This is a story of how our littlest guy made his way into the world on Sunday, July 21, 2019, but before we get there, I think you should understand a thing or two about Sundays in this house.
Pink sprinkle doughnuts. That’s the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Sunday mornings as a kid. On the mornings we made it to church (sorry, Jesus, it wasn’t every Sunday), we would stop by Dunkin’ to pick up pink sprinkle doughnuts before heading home. At home, my Dad would fill the kitchen with smells of bacon, eggs and hand-crafted-letter-shaped pancakes for each of us.
French toast and a fruit platter. That marked the next Sunday chapter I can recall. The first year Patrick and I dated he was on soccer scholarship which meant his parents gave him a monthly stipend (thanks, Roger and Corky). For some reason, two 18-year-olds found that spending that stipend on a ritual of Sunday morning brunch at Five and Ten in Athens was the best use of money for the first year of our relationship. #millennials
Quiet neighborhood miles with Charles Osgood and Jane Pauley. In recent years, Sunday mornings have meant a long-ish morning run and getting home in time to cook breakfast and watch CBS Sunday morning together. Can you tell we’re aging?
Sunday mornings are my own little slice of heaven. I feel closest to the big guy upstairs thanks to simple, quiet routines, so it should come as no surprise that it was on a Sunday morning when the next chapter of our lives took root.
Early in the afternoon of Sunday July 21, 2019 (12:06 PM to be exact), our little nugget, Beckham Matthew, made his way into this world.
Before we make our way to Sunday, we’ll start with a few things I expected on how we would get there…
- Expectation: I’d gradually start feeling contractions, labor at home for several hours and only then would we head to the hospital.
- Reality: My water broke in the living room and chaos ensued.
- Expectation: I’d labor naturally, using all of the props. I was so concerned about the availability of the props. I even planned to bring my yoga mat and essential oils to really calm myself down. Charming, right?
- Reality: I was hooked to an IV immediately and I left my yoga mat at home.
- Expectation: I’d labor drug free.
- Reality: After 12 hours on Pitocin, nope. Just nope.
- Expectation: Pushing would be the most terrifying and painful part.
- Reality: Not quite.
- Expectation: New babies are not cute.
- Reality: Well maybe just this one.
Saturday started like any other Saturday in our house. I went to barre class. I bought us chocolate croissants at the farmers market. I showered AND washed my hair (thank goodness). Patrick made several trips to Home Depot to get started on a swing in our yard. I struggled to find something to cook for dinner on Pinterest, finally settling that we were going to get takeout.
They say God laughs at our most well laid plans and boy was he just chuckling at mine.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have it’s full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”James 1: 2-4
Expectation number one: Labor only starts with your water breaking 10% of the time. Reality: I was in the 10%.
I stood up off of the couch to stretch out the babe sitting under my ribs…and I felt a gush of liquid. I looked to Patrick and said “uh-oh.” He knew exactly what that uh-oh meant.
After having packed a bag weeks ago, I spent the next 20 minutes frantically running around the house, half clothed, while tossing everything we owned into an already packed bag. Four pairs of pajamas, six bras and a bag of gummy bears? Yes, I will need those. We did enjoy the gummy bears. Thanks, Kristin.
We called the OBGYN’s office who put me through to the doctor on call. It turned out it was my favorite doctor in our practice and she’d be there until Monday morning. Since I had tested positive for Group Strep B, I needed to come to the hospital right away to be put on antibiotics.
Expectation number two: Zen labor. Reality: I’m how far dilated? Are you sure?
The next few hours moved quickly and not at all at the same time. We were admitted right away and I was checked to find out I was not having contractions and only 1 cm dilated. Since my water had broken, we made the decision to start pitocin right away to try to move things along.
What this meant was that I was hooked to an IV, hadn’t eaten and went from zero contractions to pretty wild ones in a matter of hours.
I’ll stop here to let you know that despite my expectations slowly diminishing by the hour, the nurses at Piedmont were an absolute dream. We were the only people in labor that night at Piedmont so not only did we have an exceptional care team, but we also had the attention of every soul on the floor. Our nurse took the time to create a boy/girl pool on the whiteboard and I’m pretty sure everyone working the floor stopped by to love on us and make a guess over the course of the evening.
By midnight, my contractions had really ramped up, though they were still not consistently timed. Another expectation myth busted. It was at this point that I was super thankful to have thrown the wireless speaker into the bag along with 47 bras. Patrick queued up the babe playlist I had made on Spotify while I hung onto the birthing ball and Patrick’s knee for dear life.
Expectation number three: say no to drugs. Reality: I’ll take whatever you have.
By 4 AM, I was experiencing contractions every 90 seconds and it felt as if there was no relief in-between. I decided that I’d hold out until my 6 AM check and if I was 7cm dilated or above, I’d hang on, if not, we’d call the anesthesiologist.
At 6 AM, I was 4cm dilated. I can’t express to you how defeated I felt in this moment. Everything I thought would happen, had gone the opposite. I sobbed that I couldn’t do this and even told Patrick I would be carrying zero more children in the future. In this moment, both Patrick and our nurse reminded me that the goal was a healthy baby, not an artificial “I did this naturally” medal. Encouragement is a miracle worker, friends.
By 7 AM the epidural was in successfully (how that was possible during 90 second contractions, I’ll never know) and I finally felt some relief. To not feel your body’s pain is a weird sensation. I did not care for it whatsoever, but I was thankful for the ability to breathe again.
Expectation number four (I’m taking liberty for my husband here): No way I’m cutting the cord and stay above shoulder height. Reality: Let’s do this thing.
By 10:30 AM, the doctor checked and I had progressed to 10 cm dilated and 100% effaced. She looked at us and said “OK, we’ll start pushing on this next contraction.”
I’m not sure how to push. I’m not sure I even really know what that means. Are we sure it’s really time? Stay above my shoulders. Let’s take a nap instead. Take your wife’s leg. What. Is. Happening.
Thankfully, the nurses again came to our rescue and talked us through every step. After less than 90 minutes of pushing, including 30 minutes of break time for oxygen to keep mine and baby’s heart rate steady, our little guy made his way into the world.
Remember the no other laboring mamas thing? Still true. In fact, it would take until 9 PM for another baby to be born at Piedmont. By this point, we had a flurry of people in the room and it was a pure celebration, set to that Spotify playlist.
I can recall thee songs during that 90 minutes: 1. Lauren Daigle’s “Look Up Child”, when the nurse shared “I love this song” 2. Ingrid Michaelson’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love”, our wedding song, and the look Patrick gave me when it started playing and 3. fittingly, Lionel Richie’s “Easy Like Sunday Morning.” I have no idea what was playing at 12:06.
My “no cord cutting husband” cheerfully cut the cord, admitted to me that he “looked” and announced that we had a sweet little boy on our hands. The room had overwhelmingly voted girl. I was in shock, not just that he was a boy, but the simple fact that this baby had been a boy all along and I had no idea. I’m not sure why that was so mind blowing for me, but it was.
We gave him the only boy name we both ever agreed on: Beckham Matthew. Beckham simply because it was under 100 in popularity on the Social Security website and we both liked it and Matthew in memory of my late Uncle Matt, who spent nearly every Christmas with our family growing up – most of that time spent in our kitchen. That entire 90 minute period still gives me chills to think about. I’ve never felt more calm or confident it my life.
Expectation number five: Rough looking baby. Reality: Beautiful little boy.
The doctor placed baby Beckham on my chest and he was absolutely perfect. He wasn’t red. He wasn’t jaundiced (later we’d learn he was a 0.0 on the jaundice scale and the nurses assumed it was broken). He had a head full of the softest, slightly strawberry blond hair. He weighed 8lb 1oz and was 20.5 inches long. Say what?
My first words to Patrick were “he’s not ugly” followed by “let’s have another one.” My first words to Beckham were overjoy to share with him how long we’d both waited to have him in our lives. I simply could not believe that this moment had finally arrived. It was perfect and I’d give all of the money in the world to relive it.
While I could share plenty on how the last few weeks have been less than glamorous, I’d simply be sharing what ever first time parent knows to be true: this gig is HARD. Labor, that’s the easy part.
Easy like Sunday morning.
Beckham, my prayer for you is that you always look up. That you make plans and then throw them cheerfully in the wind when God sends you in the opposite direction.
I pray that you’ll trust the path laid forth for you and that you’ll allow Patrick and I to guide you as best we can from this moment forward.
I pray that you’ll always find joy in easy, Sunday mornings and that you’ll like sprinkles and pancakes and French toast and chocolate croissants. Maybe you’ll even be a chef someday like the great guy who shares your name.
Welcome to the crew little buddy, we sure are glad you’re here.