With a due date of March 5th (previously March 2nd according to my OB in LA), we were still coasting along with pregnancy. I was feeling good both physically and mentally, continuing to Peloton, grow out of all maternity clothes and check off the baby’s to-do list. What remained: receiving her dresser, hanging nursery curtains, installing the car seat, packing a hospital bag and choosing a name. We were well and truly in the nesting phase…waiting, waiting, waiting. That’s the funny thing about the last month of pregnancy. The moment I hit 36 weeks, we were on baby watch. It was like an exhale knowing that if she did decide to come at any moment, we were ready. Ish.
Cut to the morning of February 11th. We woke up to a high of 29°F and freezing drizzle outside. Some would say that spontaneous delivery is related to falling barometric pressure, and I believe it 🙂 The driveway was icy, and we spent a large chunk of the morning trying to save the birds by putting up window stickers and scare tape. They’d been running into our windows nonstop for a few days, and I was determined to do something about it. Looking back on this makes me laugh because little did we know what was about to happen that afternoon. Don’t mind us! Just over here casually putting up bird stickers when in reality we should’ve been packing a bag. I actually jinxed everything when I put up an Instagram story saying “Here’s to hoping baby Kav doesn’t come today. Driveway is steeper than it looks!” Three hours later we’d be driving to the hospital.
I’d just hung up the phone with a friend in Argentina when the clock struck noon. I stood up from my chair and made my way over to the table when I felt it. A slow trickle. Not steady but not not steady. Of course the movement of fluid down there wasn’t uncommon for the third trimester. My body was doing overtime after all, but this hit different. It was around the same time that I ever so calmly (not really) asked Alex to install the car seat. I think I knew what was happening, but I put it in the back of my mind because I wasn’t sure. I’ve always thought water breaking was synonymous with a huge gush of liquid down your legs to pile out onto the floor beneath you. This wasn’t that. I texted my friend who was due only two days before me and said the following:
Just trying to keep it real over here. I had no clue what was happening, but I did eventually call my doctor after a few more minutes of wondering IF THIS WAS ACTUALLY HAPPENING…and I got the following recording:
“Due to inclement weather, the clinic is closed today.” Lolololol. I hung up and started laughing. Nervous/excited laughter. Of course it would happen this way! Part of me loved the adventure, the other part of me was slightly concerned on next steps. Our driveway was steep and icy and we didn’t have 4wheel drive. The clinic was closed…but of course the hospital was still open. I called direct and asked to be transferred to Labor & Delivery. The sweet woman on the other end of the phone told me to put on a pad and if it was saturated within an hour…my water probably broke and to come in immediately. So I did just that.
The pad was saturated in 30 seconds.
Cue The Office meme…
The excitement was a rush. Alex had finished installing the car seat (!) and I think I yelled “MY WATER BROKE, I REPEAT MY WATER BROKE!” He was somewhere at the other end of the house already filling up a cooler with hot water. This baby was about to make her big debut, and he was just giving her a helping hand with 30+ trips to the ice field, also known as our driveway. The best daddy-to-be!
I called my mom and sisters to tell them the news and remained super calm. We spent the next hour and a half packing a bag and eating lunch. The woman from Labor & Delivery told me to eat something substantial because I may not get another chance once I was at the hospital depending on my birth plan. Mom came over and made some sandwiches as I double checked everything in our bag (will post in another blog if that’s helpful!). We took one last photo as a family of two, put a towel down in the passenger seat and headed out!
We arrived to the hospital a little before 3pm. We FaceTimed the Kavanaghs to tell them the big news, got all the gadgets and monitors set up and…we waited. Not a single contraction for hours. Our amazing nurse, Victoria, finally had to administer Pitocin to get them going…and going they did. She told me that I could request for the epidural at any time, so I delayed it a bit. The human body and its capabilities are wildly fascinating to me, and I wanted to experience the contractions that were coming on. All of a sudden, it felt like they went from 0 to 100, and those yoga breathing exercises definitely came in handy. The only way I can describe the pain is by comparing it to the worst menstrual cramps of your life, then timing that by 100. Shout out to the women who forgo the epidural. Shout out to the women who go for the epidural. At the end of the day, nobody gets a prize for either. It’s all a deeply personal journey, one that should be uplifted, cherished and celebrated.
Unbeknownst to me, Alex took a few photos to try and capture the moment.
Around 11:30pm, I was given the epidural. I immediately felt a rush of warmth throughout my lower body. I went from doing labored breathing exercises to a state of euphoria. The anesthesia allowed me to be more awake, alert and present in the moment until we decided to try and get some sleep. Around 2:55am, the doctor who was on-call came in for a cervix check. She looked at me and said, “Alright! Are you ready to have this baby!?” I was still super sleepy and *uber* relaxed, completely not expecting to be at 10cm. “Already?” I think I said…her reply was given in the immediate action of turning on all the lights and alerting the troops. In came about 5 nurses ready for their call of duty. It was high energy and an insanely beautiful memory. I wish I could relive this experience over and over for the rest of my life. I remember Alex handing a nurse a camera and the doctor guiding my legs into stirrups. Everyone was happy, excited and ready. My incredible team of doctors and nurses prepped me on how to push properly, and on their count I did 3 sets of 2 pushes and an extra for good luck. My mom always said I had baby-making/birthing hips, and she’s never been more right. After 7 pushes, my daughter had arrived.
Nora Blanche Kavanagh was born at 3:05am on February 12th. Throughout my entire pregnancy I always wondered what it would be like when they placed my baby on my chest like you see in the movies. I couldn’t grasp it…almost like the vision was impaired in my mind and better left for the real thing. The actual moment was pure, out-of-body, full of elation and larger than life. This 5 lb 15 oz baby girl was small but mighty as she pierced my soul with her big, dark eyes. With two Pisces in the immediate family, I thought Nora would join the ranks of the twelfth astrological sign in the Zodiac based on her due date. I love a good surprise and couldn’t be more excited for this Aquarius baby who just so happened to be born on the Lunar New Year and the Aquarius New Moon with 6 other planets also in Aquarius, even further amplifying the energy. This sun sign is intelligent, innovative, open-minded, forward-thinking and humanitarian-like. Aquarian energy asks us to embrace the out-of-the-box ideas and open ourselves up to world of limitles(s) possibilities. She is definitely my daughter!
Over the next 36 hours, we learned how to feed, burp, swaddle and cuddle the tiniest human I’d ever met. And one thing’s for sure: We’re still learning. The days (and nights!) are long, but the years are short. I know I’ll look up one day and she’ll be going off to college and I’ll cry my eyes out, aching for those sleepless nights and laundry-filled, messy days again. And to my partner, Alex…words fail me when I think about how to adequately express my gratitude for you. The way you take care of us and love this baby girl is immeasurable. We are so lucky to call you ours.
I get it now.
“It” being the unconditional love. The bond. How nothing else matters. I couldn’t and still cannot believe she is mine. Ours.
Kavanagh, party of THREE!