I wanted to take the time to recount the details of Isaiah’s birthday, before the memories started to fade. I wont go into too much detail, promise. And if you’d like to skip this post entirely, no hard feelings.
I never got the chance to document the third trimester, so I’ll do that quickly here. Let’s just say it was pretty much exactly like the second trimester for me, until the last month hit. Then it was time to put my game face on. I was carrying Isaiah very low, which in turn, caused me a lot of pain. In fact, every time I went to the doctor (which was still weekly until the end), the sonographer would gasp at his low position. She gave up on measuring his head since it put me through so much pain. It became VERY difficult to walk, sit, stand, move my legs in any capacity – which made my plan of working up until the last minute extremely difficult. I had to throw in the towel a few days earlier than planned (3 to be exact – I just didn’t know it at the time) and had to be practically carried out of one of our Christmas services. From that point on, it was nothing but bed rest and pain medication.
3 days later, Christmas Day rolls around…and the pain was still excruciating. Michael and I woke up that morning, and exchanged our Christmas gifts. I asked Michael if we could just go back to sleep that morning. He let me sleep for a few hours and while I did, he made a few Christmas phone calls. In fact, I believe one was to his family where he jokingly told them that it “looked like we wouldn’t have a Christmas baby” since it was almost 2pm.
I woke up from my nap a few minutes later, and pretty immediately my water broke. Don’t ask me why, but I was not quite sure what had happened (as if it could have been anything else). Michael thought I was joking when I told him.
We got the doctor on the phone, and he said to gather our things and get on to the hospital. He also said not to use up all of my nervous energy since I would be needing most of that energy later on. Michael took this to mean “take the next 45 minutes to shower and pack his own suitcase for the hospital”. I stood in the hall waiting for him because at that point, I didn’t know what else to do! And that’s where I felt the first contraction. It was minor, and because of that, very misleading. I thought, “gee, if they are all going to be like that….this will be a cake walk.” Call it wishful thinking.
We called our parents and told them we were on our way to the hospital, but to take their time- since I would likely be in labor until the morning.
Arriving at the hospital around 3pm we were checked in in 5 minutes flat. Another few minutes, and they had me hooked up to an IV and noted I was at 2 centimeters. That’s when I had the first MAJOR contraction. There was no ramp up for me – my body meant business from the get go. This particular contraction lasted 5 minutes, and was “off the charts”, literally. Michael watched it climb up the computer graph and disappear for 2 minutes before it started to come back down. Every contraction from that point on was no joking matter.
The next contraction (that I remember- apparently there were several in between) made my body come up off the bed. All I can remember was weakly saying, “help”. At that point, I started wondering about the epidural. The doctor said I could get one at any time. I felt like the biggest weenie, because I had only been checked in for 30 minutes (so I thought), how could I already get the epidural? It wasn’t until later that I realized I had been having contractions for close to 4 hours. That was the craziest thing to me about labor, how I had no concept of time. The entire process felt like 3 hours at the most, to me.
Mom and Dad Aars arrived, but unfortunately they couldn’t come in because I was getting the epidural. Our doctor was still in his street clothes (he was a saint to come in on Christmas Day when he was NOT on call) and after he checked me, I just remember him saying calmly, “OK, I’m going to go get changed.” I had gone to to 8 centimeters within the hour.
By the time the doctor came back in the room I was at 10 centimeters. It was 8:30pm and time to push. Mom and Dad Brown and Aunt Alicia had just made it to the hospital, but there was no time to come back and visit.
For me, pushing was the easiest part (note the magic word: epidural). I guess I pushed for an hour total, but again, it felt like only 20 minutes. It was hard work, don’t get me wrong – and it certainly didn’t help that I was completely nauseated in between pushes. But I was too excited to meet the little guy. I was determined to push as hard as I could every time if it meant me meeting him just a few minutes earlier.
Once he was born, it all became blurry for me. I truly think a bit of shock set in. It was love at first sight, combined with disbelief. Is that our baby crying? I’ll never forget what he looked like as the doctor held him up – arms spread, angry at the world and wanting to go straight back inside. He was a little drama king from the start, so serious, and stressed beyond belief. He was the most adorable little angry baby I’d ever seen. Isaiah took one look at me…and peed. That’s right, he peed all over me. We all died laughing, through the tears.
As if we had any doubt, God was truly watching over us. Michael said that when he first saw him, not only was there meconium, but the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck three times – and was also tied in a knot. Thank goodness no one said anything to Mom about that until later.
After they cleaned Isaiah off, and tended to Mom, they left the three of us alone in the room for our first time as a family. I am not sure any of us knew what to think, but one thing’s for sure, we all knew we belonged together. Nothing has ever felt so right.
There is no way for me to write every detail of that day. I hope I always remember it all. I don’t ever want time to fade the vividness of those precious memories. But just in case they do, I know we will always have new memories to make. Our love for Isaiah has already grown so much in the past month. Sometimes I feel like my heart might explode. I love the feeling I get watching him sleep. I love the way he snorts like a pig when he fusses, how he smiles when he’s drifting off to sleep, and how he stretches like a 5 year old little boy.
It’s hard to believe he will be one month tomorrow. My, how time flies. I’ll be posting some highlights of his first month soon. So much has happened and yet it feels like yesterday he was handed to me for the first time.
I think I’ll end here. I have a baby I need to go cuddle…