The day started normally. The weather was poor so I went to the mall to walk around and complete my Christmas shopping. After lunch I started feeling pretty crummy- almost flu-like, hot and cold. I had been having Braxton-Hicks contractions on and off for several weeks and none were stronger that day. I felt like something was off, and I hadn't felt a lot of movement that day. I laid down to do some kick counts, but any movement I felt was small and I couldn't distinguish between what might be her or just intestinal disturbance. I called my doctor to check in; she said to continue counting, drink something sweet and wait a second hour before coming by the hospital for a nonstress test. Monitoring heart rate and movement, they are fairly common and a good way to evaluate a baby's condition at the end of pregnancy.
Ray was amazing and outwardly calm and reassuring; I remained fearful until they got her out. He left me to see and cut the cord, and when he came back he was crying and said over and over how beautiful she was. (I've seen him cry once before so it was powerful to see.) They laid her on my chest wrapped in a blanket and we were nose to nose. I've never been so afraid, then had it melt away so completely.