I drafted birthday stories for both my nephew and my niece, so I'd be remiss if I didn't chronicle the birthday story of my son. Let's start from the beginning. Cliffs Notes version.
In November 2011, this man named Joshua Gibson said he loved me. In May 2013, I married him. Somewhere in between Josh renovated a kitchen, I bought some awesome drapes and decided soft peach and charcoal gray would be our wedding colors. Since I'm such a patient person, we waited an entire 2 months to make a kid. Josh decided early on he didn't want to know the sex of our child, so I was forced to get on board with that because I'm the world's worst secret keeper and I've accepted that about myself. I only hated that part of pregnancy like 242.75 times. I mean, it doesn't really make you feel like the world's greatest mother to call your unborn child an "it" and nickname it Herm. I also think it's necessary to document a funny story here. We took a childbirth class in late January. The instructor asked us to introduce ourselves and tell everyone something interesting. Every man in the room used the example given and told us what kind of dog they had (how that is an "interesting fact" is beyond me). When it was my husband's turn, he said "I'm Joshua and this is Ashley. An interesting thing about me is that I chopped up our Christmas tree with a machete last night." No one talked to us the rest of the class, but I thought it was awesome.
So now we're up to speed.
The anticipation of the birth of this child started much earlier, but it really ramped up when I had what I thought was my 36 week appointment on March 5th and I learned I was already dilating. All of the sudden, things got REAL. Josh returned from his last childless deployment that weekend and I started making lists of dinners I needed to freeze, clothes I needed to wash in fragrance-free detergent and art I needed to hang in the very nursery that the wee one probably wouldn't use for many more months - but it was a VERY important bullet point to the estrogen coursing through my veins. Just ask Josh.
The entire pregnancy, my 311 crazed husband was hoping our child would be born on March 11th. When he got home from work that day, he prompted me one more time... "sooo I guess we're not having a baby today, huh?" I shook my head and apologized for what a failure of a wife I am. Actually, I just laughed at him, said no, and went about my day. It was a beautiful, clear, relatively mild March night. I did my pregnancy workout DVD with full on labor squats, 4 sets of Kegels and a curious Jane-Fonda-circa-1985 arm circle routine whereby the instructor tells you "if it gets too hard, just imagine holding your baby for the first time." I'd never done this birthing thing before, but if a couple minutes of arm circles gets "too hard", just go ahead and knock me out when it's time to give birth to an actual baby. In hindsight, it was during the labor squats that I got the sneaky suspicion the wee one had dropped. The actual thought was "I feel like I'm squishing its face. I should probably stop doing this." So I went to bed.
Little did I know, this would be the last selfie of our baby in my tummy tum tum that night. Single tear.
Now, at this point in pregnancy, I was blessed with a bathroom break every 2 hours during the night, so at 12:45am, I got up for the first of those bathroom breaks. I used the same safe pregnancy technique of getting out of bed that I'd been using since I made the conscious decision to avoid back pain - I rolled - but this time, I noticed a slight burning in my back. I didn't think anything of it until I laid back down and it didn't really stop. So I went to the living room to watch TV until I could fall asleep again. But the burning didn't stop. Then it dawned on my to take note if this burning sensation was correlated with the Braxton Hicks I had been feeling for months. Sure 'nuff. An hour later, I had downloaded a contraction timer app (as if the stopwatch feature on my phone wasn't good enough) and decided I was in labor. Naturally, I decided now would be a good time to go shave my legs.
And like a blink of an eye, it was 2:30am and we were on the road to the hospital, Josh having already grounded our unborn child 3 times for being a smartass and coming on 3-12. He also wanted to stop for coffee and donuts -- and for those of you who know me well, the thought of going 12+ hours with just ice chips is scarrrryyyyy -- so of course, we stopped. It was while he was paying for the goods that I timed the contractions again: just 3 minutes apart. Logically, I knew those were close, but I still thought I'd have 12+ hours of labor like the other ladies in my fam. We were even passed up by 2 crazy speeding cops with flashing lights and we debated following them for a hot second, but decided we had better things to do.
2:45am: got to hospital. Checked for progress in observation room. Dilated to 6. Water broke. Nurse asked if we wanted to have a baby tonight. Holy of holies, this was going fast. Let's do it :) Breathing through contractions. Trying not to laugh at Josh's jokes. Josh perfectly stroking my arms to help me stay relaxed. Getting lost in the steady pounding of the baby's heartbeat.
3:30am: Rolled into delivery room. Hit a bump and grimaced. Things starting to intensify like woah. Starting to question my decision to do this sans drugs. Pushing through.
4:00am: Nurses stuck me for IV multiple times. Can't find vein. You're fired. Call a better nurse. Please let me walk around. No. Let's try all 4's. Dear God, get me out of this position.
4:30am: Josshhhh... ouchhh. I want the epidural. Get me the epidural. Dilated 8-9. Epidural aint comin', honey. Nurses rushing around. Flood lights on. Want to push? Not really, what's my alternative? Bear down, grab your knees, push!! Good. Good. Good pusher. Don't forget to breathe. Make up your mind! Hold my breath to push or breathe?? Loud voices. Mostly mine. Not really enjoying this. Ooooow! Dear God. Oh God. Really squirming. Ashley, look at me......... your baby is coming. Yes, baby. I want this baby.
4:43am: One more push and we're having a baby..... Ahhhhhhhhh! IT'S A BOY. It's a boy?! Yes, it's a boy! Josh, it's a boy!!! I KNOW! Why isn't he crying, where's his cry. Suction nose. Waaahhh :) :) Give me that baby. Put that baby right here. Fell in love with that baby.
It's been just 7 days since this little snuggle monkey blessed our world and it's like we've known him all our lives. He's peed on my hair and christened Josh with an explosive poo AND a fountain pee in very quick succession. I've pulled on his earlobe thinking it was a hat and scared him with my laughter at least 3 times. A lot of napping, waking up, where are the diapers, you are my sunshine, did you swaddle him, what's he doing. Every minute is heaven. I can't wait for him to laugh at Josh. Until then, I'll take all the gas smiles in the world.