Wednesday, January 6, 2010

14 Years Ago Today

The Feast of the Epiphany, January 6, 1996, was quiet around our house.  Since I was in the RCIA program in preparation for coming into the Catholic Church at Easter, we didn't know alot about celebrating this day.

It started to snow in Richmond around 11 a.m. and my mom called from Northern Virginia to say that she was on her way or she wouldn't be able to be there for the birth of her 7th grandchild (my 4th).  I wasn't in labor, but I was already 4 days overdue and 6-7 cm. dilated.  I called my midwife to see if she wanted to come over  to break my water and induce labor since we were planning a homebirth, but she said that she had 4-wheel drive and she wasn't worried about my baby and we could just wait.

Well, it continued to snow all day long; mom arrived safely and we settled in for a cozy evening.  I'm not sure how much snow we had by the end of the day, but it must have been 4-6 inches.  I put the 3 children to bed and I remember going to sit back down on the sofa to watch tv with Dh and Mom when I had a huge contraction.  It was very uncomfortable, but I had been having so much false labor that I was frustrated.  Taking the advice of my wonderful midwife who had attended my 2 previous home births, I went upstairs to take a long, hot bath to relieve the contractions.  I was stopped on the stairs by another strong contraction (how close were those?! 2 minutes?) which only served to frustrate me further.  During my long soak there were no noticeable contractions which made me think that it had been more false labor.

Getting out of the tub a good half-hour later, I started trembling violently (which dh attributed to being cold after the bath) and had another contraction.  I called Nancy, my midwife, to tell her that I wanted her to come break my water because I was tired of the false labor, but she seemed to think I was already in labor.  She asked how long it had been since I had that first contraction....

crickets chirping....

When I couldn't answer her question immediately, she knew I was in transition and that in all likelihood she wouldn't be there for the birth.  Hanging up the phone, we prepared the room for birth while Mom boiled some water, and I spent my time in the bathroom (ahem) where I immediately told dh that the baby was coming.  He said No way, Nancy's not here yet!

But yes, dear, there's that unmistakeable feeling of a baby moving down into the birth canal.

At this point, I was in control (Nancy had had me study up on Emergency Childbirth!), which was a good thing because my dear husband and mother were a bit frazzled by the thought that they would be delivering this baby!  A little comedy of errors ensued, the details of which I will spare my gentle readers, culminating with the birth of TMax while standing in the bathroom and dh doing an admirable job of catching the football  baby.  While Mom and I marveled that the deed was done and the baby was breathing and crying lustily, Dh was the only one who thought to look and see if it was a He or She.  I think he was the only baby who's sex was not predicted during ultrasound.

The next step was to hobble to the bed with baby and wait for Nancy to arrive so she could cut the cord. Arrive she did, 5 minutes after the birth.  Dh greeted her at the door with the news:  It's a Boy!

We estimated that he arrived at 9:55, less than an hour and a half after that first contraction on the sofa.  The sex, dh thought about.  The time of birth, not so much.

The next 4 hours were rather scary (especially for Mom and Dh) since a large baby (10 lbs. 2 oz) and rapid childbirth coupled together can make a uterus sluggish and refuse to cooperate, but Nancy was amazing and I trusted her with good reason.  She knows her business.

We had a beautiful "babymoon" together since I was very weak and forbidden to go downstairs for at least a week.   Plus, we were all snowed in by 2 feet of snow.  That sweet baby didn't have to get any shots or heel sticks until he was 2 weeks old!

But all was well, and I received the Best Gift Ever from the three kings.  He's still the Best Gift Ever---smart, funny, thoughtful, talented, and kind.

And his birth is a great story to tell!

Happy Birthday, TMax!


  1. Love the story! Sound like the most perfect Epipany gift you could ever receive. It's a wee bit scary how fast time flies though.

  2. That's just amazing. I can't even imagine births were the opposite of yours, very un-peaceful...but my husband would love to tell a story like that!!

    Happy birthday to your son!

  3. so glad your story has a happy ending!


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