On Wednesday night, 4/2/2014, Josie texted IP-A and I and told us that she was having contractions and they were 6 minutes apart. I was a little hesitant to be excited since this was one of many texts we had received that she was contracting (one that even led to us showering and getting everything into the car). Josie kept texting and telling us when she contracted again and that is when my excitement grew.
We decided to head up at about 1:00 am and just wait it out with her. If it ended up being another false alarm we could just chalk it up to spending more time together. Josie had suggested that I contact my sister to start getting ready. We arrived to a dark house so we called Josie and her husband let us in. Josie was lying in bed so we chatted for a while. My sister, Liz, arrived about an hour after we did. Josie contracted all through the night while Liz, IP A and I decided to try to rest. I was a little nervous how I would react to Josie having contractions and being in labor since I would feel really responsible for the pain. While Josie labored at home it wasn’t as nerve racking as I expected since Josie could talk through the contractions and they didn’t seem to bother her much.
Around 10:30am the contractions stopped Josie was asking Liz to help her do anything she could to start contractions again. Liz told Josie to rest instead and let her body do what it is so good at doing. Josie rested and when she woke up she and Liz worked on some positions to get the baby’s head in the right position. Around 3:30pm the contractions started again just as Liz was leaving to pick up her kids who were on their way up through the snow in the cities. While Liz was gone Josie decided to call the hospital and tell them that she was in labor and start getting things in order for his arrival. The hospital told us that since it was the doctor’s day off it would be a good idea to head to the hospital as early as possible to give the doctor time to get there. Everyone was getting ready to go. IP-A and I were headed out to the car to get the shirts we were planning on wearing to the delivery, Josie was getting her hair straightened by her sister and Ben was beginning to get the kids’ schedule with the sitter organized. IP-A and I were at the car getting our stuff when the front door of the house opened and Josie’s sweet mother said, “Josie said you better call Liz because her water just broke.” Luckily I was already on the phone with Liz so I just told her. Liz told me to not wait for her and to go right to the hospital. IP-A and I went in and quick threw on our different shirts and grabbed all of the luggage (there is an incredible amount of stuff that gets brought to the hospital when a new baby is coming; especially when there are two parents and a surrogate parent) and got ready to finally get to meet our little man.
Josie rode to the hospital with us while Ben drove to the kids to get them where they needed to be. I was surprised how emotional I was getting in the car ride to the hospital. I think it was because I finally KNEW this was happening and I was finally going to get to hold my son after waiting so long. I told myself, “Seriously, calm down. We aren’t even to the hospital yet.” When we got to the hospital, Josie told me to just go park in the ramp and not drop her off at the door. It wasn’t very far and I know that Josie knows her own body very well so I trusted her judgment. We got to the parking ramp and all got out and grabbed our stuff. Luckily we met up with Josie’s mom and sister in the ramp and they helped with Josie and the luggage.
We got into the hospital and it was like a race to the birthing center. Josie was such a trooper. Even though she was contracting like crazy she was still trucking along needing to take very few breaks. Once we got to registration Ben was there so all we were missing was Liz. We all got placed into the birthing room and put down all of our baggage and got ready for this amazing experience. I was getting nervous that Liz wasn’t back yet. I was also having anxiety because her phone was on the verge of death and she was using it as GPS so I didn’t know if she was going to make it to the hospital. Luckily, she arrived just 15 minutes after we did and it’s a good thing she did.
During the contractions, and in-between, Liz was rubbing Josie’s back while she labored. It looked like it was really helping. At this point, while Josie was having contractions about every 2 minutes, my ability to hold my tears in was getting weaker and weaker. You could say that my tears were following Josie’s contractions pretty closely. I really wanted to tell IP-A that I was about to cry but I knew if I said the words I would totally lose it and I didn’t want to cause Josie any stress so I texted him to tell him to tell him. He texted back and said, “me, too!” It felt good that we were both feeling the same way. I was expecting my guilt over putting Josie in this much pain would over shadow my excitement for the baby but I was wrong! Each time she would have a contraction I knew we were getting closer to fulfilling this dream of becoming parents that we had waited for over 4 years to complete. That thought would jump into my head during her contractions and that was when I would just about break down into tears.
At about 6:30 (about 1 ½ hours after arriving to the hospital) Josie decided that she wanted to labor in the bathtub for a while. After she was in the bathroom for about 10 minutes, Ben came out and said, “Josie is requesting everyone come into the bathroom with cameras.” That was when I knew she was going to have him in the tub. When we got into the bathroom, there was chaos. Josie was in the tub, her mom was at her head putting her “always-cold” hands on Josie’s head, Liz was spraying Josie’s tummy with hot water from the shower head while Josie was begging her to make the water hotter. The hot water was all the way on high much to Josie’s dismay. The nurse told Josie two different times that after the next contraction she needs to get out of the tub and to the bed, but Josie’s contractions didn’t appear to be stopping and pushing had definitely started. I glanced over the doctor’s head as she was kneeling by the tub and saw that the baby’s head was not coming out yet but Josie’s belly had gone from a tiny basketball to a long tube with a bulge near her pelvis. I looked again as Josie was saying, “He’s stuck” and saw that his head was partially out. Liz told her that he is just taking a little break and that she is doing wonderful.
Complete chaos had ensued in the bathroom as the doctor, Liz, IP-A and I, Ben, Josie’s mom and sister, the photographer and four nurses scurried around the tiny bathroom. Both Ben and Megan, Josie’s sister, were taping and were both told to stop since the hospital did not allow the baby crowning to be taped. Josie was saying, “Ooooh” at about talking volume pretty much the whole time she was in the tub. She later talked to us about, “… when I was screaming in the tub…” to which I told her that she wasn’t screaming, she just “oooh’ed”. During the commotion I heard someone say, “Here he is!” I looked at the tub and saw him coming out of the water. I was unbuttoning my shirt because I planned on doing skin to skin with him as soon as he was born. I had been thinking about doing this and was very nervous about it. I wasn’t nervous about holding my son but I was super nervous about the umbilical cord not being long enough for him to reach to me without hurting Josie. I quickly knelt by the tub and he was being held up by the doctor. As soon as he was about to be given to me he started peeing all over, mostly on Josie. People were talking to me and I was so overwhelmed with holding my son for the first time, I almost forgot about staying close to Josie so the cord didn’t pull. Luckily for me and Josie, the cord was very long and I only needed one reminder from Josie to not go too far away from her before it was cut J. The nurse came over with the clamp for the cord and I told her we were going to do delayed cord clamping. As I held him to my chest I immediately let out the tears that I had been desperately trying to keep in since the car ride to the hospital. After the fasted two minutes of my life, someone came to clamp the cord so IP-A could cut it. They put two clamps on the cord and IP-A cut between them. When he did, the cord popped like a balloon and sprayed cord blood all over me and IP-A. Between the tears in my eyes and the blood all over my glasses I couldn’t even see the baby so I asked IP-A to take my glasses off. Once we were detached, I took the baby out of the bathroom and sat in a chair where the nurse came over with a washcloth to wipe my face off. I didn’t care at all that there was blood, sweat and tears all over me.
I only cared that I was finally holding my son!