In honor of Mark’s first birthday, I’m sharing his birth story with you. It’s very long so my feelings won’t be hurt if you don’t read the whole thing! It’s so long, in fact, that I’ve broken it up into four parts. (And here’s Ellie’s birth story if you’re interested!)
I of course had the best of intentions to writing Mark’s birth story just after he was born but instead I’ve written it over the couple months (i.e. one year after it happened). Thankfully, just after he was born, I did write an post about the timing of Mark’s birth (“The Moral of the Story Is…”) so I’ve used that as my template to fill in what details I remember. What I do know without a shadow of a doubt is that our lives are so much richer with Mark and we’re so glad that he’s part of our family!
One word of explanation: As with Ellie, we chose to deliver at the Special Beginnings Birth Center near Annapolis, Maryland because we wanted an intervention and drug-free birth. It’s the only free-standing birth center in Maryland and about an hour’s drive away. You’ll read references to the birth center in the story below.
In the week or two before you were due, I kept saying things like, “Well, if the baby doesn’t come tomorrow, then I’ll do this.” Although we know you could be late, your sister Ellie came a week early and so deep down, I was hoping that you would too. If you had, you would have been born before Christmas. So I had all our Christmas presents made, wrapped, and mailed/delivered by the middle of December. After that, I just started accomplishing not so important tasks that needed to be done but weren’t crucial. For example, I’d been wanting to deep clear the upstairs but didn’t want to do it too soon and bring on early labor. Right before Christmas, I thought, “Let’s get this baby out,” so I cleaned the whole upstairs. It was beautifully clean and ready for Auntie’s Meggan’s visit, I was in lots of pain from working too hard, and you didn’t come out.
We celebrated Christmas with our family and then, since you still hadn’t come, we started on the really bonus list. For example, we went to the mall something like 3 times in 4 days – returning/exchanging presents, shopping the sales, keeping ourselves busy. As you will learn as you get a bit older, neither your Baba or I like to shop – at all. So clearly, something weird was going on. One morning, Ellie and Baba went to the mall and I stayed home and totally reorganized the kitchen. When they got home, Baba said with a very hopeful look, “You’re nesting!!”
“I’m not nesting. This has been on the ‘to-do after Christmas if the baby hasn’t come’ list for a long time.” Oh well. We had a clean kitchen but you still didn’t come out.
Then I started obsessing about the rest of the house being clean, including all the Christmas decorations being totally put away. While accomplishing all that, I even vacuumed the couches under the cushions. And you still didn’t come. Finally, I decided to finish our living room Roman shades that had been hanging unfinished for two months. I did that and posted about it on our blog late in the evening on January 2nd.
The next morning, I woke up at 4:00 am with contractions. (Had I known that you were waiting for me to finish the shades, I would have finished them weeks earlier!) I timed them myself for about an hour and they were coming close enough together that at 5:00 I woke up Baba. By 5:30, I called Special Beginnings. When the midwife called me back, I reminded her about Ellie’s really quick labor and so she told me to count for awhile longer. In the meantime, we called Yiayia to come stay with Ellie. I was really worried about you coming out too quickly because you were the second baby and I didn’t want to have you in the car on the drive to SB! So by 6:00, the contractions were coming quickly and strongly enough that the midwife on call told us we should drive down.
We left our house around 6:30 and on the drive down there, I was chatting away with Baba, feeling pretty carefree and not in much discomfort at all. I told him during the drive that I was prepared to be not that far along when we got there because I definitely felt different than I had felt when we were driving down there for Ellie’s birth. However, when we got to the birth centerat around 7:30 am, Lucille, our midwife, checked me and I was only one centimeter dilated. That, my boy, is NOTHING. It’s hardly even begun. It meant that we should have stayed at home for a lot longer. It meant that everything they told me about hurrying in because you were going to come quickly just wasn’t true. It meant that we were in for a very long day.
to be continued…(part two)