The Beginning – Angie’s Side
How we met
It was middle school and I was the new kid. I was sitting in the gym with my first friend I had made, Lauren Hester, getting the lay of the land and rundown of all that was ET Booth. A boy walked up to us I hadn’t met yet. He had a ginger complexion, spent a lot of time in the sun, and you could SO tell he had put Sun In on his head. It gave him what I could only describe as a copper halo.
Before he could say anything, Lauren asked him what happened to his hair. Without skipping a beat, he responded he had a terminal illness. She began profusely apologizing and he just grinned.
He was cute. He was funny. He was highly inappropriate. And I was smitten…
Thomas and I didn’t have much interaction in middle school but once we hit high school we became fast friends. We bonded over our love of music, such as legendary artisans like Limp Bizkit (who knew Fred Durst could spawn a 10 year romance?). One year we literally had 6 out of 7 classes together. We acted like a bickering married couple even back then, but secretly I loved every minute of it.
We went our separate ways in college. But it wasn’t long till we bumped into each other at Johnny’s Pizza in Woodstock and reconnected. We embarked on another year of friendship, talking for hours on the phone, nursing each other through breakups, complaining about school, and dreaming of moving out west. It wasn’t long until…according to Thomas…I basically forced him to be my boyfriend. Because if you know Thomas, you know how easily forced into situations he is 🙂
“I’m never doing it when everyone expects me to.”
That was the phrase I heard countless times from my beloved. We’ve been on so many adventures together, so many amazing locations, so many romantic moments…and nothing. So when we were headed to Chateau Elan, a winery in North Georgia, for a relaxing couple’s weekend courtesy of a birthday gift from Thomas’ mother, Selina, an engagement was the absolute last thing I expected. I seriously never saw it coming.
We arrived at Chateau Elan on Saturday and immediately went to our couple’s massage. Thomas was usually quiet and I just assumed it was because he was nervous we were late (as always). It was the first massage Thomas ever had, so I couldn’t wait to hear what he thought. He just muttered “meh,” and kept looking around the grounds through all the windows in the spa. Since we were at a winery, I immediately wanted to start drinking, but Thomas said let’s go back to the room and get ready for dinner. What is there to get ready for? I’m dressed. I’m all relaxed from my massage. Lets get some of that Georgia Wine in my belly!! Somehow he coerced me into going back to the room instead of exploring and to “get ready” for dinner. Ugh.
Just to reiterate how much I didn’t see his proposal coming, I had brought nothing with me but an Old Navy black dress and some sandals. I figured I was situational dressing to look cute as we strolled through a vineyard, not get all dolled up for dinner.
So, we’re in the room getting ready and Thomas is taking FOREVER. I’m just lying in bed playing Angry Birds because he’s taking his sweet time in the bathroom. Luckily the hotel drops off at that exact moment a bottle of wine on the house. SCORE!! I yell that he’s no fun through the door and pop that bottle of Muscadry.
I sit back on the edge of the bed and I hear the door open. He says from the bathroom, “I was trying to find somewhere perfect on the grounds to do this but I think I’m just going to do it here. You’ve waited a long time for this….”
Did his voice just crack?
And he comes around the corner holding this adorable tiny box. A box I’ve dreamed of him giving me for too many years to count. And I just start crying. Crying…laughing…screaming….I don’t think I’ve ever been consumed by more happiness and love all at once in my entire life.
Thomas gave me a speech that was so beautiful and so heartwarming…I will treasure it for the rest of my life. I wish I could live that moment over and over for a thousand years. But it ended with him asking if I would do him the honor of being the future Mrs. Wingard.
Luckily we had that bottle of wine to celebrate.
Reagan’s Birth Story
Called it. 100% called it. The meticulously detailed plan our doctors had come up with to combat my low platelet count…well, just like the rest of 2016, of course it didn’t go according to plan (you can hear more about that here). But the gist of it was:
- Monday – IVIG
- Tuesday – IVIG
- Wednesday – Rest
- Thursday – Go to the OB and make sure she’s in position. Check into the hospital and begin Cervidil that night.
- Friday AM – start the Pitocin and get the show on the road.
That Sunday prior, we went up to Thomas’ parents house like we usually do and had a nice relaxing day at the pool (as we knew it would probably be my last relaxing Sunday for a while) and they made us dinner. As were on our way home, I told Thomas – “This baby is not waiting till Friday.” Its so hard to describe, but I just knew something was up. Maybe it was the nerves to start the IV treatments, but I had a feeling I just couldn’t shake.
So that Monday, we headed to Piedmont Cancer Institute to begin the IV treatment at 8:30 am. I was nervous, anxious, and also completely in a daze that “later” this week, I’d be a mom. I checked in (Thomas had to show a house that morning so I was flying solo), and started my IV treatment with laptop and magazines in tow.
What was supposed to be a 4 hour treatment turned into an almost 7 hour ordeal. Why? Because someone started having contractions by lunch time. They weren’t anything close together, so I’d just breathe through it and resume the therapy. But between my heart rate skyrocketing and being 9 months pregnant and having to pee constantly, it took a bit of time to get through the entire treatment. We left the place at almost 6pm – shortly after running into Thomas’ Aunt & Uncle (who was also undergoing treatment), and a nice nurse pointed out that my skirt was completely wet in the back. Hello mucus plug.
So we went home, made dinner, and watched TV – our usual routine. But since I had napped most of the day (thanks to the Benadryl during the IV treatment), I wasn’t all that tired. It was 11:30 pm and I opened my laptop to do a little bit of work before going to bed, laughing to myself, because I knew my good friend and client Molly was going to yell at me the next day for sending her emails at midnight at 9 months pregnant. Then the fun started.
I wish I had screenshot my computer because at midnight that Monday morning I googled “what do contractions feel like?”
Unlike anything I’ve ever felt in my entire life. Thats what.
Every mom I had asked about contractions and how would one know if they were the real deal always said – “You’ll just know.”
Ain’t that the truth.
I ran into Thomas’ room (we were sleeping separate for a few weeks at that point because he couldn’t take my snoring lol) and told him I thought I was having contractions. He told me to lay down with him and I guess because I wasn’t used to sleeping with him anymore and cuddling, I immediately passed out and started snoring. After 15 minutes with no contraction he tapped me on the shoulder, and said as politely as he could, “you’re fine, go back to your room.” In his defense, I snored pretty bad prior to gaining 50+ pounds, so I knew it had gotten to an unbearable level.
So I attempted to go back to sleep thinking that there was no pattern to my contractions and that I was fine.
About an hour later, all hell broke loose. And my contractions were 12 minutes apart.
Then 10 minutes.
At 8 minutes apart, I called my doctor. She told me due to all my complications with my blood, to just play it safe and go ahead and come in. It was 3:00 AM.
Thomas was in a complete daze, wandering around the house, and I honestly have no clue what he was doing. What he was supposed to be doing was packing his bag and loading the car seat in. Yes…all things we should have done prior but we thought we had an extra week.
Also, you know all those pinterest checklists of how to prepare for baby/the birth? Well for one, you don’t need half that crap, I promise. But one thing its missing….make sure your car has gas.
So at 3:30 AM we headed out, gas station first, then over to Piedmont. Thomas dropped me off at the front (because he totally forgot where to park, his one job from the hospital tour), and I waddled my pregnant self up to labor and delivery and down what felt like the world’s longest hallway, stopping to have a contraction of course midway. It was 4:00 AM.
After getting settled into our room, we find out I was 3cm dilated. They then draw some blood to determine what my platelet level is to see if I can have my epidural. After waiting what felt like 1000000000 hours and increasingly stronger contractions, I hit a point where the pressure was unbearable and politely asked Thomas (i.e. screamed at him) to go get the doctor.
I was 7cm dilated and my blood results were finally back. My platelet levels had actually decreased down to 16K units. And I knew what that meant. No drugs. On the verge of tears from pain and the thought of my biggest fear coming true, I asked what my options were. They basically told me Tylenol. I was told that my water had not yet broke, so either they could break the bag and get things moving, but it would hurt, or to let it happen on its own. I figured whats a little more pain of breaking my bag when I’m about to have a natural childbirth? Whatever got things over fastest was my biggest motivation. It was 7:30 AM.
At this point by the way, Thomas had yet to call anyone. Come to find out after the fact, he thought maybe his sweet wife was being a bit dramatic and these were just Braxton Hicks contractions. Once they started talking about breaking my bag, he looked at the nurse and goes “Wait, so is this really happening?” which she replied “Sir, you’re having a child today.” I then politely asked Thomas (aka probably yelled at him) to go call our parents. My parents don’t live in state and would have to rebook flights and adjust travel plans. And I knew his mom was going to be so upset if she missed the delivery. Poor Thomas. Half asleep and completely clueless.
And honestly the next 2 hours are a complete (pain filled) blur. I can tell you it felt like 10 hours. I can tell you I felt absolutely everything. I can tell you that I’ve never felt so overwhelmed with fear in my life. And I can tell you when I looked at Thomas, encouraging me to push those last 2 pushes, I’ve never felt anything like that in my life. But at 9:27 AM, our beautiful Reagan Roxy Wingard was born. 14 lbs 5 oz, 20 1/4 inches, and a head full of dark hair. And at that moment, I’ve never been prouder of myself. I overcame my biggest fear – delivering a baby all natural. I had made a human. I DID IT!!!!!
Due to my platelet count being so low, me hemorrhaging was inevitable. And I lost a LOT of blood. I don’t know what the unit of measurement is, but they consider 5 a hemorrhage. I lost over 9 units they said. So transfusions continued. I had a platelet transfusion to help my blood clot. But you have so much adrenalin and endorphins running through you, I felt phenomenal. Family started to visit as well as friends to see our beautiful baby girl.
By day 2, my red blood cell count was extremely low so after lots of back and forth, my OB and my Hematologist both thought I should get a blood transfusion. The concern was that if I hemorrhaged at home, what would be something small for anyone else, they didn’t know if my body could take it. So, whats another IV treatment right? And let me tell you, while its icky and terrifying getting a blood transfusion, I have never felt more fantastic afterwards.
Reagan had a bit of jaundice as well, so the night I had my blood transfusion she spent in the nursery for her light therapy, coming in to the room to breast feed. It was so scary to leave her side, but this momma needed lots of rest and after the crazy 48 hours prior, I was so exhausted.
By day 3, with my blood levels up to a comfortable level for the docs, we headed home as a family of three.
We did do a little photoshoot with the hospital photographer, Dimples Photography. That was another comical thing – we brought my camera thinking we’d snap all these photos. HAH.
Anyways thanks so much to everyone. If you’re (still) reading this, if you’ve checked in on us, if you gave us food, gave us gifts, gave us tips…its means the absolute world to us to have such a strong network of people we can turn to.