Thursday, October 10, 2013

Ben's Birth Story


Aside from a bit of excitement at 28 weeks (a bit of unexplained bleeding), this was probably my most drama-free pregnancy.  Because Ben’s due date was 18 months and 2 weeks after Max’s birth (which was an emergency C-section due to him being transverse breech), my doctor did not feel comfortable with a VBAC, and after hearing the phrases like “there’s a possibility of a ruptured uterus” I agreed to have a scheduled C-section.  But I was certain that I would not make it up until then.  After all, Ruby came on her due date but threatened to come 8 weeks early, and Max did arrive 2 weeks early, so I was pretty sure that I’d be having a September baby.  This, of course, was stressful given that I had decided to go back to full time teaching and the school year started in September.  It definitely forced me to step up my teaching and get things planned out a few weeks in advance just in case I’d have to leave early.  
September came and went, but there was no sign of preterm labor!  I couldn’t believe it!  I kept waiting for contractions or spotting or something, and nothing happened.  Ben was quite content to hang out in utero, it seemed.  
He also was facing the wrong direction...his head was up.  It didn’t really matter, since I was already scheduled to have a C-section, but it was a little irksome.  What was up with my boys and not being head down?  
I made it to Thursday, October 3rd, my last day of school before the maternity leave began. At the end of the day I tripped and fell down, and everyone within 50 feet gasped and rushed over, afraid I was going to have a baby right on the spot. I wondered if that would be my cue to go into labor.  Nope.  Ben didn’t seem to think anything of it.  
It is a very strange feeling to go into a hospital without any labor signs at all and to know you’ll have your baby that day.  October 4th, a Friday, was a very nice day, with crisp sunshine and gorgeous fall weather.  I took the kids out for donuts, which I had promised to let them have on the morning that baby Ben came to be part of our family.  I can't tell which was a more exciting prospect for Ruby: "pink rainbow donuts" or baby Ben!

Look at those eyes and that smile!  Swoon!


We dropped Ruby off at preschool and Alishia came over to watch Max.  Allen and I headed to the hospital and I got prepped for surgery.  Dr. Stephanie Lee, my OB, did a last minute ultrasound to determine the baby’s position, and guess what?  He was head down.  The little stinker had flipped sometime in the last week, because when they checked him only five days previously he was head up.  What a goofball!  



There was a bit of delay because another mama came in and looked as if she might need an emergency C-section, so we had to wait for a bit.  At 11:45 they were ready for me and I walked into the OR.  
I think I had a spinal tap with Max too, but I don’t remember it.  I remember this one because the anesthesiologist hit a nerve and I had shooting pains down my left leg.  That was not fun, and it kind of worked me up. Up until then I hadn’t really been nervous, since I’d already been through all of this, but then I got a bit panicky about the rest of the spinal tap. Not to worry, though, the second try was successful and soon I felt my whole body getting warm and heavy.  They got me all numbed up and Allen came in.  I don’t think he watched as much of the surgery this time around, but maybe he did.  I had an oxygen mask on to help with the anxiety and kept praying the same prayer over and over to keep calm and collected.  Before I knew it, I heard a gargly yowl, my second son’s first cries.  

He had a lot of fluid in his mouth which contributed to the the gargly sound but he was fine.  They got him cleaned up and weighed and measured pretty quickly and then brought him over to be near us.  Of course the first thing I wanted to know was what color his hair was.  It was blond!  Allen was shocked--he was expecting another brunette boy.  He said, “Gosh, I always pictured someone named Ben as having dark hair. I never pictured a blond Ben!” But we didn’t want to change the name on account of his hair color!  So, at 12:13 PM, we welcomed Benjamin Augustine Cook into our family.  He was 7 lb, 1 oz, and 18.5 inches long. 


There were no complications, thankfully.  I didn’t have a lot of scarring so it was fairly easy for them to make the repeat incision.  I hope to heal up well from this one too (and to give my hard-working uterus a little break for a while!)  I spent a few lovely days in the hospital, mostly just me and Ben.  My mom came into town on Friday night and was a huge help with the kids while I was in the hospital.  Ruby and Max came to visit on Friday afternoon.  
Max's babysitter got him and Ruby those adorable "Big Brother" and "Big Sister" shirts!


Blondies unite!

Babies are cool, but can we go outside yet?

Ruby was very interested in “Baby Ben” and asked lots of questions: can he play with me?  Can he eat?  Can he crawl?  Does he wear a diaper?  Max mostly just looked at him and wanted to touch him.  We had some other visitors, mostly family, over the weekend, which was nice. 
Aunt Alishia and Uncle Andy

Allen's grandparents and his mom

 I know that some moms hate the hospital portion of their stay and want to cut it short as much as possible, but I am not one of them.  I like being in the hospital because there are many nice nurses to dote on you and your baby, bring you lots of cold water & chipped ice, you get your meals brought to you three times a day with no preparation and no clean up, and you can watch all of the TV shows you want while you nurse your brand new baby.  For me, it is the “babymoon”: just a time for me and Ben to bond and snuggle and hang out without any other interruptions...and as much as I love Ruby and Max, they make quiet time difficult!  

Ben's saying, No selfies till I get fed!



I came back from the hospital on Monday and have been very thankful to have my mom around this week to help and give my little apartment one of her famous make-overs. 
How heart-warming is that...seeing your little man bring you flowers?!

Grandma Laurie, Ruby, and Ben (the 1st of my kids to take a pacifier, btw)

Allen started his carpentry apprenticeship program on Wednesday and is in class for it tonight, and although in the future he may get sent away from the Portland area for work, it sounds like he will be working in NE Portland for the next few months at least.  Thank you, God, for that; I was really worried that he’d get shipped off somewhere and I’d be wrangling my three “3 and under” kids by myself while still physically recovering from the C-section.  

A note on Ben’s name: Benjamin was actually the first boy name we both agreed on liking way back before we had kids at all.  We thought that our first girl would be named Ruby and our first boy would be named Ben.  But then after Ruby was born it seemed only fitting to have a Max to go with her.  When we learned that this baby was indeed a boy, we returned to our original favorite of Benjamin.  The middle name, Augustine, is in honor of St. Augustine and also of Allen’s grandpa, whose middle name is August.  I doubt Ben will ever find anyone else who shares his middle name, but you never know.  By the way, in case you are wondering how to pronounce it, one can either say Au-gus-TEEN (which is how we say it) or Au-GUS-tin.  Just don’t say August-STEIN, please!  
And now for more of what you really want: pictures!
For some reason, when we tell Ruby to smile for a picture she just gapes her  mouth open...

My favorite lunch bunch...the boys!

Who wore it better: Max or Ben?  Trick question, they're both adorable!


Jazz hands!