MJ Turns One

Today, my baby turns one. A whole year living in this crazy world - learning, experiencing, and doing new things. This past year has flown by faster than any year has ever flown. Marleigh has grown so much right before our eyes. Today, we will celebrate our second wedding anniversary and one year since the beautiful day that our lives changed forever in the very best way. 

Marleigh's Birth Story. Finally.

A year ago today, it was the day after our best friends' wedding which I had to miss due to early labor contractions. The day and night before were long, filled with (what I thought at the time was) a lot of pain, an anxious husband standing as the Best Man in said wedding, and a trip to the hospital that night, only to be sent home and told I was "dehydrated," not in labor.

A year ago today, I woke up from about an hour of sleep (the most I had gotten in two days) and decided this was it. I called our doctor, who told us to head into the hospital that afternoon. Even if I wasn't in labor, he would induce, seeing as I was almost an entire week past due. I took a shower through the pain and all my hopes of arriving to the hospital looking pretty with my hair and makeup done flew out the window. It was hot, I was exhausted, and my contractions were getting harder and longer. I threw on a trusty maxi dress, we grabbed our hospital bags, and headed out the door.

In the car on the way to the hospital, I was terrified. This was all really happening. We wouldn't be coming home again without our baby with us! I had a small nervous breakdown, complete with an ugly cry, and Luke reminded me time and time again that I could do this, I would be great, and it was all going to be worth it soon.

40 minutes later, I waddled into the hospital and we got admitted into a big, spacious birthing room. I put on the oh-so-flattering hospital gown and waited to get checked. The rest seems like a whirlwind of events. My contractions were getting more and more intense but I wasn't in active labor yet, so my doctor decided to start the induction process with Cervadil. Once it was inserted, the contractions started getting stronger and stronger. I was given Nubane to help with the pain, but mainly to help me sleep - seeing as I had only gotten about 4 hours total in the past 3 days. The Nubane was crazy. I would fall into a deep sleep in-between contractions only to be jolted awake by another about 3 minutes later. This continued for a few hours until the contractions started coming along a lot stronger and a lot faster. Finally, I was checked after about 8 hours to see if the Cervadil worked, and it did! I was finally dilated and in active labor. Somewhere in-between all of this, I think at around midnight, I got my epidural and they broke my water shortly after that. 

(By the way...The epidural was a life saver. I wasn't sure if I would get it or not, and to be honest, it was the part that I was most nervous about with the whole process of giving birth. I'm not a fan of needles and I was terrified when the anesthesiologist came in and made Luke leave the room before he gave it to me. I almost broke down, and I definitely would have if it weren't for the amazing nurse who held my shoulders and reassured me that it was all going to be okay. She walked me through the process as the anesthesiologist attempted the epidural THREE times before he got it right (awful), but it was totally worth it. The medicine kicked in pretty fast and it was a total game-changer. I was re-energized and ready to have our baby!)

From then on, my labor went relatively fast. I can't really remember the timing of it all, but at one point, Marleigh decided it would be fun times to flip upside down (face up), which can make pushing extremely difficult for both mom and baby. We had learned about "Sunny side up" babies in our birthing class, and I was so afraid that she wouldn't flip back and I would end up having to have a c-section. After rolling from side to side on the hospital bed (which is a sight to see when your legs can't move and you're about as large as a beached whale), Marleigh finally flipped over (and back over, and over again). At one point during this all, the monitors lost her little heart beat and I was given an oxygen mask. The silence of those machines was deafening. Those were the longest seconds of my life. Finally, our nurse was able to pick the heartbeat up again, and all was well. Such a relief!

It wasn't long after Marleigh flipped that I felt the urge to push. This feeling was unlike anything I've ever experienced. So much intense pressure and discomfort, but no pain (thank you, epidural). The midwife called my doctor, who lived about 10 minutes from the hospital, and told him that it was go time. I waited for what seemed like a lifetime for him to get there. When he arrived, he couldn't believe how far along I was! (He told me later that he was fully expecting me to have a c-section later that afternoon)

As soon as he put on his scrubs, there was no turning back. I did a couple "practice pushes" for them to tell me if I was doing it right (I had no clue!) and after they gave me the OK to push, I went into super-mom mode. I pushed as hard as I could for almost twenty minutes straight, and at 4:23 AM, our beautiful baby girl was finally brought into the world! She was suctioned right away since she had a bowel movement inside (common for overdue babies), and then they placed her on my chest. Thinking back on meeting her for the first time still brings tears to my eyes. This little girl that I had known and bonded with over the last 41 weeks was finally here, and I already couldn't remember what life was like before her. 

The whole thing was by far the hardest thing I've ever done and the most beautiful experience of my life. One of my favorite moments of Marleigh's birth, other than of course seeing her for the first time and finally getting to hold her and kiss her, was seeing Luke become a daddy. He fell into his new role so naturally, and I could see the love he had for her immediately. Everyone tells you that you'll fall in love with your husband all over again during the process of giving birth, and I can agree that it's 100% true. Luke was the best supporter for me during my entire pregnancy, but especially during labor and giving birth. Having him there by my side was the icing on the cake of a perfect day, and I loved him more that day (and every day since, watching him as a father) than I ever thought I could.

Marleigh was born on our one year wedding anniversary, a perfect gift from Up Above, and she is the best present we have ever been blessed with! 20 weeks of intense morning/all day sickness, more pounds gained than I'd like to mention, and 41 weeks of pregnancy were all more than worth it when we finally got to welcome our sweet girl into our family!

Every day since her birth, I have ended the day by thanking God for trusting me to be her mommy and bringing her into this world. Being a mother, and watching Luke as such an amazing father, warms my heart in ways that I could have never imagined before. I feel like I have found my true calling in life, and I will forever be thankful for that September day when we welcomed our beautiful bundle of joy!

Marleigh Jo... Our sweet, sweet girl... We love you to the moon and back and are more grateful for you than you will ever know! Happy first birthday, little one! No matter how old you get, you will always be our baby! We are so proud of you and cannot wait for all of the wonderful years to come. Xoxo

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