and thus, bella was born.

let's travel back in time to october 31, 2004...actually, let's go back a little further.

my due date was october 23. everyone, including the nurses, thought I'd go early due to my enormous size. but my 3 obstetricians all told me that my cervix hadn't really changed much and that I wasn't dilated at all. october 23 shined like a beacon to me because, as I have mentioned, I had a rough time of it toward the end of my pregnancy. suddenly, it was october 22. and I knew that I would be going into labor momentarily. so I waited.

by the time october 24 rolled around, I was beside myself. I had read all kinds of tricks to make labor happen, but I was so afraid of what messing with nature would do that I didn't do most of them. except try to have sex, which was also something that the obstetrician advised. while it was not the worst sex I have ever had, it was probably the most awkward...well, not really that either. let's just say it was difficult. and weird.

october 29 came, and I had a doctor's appointment. the doctor told me they don't normally induce labor until 2 weeks after the due date, and I just lost it. I figured that was my last defense, and surely he would take pity on a very pregnant sobbing woman. no dice. I'm sure he's seen hundreds of sobbing pregnant women and is totally immune to them. and for that, he will rot in hell.

he did, however, finally acquiesce to an induction on november 1, a monday. while it wasn't immediate, it was helpful to know that by hell or high water, this baby was going to be delivered at some point. it was comforting.

on october 30, sean's friend little jimmy came to visit. he brought music and merriment and was planning on staying until halloween. trent was home, and we were all having fun. I was feeling a little weird, and then FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY, I lost my mucous plug. that was the beginning of my labor with trent, no water breaking or anything, so I figured it was probably time. I had been crampy for days but just the day before at the doctor's, they said my cervix was virtually undilated, so I thought nothing of it.

we told little jimmy that it might be best for him to hit the road early. trent and I then played a game of monopoly before I decided that, just in case, he better go stay with his grandparents, as brett wasn't home. while sean took him there, I started having more regular cramping, but still didn't believe that it was happening. mostly because I had had many MANY false starts.

at about midnight, I woke up with REAL contractions. ones that were more or less unmistakeable. I really wanted to take a shower, because I had rushed to the hospital when I had trent and had felt gross, and all the videos that I saw showed laboring women eating food and getting comfortable and that's what I wanted to do, too. so I got in the shower and sean put his hand in to steady me. he had called the doctor already and the doula (and someday other than today, I will tell you that story, but today is about goodness and babies) and they were ready for us. it was about 2 or 3am, I guess, by the time I got out of the shower, got dressed, and we made our way to the hospital, which was only about 5 minutes away.

I had been in the hospital on our anniversary, october 7, with what I thought were labor pains, and it was so embarrassing to have to walk out of there without a baby on the outside of my body instead of the inside, so I felt a little sheepish when we saw the emergency intake person and they got us a wheelchair. I'm positive they weren't the same people, and even if they were I'm sure they wouldn't care, but I felt like I had been waiting so long that I just felt off about everything.

by this time, when the contractions came, they were enough to make me have to stop what I was doing and concentrate on getting through them. they were intensely strong right from the beginning. or maybe I had slept through the easier ones.

by the time we got set up in our room, it was probably around 3:30 or so. sean would know better about the timing. it was a sunday, halloween. my favorite holiday. I remember most vividly getting to the hospital and getting dressed, and then actually delivering bella. the time in between is a blur, but I will tell you what I remember.

I really wanted to go without drugs, but since our doula never showed up, I didn't really have the right tools to keep my mind off the pain. they offered me some stupid drug that I think I had 2 doses of, but it didn't do anything for the pain and just left me confused and slightly panicked. I don't do well on drugs to begin with (as anyone who has seen me smoke pot can attest) and certainly not when I'm in labor. so we stopped that, and I finally asked for an epidural, even though I really didn't plan to have one. my contractions were really intense, but I wasn't really dilating very well. they did say I could have the epidural but as it was sunday, the anesthesiologist wasn't in the hospital. she was at home, and it would be another hour or so before she got herself ready and got into the hospital. telling a laboring woman who has told herself she wouldn't have an epidural and thus has gone way beyond what she would have normally allowed, pain-wise, because she was hoping that she could do it without drugs...telling her to wait another HOUR is like asking her to not think of an elephant. as soon as I found that out, of course my mind allowed the pain to really affect me.

oddly, and if you know me, this is weird - I didn't curse. not once. in fact, when I did say something mildly angry, I said "heck" instead of "hell". I did alot of conversing with the lord - asking god to please, please help me. that was my refrain: please help me. as if someone else had put me in this position. funny.

so the anesthesiologist finally decided to roll in, and I got the epidural. and after a few minutes (agonizingly long, drawn out minutes) she let us know, sort of nonchalantly, if I remember correctly, that we had a "window". which is short for "it didn't fucking work."

the upside in waiting for the epidural for so long is that in a very short amount of time (comparatively - hours went by) I dilated to 9 centimeters. so by the time we figured out that I had a window, there was no time to have another epidural. so I had my wish after all, to have a baby more or less without one, even though the apparatus was in there.

finally, around 10:45am I think, it was time to push. they went through all the instructions on how to push, and maybe because this was my second child, and maybe because I was in so much pain, and maybe because IBS had made my pelvic floor incredibly strong...I started before they even told me to. and 3 pushes later - seriously, 3 pushes - bella was all the way out. no tearing, no episiotomy.

I had had my eyes closed for hours, in pain. I opened them and saw the silhouette of a skinny baby's arm, fingers splayed, against the backdrop of a flourescent light. that was the first vision I had of the baby - reaching out to the world.

sean said, incredulously, IT'S A GIRL! we didn't know what we were having, so this was a big moment. I think sean really thought it was a boy. I asked immediately if she looked okay. I was worried that she'd have clubbed feet like trent did, but they told me she looked great. pink and screamy just like normal.

those first few minutes with her were not as dramatic as some people say...she pooped on me, for one, and I was exhausted...but I always picture my first glimpse of her on the outside as the defining moment of her birth.

all told, it was probably about 10 hours of "real" labor, which I guess is pretty good. as is the case, mother nature wipes the slate a little cleaner each year (I hardly remember the pain with trent) and I'm sure next year the memory of the pain will be even fuzzier than it is this year, and so on and so on.

after things settled down, sean and I named the baby bella. I knew that her middle name would be my maiden name, colancecco, which made my father happy. we called everyone and told them the news. I don't think I slept at all that day. I remember looking out at the darkening sky and the oak tree outside my hospital window, holding my halloween treat, thinking of all the years that we'll be thinking back to this day.

happy birthday, bella colancecco milligan. I love you so much.

9 validations:

Missuz J said...

Totally teared up on this one--and I never ever do that. Happy happy birthday sweet baby Bella. You are an angel, and your mamma is one fabulous lady. (I hope Bella-ween was a resounding success!)

Missuz J said...

Just checked the pics at Jen's site. The cuteness was ricochetting off the walls in that place!

lonna said...

You would think that after such a rough pregnancy you would have had an easier delivery. I didn't know that it was so rough for you. I remember that we knew when you were due, and I kept asking Ethan if he had gotten e-mail about Bella yet. We kept talking about what we would buy you guys and if you were going to have a boy or a girl. That's part of why it took so long to actually get a gift to you.

Happy Birthday sweet, beautiful Bella.

Katy said...

Yay for Bella! So glad she came to visit and that we all get to know her and the rest of your family.

gehrett said...

Happy Birthday Bella!

I didn't realize you used a doula! My friend Bridgette used one too. I'll be curious to hear your story.


rob said...

"...holding my halloween treat..."

This conjures images of handing out babies instead of candy for Halloween.

"Trick or treat for UNICEF!!!"
"Ohhhh...aren't you just darling. Here...have Somalian baby. His belly's distended!"
"Gee...Thanks Mrs. Milligan! You got the best house on the block!"

Great story. Happy birthday, Bella!

KATIEmagic said...

Happy Bellaween!! Thank you so much for sharing your family with the internet.

Kat said...

Such a beautiful story! I love that you have Bellaween and that you dressed her up as soon as possible.

Happy day after your birthday Bella!

Stine said...

Just think, when she's 16, you can hold it over her head that she pooped on you when she was born.

What a great story though. Happy Birthday Bella!