Our Thanksgiving Pilgrim | Ella Kay

Thanksgiving Day dawns at 5:00am. Aidan has to work an early shift at the mall as the lone holiday security guard. . .and I'm crabby. He's crabby, too. This is the second time he hit snooze: 5:15.
I can't believe it's morning. Unfortunately, I have to drop him off at work so I can have the car to buy the ingredients I forgot to buy for my Thanksgiving side dish. Brilliant.
Ugh. But the bed is comfy and I'm exhausted from my night of no sleep. Thank you random tummy cramps. I really wanted to remember what being on my period felt like. Anything else I need to be enlightened about?

He's still asleep.
I mentally prepare myself for the challenge of getting out of bed at 40.5 weeks pregnant.

Annnnnd...I...manage...to sit up. 
With no fair warning, my bladder just dies.
Right there. In bed.
Hi, I'm Bethany. I'm nineteen and I just wet the bed. 
Just shoot me please, and give me coffee.

There's something bugging me about this. Like the fact that I literally used the bathroom right before the alarm went off. There was just no way that this -

This was the only moment in the history of our marriage that made my husband shoot out of bed in a panic.
"Wait, are you sure?"
"Um. I don't know. Pretty sure?"
"What do you mean pretty sure?"
"Well," I get up to go grab a towel...and the floodgates open, "uh, yeah. Definitely sure."

In a matter of seconds, the lights are on, Aidan throws me a towel, and phones work telling them he won't be there. The nigh shift lady is forced to stay on his shift. I feel horrible, yet grateful. If he had gone to work before my water broke, he probably wouldn't have been able to find a replacement. Yikes.
I'm sitting on a bath towel realizing I'm actually in labor. Funny. It doesn't feel like I thought it would. My contractions are barely noticeable. At least my tummy was crampy all night for a good reason. Good to know.

I proceed to kill time by cleaning up the house, checking my bags, and eating some nauseating yogurt. My midwife won't call me back, and my contractions are getting real. My mom texts me that she's on her way (thank heavens!) and I'm running back and forth to the bathroom as my water keeps exploding every five minutes. I'm running out of sweatpants to change into...

Mom arrives while I'm in the bathroom sitting on towels and trying to stay positive (it's *not* working because I'm starting to freak out!) My biggest concern right now is that my water will leak on the car/me during our trip to the hospital.
Contraction. Just breathe.

They're coming every three-ish minutes, and mom suggests we leave...now.
Like. For-real-to-the-hospital-to-birth-a-baby-now.

We hold hands that car ride. My winter jacket doesn't even zip up over my belly. The car ride is mercifully short, and I've had more contractions than I should've in the 20 minutes it took to get there.

There is literally no one home. We're walking around the abandoned hospital, until we hit the lively nurses at the birthing center station. I receive a yucky hospital gown...with no back. ;)

Baby has a steady heartbeat that fills the room (which is comforting!) and the printer is busy printing off my contractions. Which is weird.

Time flies and I'm convinced labor is manageable. My contractions are definitely a little tricky to get through, but nothing I can't concentrate and defeat. The whirl pool bath tub wasn't as great as I thought it would be. And I'm still nervous about the lack of privacy going on. I'm in love with my husband, though. He wasn't as annoying as I thought he would be. He just sits there and holds my hand.

12:00pm: I'm starving. This cute little serving lady from the cafeteria brings up a ceasar salad, which I ordered with the full knowledge that salad is the absolute worst to throw up (I'm taking my chances.) Not like it matters anyway, because I can barely swallow a bite before the next contraction comes. My mom's conversation keeps getting cut short as I block everything out and start shakily counting to ten and willing my body not to fight the contractions. It sorta works.

The birthing ball? Eh. Not very impressive. Aidan gave a nice back rub though. Can I just pause everything and take a nap, please?

We take a walk down the deserted third floor...and things get hard.
Really hard.

I was not ready. But suddenly, my contractions are overlapping and coming less than a minute apart, and I have to stop Aidan every five steps. He holds me as I breathe. What would've been a short walk is taking us forever. We're on the home stretch when they're just out of control, and my mom says something about getting the nurse and just leaves us there.

By now, I'm bawling and I lose my concentration and just let my body fight the pain. It doesn't work - except to freak me out even more. My mom, the nurse, and Aidan manage to calm me down. . .and somehow I'm back in bed (which feels amazing!) and everything is getting spacey.

What is everyone talking about? The printer goes off as another contraction starts...and I'm not even going to try and describe my dread as the first hint of a cramp starts in the bottom of my tummy.

Yep. Still crying. The nurse is saying something about something, and I just want everything to stop so I keep nodding my head and saying, "okay" to everything. Just when I think they can't get worse - they do. Random people are in the room now, and the nurse checks my dilation which came to a lovely 7cm. Everyone is trying to be encouraging, but all I can think of is how 10cm-7cm=3cm that I don't have.

More contractions.
Vague recollections of snapping at Aidan not to touch me. Trying to count through the pain. Crying. Printer paper crinkling. Faint baby heartbeat. Voices telling me what a good job I'm doing (really!? THIS IS A GOOD JOB?!?) Me sobbing like a baby and not really caring anymore...about anything.

And we come to a 9cm, and my body was just done. P.s. There's a lot of blood!? I keep thinking about how wonderful it will be when I'm done and I can take a shower...and sleep! Please be almost done.

My body just takes over and lets me know that it's definitely time for this baby to come out. I'm relieved as the midwife is called, and the nurses that are going to care for the baby (THE BABY!) come in. By now, I have no second thoughts about privacy. In case you were curious as to THAT being an issue, just know that it totally isn't. I'm honestly not very aware of anyone else in the room, because I really feel like I'm dying (too late to discuss pain medication...)

"How long does pushing normally take?!" I ask the midwife. I don't even try to disguise my desperation. If she says more than an hour, I quit.

Well. What choice do I have but to work with what I have? Midwife finally gives the go ahead to push. And while it feels great to finally do something about my contractions (instead of just sitting there and dying), it still hurts.
Like a lot.
Labor is totally not exaggerated. All those screaming women in Hollywood? It's real.

Eventually, you just reach a point where you're done. And nothing will stop you from getting this baby out. There's babbling about what a "great push!" that was. EW. PLEASE. JUST TELL ME IF THE BABY IS COMING OUT BECAUSE THIS ISN'T DOING ANYTHING.

Then there's talk about hair. I can feel her head! Which, freakily, does not feel like a head at all. Unless it's the head of a jellyfish. Creepy. And ow.

And FINALLY, this babe I've carried for nine months shoots out an is plopped on my chest. Ella Kay, right here at my fingertips! She smells funny, there's blood all over my arm, and that white cheesy stuff all over her (and now me.) Nurses are rubbing her off. She's quiet for a few seconds, then lets out a good little scream. Me - I'm literally in shock - awkwardly shushing this tiny baby and it hasn't fully dawned on me that this is my baby.
Aidan and Ella having a *rare* moment of happiness without mommy
I turn to Aidan, who has tears just dripping down his face. What a sweetie. :) I think he said something, but I don't recall what it was. He kisses me on the head, and I'm completely happy clutching my tiny baby and holding his hand.

And to be honest, I don't remember very much after the fact.
I will say, my plunge into motherhood began the very moment after I gave birth. I changed two poopy diapers in a row (in the dark!), fed a baby all night long that refused to sleep in her bassinet, and learned how to get ready in a short window of baby time the next morning.

Speaking of babes. It's 1:20am in the morning, and I have to feed my little piglet who just woke up. :)
More on motherhood and baby picture spam later!


  1. I can only imagine how painful labor can be (especially after watching all the seasons of Call the Midwife) but you did it!
    Aw!!! Your little Ella is so adorable! I am overwhelmed with thankfulness and cuteness this baby has brought to you both.<3

    1. Oh no! Haha. I literally JUST got Netflix and was wondering what that show was like. Haha. I might pass for a while! Yes, labor is HORRID, but totally doable and worth the baby in the end!! I LOVE HER!

  2. Oh my heart- she is such a beautiful baby, Bethany! Congrats to you and Aiden.

    two weeks ago I got to photograph and witness my bff have her first child. No pain meds or anything, all natural. Let's just say I kept thinking...."woooowww...it really is like the movies" and "um, i don't think I could ever do that..."

    You go girl! I'm sure you are an amazing Mama! <3

    1. @ Jana - Thank you! ^_^ My mom says it's much worse watching labor than actually doing it. All I could think the whole time was, "I can't believe she did this 9 times!" (And I'm a twin. 0_o) Yikes!

  3. Aww, she is the cutest ever! I loved that story, though I am aware it was much less pleasant to do it than to hear about it. :) Great job for getting through it, and many good wishes and prayers for the times ahead.

    1. @ Abby - who doesn't love a good birth story? TBH, I always secretly loved listening to the missionary mommas that came to our house (apparently, a safe conversation is...labor?), even though it is kinda disturbing. Haha. :)

  4. Oh, my heart. This is beautiful ♥ I am so happy for you and your new little family!

  5. CONGRATULATIONS Aidan and Bethany!!!! Ella is absolutely PERFECT. I can't WAIT to see her in person ;)She's just so beautiful!!!!!!! <3

    1. @ Hannah - Won't say I disagree with you there. She's a little chubby cherub now at just barely a week. :) Aidan works nights this weekend, so I'm *contemplating* trying to make it to church so he can sleep. However, Ella loves to rule the time schedule...so nothing is certain. *facepalm*

    2. Chubby babes are the BEST!! :D LOL
      I heard you made it to church this morning!! I was so mad that I had to work and miss out on seeing little Ella :/ But hopefully soon! ;)
      You are SO blessed; I hope you thoroughly enjoy being a mamma <3

  6. She is Uh-dor-uh-ble!
    I always have a mixed fascination/cringeing when I read a birth story :D Yours was intense! So glad to hear that she came safely and that y'all are both doing well!

  7. Bethany!!! What an angel she is!!! I can't wait to come see her again!

    Okay, as seriously terrifying as this must have been for you, I'm so proud of you. I feel like I would have handled it a million times worse and wouldn't have been even able to take a Snapchat, much less a smiling one! You're a hero, mommy!!! Thanks for sharing all these details. I've never read anything that takes you through all the random details of childbirth that I OBVIOUSLY want to know before conceiving a child. ;) Love you and the little princess!!

    P.S. Her name. I can't get over it.

  8. Wow, She is the cutest thing I have ever seen! I don't know how mothers do all this.

  9. Congratulations! I am very glad that you, Ella, and Aidan are doing well.

    -Daniel Abbott

  10. So so so happy to see this post! Congratulations and hurray! Sounds like a super intense labor. They say the rest are easier... (haha, I know that's the last thing in the world you want to think about! :D) The newborn days are hard, but things really will get easier. She's such a gorgeous little one & I'm delighted for y'all.


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Maira Gall