And her heart grew three sizes that day. Oscar's birth story.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017



I've been meaning to write this for a long time.

Almost three hundred and sixty-five days to be exact.

I kept putting it off and putting it off because it didn't feel like the "right" time. When is the right time to sit down and try to put into words one of the best days of your life? When, with that joy also comes the hard, punch-you-in-the-gut reminder that time is both a thief and a gift, and you're constantly trying to grab a hold of it as it swiftly sifts through your fingers?

But, with Oscar's first birthday finally approaching, I knew it was time, and that I was ready. Or, at least, I am forcing myself to be ready.

So, here you go....the story of when Oscar was born.

***

It all started the morning of March 21, 2016. It was a Monday, and I had a doctor's appointment scheduled for that morning. I was a four days short of being 40 weeks pregnant, and at that stage where you're frantically googling natural ways to induce labor. When I hopped on the table for my weekly check-up, I told my doctor to please strip my membranes. To be more specific, I looked him straight in the eye and said, "Make sure you strip 'em *real* good doc." (No shame here, guys. None. I wanted that baby OUT.) And let me tell you, he did his job allllmost a tad too well.

My mother-in-law had flown in during the appointment, and together she and my husband met us at the hospital because the kids couldn't wait to see her. I then said bye to the sweet nurses and receptionists, and told them that I hoped I wouldn't see them again. Well, not tell I had a baby to show for it. Then we all went back home, and I'm pretty sure I just went straight to bed.

Fast forward to around 7 o'clock in the evening. I don't remember what happened exactly, but I remember that I didn't give Pato a goodnight kiss and hug before bed. Maybe C and his mom put him to bed? Anyway, I remember thinking "Oh gosh. I forgot to say goodnight! What if the baby comes tonight and I didn't have a chance to tell him that I love him? It will be the last time he's the baby of the family!" Hormones you guys. HORMONES.

It was around then I started having some cramping, but nothing major. Chris, his mom and I finally sat down to eat dinner after the kids were down, and I stayed mostly quiet. I don't think anyone really noticed though because my husband loves to talk and his mom is the most amazing listener. It was sometime during dinner that I kept thinking, "Hm. These cramps don't seem to be going away. And they sorta hurt." I did't want to say anything though about it quite yet, so I just excused myself, and went upstairs to our bedroom.

I'd like to say I turned something amazing show on. With Sof, I watched "Friends" as I labored. With Pato, it was Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations." With O, I seriously just wanted something to distract me, so I watched that show called "Brain Games." Guys, I NE-VER watch that show. I really have NO clue what I chose that.

Anyway, it was then that I started timing my contractions, and I was surprised by how long they were lasting. And getting more uncomfortable. Oh, and closer. But, I STILL didn't want to say anything, and Chris and his mom were still downstairs. At some point I thought, "Okay. These are getting worse. I'm going to take a bath." So, I did, and I sat in the bath and facetimed with my mom who lives in Hong Kong. She kept saying, "I think you should go to the hospital now." Now listen, I LOVE my mom. But, she will send you to the doctor if you cough more than once in an hour. I kept telling her, "No, mom. I don't want to go just to have to turn right back around."

I sat in the bath and just breathed through the contractions, and then there were a few that were just taking my breath away. It was finally then that I thought, "Okay, maybe it's time to go."

Things escalated pretty quickly after that.

And thank goodness I had packed my hospital bag that morning because one minute I had finally broken it to Chris that it was time to go, and the next we were walking two blocks away because our Uber driver was picking us up at the wrong spot. Did I mention I felt like my break was about to break?

So, we get in the Uber sometime after 11PM, and my husband tells the driver just what every Uber driver just DREAMS of hearing, "We need to go to the hospital, she's in labor!"

The great thing is that because it was late, the drive only took about twenty minutes. You can never really tell with Philly traffic, and it had sometimes taken me forty minutes to get there. But even though the ride was technically short, it felt like one of the longest in my life. She stopped at EVERY yellow light, and I could feel myself getting so irritated. I rolled down the window and just moaned and moaned in the back. Poor lady.

(I should mention that with Sof, I had to be induced, so I never really experienced real labor pains at all. With O, I was admitted into the hospital when I was 3 cm dilated, and my contractions had just begun. I want to laugh and laugh and LAUGH when I think back on that time because I thought THAT was painful. Oh, honey.)

So we get to the hospital and I walk right out of the car, and didn't even think to look back and see if Chris was behind me. I walked right up to the front desk of the ER (where we had to go since it was after-hours) and I could feel everyone staring at me. The lady up front calmly asked, "What seems to be the problem?" EXCUUUUUUSE ME?! I couldn't believe it. I didn't want to forget my manners, so  in between breaths I said, "I'm...having...a...baby."

A few seconds later, I'm taken to this room off to the side and asked to sit back in this chair that looked like a dentist's chair. The doctor starts asking me WHO KNOWS WHAT to see if I truly was in labor, and I'm just like, "Is this a joke?" Thankfully, the most amazing, heart of gold, male nurse took one look at me, and basically picked me up and put me in a wheelchair and said, "No, she's definitely in labor." And then he raced me through the corridors and up the the maternity wing himself.

Okay, I need to stop the story for a second. I don't know why I do this, but I always start acting really funny when I'm around doctors and nurses. Especially when I'm about to have a baby. I have this internal battle between trying to be polite, trying to be THE BEST PATIENT EVER, while also being extremely uncomfortable. So, I get wheeled into the delivery room, and I'm all excited and saying, "Hi!!! I'm having a baby!! It's happening!" Well, that upbeat attitude left the room REALLL quick.

The doctor came in and told me she was going to check my cervix and see how far along I was. She then said, "Well, you're about a six and half, almost seven." I was like, "WHAT do you MEAN." And then I was relieved because I've watched enough Grey's Anatomy to know they are not going to turn away a woman who was that far along. I immediately let her know that I most definitely would be wanting that epidural...like five hours ago.

The pain. The pain was SO intense. And I'm sure I broke all the breathing rules because as soon as I felt one coming on, I would just hold on to my breath so tightly, and I thought I would break the sides of the bed from clutching them so hard. I had to get my IV put in, and it took the poor nurse close to 20 minutes just to do so. And it took every ounce of strength in me not to burst into tears (actually, there were definitely tears, I lied) and start screaming at the heavens. I was pleading for the epidural as I felt like every fiber in my body was being broken. To make it even worse, the nurse was asking me all sorts of questions like, "When's your birthday?" and "How much do you weigh?" I don't think I even knew my own NAME at that moment.

I'll fast forward to when the anesthesiologist walked in and administered my epidural. Even as I write this, I find myself holding my breath just thinking about that time. I finally started to feel the numbness, and with it, pure relief.

I was almost an 8 when I finally got the epidural. I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to be at 10 cm.

The next few hours were pretty uneventful. C and I were both so tired, and it's amazing how going through the very worst pain of your life really wipes the energy out of ya.

Finally, around 4 in the morning, I told the doctor I really felt like my body was ready to push, and she checked me and got the nurses all ready. It was baby time!

It happened so fast! I pushed once. Then was told to stop, and then half a push later, he was out! He came out so peacefully and when they placed him in my arms, I immediately had the thought, "Oh, there you are!" I didn't feel like I was meeting him for the first time. It felt like we were finally back together again, and my heart, my arms, the spot on my chest where he rested his tiny head- they already knew him. He laid quietly, and I remember asking the doctor, "What's wrong? Why is he so quiet." She then said, "There's nothing wrong. He's just happy."

Oscar Andres Jones. Born March 22, 2016 at 4:16 a.m. 21 inches and 7 lbs. 5 oz. of light, joy, love, and perfection.
(Cue the waterworks as I sit here in Starbucks writing this.)

"He's just happy."

I had no idea just how happy this special boy has made me. Has made his family. My heart yearned for him before I knew him, and he is even more wonderful than I had imagined. And to be honest, that's saying a lot because my expectations were admittedly high.



After taking a few minutes of smelling him and loving on him, I remember turning to the doctors and saying, "OH! Wow! Did you see how fast he came out?! I PUSHED SOOOO GOOOOD! Was that one of the best pushes you've EVER SEEEEEN?" (Seriously, how ridiculous was I?! Told you I got funny around doctors!) They laughed, and all assured me that indeed, I was a rockstar pusher.

***



Oscar Andres, you have lit up my life since the day you were born. You made my life more peaceful, and made me forget all the uncertainties that still surround us. You make me feel like everything will work out because we have you. I will spend the rest of my days trying to make sure you feel my love, and even beyond that. Thank you for choosing us.

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