I was ready for Alex to come in mid-November. Planned my life around it – the laundry was finished and put away regularly, papers were graded, the house was cleaned. And he never came. Recently, I resigned myself to the fact that he was going to be a late baby. The latest the midwife would let me go was Christmas Eve, and, in my mind, I knew I would be spending Christmas in the hospital – away from Robbie.
And then I woke up at 2:18 Saturday morning with intense contractions. You know – the kind that are every five minutes and stay that way for five hours, so you finally go to the hospital, only to have them stop? Completely? Like you don’t have a single one while you’re hooked up to the monitor? Yeah. Those were the kind I had.
Justin and I left, two hours of our Saturday wasted. I may or may not have cried, feeling stupid because I told myself I wouldn’t make the same false trips to the hospital that I had when I was pregnant with Robbie. And you know what happened as soon as we left the hospital and sat down at a restaurant to have brunch, right? Contractions picked up, five minutes apart. However, I was not going to be fooled again.
Justin and I enjoyed our brunch, bought Christmas stamps, and headed home to clean the house. I battled – and defeated – the kitchen, complete with crusted, colored icing on the counters from the previous night’s rushed cookie job before school’s holiday party. I nearly conquered the sheets stained with blue marker from a certain big brother (and the father who wasn’t paying attention to what he was doing). We addressed and mailed Christmas cards. I vacuumed up the We watched Santa Claus The Movie, The Right Stuff, and started Tora! Tora! Tora! Finally, after five more hours of contractions four to five minutes apart, Justin decided it was time to go back. Apparently, my whimpering on the couch was enough to do the poor man in.
We headed back to the hospital, and, miraculously, the contractions didn’t go away. In fact, they got worse. All of a sudden, it looked like Justin’s wishes for a Pearl Harbor baby were going to come true.
Justin and I took hypno-birthing classes when I was pregnant with Robbie, and we decided it was pretty much a lie. I have to tell you, after having Alex, I’m a little more of a believer. I went the epidural route right away this time, which let me relax and not be miserable through labor. It’s pretty incredible what a difference that makes. Justin and I spent the next 90 minutes catching up with the midwife and the nurse, while Alex started to work his way into the world. Eventually, I did need to push, but it was only when he was inches from being born.
I had dreaded that part. With Robbie, pushing took 3 hours and 22 minutes. I thought the poor child was never going to be born, and we were both going to be stuck like that forever. Plus, I was exhausted from 48 hours of labor. With Alex? It was 21 minutes until he was in my arms. Just like that. All 8 pounds, 11 ounces of him.
You know how people tell you that you’ll love your second child, but it will be different? And you can’t possibly imagine a scenario where you love someone as much as your first? And you were terrified of how things would change? All gone the moment he was in my arms in all his slimy glory. Alex looked at me, and I was undone. Undone in a completely different way than Robbie, my big boy and adventure partner. I think this might be a beautiful thing.