Because a mom needs to reflect sometimes, I’m sharing the birth stories of each of my children as we count down the weeks to Baby Whitaker. Most of these were pre-blog days, so while I share these with you, I’m really writing these for the kids. And, here’s hoping I don’t cause them to duck under the nearest table from embarrassment.
Will was our very first pregnancy. At the time we were living near Indianapolis, Indiana, and we had traveled to Italy with our high school youth group and served as chaperones. It was the time of our life. We were both working full-time and saved like crazy to make that trip happen. It was one for the memory books – amazing and spiritually awesome. We call Will our Italian souvenir. Aaaand, now I’ve embarrassed him for eternity.
When I took the pregnancy test, I laid it on the bathroom counter, skipped out to the bedroom and Scott and I sat on the bed and prayed. Two minutes later, the lines showed up “+” and we nearly did backflips. This was back when I was sort of in shape. By sort of, I mean not at all.
Then, the doorbell rang. It was our next-door neighbors inviting us to dinner. We barely managed to make it through that evening without busting with our good news. I think we lasted like a week or two before we told the world. Again, pre-social media days here. We actually had to call people. On our landline.
As the due date inched closer (March 19, Feast of St. Joseph), I began to get anxious. My OB reminded me, “Kathryn, God makes you so uncomfortable in the last few weeks that you get over the fear of childbirth.” That man is a genius. And so right. I hit 40 weeks and was still working full-time at the National FFA Organization. My boss allowed me to work from home until delivery and in between conference calls and answering emails, I washed baby clothes and finished the nursery. I also worried and fretted and kept wondering if this baby would ever be born. At my 41 week appointment, I must’ve looked miserable, because the OB said, “Let’s see if we can strip some membranes and get some things moving.”
Oh sweet Jesus.
I don’t think I will ever let “strip membranes” and a doctor’s hand EVER be a part of my future ever again.
I went home that afternoon and just felt lousy. Around 8pm, I finally had Scott cook me dinner – a grilled cheese sandwich and an apple. Nothing else sounded good. We settled in to watch the Purdue v. Notre Dame women’s basketball NCAA championship game. At 9pm that’s when the party got started, just as the game was finishing. I saw the Irish girls start jumping up and down in celebration and I promptly tossed my cookies. So much for a nice dinner.
Poor Scott. He kept asking what he could do and I kept running to the bathroom. Finally, around 11:30 we made the call to the OB. He ordered me to the hospital and I gladly complied. My biggest fear was the 30-minute drive there, but at midnight, it seems as if the roads are pretty darn clear. And, I’m also sure Scott ran almost every red light because he was so worried. We arrived in triage just after midnight. I sat on the table and had just changed into a gown so the nurse could check me and whoosh. Hello, water breaking all over the bed. “Well, honey, you just earned yourself a first-class L&D room,” said the nurse. God bless her. I almost hugged her neck. But, you know, contraction. Come to find out I was at a whopping 2cm. All that pain and 2cm. At this point, I started begging for the epidural. This was well before my high-pain tolerance days. Miraculously, the OB said yes.
Anesthesia came in, I slept a tiny bit and an hour later the resident arrived to check me. Just before putting his hand – you know where – he belts out: “Are you an Aggie? Me too!” Um, awkward? That’s not the very best time to declare your collegiate affiliation. My OB sauntered in the room, with coffee in hand, leaned against the doorway and said, “You’re welcome for the epidural early.” Turns out I was at 10cm. He said we had one too many Texans in the room and ordered the resident out.
Then, Scott did something unexpected, but so totally awesome.
He pulled out a cup of Texas Panhandle soil and placed it under the bed. Dr. T just shook his head when Scott said, “We might be in Indiana, but this kid is going to be born over Texas soil.” Because we’re crazy Lone Star people like that.
For about an hour and a half, I pushed. We chatted between contractions and then I pushed some more. At 4:56 in the AM, Master Will made his big debut.
IT’S A BOY!
This is the reason we never find out. The incentive to push so we can hear the doctor say those three magical words. Scott and the nurse were busy taking pictures and weighing that sweet babe as Dr. T was stitching me up from delivery. You must understand. He had a bit of a sarcastic streak to him which is why we got along beautifully. So when he said, “This is why I do what I do. For moments like this,” and then patted my leg, I teared up. Big time. I’ve had the privilege of having a different OBs for every delivery (I’ll explain later) and that moment counts as one of my very best memories of childbirth.
I held Will in my arms, gave Scott a big smackeroo and cried. It was a beautiful moment.
William Nicholas, I cannot wait for your 13th birthday tomorrow. Oh wait, yes I can! I’m not that old.