****************************To begin Harper's birth story, let's go back to Monday, September 14. That day, I marveled to the other teachers in the grade level about how good I felt. I felt amazing...so much better than I had in months. Brooke made a comment about it being the calm before the storm, and I brushed that off quickly--I wasn't having a baby until the 21st, after all. I worked in my classroom until 6 and then went to life group with B and Aniston, feeling more energetic than I had in a long time.
After we got home from life group that night, though, the great feeling quickly faded, and was replaced with something else. I couldn't quite describe the feeling to anyone, but I just felt...off. The feeling continued, and it was enough to make me throw my hospital bag in the car before heading to my 38 week appointment with Dr. H on Tuesday at 11:40. We listened to Harper's heartbeat, discussed the plan for the c-section for the following Monday, and signed all the necessary paperwork. After I mentioned how I was feeling, Dr. H did a quick check and confidently announced that he would see me in the OR on Monday morning.
I met B for lunch, then went home and spent the rest of the afternoon resting. I blogged about Eric and Chelsea's wedding, B mowed the grass, and we had leftovers for dinner. It was the most normal, mundane night.
At 2:45am, Aniston woke up and yelled for B. He went to check on her, and I took the opportunity to grab a sip of Gatorade from the fridge--the fruit punch kind was my biggest pregnancy craving. As I walked past the foot of our bed, I felt a pop. It wasn't anything dramatic, just strange, and I didn't give it any more thought. B got Aniston settled, and we went back to bed.
At 3:30, my eyes flew open with a crazy thought: Was that pop my water breaking?!
I've never felt so dumb in my life. My water broke, and I didn't even realize it until forty-five minutes later.
I quickly woke B. While he showered, I called my OB's answering service. Since I was a scheduled c-section, I had been told to call if anything happened because they didn't want me to go into active labor. Dr. F returned my call within minutes and said he'd meet us at the hospital. My contractions were very far apart, and I only had one at home that I could really describe as painful. I called my mom to come stay with Aniston, we got a few last minute things together, and we headed to the hospital.
I love B for lots of reasons--one of which is his ability to stay calm in any situation. Even though that frustrates me sometimes (like when I'm losing my mind and he's being calm and rational), it makes us a good team. I panic, he doesn't, and we work together. The only sign of him being nervous at all that morning was that, once we arrived at the hospital, he couldn't decide where to park in the empty parking deck.
After he finally found the perfect spot (I insisted on not being dropped off at the front door), we went to OB triage and I was hooked up to lots of monitors. We spent the time listening to Harper's heartbeat and feeling her kick. We made the necessary calls and texts to family and friends to let them know that our sweet girl had decided to make a plan of her own instead of following ours, and would be arriving that day. Dr. F arrived and talked with us, and the c-section was scheduled for 7:15.
Harper's birth was so different from Aniston's. There was no rush. No one was in a hurry, and everything was calm and relaxed. I walked into the OR on my own, the anaesthesiologist put in the spinal block (the first one didn't take, and he had to do a second), B was allowed to come back, and Dr. F started the surgery. It took some effort on Dr. F's part to deliver Harper, and it was evident in his voice as he said, "Ooof! That's a big girl!" (At that point I asked exactly how big "big" was, and had a moment of fear that we were talking about a ten pound baby.)
Harper Shea entered the world at 8:02am with a tiny cry. She weighed 8 pounds, 12 ounces and was 20.5 inches long. She had the sweetest cheeks and a head full of dark hair. After the nurses cleaned her up, B brought her to me. It was love at first sight. She was--and is--absolutely perfect.
B and Harper went to the recovery room while Dr. F finished up in the OR. That's the hardest part of a c-section, I think. You've carried a baby for nine months and you're not the first to hold her, snuggle her, talk to her. I'm thankful B got that chance, but it was still hard. After what seemed like forever, Dr. F finished the surgery and I was finally taken to recovery and had the chance to hold my little girl. We stayed in recovery for a long time, and I loved our quiet time together, just the three of us.
We were moved to a room, and after we got settled B went to the waiting room to get Aniston. She was so shy when she came into the room, and clung to B's neck when he picked her up. I think it was just a situation where she was completely out of her element and a little unsure of everything at first. We were able to be together as a new family of four for a few minutes before everyone else came in. It didn't take long for Aniston to return to being her normal lively self, and she loved showing her baby sister to everyone.
Harper has made our family so much more complete. She's the piece we never knew we were missing, and we're so thankful she's here!