My first induced baby
Samson’s birth started at a birthing center with a midwife. But because of complications, we had to transfer to a hospital for an epidural. A whopping 52-hours later, Samson was born. I delivered Esther naturally, because we arrived to the hospital too late. GREAT BALLS OF FIRE THAT HURT.
But Hannah? She was a week late so we decided to try an induced delivery.
First of all, it is the WEIRDEST THING IN THE WORLD to schedule the day your baby will be born.
When I came home after my final OBGYN appointment, I slowly circled August 13 on my calendar with a red sharpie. I called Dave on the phone, “Honey, so if I don’t go into labor on my own, the baby will be born next Thursday.”
Dave, “Well, ok then. How do you feel about that?”
Me, “GREAT. I cannot wait to not be pregnant and sick!!!” (I threw up every week until the day Hannah was born. A scheduled induction, though new, was heaven to me.)
The days marched on and Hannah did not come on her own, So, the day before the induction, things got real, y’all. I felt like a cosmetologist fairy was whispering in my ear in a wispy Parisian accent, “Madame Spina, please, prepare yourself at ‘de spa for the wee babe. Shave ‘de legs. Wash ‘de hairs. Prepare your toiletries, Madame.” IT WAS SO WEIRD TO HAVE TIME TO SLOWLY PREPARE, instead of the wild, painful onset of contractions on the way to the hospital. (Those hair-raising stories are in my book, but suffice to say I sounded like a dying coyote and was so rude Dave quit talking to me.)
David’s kind father offered to spend the night with Samson and Esther at our house the night of the induction, so Dave could go to the hospital to support me. “Well,” I sheepishly offered to Dave. “Want to go on one last dinner date before the baby comes?” So, we went to Southlake Town Center and ordered dinner at TruFire. I was past my due date, so naturally I told our server we were going to the hospital that night to have the baby. (I mean, c’mon. I didn’t want her to think I was that big and only six-months along, or something). Word spread and soon the manager, bar tender and hostess all stopped by to ask if I was really going to the hospital that night, and why in the world was I so calm about it.
Soon, it was time. Dave and I pulled out of our driveway at 8:30pm. I turned to him as we drove away from our house, “Honey, can you believe we are going to bring back a baby?!?!?”
We had gone through tremendous effort and planning to allow David to spend the night with me at the hospital. But we both felt him being present for my support was important. I felt so bad for him, though, when we arrived at the hospital room. His chair only pulled out a short distance, so it was more of an uncomfortable plastic chaise lounge than a bed. He good-naturedly pulled his baseball cap over his eyes and tried to relax, propped up by a hospital pillow.
They got me hooked up to an IV to start the induction. Then we doused the lights and tried to rest. I tried not to bother Dave at all, but finally around 3am I needed another pillow. “Dave!” I hissed.
No response from The Baseball Cap.
“HONEY! I NEED YOU!”
Nothing. Finally, I rolled my eyes and pushed the button for the nurse.
The next morning, he woke up. “Seriously, Spina?” I laughed. “The whole purpose of you spending the night here was for you to support me, and the one time I needed you, you were out.”
Dave, “Honey, I seriously have no recollection of that conversation.”
But I soon felt sorry FOR HIM. His back hurt from being upright on his chaise lounge hospital chair. But then a busybody day shift nurse caught a glimpse of the chair and chided, “Oh, you just didn’t pull it out all the way.” Then she yanked it into a FULL-SIZED TWIN BED. AT 9 am. Poor Dave. The look on his face at what he could have had for the past 12 hours.
The contractions started rolling one on top of the other. Y’all. It was the WEIRDEST THING IN THE WORLD to see these gigantic roller-coaster painful contractions on the monitor, and not feel a thing. My mom had just arrived and we chatted merrily about her recent travels while the baby started to move into position.
“Mom,” I confided. “If this is a girl, what do you think about the name Hannah Faith – named after Faith?” (My sister). My mom looked at me over her turquoise reading glasses, “Well, that’s a pretty name, but I just know it’s a boy so it doesn’t really matter. And honey, when it’s time to push, don’t let me do the counting during the contractions. I usually cry too hard with happiness so I can’t count.”
I. LOVE. MY. MOM.
The doctor came in and said I was close, but if my pushing was ineffective, it might be “a few more hours.” I WAS READY for the baby, and to end this horrible, eternal morning sickness. So when it was time to push, I had the eye of a tiger. I almost passed out holding my breath and pushing with all my might.
As the baby started to emerge, my doctor gasped, “Whoa. This is a big baby! I think it looks like it’s going to be nine pounds.” After only three pushes, a gigantic baby emerged with black hair. The pediatric nurse called from the other side of the room, “Uh, I think that baby is bigger than nine pounds, doctor.”
Like my other two babies, I was so exhausted I did not want to do the skin-to-skin contact. So the shocked nurses again handed the new baby to Dave’s bare chest. (What an appalling mother, I know. Hmmm, you are so caring, Mother Leah. You should write a book about enjoying your children. BUT WHEN YOUR BABIES ARE BORN, HAND THEM TO DAD.)
I do remember, trying to catch my breath after the baby was born, and my mom getting two-inches from my face chanting, “YOU JUST DELIVERED AN ALMOST 10 POUND BABY! YOU JUST DELIVERED AN ALMOST 10 POUND BABY!”
Thanks for that, mom. 😉 (She was apparently exactly nine pounds, 10 ounces.)
Dave brought Hannah over for me to see, all swaddled up like a burrito in a hospital blanket. Personally, I was ECSTATIC to have another girl – two sisters close in age! Two girls to be my friends for life! But then I looked up at my man’s man hunter Dave, and thought about him. “Honey,” I honestly asked, with big eyes. “I know it’s not a boy. And now you have two girls. Are you ok???”
Dave looked down at his second daughter, paused, and then looked up at me again. “Well, the way I look at it is this. You let me hang my dead animals all over your house, so the least I can do is give you two daughters.”
I laughed, “Deal, Spina. Deal.”
SAMSON AND ESTHER MEET HANNAH
When Samson and Esther met baby Hannah in the hospital, I was unprepared for Samson’s response when he learned it was a girl, not a boy.
Dave and I had been talking with the kids for months how the baby could be a boy or a girl, and how much fun either would be. We’d had lots of fun conversations about it. (The day before the baby arrived, Samson told me, “Mom, prolly it will be a boy because the last one was a girl”.)
But apparently, my five-year-old Samboy had his heart set on a little brother all along.
When the kids entered the hospital room to meet the baby – as we filmed their reaction with video and photos snapping – they approached the swaddled baby with big smiles. Dave announced, “Here’s the baby, guys! And it’s ….a….GIRL!” Esther chanted, “Baby! Baby!”
But Samson’s face fell and he started sobbing. I was on hormone high and I started crying, too! Poor Samson!!! I had no idea he wanted a little brother so badly!
Dave turned off the video camera and swept crying Samson up in his arms. He assured our firstborn that he was going to be very important as the only boy of the family, protecting his mom and two sisters, that they would have lots of special guy time, etc.
Within a very few minutes, Samson calmed down and held the baby proudly with a smile. We gave the kids their gifts from the baby – Legos for Samson, Frozen princesses for Esther.
Samson now tells everyone about his “baby sister Hannah” with pride, but I will never forget his reaction. Even though I have really tough pregnancies, it made me want to go through it all again to give my Samboy a brother.
But then I remembered something I believe with all my heart: the gender and birth order of my children is so much bigger than me planning a “perfect family” or control. It is God orchestrating His perfect plan and how we are all a part of it. It is not by chance or coincidence that God gave us a boy then two girls. It’s about God’s vision for my kids – their future roles, ministry, even future spouses and time in history. Who knows His purpose in Samson having two little sisters – it is going to be so exciting as time goes on to see His plan unfold.
THE LABOR AND DELIVERY WARD
The labor and delivery ward of a hospital has to be one of the happiest places on earth. Most of the rest of the hospital is rife with sickness, tragedy, emergency, life-threatening surgeries and even death – few people want to be there. But there sits the smiling labor and delivery ward. It’s a sea of happiness:
– we all want to be there! Beaming parents, elated grandparents, waiting future siblings!
– we are all celebrating LIFE and BABIES sent from above!
– you hear new baby cries, like angry kittens caught in a tree, spilling from nearby rooms
– post-partum moms, like me, waddle down the hallways in our matching pale blue “moo moo” gowns, covering our still-bloated uterus. We all cannot wipe the sheepish grin of our “secret” (we just had a new baby!!!) off our swollen, make-up free faces and each stranger we pass smiles back, echoing beaming bliss.
– it’s like that delicious scene from Disney’s animated Dumbo where the storks deliver the animal moms their animal babies (I am such a sap – I cry at that part every time)
– rooms are decorated with “ITS A GIRL!” or “ITS A BOY!” signs, wreaths, balloons and floral bouquets
– each routine nurse or doctor checkup concludes with a smiley, “And congratulations on your new baby!”
– And, truly, is there nothing more exciting than when the doctor delivers that magical phrase: “Its time to push, Leah”, and a Baby Delivery Army of nurses files in to prepare the room?!?! My heart starts racing in anticipation, especially when they start preparing that tiny heated baby bed that’s been waiting silently in the dark corner of the room. I love this place!
And yet I never forget friends that have had to kiss their babies goodbye too soon. Maybe in a labor and delivery ward like this. Your stories make me all the more grateful for moments like these. The gift of a healthy, living baby, like my Hannah Faith, is something I can never take for granted. Oh no, it is a blessed, unmerited miracle sent from above to be savored each day.