The best laid plans.

September 26th – today was my due date – a much anticipated day for our family for most of 2009.

I’m a planner.  I’m always operating a few steps ahead – strategically mapping out all the details of my day.

But alas, there are some things that you just can’t plan for.  Birth being one of those things – making it an event that causes us all to stop our regularly scheduled lives and enjoy the magic of a new life.

This is the post where I talk about having a baby.  Our third.  William James.  And yes – fair warning – I’m going to be candid.  {What’s new?}

September 3rd.  In preparation for my cousin’s up-coming wedding, my plan was to make the two plus hour drive to Seattle with Henry and Charlie.  Alex would meet us there the next day.  After thinking this through {OK, after my mom suggested} I decided that perhaps I should have another adult in the car with me…just in case.  Thank goodness for Uncle Jimmy, who agreed to join us.  We made it safely to Seattle, got the boys settled at my aunt and uncle’s house and headed out to the rehearsal, where Henry was able to practice his ring bearer skills.

September 4th.  After a relaxing morning with family, I headed to my happy place {The University Village} for a couple of hours of uninterrupted shopping.  Had I known this was my “last chance” to run errands before baby I would have been much more productive.  However, I can assure you that I still enjoyed my time…

That evening we celebrated the marriage of my cousin and his beautiful bride.   Henry nailed it as the ring bearer.  And he looked pretty handsome to boot.

Charlie looked pretty cute himself.

September 5th.  After the wedding we decided to stick around Seattle for a few days – it was a long weekend after all.  Alex had big plans to take Henry to the Husky football game – his first game ever.  And I had no big plans to speak of – and was thrilled.

But there was a change of plans.  Apparently doctors really don’t like sentences that combine the words “bleeding heavily” and “37 weeks pregnant.”  Those sorts of things will land you in the hospital.  No matter what city you are in.  Even if you aren’t having any contractions.  {Yes, even after I tried to convince my hometown doctor that we could drive really fast and make it home in time.}

Talk about a sudden change of plans.  By noon we were sitting around a room at the University of Washington Medical Center – waiting.  I wasn’t contracting {I guess I was…but I couldn’t feel them yet…} so we were just letting my body do its job.  I was officially in labor.

That’s me at the hospital.  Killing time.  Sitting on the “birthing ball” in my stylish gown.  See how I’m doing my best to really use pictures to tell the story?  Not everyone would share such an exciting photo – so consider yourself lucky.  Or something like that…

And yes, Alex had to change his plans.  He gave up his Husky tickets – my brothers were thrilled.  But as a consolation prize, the nurses gave us a super-sized room {to accommodate our large entourage – brothers, parents, aunts, cousins} that came with a pretty nice view of Husky stadium.  So it was almost like being at the game…right Alex?

While waiting for things to get going I couldn’t help but laugh.  How could I – the one who had a detailed list of all that I was going to accomplish in the next few weeks {while waiting for baby} be sitting here in a hospital room?  In labor.  In Seattle.  Without my birth plan.  Or my own pillow.   Or an infant car seat.  I hadn’t yet washed the baby clothes, nor had I purchased any newborn diapers.  And what about my mom?  Alex and I had asked my mom to be in the room for the labor and delivery.  I wanted to do things differently this time and I knew that we would both need some extra support.  But that very same morning my parents had flown to Lake Tahoe for a wedding and were now at the Reno airport frantically trying to catch a flight back to Seattle.

None of this was part of the plan.  My plan.

And yet it didn’t seem wrong.  My cousins were able to watch Henry and Charlie, which both boys consider a treat.  My aunt was able to step in and offer us support for the time being.  My brothers were in town.  The hospital room that we had been assigned was much more accommodating to the birth I envisioned than any hospital room in our hometown.  There was an in-room jacuzzi, a birthing ball, and a whole list of other birthing “accessories” available for a natural birth.  And the best part?  The amazing nursing staff.  They didn’t bat an eye when I told them my plans – no IV, no continuous fetal monitoring {I wanted to be able to move and walk around} and no pain medication.  Our nurse was amazing.  She was a gift.  She listened to me, she understood what kind of outcome I was seeking and quietly supported me the entire time {even three hours after her shift had ended.}

Around game time {7:30 p.m. the Huskies kicked-off} things started to happen.  I was finally feeling regular contractions that were increasing in intensity.  Things started to quiet down in our room too.  The pizza party had ceased.  ESPN was put on mute.  And I was starting to focus.  Our room was peaceful and calm.  I wasn’t focused on time anymore.  The nurses and doctors had warned me that once I hit transition things would go very quickly.  {This was based on the fact that my first two labor and deliveries were fast – Charlie’s ending with only one push – coupled with the fact that this was my third baby.}  I laughed as we kept waiting for things to progress – I joked with our nurse and Alex that I knew exactly why things were moving slowly – my mom and dad had finally caught a flight back to Seattle and would be at the hospital around 10:00 p.m.  I told them that I had no doubt that my mom was praying hard that she would make it.

She did.  A few minutes before 10 they arrived right as I was headed into transition.  {And my dad headed across the street to catch the end of the football game.}  Things started moving quickly then.  Up until a point.  After two hours of pushing I hit the wall.  Yet the contractions were coming on stronger, and despite pushing for so long, we were still waiting for baby.  I. was. exhausted.  I could have fallen asleep right then and there – despite the pain and discomfort.  Thus another change of plans.  Anesthesiology was called in to give me a “little something to take the edge off.”  I was still able to freely move around, but I was able to push despite my body telling me not to.

Almost one hour later, four other doctors rushed into our room, as did a handful of nurses, oxygen was given to me, and I was told that if I couldn’t push him out they would have to get him out.  I told them I only needed three more contractions.  And he was out.  Thus avoiding any other scary interventions.  Why almost three hours of pushing?  William was born in the posterior position – a.k.a. face-up.  And despite my big plans to have a completely intervention-free birth, I later learned that had I been given an epidural, I more than likely would have ended up with a c-section as a result of not knowing when my contractions were coming and “feeling” the urge to push.  Again, another curve in my carefully planned road.  {And yes, hindsight I realize that some mistakes were made – probably due to my doctor’s inexperience – that the labor could have been made easier, and quicker – but ultimately, the outcome was what I wanted.}

September 6th.  After 13 hours at the hospital William James made his debut.  At 1:10 a.m.  {Although, he wasn’t officially William until much later in the day…say right around the time we were trying to check out of the hospital and needed an official name…}

If we both look exhausted we were.  Three hours of pushing will do that to you.  And no, it wasn’t how I’d planned it, but all of the sudden my plans didn’t matter.  He was here.  He was healthy.  And we were happy.

But by morning we were totally refreshed after our two hours of sleep.  {Ha.}

We welcomed visitors.  Two big brothers – Henry and Charlie.

Henry was thrilled to hold the new baby.  Yet he still managed to notice my gown and commented “Mom, I really don’t like that dress.  I think you should leave it at the hospital.”  Which was shortly followed-up by “But Mom, your belly looks so much better!”  Charlie was much more interested in snuggling with his “Dada.”

After a day full of visitors {the nurses just couldn’t figure out how the “out-of-town couple” could have so many visitors.  That’s the joy of having a large family and friends that are willing to travel from home to see baby} we decided that we had had enough adventure for the weekend and hit the road.  {Don’t worry – after a very long check out process.}

It only occurred to me as we were sitting in the car heading back home that we had checked out of the hospital on the same day our baby had been born.  Who does that?  Again, my plan had been to spend at least two days in the hospital milking that “vacation” {you moms with more than one know what I’m talking about} as long as I could.  Somehow that plan too had been thrown out the window.

Yet it was good to be home.  That night as we were getting ready for bed Alex teased me – saying “you know that you don’t have to take Labor Day weekend so literally.”  This was especially funny as I had done the same thing when Charlie was born – 10 days early – and on Labor Day weekend nonetheless.

It took the birth of our youngest baby to remind me {yet again} that even the best laid plans can be tossed out the window in the blink of an eye.  Especially when it comes to growing a family.  Because it serves as a gentle reminder of the One who is really in control.  And that’s fine with me.


7 thoughts on “The best laid plans.

  1. Oh, Libby. What a beautiful retelling of your story! I love all the pics. You look beautiful in all of them. I am glad all is well. What a nightmare-turned-fairy tale.


  2. Thanks for sharing. The whole time I was reading your post, I kept thinking…hmmmm…God apparently had a different plan. Then, as I knew you would, you stated just that point. It’s such a comfort to me to know that He is the one in control. God bless you and your beautiful family!

  3. Libby, Thanks for sharing your story with pictures. What a beautiful experience in so many ways. We are thrilled to welcome William into our community. You and your family are very loved!

  4. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing. Its so funny how plans don’t always go as they ‘should’ no matter how good we are at making them! :) William is gorgeous and glad you had a good experience at UW hospital while the rest of us were suffering from the Husky loss across the street in the stadium! :)

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