I contemplated for a long time whether I wanted to write Zoe's birth story. A part of me wanted to leave some things between me and her but I have always loved and appreciated others birth stories so I thought, hey why not!?
Zoe Jean Taylor! Born with long brown hair, bright blue eyes, a button nose, and her famous grumpy little expression. Zoe was born on October 15, 2015 (her due date) at 1:52am. I can't believe that 7 months have gone by since she made her way into this world. At the same time I feel like I've known her forever. Zoe loooooves to be held and cuddled 24/7. The only way she will take her naps is in my arms. Luckily she is an amazing sleeper at night (10 hours straight). She just started sleeping on her stomach and it scares me half to death. I get no sleep now because I just sit and watch her baby monitor all night long. She loves being on her tummy finally and she's our little turn-table going around in circles. Now if only she can master moving forward and back. She is the funniest in her bouncer. She can be in that for hours drooling, dancing, yelling, jumping. I love watching her little feet and legs do ballet moves. She has the funniest laugh, and her smiles melt my heart ever time. She loves to burrow into my shoulder when she gets bashful with strangers. But nothing makes my heart burst more than seeing her first thing in the morning when Eric and I walk into her room. Her whole face lights up and she squirms her little body around as fast as can be.
As for Zoe's birth, I somehow knew everything would be okay. I'm not someone who has high pain tolerance. In fact, I always feared becoming pregnant because the mere thought of giving birth scared me to the core. When I actually became pregnant, however, I had this overwhelming sense of calm wash over me. Call me crazy. Or maybe it was because at thirteen years old my doctor told me I had birthing hips (whatever that means). The morning before Zoe was born I woke up to some cramping that was consistent with the 5-1-1 that you learn about in your birthing class. I remember I got so excited because I thought I was in labor and was somehow blessed with the easiest contractions ever (boy was I wrong). In our cloud of excitement we rushed to the hospital at 6AM only to find that I was dilated to 2 cm (which I had been for over 2 weeks at that point) and could not be admitted. This was after they had me walk the halls of the hospital for an hour and then turned away. Longest hour ever. My hips and back were killing me, and I probably had to stop to take a bathroom break every 10 minutes. They gave me a shot (IN MY BUTT) for the pain and sent me on my way. Honest to everything, I think that shot was the worst of all my pregnancy. It was like 30 seconds of burning agony shooting down my leg. I don't know what that shot did but I swear after the burning sensation subsided I didn't even feel pregnant anymore. In fact, once I got back home and took a nap, I went on a two mile walk, played some basketball and bounced on a bouncy ball for 30 minutes before I realized I was being crazy and laid back down again. It was a few hours later that night that all the fun started.
After the hospital we decided to head to my parents house instead since they lived a little closer to the hospital than us. Around 6 o'clock my family gathered around downstairs for dinner while I rested in my parents room watching TV and eating chicken noodle soup. An hour later Eric decided to check on my and found me curled up in a ball in agony. All those breathing techniques they teach you in your birthing class go right out the window when you are actually in labor. Afraid that I would get turned away at the hospital again I decided to get in my parents jacuzzi bath and have Eric massage my lower back to hold off. After two hours my mom came in and happily declared that I was definitely in labor and we needed to get the heck out of here. The next little part is kind of a blur. I remember Eric driving while my mom and I sat in the back. I was in back labor (Zoe was facing the wrong way) and honestly that is some serious pain you guys. I remember I was trying to act brave but my mom told me I would feel a lot better if I just let it out. Apparently I screamed the rest of the way to the hospital (I don't remember this at all, HA). Once we got to the maternity parking garage I do, however, remember yelling at Eric to just picking a parking spot. Driving around in circles going up and up the ramps was making me nauseous. Once they brought me into the exam room it took about 10 minutes for the nurse to fill out my paperwork. She kept getting my birth date wrong (which she still ended up doing on Zoe's birth certificate). Apparently I am the youngest looking 47 year old. WHAT? After clearly showing pain on my face the nurse took pity on me and brought in a doctor who actually knew what she was doing. She broke my water which is the funniest sensation ever and admitted me through those glorious chamber doors and into the arms of the best labor and delivery nurse known to man, Rhonda. Love you Rhonda! I remember I was so afraid to get my IV (I heard that can be the worst part). Rhonda was smart though and stuck me right when I was at the height of one of my contractions. I didn't feel a thing. Once that was done I kindly demanded for the big drugs. This was another thing I was afraid of because I knew you had to hold really still and not move all the while being hunched over having contractions. The guy who did mine was so speedy. Again, didn't feel a thing. It probably helped because I went from 4cm to 8cm in one contraction during this time. Boy was I tired. Eric and I both took a little nap while my mom talked Rhonda's ear off. The next thing I knew I woke up feeling all kinds of pressure, and of course Eric was still sleeping in the corner.
I lay watching my contractions sky rocket off the little monitor and down again so rapidly, listening to my mom and Rhonda continue to talk about their own delivery experiences, while my mom brushed and braided my hair. Whenever I am stressed, sad or feeling anxious I love having my hair play with my hair. What is it about moms that instantly bring a sense of calm in our lives? After a little while I was getting stronger pressure down below. Eventually I just remember telling Rhonda to check me because I either was about to poop or baby girl was ready to make her debut. Rhonda kept saying it was too soon, but after enough persistence I convinced her to check me. She quickly agreed it was time for me to do some practice pushes. After pushing for about 4 seconds she told me to STOP immediately. She quickly said, "It's time for you to deliver" and went to go get the doctor. I remember quickly staring over at Eric in shock. Our whole lives were about to change in a matter or minutes. The doctor came in (unfortunately my doctor was not on call that night), I don't even remember her saying anything to me other than "Here comes the ring of fire" (for all you mama's out there you know what I'm talking about). Holding my own legs up I pushed three times and there she was. Seriously everything went by so fast. I remember the doctor told me to look down as they were pulling her out. I remember the first thing I asked while she was crowning was if she had hair (I don't know why but I just knew she would, even though I was a baldy). They quickly placed this sweet, tiny, crying baby on my chest. She was so warm and so perfect. Within seconds she tilted her pretty little head full of hair up at me, opened her eyes and stopped crying. The most unexplainable moment of us introducing ourselves to one another, like we were old fast friends. Her heavy eyes opening and closing as we breathed as one. I couldn't believe this little human was inside of me. That she was the one I was growing, feeding, talking to all this time. She was my built in best friend and she was finally here.
One of the greatest experiences was getting to see my mom and Eric take turns holding Zoe. They were so cute fawning over her and taking pictures with their cell phones. Why we didn't take ONE single picture with my nice camera (or a picture of the three of us as a brand new family, the world may never know)! Even cuter was watching Eric hover over Zoe while the nurse whisked her away to clean her and weight her. He was so cute being all worried and wanting to never take his eyes off her. He told me he wouldn't cry after she was born but he was a bowl full of gush. He'll probably kill me for telling you all this. Oh well 😉
By the start of my contractions at home and by the time Zoe was in my arms was a little less than 7 hours. I pushed for about 10 minutes. The longest part was delivering my placenta. That sucker didn't want to come out. The doctor had to rip it out in pieces which was uncomfortable to say the least but luckily I had a brand new baby to help distract me. After about 20 minutes the doctor finally started to sew me up, but quickly realized I still had some placenta left inside of me. She had to unstitch me and then stitch me back up again. By this time those good old drugs were starting to wear off. That was interesting.
The next two days were such a blur. I didn't sleep one wink. I was on such a high and wanted to attend to every little coo, cry, wiggle, and breath that my baby had to offer. She slept in my arms both nights. This may be why she still prefers to fall asleep in my arms for her naps every day. Oops. One thing I do wish people warned me about was the amount of interruption you will get in your recovery room. Honestly, it felt like every hour someone was coming in to either poke or prod me and Zoe. Even in the middle of the night. I'm hoping I'll be better prepared for that next time because that was no fun. It didn't help either that we had to stay for two nights due to Zoe being born in the middle of the night. Something about having to stay for a full 24 hours but not being able to be released in the middle of the night mumbo jumbo. Even being released from the hospital takes hours. The recovery nurse (1 or 100) comes in with lots of papers full of information for you to be aware of or to know. Thank goodness for Eric because I didn't understand one thing that woman was saying to me. I just had baby on the brain and wanted to get the heck out of there.
As I finish up typing this I'm watching Zoe sleeping through her baby monitor. Her little chest moving up and down, her perfect little face so peaceful. What I would give to know what she dreams about. I hope she knows how much I love her. I hope she knows how much she was wanted. I hope she knows her potential. I hope she knows she can accomplish anything. I hope she knows I am her biggest cheerleader. I hope she knows I will always be there for her.
*You can see more pictures of little Zoe on my Instagram or my mommy blog, Bed Head Blog!*