I woke up pretty exhausted which was normal for that late in the pregnancy. Between potty breaks and only being able to sleep on my side, every morning was too early. But this particular morning I jumped out of bed and into the shower, even though the clock read the ungodly hour of 4:45 am! You could say I’m not a morning person. But not this day! There was no feeling of wanting to pull the covers back over my head! You see, my deliveries always start early in the morning with contractions. That’s when I knew it was time! Elsie was coming! Wake the hubby, we were having a baby!
Living an hour an a half away from the hospital, Brandon was pretty nervous we wouldn’t make it in time. His biggest fear is that my water will break in the car and he will have to deliver the baby on the side of the road. I mean, I don’t blame him. If I were in his shoes, I’d be pretty petrified of that too! So that morning, he was hustling. He hustled showering. He hustled packing. Of course, I knew I wouldn’t get to eat again for hours, so I took my time and made myself some eggs for breakfast. My sweet mother was there taking care of my other kids. She was getting them ready for school.
Finally (it seemed to Brandon), I finished my eggs and we left for the long hour and a half drive to the hospital. He would ask me about every 10 minutes, “How are you doing?” worried my water would break in the car at any given moment. His nervousness was both sweet and annoying. “I’m fine honey! I’ll let you know if anything changes!” He really takes such good care of me!
Coincidentally, I had a doctor’s appointment scheduled that morning. We were very early to the appointment thanks to Brandon’s hustling. Once I was brought back to an exam room, my doctor checked me. He informed me that I had dilated to a 4.5! Things were progressing and that was exciting. My doctor recommended we head over to the hospital.
That’s when I called the best reinforcements a pregnant lady could as for! Soon, 3 of my closest friends were by my side, Ashley, Jessica, and Courtney. I had decided not to do an epidural, so I knew I would need extra help. We walked. And walked. And walked. You know the scene well, I’m sure. Brandon, along with my friends, was the greatest distraction! Each played such an important role. Brandon never left my side. He never once said, “I’m tired of walking, is it ok if I sit?” He was a rock the whole time.
Ashley has this amazing gift. She has the gift of laughter. It’s this uncanny ability to make you laugh at the smallest things. She would crack jokes at just the perfect time to make me laugh instead of groan, haha! She brought lavender and rubbed my feet when I didn’t want to walk anymore. She timed each contraction to let me know they were almost done. She also has a photographic eye. Every picture in this post is because of her determination to capture the experience! She has an artistic eye. I will forever treasure each and every one of these pictures that tell the story of Elsie’s birth.
Jessica has the gift of encouragement. She cheered me on like a Sea Hawks fan! When I couldn’t remember how to breathe, she was there to reel me back in and focus. When I mumbled, “I can’t do this anymore,” she loudly encouraged, “You got this, Cass! Your body was made for this!” She has 4 kids, all delivered without an epidural! She was my voice when I couldn’t tell the nurses, “Can we do this later?” She totally fought for me to be able to hold Elsie uninterrupted by nurses. I know they have a job to do, but I was so grateful Jessica told them to give me time with my new baby.
Courtney brought the gift of knowledge. She is a labor and delivery nurse with experience of having 5 babies all natural, herself! When we had questions about the machine reading the contractions, she was there to answer them. When I was discouraged that my doctor hadn’t shown up to break my water, she was there to explain that I was still making progress, even though it didn’t feel like it. When it was almost time to push, she was there to remind me the most efficient way of pushing. When I felt like it was time to push, and there was no nurse, no doctor in the room, she was there to say, “Okay! Now its really time to get the doctor!”
Each friend made sacrifices to be there for me that day. I get tears in my eyes just thinking about their incredible friendship and love. I feel so unworthy to have such unbelievable friends. Brandon was such a trooper to let these ladies come. He told me later, he too, was profoundly grateful for each one and the role they played to help bring Elsie here.
After one or two pushes (it’s all a blur, really), Elsie Belle was born. The doctor did finally make it after I was ready to push. She weighed 7 pounds and 14 ounces, 20 inches long, my biggest baby! She has been such a joy every day. Her birth story is one I will never forget! We love you Elsie!