One of those things that veteran mothers tell newbies is that every baby is different. And this is absolutely true. But my mother (a veteran mother and labor and delivery nurse) would always add “And every labor is different too.” After experiencing four deliveries, I can say that I have yet to prove her wrong.
This labor was so different from the others that I wasn’t sure I was even in labor yet. The contractions were not increasing in intensity or becoming more regular. I had had contractions on and off all morning and while they seemed to be closer together around dinner time, they weren’t stronger. I texted my mom and said that she could come over, but I wasn’t positive that it was time yet. I texted my sister who had volunteered to stay with Bo and Maggie and told her to be on alert. But she lives an hour away and I didn’t think she needed to leave yet.
I continued to relax and breathe through contractions when my mom got here and all of a sudden, it felt urgent. I got the shakes and my body temperature started jumping around (cold one minute, really warm the next). I guess in L&D speak, I was transitioning – moving from the initial phases of labor to late stage labor. And I was still sitting in my living room with my two-year-old hugging my legs asking me if I was okay. And no one was here yet to watch the older kids. Patrick’s brother Gene was on his way but had gotten pulled over and Jes was stuck in rush hour traffic.
Once Gene got there, we (Patrick, my mom and I) got in the car and raced to the hospital. I was genuinely afraid I would have the baby on the way. We got there at about 7:30 and my mom bypassed hospital admissions and put me straight in a room. They gave me a gown and I threw my clothes off without paying much attention to where they ended up. Then the nurse checked me and I was 9.5cm dilated and she said she could feel the bag bulging. I really wanted to push, but the doctor wasn’t there yet. My mom put on gloves and that made me feel better. She told me to bear down just hard enough to relieve the pressure.
Finally the doctor arrived and they let me push. Two pushes later and Joseph Calvin Obadiah arrived. I am skipping over the pushing part because I hate pushing and I am pretty certain I fought against the process at that point – at least a little. To push as hard as you can for a count of ten just seems so long when you’re delivering a baby. But he was born and was healthy and pink. There wasn’t the time to get an IV or ask for meds or anything. I got to the hospital and then he joined us.
I slept between each contraction when I labored with Bo and Maggie was back labor. Luna was my only delivery with medication and Joe was my super fast labor.
But there were other essential differences with this labor and delivery. As the first delivery after losing Luna, each squeak, squeal and cry was a triumph. Every newborn coo and sigh and cuddle was a moment of relief and rejoicing. I thought my heart would burst as overnight, my husband slept snoring on the couch beside me and my newborn slept sighing and squeaking in the cradle on the other side of me. When they took Joe to the nursery to do some routine tests and things, I honestly forgot for a moment that they would bring him back at some point. They never brought Luna back and I was left to recover alone and for just a brief second, I thought that was happening again.
Now that we are home, I find myself making other adjustments. I don’t think I have put this baby boy down for more than a few minutes. I hover around people holding him and have become a little clingy. If he wants to stay up all night, we stay up all night. And I am not even mad at him for it. My neck has an ache from sleeping on the couch and my arm cramps up from holding him too long, but I don’t even mind. I live to hear him laugh in his sleep and to hear him sigh when I kiss his head. I know this can’t go on forever, but for right now, I am giving him whatever makes him happy.
And I am happy. God is good. But I keep reminding myself that even if something had gone wrong – even if I had lost my Joe, God is still good. All the time. ALL the time.