Here you'll find current musings, as well as the archives from two blogs of yesteryear: YoungMarriedMom and What I Learned While Writing a Novel. Please comment and share. We love well when we are in conversation with one another.
Ten short and incredible days ago, John and I welcomed our little Peanut—henceforth Jacob Paul Schlegel—into the community of air-breathing folks on this earth. We enjoyed the week of paternity leave John had from work, and since he went back to work, I’ve been finding my way back to the blog. I intended to post this entry on Tuesday—how quickly the hours pass with a newborn!
In theory, I wasn’t thrilled about an induction, but through good conversation with John, time in prayer at a nearby church, and a generous portion of God’s grace, I quickly accepted that this was the way things needed to be. After the delivery, our doctor told us he was so glad we’d chosen to go through with the induction, seeing as we had such a large baby, and the possible alternative was not something we’d want. He also said he’s putting a note in my chart to watch out, should any future child get to be more than eight pounds. . . . Can you say “stress eating”? Rather, can you say “Cookie Friday”?!
But I’m getting ahead of myself! Here’s the story I know at least some of you have been waiting for.
On Monday evening, we went to the hospital. We waited about two hours to be admitted, as the labor and delivery rooms were mostly full. At least one woman arrived in labor while we were waiting, but I wasn’t in any pain, so I didn’t mind that she was admitted ahead of us. I should have eaten something, though, because I didn’t realize until I was already dressed in a hospital gown and lying on a bed that all I’d consume in the next twenty-four hours was popsicles and ice chips. The good news there is that some of the popsicles were the kinds with jokes on the sticks! Remember those? They’re still really bad jokes, but it was a great blast from the past.
Monday night wasn’t too exciting. The sticking and poking and blood drawing began, which was kind of a bummer, but all for a greater good. The internal exams in the hospital were not like those I’d had at my monthly and weekly OB appointments, and I struggled with them some. Thank goodness John was right there with me; just knowing he’s there always makes things easier.
On the other hand, the labor rooms have free cable (recovery rooms do not). Wonderful man that he is, John forwent Monday Night Football to watch Ina Garten make key lime pie, and that dose of Food Network helped to comfort me, too.
The first medication started some contractions, and I realized I must have been having contractions here and there over the past week. I didn’t think these little period-like cramps counted as contractions, but apparently, they do. They intensified some with the medicine and I found myself using the lighter breathing exercises we’d learned, but never really practiced, through some of them on Tuesday.
Things started to get more . . . interesting when the doctor came in to break my water around three o’clock Tuesday afternoon. The next instant I had one heck of a contraction, and they kept rolling from there. I knew I wouldn’t scream in labor, but I figured I’d cry, and cry I did. I’d have one contraction that only mellowed a bit to make room for a second, and then maybe a two-minute reprieve before they started again. When I did have a break, I was exhausted. I couldn’t imagine keeping this up for five hours; I hadn’t prepared for it, plus, I’m kind of a wimp.
The nurse told me to let her know when I wanted an epidural. Up until this point, I wasn’t one hundred percent sure I wanted/would need one. But the transition from crampy to grip-the-bars-of-the-hospital-bed intense was not a gradual one. Having the epidural administered was no walk in the park, either, and there were more side effects than our childbirth teacher had shared with us. I didn’t have too long to be freaked out, though, and when John had to leave the room—hospital folks fear fathers/partners will pass out so they always have to leave—a nurse/angel named Margo steadied me and made it as tolerable as it could have been.
The doctor said he’d be back at seven-thirty that evening, and sure enough he walked in the room at 7:26. He took a look at me and told me to push. I thought this was just some kind of practice, so boy, oh boy, was I in for a surprise.
Suddenly, the room was transformed—the doctor had a stool at my feet, part of the bed dropped away, a cart with lots of medical instruments was wheeled in, and a huge light was taken down from underneath a tile in the ceiling. Three contractions and ten minutes later, our doctor told us we had a baby boy. All I could see were Jacob’s little lavender feet, just up to his knees (he wasn’t quite scary purple), which is what the doctor held him by. He cried for just a few seconds, and the next thing we knew, he was on my chest. I couldn’t believe this little boy was ours, except for the fact that Schlegel was written all over his face.
The nurse—whose shift was over at eight o’clock, and wasn’t sure if she’d see the baby—asked what his name was and for the first time, we told someone! We hung out with Jacob as long as we could. Then John went with him so that he could be weighed, and I started to get ready to try standing so I could get cleaned up. The epidural worked overtime in my legs, but it wore off enough that I could move around the room a bit.
We moved to the recovery room while Jacob was still in the nursery. Unfortunately John had to leave before our little munchkin came back to me. When John had to go home at midnight, Jacob was still in a warmer, getting up to an okay temperature (FYI, this is totally normal procedure).
At one am, Jacob came back to me, and I realized I had a bit of a problem: I needed to feed my baby, based solely on knowledge I’d gained from reading The Nursing Mother’s Companion—which, coincidentally was all I needed to know—while being hooked up to an IV and barely able to get in and out of my bed, holding a brand new nine-pound child, to boot. Talk about tricky. Plus, I needed to pee by four am to be declared free of a catheter, and I do not like failing exams of any sort. My goodness, the pressure from every direction!
After a couple of minutes spent deciding how weepy I was going to get over the whole thing and wishing John were still there, I offered up a couple of desperate prayers that were quickly answered.
It was not an easy night by any stretch, but eventually Jacob had to go back to the nursery and we both got a couple of hours of sleep. I learned later that the night nurse was covering for someone else, so unfortunately my impression that anything I asked for would be something of a burden had some truth to it.
Moral of the story is that we survived, and soon enough, John was back in our room and so was Jacob. John scooped him up about as soon as he could and we spent the next few days trying to relax, trying to figure things out, trying to understand how in the world we were blessed with such a beautiful child, a wonderful doctor, a happy delivery, and incredible family and friends to share the experience with.
Come to think of it, I’m still working on that last part.
Ten days later and I can’t imagine not knowing what that perfect round face looks like, the weight of him in my arms, and the beauty of his eyes. Motherhood absolutely is an amazing thing, but I don’t feel I really have the words for it yet. Perhaps this is an experience better reflected on in some retrospect. When it’s happening, it’s so hard to believe. And so hard to make time to write about it!
Of course I don’t want a moment to slip away, but I don’t want to waste anytime worrying about forgetting something either. So here we have the basic story of Jacob’s delivery. The rest, I pray I can hold in my heart, as Mary did her experiences with Jesus. With so much coming at me at once, I’ve had an incredible sense of peace (most of the time) these past few days, and this, like the rest of this experience, can only be attributed to God’s grace—the grace to trust in Him, the grace to hear His Word, and the grace to act on it.
Praise God, and bless our baby Jacob Paul!