Hello Baby! - Baby Adams' Arrival - October 27, 2019
I’ve actually known Holly for basically two decades. Growing up, one of her best friends was the sister of one of my best friends, so while we never really knew each other, we know of each other; we went to the same elementary school, in college I worked briefly with her brother—we were definitely very much the definition of acquaintances.
I ran into Holly at a friend’s birthday party in 2018, and as we were chatting, she mentioned to me that she and her husband were going to begin trying to start a family. As we all know, I’m a fan of babies, so I was really excited for them! As I’ve mentioned in previous Hello Baby! blog posts, this is not my story to tell, but needless to say the day Holly announced her pregnancy (in the cutest video, omg), I bawled like a big old baby. I was so happy for them.
This was right around the time that I decided to execute my Hello Baby! series. I put it out there to the world (read: greater Seattle area) that I was looking for volunteers, and Holly was one of the first to respond! It’s actually funny because she didn’t realize it was me, the person she’d known for literally years, putting this together. So when I told her it was me, it was like OH MY GOSH! We chatted back and forth about it. I didn’t have any experience filming births, so this really was to be a volunteer position, and Holly invited me to come to her first ultrasound with her and her husband. We planned to chat afterwards and see if everyone felt okay and onboard with moving forward.
The morning of the ultrasound, I was so overcome with emotion and NERVES. This would be the first ever ultrasound that I’d been to (not counting one with one of my best friends to find something in her abdomen; different story for a different time), and it suddenly hit me how early it was in Holly’s pregnancy. Driving to work, my husband questioned if I should go. I couldn’t help but agree with him. Obviously I wished for the best and was so excited for Holly and her husband Denero, but what if I went to this ultrasound, and god forbid, there was no heartbeat. I made myself sick over this (thanks, anxiety).
I texted Holly that morning giving her an out, saying that I totally understood if she wanted this ultrasound to be private with her and her husband. She said, please come!!! Honestly, I was so reassured by her positivity that my anxieties fell away. I got really excited. I met them at the hospital in downtown Seattle and we chatted while we waited for Holly’s appointment.
When we got back to the room, the ultrasound tech began her exam and oh man, I was literally sweating. I remember thinking omg why is it so warm in here! Retrospectively, it probably wasn’t that warm. It was just me. Being weird. After what felt like sixteen years (but was probably about three minutes), the tech found the heartbeat. And there the baby was, that little flicker just beating away. If I remember it right, I was actually feeling really emotional in this moment and also being like, be cool, be cool, when all I really wanted to do was shout HOLLY, THERE’S YOUR BABY!
Holly told me that day that she’d had a dream where God had spoken to her and told her that she was going to have a girl, and that she was already named. So, leading up to Holly’s gender reveal, I was so sure it was going to be a girl. When I got to Holly and Denero’s house for the gender reveal, I was nervous again! And then Holly hands me the envelope from the ultrasound tech so that I can hand them the appropriate confetti cannon and I realize that I AM GOING TO BE THE FIRST PERSON TO FIND OUT THE SEX OF THEIR BABY. I was like, holy cow. I took the envelope outside because I was afraid that Holly would be watching me and see my reaction and if the envelope did indeed say it was a girl, I was afraid I’d probably burst into tears.
Spoiler alert, it did say girl and I did almost burst into tears. I pulled it together because I was like, if you go back in there and she sees you crying she’s for sure going to know it’s a girl. PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER, WOMAN.
I handed them their confetti cannon (after quadruple checking it because how awkward would that have been if I handed them the wrong one…) and together with their families they found out it was a girl!
So, Holly’s due date was October 14th. In the back of my mind, I kind of figured that she would go late. It was her first baby, and I know statistically first time mom’s tend to go a little late. So, I anticipated that. The birth I filmed before Holly’s also went late, so I basically had committed to keeping the month of October open with one exception. The girls in my book club had planned a little getaway for the weekend of October 26th and it would be my last time to see all of them together before my husband and I move to Australia. I was committed to going to that; it was in a cabin in the mountains and I was very much looking forward to getting away with some of my favorite people.
October 14th came and went. I tried to not bother Holly if possible. I knew she was trying to stay calm and collected and remain positive and focused on bringing her baby into the world on her terms. All good. October 21st comes and goes and she’s a week overdue at this point. No big deal, both of my sisters went a week over on their first babies. By the 24th, I was getting nervous. I was set to leave for this retreat the following afternoon and Holly’s body hadn’t made a ton of progress in the direction of delivery.
Holly texted that day and said that they had an induction scheduled for Sunday the 27th if the baby didn’t come on her own before then. I thought, this will be fine. Our girls’ weekend cabin was just off I-90 in the mountains and Holly was planning to deliver in Issaquah, which was directly on the way home from our little getaway. My plan was to leave the cabin on Sunday morning and head to Issaquah, IF she made it to her induction.
I did have to tell her that I’d made a really, really difficult decision in that I would not be available to film the birth if it happened on the 26th. I was committed to spending every last second I could with my friends before the move and while I really, really, really wanted to film Holly’s birth, I had to make a decision either way and stick to it. So that was hard, but I just kept my fingers crossed that the baby would stay in until Sunday morning.
On Saturday the 26th, Holly texted me and told me that she was super anxious and she was going to head in a day early to induce. I did question my decision in that moment, but I knew that if I left and I didn’t get to spend time with my friends before we moved, that I might regret it forever. I told Holly that I was sorry, I couldn’t be there, but I wished her the best and asked to continue to receive updates. I told her that regardless I would still be at the hospital on Sunday to do photos and film of her and the baby.
I continued to receive updates from Holly throughout the day; they were inducing her very, very slowly. She said they were planning to start Pitocin soon, and then that got pushed back, and then it got pushed back again. I was starting to think that maybe, despite the induction, the baby actually wouldn’t be born until Sunday after all. I didn’t pin my hopes and dreams on this, but it was in the back of my mind!
By the evening, there still wasn’t a ton of progress. I told Holly I was heading to bed and to please keep me updated. I thought that I would wake up to the news that the baby had been born. Instead I woke up at 3:30am to a text from Holly saying that she was in a lot of pain and that she was getting the epidural. I tried really hard to fall back asleep after that as I’d only been sleeping for about three hours. I gave up at 4:45. My anxiety was through the roof. I had enjoyed the time I’d spent at the getaway with my friends, but I felt like I needed to go. I felt like I still had an opportunity to film this birth. I could still make it.
The rational side of me said you need to go back to bed and try to sleep for a few more hours. I was in a small rental car, had had a long weekend with little sleep, and needed to navigate the mountain pass in order to get to the hospital. I couldn’t leave yet. The irrational anxiety side of me said, if you don’t leave now you’re going to miss it and you’ve been given an opportunity to make it. Go.
So instead of going back to bed or leaving, I sat I the bathroom and cried on the floor for a couple hours. I think it was a combination of being exhausted, of wrapping up my last couple weeks at my job before the move, of organizing and packing and tying up loose ends and visiting friends, and just, everything. Despite being in a cabin surrounded by a group of women who I knew cared deeply about me, I felt very alone on that morning.
I tried to pull myself together and I went and sat on the couch around 7:00am. Holly sent me further updates, saying that the Pitocin had started, and that she was resting. Her epidural had worked and she was able to have some relief from the pain. I dozed on the couch off and on until about 8:00am. At that time, only one of my friends had woken up briefly, but she had gone back to bed. I felt like I needed to go. I needed to make this happen.
I left the cabin at 8:45am and made it to the hospital in Issaquah around 10:30am. I couldn’t believe I made it! I ran in, grabbed a coffee, and made my way up to Holly’s delivery suite. I found her, along with her parents, husband Denero, and her doula. She gave me the update of details I’d missed, but I was totally in awe of how calm she was.
It was a beautiful day outside. You could see the hills covered in evergreen trees; the deciduous trees outside were changing colors and were vibrant shades of reds and oranges. The sun was shining. It was just a really, really beautiful autumnal day.
Holly had been checked just before I arrived and was at 6 centimeters. The nurse kicked up her Pitocin a little bit and they changed Holly’s position a few times to encourage the baby to move down. Denero and Holly’s dad were watching Red Zone, Holly’s wonderful doula spoke softly to her and comforted her, keeping Holly very much centered and grounded.
The nurses were planning to check Holly again at noon to see how she’d progressed, but a birth in another room was happening at that moment, so we didn’t have the charge nurse back in to check her until closer to 1:00pm. You can imagine all of our surprise when the charge nurse reported that Holly was fully dilated at 10 centimeters and completely effaced! Denero wasn’t even in the room when this happened as Holly’s dad had brought in Thai food and we were all meant to be taking turns to eat in rotation out in the lobby. Denero was enjoying his Thai food when the doula came out and said to him, “Are you ready to meet your daughter?” PANIC! Denero thought for a second that Holly had already given birth until the doula rephrased her original question and explained that Holly was ready to push!
The nurses (and Denero and their doula) came back in and began to prep Holly to push. Her doula reminded her that most first time moms push anywhere from two to four hours on average. Her doula talked through some breathing and pushing techniques, and Holly began with a few practice pushes. WHOA. The nurses actually had to have Holly stop after pushing through only two contractions because the baby was responding so well to the pushes! She was ready to be born!
They called the midwife and told her ASAP PLZ! The midwife came in so casually, took one look at Holly’s progress and was basically like, OMG! The nurses got her suited up and Holly pushed through two more contractions before Vera Love was born at 1:21pm. This moment was so emotional for Holly, as right before the baby was born, she just had this overwhelming feeling of gratitude for everything that was happening. The baby was here! Her baby was finally here. The baby’s Apgar was a 7, and she had quite a lot to say upon her arrival!
Over the next hour, Holly was able to keep the baby on her chest. I didn’t stay much longer than an hour; just long enough to capture those first few moments. It was such a beautiful experience; the baby came so quickly once Holly had begun to push, and I still couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that I’d been able to go to my getaway weekend AND make it in time for Vera’s birth.
Congratulations to Holly and Denero on their perfect, snuggly little baby!