Photo courtesy of Stephanie Fay Photography
It was love at first sight. Everyone says it will be, but you really have no idea what to expect until you are actually there, in the moment, seeing your child for the first time. Chip Kayson Lewis was born on December 17, 2010 at 8:32 pm. He weighed in at 8lbs 9 oz and was 22.5 inches long. And just, absolutely, perfect.
This post is a bit of catch up, so if you want to scroll through and skip the birth story and only look at the photos, please do. Also, please do not read this if you are not into details. Just don’t. And don’t complain if you do. But I need to write this down before I forget, and I need to put it where I wont lose it. So here it goes.
Photo courtesy of Megan Craft Photography
December 16 and I’ve been at 4 cm dilated and 90% effaced for a week. So we do what every person who is in this state would do: go running. Cy and I run three miles (I use the term “run” very loosely here) and get ready to go to the doctor that afternoon for a check up. In my dream world, I am hoping that she tells me I am ready to deliver and then I will have the first ever, painless birth. No such luck. But our doctor knew I was ready for this baby to come out, and so she stripped my membranes which hurt incredibly bad, until of course, I felt the pain of labor. Anyway, she told us that this method only works 50% of the time and then let us know that the following week we would have to think about induction if baby had not come yet.
We went home that night and went to Sur la Table and I cried my eyes out in the middle of the mall. I felt like I did something wrong, that the baby was not coming because of something I did. Family was coming in town for Christmas and I felt awful that they would not meet our little one and that everyone would be disappointed. Did I mention that earlier this week I cleaned my Kitchen Aid mixer with tooth picks? Yeah there was a bit of nesting and a lot of emotions going on. But neither of these things clued me in to the fact that delivery was right around the corner.
And so the morning of December 17 arrives. I always thought I would go into labor in the middle of the night because that’s what you always hear, and you see in the movies, so it must be true, right? Each morning I woke up, disappointed that I still had not felt one contraction and I was still pregnant. Cy went off to work, reminding me to call him if I needed anything and if I had any contractions. My mom and dad were in town, so he was not too worried leaving me for the day.
“Hi! I was thinking we should go and get you a nursing bra today.”
“No, I don’t want to, because everyone says that you should wait until the last minute.”
“Honey. This is the last minute. You are a week overdue.”
And so after a cup of coffee and some breakfast we head off to Target. As we are walking around, my back begins to hurt. Like a dull aching pain. Annoying. I feel fat, old, and out of it, and now my back is killing me because I am walking at a snail’s pace around Target. Super. We get what we need and we are on our way to the library when the back pain suddenly escalates and feels more like a stabbing and less like a constant burning. Ouch. It passes. Ouch again. I vaguely remember my doctor telling me that if I have pain in my back that comes and goes to pay attention because it was back labor. The fact that I remembered this when the week earlier I misplaced multiple gift cards, is amazing. I tell my family I need to go home and put a hot compress on my back. And eat. I have a turkey sandwich and some brussel sprouts and I call my husband (Cy) to let him know I’m having some contractions.
Wisely, Cy tells me to time the contractions and keep him posted. It’s 12:00 noon. I begin timing and they are a minute and a half long and seven minutes apart. Ok. One o’clock: one minute long, three minutes apart. It’s go time. I call Cy, and tell him to get here now, and he hangs up, leaving his work immediately. I later learned that as he was running out the door, all of his fellow employees clapped and cheered! So cute! Anyway, back at home, I’m screaming my head off, and giving my dad confusing orders as to if I want him to stay next to me or if I want to be alone. I want something different every contraction. Poor dad. He finally calls my mom who is at the library and tells her to get home immediately, “No, Sharon. There is no time to checkout a book. You need to come home now.”
By the time Cy and my mom arrive, I am in the living room crying and screaming on my hands and knees. The contractions are one minute long and one minute apart. It is important to note that I barely can feel any pain in my abdomen at this point. My back labor is so horrible, that the contractions in my uterus are hardly noticeable at all. Back labor, for those of you who do not know, is that the baby is sunny-side up in my uterus and his spine is rubbing against mine-it’s bone on bone. Yeah, I said my fair share of swear words, you would too.
Cy gets the last of the things together that we will need at the hospital and we make our way to the car, which takes about 5 minutes because I am having contractions and can not walk. The car ride is 30 minutes away, and even longer on this day because it’s raining in Southern California and there is back up traffic. I have no idea how long we were in that traffic, but it felt like 1 minute. The whole time I am digging my nails into Cy’s hand and he is helping me breathe, something that I hated him for at the time, but it really did help. We finally make it to the hospital and the trip upstairs is painstakingly long. I feel like I want to die, I can barely move at all and all I want is the baby to come out. Immediately.
I’m finally checked in and am in the hospital gown. They check me and I am 6 cm. Kindly she asks me if I want an epidural and I tell her no. I made Cy promise that no matter what I said he would not let me get the epidural. I wanted to do it without it, and I felt like I would regret it if I didn’t. This was all before I was in labor. And had back labor. The contractions are strong and only 60 seconds a part and I am sweating, screaming, and so exhausted that I am falling asleep between each contraction. It’s true that you can rest between contractions, but because I had such horrific back labor, there was no break. I was in constant pain, so much so that my eye sight was blurry. A man came in to take my blood ( I don’t even recall him sticking me) and I looked up at him in my dazed and confused vision, I saw a man with black hair in a white lab coat and all I remember thinking was “Dharma Initiative.” Welcome to my brain.
It’s now 4:00 pm and I’ve been in labor for 4 hours, and Cy’s hands are all beat up from my nails digging in, and I can hardly handle the pain. I keep thinking about how I still have to push later and am wondering if I am going to have energy. Almost on cue, the nurse says to me, “I know you can do this, but there is no shame in getting an epidural.” Bless her! I just needed someone to give me the “ok”. Our doctor came in and spoke to us about it, assured us that it would not hurt the baby, and after convincing Cy that I would not regret it, that I really DID want the epidural and that if I did not get it I might start swearing out loud and hitting him-hard, we decide to get it. I am 8 cm by this point. By 4:30 I had the epidural and it was comparable to hot chocolate during a rain storm watching a movie. Well, in comparison to the pain of labor. I could still feel the contractions, but I could finally breathe.
About 2 hours pass and my doctor comes back. She breaks my water and I am 8 cm and 90% effaced. She tells me that it will take about 2-3 hours until I get to 10 cm and then another 2-3 hours to push. She says that she hopes by midnight the baby would be here. One hour or so passes, and it’s about 20 minutes before 8:00 pm and they come in to check me. Surprise! I am 10 cm and 100% effaced. It’s go time. While they are getting everything together, the baby’s heart beat starts to drop, so I am instructed to lay on my right side and they give me an oxygen mask. It improves and they tell me that we are going to do a few “practice pushes” to see how well I do. We do one. We do a second. The nurse reaches for the call button and says, “We need the doctor in here for delivery.” Delivery? What? Didn’t we only push twice? ”You’re good!” she says to me, and I just smile and nod, totally confused as to why the doctor is coming in so soon. Cy is right by my side and I tell him to not take his eyes off mine, not now, not ever. He is my best friend, my soul mate. He is the love of my life.
She tells me to keep pushing, just like I was, and so I do. We push through one contraction. We push through another. And she says, “Ok, we are going to have this baby on the next one.” WHAT? And again, go time. I push and Cy watches as he crowns, his head comes out, and then all at once, he arrives. Twenty minutes and he is here. He is suddenly lying on my chest and I can hardly believe it as he looks up at me, and his little eyes and arms and feet, and everything is just perfect. It was so surreal. Immediately our lives had changed. Suddenly, there was another person in the room. Cy and I look at each other and we are speechless, but we are sharing a million words.
The doctor told me later that she had never seen contractions that intense and that close together before, and that she was so glad that I had gotten an epidural because the last few hours of labor was so intense that it was like having one giant contraction. So glad we missed out on that.
The next days are a blur. The next weeks are a blur. I am sitting here, with a 2 month old baby asleep in the other room, and my husband next to me. We are the same people, just full of so much love. So much has changed, yet I can hardly imagine what it was like to not have him here. He is a joy. He smiles, lots. He’s learning to grab at things. He just started sleeping through the night. He smiles every time Cy walks in the door after work. And he is ours. We feel so blessed that God has trusted us with this miracle, and we are learning daily how to take care of him.
I still bake. And I will post soon. But I will also be posting about this journey called “Parenthood” and Chip, the best thing I have ever baked.