“Hey Layne…. I think my water just broke.”
It was an ordinary Tuesday evening, and although I was two days past my due date, I wasn't experiencing any signs of labor, so needless to say, I was a little surprised.
So was Layne who was napping on the couch. But he quickly jumped up from the couch and sprang into action. It was “go time”.
Like all thoroughly prepared moms-to-be, I had a plan. This plan included laboring in the comfort of my home until my contractions were coming at regular intervals. Lesson #1 in motherhood, things rarely, if ever, go as planned.
Layne dutifully gathered our bags, placed the defrosting chicken back in the freezer, and texted our neighbor that she was on dog duty. My biggest concern at that moment? Dinner. I knew that as soon as I walked through those hospital doors, I'd be cut off. No food. No water. And with no contractions, it was sure to be a long night. We made a pit stop at our favorite drive-thru; my thoughts were racing a million miles a minute as I sat (on a towel) in the hospital parking lot eating. Was this really happening? It felt so surreal, and we took a few minutes to just sit and soak up those last quiet moments of being just the two of us.
After getting ourselves checked in, I found out I was a whopping 1 cm dilated. It really was going to be a long night. As they started my pitocin drip, I tried to mentally prepare myself for intense contractions. But the first few hours were surprisingly easy; I calmly breathed through each contraction as I paced around the room. I even managed to watch the highly-anticipated series premire of This is Us.
By 11:00pm, the contractions were coming on faster and harder. Though I was still coping well enough, it was time to start talking pain management. An IV analgesic took the edge off and did the trick right up until 2:00am. By then, I was trying desperately (and futilely) to relax and breathe through the contractions, but they were coming on too quickly, and I was tensing and fighting against each wave.
The anesthesiologist showed up and administered my epidural around 4:00am. As my body began to relax and I stopped fighting, my labor actually sped up. Not long after, my mom and youngest sister joined us. With back up on hand, Layne finally crashed and caught some quality sleep on those “comfy” dad recliners. Hours kept ticking by as we waited for what felt like ages. But by the time noon finally rolled around, the nurses said I was at a 9. It was nearly game time.
Although I wasn’t in pain, each contraction brought with it an immense amount of pressure, and I knew it was nearly time to push. When the time came, we turned on our “Abbie Layne” playlist and praise music filled the hospital room. By this point, I was exhausted, starving, and beyond thirsty. Ice chips were just not cutting it, and I kept trying to let the ice melt so I could get a tiny sip of water. I remember asking how much longer it would be, and if I could please have something to drink once Abbie made her grand entrance?!?!
With “You Make Me Brave” playing on repeat, I continued to push. The nurses, Layne, and my mom kept telling me that I was so close and doing so good. Finally, at 3:46pm, after 21 hours of labor and 1 hour of pushing, Abbie arrived.
“She’s beautiful” squealed my mom, but aside from that, it was eerily quiet. I heard my doctor say that Abbie was “floppy” as he instructed a nurse to page the NICU. In that moment, my breath caught and my heart stopped. But almost immediately, I heard the sweetest sound of my life. My perfect daughter cried out, and I joined her, sobbing with relief, “There she is!"
They whisked the receiving blanket off my chest and ushered Abbie over to the baby station to check her out. Proud dad, Layne, stayed right by her side. After a quick assessment they determined she was fine. Finally, Layne brought her over to me. As I held her close, she looked all around, soaking in this new world.
One of the first things I noticed was her head full of dark hair. I'm a true redhead and Layne is fair too, so were shocked. Everyone was certain she would be a ginger. As we relished in every detail, our hearts overflowed with a love we had never known possible. Weighing in at 7lb 15 oz and 19” long, Abigail Layne, our beautiful daughter, had arrived.