First, I have to say that it is so surreal writing this story so close to this little girl’s 6th birthday. 6 YEARS OLD!!! I can hardly believe that all the events I am about to write about happened six years ago. Six years isn’t really that long in the grand scheme of life, but I am such a different person today than I was then. The Lord has stretched me, taught me, and grown me so much since that time. I remember how painful infertility was in those days, not knowing that God was going to bring me to even harder times, and I would come out stronger, able to take on so much more by His strength.
Baby girl was due to be born on March 28, and when due date rolled around I was in a constant state of anticipation. Looking back, I think I was excited more than anything. I was nervous for Ashley, because I knew the unknown of giving birth was looming ahead of her. I knew she was ready to hold that little girl in her arms, but was afraid of the birthing experience, which I assume is totally normal.
I remember not sleeping that night. This may be TMI, but for real, I’ve been writing about infertility so much in this series, we can be grown up about content. I had the most painful period of my life that month. I had bad cramping and heavy flows for years (until recently... different post entirely), but this cycle in particular was awful. We joked that I was having sympathy pains for Ashley. But in all seriousness, I think a lot of it was that. I had been with her so much during the latter half of her pregnancy, and then experiencing the emotional pain of infertility on my end... I think there were “vicarious labor pains”... is that a thing? I don’t know, but that’s the only way I can explain it.
Either way, I was awake in the wee hours of the morning when Ashley texted me to say that she was feeling contractions. She had gone into the doctor on the morning of her due date with false labor and was sent home. So she was reluctant to call her OB so soon after. So she labored at home for a few hours. I kept saying “Call your doctor,” “Get to the hospital,” and “Ok, that’s it, I’m getting in the car and driving down there!” She insisted that I wait; it was probably false labor. But she was timing contractions. They were getting closer together and more intense. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. Mitch and I hopped in the car and started driving south. It was a 6.5 hour drive down to where she was giving birth, so I wanted to get on the road. About an hour into our drive, she texted me front he hospital saying she was given a gown and she indeed was in labor. SO glad I did not listen to her!
Let’s just say we arrived in record time. During the drive, Ashley’s husband took over the text updates. I went back and forth the whole drive between feeling hoprful I’d make it in time, and being the world’s biggest pessimist insisting that I was going to miss it. When Jason texted saying he was gonna go to the cafeteria to get a burger and fries, my anxiety lessened... when he said they were gonna have her start pushing, it was on the rise again. Part of me thinks that Ashley didn’t try as hard as she could have to birth baby earlier because she was waiting for me... but I don’t know.
I arrived at the hospital in a panic, rushing up to her room as fast as I could. I’m pretty sure I was in the slowest elevator ever!! I got to the room and it was just Ashley, her husband, myself, and a nurse. I rushed next to the hospital bed and the first thing I did was pet Ashley’s head and give her a kiss. I was so glad to have made it in time. The nurse, who must have knew I was due to arrive wrote my name on the white board alongside Jason’s, as the name of the second person who would be present during the birth. I know some people allow many people in the room, but this particular hospital would only let two people. I was obviously honored to have been one. 20 minutes after I walked into the room, baby girl was born.
I was so so proud of her. I sat on the edge of the bed and we just looked at each other. There was so much emotion and so many thoughts running between us. All I could see was how exhausted she was. I remember tears running down my cheeks as I said, “You’re a mom... you’re a mom.” She gave me a teary smile and held my hand, “yeah...” she said. Nothing more needed to be said. I felt like so much change was upon us... it felt impending and scary. But right then, in that moment, it was just Ashley and I... like it always had been. Except this time, was the last time.