Sweet Relief: The Birth Story of Jack

Friday, August 07, 2015

My personal memory and record of the events of July 2nd, 2015…

It was a hot, humid summer.  I’d been dilated for three weeks, including a 4 full centimeters for the last week.  Jupiter and Venus had merged, forming a megastar for the first time in 2,000 years.  There was a full moon.  My mom had been in town to prepare for the big arrival for three days. I’d walked a gazillion miles, eaten eggplant parmesan.  It was my DUE DATE.

And still…no baby.

I was unabashedly grumpy and full of sarcasm on all the things I should do that week, since having a baby obviously wasn’t one of them.  And I declared a date night for my July 1st  due date.  Why not?

“Watch, we’re going to spend $40 on movie tickets and popcorn and then you’re going to go into labor.”

“Perfect-- I will gladly pay $40 to go into labor!”

So off we went…snuck in our Chipotle bags, like classy folk do, for the 7:30 showing of Jurassic World.  I’d had a few contractions in the car but paid them little mind because I’d been having them for weeks.  As the movie started, I decided to keep an eye on the clock and after about an hour, the contractions hadn’t stopped.  They weren’t necessarily getting stronger, but they weren’t going away like they usually did.  I waited another hour, with no change, and snuck out to call the doctor.

“Well come on in!  Sounds like a great night to have a baby!” she cheerfully told me after I explained my symptoms.

Praise Jesus.

I snuck back into the theater, just in time to see the credits roll {I can guess how the movie ended}, and told Tyler it was time to go to the hospital.  I was giddy with excitement.  As we walked to the car, we took note of the huge, low-hanging full moon.  We stopped at home to grab our bags, sneak into Charlotte’s room for a kiss, and give my mom a big hug.  I remember thinking we should pray together before we left, but I couldn’t handle anything emotional at that point.
One last picture…

The drive to the hospital was much different with this baby.  With Charlotte, I was quiet and nervous and scared.  This time, I was nervous with excitement, casually chatty, but also thinking how surreal it was that I was finally going to have this baby…and go through labor & delivery again.  I hadn’t dedicated the attention to this I had with Charlotte, and despite my full 40 weeks, felt a little caught of guard that I was about to undergo that messy process again.
We arrived at the hospital around 10:30.  I remember walking through the hospital doors full of nostalgia, remembering everything I’d felt two years ago as I took in the sites and smells of the dimly lit maternity ward.  I’m always amazed at how quiet it is, despite being full of laboring moms and newborn babies.

After waiting to be examined, we were fully admitted and official with our hospital bracelets.  We were in our L & D room around 11:30 and I was ready to get cozy for the evening.  The rest of the night was slow and uneventful, though not without discomfort.  Tyler tried to hang with me but we were both tired and he kept dozing on the sofa.  I watched a lot of HGTV through the middle of the night, unable to sleep.

I really love our hospital and the nurses are great, but my nurse that night was obviously very new.  I am usually all about working with new practitioners because everyone has to learn and start somewhere…but labor and delivery is perhaps not the best place to have a rookie nurse!  She used both of my arms for various IVs and cuffs, leaving me fairly immobilized and unable to adjust myself or move around during painful contractions.  She forgot to turn off my blood pressure cuff, leaving it to expand and deflate every TWO MINUTES {at 3 am, it took me awhile to realize what was wrong}.  She didn’t see the clot in my antibiotic drip…my IV insertion was pretty painful…she had to cath me twice… Needless to say, I was ready for that 8am shift change!

I went for the epidural around 4 am, my water broke, and Pitocin was added to my drip around 5 am when I was still at 5cm {Whaaaa!}.  From there, things started to pick up speed.  I loved the doctor who was with me all night and was disappointed when I realized the baby wouldn’t be here before the shift change…until I heard that Dr. C, the same doctor who’d delivered Charlotte, was on call for that morning.  In a practice as big as the one I go to, it’s pretty rare that the same doctor would deliver both of my kids—I was so excited!

I managed to sleep for an hour or two after my epidural and the rest of the morning was quick and easy…everything felt effortless and casual, much different than last time!  When they announced it was time to push, we pushed. 

“Do you want to announce what it is, Dad?” the doctor asked.

“Sure…” Tyler answered, sounding uneasy with that kind of pressure.

And just like that, my little baby #2 was out in three contractions…less than ten minutes.

At 10:01 am, I heard “It’s a BOY!”  And that’s when everything changed.

With Charlotte, delivery was overwhelming and surreal.  I only held her for a minute because she wasn’t breathing properly and needed a lot of monitoring.  We didn’t nurse until much later.  I had a hard time wrapping my head around her being MY baby, me being a MOM.  I didn’t cry a single time the two days we were in the hospital.

With this baby boy, it was instant.  I cried immediately, took and held him instinctively for what seemed like an hour.  We nursed right away and I was overwhelmed by how much I loved him.  Don’t get me wrong-- I loved Charlotte when she was born, but there was learning and adjusting that took time.  With this baby, I already had that “mama love” in me, that instinct and experience ingrained in me.  Which is good because I was so afraid I wasn’t going to be able to bond with this baby.
Bonding was not a problem...

“Do you have a name?”

“Jack?” Tyler and I simultaneously said.

And Jack he was.  All 7 lbs, 15 ounces, 20 ¼ inches of him.

I spent the next two days cuddling him and soaking up every minute of alone time in the hospital.  I didn’t leave my room a single time.   My mom brought Charlotte to meet him that afternoon and she immediately loved him.  We weren’t sure what she would do or how much she would understand but she couldn’t stop touching him or talking about her “brudder” from the minute she walked in the room.  “Him get on floor and crawl?” she asked.  Leaving the hospital was traumatic for her…leaving alone with Gigi while Mom, Dad, and brother stayed behind resulted in a really sad fit {after a repeat experience on the second visit, we decided she would stay home until we returned home—it was traumatic for everyone}.

We were discharged on the Fourth of July and have spent the last month falling into the rhythm of a family of four, falling more in love with Jack, loving watching Charlotte as a big sister.  Jack’s first two weeks were a breeze—I couldn’t have asked for an easier initial transition.  He sleeps and eats like a champ and I predict he will be my laid-back answer to his firecracker sister.

I was not shy about my anxieties transitioning to two children, but my heart has grown in ways I couldn't imagine.  We have been sustained through grace, naps, and a LOT of casseroles.  As it turns out, the hard part of a newborn isn't the newborn but the firstborn!  A lot of days are hard but the good is SO much bigger.  And for that, I have unending thanks...

Welcome to the world, JackJack!

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