It was Thursday night around 1 AM, I woke up with an intense need to get the bathroom quickly! I thought I was going to pee all over the floor. Throwing on my house shoes, I proudly made it to the toilet. Then I started to cramp up. That's weird, I thought. Josh must have sensed something was happening, because he secretly started timing whatever was happening. The cramps would come and go, and finally, I said to Josh," I'm not sure what's happening but we should just go to the hospital."
We left the house around 2:45 AM. The hospital knew we were coming, so everything was ready when we got there. I don't remember much of the checking in because the pain was becoming more intense. We went to the labor and delivery floor and got comfy.
I was hooked up to a fetal monitoring machine, and sure enough I was having contractions. After a check, I was still only dilated to 1.5. The nurse did a test to see if my water had broken. She came back and said I was being admitted because my water had broken. I immediately asked about pain relief. She gave me medicine that would "make me loopy". It did indeed make me loopy! I was thinking some crazy things and only saying a few of those thoughts out loud! Something about being on Wheel of Fortune for kids... The medicine didn't take away the pain from the contractions but took the edge off, which allowed me to relax between them.
Somewhere around 7 AM and in the middle of intense contractions, I found prayer was my defense. I would breathe in and breathe out characteristics that described the Lord- Rock, Strength, Provider, and more. Then all of a sudden a sweet, calming, but firm voice whispered in my ear "Hey Momma, you need to slow your breathing down. The deeper your breaths, the better for Baby." I didn't know this voice, but it brought such peace, so I obeyed. This voice belonged to the nurse who had just started her shift and would take care of me and Kate the rest of the day (7AM-7PM). (She became a good friend through this journey. We are so grateful for her! We are also SO thankful for the care both Kate and I received at the hospital. The nursing staff were incredible! Nurses must have a spiritual gift to take care of others and pour themselves out completely for every patient for every shift. Lord, give them an extra amount of love, care, and energy for every single patient they care for.)
After some miscommunication and a shift change, pain relief arrived. The epidural was given in less that 2 minutes and the gal was in and out of the room in 20 minutes. My blood pressure dropped when it was given, but it stabilized before the lady left the room. My BP, my heart rate, and Kate's heart rate were continuously monitored. I felt immediate relief. I could still feel my toes and move my legs, it just felt like my legs were asleep because I had been sitting cross legged on the floor for too long.
Around noon I had dilated to about an 8, and 20 minutes later to 9.5. I went from 1.5 to 10 in about 12 hours. Really fast for me and for a first baby. Then my sweet doctor came in. Since I wasn't in pain and Kate wasn't ready for any pushing, my doctor suggested we labor down. Laboring down is letting gravity do its thing by pulling the baby down, and most women who labor down only have to do a couple of good pushes and baby is here. I still pushed for about an hour or so, but my doctor was great. She gave great direction, and we even had some laughs. If you know me, I treasure those moments of seriousness when something funny happens. You never forget those moments. (At our wedding, I tried to put Josh's ring on the wrong finger and thought I was sneaky moving it to the other hand. Nope, not sneaky! Everyone saw it and busted out laughing. I was so embarrassed, I turned away from the crowd and there stood the photographer. We have one photo of our wedding day, and that's the one. I love it!) My doctor was trying to count and say encouraging things at the same time... she slipped and said "Come on, Amber! Keep pushing! Just give up!!" Wait, what??? Then all of us started laughing. She also instigated a healthy competition between another doctor who was delivering a baby down the hall. I said," Game on. Let's do this." when I heard there was a competition.
I had my eyes closed and worship music was playing. We played Plumb's song "Need You Now", Rita Springer's "Worth It All", and music by Hillsong. Kathryn Joyce Harrington (Kathryn and Joyce were the names of our paternal grandmothers, both strong women, we're hoping for a healthy balance of both of these women in Kate's life and attitude) was born at 2:50 PM to the song "Man of Sorrows" by Hillsong. Music means so much to me, and every time I hear these songs I will think about the birth of our baby girl. My eyes were closed, I was focused, and that same encouraging, sweet, but firm voice said in my ear," Hey, Momma, open your eyes to look at your baby girl." I opened my eyes, and
there she was taking her first breath in a new world
and forever holding on to my heart.
I started weeping with joy.
Everyone was crying and praising the Lord for her safe and healthy arrival!
Josh parents bolted across the state of Texas from Arizona to meet Kate and snuggle with her!