When I went to the obstetrician in Houston after finding out I was pregnant, I expected her to say my due date would be Christmas Day. After doing a quick ultrasound, she determined that I wasn’t quite six weeks pregnant and estimated that baby girl would arrive around January 5.
Turns out we were both wrong.
My parents were scheduled to arrive in Thailand on December 30 at 9:30 am, which would put them at our hotel around 11 am or so. International travel rarely goes according to plan and when I got a call from my dad the morning of the 29th (I think) telling me they were still in Newark, I knew there was no way they’d make it here by 11 am on the 30th. After many delays in Newark (plane problems, a timed out crew, etc.) they finally left the US and made it to Hong Kong on December 30 around noon, putting them on a flight to Thailand at 3 pm, and arriving at our hotel around 7:30 pm (very long line at customs).
We had bought them some sandwiches and while they were eating and telling us the very long story of the Newark flight, I felt a little pain. It was about 7:45 pm.
Braxton Hicks, I thought.
By 8ish, I managed to get Jeff’s attention and tried to have him time contractions without my parents noticing. My dad had no idea what was going on, but my mom probably figured it out.
By 8:30, I had to tell them.
Around 9, we google’d Braxton Hicks contractions versus real contractions. My contractions were not matching up with the characteristics of Braxton Hicks contractions.
I started packing a bag.
(With Macy, as I’m sure is common with most first children, I had packed a bag like two weeks before my due date. With this baby, I hadn’t even really thought about it)
Finally around 9:30, we got Macy in bed. She was exhausted. As I kissed her goodnight, I realized this was probably the last night she would go to sleep as an only child.
Jeff took a quick shower and then I did the same. With Macy, I wasn’t allowed to shower for two or three days after the c-section and I thought I might as well get a head start just in case.
And by 11, I walked into my parent’s room to tell them we were leaving.
At the hospital, they told me I was already at 3 cm. “I only have 7 left to go,” I told the nurse. She smiled.
Jeff asked if they had called my doctor yet. Once they did, the nurse came back in to tell me that he was out of town for the holiday and had referred me to another doctor. At my last appointment, he had asked me not to go into labor on New Year’s Eve because he was going to his farm. Oops.
The new doctor wasn’t much of a talker, but I felt like I should make some kind of small talk with him. During labor, this isn’t the easiest feat.
“So, do you have kids?” I asked.
“No.” he replied.
I tried again. “You decided to stay in Bangkok for the holiday?” I asked with a smile.
He looked at me inquisitively.
“My other doctor went to his farm for the holiday,” I explained.
“Oh,” he smiled back. “Yes, he likes to ride horses.”
That was about it for the small talk.
I’m not entirely sure how it is in the US because I’ve never had a baby there, but in Asia doctors are known for preferring the c-section route to the natural birth. For one thing, you can schedule them and for another a lot of women choose the convenience of a c-section to the long, painful process of labor.
So during this whole thing, I kept waiting for the doctor to suggest we go to c-section. I knew if there was any kind of complication – even a small one – he would probably feel that the c-section was the less risky option. And my original doctor had told me that I had a 60-70% chance of a successful VBAC.
But God was bigger than all that. And He had taken care of all the details.
The next few hours passed by and Jeff tried to take my mind off the pain – we walked some, played Monopoly deal (yes, really), and filled out some paperwork.
To keep this on the shorter side, I’ll fast-forward to about 5 am when I called the nurse back in to the room. It was just about time for this baby to come.
I couldn’t believe we’d made it this far.
At 5:53 am, Selah Madeline was born. It was a moment I’ll never forget. In one second there was silence (well, sort of) and in another, there was a little, little baby girl crying.
After cleaning her up a little, they let me hold her. What a sweet girl.
Welcome to the world, my little New Year’s Eve baby girl. There will always be fireworks for you. 🙂