“Hey Sweet Pea… which do you like better… Annabelle, or Abigail?”
With that sweet little voice, the decision was set. Her name would be Abigail.
I’d call her Abby Joy for short. I just thought it was cute.
Not that we’d actually let a 2 year old have the deciding vote, but it worked in our favor that we were leaning towards that name anyway. My husband and I had both liked the name Abigail for many years. And now, once we looked up what it meant- “The Father’s Joy”- it just fit.
After emerging from the rain cloud of infertility, I definitely felt and knew in my heart that this new little life brought Him great joy. Like an earthly father that loves lavishing his little children with gifts, how pleasing it must be for Him to fulfill such a long-awaited dream.
I’d finally found a doctor that would take me, and I was incredibly grateful. Even though his way of doing things wasn’t exactly how I’d prefer, he took me under circumstances when nobody else would.
The scheduled induction was still a week away, but I already felt anxiety that nothing was quite working out like I’d hoped. My original birth plan seemed to carry very little weight. In fact, no-one had inquired or listened to my desires about how any of it should go.
I’d just have to have faith.
I spent the next few days seeking out verses to comfort me, verses that I could focus on, when the labor was under way. Then I carefully copied them onto a 5×7 index card, so I could post it close to my bed, or clench it in my hand, whichever seemed to comfort me more.
The ultrasound went fine, and the fetal heartbeat monitoring proved that she was still strong, still doing fine in her little bubble of peace, quietly still nestled inside momma, sheltered from the world.
Part of me wanted to keep her there forever, where we’d always be one, where I could always protect her, keep her safe. But, where seeds are watered, the flower must bloom. And I couldn’t wait to watch her flourish.
After learning which hospital I’d be delivering at, we went to have a tour. I needed to get a visual, needed to know where I’d be going, and what to expect.
The hospital was small, and only had a few labor and delivery rooms. But they were nice. I noticed the small baby bed just a few feet away from the delivery bed, the heat lamp perched atop.
“That is where the baby will be measured and tested, and can sleep while you rest.”
“So the baby will stay with me? All the time?” This was super important to me. I knew that most hospitals now-a-days were straying away from the nursery mentality, taking the newborns away from the mommies, and for that, I was glad. I wanted her with me. I also made sure that they practiced skin-on-skin time there, and would hand the baby to me before measurements and testing began. I was told if all went smoothly, I’d have about a half hour to nestle with her before the need to measure and test.
After the labor and delivery tour, we went by the nursery, where I again verified with the nurse that the baby would only go should I need to rest, and nobody else was with me to take care of her. It was a back-up plan, should I not be able to tend to her every need until I recovered from delivery. It was nice to know that existed, but again, I wasn’t planning on utilizing it. I wanted her with me.
Sweet Pea’s eyes sparkled with hope.
“When little sister comes out of your belly, you’ll be able to hold me again?”
“That’s right, sweet one… it won’t be long now!”
I got down on my knees and danced her around the carpet, summertime music playing from the TV. I loved watching her twirl, but I missed holding her. Our relationship had been fine throughout the pregnancy, and we’d managed to make the step stools and umbrella strollers work for us so I’d never have to lift her, or anything heavy. I’d been cautious, as the doctor advised, and now was ready to meet the reason why.
August 13, 2015… INDUCTION DAY
The night before held little sleep, and we were up and ready by 6. Check-in time was at 6:45am. We kissed Sweet Pea, posed for our last picture with baby in belly, and headed off to the hospital.
I was disappointed this day had come, and had spent the last few days swimming (well, wading, in the water), rolling my hips as I sat on an exercise ball, and walking. I really hoped she’d come on her own.
But, she hadn’t.
I was a little unnerved at the thought of pressuring the sweet little thing out of me if she wasn’t quite ready. But again, I felt like I couldn’t argue.
With all the delivery rooms full, I was assigned a bed in the triage. White curtains separated me from two other ladies and their families, there for the same reason we were.
After dressing in the gown they’d handed me, the nurse came, strapped me with identity bracelets, and hooked me up to the monitors. The blood pressure cuff tightened as she wrapped the fetal heartbeat monitor straps around my belly to monitor baby’s heartbeat, along with any contractions.
Next, they drew blood. Several small viles worth incase anything should happen during delivery and I’d need to rely on someone else’s. While the needle stung, I was relieved it was over quickly, and they didn’t have to insert the IV into my hand or arm just yet. That, I was told, would come later when labor was underway. I willed myself to not get the heeby-jeeby’s just thinking about it. Needles have always made me nauseous.
Once everything was set, they came in and checked me. 60% effaced. No dilation.
Then came the first of three doses of gel.
While waiting for it to take effect, I laid on the bed, my husband next to me.
I put my headphones in and tried to play my labor mix that I had so thoughtfully crafted just for this moment, but had a hard time focusing with all the commotion going on on the other side of the curtains. The two ladies I’d been roomed didn’t have much regard for the ears around them. Foul language and course jokes I guess were their way of dealing with the stress. I tried to drown it out. My husband, trying to be sweet, pulled out his laptop and began a Nicholas Sparks movie, thinking surely that would comfort me. But the added noise just irritated my already frazzled psyche. Turn it off, love. Turn it off.
The nurse came back, and checked me again. Zero progress.
In came the second dose of gel.
By now, I was getting hungry. But no food was aloud. I don’t remember what we talked about, or if we’d talked at all, but an hour went by, then the nurse came back.
Still no progress.
In came the third and final dose.
After another hour of waiting, it was determined that I still had made no progress, and there was talk of sending me home. While the machine was showing no signs of contractions, cramps and general irritability were definitely kicking into gear. Before long, the doctor came in, the first I’d seen him that day.
“So, there’s no progress today, but that’s okay. We are going to induce again Tuesday. Come back then, same time.”
I expressed some nerves, and asked what would happen should she not take to her evacuation plan Tuesday either.
“There will be a baby Tuesday.” Of this, he was confident. If the gel didn’t work, he’d begin pitocin until my body kicked into gear.
The monitors came off, the regular clothes came back on, and we left.
My body riled at it’s treatment as we walked through the parking lot. I kept my ID bracelet on, just incase the contractions came, and we’d have to come right back.
But as the day went on, the weird feeling withered, and life continued on for a few more days.
Continue reading the story here.