I didn’t even have a due date that I understood. Due dates aren’t even real. They are just a day on the calendar for all of your friends to ask about and remind you that you’re still pregnant around.
Because of our miscarriage of our Sweet Lost One on may 28th last year, it was hard to figure out the due date of my precious rainbow baby. See, my last menstrual cycle was in February of 2013. Then I bled for 9 weeks after the miscarriage. I wouldn’t stop bleeding. In fact, I was admitted to the ER on July 11th 2013 for hemorrhaging. I was told (more like threatened) that my only options were to take birth control for 3 months, or take my uterus out (have a hysterectomy). I wasn’t comfortable taking birth control for many reasons. The main one was that we wanted to get pregnant again as soon as we could. I got my prescription filled, and took it home. I stood at the kitchen counter and looked at it. Preparing to take the first little white pill. It felt wrong. I felt God say, just wait. You’ll heal, and I have more for you. I threw it in a drawer and told myself that I’d give it a week and if my bleeding didn’t slow, then I would have to take it.
Well, it stopped. We had Tiff and Andy visiting us that weekend and by the time they left, it had just about completely stopped. To my surprise, two weeks later, I felt like I was ovulating again. When I took a pregnancy test 4 weeks later, it came back negative. When I took one the next day, it came back positive! I couldn’t believe it! I took 3 more and they all came back positive. So began Daniel’s journey.
My pregnancy was fairly easy for the first 2 trimesters. I didn’t really get sick or have too many problems. I had a SCH (sub chorionic hemotoma) that showed up on my first couple ultrasounds the size of an almond, but it eventually resolved itself. The third trimester was hard, but it’s difficult to distinguish the cause of my fatigue between the pregnancy and the terrible winter. Either way, April 16th rolled around and I had no idea that things were going to change. All day I had felt crampy and didn’t even want to get off the couch. I started losing my mucus plug, but that could mean nothing for days or even weeks. I had been meaning to bake some sandwich bread and when naptime came around, I just drew the blinds and slept. It felt like prepartum depression.
Angela called that evening. She’s my cousin and I had come to her early in my pregnancy and asked her to be my doula. She has 5 kids of her own and had four of them at home. She’s strong and empowering, understanding, and just intimidating enough for me to shut up and listen to without talking back. She had me read Birthing from Within: An Extra-Ordinary Guide to Childbirth Preparation. It is a game changer.
She called and told me that she spoke to her midwife about our plan of action for when baby comes and feels confident about when to go to the hospital. Then she said, “How are you? You sound done.” Oh, I was done. She could hear it in my voice. I was trying to be patient and positive, but I was just done. I told her how I felt all day and she said, “Well, if you were me, you’d have that baby tomorrow.” We ended the conversation and she told me her husband, Joel, would be home at midnight and to tell her if anything was happening.
It gave me hope. I started pacing around, doing squats, and praying. Praying for my body to work. Praying for my sweet son. Praying for my family. Praying for the timing to all work out.
I went about my evening. I served dinner. I felt a contraction. Was that real? Who knows? At the end, pregnancy just hurts, but I made a mental note of it. I put Lilliana down for bed and kissed her extra long and prayed extra hard with her, just in case this was it. Jordan and I watched some American Idol and the contractions started in. They were far apart and pretty inconsistent. It was a minute contraction and then 20 minutes passed before the next one which was just enough time for me to convince myself that it wasn’t a real contraction and I wasn’t in labor. Around 11:30, I finally mentioned it to Jordan and told him that I wasn’t positive, but there was a good chance he wasn’t going to work the next day and he should let his boss know. I also called Angela around 12:30 and let her know that things were happening.
My uncertainty and doubt was defeating so I prayed for my water to break so I could just be sure. I know this is probably not allowed to be a prayer, but I prayed it. Not five minutes later, I was running to the bathroom thinking I peed myself. Then it happened again, and I knew! My water broke! How cool? How gross?! It continued to leak and gush and we began packing Li up to bring her to Jordan’s parent’s house in Hebron.
This is when it all started. Disclaimer: It was such a blurr. My exact quotes may be off. There was an edge of humor and excitement. I was in so much pain, but I was ecstatic. It was really happening!
Lisa and Maggie were awake watching TV and I labored with them in the living room. I was just hanging out, timing contractions. I said some swear words. They kind of liked that. It was funny and lighthearted. At one point, Maggie gave me a look as my contractions jumped from 10 min apart to about 5. I knew what she was thinking, and I agreed. It was time to get going and figure out the next step. I called Angela and told her that she needed to come now. I hadn’t spoken to her since I told her that maybe I might possibly almost be in labor. I wanted her to get as much sleep as she could. She was a little surprised when I called her at 3:30 am and told her my water broke, I was in Hebron already, and my contractions were less than 5 min apart. I went and woke Jordan and told him to go figure out the plan for Li while I tried not to die on the floor waiting for Angela to come.
I have never been so happy to hear Lisa’s dogs bark. She was here. There was hope. This was happening.
The next couple hours are a blur. Everything I recall happened within the few minutes between each contraction. Then I would leave to labor land and check out while I tried to cope with the pain. There was a mason jar of yogurt. There was a big green plastic bowl to catch vomit. There was a 1997 jeep. I heard Ang. “Keep your voice low. Send the sound down. Allow this to open your cervix.” We were at the gas station? I should have paid for that. Dana called? Or did Angela call Dana? For all the dang construction they do on 12 it sure as heck felt like we were off-roading. I was holding Angela’s hand. How many hours is this drive? This bowl feels so nice and cold. Wait, why do I keep hugging this green plastic bowl? Were those two contractions in a row? Did I fall asleep? We’re here.
We parked. Since when is this building so far away? Why did we bring so many bags? I heard Angela’s voice through my fog. “You ‘re going to have a contraction. Then we’re going to walk very fast. See those stairs? You’re going to have another one at the stairs…Darla… it’s going to be a big one” I’m sorry, did she just say stairs? Haven’t these been big ones? “Now”, as she picked up all the bags and led me there. Did she carry me too? It seems that way. I cut through the grass to get to the stairs before it hit again. “This is good. This is getting your baby out.”
We walked again. Across the street. We eventually made it into the building. Found a lady at the desk. “She’s having a baby.” The lady informed us that we were at the wrong building. You don’t have babies in this building. I directed Ang to the wrong entrance. My bad. Don’t tell Jordan. A poor, scared guy drove us on a golf cart in squiggily lines through the hospital to the right place. I could sense his discomfort. I never saw his face. I could picture it though. I was not making very pleasant sounds. When we finally stopped, I said, “garbage”. Ang led me and I vomited into it, also on her hands. Then again. Was she going to barf too? The poor roller coaster golf cart driver hadn’t left yet. Yikes. In the elevator, I justified the fear and discomfort I caused him by mentioning that he’d have a nice story to share at dinner. But that’s not true. You can’t talk about the moaning barfing lady you carted around at the dinner table.
We made it off the elevator. I saw my family in the waiting room. Did I wave? I meant to wave. I bet I didn’t. Buzz the door. We have to get in before the next one. Barely. Now I’m on the floor. I look back and Jordan is behind the door, waiting to be buzzed in. Did I smile? I meant to smile. I bet I didn’t. There was a nurse who must have just finished chugging a gallon of sunshine and sucking on a helium balloon. She put me in a wheel chair and asked questions and kept trying to act like it was a regular day. I said, “I hate her.” I don’t think anyone heard me. I hope she didn’t.
She wheeled me into the room and I stripped off my clothes. Wendy, my midwife, was there. They hooked me up to the stupid monitor and put a giant, ugly, constricting cumber-bun-from-hell around it. Then I heard an annoying voice. She wanted to put an IV line in just in case I needed fluids or medicine. Was it the same sunshine chugging, helium sucking woman who wheeled me in here? No. I don’t think so. I haven’t looked at anyone’s face since I saw Jordan waiting to be buzzed in. I couldn’t muster the energy. So I don’t know who this woman was, but she kept saying to different people, from different parts of the room, “I don’t know what vein to use! She has such tiny veins!” Don’t say a cute word like “tiny” right now. That is stupid. Nothing going on right now is cute, unless you find the sounds of an exorcism cute. Then this might just be adorable to you. Anyway, I gave her about three strikes. If she couldn’t get a line in between this contraction and the next, she was done. No? Couldn’t do it? “Okay, well you’re done now.” I heard myself say as I pointed to the door. Then the genius nurse to my left decided she should ask me about my health history.
“Do you have a history of heart problems?”
“Does you or anyone in your fami-“
I heard some chuckles, and she apparently got the hint because I didn’t hear anymore questions.
Finally, Wendy wanted to check me.
Ang held my hand and said, “Do you want to know?” I was thinking about it. If I have gone through this much pain and have only progressed to a 5, I don’t think I could handle that disappointment. I don’t think I would have had energy to do it any more. Before I could make a decision, Wendy said I was at an 8 or a 9. My eyes snapped up. I looked at Ang, and Lisa. Did I hear that right? I guess so because they had the same shocked look on their faces.
“So this is happening, like now?”, I asked Wendy.
The next contraction hit. Hard. I didn’t hear, but she probably said yes.
I was in the thick of it. The point of no return. Hands and knees. I was scared. It hurt. Every 3 seconds (or so it felt) I was submerged in a dark well of pain. I held Angela’s hand. I asked her to keep talking me through it. I asked Jordan to come hold my other hand. I may have slightly bit him.
I was screaming. I’ve never screamed that loud in my life. My throat was sore.
I couldn’t hold myself up anymore. I needed to move. I went to my side.
He was here. He was ready! They kept trying to tell me it was time, but I couldn’t understand. I didn’t believe them.
“No. No, no, no. nope! Find someone else.”, I demanded. As if I had a pinch hitter. As if someone would come do it for me.
“He’s stuck!” I said.
“No, he’s not. He was coming out. Darla, we’re waiting on you to push him out.”
“So if I push on this next one, he’ll come out?” (like she could promise me)
I pushed. The contraction was over. I kept pushing. I was dying. I completely surrendered to the pain. I stopped screaming. I just begged my body to bring him to me. Come here, I’ve waited so long for you.
Then there he was. My perfect, perfect, perfect baby boy. Oh, it was love.
I was catapulted from that deep and dark well into the clouds. Nothing was real and everything was more real than it had ever been. I held him to me while his chord stopped pulsing. Jordan cut it. It made me a little sad. Now we were separate. Then I could pull him all the way up. I couldn’t believe it. I did it. We did it. Just like that, I wasn’t pregnant anymore. Now I had a son. Let me tell you, he was beautiful.
Daniel Robert Innis
5 lbs, 12 oz 19 1/2 inches. APGAR score:9 born at 7:13 am
His big blue eyes were wide open from the start. He didn’t receive any vaccination or eye goop. They didn’t take him to give him a stupid bath and he was left in tact and in God’s perfect image. He was just calmly welcomed to the world and we watched him take it all in. He nursed for 40 minutes right away. My whole family was anxious that something was wrong and they grew impatient. Soon enough, they all got to meet him.
To complete my joy, Lilliana came to meet him. She walked through the hall, tightly clutching her pink blanket that she wanted to wrap him in. She turned into the room and came to the hospital bed and instantly loved him. It was so real. She cooed at him and kissed him and repeated, “aw, you! I love you” I melted. I couldn’t breathe.
When you love your first child with all your heart, you can’t imagine loving another. Then you give birth and love your second with all your heart. When they were in the same room together, I realized that I didn’t give my heart to Daniel and take it from Lilliana. I didn’t even split my heart in half. I grew an entire heart when I gave birth just to hold my love for Daniel. I love them each with a full heart of their own, which is why my chest felt like it was going to explode.
The following two days was filled with snuggles from visitors who love us and came to love him.
I held him with grateful, confident and peaceful arms. I was soaking it all in.
Since then, I’ve been recovering from my second degree tear. (From a 5 lb baby?! No, a 5 lb locomotive. He came so fast, I never stretched, but I’ll take tearing over the episiotomy I had with Lila any day.) My husband, Jordan, waited on me hand and foot and brought me every meal and cup of water for the first couple of weeks so I could heal, rest, and enjoy the precious newborn moments I had been dreaming about.
It was so worth it. I would do it all over in a heartbeat. It’s been two months already. The time has flown by, as it always does for a mommy begging it to slow down. We’ve moved out of the lake, I cut all of my hair off and I’ve read three books. It still feels like this just happened yesterday. It also feels like I’ve known him forever. It’s awesome.