My third baby, Audrey Faith, is a little bit of a trickster. She’s currently 11 months old and pulls tricks both of my older children never did. Last night, she wanted to be held from 11:30-2:00 in the middle of the night. She regularly cries until I hold her while cooking supper. She is just a different baby.
When I found out we were expecting Audrey, it was also a little tricky. We were open to the idea but it happened quickly. I had felt a strong presence within me earlier at church that week that I was in fact pregnant, and I in fact was. Throughout my pregnancy, we decided to not find out the baby’s gender. We had a hard time with names. We had a girl and boy, so we weren’t sure what to name this one. I was positive she was a boy. Then, Audrey was born. She came out a beautiful, healthy little girl who looks like her big brother and sister.
With Audrey, I was fearful of when labor would start. We had recently moved to a new state and didn’t have any well-established friends or family close. My husband was working long hours at his new job, and I was convinced I would be driving myself to the hospital and breathing through contractions while making the 45 minute drive to the closest hospital in Northeast Arkansas.
Everything fell into place, however. I started having contractions in the middle of the night, and I just knew this was the real deal. As with any other woman, I knew my body well by this pregnancy and I knew when labor started. I woke up my husband but we decided to wait it out for a little while. In the morning, I was able to shower and fix my hair while battling the contractions. He called my sister-in-law and she began her 3 hour drive to our house. My husband and two small children drove me to the hospital. Luckily, it was October so I played off my moans of pain for ghost sounds that come around Halloween to my children. Yes, I did that.
When my cervix was checked in the triage room, I was dilated to a 7. I became tearful and decided I still wanted some kind of pain intervention. There was still time for an epidural. Looking back, I was more concerned with my two toddlers and how they would be the next few hours than with being a hero. I had packed individual backpacks for them with snacks, toys, coloring pages, and stickers. We were moved to a labor and delivery room and I was hooked up to monitors and equipment. My sister-in-law arrived around 10:00 a.m.
The next few hours were full of contractions, ice chips, chills, blankets, and visits from nurses. I wasn’t sure who would actually deliver my baby, since my obstetrician wasn’t on call and wasn’t someone I could necessarily count on to be there by my side. Fortunately, I had an amazing nurse who stood by me and helped me through my labor. She was the only one with my husband and I when it was time to push. And then, she went to get a lovely female doctor who I met that day to finish the delivery.
My water had to be broken with Audrey and pushing was fairly minimal. While my body remembered the pains of labor, the techniques of pushing out a baby are always strange and new to me. The nurse was as surprised as we were when the beautiful baby girl graced our presence. She was perfect.
As Audrey approaches her first birthday, I am blown away at the craziness she has brought to my life but also how much I love that little girl. She loves me more than anyone and continues to challenge me and make me a better person.
Happy first birthday to my baby girl. I wouldn’t change you for the world.
Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of three in Northeast Arkansas. She loves her kiddos.