29: The Birthday that Included Nurses, Firemen, and a Newborn

Rylee was born about a month before my 29th birthday, so I really wasn't planning on doing anything spectacular. I would have been happy with just a slice of chocolate mousse cake and Netflix. I decided though that it would probably be in my best interest to get out of the house and you know, not wear yoga pants for once. Just a small dinner. It would still be relaxing.


The day started out as normal. I fed Rylee throughout the night and slept in a little (with a newborn, more than 2 hours of sleep means sleeping in). I woke up, marathon-ed Bones on Netflix (Netflix, I can't quit you!), and snuggled with my sweet baby.

Sometime in the afternoon, I had the best idea. I was going to wear my wedding ring for my birthday. The last time I wore it was my second trimester, and I felt like my fingers were looking less like hot dogs these days. I took a quick shower, changed, and put the ring on my finger. And can you believe it, that sucker fit! That's when the trouble began.

I tried to take my ring off, but it wouldn't budge. The ring was stuck on there like a crayon in a kid's nose. I tried to remain calm and quickly Youtube-d some videos on how to remove it. I tried Windex, butter, floss, EVERYTHING you can think of, and my ring wouldn't move. That's when I really started to freak out. That's also when my finger began to swell.

***Meanwhile, Rylee was peacefully napping because that's what newborns do and if I didn't mention it, I know some of you would have been like, "Yo! Why aren't you watching your baby, you negligent mother with the sausage fingers?!" Thanks, friends.

By this point, my finger started turning purple. I had to make a choice: 1) chop off my finger and die from massive blood loss, 2) see a doctor and live another day to take care of my child.

So I grabbed a knife and...put it back down. I quickly packed Rylee's diaper bag, apologized for waking her up, and drove to the closest urgent care. 

"Oh, you got your ring stuck? Don't worry, happens all the time." said one of the nurses, an angel sent from above. "We can hold your baby also, we'll wash our hands."

While I filled out some paperwork, I overheard the nurses youtube-ing videos on how to remove a stuck ring. I was a tad bit nervous.

"We can try that floss trick," the angel nurse told me. We'll call her Angel since I can't remember her name.
"Sure," I said. Maybe they would have better luck.

After three lidocaine injections and multiple failed attempts to slip the floss under my ring, I begged them to just cut it off.

"It's not really necessary to cut off your finger at this stage," said Angel. My sweet, sweet Angel. "But we can try cutting the ring if that's OK with you?"

"Yes, please." I love you, Angel.

***Meanwhile, the nurse (heaven-sent) who was holding Rylee also changed her diaper.

So yeah...their ring cutter wasn't strong enough to cut my ring. *insert cute joke about how my marriage is so awesome that not even a ring cutter could break through my wedding band* Anyway, Angel left the room for a moment to discuss other options with the nurses. At this point, I was on the verge of tears. Let's not kid ourselves. I was bawling.

Angel returned and explained, "we didn't want to make you drive to a hospital with a newborn, so we called the Fire Department. They're right next door so they'll be here in five minutes. I'll be waiting for them at the front, OK?"

"OK," I sobbed.

Let me paint this picture for you. I was sitting in the exam room, hand totally numb and tears streaming down my face. I was wearing my husband's oversized basketball shorts and a Game of Thrones t-shirt. Next to me was the nurse (did I mention she was 11 months pregnant?) who held my newborn baby and was also crying because she felt sorry for me. And there we were, me with my swollen hand and this pregnant nurse holding my baby, crying together in the exam room.

And just when I thought this couldn't have been any more embarrassing, five firemen burst into the room to witness the whole thing. This part was kind of a blur so I'll just summarize.

"Erh...hello. I hear it's your birthday. I've got a present for you." Fireman #1 pulls out the ring cutter. "Don't move your hand or I might cut it. Ha!"
"Okay," I managed to whimper, almost dead from embarrassment.
"I'm training this fella over here so just be patient with me," Fireman #1 points to Fireman #2. Fireman #3-#5 watch in the background and talk about how my finger looks like a hot dog and how a hot dog sounded good for lunch (I'm not really sure what they were doing so I can only imagine).

And with a quick snip, that was that. The firemen left. My finger was free. And my relaxing birthday turned into this mess of a day. Despite it all, I ended up with a really fun story to tell that night and got to spend my birthday with all sorts of wonderful people.

And just in case you needed proof.

A Birth Story / Rylee Paige

After a week and a half of a lot of nothing, no contractions or signs of labor, I decided to have a "me" day. I had the whole afternoon planned out. I would go get a foot massage, grab a quick milk tea, stop by the store, and then pick up Emily on the way home. And I'll be honest. I'll admit it. I had ulterior motives. I had heard a rumor that foot massages could induce labor so I figured, why not? If anything, I'd at least get a nice relaxing massage out of it. So I headed to my appointment, hope in my heart and tension in my feet.

Once I got there, I was greeted by the sweetest little lady. She was like an Asian version of Betty White and seriously, as nice as could be. Anyway, she greeted me and led me to what I'd like to call, "the 'please Lord, let this baby come' room." So she gave me the best damn foot massage of my life, and I walked out feeling super refreshed. As I got in my car and drove to Target, magic happened. I started having my very first contractions, at least the first ones I could feel. I pulled into the Target parking lot and walked around the store to see if they would go away. The pain was so good y'all. My excitement was really building up at this point and after an hour of consistent contractions, I decided to go pick up Emily and head home before they got worse. But then the pain was not so good. The pain was PAINFUL, and I had to park in a random neighborhood so I could kneel over and cry. I called Kyle, tears streaming down my face.

Sweet Kyle. Love of my life. He reassured me everything would be fine. He told me to head home. He would call his mom and have her pick up and watch Emily. He would also come home right away and take care of me.

Slowly, I drove. And when I got home, I immediately climbed into bed and then you know what, the contractions stopped. THEY COMPLETELY STOPPED. THOSE DANG HOPE-SHATTERING CONTRACTIONS STOPPED. Kyle came home. His mom dropped off Emily. I was embarrassed. I ate fried chicken while weeping (the weeping didn't actually happen but the fried chicken totally did). I really thought it was going to happen. I thought Asian Betty White had used her massaging voodoo magic to induce my baby.

So that night, Kyle comforted me/patted me on the head like a dog, and I went to sleep. The next day, I woke up and grabbed a yogurt drink. Emily was watching Kickin' It and I wanted to be kickin' it next to her (my apologies if this made you uncomfortable, you're welcome if you chuckled). Then as I sat down, I freaking peed myself.

I was like,"HOLY COW, did I just pee myself?" I went to the bathroom to check and then a thought crossed my mind. Could this be my water breaking? I wasn't sure. Kyle had always joked that it would be like a flood. He had prepared himself to be swept off the bed, riding the wave of my amniotic fluid (too much? not enough?). But this was just a little trickle. Kyle, bless his heart, was still sleeping while I debated with myself on the toilet. Finally, I stood up and exclaimed, "hey boo, I either peed myself or my water broke." He immediately woke up.

After showering, 10 more trickles, and Kyle patiently but frequently asking me when we should head to the hospital, I decided that I had not peed myself after all.

Once we got to the hospital, the nurse (her name was Chris) had me change into one of those stylish hospital gowns and lay in bed while she checked to see how far along I was. 4-5cm dilated and 80% effaced, she said it would be quick. It was not quick.

We arranged for one of our friends (sweet Helena) to come get Emily until Kyle's mom could pick her up. I didn't want her to see me in labor but mainly, I didn't want to traumatize her for life. I was ready for the worst. And yet, I still didn't feel any contractions. Nothing like the ones I had the day before. So I laid there next to Kyle and my birth photographer, and we watched Die Hard 2 together.

After Die Hard 3 (Yes, you read that right. By this point, we had watched both Die Hard 2 and 3), I was 7cm dilated but still not feeling any contractions. My doctor always told me that I had a high pain tolerance, which Chris the Nurse agreed, but I figured I was just channeling John McClane level bad-assery. I'll take the credit though, just my own bad-assery apparently. Chris the Nurse and I decided to go ahead and have the epidural put in and start some Pitocin to help things along.

After Face/Off (not the reality TV show but the movie with Nicholas Cage and his most Oscar-worthy performance), I started feeling kind of weird. Like I really had to poop. So I called Chris the Nurse and she came in to check. 10cm!!! Game time, she said!

So I pushed and pushed my heart out. Pushed like I never pushed before. I pushed because I couldn't wait to meet our baby, the baby we had been praying and hoping for almost two years. I pushed because Kyle held my hand, stroked my hair, and kept telling me he loved me. I pushed because I wanted to finally know if we were having a boy or girl. I pushed because despite her shift being over, Chris the Nurse stayed to help because she also wanted to know our baby's gender. And I pushed because even though we were supposed to have the on-call doctor, my actual Ob-Gyn (who happened to be the wife of our infertility doctor) wanted to be the one to deliver our baby.

And then Rylee was born and it was the most beautiful thing I had ever experienced. I held her in my arms and I felt more joy and fear than I had ever felt in my life. And I couldn't believe that Kyle and I had created her together. That we had created this new life that would forever change ours. And everything felt like it was as it should be. 

The rest of the night was a blissful blur. Emily, Kyle's mom, and my mom holding Rylee. Emily opening her gift from Rylee and wanting to take pictures of her new little sister to show off at school. Seeing Kyle take care of our baby girl and finally, late late that night when I couldn't sleep because I just wanted to watch her as she laid on my chest. This creating life business, magical I tell ya. Magical. 

***Photos by A Sacred Project

The Waiting Game

I realize I shouldn't be complaining. I'm only 38 weeks and have 2 to go, but when the doctor said it'd be any day now over a week ago, I sure did get excited. Days have been dragging and my patience (what little I had before) is practically gone. I spend my afternoons eating Cap'n Crunch and watching April the Giraffe, my hero, hoping for the birth of her baby and mine. I mean, come on! This warrior-champion for pregnant women everywhere-has been overdue for almost 3 weeks now. If April can do it, surely I can. But little baby, I'd sure like to meet you. It's nice and cozy in your mama and dada's arms, I promise.