On March 13, 2016 I was ready to get this baby out of me, just like every other day. We decided to go on a 3-mile walk and then headed to a yummy dinner with family. I had been having Braxton Hicks contractions for a couple of weeks by now and was convinced that I was going to have no idea when I went into labor. There was just no pain so I was scared to death that I just had a high pain tolerance and wouldn't know...but now I know what they mean when everyone told me, "Oh, you will know!"
Frank and I got home and I was having more and more Braxton Hicks contractions, but still no pain. We did a whole lot of googling and one of the main differences between real and fake contractions was back pain. And I guess I felt it a little bit in my back and around my abdomen, but again none of them hurt me. We decided to time the contractions just to check and see and some were 5-7 minutes apart and then there were some which were 15-30 minutes apart. So we assumed they were just fake, since they weren't coming regularly.
But I just knew I was going to go into labor that night...I just had that feeling. It may have been that I just really wanted to hold her in my arms so I was convincing myself that I had a feeling (like the "feeling I had 2 nights before") or maybe my body really did know.
I told Frank over and over, "We're having this baby tonight!"
Frank packed the rest of his clothes in his hospital bag, I cleaned the entire house - swept, vacuumed, the whole nine yards - and then hopped in the shower. By this time it was around 1:00am and if you know me, that is not normal. I am the kind of girl who falls asleep on the couch at 9:00pm every night but I just knew this baby was coming so I had to stay up and wait.
After we showered, we decided to finally go to bed because Frank had work in the morning and had to be up in a couple of hours. So we got into bed and I timed another contraction...it had been 20 minutes since the last one so it definitely wasn't the real deal.
Just as I had fallen asleep, that is when it started. My first real contraction and boy was it painful. I totally knew that it was the real deal! I squatted on the floor next to my bed because there just wasn't another position that felt better to be in and then my water broke! It was go time!!
I hadn't yet packed my clothes and I think I was in a bit of a state of shock, not really realizing that I was about to have a baby that day, so Frank threw in some clothes for me, we said bye to Baxter and headed to the hospital. While it was only a 6 minute drive, I had 3 contractions in the car ride there, and 2 more walking up to the labor and delivery floor. As soon as I got there, they got me checked into my delivery room, I changed into the hospital gown and they got me and Ava hooked up to monitors. By this time, contractions were only 2-3 minutes apart and I was 3cm dilated so it was already time for the epidural.
And boy did that epidural save my life. I was scared to death of getting it done but it was so worth it...and it didn't hurt at all! Within just a couple of minutes, I could no longer feel any of my contractions and it was time to wait. They told me they would come back and check on my in an hour and a half and when they did, I was at 10cm dilated...I was ready to go!
My doctor, whose on-call shift had not started yet, was on her way there and got stuck behind an accident so the nurse decided to do some practice pushes with me. Those "practice pushes" were actually the real thing (I think she didn't want to scare me since the doctor wasn't there yet). We spent about 20 minutes "practicing" and then stopped for a couple minutes until my doctor got there. Just 5-10 more minutes pushing with her there and our beautiful Ava was born!
When they placed her on my chest, I was seriously in shock. It was such a surreal moment seeing that beautiful baby girl for the first time and I play that moment back in my head again and again. They bundled her up and she was all mine :)
Ava Sue Hallak
March 14, 2016 at 8:17am
7lbs 8oz, 21 1/2 inches
I was so incredibly happy with how my labor experience went, and I know that I am very lucky to have had it so easy and so quick. All of the preparation and it came down to this...we did it! ...I just need to not get my hopes up for the next one!
We are now home, safe and sound, and today is my first day with just Ava by myself. And I love being a mom already! Ava got to meet so many of her family members and friends this week and we are so thankful for all of the wonderful support we have and the love everyone has shown her. We cannot wait to watch this beautiful baby girl grow up and to soak in every single moment.