August 6, was hot. Like the hottest Texas had been all year. I was 12 days past my due date. Induction was just around the corner. I had been doing everything I could to try and coerce this little person out. After lots and lots of walking and eating an entire pineapple, I decided to rest. I realized labor was coming regardless and I didn’t want to be exhausted walking into it. I got into the apartment, after one last walk, and found it to be uncomfortably warm. I turned the AC on and took a shower. I got out to find the apartment even warmer. I thought perhaps I had turned the heat on. What else could explain this? But as I walked over to check, my eyes welled up tears as I realized my AC was broken. (Almost 42 weeks pregnant ok!!) I texted my husband, who was at work, to bring home all the fans he could find. I laid in our bed, feeling every bit like a beached whale.
He got home, arms full of fans. We hung out, made out, and tried to soak up the last little bit of just us. We started to fall asleep around 1, when contractions started. This had happened a few times so I tried not to get my hopes up. I took a bath and waited. When the contractions kept up, I told C he needed to get me a snack STAT. I knew once we got to the hospital they wouldn’t let me eat, and I wasn’t about to do this labor thing without a cheeseburger and fries. I ate, we laughed and talked and I cried a little. Everything was about to change.
Hours passed. The contractions weren’t speeding up or getting more intense, but they weren’t slowing down either. I finally called my parents to let them know I was in labor, but that it would be a while. I made C wait to call his parents, because they had gone on an overnight trip to Oklahoma, and I knew that they would rush home with excitement at any baby news. I didn’t want them to rush home and wait.
I started throwing up. I had been throwing up my whole pregnancy so it wasn’t too scary, but it made me a little nervous. I called my midwife, and she told me I could go ahead and make my way to the hospital. So at around 10, we did.
Stuff started really going and it was…unpleasant. They checked me and I was at a five, and I decided to get an epidural. Let me just tell you PRAISE THE LORD FOR THE DRUGS. It’s a real game changer. After 45 minutes of intense contractions on top of one another, waiting for the anesthesiologist to get to me, they finally gave me the good stuff. As I sat up after the giant needle was stuck in my back, the doctor said “Oh no! You’ve pulled it out” I looked at him with what I imagine was a terrifying and heartbreaking glance, and he said “Nahh I was joking” Good one, guy. Good one. My midwife checked me again as he was leaving. She said I was fully dilated and could start pushing, or I could let the contractions keep bringing the baby down naturally a little more so I’d have less pushing to do. I had just gotten the juice and was feeling great, so I decided to rest in that before pushing. I joked with my mom and my mother in law, ate some snacks I had snuck in my bag, and redid my hair. They all laughed at me as I put makeup on, fully dilated, minutes before I was going to deliver a baby.
At around 3:45 my midwife came in, and we decided to go for it. My husband held one hand and my mom held the other. I pushed a few times before the heart monitor around my belly went silent. I thought maybe he was just getting lower. My midwife had me flip onto my side to try and hear him. Nothing. They quickly flipped me to the other side. Nothing. They put me back on my back and put a mask on my face. Doctors and nurses started flooding the room. Something was wrong.
My midwife looked at me, and said “You need to get this baby out, Ellie”
“That’s what I thought I was doing!”
I started crying, hysterically I’m sure. I’ve watched too many mamas walk into hospitals pregnant, and leave empty handed to know it doesn’t always end with a bundle of joy. My husband was holding my hand tightly and my mom praying out loud over my baby. With lots of encouragement like “Get him out” “You NEED to get him out.” “Now.” I pushed a few more times, and he was here. Relief and despair set in quickly. They didn’t put him on my chest, like they said they would. He wasn’t crying, like they said he should. They rushed him away from me. I lied there screaming for my son.
After what felt like an eternity, but surely was only minutes, he cried. They brought him to me and through my mascara-filled tears I saw my perfect boy for the first time.
It’s not fair that I get to call him mine, that I get to watch him grow up. I get to take him to new places and go on adventures with him. I get to know my baby. I get to do his laundry and clean up the messes. I get to deal with tantrums in Target and poop covering the crib. I get to kiss him whenever I want and crawl into his crib when I miss him after I’ve put him to sleep. I get to throw him birthday parties and take him to get French fries. I get to watch him love music and “fishys.” I get to watch some of my favorite relationships unfold between him and his aunts and uncles. I get to complain about potty-training. I get to watch him experience the beach for the first time. I got to take my baby home from the hospital, and I am grateful for that every single day.
Somehow we’re here already, my baby is two. It makes my heart swell and break at the same time. My boy you are strong willed and determined, curious and playful, expressive and outgoing, a true joy and my best friend. Happy Birthday, Luke Danger. You changed our world.