One month ago...

4 weeks ago, I was lying in a hospital bed, waiting and wondering how my little baby was going to make her grand entrance into this world.  Travis and I were just getting settled in my room, and I was getting a drug to help make my scheduled induction in the morning, a little easier.  I remember having the TV on, and choosing the movie "My Best Friend's Wedding" but I certainly wasn't paying much attention to it.  I kept hearing the rapid heartbeat of my baby and I was feeling her move and kick for what I knew was the last time.  It was strange and thrilling and sad and overwhelming and just plain wonderful.  I was just hours from meeting her and hours from becoming a Mommy for the first time.  

I always imagined I would be nervous in that moment, anxious about the pain or the uncertainty of what was to come.  But oddly enough, I wasn't nervous at all.  I was tired, I was excited and I was ready.  I had a peace about every detail and I knew it was due to the army of people praying for me, for us.  I share that because it was evidence of His grace already at work in our baby girl's birth.  When Travis and I left our condo and got in our car to head to the hospital, I wasn't quite so calm.  I thought I was, but as we got on the freeway and began the very familiar drive, I suddenly found myself totally overtaken with emotion.  I started sobbing and became gripped with fear.  I was very aware of all that was about to take place and I didn't know if I could handle it.  Poor Travis looked at me and tried to process how I could go from thrilled to terrified in about 30 seconds.  But he took my hand (with one hand still on the wheel) and he prayed with me.  He prayed for our doctors, for the nurses, for our baby, for us, and for me.  He looked at me with the most tender eyes and he wiped my tears away.  And as He prayed, I could feel the fear lifting.  I stopped crying, long enough to fix my make-up again, and I took a deep breath, ready for whatever.  And so, hours later, when I finally found myself in a hospital gown, on a hospital bed and expected to feel that same fear all over again, I didn't. 

We spent that night, excitedly dreaming about meeting Ava.  I took the sleeping pill they offered me, which proved to be a big mistake!  I hardly slept at all, not because of my contractions, but because I was so nauseous.  When the sun started to rise on Friday morning, and I attempted to sit up, I quickly realized that was not going to happen without a major price to pay!  Travis woke up to me snapping my fingers as loudly as I could and vomiting all over my hands and my bed.  Happy baby day :)  Sadly, I would repeat the same scenario several times before some Zophran finally made it all better.  Just as I began to feel normal again, my doctor came in at 7:00 am and broke my water and ordered my pitocin drip to start at 8:00 am.   I was dilated 2 cm and 100% effaced.  My contractions were very faint, but had started on their own.  I was happy and feeling good.  This labor thing wasn't so bad :) 

The next hours unfolded quickly and just as the Lord had planned.  I endured the pitocin contractions until 9:30 am, when they came hard and fast.  I was just happily watching the Today Show when I was suddenly aware that my uterus was about to explode. Seriously, my contractions were intense almost immediately and 2 minutes apart.  I tried the breathing thing, which led to out right moaning and then they even tried to put me on a "birthing ball" to help the pain.  Let me just say, that was no help.  My glorious epidural came shortly thereafter and not a second too soon :) I never saw the man's face who gave me that great drug, but I can tell you that I loved him with a deep love.  I managed to get some sleep in the next couple of hours and got to see my family members as they arrived.  It was surreal and amazing and I still could not believe it was happening.  At noon, my nurse came to check me and to our surprise, I was already complete!  Dilated 10 cm and totally effaced, I was physically ready to deliver our little girl :)  After checking me however, she determined Ava was still pretty high in the birth canal, which would require several hours of pushing to move her down or we could wait and let her come down naturally.  It was decided that I was doing fine and so was she, so we waited and at 2:30 I started to push. I remember looking at Travis and thinking our lives were never going to be the same in just a few minutes.  Amazingly, I wasn't in any pain, I just felt the pressure of the contractions and of her moving out.  My doctor and my nurse kept telling us about all the dark hair they could see on her head, we laughed about that and got very excited about finally seeing this little one we had been waiting for.  

After about 45 minutes of pushing, at 3:17 pm our sweet Ava Page Armstrong entered this world, kicking and screaming and melting her parents' hearts.  It is almost impossible to describe the emotion in that moment of hearing and finally seeing your child.  Tears filled both of our eyes and Travis left my side to go take her in as they weighed her, measured her and looked at her.  He locked eyes with me and told me how beautiful she was and that he loved me...I will never, ever forget that moment as long as I live.  The following minutes and hours were the most precious we've known since we got married.  Holding Ava, introducing her to family and just looking at her was pure bliss.  The Lord was so gracious to us, allowing me a complication-free delivery and giving us a totally healthy little girl. 

I cannot believe that was one month ago already.  Where has the time gone??  Today we are taking our little peanut to get her first pictures taken.  I am so excited about it, I know she'll look darling, but more than that, I just want to somehow freeze this time in our life and have a tangible way to remember it forever.  I really want to just keep her from growing up any faster :) 4 weeks has gone faster than I ever imagined.  My baby has grown, our world has been turned upside down and our hearts are bigger and fuller than they've ever been.  We LOVE this little girl, our gift from Heaven.  I know the days will continue to march on, the weeks and months soon blending together, but not today.   Today we have memories flooding our minds and we are drinking in the moments with her.  Oh, and as a gift to us today, that little honey slept almost 7 hours last night!!!  What a way to start our weekend :) 

Happy One Month little Ava!!  
We love you so much and can't wait for many more to come.  


Erin said...

Cant wait to see you guys in a few hours !!!

Melissa said...

this story gave me chills.. its such a miracle.

Leanne said...

I had tears in my eyes as I read your story! I've been there, done that, 8 times and it is those intense feelings that keeps me wanting to do it again!

You are truly blessed and honored to receive the loan of Ava.

Take care!


Amber said...

I love reading the birth story! Can't believe its been a whole month already!! And yay for 7 hours of sleep.
Can't wait to see you next week!!

Amanda Hoyt said...

Awesome birth story! I'm tearing up over here.
Many hugs and prayers to you and your sweet family.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this sweet story of little Ava's birth!

Spearmint Baby said...

congratulations! what a great story :)
you should print a copy for Ava's baby book so she can share this with her children someday!

Jesse and Stacie said...

Good job Ava girl!! Can't wait to see her pictures from today :)

Manda (+2) said...

Thanks for sharing your story!