A Shrimpress Story

This is the story of how my heart exploded.

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On May 17, 2014 Zee Hubs and I paced around the apartment counting contractions. We snacked on what we expected to be the last “real food” for the weekend, tried to bide our time with a movie and counted…minutes….seconds….contractions.

Contractions had actually started on Thursday when our doctor had informed me I was already 6 cm. dilated (DOUBLING DOWN from last week’s 3 cm.). Zee Hubs had canceled the conference he was supposed to speak at in San Diego under the knowing proclamation that she’d be seeing us later that afternoon. But that afternoon came and went and though the contractions were technically in the holy grail of the 5:1 ratio they didn’t seem to “hurt the way I thought they should”. So we tried to sleep through the night, which meant Zee Hubs snored away while I awoke every few min. with each sharp jab in the gut.

Friday was not much different except the pain had increased and I was frantically trying to wrap up projects at work that I’d thought I’d have at least another week to finish based on her revised due date of May 23rd. Turns out the German genes are strong with this one, as she chose to stick to her original ETA. Friday night I was a bundle of nerves. While Zee Hubs slept, I was beyond able to sleep with regular contractions so I finished packing the hospital bag, bounced on the exercise ball, took a bubble bath and to Instagram (See Also: Without my husband I’d probably have ended up delivering at home with my insane avoidance of any form of doctor).

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But Saturday sh*t got real. The pain was escalating, but more than that was receiving very good advice from a friend that if I waited too long I might be too exhausted to push from lack of sleep. #truth

So being the good German he is, Zee Hubs declared the game plan would be to go in at noon unless my water broke any earlier.

Surreal.

Surreal is willingly going somewhere knowing that your life will be irrevocably different when you return.

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My water hadn’t broke by itself, and I was slightly terrified that if I waited too long the baby would end up being delivered sans epidural because SIX CENTIMETERS you guys! So we checked ourselves in with excitement, dread, impatience and all the oh-my-gosh-this-is-happening feelings.

As Lilibean took her sweet time making her way to the world we decided to have the doctor break my water if it got much later. At 6 PM she was still playing “not touching, I’m not touching” with that last barrier keeping her safely swimming in her little amniotic pool. This barrier being insignificant in size, yet paramount as the only thing separating me from pregnancy and mamahood. Game on.

After the doctor broke my water all fears of water breaking in public or on our new king sized bed were realized – Holy Old Faithful! With every contraction a new gush of “Lili’s pool” flooded out. Along with it was the sudden pain of full on contractions, which seemed to go from zero to ONE HUNDRED immediately. The nurse knowingly smiled as she noted, “now it feel like a real 7 on that pain scale, huh?” – I stabbed her repeatedly with my eyes.

At this point I was playing how-long-can-I-last-without-an-epidural, while Zee Hubs looked at my face and made the decision.

Not long. The answer was not long at all.

Again I am reminded that without him I am pretty sure I would be dead somewhere for my crazy anti-medical ways.

The epidural was pure bliss delivered from a saint. And basically if any of you are med students you should just go ahead and become an anesthesiologist, because you will be reminded every day of how you are God’s gift to Earth from sweaty beaming, crazy-eyed gracious mamas-to-be.

{Warning to all future mamas when they say the epidural will take about an hour to kick in they are not messing around. Plan accordingly.}

By the time the pure, liquid gold epidural kicked in I was swept away to a beautiful land of sparkles and unicorns bouncing around on pink puffs of heart-shaped, cotton candy clouds. Having never done any form of drugs previously, this may have just proven to become my gateway experience (I kid. I kid.). But pink, sparkly dreams were interrupted when the doctor swung by to see when she’d have to come back that night. Turns out life without her pool was decidedly less fun and Lilibean wanted to join the cool crowd. With plans to come back later canceled, the nurses prepped us for pushing.

Around 8 PM I started pushing. With Zee Hubs dishing out ice chips and supporting my back, I followed the nurse and doctor’s requests to bear down and push for the count of ten. This is where I would like to say all my exercises with the epi-no truly paid for its outrageous shipping and handling cost. This is not the case.

After thirty minutes the doctor may or may not have caught on that sometimes I didn’t push for the whole 10 seconds (HEY! I WAS EXHAUSTED AND THE DRUGS PROMISED SWEET, GLORIOUS SLEEP). They asked if I’d like to have a mirror brought in to see the baby’s head. Rational me said “Hells to the no”. Unfortunately drugged up me was much more assertive and convincing, so by the next contraction I was peeping at the perfect circle of Liliana’s little head of hair – also known as the end of sexy time.

The doctor thought this would motivate me, but in actuality it really just pissed me off as I saw the miniscule movement I made with every push sink back as soon as I finished. Gonna. Be. Like. That. Huh.

But within another 30 minutes I was being told to stop pushing as our doctor brought our daughter into the world.

In an instant, the landmark moment of our lives, she pulled Lilibean into our world, placing her tiny body on my chest for us to meet her. Our daughter.

Zee Shrimpress was the most beautiful, breathtaking thing I have ever seen in my life. My heart bursts daily when I look at her and realize this little person has somehow been brought into our lives, and that the universe miraculously entrusted us with the honor of being her parents. Any doubt of whether she’d be cute or fear that I may suffer from postpartum depression was swiped away with one look at her tiny, perfect being.

And then I threw up. (epidural aftermath y’all)

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Liliana Irene Armstrong

Born May 17, 2014 at 22:42 PST

7 lbs. 19″ of pure perfection

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