Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Hello, World!

Guess what? We did not have to wait quite as long as we thought we might to discover the baby’s sex: baby boy Beckett Rider Lovelace joined the party on Sunday, June 14, 2015, weighing in at a whopping 5 lb, 1 oz. As my father-in-law put it, we just can’t seem to have a vanilla baby – Beckett came at 34 weeks. My very first thought after delivery – heck, maybe this thought was occurring during labor, though I’ll get to labor momentarily, and I cannot say I remember much about it – and very first question for the doctors was, “Does he have to go to the NICU?” (Update: I’ll learn later the answer would have been different elsewhere.)
Beckett's first photo op

This labor wasn’t what I expected it to be but then again, when is it? I’d been told when I was pregnant with Calder not to have a birth plan, or at least not to be wedded to one, and I suppose that was good advice given the way things played out.

this is serious, everybody
Let me set the scene. It’s Sunday, and I’m planning a big day of being productive. Saturday we had taken Calder to the street just around the corner, one of my favorite streets – who wouldn’t want to live on a quaint, tree-lined street dotted with benches that are always hosting a friendly conversation – to a street fair. He had a BALL with the fire truck, the pony rides, the sprinkler … you name it. This also meant I got nothing done all day. So Sunday, that was going to be cleaning day. I’d also typed out a list of what I wanted to pack for the hospital (I was 34 weeks and not going to get caught unawares this time!) and written out some instructions for whomever might be caring for Calder while we were away, just in case it would be friends of ours who’d never watched him before and wouldn’t know where to find the sippy cups, you know? (shout out to Mary Ellen and Tommy, who do know where everything is, thank you thank you thank you!!) I needed Sunday to actually pack that bag and print those instructions.

It’s shortly before 9am and I’m standing at the kitchen sink loading the dishwasher after feeding Calder breakfast. A sharp pain in my side has me heading for the couch instead of breakfast, and I tell Kraemer I need to lay down. My voice has an edge, so he plays it cool and tells me to relax while he takes Calder out back. About 10 or 15 minutes later – I’m not timing – I try to stand, thinking I’m not getting another one. But the second I stand up, there it is, and it’s strong. "I think it's labor," I shout around the corner, and I’m going to go upstairs to lay down and do this labor thing from the comfort of bed. I’d been hoping to go into labor on a weekday so that Virginia (our nanny) would have Calder and Kraemer could be my full-time doula, but it’s beginning to look as though that plan will not pan out. 

After my first pregnancy, I’d read more into the phenomenon of  Braxton Hicks, and how if you move positions sometimes these false contractions will go away, so I decide to get up and start a bath. Hm, no. Contraction. I lay down. I call the doctor, and the answering service tells me they’ll return the call within one hour, two at the most. I get up to brush my teeth. Not so much. I call Kraemer upstairs and when he gets there, ask that he call 911. A one-hour call-back time isn’t going to cut it, and there’s no way I’d be able to a) sit up in the car to wear a seat belt or b) make it to the hospital in time if we have to get Calder into a car seat and heed the traffic lights. I’m still not timing my contractions, but that’s mostly because, well, I don’t have to time these to know they are too strong and too fast to just be getting started. After assuring Kraemer there is NO way I’m getting downstairs into our car, I hear him replying to the dispatcher that my contractions are, yes, less than five minutes apart. This must have all been over a span of 25 minutes.

To anyone who has been in labor before, whether you opted for an epidural or not, a 1.5-hour labor probably sounds pretty fabulous. Mmmm – it has its pluses and minuses. Thankfully, at this point I was 34 weeks, not 24, as I was with Calder, but I’m terrified I’m going to deliver a premature baby at home, where there are no NICU staff on hand. I can hear Kraemer in the other room with Calder, changing his diaper, maybe getting him dressed? When he returns, I can tell Calder is in distress, probably because *I’m* curled in a ball on my bed, distressed. Poor kid. Kraemer later told me he finally resorted to handing Calder his Wubbanub. And I breathe a huge sigh of relief when I can hear the sirens whirring toward our house, hopeful and certain this ride has to be mine. The paramedics clomp upstairs and ask whether I can make it down on my own. I’m skeptical but in a hurry, so the minute a contraction stops, I patter downstairs in my robe, into the street and onto the gurney, and no, I do not need shoes, thank you very much, but Kraemer is behind me toting Calder and hands the paramedic my flip flops, ID and insurance card and lays my cell phone by my side. Calder looks completely bewildered so I try to put on my calmest voice and tell him I’ll see him soon and then I’m in the back of the ambulance.

At this point, I’m more inside my head than anything else and keep my eyes squeezed shut the entire ride there. I’m certain labor and delivery CAN be a peaceful experience for some, and I’m trying to picture all of the relaxation techniques I’d learned about only a couple days before in a birthing class that will later (or rather had already) become a joke between Kraemer and I. Not that I’m in a position at this stage to really use any of them except for breathing in my nose and out my mouth, so I do. I’m sure that though challenging, generally labor is nothing to fret about, but I’m admittedly freaked out. My baby is early, I’m in transit rather than at home with a midwife or in the hospital with doctors, and I’m in the company of paramedics, not my husband.

I’ve got a death grip on the paramedic’s hand, who, by the way, has been great. By the time they roll me into L&D without stopping in the ER, as is protocol, I’m 8 cm dilated. The doctor introduces herself and apologizes for not having been able to return my call. The room is full of residents, nurses and doctors, which is probably normal but still a bit overwhelming, but I’m happy to have made it to the hospital, period. The paramedic tells me apologetically that at this stage she needs to get out the way, and no one steps in to take her place, so I find myself grabbing the railing on my bed. I realize that Kraemer, who has to find someone to watch Calder, isn’t going to make it for the birth. The doctor who has been seeing me throughout my pregnancy happens to be on a call and I feel a little bit of comfort when he walks into the room, a familiar face. I have two or three more contractions once in the room before having contractions where I feel the urge to push, and the doctors confirm it’s time.

Within maybe five more minutes, I have a baby. I probably yelled to wake the dead. Partly because, you know, it hurts, and I had no epidural, partly because I'm squeezing the awkward plastic rail on my bed instead of my husband's hand, and partly because the morning was TRAUMATIC and I'm having a preemie again -- and this time I'm familiar with what that could mean. Less than 90 minutes after my first contraction I hear him cry, a welcome relief, and they lay him on my chest -- the one part of the birthing experience I really wanted more than anything. Everyone comments on his nice set of lungs, and I’m already proud of him. I can’t wait for Kraemer to walk in and meet his son.


  1. Fantastic job, Taryn! Labor and delivery is amazingly bananas. Lol I've done it twice myself. I can't imagine the extra worry and fear of being 34wks. What a warrior! :)

    1. Thanks, Jocelynn! So fun to hear from you. I think "bananas" is the perfect word. I cannot believe I have not heard more crazy stories about labor and delivery overall. Even when it goes perfectly I don't think anyone could say it's easy -- guess it's work and that's why they call it labor. :)