It has taken me a couple months to finally write down Maggie's birth story, but now I am finally getting around to it. I hope you enjoy:
Having her tests done
I had my last day of work on Friday, July 22nd. It was bitter-sweet. Some of my best friends are there, and I can honestly say that I loved going to work every day (Joe worked right down the hall from me, it was perfect). With a farewell song played to me by the girls at work (Vitamin C's "Graduation- Friends Forever"), I was on my way to impending motherhood (that song was my anthem in 8th grade, so classic).
My office was on the 2nd story, on the left, 5th & 6th windows from the left. Has a great view of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Buena Vista
Not going to work on Monday was a little weird, so I cleaned my house. Apparently I was "nesting". Joe and I went to a work cookout at my boss's house that evening. It was nice getting to hang out with my work family one more time.
Tuesday, July 26th was my due date. I got up and went on a 3 mile walk with my mom and Tyson (the dog). Hoping that would move things along (for some reason, I always felt like Maggie would come a week late, so might as well start helping her out a little bit). I felt like I was moving at a respectable pace until Tyson started turning around and looking at us like something was wrong. I asked my mom what pace she usually walked, and I definitely couldn't keep up. She was so nice to be patient with me as I waddled along. I kept getting some sharp feelings in my side, which made me have to stop walking every once and awhile. This freaked my mom out a bit. I was pretty sure they weren't contractions though, and I kept reassuring her that everything was fine (they stopped after the walk was done). I brought my cell phone with me, just in case. I got home, and spent the evening at home with Joe. My wonderful visiting teachers came by and gave me the lesson for the month. They brought me a pack of popcorn that had a "Let's Get Poppin" note on it, delicious snickerdoodles, and a beautiful pink and white knit hat for Maggie (which she just wore a couple days ago). We had our bags ready to go, because I had a check up at Augusta Health Care for Women the next day.
We got a good night's sleep that night, and even got to sleep in longer than normal (thank goodness, because I needed my energy). I started having light contractions around 9:00am on Wednesday, July 27th. Of course I wasn't sure if they were contractions right away, but after calling my mom, she felt like that's probably what they were (there must have been something in those snickerdoodles). My mom and dad came over before we left for my 11:00am check up. Joe and my dad gave me a priesthood blessing to help me through the day. I am so grateful to have worthy priesthood holders in my family. After taking a shower, eating breakfast, and putting some last minute things in our bags, we were off to Augusta.
During the 40 minute drive to the hospital, I timed my contractions using a lap timer on Joe's cell phone. When we left the house, my contractions were about 10 minutes apart, and by the time we got to the check up they were 5 minutes apart (each lasting about a minute long). We were about 15 minutes late to the appointment, and the lady at the front desk said that she hoped Mary (my nurse-midwife) hadn't gone to lunch yet. I told her that I was in labor, so she made sure to get Mary right away. Mary checked me, and I was about 2 cm dilated and 90% effaced. She advised me to not check in to the hospital yet, and just wait it out for a bit. I was totally fine with that, because I wanted to wait as long as possible to check in. But we weren't willing to go all the way home, just to come all the way back. Mary told us to go have a nice, healthy lunch and to walk around the mall to kill some time. She told us to come back around 4:30pm, before they closed, so I could be checked again.
August Health Care for Women
She couldn't tell us the exact moment when Maggie was coming, but she could say anytime within the next 72 hours (yikes). But I felt like Maggie was coming that day. I called my mom to cancel the manicure/pedicure appointment I had previously scheduled for that afternoon (one of my friends told me if I wanted my baby to come, go ahead and schedule something really fun, and you'll go into labor instead...it worked! I gave another one of my friend's the same advice a few weeks later, and it worked for her too). Joe and I left the appointment, and headed for downtown Staunton to eat (about 10 minutes away from the Augusta Medical). We wanted to go to a nice place, since this was our "last supper" without a baby. We chose to eat at Emilio's, a really nice Italian restaurant that we had been to once before for a work dinner. Umm, so delicioso (emiliositalianrestaurant.com)! I decided not to hold back (I rarely do when it comes to food). I started out with a shrimp bisque, and ordered a pasta dish with fillet tips, shrimp, vegetables, and a white cream sauce. I was pretty full when we were done (of course I ate it all, because there was no where to put the left overs). I was having contractions the whole time, and they were getting stronger and stronger. I felt great in between contractions, and when they came I would just have to stop what i was doing and relax through them. I would take bites, then push my plate towards Joe when one came. By the time we left the restaurant, contractions were about 4 minutes apart. And boy was it a hot day! I'm pretty sure it was the hottest July I have ever remembered. It may have had something to do with me having another person in my stomach, but I'm pretty sure it was the hottest ever. But seriously, Joe looked up the week before Maggie was due is historically the hottest week in Virginia (awesomeness). Anyway, after leaving the restaurant and making a sweaty waddle to the car (by the way, I'm pretty sure I went through 5 glasses of water at the restaurant), we headed to the luxurious Staunton mall (sarcasm...it's one level, with one isle, and half of the store are out of business).
We went straight to the Sprint kiosk, so i could get a new phone. We don't mess around, we were taking advantage of our time in civilization (we love living in a small town, right by the beautiful mountains. Its only downfall is convenience). My phone was 3 years old, and the only reason I hadn't gotten a new one yet was because we hadn't taken the time to drive the 40+ minutes out of town. Why not get a new phone while I'm in labor! The guy helping us probably thought I was so weird. By this time, contractions were gradually stronger and closer together. I was totally fine in between them, and could carry on a perfectly good conversation. During a contraction, I would put my head down and lean on the kiosk counter, and not talk. So, Joe would answer the questions for me while I was having a contraction, and I would answer in between them. He must of thought we had a really weird relationship, if my husband had to answer when my birthday was. After activating my phone, we walked over to a jewelry store to get my ring cleaned (yes, I was able to take it off, barely!). The girl working there asked me when I was due, and I said "yesterday". She said she has two little ones at home. I then felt comfortable enough to tell her that I was in labor right then. So, she understood when I just had to stop talking to her every couple of minutes. After getting my ring back, we did a couple laps around the mall. It was about 4:00pm, and we decided to head back to see Mary. By this time, contractions were about 2 minutes apart. She checked me, and I was 4 cm dilated. Time to get checked into the hospital!
Me getting checked into the hospital. Not the best picture of me, but I wasn't really focusing having a photo shoot at this time
We arrived a little after 5:00pm. The check in process took longer than expected because they spelled our name "Whetsone", and had to reprint everything. It was ok, I hadn't hit hard labor yet. I originally didn't want to be hooked up to an IV, but they had to give me antibiotics because I tested group strep B positive. The IV was pretty annoying, but we got to take it out before hard labor hit. They also hooked me up to a fetal heart rate monitor which was strapped around my stomach, to listen to Maggie and monitor contractions. It was pretty annoying as well, and I asked them to take it off as much as they could.
Once the antibiotic was in my system, I was able to get in the tub to help relax through contractions (don't worry, I won't gross you out with any more pictures of me from this point on...but I'm sure I was a sight for sore eyes). I listened to some relaxation music while in the tub, and it really helped me to relax. After about an hour, I decided to get out and go back into bed for a bit. I turned over on my side, and felt a "pop" sensation. The flood gates opened, and out came my "water". It was not water, and I'm not really sure why they call it that. Anyway, it was an interesting experience, and I'm glad it happened in the hospital and not anywhere else.
My water broke around 7:30pm, and a few minutes later I threw up. This was the first time I threw up in my whole pregnancy, so I didn't mind too much. Mary said that it was a sign that hard labor was right around the corner. Boy, was she right! Only a few minutes later, contractions got more painful and closer together. I did a few things to try to relax through my contractions. I walked around the room in between, and leaned on Joe during a few of them. I sat on an exercise ball, and leaned on the side of the bed during a few of them. It helped to keep moving, instead of just laying in bed. I felt fine in between contractions, and I would even forget how painful they were, but I would remember really quick when one came again.
As the sun began to set, I realized why they call it labor (it is hard work)! I am so grateful for having such a supportive husband. He was by my side the whole time, helping me relax through contractions. My midwife Mary and my labor nurse were absolutely perfect. They both knew I wanted to have a natural labor, and were so supportive with my wishes. Mary later told Joe and me that she requested that I have this specific nurse, because she knew how wonderful she was. So bottom line, I had a great team.
At around 10:30pm, Mary asked me if I thought it was time to push. I said I could start trying (I wasn't really sure, I had never done this before). By this point I was exhausted, and wasn't really sure how it was possible for me to push a little human out of me. After pushing for a bit, I was seriously doubting myself. But I knew my team had confidence in me, and that really helped. While I was pushing the thought "why didn't I get an epidural?" did run through my mind, but it was mostly from the pain of the contractions and not the actual pushing. I was prepared for that thought to cross my mind, so I ignored it (plus, it was too late to get one anyway). After pushing for a while, I didn't really feel like I was making any progress. But Mary kept saying "she's right there, she's right there" (I didn't really believe her, I thought she was just saying it to make me feel better). But then she told me to feel her head coming out, which was a crazy experience. At that point, I was determined to push her out with all of my energy. With two pushes, I pushed out her head. And with one last push, came her shoulders and the rest of her body. Whew! I looked over at Joe, and was so relieved it was done. It was 11:30pm, and Maggie Joyce Whetstone was officially here! I was told later on that the umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck twice, but she was breathing fine. Mary sucked out her mouth and nose, and handed her right to me. It was so surreal, holding her for the first time, and realizing she was ours! Those first few minutes together were such a wonderful bonding time for us.
Our first family picture
After giving us a few minutes with her, they took her to weigh, measure, and wipe down. They had me guess how much she weighed, and I said 7 lbs. She ended up being 7 lbs 2 ounces and 21.5 inches long. I never thought that Joe and I would ever make something petite, but it happened (and I'm so grateful). She receive a perfect 10 on her Apgar test. Grandma Whetstone calls her "the perfect 10" because of this and she's the 10th Whetstone grandchild...and she's just plain perfect. My mom, dad, and sister Candace were in the waiting room, and we had them come in after her tests were done. Of course when my mom walked in I started crying (tears of joy, of course)...she has that effect on me sometimes. My dad was surprised at how alert Maggie was, her eyes were wide open. I'm pretty sure it was because I didn't have an epidural. It was so nice for my mom, dad, and sister to be there to meet Maggie in the middle of the night. My mom and dad came the next morning too.
with Grandma Lund, or Nana...we're not really sure what we're calling her yet
with Grandpa Lund, or Pop-Pop
Joe's parents made such a big sacrifice, leaving their vacation at Hilton Head early to come and meet Maggie. They drove for eight hours straight, and arrived the next afternoon. But I'm so glad that they came (even though it wasn't the most ideal timing for them)!
with Grandma and Big Daddy Whetstone
Overall, I had a wonderful birthing experience! I couldn't have done it without my supportive husband, family, and most of all my Savior Jesus Christ. I know that He took some of the pain away from me in those late moments of labor. Because of His sacrifice for me, I was able to have the faith that I could get through it! I am grateful that I was able to have a natural labor, and I feel that I can do anything now because of my experience. I feel empowered and blessed. I am so in love with this little girl, and I only now realize the greatness of a mother's love. My love for Joe has increased and our marriage had grown even stronger. He is such an amazing father, and I am in awe of the love and support that he gives Maggie and me every day. I am so excited for our new journey!