Luke is 18 months. How is that possible? We went for his well-child appointment today and he weighed in at a hearty 26.5 pounds (76th percentile) and 35 inches (99th percentile). Tall and skinny.
As I was looking through my archives to put together my year-end post a week or so ago, I noticed that I never wrote down Luke’s birth story. And while he will likely never care one way or the other, I do. His birth was so beautiful and such a lovely memory that I would hate to not chronicle it.
For nine months I worried and wondered about the little being growing in my belly. As spring turned to summer, excitement grew as quickly as my belly. I was also mentally preparing for what I hoped would be a natural childbirth. My midwife was supportive but noncomittal as was my husband. I read a ton and watched too many youtube videos of home births (I know I know…but hormones make you do kind of crazy things).
Fourth of July weekend came around and I was two weeks from my due date. My in-laws and extended family came for the weekend and we were busy hitting parks and the farmers market, barbecuing in the backyard and chasing after Jack. As the weekend progressed, I noticed some changes going on in my body. No consistent contractions but definitely inching towards labor. I was thrilled and hopeful but didn’t want to get my hopes up. I was two weeks early at that point and Jack had been 6 days overdue.
My mom, who was scheduled to fly in the week of my due date, went into maternal overdrive and hopped on a plane. There was no way she was missing the birth and absolutely didn’t care if she had to sit around at my house for a couple of weeks. I was relieved and so thankful to have her here. The next few days were spent wrapping up work, taking naps, reading stories with Jack and just trying to stay busy. I think I even packed my hospital bag, silently cursing myself for jinxing any chance I would have to go into labor.
Tuesday: I had a doctor’s appointment. Three centimeters dilated, 80 percent effaced and basically a walking time bomb. I fully expected to go into labor that afternoon. Nothing happened.
Wednesday: Nothing. Tears were shed. Pouting ensued. That night, after putting Jack to bed, I had a burst of energy. I asked Aaron to go for a walk. We walked over three miles in perfect summer evening breeze. I felt full of energy and completely renewed. I felt like I might make it another week or two if the baby wasn’t going to come. When we got home, I sat on the yoga ball and watched tv, stretching my aching back and hips.
Thursday: 1:07am I am awake with a contraction. Woah. What was that? I gingerly rolled over and tried go back to sleep. 1:14am, another one. Time to get up. Within an hour I was pacing around my kitchen island, unable to sit down. I had downloaded a contraction timer ap on my phone and contractions were consistently 3 to 5 minutes apart. I was determined to stay at home as long as possible. I woke Aaron and got in the shower.
5am: My contractions are 2 to 3 minutes apart and I know its time to go to the hospital. I grudgingly accept going. We leave before Jack wakes up.
I wait and wait in triage, breathing through contractions, wondering how long I’m going to be in there and if I’m as far along as I hope. The nurse checks and I’m 8 centimeters.
Here was the catch though…my babies are big and posterior. Which means they stay high up in my body and they are turned the wrong way. Jack needed a little extra help with the birthing process (vacuum) and the same thing seemed to be happening again. I paced and sat on a birthing ball and leaned over the bed but I was tired and frightened.
I’ve often heard that you are either the type of woman who ‘likes’ the labor part or you ‘like’ the pushing part. Clearly, there are no winners, frankly it’s all terrible, but more about what you tolerate better, I guess. I am a labor person. There are breaks between contractions and I feel like I am making progress with each contraction. Pushing for me is scary. And because I got scared, I asked for an epidural.
I got it and immediately calmed down. It also calmed down the progress I was making. At around 9:30am my mom showed up at the hospital with the breakfast I had specifically requested for ‘my post-birth celebration meal,’ thick pieces of french toast with a homemade blueberry sauce. unfortunately, I was 10 centimeters dilated with a baby still kicking my ribs. It was going to be a little while.
Two hours later and it was time to push. Aaron was amazing and my mom cheered from across the room. There was something so special and bonding about having my own mother there with me. Twenty minutes later and our beautiful baby Luke was in my arms. A perfect 8 pounds 13 ounces at 11:49am.
No words will ever adequately describe the moment you meet your child. all I really remember was crying and telling him how much I loved him over and over again. I think I wrote this in another blog post a while back…he was the answer to the whispered prayer I didn’t know I was praying. He was always supposed to be with us, and then suddenly there he was, and we felt so complete and overjoyed at finally getting to meet him.
The next day, on my birthday, we left the hospital to go home as a family of four. A mama and daddy with two boys.
Eighteen months later and that joy only renews each day. Now he walks and runs and climbs. He talks in non-stop baby jibber jabber with new words emerging almost daily. He loves to be held and is delightfully snuggly. Still a bit shy but at the same time a major flirt, he’s quick to warm up. He is obsessed with his brother, his green blanket and anything to eat. He loves trucks, music and being outside. I pulled out our second plastic toy lawnmower and the boys spent over an hour ‘mowing’ side by side in the backyard. The boys compliment each other in so many ways. My prayer is that they are friends for years to come.
With surprise and sometimes fear, comes overwhelming joy. Luke is my daily reminder.