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Friday, July 4, 2014

My Little Firecracker!

Meet Raina. She’s my baby, number three, the runt, the queen.
Before Raina was born she stirred chaos. I was admitted into Triage for contractions three weeks before my due date. After a few hours of being monitored the doctor advised me to go home and labor there until my contractions were more intense. Those painful contractions lasted for two weeks! I'm convinced Raina wanted to set the tone before she even arrived.

Dealing with these on and off contractions so frequently made it tough for me to really tell if I was in true labor. I was always on edge, thinking that at any moment that contraction would be THE one to send me into real labor. We were so fearful that I would go into labor at any second that my husband actually cancelled a trip he had been planning for months. Talk about nervous nellies!

So life went on for a couple more weeks...On July 4th, 2012 my parents hosted a party to celebrate America’s birthday. I made the truck by myself to Tampa very pregnant and with two toddlers in tow- I wasnt about to be a prisoner to these pre-labor pains. All seemed normal when we arrived. Contractions- check!

A few hours later we sat down to eat a feast. After a few minutes, I excused myself from the table- something didn’t quite feel right. I had that strange feeling in my uterus that I either had indigestion or maybe nature was calling. After a few minutes, I decided that maybe I just needed to walk it off. Perhaps it was cramps or maybe the milk I drank this morning was bad. I was not about to be THAT pregnant lady that ruins a party for something ridiculous. I could see it now, the doctor saying, “Sorry Miss, you confused your gassiness for labor contractions...” So I paced and paced some more. I drank some water. Then paced again. I literally had no clue what to do. As the minutes passed the pain seemed to increase and become more frequent. But the question I kept asking myself- like I had for the past 3 weeks, how did I know THIS pain was the “real” pain?

Finally, after 30 minutes of deliberating I took my dad aside and calmly said, “I don't want to make a big deal about this, because I could be wrong, but I think this time I'm really in labor.” See, I was an hour and a half away from the hospital, so I couldn’t just sit around and wait to see how things went (especially since I labored and delivered in less than an hour for my first two at the hospital, I knew time was of the essence). While I gathered my things together to leave, my parents got the kids together- and they even managed to squeeze in a couple fourth of July pictures amidst my pain.

After the photo shoot, I piled my two kids into the car (16 months and 3 at the time) and my mom got in the passenger seat- I insisted on driving even though I was in labor because my mom is known for getting lost.  The last thing I wanted to do was to deliver this baby in the car with my two kids in the backseat! So we drove away, leaving a party still in full bloom, dinner on the table, fireworks still tucked away and the hospital as our target.

I had driven the route from Tampa to Sarasota a million times before, but that day the hour an a half drive felt the longest to date. Immediately after leaving my parents the contractions became more intense and much closer together. I remember literally having to breathe deep and slow as shooting pains pierced my back and sides. I gripped the steering handles so tight that my knuckles turned white. Every time we braked at a stop light I think my blood pressure sky rocketed, I knew every minute counted!

I made it to the hospital with the baby in my belly and breathing my “hehe hoo’s,” like a maniac. Luckily (or not so lucky) Jason was already working that night at the hospital so he was there waiting for me as I rolled my whale-self out of the car. The kids were whisked away to my in-laws house and off we went to get this baby out!  By the time we finally made it to the delivery room and got me settled into the bed I was already six centimeters dilated.

I was breathing so hard through contractions that I built up quite a sweat. I had the nurses turn the air down as low as it would go. Parkas and mittens were a necessity for any visitors in the room. I think my mom developed the beginning stages of frost bite because of the frigid temperature. This was all while I waited patiently for my epidural (sorry folks, no natural birth for me). Since there was some sort of hold up with my blood work I had to wait 20 minutes and 8 centimeters to get it. When the anesthesiologists finally came, they expected me to sit still through the knife stabbing pain, while injecting me with a ten foot needle... I survived, and now came the relief! Fifteen minutes later Raina was ready to make her entrance. After just four pushes, at 10:32 pm to be exact, with fireworks booming outside my window, our little firecracker, Raina Maria was born!

I was so thankful that night this was no false alarm and that I could actually say I Guess Im Due. I had anticipated meeting her everyday for three weeks now, and holding her for the first time took my breath away. How could someone so precious and innocent cause so much chaos?! But don't be fooled, two years later this little cutie still stirs up trouble...

Now, every fourth of July is extra special for us. With fireworks booming, we not only celebrate America, but we also get the chance to celebrate our little ball of fire, Raina!

Here’s to your second birthday, Raina! Happy Birthday to you (and of course, to America too!)

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