Tuesday, June 21 was the first day of summer, the summer solstice, and the longest day of the year. The early morning light streamed through my window as I layed in bed filled with excitement and anticipation. It wasn't quite 5:30 and yet I had been stirring for hours. Joe snored heavily in the guest room, a place he had become accustomed to sleeping through this uncomfortabe pregnancy. As I layed in the still of the house I put my hands to my stomach and felt the soft flutters of my little boy. It would only be hours now until I would meet him. Worried that I would be late for my induction, I quickly showered, checked my overnight bags and waited for Joe to try on every shirt he owned, looking hopelessly for one without baby goop stained on the shoulder. We said goodbye to Carolyne our cute sitter and giddly jumped in the car. We nervously chatted the short drive to the hospital, talking about nothing and everything. Joe and I both couldn't believe we would be leaving the house without a baby and coming home with one. It was somewhat hard to comprehend that just a few layers of skin and muscle was the only thing seperating us from our son. He seemed so far away and yet he was right there between us... sharing every conversation, belly laugh, hug, kiss.
We arrived in our room at 7:00 am. As we walked in everything seemed so familiar. The straps for the monitors laid perfectly on the bed while a small diaper and hat waited on the warming table.
I couldn't believe I was here again about to add one more set of feet to our home. After getting a few different pokes for separate IV sites, the pitocin slowly started to drip from the bag into my line. My water was broken around 8:30 am and there was no turning back, this little boy was on his way. The contractions really started to pick up and the familiar wave of pain began to roll through me. Because this was my second baby my midwife was positive this delivery would go much smoother than my last. With Genevieve I was in latent labor for six days, doubled over in pain every three minutes as one contraction hit me right after another. When I was admitted to the hospital two years ago, on that fall night I was only dilated 1 1/2 cm. Six days of contractions had done nothing to move my labor along. With days of labor, a three degree episiotomy and genevieve having merconium I was determined to have a more positive labor experience this time. Our plan was to arrive, be induced, sleep, push for a few minutes, have a baby and all before lunch. Unfortunately, things just don't go as planned.
I was elated I was already three cm the first time the nurse checked me. It had taken so long with Genevieve to get to one cm that I was sure we would have our baby in no time. After an hour of pitocin and contractions coming slow and steady every few minutes I was ready for an epidural. Everything was familiar and yet so new and scary. I remember the instant relief I felt with genevieve once the epidural was placed, this time however I waited and waited to feel that same relief, relief that wouldn't really ever come. I felt the tingle as my legs slowly went numb and eagerly anticipated the numbness I would feel to the contractions. However, after several pushes of the button it never came. Each contraction rolled through me and only a few parts of my stomach were numb to the pain, everything else was electric. As, I tried to get comfortable with the knowledge that this was as good as it was going to get something else hit me, nausea. I hollered for Joe and the nurse and tried to pry my limp, numb legs up so I could be in a better position to throw up. The nausea was persistent. Every time I turned my head, adjusted my body I was reaching for the throw up bucket. My blood pressure was another annoying issue which made me rather miserable. Every time it plummeted bells and whistles would alarm and I was back with my head in the bucket. I had a constant drip of Zofran but it didn't seem to matter how much anti-nausea medicine they gave me it never made a difference. As the minutes past my dear, sweet nurse would rub my back and wipe my mouth as I retched and retched, tears streaming down my face. It was so hard, I was so so tired and more than anything disappointed in myself that I wasn't having that magical birth experience I had hoped for.
My family arrived a few hours after I had been admitted, expecting a baby to be there before noon. However, noon came and went and I was still dilated three cm, still throwing up, still waiting. I don't know how the hours past for everyone else but the day seemed like the longest and yet the shortest day I've ever experienced. Time didn't seem to exist, just the quiet hum of his heart beat on the monitor, the whir of the oxygen in my mask and the exhaustion that swept over my entire body. The pain and nausea consumed me and I laid in the bed, eyes closed tightly, as I tried to coax my mind into focusing on something else, anything else. Five came and I finally started to make progress I had moved from a stubborn three to four cm. Although it was movement, I was getting more and more discouraged and tired of the persistent nausea and throwing up. My eyes hung heavy, and I just wanted a break. The nurse checked me again at six and I was finally dilated to five cm. I knew from genevieve's birth that my body is able to go from five cm to ten in less than thirty minutes so I was anxious this little boy would be arriving shortly. Sure enough not even thirty minutes after the nurse had checked me things began to feel different. The contractions intensified and my dad and Joe stood narrating each contraction as they watched them climb on the monitor.
As quickly as one would fade another one would begin and I would have to gather my breath and prepare for the next. It felt like seconds at the bottom of a roller coaster before my body began the steady, tick tick climb to the top of another contraction. And I’d fall over the other side, gripped by the intensity and force behind each one. I begged Joe to call the nurse. I knew it was time. Thirty minutes later my nurse came back in and checked me, I finally was at a ten and ready to push. As soon as she told me the news I was overcome with emotion. I knew it was time and yet I was so unprepared. I cried and laughed but mostly I wailed. I had so many emotions they had no where else to go but out my eyes. They called my midwife, who just an hour ago headed home to start on homework, convinced that I wouldn't have the baby until early the next morning. However, my midwife was the least of my concerns. My dear friend Jessica had offered to shoot my birth and I had been looking forward to her being there my whole pregnancy. It was incredibly important to me that she capture this experience, she is amazing. So, I cried because she was still in Salt Lake, I cried because in just moments my life would change completely, I cried because everything hurt, I cried from exhaustion, I cried because there was nothing else to do but cry.
My mom held my hand as the nurses hurried around the room preparing for the arrival of our little boy. Minutes past and Jess was still racing from Salt Lake to Layton. As we awaited her arrival I informed the whole room I wouldn't be delivering this baby until Jess arrived, I didn't care how ready my little boy was to enter this world. So we waited, the contractions kept coming and the urge to push grew stronger. Joe finally announced she had made it and was sprinting across the parking lot pregnant and carrying all of her equipment. After thirteen hours it was finally time to push.
The nurses opened the blinds so the evening light twinkled through the windows as Joe held one leg and the nurse held the other. I bared down and pushed with everything inside of me. Ten counts until there was a merciful break before the next.
"Oh my gosh, this kid is three days long!" was the first thing said after his arrival. My midwife was shocked by how long our boy was. Mere moments after he left me the weight of his body now resided on my chest as I touched his soft, slippery skin.
Now I was crying again, I was flooded with more emotions than my soul could take and therefore they poured out of me, tears of joy and gratitude spilled onto my brand new babies head. He was here, he was mine and he was absolutely perfect. Long and skinny, his little whimper pierced the room. It was as if the world was in black and white before he was born and with his arrival he brought color. Joe kissed me and we knew this was something that he and I were the only ones privledged enough to share, he was ours.
The cord was cut soon after and Finley was weighed and evaluated (7lbs 12 oz, 21 1/2 inches long, 1lb 8oz and 3 inches longer than his sister). Although it was now 9:30, the evening sun still streamed through our room. "My summer solstice baby" I thought holding his warm little body in my arms. My family began piling into the room to meet the newest family member. Finley was quiet but wide awake looking at each person with new eyes. I watched them and cried quietly at my good fortune. Genevieve's face lit up as she was carried into the room. She climbed into the bed, hesistant and nervous by her surroundings, there she opened her arms and held her brother for the first time. She greeted him as if he were there just for her and her alone.
Eventually, each person went home and I found myself alone in the quiet of the room with my husband and baby boy. The sun had long since set and I sat there studying his small perfect features in the lamp light. As I nursed Finley for the first time I thanked God for blessing us with another healthy, beautiful child.
Finley has proven the greatness of our love is not divided among children, but rather multiplied, indefinitely between them. Our hearts are as full as the moon that hung outside on that summer solstice night.