The past two months have been so busy with visitors and getting adjusted to life with a newborn that it’s been tough to find the time to write. And, let’s be honest, when I have had free time I wanted to sleep or catch up on life. Fortunately baby girl and I are starting to get more on a schedule, so my free time is popping up a little more regularly. After 2.5 months, I am SO excited to finally share the rest of our story and have all of these incredible memories written down to always remember.
If you haven’t read part one of Daisy’s birth story yet, be sure to read it. It’s a very important and emotional part of this story.
All caught up and ready for more? Good. Let’s continue ….
I left of at 7:00 p.m., 26 hours in labor and still no baby.
My doctor, my incredible doctor whom I love so so much and was supposed to deliver my baby, came in to let me know that his shift was ending soon and he would stay, but it was his daughter’s birthday and he had to get home to play Dad. I understood, but, after being a part of my entire pregnancy, I was so sad he wouldn’t be there for the biggest part! He promised me that the on-call doctor, who is a part of his practice, was wonderful and would be great. Oh well, not like anything else from this pregnancy was going according to plan. Thank goodness I didn’t have a super firm birth plan I was banking on!
We had a few visitors in and out of our room, and to say we were loud and wild would be an understatement. The nurses actually said they looked forward to coming in our room because “we were the party room” and “the most fun group ever!” Leave it to us.
At this point the epidural was letting up a bit and I could feel the contractions on my right side and in my back. OUCH! Pain and all, I was somewhat relieved. I was worried I wouldn’t know when to push or what was happening when it was time, so at least I could feel a little something. My contractions started getting too close together and I wasn’t dilated enough for the baby to be coming yet, so they had to decrease the dosage of my Pitocin to slow them down. C’mon, stubborn child of mine!
I was starting to get really nervous and anxious. It had been over 24 hours since my water broke and my chances of infection continued to increase, as did the likelihood that I would have to have an emergency c-section. Noooooo!
After waiting for what seemed like an eternity, the nurse came in at 7:30 and decided to check me again. Charts looked great. She checks me and very casually says, “Oh, yep. You’re fully dilated. It’s time!” Wait, what?! It’s what? After lying there for so long I’d seriously lost track of what all was about to happen. I was instantly nervous, excited, and absolutely terrified. She walked out of the room for a few minutes and came back in with a cart full of tools and equipment. She instructed Jimmy to stand on my left side and grab my foot, and she was on the right. The second she told Jimmy she was going to need him to help hold my leg up while I push, his face turned pale and he blatantly says, “Uh uh, nope. Can’t do it. Sarah!” Haha it was pretty hilarious. My sister came to the rescue, and Jimmy stood up by my head and held my hand. I already knew he didn’t want to see anything going on down there, so we all just laughed and let him be. After several pushes, a few other nurses and the doctor finally came in. I’ll spare you all the gory details, but let me just say it was the most intense and exhausting HOUR-AND-A-HALF of my LIFE!!!! That hour-and-a-half went something like this: my sister and the nurse were holding my legs. My mom was standing down by the doctor taking pictures (I know … but she insisted …), making faces and commentary as everything happened: “Ooo I see hair!” “Oh my gosh, you’re so close!” “Ahhh she’s coming!!!!!” She also offered me a cold wet rag for my head about 20 times – it’s kind of her thing. I was trying not to scream. Meanwhile, in his loudest voice ever, Jimmy was being my cheerleader: “Ready? Set? PUSH!” “You can do it!” “You got this!” “Push like you’re pooping!” – (that coming from the guy who says girls don’t poop) “Go baby, go! Go baby, go!” “Yeaaaaahhhhh you’re great at this!” I had quite a few laughs in between those exhausting pushes. Keep in mind I didn’t have a chance to go to a birthing class – we were scheduled to go the following week – so I was learning as I went, and my nurse was SO helpful in getting me through.
Finally, the doctor told me she’s coming and he needed one more push. I felt like I was about to collapse from exhaustion, but somewhere I found the energy and did it. Then I see this horrified look on my mom’s face, and he tells me to stop pushing. The umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck and she looked blue – I could see it. My heart stopped beating, I felt tears run down my cheeks, and I kept asking if she was okay. He said he couldn’t pull it over her head so he was going to have to cut it (Jimmy had finally worked up the courage that evening and said he was going to be the one to cut it. Oh well.) He then told me to give one more push. I did, what felt like minutes passed, and she cried. It was the most glorious sound in the world. I can’t tell you how I felt in that moment, but it’s like my heart completely exploded and every tear in my eyes leaked out. They handed her to me and my world was complete.
On Friday, January 13, 2017 at 9:08 p.m., our Daisy Leigh arrived. All 5 lbs. 12.4 oz. and 19 inches of her. And she was absolutely perfect.
After only a few minutes of holding her, the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) nurse took her to examine her to make sure she was breathing okay and checked her vitals. While the doctor finished with me, the nurses bathed her, weighed her and took her footprints, then put her in my arms to nurse for the first time. Jimmy and I were completely blown away with her perfect latch and her instincts of knowing how to do that immediately. It was incredible. And considering I didn’t have a chance to take a breastfeeding class, I was pretty proud of myself, too 😊.
We learned something terrifying and miraculous after that. After examining the placenta, which they do after all deliveries, the doctor mumbled something and said, “Wow, I haven’t seen this in almost ten years,” and called the nurse over to look. My mom asked what was wrong, and come to find out, I had VCI (Velamentous Cord Insertion) and Vasa Previa, which are abnormal conditions during pregnancy. You can look them up, but basically the umbilical cord was not properly attached to the placenta and was hanging on by threads. Apparently as the baby grows and puts on all that weight in the last five weeks of pregnancy, it can cause the “threads” to tear and commonly leads to stillbirth or the mother hemorrhaging during labor. Holy cow. He said that there is absolutely no medical explanation why my water broke when it did, but it was a miracle. To say God was in charge is an understatement. I think He must have big plans for my miracle, angel baby. I later read that only about 15% of pregnant women experience their water breaking, and less than 10% have issues with the placenta. I was both. Crazy.
Jimmy got a few minutes of baby snuggles in – which was the sweetest thing to see – and then the nurses rushed her away to the NICU, where they would have to keep her hooked up to monitors for the next six hours since she was born prematurely. I was heartbroken to see her leave, but I was so beyond exhausted that the thought of a few hours of uninterrupted sleep didn’t sound so bad. After all, that would be the last time in a looonnngggg time we would get that!
Around 3 a.m. the nurse came in and brought our baby back. She told us everything checked out and Daisy was perfect! She helped us gather our things and head to the room we would stay in for the next two nights. As we wheeled our way down the hall and past the front desk, the nurses stopped us to ask if we were the “party people.” Then they asked Jimmy to take his hat off to see if he looked like Seth Rogan, because apparently they could hear him cheering me on from wayyyyy down the hall and said he sounded just like him! Then they proceeded to let him know they had so much fun listening to him, and wanted him to come back for every delivery 😂.
Once in our new room, we spent the rest of the night/morning getting to know our baby girl, drooling over her perfection, and enjoying night one as a family.
Saturday, visitors started arriving at 10 a.m. (with doughnuts!) and they continued all day (with cold turkey subs – FINALLY!). Everyone took turns loving on Daisy, and all of the nurses came in to see “the baby with the awesome hair they kept hearing about.” Oh, and my mom completely rearranged and redecorated the room (and then the head of the L&D department came in to take pictures of it because she loved how she set it up! HA!).
By Saturday night her bilirubin count hadn’t gone down, so they took her back to the NICU at 9 a.m. Sunday for EIGHT HOURS to keep her under the heat lamp for Jaundice. Friends and family drove hours to come visit, but could only stare at her two at a time while dressed in robes. It was sad, but thankfully it was only temporary. Daisy did get to wear her first pair of shades, though!
We were thinking she was going to have to stay in the NICU overnight, but fortunately her bilirubin count dropped just enough that we were able to be released that night. Thank goodness – I was NOT looking forward to going home without her … or sleeping in a chair in the waiting room. The next step toward going home was her car seat check, which they also do with premature babies. They had to hook her up to a heart rate monitor for 90 minutes while in her car seat to make sure she was breathing properly and getting enough oxygen. (We didn’t even have the correct infant car seat yet, so my dad had to bring one up from Georgia that a friend sold to him. Thanks, Dad!) Baby girl passed that, along with her hearing test, with flying colors. My little five-week-early overachiever :). At 11 p.m. it was time to go home.
The drive home with our precious cargo was nerve-racking, but Jimmy got us there safely. When we walked in the door my jaw dropped. Apparently my friends knew that I was stressing about Daisy coming so early and we didn’t have time to fully prepare, so they got together and decided to be rock stars while we were in the hospital. Between them, my mom and my sister, our house looked the best it ever had. No joke – they cleaned the house and put together the nursery. I’m talking did the dishes, steamed the carpets, organized our ENTIRE house into plastic storage bins and labeled each of them with its contents, cleaned the garage and (for the first time ever) parked Jimmy’s Jeep in it (a feat in itself!), scrubbed the bathrooms, re-homed our evil cat, cleaned out the fridge, and mopped the floors. We were in the process of cleaning out my office which would become the nursery, and hadn’t even taken the crib out of the box. They cleaned out the room, put together furniture, hung all of her clothes in the closet, organized the changing table necessities, hung a few decorations on the walls, and put together the pack n play and her swing. I had no idea this was going down, and when I walked into our house with the baby at almost midnight that Sunday night, exhausted and overwhelmed, I just stood in the doorway and cried.
On top of that, they watched and took care of our dog, and organized a Meal Train for the next three weeks for us so we wouldn’t have to worry about dinner. They brought groceries and stocked our fridge, plastic containers for leftovers, paper plates so we didn’t have to do dishes, and one even brought over homemade lactation cookies! (Thank you, all of you! You seriously have NO idea what that means to us.) I’m pretty sure they’re angels, too.
It was honestly the hardest, most exhausting, and most amazing four days of my life, and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. The excruciating pain, sleep deprivation, camping out in the living room with Daisy for the first two weeks, headaches, tears, stitches, and eight weeks of recovery are absolutely nothing in comparison to our love for this little girl. Our life has been changed forever, and I’ve never been so happy about anything.
We were married on December 13th, 2014 and had our baby on January 13th, 2017. Guess we have a new lucky number, along with our very own angle ❤️.
My angel baby. My miracle baby. My absolutely perfect baby girl. Thank you for coming into our lives, and making us whole.
Now if you need a good laugh, I happened to catch Jimmy’s first-ever diaper change on video. It’s probably the most hilarious thing ever! (Be sure to watch the whole way through, and turn your volume up!):
A HUGE thank you to all of the nurses and doctors at Memorial Hospital Jacksonville. You all were so incredible, and we were honestly sad to leave you. We felt like you were part of our family! Thank you to my OB/GYN, Dr. Andres, for making my first pregnancy experience so amazing, and being the best doctor I could have asked for. Believe it or not, I actually miss going to the doctor to see him and his staff! Also, thank you to all of our friends and family who came to visit us, brought food and snacks, sent flowers, cleaned our house, and cooked and delivered us meals. I’m getting choked up writing about it. You seriously have no idea how much every gesture means to us. Thank you ❤️.