Yes, we got his first name from Enders Game by Orson Scott Card. His middle name was inherited from my Papa, Charles Owen Smith.
All throughout the pregnancy, we have heard birth stories that are all kinds of terrifying. Stories of doctors rushing through births, choosing to induce the mother against her will, pushing for a c-section, and generally running the beautiful process of birth like just another task to accomplish.
Praise God we were blessed with an amazing doctor and an amazing experience.
Our doctor was trained mostly by midwives. She understood and supported our desire to go through this birth as naturally as possible, believing Sarah’s body was made to do this and that Ender wanted to be delivered. Both she and the nursing staff in the maternity ward were supportive, helpful, and a joy to be around.
Contractions started around 7:00pm on the 10th (Wednesday). We had been anticipating Ender’s arrival for about three weeks, believing that he would probably not wait until the due date. We were wrong.
By 10 pm, her contractions were 4 minuets apart but not painful at all. At the advice of a nurse we decided that it was time to head in to the hospital (with a stop by Taco Bell on the way). At 10:30, Sarah was 100% effaced (which she had been for 2 weeks) and 3cm dilated. They had us wait for 2 hours to check if labor was progressing. Sarah decided to walk some stairs during this time. She is a rock star like that.
By 12:30 am Sarah had progressed enough that the doctor wanted to keep us in there. So, we got settled into a room and contractions started intensifying.
Around 2:00am, Sarah’s water broke. Immediately, she went into “hard labor”. Her contractions intensified and quickened (maybe a minute at most between them), and we started the crazy ride. The amount of discomfort and pain she was in was intense (she said, “it was like I was having my right leg ripped off). Let me tell you, one of the hardest things I have ever gone through in my life is seeing my wife in that much pain. It was all over her face and body. It was absolutely heartbreaking. At the same time, it was so good because we knew our baby was on his way.
By 4:30am, Sarah and I were both drained (her much more than me). I called our good friend Jeannie (who was our doula if needed… and she was needed!) and asked her to come to the hospital. I didn’t know how much more support I could give Sarah by myself.
Jeannie and my aunt Kelly both showed up around 5:30am. We were so glad to see them. Sarah was exhausted. Sarah also deals with severe anxiety which had started to kick in and slow labor way down. She had been was stuck between 5-6cm since 3:00am.
At 6:30, Sarah and I made the decision to give her an epidural. After that was in place, she finally was able to find some relief and rest (somewhat). In fact, we were both able to doze for about an hour or so. Jeannie and Kelly both helped us keep things light. We laughed, joked, talked, and loved on Sarah.
Around 12:00pm, Sarah was ready to start pushing. We quickly fell into the rhythm of, “deep breath… and push, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6…” Sarah is a good pusher. Both the doctor and the nurse said so.
After three hours of pushing, Ender was stuck on a little bit of skin (left over from the hymen). Sarah is such a strong woman, but after everything else, she was losing her strength. So, we talked to the doctor and decided to use a small vacuum to help Sarah’s efforts.
Three or four pushes later, Ender came out. We were expecting him to be around 7 lbs. Instead, Sarah delivered a 8 lp 14 oz kid. I’m telling you, it wasn’t a new born that came out. It was a baby!
Our doctor placed Ender directly onto Sarah’s tummy, and Sarah, Jeannie, and Kelly began to cry. I was in a bit of shock. I mean, wow! this is my baby that my wife just pushed out of her body. My love for her soared, and I gladly kissed Ender, held my wife, and was just amazed (…and took some pictures).
After a few minuets, the doctor got the umbilical cord ready and I cut it. Cutting it felt like cutting a rubber band texture wise. Emotionally, it was a bit surreal. I was helping my baby boy come into his own, moving from in utero to being help, nursed, kissed, and starting his journey toward growing up.
I’m still in a bit of (good) shock from the entire experience.
We came home on Friday evening (2/12) with Ender. Since then, he has been our world. Much love to Evergreen for the care, food, and love they have showered upon us in this past week. Jeannie has been over a few times (not nearly enough… we love that girl!), and we have been slowly adjusting to life with Ender.
He is amazing. A perfect, beautiful boy!