On April 17th I went in to my 40 week checkup (although technically I wouldn't be 40 weeks for a few more days) and I was checked to see if I had made any progress towards labor. I was a little disappointed that I had not. After leaving that appointment I went about my day running errands. I stopped at Chick-fil-a for a snack and took a break to read for awhile. While there I had about ten contractions in one hour. They were pretty intense, however I knew they were just Braxton Hicks contractions. Little did I know at the time, this was the very beginning of my labor.
The rest of the day, I went to the mall to purchase some things and ran a few other errands. Since I had the car that day I went to pick up Fernando once he was done with work and then we headed home. I made a very elaborate dinner that night and once it was cleaned up we headed to bed. Once in bed around 10pm we prayed and talked for awhile and I had a few minor contractions, but I thought they were more Braxton Hicks, like I had been having and I didn't think much of it.
After about an hour of Braxton Hicks contractions, around 11pm the contractions started to get a little worse. I had a feeling this was the beginning of labor, however Fernando was convinced it was false labor and that the contractions would subside any minute now. After a couple hours of contractions getting increasingly worse and closer together, we both realized-- this might actually me happening, we might be having this baby today! We still weren't 100% positive yet though...
Around 2 or 3 in the morning we called the midwife to ask her what we should do since I had thrown up several times and hadn't been able to keep anything down. She asked us a couple questions about how many contractions I was having, how far apart they were, etc. Fernando then asks her, "So I am just wondering, what I should do as far as work, should I call in?" The midwife half laughs and says, "You aren't going to work today, you're going to have a baby." I believe this is when it became totally real for both of us.
Although at this point my due date was only two days away, I thought the whole pregnancy that I was going to be late and deliver after my due date-- so I had nothing packed for the hospital!! I had to tell Fernando what to pack in between contractions (since the contractions were since intense at this point, there was no way I could talk during them.) Fernando was running all over the house grabbing snacks, clothes and toiletries. He was so good about not saying what he was thinking, which I'm sure was, "Rachel, why weren't these things packed already!?"
We then headed to the hospital around 4:30am. From our house to the hospital is usually about 15minutes, although since no one was on the road and Fernando had the "my wife is having a baby" excuse, we got there much quicker. He even ran a red light on the way there, probably just because he could! The car ride was pretty rough for me. We prayed the Rosary on the way to the hospital (well Fernando prayed out loud, I was dealing with contraction after contraction so I just prayed in my head along with him).
Once we got to the hospital we used valet parking and got a wheel chair to get wheeled up to labor and delivery. I had to check in WHILE transitioning from early to active labor. Let's just say you can barely recognize my signature on the sheet I had to sign.
I went to triage to get checked by the midwife to see my progress. To our surprise and relief, I was 7cm (SEVEN!!! PRAISE GOD!) We were so happy! Clearly all that laboring at home paid off. The problem with checking in while being 7cm is that once you get in to your delivery room they want to hook you up to all these things to measure the baby's heart rate, etc. And the LAST thing you want to do while in transition labor is lay still on a bed. But I had to...for twenty minutes. I finally couldn't take laying there anymore, so they cut the monitoring short and let me get up. I asked the nurse to start a bath for me because I had heard that baths can help the contractions feel not as intense. It seemed like it took them forever to get the bath ready and then once I finally got in the bath it didn't help at all!
At this point, it was around 5:30am, I told the midwife, "I need something!" I had decided before that I did not want an epidural, but at that point I felt like I wanted SOMETHING for the pain. Little did I know at this time, but I was going through the worst of it.
The midwife told me that she thought I was progressing fairly fast and that she was going to check my progress to see how far I was. She said if I hadn't progressed at all then we could talk about my pain relieving options. Sure enough, she checked and I was 10 cm! That means I was ready to push. I was SO incredibly relieved that it was time to push! I ended up pushing about 3 and 1/2 hours.
The process of pushing was the most intense part for both Fernando and I. We were running on no sleep, no food and we were both physically and emotionally exhausted.
Once they told me they could see her head, I received a burst of energy and I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I knew the end was near. I knew I would get to meet my little girl and be able to hold her precious body in my arms. The baby I had been carrying and getting to know for 9 long months.
Finally the moment came and Maria Lucia was born at 9:11am. That moment that my beautiful daughter was placed on my chest was everything I had every imaged and SO much more. It was the most amazing rush of emotions...we were so relieved the labor process was over and we were so ecstatic to finally meet our daughter. We were so thankful to God that she was perfectly healthy and that the labor and delivery process went so smoothly.
Having Maria Lucia was an incredible adrenaline rush. During labor and delivery I was in an immense amount of pain, but after she was born I felt amazing. After everything I had gone through I should have been exhausted, starving and emotionally and physically drained however right after she was born all of the pain I was feeling immediately left. I felt nothing but bliss and thankfulness. My heart was so full. Thank you God for this wonderful blessing.
Spring is always such a beautiful time- trees blooming, nice weather, Easter, new life...
This Spring was no different. With the changes going on outside, we had to prepare for the change that was going to happen in our home, in our lives and in our hearts- possibly the biggest change in our lives- the birth of our first child. The preparations involved cleaning, organizing, setting up, and praying, lots of praying.
We could not have been more excited. All pregnancy we would stay up at night and just talk about our baby. We would feel her kick and move around in my belly and we would talk about what she was going to look like, what she would act like, the things she would do and say... We couldn't imagine what it would be like to have a child that was ours, half of each of us. How amazing God is to grant us this gift to take part in his creation. What a beautiful Spring this would be.
Spring at our house and a bunny in our front yard!
In late March Fernando attended the Association of University Radiologists Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas. This conference was mostly for Chief Residents and since Fernando is going to be Chief starting in November of this year, he had to attend. Since he was gone for 5 days I decided to make a trip to Winston-Salem and visit our friends the Towers and the Fifes. The Towers were so nice to have me stay with them for almost 4 days! I really don't like being home by myself when Fernando is out of town so I took this opportunity as a nice time to catch up with friends and pick the mommy's brains about all things baby! I was due in just 4 short weeks and I wanted to get all my questions answered from moms that just went through having a newborn months prior.
Hailey Tower is the pretty girl in the top picture and Charlie Fife is the handsome boy in the bottom picture. Both their moms were so nice to answer all my questions patiently. They even helped teach me how to sew! I made that little "B" onesie with Ashley's help and Cami helped me make some burp clothes for myself and gifts. While I was there I helped Ashley make dinner one night, we made three different kinds of delicious pizzas from scratch!
Since we only have one car, if I need the car, I often take Fernando to work that way I can have the car during the day. If when I come back to pick him up he's not done, I sometimes park the car and walk in to hang out in the room with him while he's finishing. It's fun to watch him work, plus then I get to snap pictures like I'm the proud wife of a Radiologist, which is exactly what I am.
While waiting for our little bundle of joy to arrive, I cleaned all of her newborn and 0-3 month outfits. I kept showing little outfits to Fernando and saying, "look how tiny this is, can you believe our baby is going to be this tiny?!" We talked about how big she was going to be and what she was going to look like on a daily basis. We just couldn't wait to meet our little princess!
In the first week of April, Fernando's friend Nick Pertuit came to visit us. Fernando and Nick have known each other since the fourth grade. Nick was not able to come to our wedding, so it was nice that he came to visit and I was able to meet him!
This is Fernando and Nick doing yard work. Watch out if you come for a visit-- we always put our house guests to work. ;)
Nick and Fernando frolicking in the grass and hay at Maple View Farms. How adorable.
While Nick Pertuit was visiting it was our other friend, Nick Heyne's birthday. We celebrated on Nick and Emily Heyne's house for a BBQ. I was 38 weeks pregnant here.
For Easter we went to our friends the Bethencourt's after Easter Sunday Mass. I was in charge of bringing dessert. Since the Bethencourts have nine children, plus they invited a couple other families for Easter as well, I decided to make three different types of cookies. I made vanilla almond funfetti cookies, chocolate m&m cookies and Easter themed sugar cookies. Since I was working on the cookies the night before Easter I ended up running out of time to finish them so Fernando helped me decorate the cookies until late that night. Although usually cookie decorating isn't Fernando's thing, he was an amazing sport about helping me. He turned out to be better than me! He made all of the best, creative ones like the ones that said "JMJ," "Felices Pascuas," and "He is Risen."
The cookies at the top right that are packaged up are the ones I brought to our neighbors!