Psssst -- there are cute baby photos at the bottom of this post. Go ahead, skip this part and scroll down. I'll wait.
There. OK. Now, here's a funny story -- The Day Our Baby Was Born. The photos will still be at the bottom when you're done ...
I woke up last Wednesday, October 5, 2011, and I just knew. I don't know how I knew, I just did -- Kim was letting me sleep while she got Kate ready for day care, and I woke up a little when I heard her getting dressed and I saw the light on, and I just knew.
But it was still unexpected.
See, Kim wasn't due until October 22. Even though all the indications were that she was going to go early -- from the way she carried, to the visual drop she experienced over the weekend, to the fact that all our friends had gone 3-4 weeks early recently -- we still thought we'd make it to about the 15th or so. I even predicted the 18th, as that was the day that Grandma would be flying to Arizona, and both of the granddaughters were born while a grandmother was traveling!
Anyway, Kim took Kate to day care, and I headed off to work. Despite my morning premonition, everything was just trucking along -- I'm entering my busiest time of year, and was focused on keeping things pretty steady as customer catalogs ramped up. Nothing too crazy, nothing weird, just working and trying to figure out when I was going to squeeze in a ride, maybe at lunch.
And then the phone rang.
"Hey," Kim said, slightly out of breath. Caller ID showed she was on her cell phone.
"Hey! What's up?" I asked.
"I just had my doctors appointment," she said. I had forgotten -- her once-a-week checkups were on Wednesday mornings, "and they said I'm 5 cm dilated and might be 95% effaced."
"What? What do you mean, 'might be'?"
"Well, I'm not sure if she said that, or something like it. Anyway, they want to do an ultrasound to make sure there's enough room in there. I scheduled it for 1:45 so I can go to lunch with my coworkers. Oh, and she said make sure we have our bags packed -- she doesn't usually see 5 cm in the office, and if I get to 7 I won't be walking around."
This is my wife. Her baby is halfway out, and she's planning lunch for her office. I mean, yeah, it was Papa's & Beer, but still!
I, on the other hand, went into overdrive. I fired off a quick text to "Team Baby," our friends here who were set to take care of Kate, and sent an email to my office:
Hi everyone --I just got a call from Kim from her doctor's appointment, and it sounds like things are a lot further along than we expected. We won't be making the due date!I need to head over to the hospital this afternoon and may or may not be back. And, I may or may not be here any time in the next few days. As the doctor said, make sure you have your bags packed!!!!!I will have my phone with me, and we have full access to e-mail in the birthing and postpartum suites.
Still, I kind of half expected to head back to the office, even though I really needed to go home and pack. I also sent a quick email to my dad, letting him know.
The next couple of hours were a blur, and I picked Kim up just before her appointment. We checked in, didn't have to wait long, and got a really nice foot picture of the kid. More importantly, everything was OK -- there was just enough room, though the baby was "ahead of schedule" by about a week or so. Estimated size was 7 lbs., 12 oz., a good size given a 37-1/2 week timeframe.
And then ... nothing.
I don't know what I expected, but I didn't expect to be doing nothing. No labor, no contractions, no ... nothing. I dropped Kim off at her office and decided to fit in a quick ride -- I could pack when we got home in the evening. Easy, low-key out-and-back on Laurel to about where the climbing really begins, and a really solid run at the tech features on the way down. I got home just as Kim and Kate did, and we had dinner with Kate.
Kate, by the way, was being stubborn. Dinner took way too long, as she was sick and didn't want to eat. Or focus. So by the time Kim took her to the bathroom, I was getting impatient, and I excused myself to go pack. I started to gather some clothes and just kind of got some stuff together. Then I heard Kate.
"Mommy, what's wrong?"
"Nothing honey. Mommy just needs to stand for a minute."
OK, no big deal, Kate was on the potty refusing to go and Kim was sitting on the edge of the tub. I can imagine how uncomfortable that might get after a bit, arguing with a toddler. I kept gathering, grabbing some stuff out of the kitchen.
Five minutes passed. Exactly five minutes. It was 6:58 p.m.
"Mommy, what's wrong?"
"Nothing honey. Mommy just needs to stand. Now go potty please."
I went into overdrive.
I don't know if it was her voice, or the timing, or what, but somehow in the back of my mind, something got triggered. My laid-back packing became focused, as I ran up and down the hallway and threw the pile of clothes from the bed into the bag. Could this be it?
We finally got Kate into her room, and as I read her a story Kim got an uncomfortable look on her face. "What's wrong?" I asked.
"We'll deal with it in a minute."
And I knew. Game on.
We got Kate into bed, and by 7:20 Kim was already having contractions 3 minutes apart. We were a little concerned that the day's office visit might trigger false labor, so we laid her down in bed and she drank some water. I grabbed my phone and started timing; although irregular for a couple of contractions, by 7:30 she was down to 2-1/2 minutes. This was real, and it was happening NOW.
We called her babysitter, who was a half hour away. She was making soup, and I asked her to come as quick as she could -- I even told her we had soup for her. I started putting things in the car -- and my Dad called, to check up on the email I sent. I'm not sure what I said to him, but he could hear in my voice that I didn't have time to talk!
By 7:50, Kim was down to 1 minute apart, and I knew we had to move. We called her coworker, who was at the house 10 minutes later to cover until Kate's babysitter got there, and we were gone. Count the contractions -- one in the living room, one at the car, one at the bottom of the hill. These were real, and these were fast -- that baby was on its way! I forgot my phone earpiece, asked Kim if I should go back for it, got a solid NO!, and so called her family as I drove stick-shift one-handed on the mountain roads to the hospital. Eight minutes later, I was Keystone Cop-ing my way to getting her into a wheelchair and through the front doors -- I kept wanting to go park the car and get our bags, thankfully all she wanted to do was get to the maternity ward!
Ding-dong, ding-dong and the doors opened. The nurse was on the phone.
"Can I help yo ... Oh, I gotta go. I have a patient."
And it was go-time.
The nurses were great, and the doctor on call was fantastic. She kept wanting to excuse herself to go look at Kim's chart, but never had a free moment! Time slowed to a crawl -- it's impossible to think that we were only there for 90 minutes before the baby was born, and that Kim was "only" in labor for 3 hours. Like with Kate, Kim was completely unassisted, an absolute rock star. Perhaps the freakiest moment was when the baby was crowning and decided to kick back -- seeing his foot poke out her belly was like something straight out of a horror movie!
And then, there he was -- our little boy! We welcomed Caleb Daniel Strout to the world at 9:51 p.m., weighing in at 7 lbs., 8 oz., at 21 inches long. In keeping with family tradition, we're calling him C. Daniel -- and the "Daniel" comes from my Mom's name Deborah Ann. He's a snuggler, but he's also curious -- he already had his eyes open while he laid in the warmer getting measured! We're also fully expecting some fireworks with Daniel ... his most active time in Kim's belly was from 8 to 10 each evening!
We brought him home on Friday, and Big Sister couldn't be more excited. We had a very nice weekend at home, and Kim even let me sneak out to ride -- in honor of the new kid, I hit Big M on Saturday (get it?) and Daniel Ridge on Sunday. We've got some beautiful weather going here right now, and we can't wait to take the kids on their first hike together ... and our first as a four-person family!
And without further ado, here are the promised photos ...
Welcome Daniel, and we promise to keep you all updated as he starts to grow!