Number Three: My third boy, my last labor, my scariest birth. I’m having trouble letting go, and yet I can’t imagine another labor. I look into your beautiful blue eyes while we nurse, but I still can’t believe the newborn clothes are already given to a friend… My sleepy new baby is already cooing and smiling and working on holding up that giant head.
Where were we? It was a Wednesday, and though they told me you were small I couldn’t believe them. You felt so big. You loved stretching and for some reason you were convinced that sunny-side up was the way to be. I took you to see the midwife, it was the day before your due date… 39 weeks 6 days. She checked my cervix at my request. 4 cm. Of course, since I’d had such good luck with your older brothers, I asked her to sweep my membranes and then we headed home.
There were some contractions that afternoon. I called Roxanne and Aunt Nana, Roxanne came over to stay with your older brothers and Aunt Nana would meet us at Saint’s if anything happened. I didn’t know what to expect. The first and second times were so different; I figured you would make up your mind at some point. Your brothers played with their friend, watched a movie and got some snuggles before they fell asleep. Avi was curled against us in the big bed. I closed my eyes.
April 14, at 12:15 am, you jolted awake, it felt as though you kicked with your entire body and my water broke. A giant, unmistakable gush of (thankfully) clear fluid rushed onto clean sheets. I grabbed a pad and a towel, went downstairs and told Daddy it was time to go. Roxanne went up to take care of Avi, who was crying. I called the midwife, who tried to say I could stay home, but the contractions were stronger. My biggest wish was that you NOT be born in a car.
Aunt Nana was waiting for us, we parked and I attempted to cover the giant towel between my legs with my skirt. SO MUCH FLUID! You were OT, your face toward my right hip instead of my spine, and trying to turn. I could feel you stretch and twist during every contraction. I can’t say I appreciated it. These contractions were intense, close, and somehow more. They kept coming, lasting and lasting. You kept moving. Time seemed to be standing still. I felt unprepared, like I had gotten off easy the times before. I cried. I was tired. I was ready for you to come. I was only 7cm.
My midwife had me rest on my side with fluid running full blast to space out the contractions, let me rest a little. I got Fentanyl, I rested. The contractions still came, they were still strong, I concentrated on resting. I closed my eyes. There was a little cervix left, she reduced it and suddenly you were crowning. Suddenly you were right there, turned and ready. Your head came and you stuck your elbow out, checked me like a hockey player. It was maybe 30 seconds, she rolled me to my left and pushed your arm down. There you were at 4:18am, 8lbs 9oz.
They placed you on my chest, you took a minute to cry, I almost cried. You were still too purple. So, the nurse took you and I cried. Tears ran quietly down my cheeks as fear set in, why was your O2 saturation too low… Respiratory came. NICU too. They spent your first hour with you trying to help you acclimate as I stared over at you with terror in my eyes, my heart in my throat. We were lucky, so lucky. You finally popped up above 90 and maintained, finally. I held you against my chest.
It was my favorite moment, holding you close and safe and pink. You and me. That was our moment, your daddy at out side. Shehecheyanu.
“We thank You, Spirit of all things, for giving us life, sustaining us, and enabling us to reach this season.”
It was never said until your 8th day, but it was felt in that moment when you were finally ok, finally skin-to-skin, finally breastfeeding. It was there again as your two big bubbas climbed up into my bed and help you the next morning. Isaac named you, with love for Harry Potter. You are so completely loved.
Our family is forever grateful for Lynn, our nurse Mary, RT Elizabeth (an amazing photographer), and the wonderful, reassuring NICU nurse whose name I didn’t catch…
Note: Our pediatrician assessed him and believes it was a mucous plug that caused his purple beginning. Yes, it could have been the brief moment he was stuck, or the Fentanyl. It could have been a multitude of things. I would make the same choices again.