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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Esther Grace Keeling

About this time a year ago today, I was staring at my sleeping baby girl, so tiny in that little glass cart beside my hospital bed, wondering what in the world I was going to do with all that pink. Tonight, I still stare at that baby girl asleep in her crib, but now I wonder what in the world I'm going to do with all that personality! One year old. Wow. Time flies, doesn't it?

Some of you know the story of how our little Esther Gracie came into this world but others may not. Bear with me but tonight I feel a bit nostalgic and would like to post a small recap. [Warning: this may be long.] Where do I begin? Ah, yes.

 I. was. HUGE.

Yes, that's a 46" belly.

I had just snuggled up with my bowl of ice-cream to watch "The Biggest Loser" when, what do you know, my water broke. I was so excited! (I'm not a very good pregnant person. Did you see the 46 on the tape measure?) We got all of our bags and packed Jonah to stay with my parents. After dropping him off at their house, we went ahead and headed to St. Mary's. Now I know you're supposed to wait until your contractions are 3 minutes apart or screaming your head off in pain, whichever comes first. But I wasn't about to chance getting stuck at home.

You see, the whole week previous there had been flooding in metro-Atlanta. Flooding. As in, water on the road. The hospital is a good 30, maybe 40, minute drive from our house. I just knew we were going to be stuck and I would have to birth that baby in my car without an epidural! It was raining the night my water broke but the waters remained in their river banks and we got to St. Mary's without delay. I walked into the emergency room where I waited patiently in line behind an oh-so-pregnant young lady who was obviously much farther in her labor than I was at this point. She did not look like she was enjoying this. I could also tell that it was definitely her first child because her husband was loaded down with bags, pillows, books (who reads a labor & delivery book while in labor?), etc. and kept asking every 15 seconds, "Are you okay?" My husband was parking the car.

Finally it was my turn to register with the girl at the desk. I literally hopped right up to her and said, "Guess." She didn't laugh. I thought it was pretty funny. She confirmed all of my information in the computer as I bounced from one foot to the other. (Again, did you see the 46? I'm pretty sure I was sucking in when that picture was taken. I was so excited!) She began to tell me how I might be checked in for observation but that I'd probably be sent home if I wasn't far enough in the labor process. Apparently my hopping did not allude to the fact that I was actually having some pretty good contractions. All I had to do was show her my pants and say, "This is not pee." That did it.

A guy came to escort me, my friend & co-laborer, and her husband to the baby ward. (My husband? Still parking.) He asked if we needed wheelchairs. New mama said, "No, (ugh) I'd (hunh) much (mmmhh) rather (grrrnn) walk these out. (pant, pant) It speeds (huff, huff) up labor. (groan)" Oh. One of those. That explained the big exercise- I mean, birthing- ball in the lobby. Well, if WonderWoman here didn't need one I guess that meant Hop-a-Long didn't either because he never even offered me one. As he sprinted down the hallways, we had to make frequent stops because my friend kept leaning over and basically collapsing at every doorway. The little fella kept looking at me like, "Is she gonna be allright?" while hubby just looked scared to death. "First one?" I offered. "Yeah (moan). I've been in labor since (arrrr) yesterday and they've sent me back (hunnngh) three times." What. Okay, so I'm pretty much going home. Might as well turn around now before Bear had to get one of those parking ticket thingies from the little machine and we have to pay 3 bucks for this little trip. Maybe we could stop at the Varsity since I didn't get to finish my ice-cream.

We got to the baby ward and the nurse took my friend to a room pretty quickly. Another one came up to me and asked me how I was doing. "Great!" I exclaimed. "I'm not going to be pregnant anymore!" That got a courtesy laugh. Well, she was polite. She said that normally they have some kind of test strip to determine whether or not my water had actually broken. Then, while looking behind me at the trail I'd left along the hallway, she turned her attention back to me and said, "I don't think that will be necessary in this case here." Sweet. A room and a bed. Almost like a vacation. :)

Fast forward a few hours and several episodes of "The Duggars" later: Bear made it to the room and has now positioned himself in the fold-out bed in full out coma. I'm so excited I can't stand it. My mom and Ouida are asleep in the waiting room. Toni, my step-mom-in-law (or MOSMIL- mean old step mom in law- for short) and I are the only ones who can't control ourselves. She's not mean, we just say that as a joke because step-moms are normally mean in all the stories. She had never seen a baby born from the other end before and everyone else was already used to me and my shenanigans. I needed the sympathy and she wanted the show. :)

They checked me to see how far along I was and I am proud to say that I was "a good 8 centimeters", which in Kristen-ese is "practically dying and how in the world are you being so brave and strong without being numb from the waist down". I was so proud of myself. Honestly, I wasn't even hurting the teeniest bit but I really didn't want to hurt so I went ahead and got the epidural then. I know, I know. I'm a baby. For the record, I have no doubt in my mind that I know I could have a baby naturally & probably would do it with grace & dignity. I just don't want to. Not even the teeniest desire whatsoever.

By the time it came for the actual birth part and everyone was awake, Toni and I had convinced ourselves that having 19 or so kids was a great idea and we didn't know why everyone didn't have that many. Do you know how sweet Mrs. Duggar is? Her voice is that of an angel. Yeah, I'm pretty sure Toni & I are not allowed to be alone together anymore. Needless to say, Esther Grace Keeling entered this world on September 30, 2009 at 5:52 a.m. weighing 7 lbs, 11 ounces. What a sweet pea.

Even though there was no more flooding here in Georgia, our family has been flooded with such a joy of this little girl! She is happiness, giggles, and grins. She claps her hands anytime there's music on, which is usually praise and worship music at our house, and lifts her hands to the Lord unashamedly. Our house has been flooded with pink, pink, pink. Babies and bracelets have flooded the playroom. I pray that her life is flooded with the Holy Spirit and she is bold and courageous like her namesake to act in obedience with His call. May Living Water overflow her heart and soul with a compassion for the lost and a burden to share the gospel with everyone she meets. And when the enemy comes in like a flood, may she call upon the Spirit of the Lord to lift up a standard against him.

As for my friend, I have no idea what her name was. I don't even know if she had a boy or a girl. All I know is that about 3 hours after Esther Grace was born, I was stepping out of the shower and heard a noise that I'm pretty sure has never been heard in a civilized setting. It was something primal, uttered from a place that I'm sure I never want to go. I quit towel-drying my hair and froze. There it was again. This time it was followed by, "She's pushing!" and several nurses running into the room a few doors down. A shriek, equal to that of a banshee, echoed throughout the corridor and then- silence. A soft tinkling of chimes sounded, announcing the birth of a new life in the hospital. I clicked on my hair dryer and smiled. Thank you, Jesus, for the epidural.


1 comment:

Angela said...

Pretty sure that you are my daughter from another mother and there is another one of you running around in Loganville that has just married and her mother can't wait to be a Mimi!!! This made me Laugh out loud!!

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