Someone stop me. I can't get enough of this baby boy. Aaron is 8 weeks old today, and every Wednesday since he's been born, I've thought to myself, "Oh, ___ weeks ago at this time, I was just meeting you." I always thought "they grow so fast" was just one of those platitudes you hear from other parents, but I guess I'm in that club now, because it really is true! I feel like in just shy of two months, Aaron looks so much older than when he first arrived and I can already see little hints of his personality. I absolutely can't wait to see who he becomes.
So, the birth story. Though I gobbled up a ton of birth stories toward the end of my pregnancy with a mix of fascination and vague terror, I was pretty sure I didn't want to write one myself when the time came. What was it, I wondered, about the state of my particular cervix that could possibly be so interesting?
A few weeks later, I'm coming part of the way around, I think. Even though something about the permanence of lady part details on the internet still gives me a little pause, I do want to tell the story in a broader way that we can remember.
On Tuesday, October 15, I went to my weekly midwife appointment. I'd stayed home from work that day because of strong Braxton-Hicks contractions the night before, although they hadn't turned into anything. When I'd called about them, I was told the hormones that can induce labor are strongest from about midnight to 5 a.m., so I chalked things up to that. The midwife checked me and said she'd be surprised if our baby didn't arrive by the weekend! Later that evening, I had contractions start up again around dinner time, crampy and strong but not exactly painful, yet they were so far apart I didn't even think to time them. By midnight, they were getting more intense and closer together, but I still thought it was the middle of the night hormone surge.
Three a.m. Someone should've told me I was in labor at this point, because I still wasn't convinced! It was getting harder to sleep and to make it through contractions, and I was starting to have strong pain in my back, so I got out of bed for a while. Andrew had hoped our baby would arrive a few days later so he could have an extra weekend built into his paternity leave, and because he was really excited to teach the lesson he'd planned for the following morning. Aaron must have sensed this and decided he needed to do something dramatic to get his mom and dad to the hospital--after about an hour of standing and swaying, my water broke, or should I say started trickling on out, all over the floor!
We knew, at this point, that we would get to meet our baby soon! I called the midwife to let her know about the waters that were no longer and to tell her we were getting ready to leave for the hospital. The thing was, it took about 2 hours from the point of us deciding to leave and actually getting to the hospital (which is only ten minutes away...)! My contractions were coming so strongly and quickly that I couldn't focus on even picking up my bag to leave. I had time to maybe get one sock on in between each one, and since I wanted Andrew to massage my back pretty much constantly, it took him extra long to pack the car and get ready.
Towards the end of my pregnancy, the midwives recommended I try to labor at home as long as possible, but I think I accidentally pushed that particular recommendation a little too far. Looking back, I'm pretty sure I was in transition by the time we got to the hospital! I remember staggering through the parking lot, having to stop a few times, and sitting on the ground, crying, in front of the registration desk on the baby floor while Spongebob Squarepants played on the little waiting area TV. I also recall being angry that I'd pre-registered and had tried to do as much as I could ahead of time, and couldn't understand why I was still being asked so many questions! Andrew did some paperworky things while I made a scene, and the administrative nurses eventually made the call that I should just get going to triage and they'd get my information later.
After I got all gowned up, which also took longer than it should've what with all the yelling and contracting, my midwife arrived, did another check, and congratulated me on arriving to the hospital fully dilated and ready to push! She also told me not to wait so long when it's our next baby! Off we went to a delivery room, where, after three hours of pushing and sustained squawking (Andrew's words--I never thought I'd be a noisy birther!), the little man made his appearance at 10:45 a.m. There had been some meconium in my amniotic fluid, a.k.a. Aaron pooped before he should have, which meant he had to get his nose and mouth suctioned out immediately after being born. I was really bummed that this meant the doctors had to cut his umbilical cord right away and that I wasn't the first one to touch my baby, but I'm also so thankful for the medical knowledge and expertise that's available and for a healthy baby. Once he was snuggled safe in my arms, I was overcome by just so much love, though I didn't cry like I'd expected I would. There was something so peaceful, so normal, about holding the little person I had already known, in a way, for 39 weeks and 2 days.
Two months later, though staying up around the clock and sometimes trying helplessly to comfort someone who can't communicate what's wrong aren't entirely normal, having our baby around really has felt like the most natural extension of Andrew's and my relationship. We've talked a few times about how we don't exactly feel like we've become parents, in the sense that the transition was hardly noticeable. That's definitely not to say that we're all-knowing and have everything figured out, just that becoming a mom and dad on top of being a husband and wife hasn't felt like a huge change for us as much as just a new part of our life. Such a gift.
And here endeth the saga and the photo onslaught. Praise God for my sweet family!