On Saturday, September 3rd at 5:54pm my family and I welcomed Maddox Masashi Boomer into the world. We call him Max. He is serious yet sweet and oh so hairy. This is his story.
On the eve of Max's birth I was in a panic. I was set to go into the hospital the following morning for a scheduled induction but I was having second thoughts. The whole idea of an elective induction felt so unnatural and not part of my envisioned birth plan. Everything was fine. Max was 'just' one week late. An ultrasound confirmed I had enough fluid and Max was having no issues moving around. My Midwife Helen told me we could wait longer, and that in fact waiting was the safest thing to do. However when you're overdue, every day feels like one hundred. Each night past my due date I thought to myself, this is it. He's coming tonight. But he never did. My mom had been in town staying with us for already three weeks. Ryan assured me it was time and everything would be okay. Helen was going to be at the hospital on Saturday and it was my dream to have her deliver this baby (more on that later). So it was a go.
Saturday morning arrived and I had to call the hospital at 7am to make sure they had room for us. I was half hoping they would tell me they couldn't take us. I wanted to buy more time for my little guy to arrive on his own. Sure enough a nurse said to be there by 8am. Here goes nothing.
I got dressed in my standard summer attire, a black maxi dress. I wasn't going to share this but I decided to admit it... I actually googled "what to wear to an induction." Ha! I had no idea. Do I wear workout clothes? A dress? With Grayson everything was so different. I went into labor fast and furiously in the middle of the night. I have no idea what I was wearing, other than my big winter coat that I remember Ryan forcing me to put on. My google search proved to be ridiculous so I just went with what I felt most comfortable in. Hence the maxi dress.
I forced myself to eat a piece of toast and eat a few bites of fruit before saying goodbye to my Mom and Grayson. I felt myself getting choked up thinking about how this was the last time I would see Grayson as my only child. So I hurried out of the house to the car. Ryan slowly made his way to the car with me. He was much too calm for my liking.
There's no traffic on Saturdays at 7:30am so we arrived on time to the hospital. We drove in almost silence. Of course I was excited, but mostly I was anxious and nervous. There were no car selfies. I was too busy trying NOT to remember how painful labor was the first time. I was also trying to erase all of those google searches I did on induction - seriously I have to quit it on google. Ryan knows better than to talk to me when I'm like this so he kept quiet, enjoying the fact that he didn't have to drive like a mad man to get me to the hospital.
We parked (After a quick debate questioning if we should park in the spots reserved for women in labor.) and walked in. I was wearing my own backpack. Pain free. No contractions. Nothing. I felt really good actually. It was absolutely the oddest feeling.
We checked in at the desk on the labor and delivery floor and I sat down to fill out some paper work. I have no idea really what I was signing, I just kept recalling how different this was than the first time. When I was in labor with Grayson I was literally leaning on the office desk in between contractions, panting and sweating as the nurse asked me questions. I could hardly see. Now here I was the second time around feeling better than ever, yet knowing what was in store for me.
A few minutes later, a wonderful nurse came to get us. She was so excited. "You're having a baby today," she exclaimed. Oh yea, I thought. That's why we are here. For the first time I felt the nerves subside slightly and I smiled. We were brought into the room where I would deliver. She took my vitals and told me to get changed into the hospital gown. Guess I didn't get to wear my black maxi for too long.
Soon my Midwife Helen walked in and I instantly felt like everything was going to be okay. This is why having Helen there to deliver this baby was so important to me. I first met Helen when I was pregnant with Grayson. Prior to my first pregnancy I was terrible when it came to any medical situation. Just thinking about giving blood or any type of procedure would leave me light headed. The best example I can share is when I was 6 weeks pregnant with Grayson I had to attend an info seminar at my doctor's office. Basically it was a room of newly pregnant ladies learning about the practice and the different types of testing and appointments that you will go through. Shortly into the session I started feeling it coming. All this medical chat, mentions of giving blood, anatomy scans, ultrasounds... it was too much for me to handle. So what did I do? I fainted in the middle of the room. Yes, I passed out from a mere discussion. Everyone who knew me, including my own mother wondered how in the world I would ever make it through a pregnancy. Then I met Helen.
Helen is one of those people who just makes you feel calm. From day one she changed my entire outlook on things. I was able to give blood without flinching. I felt comfortable talking to her about anything, and asking every type of question. I don't think she even knows the impact she had on me, but I'd say it's life altering. She made me feel proud of myself for the healthy, active pregnancies I had. She was simply the best. She wasn't on call the night I gave birth to Grayson but here she was this time around. And I was ready.
"We're having this baby today Jenn," Helen told me. She smiled and asked what I wanted to do next. "Umm, whatever you think is best," I laughed and said to her. Helen and I both wanted to do things as slowly and naturally as possible so she started me on Cytotec, a pill to ripen the cervix and induce to labor. I was already 4 cm dilated (and had been for weeks), so Helen was hoping this might get contractions started. She inserted the pill and I had to wait three hours before determining the next step. She told us to order breakfast and watch a show. Again, this felt odd. So to makes things odder we decided to watch Stranger Things on Netflix while eating scrambled eggs. Not exactly how I envisioned welcoming my son into the world, but hey, I was going with the flow.
After three hours, I was still feeling nothing and not really having contractions. It was time for the Pitocon. This is the part I was nervous about. Once they administered it would I just fly into active labor? Helen started me on level 1 (not sure it's call levels but that's what I call it) and she said she would be back in an hour. The hour came and went slowly. I started to feel very, very minor contractions coming regularly. When she came back in she bumped me to level 2. I moved myself into a rocking chair next to the hospital bed and started putting myself into a trance. I was definitely feeling the contractions and they were lasting 30 seconds to a minute now. They were completely manageable. I just kept rocking with my eyes closed and went into my own meditative state. I wanted to be as relaxed as possible. I was striving to avoid an epidural this time, but was open to getting one again if I needed to.
At one point I felt a shift in the energy in the room. Oh yea, Ryan was here... I look over to find him doing squats with the birth ball in the corner. YEP. You can't make this stuff up. "What are you doing!!" I yelled. "Just moving my body. Sorry I will sit down," he said. "STOP! Sit down and don't make any noise!!!" I screamed. Then I went back to rocking.
Helen comes back in after the hour and said she wants to move me up to level 3. Clearly contractions were coming regularly but they weren't strong enough yet. They gave me another boost. This is where things get fuzzy. Maybe 20 minutes later I was in full on active labor. The pain was real, intense and I was having trouble breathing through each contraction. I think Ryan went out to get Helen or maybe the nurse came and saw me... but Helen appeared. She asked me if I wanted to get checked and see how far along I was or if I wanted to get an epidural first. I didn't even hesitate. I need the epidural NOW!
While we were waiting for the anesthesiologist to arrive, things were moving fast and furiously. I was hyperventilating. Helen came over to me and mimicked the breathes I should be taking in my ear. This helped as I copied her and got myself slightly under control. She came around in front of me and grabbed my hands and pulled me in close. She helped me though every single contraction just by strongly holding onto my hands. She sent me confidence through her touch.
Finally it was time for the epidural. It's the worst having it administered. You have to sit still through contractions which feels impossible, yet of out of fear you do it. I actually thought about Pilates during this moment. They ask you to round your back, like a c-curve. I remember them telling me to round more and I got frustrated thinking, 'Hello I know how to c-curve people and I'm doing it perfectly. Ha!"
The epidural took a while to kick in, but when it did my vision cleared and I could see straight again. Helen checked me and I was 10 cm dilated and ready to push. She asked me if I wanted a few minutes to rest and recover or if I wanted to get going. I didn't hesitate. I was ready to meet my little man.
Pushing with Grayson was the most empowering and moving experience of my life. I felt my strength take over and for the first time during labor I felt in control. I was playing an amazingly active role in my child's arrival that no one but me could do. I was really looking forward to this moment again.
We started to push as the contractions rolled in, but after 25 minutes or so I wasn't making much progress. The epidural was too strong. I couldn't feel anything at all. Thank goodness I knew where to push from (Again, think c-curve muscles. Thank you Pilates!) but for some reason the baby wasn't moving down. Helen moved me onto my side and finally my hard work started to pay off. Helen told me she could see his dark, curly hair. I only needed a few more contractions and he would be here.
It was just the nurse, Helen and Ryan with me in the room. The lights were dim and it was actually as calm as could be. Helen asked Ryan if he wanted to "catch" the baby when he came out and I heard him say that he wanted to just stay next to me, right where he was. We now joke that it's a good thing he stayed put because this baby DID NOT come flying out. Helen literally pulled him out. And he kept coming and coming as she announced, "this is a one BIG, healthy boy!"
Immediately she lifted him up and I got a glimpse of him. I started to cry as she passed him to me and he nestled right onto my chest and close to my neck. I breathed in his snuggly newborn warmth. With each rise of our chests I could feel my love for him exploding into the air and forever enclosing around us as mother and son. In that moment there is no time. It's just purely perfect love.
And then we found out why his delivery wasn't so easy. He weighed 9lbs, 9oz!!! Everyone in the room was shocked. Deep down I was so grateful I went through with the induction. Had I given my "little" boy more time to arrive on his own I most likely would have needed a c-section.
A doctor came in to help with my recovery after delivery. All I can say is thank goodness for the epidural. I was told that my road to healing wouldn't be quick but honestly once again I wasn't really listening. How could I when I was pain-free from the epidural and holding my brand new baby?
Looking back on everything now almost five weeks later I feel blessed for such a beautiful birth experience. It wasn't anything like I expected and I've come to realize when it comes to children, you can never predict what will happen. Every turn of the road is a new adventure from start to finish, from child to child. Max could not be more different than his older brother Grayson but my love for each just gets stronger by the day. It feels impossible to think that a love like this can grow and grow but it does. As I watch Grayson embrace his new role, both struggling and soaring I see myself going through the same process. As Max grows each day he fills all of our hearts with happiness. Our family is learning, laughing, crying and surviving as a new unit of four.
And we absolutely could not do it without our rock, Ryan. Without hesitation he has embraced fatherhood with strength, courage and patience ... often times when I have none. When I'm depleted of every ounce of energy he steps in without thought. Each of my boys hold a part of his name. Grayson's middle name is Ryan and Max's middle name is Masashi which is Ryan's middle name. I'm proud they each have a part of him to hold forever.
Baby Max... we're so happy you're finally here! Since you've arrived it's been a beautiful chaos here at home and we wouldn't have it any other way. You are oh - so - serious with your endless grunts and groans. You remind me of your dad, noisy and stinky yet so sweet. I love your squishy, chubby rolls and dark, beautiful eyes. I'm obsessed with your defined eyebrows. You seem older than you actually are. You love to be on your belly and have your back rubbed, just like your mama. You dislike to sleep, unless you're in our arms.
And your hair, oh your hair. It's inevitable that everyone compares it to your brother's. After all, he did have one awarding-winning, epic head of it. But you're holding your own. Longer than his was, you share the same dark black color he did. Leaving us all to wonder what it will evolve into...
We are so madly in love with you Max.
Thank you for reading this very personal story. It's always hard to know how much or little to share. The past few weeks have proven to be full of blog-worthy stories and I'm looking to taking a stab at posting more!
*Professional photos by April K. Photography. If you live in the Boston area April has my highest recommendation. She is simply the best!*