Alexander’s story kind of starts out like the beginning of a tall tale:
“Alexander was born in a snowstorm. Some say he was the size of TWO babies….”
The legend of Snorty Pig. No sign of a blue ox yet.
I was just so absolutely sure that Alex was going to be born the week of the 14th. As it crept closer and closer to Christmas, I really started to worry he would be born on Christmas Eve and we would end up missing Christmas morning with the kids. After we made it to Christmas day, it felt like a huge weight just lifted off my shoulders.
Then it was the 26th…the 27th…the 28th…nothing. When someone is significantly past their due date, one thing you don’t want to do is keep asking them how they’re doing or if there is a baby yet. Sara was fielding like a text an hour at that point, but there simply wasn’t anything to report.
I went to work on Monday, and the weather was just terrible. Slush and ice, strong winds, just basically a nasty winter day (something we haven’t had a lot of this year). Around 1:30 Sara called and said, “I’m not sure, but I think you better come home.”
By the time I got a train home and got the kids packed up and shipped off to a friend’s house, she was a lot more sure and we left immediately for the hospital. (Side note: Sara’s parents were standing by, but we didn’t want them to travel all the way to Chicago in the storm. Surprise, Erielle! Two extra house guests for the night!)
We walk out in the cold and snow to go to the car and, I kid you not, someone had their car stuck in the snow, blocking the parking lot of our building. What are the odds of that?? I went over to help push the guy out and I thought, “this guy is never going to believe me”. However, he was doing a pretty good job getting himself out and I decided it would be quicker to let him do his thing then stop to explain “you’re blocking my car and MY WIFE IS IN LABOR” (although I guess it would have been a good story for that guy to tell).
Finally, we made it to the hospital at about 5:20. Unfortunately, so did everybody else. No room in the inn: every room was full, including triage, and there was literally a line of people waiting to get into labor and delivery.
However, to be quite frank, I’m really not sure what all those women were doing there. They were just chillin’ in wheelchairs, checking their phones or whatever. Sara, on the other hand, was in all-caps LABOR.
The rest of them were made to wait outside in the waiting room, but they told us to stay inside the doors so as not to “scare” the others. It was probably for the best, since it meant that Sara spent the worst hour and a half of labor holding onto the wall a couple of feet from the check-in desk. I think it really gave them a little extra…encouragement to finally find us a room.
Sara kept repeating two things to anybody who came into the room:
- My right foot is broken
- With both of my previous children it took over 2 hours to get an epidural; let’s see if we can do better this time, shall we?
Despite various snafus due to the overcrowding, they did manage to get her an epidural about an hour after we got into the room (we’ll just forget about that hour and a half in the hallway), and things got a lot easier after that. Even though it took another 4 hours from that point, there was always progress, so it seemed like time was moving relatively fast.
And then it was time, and 10 minutes later (!!!) Alexander was here!
Now, with both of the other kids we found out the sex before the baby was born, but this time we didn’t. We have all the girl stuff and boy stuff, so we figured we were covered either way (in other news, looking forward to finally getting rid of half of all of that stuff!) (Scratch that, 2/3rds — most of it is girl stuff.)
Having done it both ways, I have to say, I much prefer to know. “It will be a surprise!” everybody always says. Yeah, well, it’s always a surprise, whenever you find out. One minute you don’t know, and then the next minute you know. Surprise!
I found the biggest downside of not knowing is that we couldn’t officially settle on the name, and we didn’t have a pronoun to call the baby. “It’s going to be so cute when it’s born, isn’t it?” just seems wrong and saying, “your little brother or sister” every time is a mouthful. So I just didn’t feel as much of a connection to the baby before it was born.
I guess it was a surprise when Sara said it was a boy, but at the same time there was a lot going on just then (too much for them to comment on the sex, I guess). I was feeling very emotional anyway, and I don’t know that I really registered much of a surprise in the moment.
What definitely did surprise everybody was how big he was. 10 lbs 2 oz. and 21.5 inches.
That was about a full pound bigger than we had expected based on his last ultrasound, but I have to say I’m glad about that. If they had realized how big he was going to be, they probably would have pushed for an induction (or even worse, a c-section). But they didn’t know, and what they didn’t know didn’t hurt them!
So Alex was here; our big baby in a snowstorm.
Finally it was time for Evelyn and Oliver to come and visit.
Were they excited? Well, you could say they were.
I’m sure there will be more updates as they come, but expect them to be in fits and starts as our lives find their new levels.
(Note that the last two photographs come from our lovely photographer / surprise babysitter Erielle…more on that in a couple of days.)