Giving Up Free Parking in Manhattan: A Birth Story

Olive is turning 11 months old tomorrow.  Here is her birth story, before she becomes a toddler on Memorial Day:
Saturday of Memorial Weekend 2017 was soccer for the boys.  Kevin went to Costco with them so I can rest after my scare the day before which landed me in the hospital to get checked out.  My bladder had protruded out of me while I was on toilet and I initially thought, “OhmyGod, I am on one of those TV shows where I have the baby in the toilet, except I’m 40, not at prom.”
I joined them at soccer while Kevin put away the groceries.  I relayed my dramatic story to a fellow soccer mom and dad.  He joked that I should have my baby on Memorial Day Monday for rare, easy parking in NYC.

I rested a lot that day.  Read a library book off and on that day (I wrote the name somewhere – some mystery book that was NOT riveting).  The boys went to sleep easily and earlier than usual (maybe God was setting up the scene).  By 8-something at night, they were both sound asleep so Kevin and I propped ourselves up in our bed, to organize some baby clothes as we had so many hand-me-downs and time was running out.

8:58 pm – As I shifted in bed, I felt warm liquid seeping and I could tell it wasn’t the usual discharge that sometimes felt noticeably warm and would give Kevin a scare.

And JUST LIKE WITH THE BOYS, I had bloody show, which is ALWAYS a helpful heads up that my body gives me – to say, “Hey, this is happening and will happen within 24 hours.”

I called the doctor’s office and Dr. Not My Doctor was the one on call, just like with Ellis.  He said I can either come in right away since it sounded like my water had broken and contractions would be coming or I can labor at home and come in in the morning.  We weren’t sure if he said come in in six hours or come in by 6 am, so we called him back to clarify.

We texted lots with our neighborhood friends, A, S and W re “It’s Game Time!”

S was very smart in that he could tell we were telling him to just come over by 10 pm so that we wouldn’t disturb him in the middle of the night so he offered us our space to labor at home, be nekked if more comfy, and pack final items.  He assured us that once we needed him, he would be over within ten minutes.  This was an answer to prayer as I worried about who would take the boys if this happened in the middle of the night before my mom arrived on 6/1.

S rushed over.  The boys would be waking up to him instead of us.  I wrote out letters to each son.  I felt so emotional, knowing that these were the last moments of us being a family of four, my having just my two precious sons I doted on for the past 4.5 and 6.5 years.  I was a Boy Mom and so whupped on these two very different creatures who made me a mom.  And my Pillow Cheeks was no longer gonna be my Babyest after 4.5 years of milking it.

Light pink seepage soaking up dozen maxi pads.  I used pantiliners until I realized that I needed more heavy duty support.

I practically barked at Kevin and was super-mean. “I know you supportive but I need you to LEAD so I can just be passive in times like these!”  But he was discombobulated by my water breaking 16 days before the due date, after the bladder prolapse the day before.

Also, it may have been an animal thang, like when a dog gets ready to give birth to her litter and she feels crazed, scratching her claws across the wooden floor.

I didn’t start contractions under AFTER midnight (water broke at 8:58 pm).  I had snuck into boys’ room to marvel at my sleeping babes whose lives were about to change.  In a good way mostly, but there would also be a loss of Mommy’s attention and energy as a third apple of my eye would be scooting them over.  Or “scootching” them over, as Ellis likes to say.

Looking back, this final moment to nestle with them and breathe them in on the last night of having only two children outside of my body was such a gift.  It also allowed me to calm down, soak it all in, and not be so mean to Kevin.

Contractions picked up, about 6-7 minutes apart.  After I kissed the boys in their sleep, I calmly woke up a sleeping Kevin to tell him we should go in and get my epidural more timely than last time.  I had told Kevin to invest in rest though I wasn’t able to sleep.  For some reason, Kevin was surprised again that this was really happening.

S arrived so swiftly, gave me a quick “heem-neh” hug and marched right into our apartment like a soldier on a mission, with his rolled up sleeping bag.  Kevin gave him inhaler instructions for Micah and we took off before 2 am.

My contractions were coming regularly and it hurt like a mother (is that where the saying comes from?) but I don’t think it hurt as much the previous two births.

For MLK, it was, “WHAT THE HELLLLLLLLL!???” and for EZ, “HOLY SH*T I NOW REMEMBER ALL OF THIS AND THIS IS GONNA HURT LIKE A MOTHER!!!”  For this one, I can only remember it hurting so much my eyes would shut on their own, but I still dared to tell Kevin between frequent contractions:  “It’s middle of the night.  Don’t do the $100 valet parking.  Drop me off by that plant at the entrance and then park on the street.”

Kevin advised:  If you wait for me to park, it could be a matter of getting an epidural on time or the anesthesiologist getting all booked up like last time when it was too late.

Me:  You right.  Good call. Just pay the $1000 for parking valet.

I checked in at 2:22 am on what seemed to be an uneventful night at the maternity ward.  Later I found out that it truly was uneventful due to it being Memorial Weekend.  I asked how can babies time their own births around major holidays and someone explained that as far as scheduled deliveries, they were scarce around major holidays.

2:27 am – Dr. PG gave me an internal exam.  3 or 4 cm dilated and 70 effaced.  Head still down.  This doctor is gorgeous.  Just like the nurses at Ellis’ delivery – they looked like they were gonna pillow fight on The Bachelor.

Dr. S, a handsome young Indian anesthesiologist gave me my epidural at 3:05 am when I was ONLY 3.5 cm dilated.  Another gorgeous Indian doctor.

Dr. Not My Doctor checked in at 3:34 am, 4:58 am (said I was 7 to 8 cm dilated and should be another hour), 6:15 am and said it was time.
Wait, is my baby crawling out the cavern on her own before I even pushed?  I told the doctor and he said, “Let me check.  Oh yeah, she’s right there.”  The Korean-American nurse commented, “When I have kids, I want a birth like that.”
Baby girl arrived so quickly at 6:32 am that we didn’t even get to get our cry on.  She just appeared.  Two contractions and total of five pushes within a few minutes.  She seemed to birth herself, as I felt her crawling out of me even with my epidural; no pain, just pressure.
Olive Hope Kim, 16 days early for most memorable Memorial Weekend ever and best reason for bailing on friend’s BBQ:

5 pounds, 8 oz, 2500 grams, 19 inches tall

Now, 11 months old, with a staring problem like I’ve never seen before.  Only Li’l Kim to army crawl, still zero teeth, and waking up once or twice through the night since seven months old.  Slept so much better when brand new.  Wishing you a wonderful last month of being an infant.

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photo by Gaga Photos 

 

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Vision of Hope

We recently heard a sermon that asked us to ask ourselves what good came out of a dark time, that if it weren’t for that struggle or storm, we would not have been able to receive the good or learned that lesson.

A few years ago, Kevin and I were fighting one night.  Nothing new during that era.  Lotta fighting after the kids would go to bed.  Our church tries to equip us with marriage tools so that we don’t fight dirty but when I would get upset, the last thing I would think about were them tools.

Not that I forgot about them but I would scream, “F*CK those tools!  How am I gonna talk like a robot and speak in the MF ‘I’ when I can tell that I am NOT being heard!?!  And just so you know, we ain’t getting away with sh*t just cuz the kids are ‘sleep.  They can absorb this toxicity even in their dreams.  We hurting them but we keep doing this.  I hate us.”

Kevin would try to fix things by resorting to logic, coming up with solutions and that would, of course, enrage me even more.  Looking back, I think I just wanted him to say, “I hear you.  You are hurt.  I really hear you.”  (He may have even said that but oof, my fury burns hot.)

One particular night, we escalated ’til our throats were hoarse and he had to take a walk.  While walking, he prayed, “I just can’t do this.  It’s too hard.  It’s not getting better, Lord.”

He came home and seemed different.

He told me, “It makes absolutely no sense and you’re gonna laugh at me or get furious when I tell you this.  While I was praying outside, God gave me a vision of you sitting in a hospital room with a newborn baby _________ in your arms, smiling.  I saw the number 39 and the letters ___ and ___ and I sensed that God was telling me something, that it will get better and this vision of a new baby, even though there is just no way.”

“Lemme ask you something.  Did I have a husband in that vision and if so, who was he?!  Cuz right now, it SHO don’t seem like it’s gonna be you.  We oil and water.  That vision be MEAN and maybe something your mind spat out because you Christian and you don’t want to divorce?  And how do people divorce anyways, especially in NYC?  Pay for TWO homes!?”

Months later and years later:  “Dang it, why you gotta tell me about that vision!?  I am praying for peace about no more baby but that vision of yours keeps nagging at me!  What if it’s supposed to play out and we blocking it?”

Kevin logically explained, “So maybe it wasn’t a vision-VISION but something God just gave me to encourage me in that moment because I just wanted to give up.  Yeah, maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned it.”

Fast forward to my 40th birthday, when I got official word from peeing on my pregnancy test at my gym (more privacy than in our apartment), I did the calculation and realized that just like in Kevin’s vision with the prominent #39 that caught his eye, I had conceived our child during my last few weeks of being 39.

The dark years of fighting dirty and repeatedly hurting each other gifted us with not only Kevin’s vivid vision of hope but ways to fight better.  No counselor, church, book, or friend could have gotten through to me about how I must stop fighting dirty;  I had to experience the cost of fighting dirty and how it truly got me nowhere.

Without those dark years, I would have prematurely tried to fanagle one more baby because time was ticking, without learning how to communicate better.  Had I been blessed with child a couple years ago, all three kids would have been so young, my hormones barely regulated and our marriage may have fallen apart.

I’m extra grateful with my hands to the heavens and hopeful as the June due date draws near, but I’m also being realistic about tiredness, lack of margins, and being much more worn out nearly five years after our last newborn.  Prayers for us, please – to break the old cycle and create new cycles of hope and clear communication even with a new human to care for.

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my first two babies in 2013 – sorry for fighting loudly when you went to bed

 

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older and hopefully wiser mama in 2017, though I wrote “1st tri” instead of “3rd tri” and didn’t notice that the “c” in “coconut” had gotten wiped out and baby labeled as an “oconut”