All along, I’ve told Harper we would be ready for her arrival on March 20th. Jacob’s second birthday party would be over, our taxes would be complete, and all of the essentials would be washed and put away. Well, she listened! I’ll now forgive her for not turning back from the breech position…maybe 😉

I started having contractions on Saturday night (after Jacob’s party). They weren’t consistent enough to worry about, nor did they cause me any discomfort. Hayden, Jacob, and I took a lot of long walks around the neighborhood trying to get things moving.

Monday, we arrived at our tax appointment about 45 minutes early. As we were sitting in the parking lot, we decided to use our time to rearrange the car seats in Hayden’s car. We turned Jacob’s seat forward facing (even though I would really like to keep him rear facing until he’s about 20!) and installed Harper’s infant seat. When we got home, we put together the last item for Harper’s room (a bookshelf) and put away all the baby gear we picked up earlier in the morning.

As we were settling into bed on Monday night around 9:30, the contractions started again. I watched a 10 o’clock show and then tried to get some rest. I figured if this was IT, then I needed to get a little sleep. I slept for an hour and a half, and was woken up by the contractions. I drank some water, moved around a little, and tried to go back to sleep.

At 12:30 I decided to wake up Hayden. At first I was going to go downstairs to time the contractions and walk around, to let him sleep a little more. Then I realized that he missed out on all this last time, so I would take advantage of having him around. The contractions weren’t consistent, occurring anywhere from 3-8 minutes apart. Harper was breech, though, so I wasn’t sure what course of action my midwives would want to take: still labor at home until my contractions were 5 minutes apart, or just come in and get the c-section started. I called in at 1:45 and Wendy told me to go to the hospital for some monitoring and to see if I was dilated.

We called my mom and dad right after that, as we needed them to come over and stay with Jacob. They were at the house by 2:20…I hadn’t even showered yet! Hayden and I packed the last-minute items we needed in our bags, showered, and headed to the hospital. We were taken into triage at 3:00am.

The contractions were still irregular, but coming consistently every 3-8 minutes. I wasn’t dilated, so I was hooked up to some IV fluids to see if the contractions would stop. The Drs. wanted to give her the chance to keep growing a few more days if they could. My contractions did slow down…so I was kept a little longer to see if Tuesday would be the day. Around 6:15am Harper’s heart rate started to drop occasionally–nothing that was causing a huge worry, but enough to have me change positions a few times to see if she would stabilize. At that point, they decided to go ahead with the c-section that day.

Hayden went out to get our bags and the camera. I still wasn’t officially admitted into the hospital; I had only been admitted as an outpatient. We started the paperwork to make it official, Hayden came in and we took some silly self-portraits, and we were getting excited about the day finally arriving.

At 6:40, the mood in my triage room changed. The nurse wasn’t chatting with us, three other nurses appeared shoving paperwork in my hands telling me to sign now and she’d fill out in the blanks later, and Hayden was against the wall just trying to stay out of the way. My midwife Wendy appeared, told us Harper’s heart rate had dropped into the 40s (normal is 120-160ish, if I remember correctly), and that I was being rushed into an emergency c-section. They would put me under general anesthesia and Hayden wouldn’t be allowed in the OR. As it started to sink in, my bed was being rushed out of the room and down the hall. I remember Hayden telling me, from somewhere behind me to my left, to breathe–I needed to breathe for Harper. I was scared, crying, confused. Wendy was right there with me, close to my face, telling me everything would be okay–they were going to get Harper out as fast as they could.

We were in the OR by 6:47. They immediately hooked me up to see Harper’s heart beat. It had gone back to the 130s. Dr. Smith was scrubbing in and I heard them yelling to him: should we proceed or switch to an epidural? Since Harper was okay, they would switch gears, slow down, and do an epidural. The relief was overwhelming. They numbed me up and brought Hayden in–but not before starting to cut me open. Hayden got to see my insides 😉

Harper Grace Gafford was born at 7:16 weighing 6 pounds and was 18.5 inches long. She started crying within 30 seconds and our world changed forever. As I looked over from the table I could see a good amount of black hair, I counted 10 fingers and 10 ten toes, and I heard Hayden clicking away pictures on the camera. I was closed up and taken to recovery–and this time, unlike last time, Harper was brought to me within 10 minutes so we could bond and I could feed her. What an awesome experience. She scared the crap out of us…but there she was–healthy and alert.

Welcome, Harper Grace
March 20, 2012 at 7:16am
6 pounds, 18.5 inches