Our car broke down on a Thursday afternoon, on the way home from my 39 week appointment. It started sputtering and lights were blinking- we were lucky to get off the freeway and making it into the parking lot? An absolute miracle. There has never been worse timing. I was sort of panicked, but keeping my cool. Because Daddy wasn't panicked, he was downright ticked. That silly old Mazda had been giving us troubles since the beginning. I was reassuring him and myself, "If I go into labor, we will just call our friends to drive us. It will be just fine."
Twelve hours later I woke from a deep, comfortable sleep. My stomach cramped tightly and I had enough energy to run around the world twice. My teeth were chattering and I knew immediately that we would be meeting you very soon. I woke up Daddy and warned him, "I think it's time. I'm going to take a bath and I'll let you know." The doctor told me that if I wanted a natural labor, I should stay home as long as possible. She reminded me that the longer I was progressing in the hospital, the more I would be offered intervention. I pulled out my headphones and slipped into a warm bath, assuming I would be home for a few hours before venturing towards the hospital. In the bath, I listened to just three songs. Neither of them on my "birth playlist." By the end of the second song, I had experienced three contractions- the type that made me white-knuckle the side of the tub. I had to remind myself to breathe, in and out, in and out. Suddenly, I realized that if I had three contractions in just three songs they were what? Three minutes apart? I jumped from the tub and went to Daddy in my towel. "Call Penny, like, NOW," I told him sternly. He remarked at how I was shaking. I finished packing, pausing briefly to lean down in agony.
No one was answering. I sat on the bed while we tried our friend but the call wasn't going through. Something was wrong with the connection. We called another friend- a neighbor- but they were all asleep. As the pain became more severe, we decided upon calling 911.
Daddy's hilarious 911 call:
Daddy: Hello, yes, my girlfriend is in labor but we have no ride to the hospital!
Operator: How far apart are her contractions?
Daddy: About five minutes.
Operator: IMMEDIATELY have her take her clothes off, lay down on the bed and spread her legs! Put a towel under her! Do you see any CROWNING?!
Daddy: Um. I don't think I can get her to do anything right now.
We both started laughing, hysterically. I commented on the absolute joke that is the American maternal health system, "like, don't they know that is the worst possible position in which to deliver a baby? Crowning? I think I would know if he was crowning. No thank you, I need to MOVE MY HIPS!"
We would have to bring Kade with us. As exciting as that was, it was scary too. Because that meant that daddy would have to wait outside, with Kade. That meant that mommy was going to be all by herself in there.
When the ambulance arrived, a troop of six paramedics entered our apartment. Six of them, with their eyes wide. It was obvious that they were horrified and probably praying, "God do not make me deliver a baby tonight." I chatted with them, smiling. How on earth was I smiling at this point? They asked if I could walk down the stairs. Sure! Down the stairs I went and into the ambulance, landing on the stretcher in a heave of relief as another contraction began.
They buckled Kade into a seat and gave him a little brown bear. All the way to the hospital he made siren sounds and grinned, ear to ear. "Baby Ezra is going to come out now," he stated. He was so excited to become a big brother. I want to remember this: his bedhead stood on all ends, his sleepy eyes were wide. He wore striped slippers and an over sized t-shirt and he was so, so brave. He set a perfect example for me.
The paramedic began timing my contractions. We didn't even make it around the corner before he said, "Up the priority." The lights flicked on and we zoom, zoomed to the hospital to meet you.
At the hospital, the silly nurse was asking lots of questions. I could barely speak through the pain, coming in waves now, one right on top of another. I barely had time to breathe, let alone answer questions. I almost swore. She finally checked me and reported that I was dilated 7-8 centimeters. I told her, "Get me in that room NOW or you're not going to have time to do anything." She raced out. They moved me into another room and Kade and Daddy wandered down the hall to the waiting room.
I was all by myself. I cried, harder than I have ever cried. Huge, deep sobs escaped me between quick breaths. I asked for my mom who was hundreds of miles away. My doctor wasn't going to be there in time. I was laying on my side when my water broke and I yelled at the nurse, "He is coming out, right now."
There was no doctor in sight. The nurse urged me not to push and I insisted that I wasn't. The doctor, not my doctor, slipped in and started putting gloves on. Before she was finished, there was your head, your shoulders. I wanted to give up. I was between a rock and a hard place. It hurt, so badly, but the only way to make the hurt stop was to keep going. The doctor told me, "You're doing so great, mama! His head and shoulders are out! Just one more push!" I knew I could do just one more. I let out a scream, a scream daddy says could be heard down the hall.
There you were. Right up on my chest, all rosy cheeked and happy. You nuzzled in, warm and comfortable. You certainly knew your mama.
Within moments, Daddy and Kade were standing behind the curtain. You let out a cry and Daddy had a quiver in his voice, "Yes Kade! That's your baby brother. That's Ezra." He tells me that Kade's face was so full of joy and pride upon hearing you that it choked him all up inside. They came in soon after to welcome you and my heart burst open at the seams. It stretched out a bit, a pocket just your size.
We had only been at the hospital for about thirty minutes. I had no IV, had yet to sign consent forms. I laugh now at my big plans. We would take pictures, I thought, and listen to music. I would maybe light a candle and take a bath and ease myself into this. But you, Ezra Elias, had bigger plans. A birth story just as grand and just as incredible as you are.
Now, you're home with us. It's funny though; it seems you've always been here.
Happy Birthday Ezra Elias.