Double the love: The birth of Deacon
We found out we were pregnant with baby No. 2 a couple of weeks after our first child’s first birthday, which was also four days before we departed for our family vacation to Hawaii.
From the very beginning of this pregnancy, I felt tired—more than I remembered from my first pregnancy. At the beginning of my third trimester, I celebrated and told my husband, “Today is the beginning of the last trimester!” His response was, “Oh, good. Isn’t this when you are not supposed to feel so tired all of the time?” “No.” I replied, “That was supposed to be the beginning of the second trimester.”
We found out we were having another boy in August. It took us until the very beginning of January to decide on a name. We were so conflicted, and many friends and family told us he wasn’t going to make an appearance until he had a name!
So, at my 39-week appointment in the beginning of January, my doctor asked me, “Does he feel bigger or smaller than your last?” I replied “About the same, I guess.” Truthfully, I had never really thought about it. I guess I assumed they would be the same. Hunter, our first son, was 7 pounds and 13 ounces. With being overly tired, putting on more weight the second time around and beginning to swell, I should have known. I think chasing around a toddler kept my mind too busy.
I was really anxious after Christmas. I was due on January 11, and it was a cold winter. I left work early on a Wednesday not feeling well and unable to concentrate. I knew it was time. I went home to nap before my husband picked up our son from daycare. I was dealing with Braxton Hicks that week and was really nervous about going into labor at work or anytime while alone.
Just like my first pregnancy, I went to bed that night and felt some pains. I waited for them to subside, but they weren’t going away. As they began to get stronger and closer together, I realized it was time to call the doctor. She instructed that we go to the hospital to get checked out.
We woke up Hunter, our nearly 21-month-old, and took him to my in-laws around 1 a.m. We asked him if he was ready to be a big brother and with his tired little voice, he replied, “Yes.” It was so hard leaving him knowing that he would be confused in the morning. We drove to the hospital, and I remember the clock on the bank said it was -2 degrees outside.
We checked in, we got our room very quickly, and as I used the restroom. I lost my mucus plug—an unfriendly site. Finally, I thought as my patience was really getting the best of me. We are making some progress.
My husband and I walked up and down the halls for a long time. I wasn’t dilating much past 2 cm, and the contractions were strong but still farther apart. As I walked, I observed that the windows were frozen. The cold didn’t bother me one bit that awful winter. I could have worn a T-shirt every day for the past month!
I really wanted to take a bath in the birthing suite. I enjoyed it so much the first time and thought it really helped with Hunter’s birth. This time around, it had actually slowed my progress down, and the contractions felt as though they were subsiding. I was determined and got right out of that tub. My husband was napping as it was the wee hours of the morning. I began walking again, as much as I could.
Finally, I was checked by the wonderful nurse at 7 a.m. and was dilated enough to get an epidural. The anesthesiologist arrived at 8 a.m., and I felt tremendous relief. The last hour was full of strong contractions—I think I blocked that memory from my mind. I only recall squeezing on the railing of the bed and clenching my teeth so tight. The doctor broke my water for me, again, just like my first pregnancy. They increased the Pitocin after a couple of hours, and by noon I was well on my way.
I felt pressure, and the doctor checked on me. I was dilated enough and was ready to begin pushing. Again, I thought, Finally!
My husband was by my side. I remembered pushing and breathing from my first son’s delivery. Throughout the whole process, everything felt so familiar. As I grabbed my legs, I leaned forward and sat up as much as I could. My doctor remarked, “Look at her—she can watch her own delivery!”
I didn’t push for very long—less than a half hour—and out he came! The doctor and nurses were so incredibly helpful. First thing I said as soon as I saw him was, “Wow, he looks really big.” They weighed him and at 9 pounds.
I learned that he wasn’t in the birth canal for very long, and that quick change of pressure caused his whole head to appear somewhat purple. It was bruised and took a few days for it to go away. His eyes were completely bloodshot, or red, for the same reason. But it wasn’t painful for him. Also, again, because it all happened so fast, he swallowed some fluids. He had complications breathing, and they had to call in more nurses to work on him. They used the syringe and got out a lot of those fluids. I remember not being able to see him, and I couldn’t help but cry as I didn’t want to bother the doctors and nurses to ask how he was doing. But I needed to know that he was OK. Finally, I heard some loud cries and knew that he was alright.
Deacon was born on a cold January afternoon. It was a Thursday. He was 9 pounds even and 21 inches. Our big boy had a little bit of dark hair and blue eyes.
We remained in the hospital overnight and left at the minimum requirement of 24 hours. Although I was leaving with a few more stitches than my last birth, I was also leaving with a noticeably bigger heart. I never could quite understand how I could love another baby as much as our first. Immediately after having Deacon, I understood the saying “love multiplies.” Our hearts had doubled, and we left the hospital that day as a family of four, anxious to have us all together. (During flu season, children weren’t permitted as visitors in the hospital, so we were excited for these brothers to meet.)
As my in-laws and parents waited in our home with big brother, we brought home our new bundle of joy. He wore a little brother outfit and fleece hat, gloves and booties. As we presented little brother to big brother, Hunter took a few steps back. Not even 2 years old, he was so surprised. He removed one of Deacon’s fleece booties and patted his foot. He checked him out for a moment and then the sweetest thing happened. Hunter walked over to us both and gave us each a hug, as if to say thank you. We had given him the greatest gift of all: a sibling.
My husband took Deacon out of his car seat and while holding Hunter, placed Deacon in his lap. “This is your new little brother.” We cried, and it will forever be one of the sweetest memories in my heart.
Send us your birth story! Whether you had a home birth, hospital birth, 37-hour labor or emergency C-section, we’d love to read the tale of your little one’s grand entrance. Write up your birth story (click here for tips on getting started) and email it, along with a few photos, to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll share it on our Birth Day blog and may even print it in an upcoming issue!
By Kim Ennis