Today is Raegan’s second birthday. Gosh, I have no idea where the time has gone. I swear I was just pregnant with her. My youngest daughter made a fast and furious debut on September 3rd 2018. I had two days I did not want her to arrive on, August 28th (her daddy’s birthday) and Labor Day. She didn’t listen, foreshadowing things to come.
Raegan had two different due dates, August 26th or September 8th. They concluded her later due date from an ultrasound, but I never really went by that as I was very into tracking the date possibilities.
I found out I was pregnant on Christmas day. My cycles are VERY predictable and regular. But something was off. I was two weeks late, but no positive pregnancy test. Finally after a family dinner, I went home and took a test. I hid it under a bathroom rug as I scrubbed the toilet and purged the bathroom. When I looked at it about 15 minutes later, I texted my sister and was like “well, I guess this could be why my period hasn’t arrived.” It was very clearly saying “pregnant.”
The next day I told kevin by having him open a box of pink and blue balloons and the test at the bottom. Allie was there to “help” rip off the paper. I was a little bit heartbroken as I was fearful that I had stolen special time from Allie as I was already going to be giving her a sibling. The girls are 17 months apart, and it was hard to imagine how that would look for them both.
The months flew by as Allie was walking a few weeks after I found out I was pregnant. She kept us on the go non-stop. I was sick and felt nasty the whole pregnancy, just like Allie. However, we had been told early spring that all guesses (based on an early ultrasound) that Allie would have a little brother. My heart was a bit broken as I imagined a little sister for Allie. In my mind, I had no clear “yes its a boy, or yes its a girl” for gender. With Allie, Kevin and I both felt strongly toward girl, but I had no guess for Raegan.
When we did the anatomy ultrasound right before Allie’s birthday, they told us it was a girl and I was ecstatic. More pink and bows, matching outfits, sparkles, pigtails, etc. I am a girl mom through and through.
The months passed by, we made it through the summer. We did lots of adventuring, playing, and even took a road trip to Illinois (0/10- do not recommend) at 33 weeks pregnant. Allie and I were (and still are) very close, and I was getting very sad about the end of our one on one time. I was hesitant about if she would feel mad or upset about her baby sister. I didn’t ever want her to feel that she had been replaced.
Anyway…August was a bit of a mess. We went to one of my doctors appointments and found out that all of the prodomal labor I had been experiencing was doing a LOT of work. I still had over a month left and I was already 5 CM dilated. Which, is halfway there to delivery. The midwife said “oh wow, you could go any day. Don’t go out of town!” Now thats a funny story. Kevin found out two days later that he WAS going out of town. For an unknown amount of time. Thankfully he went to Texas and it ended up only being a few days. But, it was still nerve wracking. Every tiny twinge I had, I was like “oh please don’t be going into labor…”
August continued hot and miserable, I was doing some photography sessions, but mainly trying to stay out of the heat as much as possible. I don’t think I was very fun for anyone to be around those last several weeks. As the original due date was coming close, we had a birthday party planned for Kevin. The night before I was having a TON of contractions, PAINFUL ones. I thought for sure I was in labor. Hours go by and eventually, they fizzled out. I was devastated. I was so ready to meet our tiny little addition. Kevin’s birthday came and went and still no baby.
I can’t tell you how many miles we walked, times I bounced on a yoga ball, etc to try and encourage Raegan to hurry up. Nothing worked. Finally, on September 2nd, we went to the zoo. I was tired of my pity party and felt like we should do one more family of three outing with Allie, and what better place than the zoo. Allie had been learning her animals and what sounds they made so we spent a few hours in the heat, listening to her chirp out the sounds of zoo animals. We also ate Dippin’ Dots. That was Allie’s first introduction to those and she was a BIG fan.
We got home from the zoo, hot and tired. We made some dinner and Kevin encouraged me to take a bath. He’s seriously the best husband ever. I soaked for awhile and helped get Allie to bed. Kevin and I went to sleep shortly after.
A little after 2 am on the 3rd, I woke up from a contraction. It caught me by surprise. I laid in bed and they kept coming. Around 2:30ish, I woke Kevin up and told him I was having contractions, but was going to jump in the shower. I turned the water on and thought, “I’m going to cut Kevin’s hair. He will be upset if he has poofy hair in photos.”
Since this is the part of the story that always gets the attention, I will explain more. To give a little backstory, he had been asking me to do it all weekend and I kept putting it off because I was too fat and tired at the end of the day to do it. I knew he would have to go back to work on Tuesday, so I had been telling him all weekend “For sure I will cut it before you go back to work.” HE DID NOT ASK ME WHILE I WAS IN LABOR TO CUT HIS HAIR, I OFFERED.
I went back to our bedroom and told him I was going to skip the shower and cut his hair first. If I was still having contractions when I was done with his hair, I would take a shower while he contacted Jenna. Jenna and Josh had volunteered to be our Allie watchers while we had Raegan since our family isn’t close by. So I started cutting his hair and noticed that my contractions were very close together and painful. I finally got the heating pad and wrapped it around my lower belly while I continued breathing deeply and cutting his hair. I texted Jenna and waited for a response.
I had to take a lot of breaks, on the ground on my knees rocking back and forth while I tried to take deep breaths. It was taking WAY longer to cut his hair. Finally all I had left was to fade in the front of his hair, the part I dreaded the most. He looked at me while I was in tears and said “babe, I will do this. Its fine.” He grabbed the clippers and shaved it all the same length and jumped in the shower.
I stayed on the floor in our bedroom sounding a bit like a dying animal as I moaned continuously and rocked back and forth on my hands and knees. He got ahold of Jenna and told her he was going to meet her at the Conoco station outside the main gate, as fast as she could get there. He woke up Allie and he brought her to me for hugs.
I had this cute moment in my mind of hugging and snuggling her to capture our last bit of time just with her. In real life I was in so much pain that I kissed her on the forehead, hugged her and told Kevin to take her to the car.
Kevin and Allie left, and I knew I had to figure out a way to be ready to go when Kevin got back. I knew I needed my phone charger, and toothbrush. Everything else had been packed for weeks. I barely was able to get both items and get to the stairs. Then, I had to figure out how I was going to get down the stairs. I ended up crawling down them backward, and paused on the landing for a long time.
I then crawled to our front door. All I could think about was “How am I going to sit in the car to get to the hospital?” There was a lot of pain and pressure and I knew that I could not sit on my butt for the duration of the drive to the hospital. But my dilemma was “how am I going to get there?” I ran through all the possibilities in my mind of where I could lay while Kevin drove us. The only option was the very back hatch of the Rogue. The backseat was filled with the girls carseats, and I was having a hard time with the idea of sitting. I knew it wasn’t going to happen.
When Kevin got back, he went upstairs to grab my pillow and told me we had to get in the car. Again, I didn’t know how I was going to get there, but I managed to get to garage. Where I stopped. I kept up with my internal debate about how I was going to get in the car and sit when I couldn’t stand to be off my hands and knees for more than 5 seconds. Finally Kevin said “babe, we can’t have this baby in the garage.” And I shouted something back about how we might.
Next thing I know, I hear “Hi, yes. My wife is in labor, and I think she’s going to give birth in our garage.” Oh boy. 911 was officially notified. But honestly, I have no idea what else he was thinking could be done. I kept in the garage, sweaty and in pain. He kept racing from me to the road, waiting for the paramedics to arrive.
The fireteam showed up first. I saw a few different fire fighters who I told them my name, date of birth, my due date and other things while they took my blood pressure. They talked to my husband as I wasn’t feeling very chatty. They wanted to know a million things, and I was too focused on the pain. Finally the EMTs showed up and they asked me all of the same questions and I got to answer them again. I remember one of the EMTs asked a firefighter how close my contractions were, and the firefighter said “she seems to be doing okay, I don’t think they’re very close together.” In my mind, I scoffed and thought “says the man who has never given birth before.”
The whole experience was happening way too quickly. With Allie, I was in labor for 30 hours before she was born. I didn’t understand why I was in so much pain and couldn’t focus this time. The EMT’s ended up pulling my pants down and said “okay, we need to get you to the hospital.” They ended up lifting me onto the gurney and wheeling me to the ambulance.
There were tons of police cars lined up around my house, along with the ambulance and firetrucks. I guess my husband even had to provide my military ID to the MPs, EMTs and fire team before they would even come check on me. Once I got in the ambulance, I asked for my husband and they told me that he couldn’t come with us. He had to drive separately.
Once in the ambulance and on our way to the hospital, we had to stop to get my IVs going. This seemed to take forever. They inserted three separate IVs and I didn’t ask any questions. I didn’t care. I just wanted to get to the hospital where I would get my epidural. I was in a lot of pain and cried out a lot. I even felt like I had to push. The EMT was like “ma’am, please don’t push. We are going to get you to the hospital.”
Eventually we got to the hospital around 4:25am. We pulled up to the emergency room entrance and all of a sudden there were a lot of people around me. All I could think was “my pants are down around my ankles and nothing is covering me.” I said “can I get a blanket before you guys wheel me through the waiting room at the ER with no pants on?” Someone covered me with something. I was wheeled through the halls to an open room. I got moved to a bed and the EMTs wished me good luck.
An OB came in with a slew of other people. UC Health is a teaching hospital and every time I have been there I always saw a nurse in training, or a med student or someone else learning while shadowing the doctors and other nurses. Some nurses asked me my date of birth and my name, along with my due date and where my regular doctor was. I told them what they wanted to know and explained I had only ever been seen at UC and thats where I was supposed to deliver.
As they hooked me up to monitors, they asked if I needed anything. “Yes, I would like an epidural please,” I responded. They all laughed and said I had to be examined first. I asked for a drink of water, and was assured they would bring it to me. Then the OB asked to examine me, I told her to please hurry. She said “Well honey, you don’t have time for an epidural. You’re 9.5 CM dilated with a bulging bag. It’s time to push.”
It was an out of body experience for me. I couldn’t believe I was going to have my baby right then. Even when I wanted to push in the ambulance, I didn’t really think my baby was going to arrive right away. I was still planning on hours of labor. Much more peaceful labor, with an epidural and maybe even time in the jetted tub.
I looked around the room frantically, “Where is my husband?” I questioned. He was standing next to the bed and I hadn’t noticed him. Apparently he had gotten to the hospital before the ambulance and was waiting in the waiting room for me to arrive. I looked at him and said “I don’t want to push. I want an epidural first.” He said “I know babe, but you can do it.” Again, he’s the best. But, in that moment I probably thought “easy for you to say, you’ve never done this.”
The OB said “Now Brenda, I can break your bag for you, or you can push it and see if it breaks, if I break it, it may speed things up.” I was in the mindset of “lets get this over as soon as possible” so she broke it for me. I felt the gush of liquid along with more contractions. I started pushing. Ten painful minutes later, they say “Here is your baby girl! Here is Raegan!”
I am crying writing this part. It is such an amazing moment to experience. When you’re pregnant, you spend 40 weeks with this little person growing inside of you. You feel the kicks and the hiccups, you deal with the growing pains. You wonder about this little stranger. Who will she look like, will she be like her sister, or completely different? After they laid her on my chest, I saw she had black hair. Dark brown hair and a lot of it. She was so small. You forget how small they are when they’re first born. She was laid directly on my chest over the top of my clothes that never were removed. Since we did not have time for all of that this go-round. After a few minutes of skin to skin, they asked Kevin to cut the cord.
Kevin didn’t get to do that with Allie due to her medical emergency right after birth. It was special that he got to do it with Raegan. After the cord was cut and tied, she was given back to me and I got more snuggles. As we were snuggling, she pooped. She didn’t have a diaper on, and that nasty black meconium was all over everything. It was in the wires for the blood pressure cuffs and anything else that had me hooked up to.
They ended up putting her under the warmer for awhile because she wasn’t warming up even with skin to skin and blankets. I watched as they weighed her, took her footprints, measured her head and length. She was here, and healthy.
We started sending out texts to family. The well wishes started coming in. It was so surreal that she had arrived and so quickly. I assured my parents that we would FaceTime later that day. I couldn’t believe she was really here.
In the end, I almost preferred Raegan’s labor to Allie’s. Allie’s was so full of unknowns and scares, where Raegan we didn’t have time to be panicked, it started and bam, two hours later, it was over. I did not prefer that I was unable to have an epidural though!
Our hospital stay was quiet and uneventful. We didn’t have any visitors (except when Kevin brought Allie in) so we were able to relax. I felt fine, had no pain, just felt tired. We napped and Raegan was completely content to nurse and sleep. We went home after the required 24 hours and slowly began adjusting to being a family of four.
I was so sad that I had no photos of my labor with Raegan. It just wasn’t possible. But I do have photos from directly after!
I can’t believe how much has changed in two years, Raegan is truly her own person. She is VERY different from her sister. She is strong willed, opinionated, silly, smart, outgoing, a momma’s girl, beautiful, courageous, and so many other things. She loves to read and color. Chalk is both a fun experience and also a tasty treat. She adores the zoo and the giraffes.
Raegan, you are the final puzzle piece to complete our family. We love you more than you will ever know. Stay true to yourself and know we are always here for you.