Today, my sweet little man turns two, which means he’s practically twenty. You might find me in a heap on the floor because it’s just not possible. He’s the one who made me a mama. The one who puts a smile on my face daily and often causes me to do that deep belly laugh because he’s just so hilarious. His birthday is in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the holidays, just as mine is. But, today, I’m going to share the story of the day he joined our family.
It was mid December and despite my strong conviction that he would come early, my due date came and went (darn that wishful thinking). Because of our annual Christmas Night of Worship (and Nate’s semi-important role), an induction was out of the question. So, there I was, large and in charge, trying my best not to bite anyone’s head off about my current physical state.
Nate & I both enjoyed our Christmas Night of Worship and were home watching “The Empire Strikes Back” when my contractions began. When the movie ended, I told Nate to go to bed so that he could rest in case these were the real deal; I promised to wake him should the need to go to the hospital arise. For the next several hours, I bounced on our exercise ball while watching a Hallmark movie, encouraging my contractions to stick. I finally decided to call my midwife around 3:30 AM; based on my report, she suggested we go to the hospital. Of course, I understood this to mean that I should clean my house and proceeded to frantically carry things to and fro in attempts to organize the invisible disaster.
After waking Nate, packing up the car, grabbing his slippers from the church, and filling my car with gas (I am notorious for leaving my car on “E”), we finally made it to the hospital two hours later. I was slightly discouraged to only be dilated to 3cm, but Nate and I started walking the halls to help my labor progress.
(Insert a more serious tone here) At 8 AM, my nurse had me get back in bed so that she could monitor the baby’s heart rate for a bit. Thirty minutes passed, and she entered the room once more to take me off the monitor, when I began to have a strong contraction. Despite breathing through it as I had the others, I felt her put an oxygen mask on my face; instantly, I knew that our little man’s heart rate must not be cooperating.
Things began to happen fast, and I soon realized that I couldn’t hear our baby’s heartbeat. Another nurse entered the room and began flipping me from side to side in attempts to remedy that; when she was unsuccessful, she decided to check my cervix in case I was further along than they thought. During the chaos, I remember looking at Nate, who was standing by the head of my bed, and saying, “Nate, are you praying? You need to pray right now.” The name of Jesus kept replaying in my mind as panic tried to set in; I was scared of losing this baby when I was so close to the end.
I overheard my nurse say that she was going to call my doctor as the other nurse continued to reposition me. After some time, she asked if I could flip over onto my hands and knees; my response and movement were instantaneous, and she was finally able to find our little man’s heartbeat. About that time, Dr. Downey entered the room breathing heavily, as she had broken every traffic law to come to my rescue. She assured me that it was unnecessary to do a C-Section just yet, but that she would re-evaluate in several minutes and possibly break my water. (I found out later that they had been unable to detect a heartbeat for 10 minutes. When they finally found it, it was 60 bpm, with a normal fetal heart rate being 110-160 bpm.)
A short time later, my midwife, Richele, broke my water as expected. Waves of pain instantly began flooding my body and I turned my face into my pillow as the contractions came, one after another. I remember very little about the following four hours, which I believe was God’s way of easing the burden of labor.
The things I do remember include Nate lovingly standing by the head of the bed, holding my hand, and coaching me through my contractions. I remember someone rolling something on my back which I later found out was Dr. Downey using a gel tube to relieve my back pain. And I remember it being hard to pee (real talk). I don’t know when exactly my mother arrived, but I do remember hearing her voice through the fog and saying, “Hi, Mom.”
After about 3 more hours of laboring, the pushing finally began. Despite being exhausted, pushing gave me something to focus on during contractions. My labor team offered me a mirror, at which point I realized the downside to only seeing blobs sans glasses. As I neared the end, I began to panic that I couldn’t do it. Dr. Downey finally looked me in the eyes and said, “Kayla, you need to push. NOW.” That was all I needed. The very next contraction, our sweet boy’s head finally made its way out followed by his sweet little body (insert ALL the praise hands)!!
Words cannot do justice to the moment a child is brought from womb to world. It’s full of elation and tears and love and joy and overwhelm. Nate and I often say that we have never loved each other more than we did in that moment. Our little man made us parents and we have wholeheartedly embraced every day since.
Happy second birthday, sweet boy!!