I want to apologize ahead of time for the lengthy post…but its hard to condense the best and most important day of my life, the day my child was born!
Our beautiful daughter, Kinsie Kay Matthews, was born on September 21, 2013 at 3:34pm. She was 6 pounds, 10 ounces, 21 inches long. Kinsie’s birth was a long awaited moment that I will remember for the rest of my life. Here is the story…
Near the end of my pregnancy, of course I was extremely uncomfortable, especially while teaching all day, but I was also very anxious to meet my baby girl. It got to the point where it was literally all I could think about. I couldn’t focus at work, and I had to keep myself busy at home so I wouldn’t drive myself crazy. Every woman in my family had delivered early, so I was trying not to count on that, but I was really hoping that it would happen to me too. For several weeks, I was having clear symptoms of approaching labor, such as loose joints and hips, ligament pain, and constant Braxton Hicks contractions. Of course I was ready any day for my little girl to enter the world, but I was also praying that she would decide to come on a weekend, when Ryan would be home from Muncie. As a medical student, he doesn’t exactly have the most flexible schedule, but he came home every weekend, and I really wanted him to be there with me and experience every second with me. I had no control over when she would come though, so I just had to pray for patience and trust God’s timing. Every day I would wake up in the morning hoping that today would be the day. My sister described it perfectly…I felt like a child on Christmas Eve, excited and anxious for Christmas morning, except you didn’t know exactly when it would come.
On Friday, September 13, I started having regular contractions after school, and they were consistently 10 minutes apart. As the night went on, they became closer together, and eventually they were 5 minutes apart for 1 minute each for over 1 hour…which was the clear “5-1-1” rule that they tell you to follow on when to go to the hospital. I thought this was it, only my contractions were not painful, just uncomfortable. I knew that when it was time for the real thing, contractions were supposed to increase in frequency and intensity. However, every woman’s labor is different, so we thought it still could be the time, and we didn’t want to risk it. We decided to make the 40-minute trip to the hospital to get checked out. When we got there, we quickly found out that I was no more dilated than I was earlier that week. My contractions were indeed consistent and regular, but were not strong enough to be productive. The doctor sent us home, very disappointed. Throughout the next week, I tried really hard to not be down in the dumps and just focus on other things. I had to remember that even though she wasn’t here yet, her arrival was coming soon and I just needed to soak up my last few days or weeks before I became a mother.
Friday, September 20 was my last day of work. My teaching partner, Kristin Sesslar, and my students threw me a diaper party at school, and really helped me enjoy my last day before I went on maternity leave. That night, Ryan studied and I put away all of the diapers we received at my party. When I finally sat down to relax, I had a very intense contraction. I didn’t think much of it, since I had contractions all day every day at this point. Ryan finished his studying, and we decided to watch the movie “Bridesmaids,” since it was on TV and Ryan had never seen it. As we watched, I continued to have somewhat painful contractions. They mainly hurt in my lower back and hips. After about 4 or 5 contractions, I decided to time them using an app I had on my phone. We kept track of the contractions throughout the movie, and they seemed to be about 8-10 minutes apart, and were getting closer. They were also getting MUCH more intense. The pain started in my hips and completely wrapped around my body. It got to the point where I had to squeeze Ryan’s hand and use the breathing techniques just to get through them. Ryan was starting to get excited, but I told him not to get his hopes up, because it could still be false labor again. I didn’t know what to do because I did not want to make the trip to the hospital, only to be told again that this wasn’t the real thing. I continued to labor at home while Ryan timed the contractions. He could tell how intense they were just by the look on my face and how hard I was squeezing his hand. Around 2a.m., I decided to call my sister, Krista and see what she thought I should do. She said that by the way I described it, it was labor pain, and to see if I could talk through a contraction. If I couldn’t talk through one, then it was probably real labor. When I tried to talk during the next contraction, it was extremely difficult, so we decided to go to the hospital. I continued to have extremely painful contractions all the way to the hospital, while Ryan held my hand and drove 80 mph. He figured he has a pretty good excuse if he gets pulled over. He was proud of his personal best time – 30 minutes to get to IU North Hospital. When we got into the triage room, we had the same nurse that we had when we came the week before. She said I definitely looked like I was in more pain than last time. When she checked my cervix, I was only 2 centimeters. I was happy that I was more dilated than last time, but disappointed and surprised that I wasn’t dilated more with the contractions I was having. Although the nurse said it sure seemed like I was in labor, we still weren’t sure that we were there to stay. We waited in the triage room for a couple more hours while I contracted away. The pain was becoming so unbelievably intense, that I would have been extremely surprised if this wasn’t the real thing. Ryan tried to talk to me and show me videos on his phone to help keep my mind off of the pain while we waited. The nurse checked me again a couple hours later, and I was dilated to 3 centimeters…still not much progress but better than nothing. The doctor wanted me to go home since I was not very far along, but the nurse convinced her to let me stay since I was clearly in labor, and we lived 40 minutes away and would just have to drive all the way back a few hours later. I am still so grateful for that nurse!
Around 5a.m., we went to our labor and delivery room, which is where we made our phone calls to our families that we were there to stay. My sister and my mom were on their way right away, while my dad, my brother-in-law Ryan, and my nephew Briggs had to finish moving the last few things out of their house (they were in the process of moving and had to be out of the house by that day – thank goodness the baby decided to come once they were almost finished!) and then they would be on their way too. Ryan called his mom, told her we were at the hospital, with which she responded, “Oh my gosh, did she have the baby?” He also called his sister Megan and left her a voicemail saying, “Meg. Answer your phone. You have a niece on the way. Bye.” Clearly everyone was a little groggy since it was so early in the morning! Ryan continued to coach me through my contractions while the nurse started my IV and helped get me comfortable. Finally, I asked her, “Can I get my epidural yet?” She laughed and said that she’d page the anesthesiologist. He came in around 6 a.m., asked me a bunch of questions, then asked Ryan to step out while he did the procedure. Right away, I started crying and asked, “Does he have to?” The doctor said yes, and that they have a protocol at the hospital, even though I know for a fact that it is up to each doctor, because my brother-in-law got to be in the room when my sister had hers. I know I was sleep deprived and over-emotional, but I was not happy about the fact that Ryan had to leave me for a few minutes. He had been so amazing helping me get through this, that I didn’t want him to leave my sight. While the anesthesiologist did the procedure, he asked me what Ryan did for a living, and when I said he was a med student, he seemed to feel bad that he didn’t let him stay in the room, knowing he obviously could have handled it without freaking out like some dads. The procedure itself really did not hurt at all considering it was nothing compared to the contractions I’d been having for hours. From then on, each contraction hurt less and less, until I could not feel them at all. It was a dream! I cannot even imagine having to go through the entire labor process with that pain, and I praise the women who go all natural! When we were finished, Ryan came back in the room with my mom and sister, and I was so happy to see them, I cried again. (I was very emotional throughout this entire experience!) It was pretty obvious that Ryan and I needed to get some sleep since we never went to bed the night before, and now that I had my epidural, I was actually able to rest. I slept on and off for a few hours while I waited to be checked by the doctor. Dr. Fried was the doctor on call that night, which I was fine with because she was extremely pleasant every time I met with her throughout my pregnancy. She told me that my cervix was dilating, but not as quickly as she wanted, so she wanted to give me Pitocin. I was fine with this, as long as I wasn’t able to feel the contractions!
By around 11 a.m., my family and Ryan’s were all at the hospital. We just had to wait. And wait. And wait. The day seemed to drag on. We watched several movies and took several naps. I had to be tortured as everyone else in the room ate their lunch and I had to stick with ice chips. When I reached about 6 centimeters, the doctor was supposed to come in and break my water, but it took her a few hours because she was delivering a baby in the room next door. By that point I was getting so impatient, I started to cry again. I was sick of waiting and I just wanted to see my baby. Ryan kept having to reassure me that it would be soon and all the waiting would be worth it once we met our baby girl. It also felt like my epidural was wearing off because I started feeling a lot of pressure in my hips with each contraction. The nurse said that was normal, and it showed that the baby was very low and almost ready to arrive. As 3:00 p.m. rolled around, the nurse checked me again, and said I was 8.5 centimeters, and I wasn’t able to dilated anymore until they broke my water. They said it was bulging and as soon as they broke it, I should dilate to 10 immediately, which I did! Dr. Fried broke my water, then had to run and do something and said she’d be right back to deliver my baby! I was beyond excited, but I was also nervous that I wouldn’t be able to push very well since I couldn’t feel much from the waste down. The nurse said the baby was ready any moment, and her head was at +3 station. While we waited for Dr. Fried, she wanted me to do a few practice pushes to make sure I knew how to do them correctly, so after I did one, she made me stop because I could have the baby at any push, and she wanted the doctor to deliver the baby, not her!
As soon as Dr. Fried got back, we all got ready for the big moment. Ryan was to my left holding my hand and rubbing my shoulders. My mom and Krista were each behind me taking pictures and video. My mom and I got to be in the delivery room when Krista had Briggs, and the pictures and video were incredible and I wanted the same thing. Seeing Briggs born was one of the most incredible experiences of my life, and I wanted my sister to get to experience it as well. Dr. Fried and the nurse were at my feet ready to guide the baby out. As I pushed with each contraction, it felt like nothing was happening because I couldn’t feel it, but Dr. Fried kept saying that the baby was right there and it would take only a few more pushes. At one point, in between contractions, she had me feel my baby’s head as she was crowning! I could feel the round shape of her head and lots of hair! I never would have thought to do that, but it was incredible. I knew that I was just moments away from meeting my daughter. I think I only pushed twice more before it happened…my baby girl was born and was placed right on top of my chest. Words cannot even describe the emotions I felt during this moment. She was here. After 9 long months, this moment was here, and I was staring at my beautiful daughter face-to-face. It was the most beautiful face I had ever seen in my life, she was absolutely perfect! I just sat there and cried while I stared at her, and Ryan was completely speechless, which is the first time I had ever witnessed that happening. Dr. Fried asked me what her name was, and with tears streaming down my face, I told her, “Kinsie Kay Matthews.”
After a few minutes, they took Kinsie to weigh and measure her. Ryan went with her to watch and he just stood there and cried, also not a common thing for him! My baby girl was 6 pounds and 10 ounces, and 21 inches long. Such a tiny little thing! They wrapped her up and gave her to Ryan, and he brought her over to me. We both just stared at her and admired our beautiful daughter. It was such an amazing moment, the first time we were together as a family of three. I had never felt that kind of love until that moment. I was overwhelmed with joy and love, and couldn’t remember what life was like before this beautiful angel entered our lives.
After the nurse cleaned me up, the rest of our families came in to see our new addition. Everyone took turns holding and admiring our sweet baby, and everyone was immediately in love with her. Even Briggs was excited to meet his new cousin. We spent the next few hours just taking in the moment and gazing at the gorgeous baby girl that we created. Although it was a long and exhausting day, it was by far the best day of my life. I thank the Lord every day not only because he blessed us with this beautiful little miracle, but that my husband and our families got to be with me through all of it. This was proof that God’s timing really is perfect and that we should always have faith that He will provide!
My last day of work…I went into labor that night. I was a whale!
Getting some rest while we waited.
The moment I met my daughter…you can’t fake that kind of emotion!
Ryan admiring his baby girl.
Our new family of three.
Grandpa and Grandma Vargas
Grandpa and Grandma Matthews
Briggs meeting his baby cousin.
Uncle Nate and Aunt Megan
Our sweet baby girl
Getting ready to go home