Tomorrow my littlest little turns one year old. I can hardly believe it. It seems like just yesterday that he was born. As I sit here, reflecting the past 12 months, it occurs to me that I never wrote a birth story for him like I did my first. I guess that’s what people mean when they say #secondchildproblems. His baby book sits practically blank on top of the antique wooden secretary in our living room. I’ve shoved pieces of the past year; his birth announcement, the height/weight paperwork from his well-child check ups, his hospital band and tiny hat, and many other miscellaneous memories in a well-intentioned folder for the day I find time to paste them all into place.
Tonight I decided to write his birth story and about his welcome into the world. It seems fitting to do so as we wake tomorrow to welcome him to being one. One year old. Wow. Time really does fly.
One year ago today.
On the morning before his birth, I woke before dawn with pains I could only imagine were contractions. Paul was working an overnight shift and I expected him to be home around 8am. What I felt was totally different than what I experienced with my first born during induced labor. This pain was more organic somehow. After about an hour, I sent a text message to give Paul a heads up.
I was worried that I might not recognize what “natural labor” felt like. Yet, as it began, there was no question in my mind. My main concern was how rapidly things might progress. Several friends and family had warned me that labor would be shorter and quicker the second time around. This definitely made me a little nervous. But I also looked forward to not having another 28+ hour labor experience like I’d had previously.
The building anticipation of when he would arrive was a combination of excitement and worry.
Paul made it home from his shift that morning just in time to take me to a 9am appointment at my OB’s office. I was so thankful because my pain had increased quite a bit and I had NOT been looking forward to trying to drive myself there. Noah stayed home with the sitter and we headed off together in Paul’s Jeep.
About a mile away from the office we had our first birth story adventure.
My contractions were more regular (about every 7-10 minutes) and as we drove, I had to brace myself against the dash whenever one would come on. Suddenly, at the exact moment of an intense onset, the roof of the jeep began to lift up and away from the top of vehicle.
Somehow the latches that held the roof in place had become unhooked and the whole top was about to fly off of the car!
We drove the final mile to the office, each with one hand holding tightly to secure the roof in place. Paul steering with his other and me bracing against the dash until the pain passed. Once we made it safely, we laughed about how crazy that short drive had been and how we would have to remember the story to tell after the baby was born.
I had already dilated to 4.5cm when the doctor examined me in the office. He offered to let me check in to the hospital or try laboring for a while more from home. I choose the latter enthusiastically. Over the next twelve hours, there was not much excitement. My contractions became more irregular, then gradually stronger and longer. My mama arrived to help care for Noah, and we tried to rest as much as possible. As the hours dragged on, I remember feeling confident and “ready” for this baby to arrive.
We put Noah to bed that night as a family of 3 for the last time. In the morning, he would wake up as a big brother and our lives would be forever changed.
By 10pm I knew I couldn’t wait at home any more. My pain was getting too intense and I had already decided I would get an epidural this time around. I had dilated to 7cm by the time we checked into the hospital. Within a few hours we settled into L&D, the pain medicine working like a charm, my water had broken, and we planned to try and rest.
Our second birth story adventure came once I started to PUSH.
We snoozed on and off for a few hours. Around 5am I remember feeling a lot of increasing pressure and wondering when they were going to check me again. The nurse happened into the room around this time. Upon seeing that I was awake, she did a quick exam to find me fully dilated, and asked if I felt like I “might want to push soon.” I roused Paul from a deep slumber to tell him it was GO time. Some other nurses entered the room and began preparing for delivery. I imagine the doctor was alerted to my change in status.
It seemed like a matter of minutes before I was in position for things to start happening. The nurse complimented me on my effective pushing after the first contraction. On the second, she realized just how effective I apparently was. And on the third, after encouraging me to try and “wait for the doctor before pushing any more,” baby Niko was born.
Paul was officially the only doctor in the room for the delivery.
We are both so thankful for the competent and attentive nurses that cared for us during our experience. Of course, our doctor arrived within minutes of the delivery (but he didn’t seem to think it was very funny when I asked if we would get a discount on our bill!).
Niko’s arrival into our lives was nothing short of amazing.
He had a full head of dark hair and a soulful husky wail. With a strong, efficient latch, he was a natural at nursing. His eyes were bright and observant, taking the whole world in. His disposition proved to be calm and endearing. We were absolutely smitten. My mama (“Sippi”) was his very first visitor, followed closely by his big brother Noah. Seeing my two babies together for the first time was one of the most incredible moments of my life.
We spent hours cooing to him and cuddling with him in the hospital. We were discharged the following day after Mama and Baby were deemed healthy. It was a relief to be heading home, much differently that how it felt to be anxious new parents the first time we brought a baby into our lives. We couldn’t have been more content with our newest blessing.
It seems like our adventures might wrap up at this point but there is one more exciting part of this birth story to include.
The day after we arrived home we had an appointment scheduled to visit the pediatrician. Niko was only 3 days old. It was an extremely hot day outside so Paul went out to the car to start it and crank up the AC. Then he came back in the house to help get us out the door.
I was bustling around trying to get my shoes on, grabbing the diaper bag, remember the paperwork we needed, and saying goodbye to Noah. Paul loaded Niko into his baby carrier and walked out ahead of me toward the car.
Two seconds later he returned with a dazed look on his face.
“Our car is gone. Somebody must have just stolen it” he said in shock.
I kid you not. In the 10 minute window of Paul starting it up to us all getting our act together to head out the door, someone had hopped in the driver’s seat and taken off on a joy ride. We couldn’t believe it!
Our car was stolen from right in front of our house in broad daylight in the middle of the day.
In the chaos of the moment, all I could think about was how we just HAD to get to the doctor’s office. Luckily I was able to borrow the babysitter’s car. I left with Niko while Paul called the police and stayed behind to wait for them. As I checked us in at the front desk, apologizing for being tardy and explaining the circumstances, everyone was in awe of the situation. I felt completely flustered but everyone in the office was kind and concerned. The appointment went smoothly. Niko was “perfectly healthy,” and my heart eventually returned to a normal pace.
Within the hour, Paul called to tell me the police had located our car.
It was recovered undamaged. Paul was en route (in the back of a police car I might add) to retrieve it. According to the sitter, Noah was thrilled to see “Papa get in police car!” The thief managed to escape the scene of the crime but apparently left behind some personal evidence. A month or so later we received a letter informing us that the thief was apprehended and the whole thing was finally behind us.
It is certainly a birth story worth remembering and a wild exciting welcome into this world.
Happy Birthday my sweet love. May your life be full of love, laughter, happiness, and enough adventure that you always have a great story to tell.
I love you. xx
*professional photography by Kati Mallory