Grey Harper Ferguson

What an amazing two weeks it’s been for James and I as we welcomed our first baby girl, Grey Harper.  Born at 5 lbs 10 oz, 18.5 inches long, our little nugget came out five (almost six) weeks early.  The timing could not have been more funny. Let me explain…

Work Friday seemed like any other day. I started my day with some fruity pebbles, got some much needed work done, scheduled my meeting with HR to discuss my maternity leave for the following Tuesday (never had that meeting…).  At lunch I was hitting a lull in energy and had even joked with my coworkers about the episode of the Office where Pam keeps faking labor to go home once a week – could that possibly work? Of course not…just go back to work, Caiti. I had my last bowl of fruity pebbles around 3 to hold me over until I got home to eat dinner with James. While I was eating I thought I felt a little funky. I don’t know if you know this, but throughout pregnancy your body always has some funky things happening. I thought nothing of the symptoms I was having and left at 5 to go home.

That night, we had planned on spending the night back in West Chester with James’ parents because my baby shower (that I totally didn’t know about…not) was on Saturday the 19th. I thought I would give my Mom and sister the space they needed that night and Saturday morning to get the party ready without me being in the way.  When I found out when the party was I was always a little nervous about how close to my due date it was because I wanted to be able to get the nursery ready without being to panicked.  The weekend was finally here though, so I was glad that we made it this far without any surprises! Were we in for a big one…

James and I spent a little extra time packing that night because we had scheduled our maternity photos for Sunday, which we were really excited about due to the snow in the forecast.  This was the third date that we had to schedule because we were rained out every other time. I had been waiting months for these photos to finally get done and I was so excited to have a pretty backdrop regardless of the temperature.

As we were driving home, about the time we got close to the bridge into PA, I started having contractions.  I had Braxton Hicks contractions before, so I didn’t really think anything of it other than that I was uncomfortable driving for another hour if they were gonna hang around – and did they ever hang around.  They stayed with me the rest of the car ride and when we got to James’ parents I tried to stand for a little because I had read that changing positions should help them subside. They didn’t. We migrated to the couch to relax and watch some basketball, and I thought, “maybe I should time them…if they’re consistent I have a feeling this could be something I should worry about.” They were about 5-6 minutes apart and I started to get a little anxious. I went to the bathroom, and there seemed to be some weird fluid in the toilet. Again…not the weirdest thing to happen during  pregnancy, so I thought nothing of it at first.  Then I felt more release a few minutes later when I was just sitting on the couch. I got up to go to bed and stopped in the bathroom again just to be safe…there was a little blood in whatever this liquid was coming out of me and i started to internally panic.  I started googling things…and as much as you are thinking “huge mistake, Caiti”, I actually got the results of exactly what it was – amniotic fluid. Every website said “if you are having contractions regardless of how painful or not painful before week 37, call your dr.” and “if you are leaking amniotic fluid before week 37, this could be dangerous for your baby and should go to your doctor immediately”. I read both of those things and told James after debating for what seemed like hours that I think we should go to the hospital to calm my nerves. I was sure it was just me psyching myself out. I ended up texting my sister to try and reassure myself, and even texted my coworker who was dating a nurse to tell me what I should do with the symptoms i was having. I was getting nervous.

James and I got to Chester County Hospital at about 1AM and they brought me up to maternity to do a simple swab test to see if it was in fact amniotic fluid. The test came back positive and the doctor came in to check and see if I was dilated. I was beginning to be (just 1 cm). He gave us the low down of what was going to happen since I was 34 weeks at that point.  He told us that Grey would be coming into this world within 48 hours, but he was going to try and prolong it as much as possible to make sure she was ready.  We alerted our families and started the delivery process.

I hadn’t had certain tests done that come the last 5 weeks of pregnancy that have to do with bacteria and protecting baby before delivery. We needed to have those tests done, but also didn’t have time to wait for results, so they rolled me down to a delivery room and hooked me up to an antibiotic IV. This was when my contractions started to become painful. They also gave me a shot of steroids to try and speed up Grey’s development before she came to make sure that she would come out healthy.  That hurt, but definitely not as much as the contractions were starting to.

James tried to get some sleep before the main event, but I could not sleep since I was having contractions every 5 minutes and they were becoming more painful every time.  For the rest of the night until about 9 AM, I was having contractions until they were 2 minutes apart. It was that night that I realized how important breathing was. After trying to walk around the room a little bit that morning, the nurse came in around 9 AM and checked to see if i had dilated more – I was only at 3 in. When asked if i needed anything for the pain – Heck yes I did! While the pain meds were in my IV, I managed to get some sleep and woke up in time for James to order some dinner from Panera before the Duke game.  While we were discussing what we wanted to eat, my water broke.  I managed to get some of the small bowl of soup in my stomach before my contractions came back stronger than ever.  That was when I knew it was close.

They checked me after the Duke game to see how dilated I was – at that point it was pretty clear I was in pain. I was at 5 cm. Time for the epidural! This for some reason I was more afraid of than giving birth and I’m not sure why. I had read what it was and that there were pros and cons. I read how it went in, how it would effect you, ad it seemed like everyone had an opinion on it (mostly to make sure you get it). While it was hard to keep in the position the anesthesiologist wanted me to be in during my contractions, it really wasn’t painful aside from a pinch every now and then. Thank god i got it because I can’t imagine what the birth process was after I received it without it!

With the epidural I managed to get some sleep before the big push and around 2 AM the nurse checked me, and sure enough I was ready. The nurse helped me push for about 15 minutes before she said we had to wait for the doctor because she was already coming! About 15 more minutes later, the doctor had finished delivering the neighboring room and had come in to help deliver Grey.  They had set up a mirror for me to see Grey coming out (sounds gross but it was honestly the most incredible thing to see in between shutting your eyes to push), and directed me through each push for next 10 minutes. I had maybe pushed 10 more times before my little girl had come into the world.

And in case you were wondering…heck yes I Kourtney Kardashian-ed the crap out of her. They said, “Your baby is here, mama, grab her!” and I did not hesitate I pulled her to me so quickly that they were like WAIT WE STILL HAVE TO CUT THE CORD!” James cut the cord (with his eyes closed he was so nervous). and we had our little girl with us.  I would love to tell you the process after I was holding her, but I honestly was so in love with this precious angel that I was not even paying attention to what they were doing around me.

Holding her was the most incredible feeling. It was as if she had already been with us for so long, yet I was only holding her for the first time. She was just the tiniest little girl, but brought the most love and bliss I’ve ever felt in my entire life.

For the rest of her life, we will joke about how Grey had FOMO and just wanted to be here for her party. As for the maternity photos, only time will tell if she came out because she didn’t want her picture taken yet (like her Mama was as a kid), or she wanted to be the focus of the photos (not sure who she gets that from!). I’ll never joke about faking anything again – it might actually happen, but I think the most coincidental part of her timing is a loss James and I suffered last year.

In November 2017 I found out I was pregnant. James and I were going to finally be parents after telling ourselves to wait until after the wedding. We were so excited to see our little one on our first ultrasound, but when we saw her it was probably one of the worst moments of our lives. She didn’t have a heartbeat and my body hadn’t realized for weeks. So in January, on the 18th, I had to force my body to miscarry. I wish that emotional and physical damage on no one.

On January 18th, James and I decided to go to the hospital and make sure Grey and I were healthy. One night later I went into labor and gave birth to the most beautiful baby girl I’ve ever seen. I can’t wait to watch her personality grow over the next few months. She’s already a ball of fire.

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