It’s been a little over two weeks since Alex decided to make his day-early arrival, but it’s a day Tony and I will remember for the rest of our lives.
It was a Monday, and it started off business as normal. I woke up and picked out one of my favorite maternity dresses. (I had been intentionally asking myself each day for the past week, “if this is the last day you wear maternity clothes, what do you want it to be?) I headed off to work with a list of things in my head that needed to get done before the mysterious delivery day would come.
Around 9:30 a.m. I started having contractions, but nothing particularly different from the weeks of contractions I had been having off and on. There wasn’t a formal start or end, so I made nothing of it other than to send Tony a text message telling him to alert the moms (both his mother and mine). This was actually the second time he’d done that, so I was a bit leery to give him that direction. I didn’t like the idea of becoming the mom that was constantly “crying baby” and then not actually going into labor. But since I was induced with Leo, I wasn’t really sure what labor starting contractions would be like. And I didn’t want our moms to miss the delivery since they both had an hour+ drive to get to the Birth Center.
The entire morning I tried to ignore the contractions and focus on work, but as the day wore on that became harder and harder to do. I was starting to struggle to focus and was become a bit irritated at things that wouldn’t normally ruffle my feathers. Around 11:30, when the contractions became a bit more formal and intense, I started timing them. It only took a half hour to realize they were consistently 4-5 minutes apart, lasting for 30 to 40 seconds. At that point, I decided it was probably time to go to The Birth Center to figure out if I was, in fact, starting labor. I spent the next hour sending out emails to wrap up a few projects and then a final email around 1 p.m. to the entire jhP staff (while most everyone was out at lunch) letting them know that I was taking the afternoon off.
Still feeling a bit unsure, I decided to stop Walgreens before heading to The Birth Center. I spent about a half hour walking up and down browsing through the aisles and grabbing a snack for lunch, still trying to determine if it was worth my time to stop and get checked.
At 1:30, I called Tony and let him know I was headed to The Birth Center. He asked if I wanted him to come, and I told him not to worry about it if he was in the middle of something. I didn’t want to interrupt his day. I said I’d give him a call when I had more news.
When I dropped into the Birth Center, I asked Kelly if I could get checked and told her I thought I might be in labor. Surprised that I was so nonchalant about things, she sent me upstairs so Eilene could check me. She took a quick look and sure enough, declared that I was in fact in labor. I had dilated to a 6, so I didn’t even have time to run home, baby Alex was on his way.
I sent a text to my mom giving her an update and telling her see needed to hurry, and I gave Tony a call. Fortunate for me, he had already wrapped things up at work and was in his truck en route to The Birth Center. I met him in the parking lot, we grabbed my stuff out of the car, and then we settled in for our short stay.
By this time, contractions were quite regular and starting to get intense. I could tell that my body was working fast to get the baby out, but I really didn’t want to push things along until our parents were there. So Tony and I hung out in the reception area. I sat on the birthing ball (still wearing my favorite maternity dress) and Tony on the couch, joking back and forth with the nurse and midwife as they took regularly took my vitals and listened to the baby’s heartbeat.
Around 3:15, we moved into the birthing room, and Tony and I took a final “before baby” picture. Shortly after that my mom arrived and contractions ratcheted up a notch. I changed into a plain red jersey dress and transitioned from sitting on the birthing ball to full squats during contractions, helping get the baby into final position before the pushing began. At that point my water broke and things started getting real. Contractions were so intense, I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to hold off long enough on the pushing for Tony’s mom to get there.
Once my body gave me cues that it was time to start pushing, I moved so I was kneeling on the bed and resting my upper body on the birthing ball between contractions. Right about the time I started to push, Susan arrived. I really can’t tell you how long I was pushing before Alex came out, but I know that by 4:05 p.m. he arrived.
Tony did a great job throughout the labor, offering me lots of support and encouragement. He didn’t hesitate at all when it was time for him to catch Alex on his way out or to cut the umbilical cord.
Those first few minutes with Alex on my chest and Tony beside us were pretty magical. After 10 months of carrying this little thing around in my stomach, there he was. 10 long fingers on his tiny hands and 10 long toes on his larger-than-most-baby’s-feet. He was long and slender and had a head full of dark hair. And he was a natural at latching so our early start with nursing was off on the right foot.
About an hour later, Brandon brought Leo by The Birth Center so he could meet his new little brother. I was so happy and appreciative that Brandon thought it was important for Leo to share that time with us. I’ll always remember those moments, especially when Leo saw Alex’s umbilical cord stump and said, “Look at his penis mom, it’s funny.”
And that’s Alex’s birth story. Born 4:05 p.m. on September 9th at The Birth Center. He was 22.5″ long (just like big brother Leo was), and weighing in at 8lbs 12 ozs (a full pound smaller than Leo!) We’re now a small family of four!