My daughter Bryce has been waiting for her 5th birthday to be here for what seems like forever (to her at least!). The presents have been bought and wrapped. The Scooby Doo cake has been ordered, made, and just needs to be picked up along with the balloons. It might have seemed like forever for her but to me it seems like just yesterday that we got the surprise of a lifetime.....
An Unforgettable Beginning
Five years ago last night Steve and I had flown to Charlotte, North Carolina for the weekend. I was 33 weeks pregnant with our first child and had been cleared by my doctor that week to travel by airplane. After all, our little honeymoon baby wasn't due until July 4th (7 weeks away). We were going to Charlotte to celebrate the upcoming arrival of our baby girl at baby shower that Steve's family was throwing for us and to celebrate Steve's birthday.
That evening the short flight from Washington, DC to Charlotte, NC was pretty uneventful, nothing out of the usual. We arrived at Aunt Linda's and Uncle Bobby's in Pineville to meet with Steve's parents and other family that night. I remember going to bed at a normal time, probably around 9-10pm. I remember hearing thunder storms outside around midnight that woke me up. I went to use the bathroom (which is very common for pregnant women) often and thinking that I was losing the ability to control my bladder. This sensation continued throughout the night. Then around 2 am I started to feel slightly crampy. The thought started to creep into my mind that maybe I was starting labor. Having never had a baby before I really didn't know to expect, only what I had read or what friends had shared with me. I remember being very excited knowing that the next day was my husband's birthday. I thought it would be so special for Steve and Bryce to share a birthday. Honestly, I wasn't scared about the baby being born early. It didn't even occur to me that maybe something could be wrong. I didn't sleep a wink! I considered waking Steve but then I thought he would probably need the sleep to support what might be happening the next day.
Steve woke up about 6am to see me looking him right in the eyes. Later, he said that he knew something was up because I am never awake before him!!! I said, "Are you ready for your birthday present?" He looked me at oddly, after all, it was 6 am. Then I said, "Are you ready to share your birthday?" (pretty good lines, huh? well, I had been thinking about what to say all night long!) At this point, my cramps were getting a little more frequent and stronger so I was pretty sure this was labor.
Steve went into his parent's room to share the news and see what hospital we should go to. I jumped in the shower since I figured it might be my last shower for a while. We also called my parents. My mom was very nervous about this early possible delivery- then it hit me that maybe I should be concerned. Plus my parents were up in Northern Virginia. The phone calls to reach my dad on the golf course began.
We went to Carolina's Medicial Center in Pineville, NC. The only time I cried was during check-in with the nurses in the front lobby. The admitting nurse couldn't believe that this wasn't my hospital and that I was having a baby out of town. Her reaction to our situation caused me to cry realizing that this wasn't our "birth plan". Then a nice nurse took me to the back to take a little litmus test which would show us if my water had actually erupted during the night like I suspected or not. She said not to be embarassed if my water hadn't broken that lots of ladies make that mistake since muscles are weaker than during normal times. I realized that I was going to be very embarassed if I wasn't in fact in labor. But the litmus test showed that yes, I was in labor, we were going to have a baby.
We were admitted around 9am and Bryce arrived around 3pm. Needless to say, we missed the baby shower being thrown for us. Everything went well. The nurses and doctors were great. We even had a room with a patio off of a lovely little courtyard. Bryce weighed 5 pounds and 1 ounce which is very good for a 33 week old preemie. She did have to go to the Neo-natal intensive care unit for 10 days. Honestly, that was the hardest part- visiting your baby in the hospital. I was discharged after 2 days and had to leave the hospital so we had to drive to see Bryce a couple of times a day. Sometimes the hospital staff was working on another neo-natal baby and the nicu was closed to visiting parents. Then we'd have to leave and come back later. I just wanted to hold Bryce and care for her all day long but couldn't. The nicu staff took excellent care of her and after 10 days she was ready to make the long car trip home to Northern Virginia. It was Memorial Day when Steve's parents drove us home with our new little baby. A long car trip due to frequent stops and traffic but it felt soooo good to be home.
Now, Bryce is a beautiful, dramatic, playful, kind, and fun 5 year old who loves to sing and dance, loves books, loves to learn and ask questions, is a super big sister, and a wonderful daughter.
Oh yeah, it is my husband Steve's 40th birthday as well today. We did celebrate at a "date night" dinner last night at Bovine's Restaurant in Murrell's Inlet.
Roasted Garlic Appetizer (I took a picture of it for you, Uncle Richard):
Steve and I will steal away to San Diego, Ca next weekend to celebrate more. Any suggestions on what to do in San Diego?
Happy birthday Bryce and Steve! I love you both so very much! So happy to be the beach with you celebrating your birthdays!