Well Little Man, you are finally here! I’ve been writing letters to your big sister since before she joined our family, so I thought the best way to welcome you was to write my first one to you and tell you all about how you came into this world.
Your scheduled arrival date was June 29, and that came and went. It left this Mommy feeling a little cranky to say the least. Not that I wasn’t happy being pregnant, but I do have my limits. Your Nanna kept telling me there was no way I could get any bigger, but you just kept growing. I’ll be honest, I kept thinking about how nice it was going to be to be able to move around more easily again, to roll over in bed without it being a big ordeal, to be able to cuddle your Daddy again and not feel like I we had a beach ball between us, and to do things like put on toe nail polish again. Simple things, really, but I was missing them.
I had been sick for a day and a half so when I woke up at 2:30 am I thought the cramps I had were related to the same symptoms. I went to the bathroom, then back to bed and realized after lying there for a bit that they were still coming, and they were unlike anything I’d felt before. I hit the light on the alarm clock whenever I would get one and soon realized they were coming every 7 minutes or so. I wondered if THIS, was IT? I managed to drift back to sleep and woke up at 4 am because of another strong “cramp”. This time I was getting them every 5 minutes. I laid there quietly for three of them and told myself if I got another one at the same interval I would wake up your Daddy. Sure enough, a few minutes later I woke him up and he was up and out of bed ready to go :)
We spent the next few hours puttering around the house. I folded laundry, had a shower, tidied up a bit, and then we watched some tv while your Dad timed the contractions. Eventually Olivia woke up and she had some breakfast, got dressed and just hung out. We called Nanna and Pappa to let them know that this was it and we’d be leaving soon. We got our stuff together and headed out the door at 7 am. By that point my contractions were 3-4 minutes apart. We met Pappa at the hospital so he could take Olivia, and we went and checked in.
After doing all the paperwork and preliminary stuff the doctor examined me and told me I was 4 1/2 cm dilated. She was really happy with how things were going. I kept working through my contractions and just tried to relax as much as possible, then breathe through them. After about 2 hours the doctor came back to check me again and I was fully prepared for her to say I was about 6 cm, but she looked up at me with a huge grin and said, “You’re at 9 cm!” We all knew that was fast. At that point we decided it was time to break my water and after that things started to get more intense.
I had heard people talk about the “urge” to push. I think the word “urge” is too tame. It’s really more like your body knows what it wants to do and it convulses into pushing, and it’s very hard to fight it. We had an amazing birthing team and they loved and wanted to uphold our desire to have a completely natural birth. At no point was there any talk about drugs of any kind. When I felt like I was ready to start pushing the doctor told everyone to just let me work with my body and that when it was time for her to tell me to slow down to deliver your head, she would step in. And you know what, that’s exactly what happened. Everyone was so amazing. It was like having cheerleaders telling me how amazing I was the whole time. I could feel their excitement as I pushed, and when I could see what was going on in the mirror it was such an encouragment to keep going.
I do have to say though, my favorite thing about the pushing stage was having your Daddy right beside me. Not only was he an amazing partner, but he was so into what was going on I could hear him holding his breath and grunting right along with me as I pushed, and he didn’t even realize he was doing it. There were a few times where I had to focus on pushing so I wouldn’t start laughing at what your Dad was doing. He was so excited to see what was happening and to be witnessing the whole process of you making your entrance into this big world.
No one had been able to describe what pushing felt like, so I’m going to do my best. Honestly, when that urge hits, you just have to get into it and curl around it, and as you do this wave washes over you and it’s like you realize you have to move yourself over a speed bump sort of thing, and as you move over one, another comes, and another… and you just keep going until you feel it subside. Then you rest and wait for your body to tell you to do it again. It’s really amazing and truly almost indescribable, which is why it was probably hard for me to find someone to describe it!
I remember thinking that I was starting to feel tired. They had me move into some different positions to move things along, which helped a lot. I was looking in the mirror and thinking that we still had so far to go, then started pushing and all of the sudden the doctor said, “Okay Leslie, stop! Now a little push. Stop. Little push. Stop. Little push. Stop.” And then I felt your head come out and I think I started laughing. It was such an amazing feeling!
You had the umbilical chord around your neck and it was too tight to flip over so the doctor had to cut it right away. Right after she did I felt the urge to push again and delivered the rest of you. Being such a big baby we had been warned that I might have difficulty delivering your shoulders and that I needed to be prepared for them to have to flatten me out and basically flip me back so the doctor could pull you out. Thankfully that didn’t happen. I did tear because of those crazy big shoulders, but I didn’t feel an ounce of it.
When they put you up on my chest I was just this giggly, crying goo ball of emotion. It was the feeling of accomplishing something huge, of having you there, and feeling so grateful that things had gone the way Daddy and I wanted them to. Better actually. When you started crying everyone got so excited, and you laid there just looking around. When they took you to the baby station to clean you and check everything your Daddy leaned in and we laughed and celebrated together. I have never seen your Dad cry, but on Sunday that changed. It wasn’t this gush of tears, but he was welling up. I’m glad I’m writing this because that moment is something I don’t ever want to forget.
Everyone was so excited because things had gone so well. We felt so supported and well taken care of. Everyone just kept telling me how well I did. I guess I was pretty good at just letting myself go totally relaxed between contractions, even to the point where I was smiling and talking and laughing right up until the last pushes. I had a friend recently say that giving birth naturally was “euphoric”. I totally get that now.
And now Little Man, you are here and we couldn’t be happier. Two days later you’re doing so well. I’ve heard people say that they felt their family was complete, and now I completely “get” that. I’m so grateful for a good, healthy pregnancy and for the ultimate textbook perfect natural delivery. It couldn’t have gone any better if you ask me. That feeling of being so present and seeing you so alert was so worth any pain, and frankly, two days later I’m having a hard time remembering it. I know it was hard and hurt at times, but it was so amazing to see how my body knew what to do.
And now we are four, and it’s just what we’re supposed to be. I feel that deep in my heart and so does your Daddy. We are complete. We were a family before, but now we’re a complete family.
As I look at your little face I can’t wait to see who you become. I see the start of the little chin dimple from your Daddy that I was so hoping you would have too. I see the sweet little nose you have and wonder what it’ll look like in a few years. I wonder what your personality will be like. If you become half the man that your Daddy is I will be ecstatic. I hope you become a person who has integrity, who is honest, loving, compassionate, sensitive and all those other special things a mother wants for her kids. I hope we can raise you well to have the freedom to become the person God has made you to be. I hope we can see those things and nourish them. I asked your Daddy how he was feeling and he said he was seeing how much more responsibility we had now. I couldn’t agree more. I hope we can hack it!
We love you Alex, and are so happy you’re finally here! Welcome to life.