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The Day You Were Born

Dear Jake,

When we found out on January 1st, 2007, that your mom was pregnant with you, we were overjoyed. Finally, after 10 years of marriage, we would have our first child!

Then we started doing the math” of a projected due date and we realized it would be the month of September. Our first thought was, Please, not on 9/11.”

You might think we would have realized by now that we’re not in charge of such things, but no, we were in denial.

Your mom’s pregnancy had its ups and downs. She dealt with a lot of morning sickness and food sensitivity — there were many meals during those months when I had to eat somewhere away from the house, then shower and change clothes as soon as I got home. I had to completely give up Honey Nut Cheerios, one of my favorite cereals, because the smell bothered your mom so much. At the same time, she had some interesting food cravings, the most memorable for me being creamed spinach from Boston Market. I made many trips to Boston Market during those months. (But I’d gladly make those trips and give up Honey Nut Cheerios all over again.)

Finally September 2007 came, and we wondered when you would make your grand entrance. There were some old myths about things an expectant mother could do to encourage the baby to be born soon — the two I remember your mom trying were going for long walks and bouncing while seated on a yoga ball.

Then on September 10th, she started to feel different. Late that evening, we headed to the hospital as she was having contractions. But after a couple of hours of being monitored at the hospital with no real progress, they sent us back home.

I stayed home from work on September 11th, as I could tell things were progressing and we couldn’t tell when we would end up going back to the hospital. Your mom spent most of the day sitting on the yoga ball or the couch, trying to find a comfortable position.

Finally, around 4:00 PM, she had me call the doctor’s office to make sure we got some direction from them before the office would close at 5:00. Their message was simple: At this point in your pregnancy, if you think you need to go to the hospital, then go to the hospital.”

So we got our stuff together and arrived at the hospital shortly after 5:00 PM. (I really wish I had journaled these details better, and I know your mom would remember them better than I am.)

We went to the Women & Children’s entrance at the hospital and were shown into a pre-admission room” — a small room like they have in ERs that have three walls and a curtain that separates you from the hallway.

We were pleased that the nurse assigned to our room was an acquaintance from church — she could answer our questions and help put us at ease for what we might expect in the next few hours.

One of the medical things they do for expectant moms in this area is to attach sensors to their body to monitor the baby’s vital signs, such as the heart rate.

Our friend the nurse kept checking this monitor as she talked to us, and I just barely noticed her press a button on the wall, some time around 6:00 PM. I didn’t know what the button did — I just assumed it was recording information from the monitor.

In less than a minute, the curtain to the hallway was quickly pulled back as several doctors and nurses entered our little room. The button on the wall had been some kind of emergency signal that things were not going well for us.

As the nurses pushed me aside, I still tried to find a place where I could hold your mom’s hand and see her face. We were trying to understand what was happening — they finally communicated to us that the baby’s” heart rate was dropping during the mom’s” contractions, so they would need to get the baby” out as soon as possible. They started explaining the need for an emergency C-section — a procedure where you would be delivered surgically, not through the natural process of mom pushing you out. And the whole time, the medical team kept referring to you as the baby” until your mom pulled the oxygen mask away from her face in frustration and growled, His name is JACOB!” It was quiet in that little room for about a half a second until the lead doctor said, OK, everybody — his name is Jacob.” Your mom was appeased with that.

Meanwhile, they kept prepping her for surgery, and even gave me some surgical gowns to put on over my clothes. But as we left our little room that we’d been in for just over an hour, the doctor said, as they wheeled mom down the hall, Dad’s going to have to stay out here.” They wheeled your mom through a set of double doors, and just like that, after all that commotion and craziness, I was standing alone in the hallway. I wasn’t quite sure what to do. None of our birthing classes or parenting classes had prepared us for this.

Then I realized that I had phone calls to make — I needed to call Oma, and Granddaddy, and Grandpa and Grandma to let them know what was going on. And I kept it together pretty well as I talked to Oma, your mom’s mom, and Granddaddy, your mom’s dad, explaining what all had happened and that I would call them again as soon as I knew something more. But by the time I called my own dad, my emotions were shot. He answered the phone, and I couldn’t even say anything. He said something to me again, and I think I finally got out something like, I need you.” He asked if we were at the hospital, and after I answered yes, he said they would be there as soon as they could.

And by the time I hung up from that phone call, I heard your first cry from the other room. It was 6:25 PM on September 11, 2007, and you were born.

I had to wait in that hallway for just a few minutes, and then a nurse came to get me. She brought me into a different room off to the right side — I had been able to get a glimpse into the surgical room on the left side as we came through the doors — and there was a nurse in that room, holding you. I couldn’t believe it. You were just the most amazing thing. I couldn’t believe I was finally getting to meet you. It was one of the best days of my life.

They cleaned you up and put you into a diaper and said they would take you to the newborn nursery. As I walked back out into the hallway, Grandpa and Grandma arrived, and I hugged them as I told them about your successful birth. I called Oma and Granddaddy to share the good news with them, and then walked down to the newborn nursery to watch you.

At some point, a nurse came to get me because mom was in a recovery room and starting to come awake from the anesthesia, and she was quite worried that something bad had happened to you, or that she hadn’t done something right as your mom. So I went down to her recovery room and sat with her for a while, reassuring her that you were OK — better than OK, you were perfect — and she had done everything so well.

Finally, she was able to put into a regular hospital room in that section, and they brought you in and placed you in mom’s arms. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that moment as long as I live, watching your mom’s face as she saw you for the first time, and then seeing you snuggle in next to her as she got to hold you. There was an immediate, visible bond between the two of you from that very first time she held you.

We stayed in the hospital three more days — we went in on Tuesday, September 11, 2007, and were discharged and went home together as a family for the first time on Friday, September 14, 2007. I stayed in the hospital that entire time with you and mom, and those were three of the best days of my life. Many family members and friends came to visit us in the hospital, or sent gifts, or called us. We slept whenever we got the chance, and started to learn what life with you would be like. One of the first things we learned was that you liked skin-to-skin contact when you ate. When we first tried giving you a bottle, you wouldn’t drink much at all, and when we asked a nurse about it, she recommended that mom open her hospital gown some so you could be touching her skin as you took the bottle, and sure enough, that was it — once you were touching some part of our skin, like our chest or our arm, you took to the bottle with no problem. And we were completely fine with that little requirement of yours — we were more than happy to hold you close to us as you ate.

And for the rest of time, we will be completely happy with whatever little differences or quirks you have, those things that make you uniquely you. We will always hold you close to us, our favorite son, our Jacob.

Happy 14th birthday, son. We love you!

Posted on 2021-09-11   #Birth     #Melissa Dunn  

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