I’m writing your birth story today, as I know how fuzzy the details can get as time goes by. Though you won’t be reading this for years and years, I’m addressing it to you, as it’s truly the beginning of your life story. I hope you don’t mind that I’m sharing it with our friends and family, who are anxious to hear the details of your arrival out in the world.
I had a suspicion early on in my pregnancy that you weren’t going to go full-term. We joked that it would be nice—if you were going to come early—if you could come before the New Year so we could get the tax deduction. Of course, we didn’t really wish that—we just wanted you to come when you were ready and healthy. It’s pretty cool that we got both!
In the afternoon on Tuesday, Dec. 30, I started to have some regular contractions, but they went away when I’d lie down. Every time I’d get up and walk around, though, I would contract. All afternoon and evening the same pattern continued, and I told Grandma Judy that I just felt weird. I couldn’t really describe it—just not normal. We went to bed at around 11:00, and I was still having contractions. I slept off and on for a few hours, but around 2:00am I told your dad I thought we should start timing because they seemed to be happening every few minutes. Sure enough, they were coming about every 3 to 5 minutes, and though they weren’t super strong, they weren’t showing any signs of going away. Since I woke up from contractions with my last birth and she was born three hours later, I didn’t want to push the envelope at all (especially since we were at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, a good 45 minutes away from the hospital in no traffic). So we packed up our things, called the doctor, and were on our way around 3:00am.
Thankfully, the roads were dry and we didn’t have traffic to deal with, so the ride to the hospital went quickly. The nurse checked me when we got there, and I was just at 2cm, but my cervix was mostly effaced. About an hour later, they checked me again and I was 4cm. We thought for sure you were going to be coming that morning!
That wasn’t really your plan, however. I kept contracting regularly, but stayed at 4-5 cm for most of the day. I walked and danced and occasionally the contractions would get a little stronger, but nothing much would change. You were just taking your sweet time. I had no problem dealing with the contractions, as they weren’t painful at all yet, and we just sort of hung out with Paula, Bahia, and Grandma Judy. I napped some, too, since I’d only had about three hours of broken sleep. We had called the other Grandma Judy (my mom) to let her know you were on your way, so she was making arrangements to try to fly in that day (she was supposed to fly in on Jan. 6th).
Apparently, New Year’s Eve is a pretty busy time in the birthing unit, and my doctor was busy in scheduled c-sections for people desperate to get that tax deduction. ☺ Finally, around 4:00, Dr. Smith came in and checked me, and I was at about 6 cm, so she offered to break my water to get things moving. I was happy to get things moving by that point, as I was pretty tired and, quite frankly, getting a little bored. The contractions after my water broke were quite a bit more intense, and I had to start breathing through them. A couple of hours later, I was still only 6-7cm, but you were definitely moving farther down. Finally, things picked up, and the contractions became more and more intense. With both of the girls, my water didn’t break until the pushing stage, and I have to say, the longer your water stays in tact, the easier the contractions are. Those contractions from 7 to 9 cm were pretty intense. But I took them one at a time, breathed or hummed or rocked through them, and we made it to the point where I really started feeling you moving down into the birth canal. Those contractions were actually easier to handle because I could feel exactly what was happening and could visualize it. I just had to make sort of a buzzing sound through my lips to try to relax through them. Finally, around 9:00ish, I started getting pushing urges, and the nurse got the bed ready and called in the doctor.
I had forgotten how hard the pushing phase can be. With Ella, I literally didn’t have to push—my contractions pushed her out pretty much on their own, and Dr. Elvove basically just had me breathe through the contractions and let them do their thing. This time, I really pushed, more like I did with your oldest sister’s birth. Boy oh boy, is that intense. I think it took about 4 or 5 contractions, pushing hard with each one, and you finally made your way out. It was odd this time, because I could feel each part come out—head, one shoulder, other shoulder, and then your little butt—and I had to push for each part. I think with the other two, once the head and shoulders were out, the rest of them just slipped on out—it was odd to have to push for the lower half of your body. But you came on out and they put you on my tummy, all purple and goopy and adorable. It was so wonderful to meet you after so many months of feeling you kicking me inside!
So at 9:29pm on New Year’s Eve, you officially “arrived” at a healthy 8 lbs, 5 oz, and 19 ½ inches long. You had big hands and feet, and you really look like a little man! I’m really amazed at how boy-like you look. I usually think newborns look pretty gender neutral. Right now you’re snoozing here next to me, all swaddled up and cozy, looking so peaceful. I love looking at you, amazed at this miracle of life, and this bundle of potential in such a tiny package. And that baby smell—Lord have mercy!
Oh, a little note about your name. We had many names picked out as possibilities, but we decided to wait until you arrived to make the final decision. It took longer than we thought it would—we really put a lot of thought into it! Before you were born, I thought Oliver was my top pick, but when I looked at you I just didn’t see you as an Oliver. Daddy didn’t have a top pick yet, so we started a list of all of the names we liked, looked at their meanings, how they sounded together, and how they could be shortened and/or mutilated. After much deliberation (and almost 24 hours), we happily landed on Isaac Jude. Isaac was the name of Abraham’s son, and it means “he who laughs,” which we thought would be a good reminder to stay light of heart and find the joy in life’s journey. Jude is in honor of your two grandmothers—both named Judy.
So welcome to the world, little Isaac. Your daddy is so excited to have a son, and your sisters are simply gaga over you. You are truly adored beyond words. I hope you enjoy it here, and we promise to do our best to make your time in this world filled with love and warmth and spiritual growth.