Wednesday, March 22, 2017

My Newest Niece

When my brother in law Graeme first brought Jami with him to the "Kid's Weekend" in Big Bear, we totally connected. She has an awesome personality, a great heart for helping, and was super easy to talk to.During the years of their dating, while they were getting closer, so were Jami and I. We did yoga together, we ran together, we ran races together, painted together, did karaoke and line dancing together, to name a few.

I was thrilled when they announced their engagement, and so happy that Jami would now be a part of our family officially, as she had been unofficially for years. It was extremely hard when we learned that Graeme's job would take them away to St. Louis.

But we did our best to still stay connected. Busy lives meant that our Facetime conversations didn't happen as often as we wished, but we made sure that they happened when we could, and the conversations were great when we did.

So, when I found out she was pregnant, I told her that if she wanted me there, I would be there, irregardless of distance. Various talks through the last few months of pregnancy confirmed that it would mean a lot to her to have family with her, and especially since I encouraged her through our races, she felt that I could encourage her through her birth.

This, of course, is easier said than done. Babies are notorious for arriving on their schedule, and so for the last few weeks headed towards her due date, I was constantly on edge waiting for notice that she was starting labor, and could tell you what flight I was going to try to take at any given moment. Officially I had a flight booked for February 28th, with her due date of March 3rd, but was ready, literally with a bag packed, to leave earlier.

Jami was keeping us (my mother-in-law and I) posted on her symptoms and check ups, and on February 24th, my mother-in-law called me, and said she didn't think that Jami and baby were going to wait till our flights on the 28th (due to certain symptoms), and that she was planning on flying out on the 25th. After much indecision, I eventually decided that flying out on Saturday would be better, so I followed her lead, and changed my flight as well. It should be stated, for the record, that my mother-in-law has an amazing God given intuition, and there have been numerous incidents where she just has a feeling about something... that turns out to be legit. For example, even though we didn't tell people I was in labor, she and Kris woke up shortly before Remington's birth and were praying for me and him at the moment he was born... even though they weren't told at all.

Anyways, her intuition was spot on. We were in the airport, Saturday morning, waiting for our two different flights (I wasn't able to get her flight), and we got a call, from Graeme and Jami, who were headed to the hospital. At the time, they didn't realize that her water had broken, and thought they would be headed back home later. By the time I boarded, they knew that they weren't getting to go back home.

I wished them all the best, and told them to keep me posted. On my layover, I got the text that she was dilated to 4cm (10 is baby time, for anyone who doesn't know), and all I could think as I flew was that I hoped I could make it in time to help, at least a little. To me, it wasn't about being there for the birth moment as much as it was a desperate race to try to help and support my friend and sister-in-law who meant so much to me, during such a challenging time.

When I landed, she was at 6cm, and I literally took a taxi from the airport to the hospital (thankfully only 15 minutes away). On my layover, I had been reading about more ways to help, and I had read about this peanut ball, and that it could help labor if it wasn't progressing. So, when I arrived, and got to the room, and said hi to everyone, I noticed it sitting in the corner of her birthing room, unused. So I talked about it to the group, they checked with the nurse, who was very enthusiastic about using it, and was happy to get Jami set up with it.

The situation at the time was that they were concerned she wasn't progressing, and had informed everyone that if she didn't keep going, they would need to medically move the progress along. Well, that peanut ball worked as talked about online... because it jumped her up to 8cm fairly quickly.

That was my biggest contribution as far as something I could provide that possibly someone else couldn't, but other than that, my role was just support and encouragement. Just being with her, chatting with her, helping the time pass, and I am so thankful that thanks to Lori's intuition, we already had flights to help us be there on time. Jami's mom booked after the call, but she made it on time too, but when she was at 10cm, and was in the waiting to push time.

Jami's team at the hospital was great too, letting her body be ready to push instead of forcing the issue before it was needed, and her doctor had them laughing in between pushes too! Jami did great once the time to push came, and their baby was born after just 12 minutes of pushing, Sunday, February 26th!

Graeme had the honor of telling Jami it was a girl in the delivery room, and telling the two moms and I in the waiting room too, which was such a surreal, special moment. We had to wait before visiting, as they were giving them some time with their new baby girl, Finley Elizabeth, but it was such a blessing to see and hold and love on my newest niece once it was time.

In the next several days, I was able to provide support both at the hospital and at their house, and I am so thankful to my husband and my parents for providing support at my house to let me have that time there. At the hospital, I took turns holding Finley, to let Jami and Graeme have much needed rest, including staying late on Sunday, even after "the moms" had headed back to the house. But I also just was there for company, helping time pass at the hospital, especially when Graeme had some appointments to go to. At their house I did some cleaning, grocery shopping, and filled their freezer with meals, feeling good about being able to bless their family, even when I had to fly back home.

I even was designated as the person to drive Jami and Finley home from the hospital, which was such an honor, and I was there for their first night home too. By this point, Wednesday, I was starting to feel homesick, but it didn't make it better when I had to say my goodbyes to Finley and Jami, both of which were very emotion filled. Jami has been great about keeping me stocked with cute pictures, but I still miss them so much! I look forward to the next time I will get to see them in person, and hug that sweet little girl again, whenever that may be.

Pictures (so, I have forgotten how to reduce the size of these... so enjoy supersize pictures?):