To commemorate Jameson’s birthday, I’m finally sharing his birth story. Fear not! It does not involve wince-inducing bladder ruptures nor hours of fruitless pushing. All goes well!
I just saved you ten minutes, if birth stories aren’t your cup of tea. If they are, then please accept this steaming cup of Earl Grey, one sugar.
Because of my complicated twin birth and borderline outrageous second birth experience, my OBGYN explained that should we have a fourth baby, it would unquestionably be a scheduled cesarean section. In fact, he drilled this point home while I was still in the hospital after having Hunter, before my bladder ruptured. Apparently birth isn’t like baseball — two four-hour pushing strikes is all you get before you’re out of the “natural” attempt forever.
Of course, after all I’d been through, I was in full agreement.
So in the early morning of March 23, we left our home and arrived at the hospital. We knew our nurse was going to be an earthly angel because my amazing nurse from Henry and Arden’s delivery reached out to me and said, “What’s your section date? I’m choosing the greatest nurse available for you — I got this.” It was a significant blessing on a day full of them, thanks to the chorus of prayers we had rallying around us that week.
On our way to the antepartum wing (that’s where you go when you have a scheduled surgical delivery, rather than the labor and delivery wing), we had to pass through the NICU. We hadn’t anticipated this, and we caught our breath as we passed the doors we’d been buzzed into countless times during Henry’s 17 day stay. There was the basin where we’d scrubbed our hands dozens of times; there was the check-in desk where we’d received 17 stickers signifying our security clearance. And now, here we were, with our NICU baby age three and a half, healthy and home asleep, about to receive a new baby sibling. We felt down-to-the-bones grateful.
After we met the sweetest nurse imaginable, she took us to our room and I got into my gown and hooked up to the monitors and IV.
This is a smile of joyful peace; of a woman who knows she’s not going into labor.
That belly! I know pregnancy is misery for many, but I love it so much.
We met with each doctor involved, and then, like we were going to brunch, they all said, “Okay, let’s go have a baby!” I hopped out of that bed ready to rock because I felt a supernatural peace. So many people sent us messages of prayers and so many had committed to praying for us that morning that there wasn’t room for nerves or fear.
We all walked to the surgical room together, laughing, joking, chatting like one of us wasn’t about to drug another of us, and one of us wasn’t about to cut another of us open. It helped me relax, but heightened how surreal it felt. Where was the drama? The urgency? The pain?
Absent. Answered prayers, all.
They administered the anesthesia, and as I laid back against the table, I repeated aloud the verse I’d used to prepare for this day: “She who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91:1) Mike said a prayer and after the surgical pause, they began.
In our other experiences, this portion of the show was incredibly fast. In this case, they were much slower because it wasn’t urgent, and also they had to work through all the scar tissue they discovered on their way to my uterus. They explained this, but I found it a little woo-woo to hear graphic details of my insides while I was still awake on the outside.
Before we knew it, they told us they were reaching inside to bring out our baby. I felt an enormous pressure, and then heard a healthy, perfect cry as Mike looked over the curtain and laughed, “It’s a boy!!!”
“A boy!!!” I replied, because I truly had no instinct this time, and hearing that our “who” was a “he” was overwhelming, heart-happy news. He came cruising over the curtain to the nurses station and then right back to me seconds later — and that’s when I saw his handsome face as they placed him on my chest.
“Hi Jameson, hi baby,” I said over and over. “He looks exactly like Hunter!” Because he did — it was remarkable how alike their big puckered lips, noes and cheeks were. It was a spellbinding feeling to see such similar features between babies we’d created.
The funny thing is now I look at these pictures of that same little face and all I can see is Jameson. It’s distinctly him and that demonstrates what a year of getting to know a little person can do to your heart and your eyes.
After skin-to-skin time, the nurses cleaned him up, measured him, and made sure all was well. Then they swaddled him tight and covered me with heated blankets and returned him to us.
The proud Dada, father of four.
Then it was just us; mama, dada, baby, cooing to comfort our new little life.
This was the first moment of pure bliss. My baby’s cheeks next to mine, his cries stopping completely when he heard my voice.
My mom, Jameson’s Nonni, was his first visitor, and also first photographer. She joined us in surgery to capture his birth, and we’re so grateful to her that we have these priceless photos.
After they stitched me back up, we were wheeled back to our room where the rest of Jameson’s grandparents were waiting to meet him. They were so excited, they had left the room to meet us down at the end of the hall to find out who this little baby was.
Nana and Papa! At this point Jameson had no idea how amazing his paternal grandparents are, but good things come to those who wait.
Grandpa! My dad has three daughters, (who are top-notch, natch), so finding out he had a third grandson was like an embarrassment of riches. Amiright, Dad?
Auntie Rae Rae!
See the smiles all around? That is how the whole day felt. It was just happiness. As each family member came into the room, they didn’t know who the baby was going to be, and it never got old sharing, “It’s a boy! His name is Jameson Wendell!” and celebrating all over again.
I was so grateful to FaceTime with Siri and Amy so they could meet him. I marveled that my best friends were states away, but so close I could feel them in the room with us.
And then the moment my heart had waited for — introducing Jameson to his sister and brothers.
Hunter was only 22 months old, but he still dove right for us.
Henry, 3.5, was next, and was unsettled by the cords attached to me, so in addition to baby, we talked about that.
Mike and my dad reassured him, and told him when he visited the next day I’d be far less plugged in.
When it was Arden’s turn, she was enamored from the first, not at all dismayed that she was meeting a brother and not a sister like she’d hoped.
And one touch was not enough. Homegirl was over in that hospital chair ready to hold him in two seconds.
She’s like auntie, support the head. I’ll show you.
Apparently he follows sister’s lead.
Auntie Sam! Under Arden’s watchful eye, of course.
The. Boy. Is. Mine. She’s 19 years late for Brandy and Monica, but she gets it.
Uncle Aaron managed to get a moment with her little bundle, however!
And later that evening, Cousin Lillian!
Later that evening my girlfriends arrived, complete with Meredith FaceTiming in. I was full to the brim with joy after such a spectacular day, and having them there was my cup running over.
The next morning, Auntie Lindsay came to visit, having traveled all the way from San Diego! It was amazing to have her there to greet our little blondie.
I don’t believe for a minute that Jameson’s birth was about me — this is his birth story, not mine. His safe arrival was the essential priority of the day; that it helped heal and redeem our harder birth days is just the way our God works. He takes what is already profoundly good, and uses it as a tool to bring new life elsewhere; in this case, my worried heart. He makes the broken beautiful again.
Before the kids had left, we huddled for a first family photo, and Mike and I could hardly believe this was our life — four kids! It is outrageous and funny and wonderful and intimidating to us that we had four kids in three and a half years, but we are so, so happy we did.
Jameson took his place in our circus with aplomb, and we can’t imagine our lives without him.