It was February 8, 2010. Ryan had just finished putting the car seat in. The house was extremely calm and quiet. As if everyone and everything around us knew something was about to happen. We climbed into bed and shut our eyes, it was the last time we would go to bed, just the two of us.
The phone rang at 4am. It was the nurse. She said, “Is this Stephanie? Are you ready?” I knew exactly what she meant. I perked up from bed and excitedly yelled, “We’ll be right there.” We were getting an induction that morning, February 9, because Kelsey was averaging over 9lbs and it was her due date.
I hurried up and ate oatmeal (a decision I would later regret), jumped in the shower to wash off, grabbed our suitcases and we hit the road. We were on our way to the hospital, and it was so dark outside. I can’t even remember if we listed to the radio. We were so excited and so scared. I remember being over the moon that I was about to meet my daughter, but terrified at the same time because I had no clue how to be a parent.
We arrived at the hospital and immediately went into Triage. It was 5am when we got there and we weren’t ‘seen’ until 7am. I remember laying in the hospital Triage room, watching the Today show when the nurse came in and gave me an IV. No one can ever find my veins so they had to prick me like 5 times. Then, I turned to my right and threw up on Ryan.
A little after 7am, we were wheeled into our delivery room. This was the moment we had waited for. Shift changes at 7am and 7pm, so we got a new nurse. This one would stay with us the entire delivery. She was not nice. In fact, I remember her being cold and matter of fact. She didn’t get my humor, but that’s okay. I wasn’t there for her.
A lot happened in between. The Pitocin. Drip. Drip. Drip. The nurse broke my water, then I got a catheter in, then I got the epidural (yes, in that order). Pain. Pain. More pain. The contractions were intense. I remember my mom by my bedside trying to keep me calm. Ryan was there too (I think he was just about as scared as I was) but I remember him being right by my side the entire time.
The epidural felt like someone hitting your funny bone … in your back (I would later have the complete opposite experience with my son, no pain whatsoever there). I was laser focused on the machine to my right. It was monitoring my contractions, but more important it was monitoring Kelsey’s heart beat. I listed to it very carefully. I heard every beat. My mom had a daughter before me who didn’t make it. I was terrified this would happen to me.
I just listened. Thump. Thump. Thump. Good, she’s still with me. If anything had happened to her, in this moment, I would have lost my mind. God had a plan for us. And it involved meeting a healthy girl in just a few short hours. The epidural was heaven sent. I felt one contraction after that, and that was it. Pain free.
My doctor arrived in a leopard dress skirt and top. She looked like she walked out of a St. John catalogue. Which is what I loved most about her. She’s fashionable. Amazing at her craft and really put me at ease. “Let’s have this baby,” she pronounced. And just like that, my mother and mother in law scooted outside to the waiting area and it was just Ryan, me, our doctor and the nurses. It was go time.
They put an oxygen mask on me. I remember thinking it smelled like a spray tan. You know the way that solution smells? That was it. My doctor asked me if I wanted to a mirror to watch. TO WHAT? NO. THANK. YOU. I said something along those lines, and then we started pushing. And pushing. For about 45 minutes (Colton would later come out in 15 minutes. Boys are much easier from the beginning).
I remember knowing when “it was it”. I looked at Ryan, then looked at my doctor and said, “This is it.” Sure enough, Kelsey came out right after I said that. She was crying, of course. It was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard. Life. That’s what it sounded like. Everything after that was a huge emotional blur. I heard her crying, saw her beautiful blue eyes, rubbed her cheek and never took my eyes off of her.
Ryan stole her first kiss. I really wanted that, but he just swooped in. He couldn’t help himself. We both couldn’t, our eyes never left her face. We went back to our room where I devoured graham crackers, peanut butter and a giant éclair. We settled into our room, where we would stay for the next 48 hours. We listened to music, stayed up all night, laughed, cried and somehow learned what to do.
Every day since has been a blessing. Kelsey has blossomed into the world’s sweetest girl. Do you know something? My dad always said to me, “You’ll always be my little girl.” And I get it now. I really get it. Because no matter how big she gets, how mature she becomes or how much distance is every between us, she will always be my little girl. That little 9 lb girl who blessed our life on February 9, 2010.
Happy birthday, sweetheart. Mommy and daddy love you so much!! Nanni took this picture of you and I when you were 24 hours old. You were in this hospital crib, which sat next to my bed. Dad had to sleep on the hospital couch while you and I got beds. You never left our side the entire time, and you know what – we will never leave yours. Ever.
love – Mommy