It feels like it's been a whirlwind since Tuesday morning. I think that's because it has. Mom and Grady are doing so good and we're enjoying the company of Nana, Gigi, and Aunt Kim. He's poopin and peein like a champ and I am quickly becoming a diaper changing phenom!! If I do say so myself. What I am about to tell you is probably nothing extremely out of the ordinary for many of you who have been through this experience, but I have to say that the labor and delivery process was the most amazing, beautiful, and awe-inspiring thing I have ever experienced and I'm not even the one who had the baby!
About 1:30 on Tuesday morning Jen received a call... it wasn't from Gigi or the Doctor. It was a conference call from Grady and Mrs. U. Teris! She said she got up for her usual late night pit stop en el bano and said something hit her like a freight train. She told me later that if this wasn't a contraction that she didn't want to know what one felt like. So, after about 30 minutes or so and another contraction or two she woke me up from my long nights rest. (I mentioned in an earlier post that we were rebelling against the common advice that we should catch up on rest while we could... true to form, we had gotten to bed about midnight.) After another hour or two of debating whether this was the real thing or not we finally decided that... yes indeed, this was the long awaited day! The realization came in waves and so did the increasingly frequent contractions. I busied myself between by working on a focal point collage that was yet to be finished.
At this point, it was 3:30 (still AM) and we decided to call Gigi and Mama to let them know. By 4AM, we gave them the official word and like Revolutionary Minutemen, with bags packed for a whole week prior, they were on the road to Texas just before 5AM... coffee in tow!
I laid on the floor in Grady's nursery for the next few hours timing the contractions with Jen in the chair breathing and trying to relax. It was so crazy! The best thing was that all that stuff they said in our birthing class was really happening... contractions went from 15 to 10 to 5 minutes apart. Holy Smokes! The worst thing was that my sweet Jen was workin' hard to keep down dinner, water, breakfast... anything. By 0800, everything she possibly had to puke up was gone and the contractions were borderline 4 minutes apart. That's when she looked over at me confidently and said, "It's time!"
At that, bags, car seat, cd player, pillows, snacks (for me), laptop, phones, phone chargers, candles, lotions, little mini fan, one anxious dad, and one about-to-be-unpregnant mommy were in the car and on our way! Riley told us good luck and we left him to take care of the house while we were gone.
We screeched into the hospital with Jen really feelin it. They sent us upstairs and took us straight to our room (thanks to the wonder of pre-registration)! There were three things we had specifically prayed for regarding the L&D (as insiders call it). First, we asked God to help Jen to go into labor naturally without induction... we had our answer. Second, Jen really wanted to "go natural!" as they say. I was ready to do anything I could to help her, but we asked God for a good nurse that would be willing to help us. Third, we asked for Grady to be perfectly healthy in every way.
Within two minutes we met Jill, our L&D nurse. I'm pretty sure that she didn't know how to read Jen because she was casually talking with us until she proceeded the dialation check..... uhhh then she got serious real quick! She turned to us with a look of surprise and said, "Well you're at a seven." Immediately she turned to the nurse in training and began speaking hospital jargon like, "Get me a table and an IV, give me a setup of this and that and get her hooked up to the monitor... stat!" She asked if Jen was planning on going natural and was excited that she was. Come to find out, she had three children naturally herself! This was a huge answer to prayer #2! At that, Jen threw up one last time and was ready to go! I took the opportunity at this time to get all of our creature comforts from the car. Yes, ALL of them! Those people were probably lookin at me like I was crazy... like I was movin in. I'll just say this, the only things we used were the focal point collage, the mini fan, and the tennis balls in the sock for massaging! Genious! I took a should've been quick pitstop at the "Financial Counselor's" office because I guess you have to prepay for these kinds of things. She was slow!! And I was like.. uhhh yeah could you speed up the process because my wife is having a baby right now.... you know that's why we're at the hospital and all. I seriously ran down the hall and through the doors back to our room. I was waiting for a nurse to yell, "No Running in the halls!"
I made it back and it turns out that Jill was truly a miraculous gift. For the next hour and a half, she worked with us so closely and supportively. When it was time for the next dialation check, Jen's water had broken and she had progressed to a 9... It was 10:30AM! We had only been at the hospital for an hour and a half! There were a couple of people that stopped by to visit for Jen to sign some papers. At this point I was in shock. Picture my wife bursting at the seams pregnant filling out paperwork and signing her name between contractions! Not cool! The first lady was the "Financial Counselor" and she was in an out. The second lady seriously almost got punched.... by my wife!! She was the anesthesiologist's nurse and she spoke in a very hard to understand form of english. Not that I have anything against people who speak a very hard to understand form of english, but when your wife is literally within minutes of having a child it's punch-you-in-the-face frustrating! So she seriously proceeds to go through my wife's whole medical history with all her "did you's?" and "have you ever's?". I'm thinkin', "Lady you better lay off," because I can sense Jen's agitation through her labored breathing. Jen cut her eyes toward Jill while the lady was jabbering and said, "Is this really necessary?" Then Jill looked at the lady and said, "OK that's enough, let her sign the papers and be done. She's not getting an epidural anyway!" The lady was so shocked... "You mean you no get epidural... oh... well that good for you and baby... I think that good... you still need fill out paper... oh but that good...thank you good luck." With that, she was gone and we were quickly back in action because she had progressed even further... to a ten!
I don't quite remember how the next few minutes transpired exactly, but there was a fray of activity. Jill called the fast talking lady Dr. and he said he had his running shoes on sittin on go. I was busy massaging, adjusting fan positioning and speeds, and texting Gigi and Nana who were already on the Dallas side of Little Rock with updates. (for those of you that don't know they were makin dang good time... I think they were pretty excited :)
About that time, Jen asked Jill when she would know to start pushing and Jill responded with a "Oh you'll know." Oh and she knew... in about five minutes, she felt it and she was ready. I was lookin at her in awe and amazement. Right before my eyes through the breathing, pain, and grip of her hand I saw so much love, strength, beauty, courage, and sacrifice! I loved her more in that moment and ones to follow than ever before.
The doctor arrived at about 11:15 along with a couple of ladies from the nursery and another nurse. They said that there hadn't been any babies born yet today so they thought they would come and cheer us on! Seriously, it was like we had a whole fan section. They said that natural births were rare in Plano, TX and she was the talk of the L&D wing. Our doctor told us that a natural birth in Plano was an epidural without makeup. He had the whole room laughing except Jen... She was kickin at his head because he was joking around. He told her that she was a "Rockstar" pusher. I'm not sure what that means, but she was kickin butt! Jen kept apologizing that she was so tired and we were all like.... uhhh you woke up to contractions at 1:30AM, threw up everything you had in you, and you are still pushing like a rockstar! It was kind of funny looking back. There was excitement in the air and Jen was showing everybody how it's done! You could sense everybody on the edge of their seats rootin for her! Jill was right there keeping Jen focused while Dr. G was still cuttin up. Jen kept saying, "I'm not sure if there's really a baby in there." We all reassured her that there was and that he was coming soon!
And then whattaya know?.... after about 45 minutes of pushing, our beautiful little boy was born. He took his first breath and we got our first look at our little man! He was perfect in every way! God had answered our prayers!
The next hour and a half was just me, Jen, and Grady with the occasional people coming in and out. What an awesome, unforgettable, and unexplainable (well, I did my best) experience!
After everything calmed down, Jen asked me if I had any snacks left and all I had was a protein bar called a "Builder Bar". It had a picture of a muscle-y guy on the front and I thought, "That is perfect!" I believe now that my beautiful delicate wife is stronger than any body builder! I have so much more love, respect, and healthy fear for her than ever before. Way to go Jen! And Happy Birthday Grady!!