|Miss Ella Forever with Momma!|
This story starts 41 weeks and 1 day ago...my due date. July 2nd, 2014. It was hot, I was tired and VERY pregnant and at that point had been through a couple weeks of contractions that came and went without producing a baby. I had an appointment that day with my 2 favorite midwives, Deidre and Cynthia. It was uneventful. Deidre was going to be making a day trip for the 4th and would be a few hours out of town, so we went over the "what ifs" and backup plans should we need them. Though I was feeling very ready, I was prepared to go past my due date because that just seems to be how I roll (most literally). I was really feeling pretty decent for being so pregnant and really wanted that little ball of baby to decide when the right time was to come on her own. We discussed my next appointment, the following Tuesday, and that Deidre would strip my membranes at that time if I didn't get anywhere on my own by that point.
Fast forward a couple of days and it was the 4th of July. Would my little firecracker make her appearance that day? Well, to complicate things, I woke up very early that morning with intense contractions. They were pretty steadily 10 minutes apart, but were decently uncomfortable. Deidre called me first thing that morning before she headed on her merry way to see if anything was going on. I told her what was up, gave her the go-ahead to head out of town and we, again, went over back up plans. Because of my rotund state, our 4th of July plans included a small gathering at our place, mostly with people that were planning on being there for the birth, anyway. I spent my day leisurely cleaning and prepping for our guests and potential arrival for baby girl and every so often paused to breathe through a contraction. Family arrived that evening and we had dinner. J grilled and every one else brought the sides, so I did approximately nothing, which was more than fair, given my state. We ate and joked and I winced here and there as a reminder that things were still going on in there, but contractions were still no closer together, just strong. The boys (big and small) put on a pretty great fireworks show out on the dirt road in front of the house, most of which I watched through windows snuggling with a soon to be 2 year old Squeaky D and soon to be 3 year old Jilly Bean who were just a touch spooked by the artificial thunder. We put the kids to bed, I responded to a couple of texts from Deidre that I was no closer to the end than when she had left that morning and we went to bed.
The next morning, Saturday, the 5th, brought more of the same. Still strong contractions, but way spread out. So, I grabbed Griffin and Stella, our trusty canines and took off for a long morning walk to see if I could get them to come together. about a minute into the walk I got a REAL contraction and kept on. They started coming and fast, but I didn't have a watch to time them...this was it! I was going to make this happen! Once I rounded the corner at the 1/2 mile mark, however, they had pretty much stopped completely. I kept on, willing them to come back, but no luck. I texted J at a mile, before I turned back for home, that I was pretty sure that I would be pregnant forever and I begrudgingly headed home, having chased those hopeful contractions away. For the rest of that day I went about my business and had a contraction here and there, but nothing that made me feel like I was anywhere close to delivering a baby.
That night was a rough night. I woke up multiple times to strong contractions, but it was the same story. They were just close enough to keep me from getting any rest, but just wouldn't come together. I sluggishly got moving that morning...41 weeks and 4 days. Why I am I still in this position? J and I wrangled the kids into their dress clothes and headed to church. I wrestled Declan through Mass and took note of each and every contraction that pulsed through. I answered every well-meaning question from my fellow church-goers..."where is that baby?"...with an internal eye roll and a "nothing yet...any moment now would be great!"
Shortly after we got home I got a text from Deidre saying, "Well?? LOL" I relayed that nothing had changed. I was still having contractions, but they just wouldn't come together and I was still hanging out in the no-man's land of possibly the longest early labor ever (I might have a knack for exaggeration). She suggested a few things...I will spare you the gory details, but she was convinced it wouldn't be long if I could jump-start things. I followed her orders and waited. Just before 5:30 that evening I texted her that I thought I might be progressing. I'd had contractions at a consistent 10 minute interval for a couple of hours at that point.
We fixed and ate dinner, got the kids all bathed and in pajamas and J started a movie for them. I told J that I thought I should go for a walk to try to keep contractions coming. He, being the one who worries for both of us because I'm missing that gene (thanks, Mom), protested, so I told him I would just take laps around the house, so I would never be more than feet away from one door or another. And laps I did...at first the dogs excitedly accompanied me with a bounce in their steps, bounding around every corner. After the 20th or so lap, their bounce slowed to a trailing plod, but they always faithfully followed. My contractions didn't really seem to be increasing with all of the walking, so I finally threw the towel in and headed inside. I paused on the floor of the TV room and watched my other 4 babies enthralled with their movie, mouths gaping before I told J that I was going to take a shower and nothing had changed. Famous last words!
It was about 7:30 pm when I trudged up the stairs only to get to the top and find myself doubled over (as much as my pregnant belly would allow me to double over, anyway) from the most intense contraction I had felt yet. I waited for it to subside and felt renewed with hope that this was the beginning of the end. I undressed, and had a couple more intense contractions. J walked in at that point and I relayed to him that there was a sudden increase in intensity and frequency and I gave him a thumbs up. I detected a small wince from him and that familiar look of questioning my laboring sanity (my decisions during labor are sometimes questionable). I knew he was concerned he would be delivering this baby on our kitchen floor alone and I promised him that I would take a quick shower and call Deidre immediately if they were still going strong after. They most definitely were, but Deidre must have felt it because there was a text from her waiting for me when I got to the phone just before 8 pm. Knowing how quickly I progress when it finally comes together, I told her she should probably think about heading this way. She said she would have to wait for Cynthia to get to her place if I thought I was OK with that and then start on the 45 minute journey here. I thought that should be fine.
|My knight in shining armor|
And then her writhing, pink body was plopped onto my chest and all was right with the world! She, of course, was perfect and the boys returned to the room with Papa to meet her, just about as brand-spankin' new as possible. Logan was especially enamored and stayed by my side for the next half hour at least while we admired her tiny toes and helped her to latch and nurse for the first time. There was so much love in the room!
Eleanor Jane Kneuper was born at 10:08 pm on July 6th, 2014 and came in at 8 lbs 2 ounces (the same as her admiring brother, Logan) and was 20 inches of pure perfection long. She has been FAR more enjoyable for the 2nd 40 weeks and 4 days that she's been with us in comparison to the first. She is very rarely anything but happy, so easy going and greets everyone with a smile. AND somehow she is ginger #3. Still don't know how we have managed that. Despite being the 5th in line and sometimes the details falling through the cracks, she is most definitely the baby and doted on endlessly. Thank you for making our family better, Ella Forever!