The Story of Your Birth

Dear Son,

Well, you gave us a good scare. I want to document this as much as possible before the details get too jumbled in my head. By now, you know you were born eight weeks early, but the story does a great job of illustrating the moments of humor and joy even when things are at their scariest.

The day before you were born, your mom wasn’t feeling well. She had lower abdominal cramping and was heading to the bathroom frequently. We had planned to drive up to your Aunt Krissy’s on Thursday night to stay with her before heading on to the bed-and-breakfast — we had been planning a last quiet weekend together before your arrival. We opted, based on mom’s condition to go in the morning.

Around 10 p.m., we went to bed. Your mom couldn’t get comfortable, so she went down and slept on the couch in the basement. I was so tired, I barely noticed. Around 1:45 in the morning on Friday, your mom woke me up and told me that her cramps were getting really bad and that she was bleeding a bit. She called the hospital and I threw on some clothes. They couldn’t reach our normal doctor, but told us to come in. We were in the car at 2:35 and headed north to the hospital. It was snowing a little bit and the roads were icy, and I was speeding.

By the clock on the dashboard, your mom’s pain was peaking about every 5 minutes. I tried not to think about it, and I focused on the road and not getting pulled over for speeding.

We got to the hospital in a bit over 20 minutes. Your mom went with the nurse and I did the paperwork. Then I went back and met them both. The nurse was checking your mom out, and then asked me, “How easily does Kate freak out?”

I told her, “Not at all.” What I was really thinking was: it’s not Kate you need to worry about.

The nurse smiled, looked at your mom and said that she was already dilated to 9 centimeters (10 = birth is imminent) and that she’d likely be having you within the hour. Your mom said what I had been thinking: “It’s too soon.”

I reassured her that we were at a hospital with one of the best NICUs in the state. I was reassuring myself more, I think. I was terrified. We called your Auntie Allie and your Uncle Jimmy and Grandpa Mike and Grandma Eileen. And they started arriving around 3:45, I guess — the clock was a big blur. Allie came into the room with us and we helped and encouraged your mom give birth to you.

Four contractions, three pushes per contraction, and you were out! 4:19 a.m. on Friday the 13th of January. I was so terrified. Premature babies often have a lot of problems with their lungs, and a variety of other issues. You came out and you were so small — it breaks my heart to think about it now — and you were quiet for a moment. I remember whispering to myself, “Breathe. C’mon, breathe.” And then you did. You wailed. And my knees buckled. (I’m even getting a bit teary-eyed writing about it 19 days later.) I don’t remember the conversations, but we all laughed a lot. And I sat there and was proud of your mom — she’s so strong and so brave — and I was scared for you at the same time.

Four pounds, twelve ounces. Eighteen inches long. You were big for as far along as you were. Apgars score of 8. Ten fingers, ten toes. My little Bean.

And since then, we’ve been spending as much time with you in the NICU as possible. Every day, we see a little bit of change. You’re getting a little fatter and your face is filling out. Your eyes are starting to track in the same direction at the same time and aren’t creeping me out anymore. And, oh, the shape — you have your mom’s eye shape. You’ve been exceeding expectations. It’s been amazing watching you grow even in just these few days.

I can’t wait to bring you home.

Love,
Dad

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