative and sympathetic "awww" - and the news soon passed through the Labor and Delivery unit so that every nurse who came in to do their thing commented on Wyatt's birthday and how sad it was that I was here instead of having a cupcake with him and how uncanny it was that I was set to have my second so close to his birthday.

And do you know what?  This made me feel better.

A plug for the nurses at Mountain View Hospital.  They are an amazing bunch. Ever single one of them.  I never felt like a filled bed with them - they all knew my name, the older ones called me 'dear' and the younger ones dished with me about motherhood and labor and, yes, Wyatt.  Their MO was very different from the nurses I had with Wyatt's delivery.  They were very unobtrusive, but very available. They were perfect.

So there I was, stuck at the hospital and not in any kind of labor.

"Have you had any contractions,  yet?"

"No. Not even a twinge."

So they called Doctor Ludlow (the doctor we saw that morning, and my favorite of the two I was seeing).  He was in Salt Lake City - technically 'out of town' - to get his take on the situation.

Doctor Ludlow called me on my hospital room phone - cool!  He reminded us that once the waters broke, we had 24 hours to have this baby before things became unsafe for her.  He told us we had three choices:

1. We could wait through the night to see if my body went into labor naturally, and if nothing happened before close to the 24 hour mark the next morning, we'd do a C-Section.
2. We could assume that since it had been hours since my water initially 'broke' - slowly - that I wouldn't go into labor, and why wait, we could just do the C-Section tonight and start the healing process.
3. We could start me on a high dosage of Petocin to kick me in to labor - with the accompanying risks of uterine rupture that Petocin brings to a previously sliced womb. 

Bill and I conferred. We knew that things had flipped, again - that really I was looking at another C-Section.  My body was not in labor. The probability of that changing was slim.  Petocin was not an option (I did not feel good at all about option 3 - and neither did Bill - and we trusted our instincts). As eager as I was to get this girl here, and as resigned as I felt about having a repeat C-Section at this point and trying to embrace the right attitude about it - we were in God's hands, after all - We both felt that we'd still like to give my body the best chance possible for a VBAC. This had been our goal the entire time - no matter the outcome - and so we chose option A.

We would wait and see. Surgery in the AM. Give ourselves (and our doctor) a chance for a good night's rest before the festivities began the next morning.

Alright - so.  There I was, stuck in bed with monitors attached to my stomach and an IV in my wrist - I wasn't going anywhere.  And we had a long night ahead of us. So we decided to make a party of it!  Wyatt was with a sitter, sort of, so this could be like a really bizarre date!  Bill left to go pick up our DVD player and a few DVD's to enjoy during the long night, and I remained to watch the little blip blip of my daughter's heart rate with adoring eyes and contemplate my fate.

God works in mysterious ways - we knew this.  We also knew that His plan was always better and more complete than ours - and even though we may not always understand His methods, we did always understand His motive - and at the top of that list was our own well-being and happiness. We knew that He knew we wanted more children, and that they were currently in His care. He knew them, and He knew us - and if they were all going to come to us Via C-Section, then that was okay and according to Plan - and everything would be fine.  Fine.

And hadn't He promised us a challenge?

Then the nurse came in and said, "Stephanie (they don't do nicknames at hospitals), Dr. Ludlow is almost here.  He decided to come in and break your water the rest of the way, and then he'll just stay here through the night and just in case you go into labor on your own."

"Oh, okay" I said - but what I thought was: You mean that Dr. Ludlow - on his night off - decided of his own free will to come all the way back to the hospital in small-town Payson to break my water - giving up his night off AND a good night's sleep in his own bed - to give me the honestly best chance possible to do this naturally? I pictured his wife sitting alone at home on their date night - lovely and understanding - doing this favor for a girl she's never met.  I pictured Dr. Ludlow driving his nice-yet-sensible car down from SLC, concerned about me.  ME. Wanting to do his best to give me what I wanted in this experience.

He didn't have to do that.

I was overwhelmed with gratitude for this doctor.  He was now my hero - the man who would deliver my baby - and I loved him.

My next thought: CRAP!  Where is BILL?!

When Dr. Ludlow walked through the door, I tried to thank him - but he humbly waved it off and got to work.  Break my water he did.  And throw me into labor it did.

When Bill arrived 10 minutes after Dr. Ludlow left my room - I was having full on contractions.  Poor Bill!  He walked in - DVD player tucked under one arm, grocery sack of movies in the other - to a scene much changed!  I explained to him what happened - and he rose to the occasion.

Ladies and gentlemen - my husband is the best labor coach there is. I'm pretty sure he's the best labor coach there ever was. Neener neener.

We knew we had to get an epidural because you don't have a choice with a VBAC - they want to have the direct line access in case something goes wrong and they have to whisk you away to surgery - but Bill and I wanted to go as long as we could without any drugs to give my body as much time as we could to figure out how to do this thing. We were committed! And ladies - let me tell you. When you are in intense pain and on the verge of panic, and your husband's intense-yet-calm eyes and voice call you back from that ledge - you fall in love with him and you fall hard - again and again.

Team McCrery was in rare form!  We worked those contractions to do our bidding. We were really doing this!

Then came time for the epidural - and gracious and blissful sleep.

The nurse came in every hour to check my progress. With Wyatt we got stuck at an 8 - and that was the end of the story for us with that delivery.  So when the nurse announced that we had made it to a 9 - we had a little celebration of whooping and cheering (nurse included).

I said to Bill for the umpteenth time that night: "We're really going to do this!"

The nurse prepped the room for delivery. Watching her prepare that little plastic bed with sanitized blankets and cloths for my little girl - almost distracted me from watching her prep the table with all of the instruments they like to have on hand.  Mean looking forceps, pliers, scissors, stabby things - it looked more like a horror movie than a delivery room.

Bill made a witty comment about setting the buffet table with all the utensils - playing off my hunger and making light of those angry glinting silver instruments of EVIL. The nurse and I laughed, and it did calm me - but I still thought, they better not use any of that on my baby!

9 Dilation moved to 9.5.  9.5 moved to 10.

SATURDAY; November 21st (Wyatt's Birthday): 7:00am.

Time to push.

It was probably pretty bizarre to the nurses who were there assisting me, but I had the biggest burst of energy I'd ever experienced.  I was just so excited to be at that point!  Pushing!  I was going to deliver this child! Me! I was doing this!

They tell you to push for three reps of ten counts.  Before long I asked if I could do four.  I had the energy, I had the desire, I had pure power pulsing through my veins. I was woman. I was mother.

I was mighty.

Doctor Ludlow came in about half hour into pushing - and eventually had to tell me to take it easy - my enthusiasm was stressing out the Moeb.  Back to three reps of ten counts.

It was an hour and fifteen minutes of pushing that felt like ten minutes - full of feelings both physical and emotional that are so powerful I cannot describe them - and my daughter was born.

I waited with bated breath for that first cry - I looked down but all I could see were her tiny grey feet against the blue hospital gown of Doctor Ludlow.  I wasn't concerned that she wouldn't cry - only that I would miss it.

And then - the most beautiful sound in the world.

I wept.
Bill wept.
He cut the umbilical.  He was sure he wouldn't want to cut the umbilical - that he'd just stay out of the way and let the doctors do their thing.  But Doctor Ludlow told him to grab those scissors, and my man did, and he released our daughter as her own free agent into the world.  I think that being so involved in the whole process made it feel more like his place - and it was.  It was absolutely for him to do - and I love that he did it.

They cleaned and weighed my girl - she loudly complained to all the nurses the whole while.  Measuring, poking, proding, my girl's sweet cry complaining. Finally they wrapped her in blankets and handed her to Bill (I was finishing up my process - you know, placenta - stitches...).  She immediately went still. He spoke to her and she listened and was calm.

It was beautiful.  I will never forget it.  She knew her daddy.

And then they handed her to me.

Everything went quiet. She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. My little hummingbird.

And, it's weird.  She just gets prettier every day.

And Bill is still the one she calms to.

Bill says that sharing a birthday will make them close.  I tend to agree.

The whole thing was an unforgettable miracle. I picture God looking down at us shaking his head at me fondly - saying, "I told you that everything would be fine."

This, my friends, is better than fine.

You will have to forgive my more infrequent posts for a time while this little family re-learns its schedule. And while I re-learn how to do anything beyond enjoying my beautiful little family. Right now, we are basking in the light. Indulging in it. Rolling around in it and absolutely COATING ourselves, and then stomping all over the carpet with it in our shoes and not even caring.

Right now, Bill and Wyatt are playing on the floor with cars. I think I'll join them.


Lizzie said...

I'm crying right now. You're family is pure joy. That was a beautiful story.

Mandy Chiappini Photography said...

What a fantastic story Stepper. Thanks for sharing. I'm so glad to hear that everything turned out the way you'd hoped. And it's so comforting to know that God is watching over all of us, and knows our hearts. Give me so much inspiration and hope for my upcoming D-Day. You have a beautiful family.

sharon. said...

I love you guys so much!!

McIntire Madness said...

Hey Stepper, I saw your post on Facebook! Our boys have the same birthday two years apart! It is awesome. We love it and they don't seem to mind. I had the same thing happen, my water broke with no sign of contractions and I realized their fate was set with the same birthday. Congrats on your beautiful girl! (From Matt and Beth!)

Windy Dawn said...

{sniff, sniff} I got a little teary eyed reading your story. Thanks for sharing it with us, and I'm so glad everything worked out just the right way. Congrats again on the new little girl in your family.

Nicholas said...

Tears here too, even though you just told me this story on Tuesday night. You've made me so excited and hopeful (and truthfully, a little scared!) for our own North family D-day. And then we'll see who has the best delivery coach known to man! Neener neener,

b. said...


Jolynn said...

Loved the story. Almost makes me want to have another baby. :-) She sure is a big baby. My water broke on our 3rd child. Like a big old gush. Had small contractions in car. When we showed up at labor and delivery, (contractions were harder now) they told me I might be mistaken and put me in an exam room. I had to strip down, put on gown, while leaking fluid everywhere and having contraction. They confirmed my water did break. Made me get dressed again and walk across the hall to a labor & delivery room. Hayden was born a few hours later! I'm glad you followed your instincts. You're the Mom! Congrats once again!

Nicholas said...

Haha, PS: jus noticed that I'm commenting as Nick. Not so much! This is Tamsin :)

Mac and Charms said...

Oh Stepper, I am so out of the loop...Congratulations on little Daphne...I LOVE her name, and she is absolutely gorgeous!!!

Azúcar said...

Absolutely beautiful, the whole experience, and the name too!

Grandpa Rusty said...

Folks here at the office are going to wonder why I have red-rimmed eyes. Thanks for telling the story as only Stepper could. Love you and yours...

Swanky Mommy said...

So I typed a whole big long comment about how you're awesome and how the baby is adorable, and it was profound and would have made you weep. Then I realized I was logged in as Josh and that would be awkward to hear Josh using words like "precious" so I logged in as me, and now this is all you get. Sigh. I hate morning sickness, but I love little girls! I'm happy for you!