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.
Oh how we prayed for John Paul. The two years preceding this pregnancy, I suffered a miscarriage and a year of secondary infertility. While I only caught a glimpse of pain and suffering through both, it certainly changed my perspective and softened my heart for loss. I have never been the same . There have been many posts about my miscarriage, namely this one, but today I’m choosing to focus on the joy – and adventure – that is John Paul.
In January 2003 we moved back to Texas and as part of my husband’s new responsibilities at work, we traveled to Italy in May 2003. I know, now you’re feeling sorry for us. As providence would have it, our group was beside ourselves with glee when we found out we would be meeting the Pope, then John Paul II, after the general audience in St. Peter’s Square. Our group received a blessing and Scott and I swore that should we be blessed with a boy, we would name him John Paul. Much to our surprise, we returned home to find out I was already several weeks pregnant – and was pregnant when we received Pope JPII’s blessing! If we had a girl, I have no idea how she would’ve fended off the teases for being named John Paul.
Everything went beautifully until month five.
That September morning, I somehow completely missed the stop sign at a major intersection and was t-boned by a car going 55mph. My airbags deployed and the car was sent spinning through the intersection. My hand immediately flew to my belly to feel for movement. There was none.
Fortunately, a dear friend was in the car behind me and after getting a quick check by the EMT, she sped me to the hospital. She was also smart enough to tell me to remove my rings. Had I not done that, the staff would’ve been forced to cut them off due to all the swelling and bruising! While the nurses seemed to be concerned about my hand and leg, I forced them to send me to labor and delivery for monitoring. Scott arrived a few minutes later and after a very stressful five minutes, we finally found a heartbeat. I was sore for weeks, but grateful that my guardian angel pulled some major strings. The car was most damaged on the side where Will sits and he was not in the car. Thank you, God.
We had another small scare around week 34 when we detected an irregular heartbeat. A visit to the maternal fetal medicine doctor showed us a perfectly healthy heart so we rested easy. That is, until week 38. After I dropped Will off at preschool, I went in for my weekly check only to learn that the irregularity had returned. My OB ordered me directly to the hospital for an induction. And, when the former Army OB/GYN says go, you say, “yes ma’am.”
The hospital staff hooked me up to a monitor and Scott arrived an hour later. Dr. B broke my water at 1:20pm and I hollered for the epidural at 3. Pitocin causes same ferocious contractions. And, just like last time, after an hour and a half, I began pushing. This time, it just took three easy pushes. In fact, Dr. B had turned to put on her gloves when the nurse caught John Paul’s head with her bare hands! Turns out his ticker was back on track, but as a precaution John Paul spent a night in the NICU for observation and passed with flying colors. Of course, we found ourselves scrambling for a middle name (John Paul is his first), but we eventually landed on the perfect one.
He came out with a head full of curly blonde hair. And that fist you see is one all my babies make. They sleep with one hand by their face. *love*
On that beautiful January day, we became a family of four. How sweet it was.