So I’ve been a little busy the last couple weeks.
On the day he was due for his grand debut–October 17– our excellent baby stirred around enough to poke a leak in his bag and get everyone excited. When we got the call, BW and I got ourselves together, headed down to Jason’s and Kat’s for what we all assumed would be the big event.
However, by mid-afternoon, he changed his mind, resealed his bag and settled down. BW headed home the next morning, and I stayed–as co-coach for labor and delivery–all assuming again things would get going any minute.
I can work anywhere, so that wasn’t a problem. It gave me time to help the any-minute-now parents finish getting everything ready, time to cook some meals for them. Even when minutes turned into hours, and hours into days, no problem. Our Kat had on-and-off contractions and a lot of fatigue–and a couple more trips to see the midwife as the baby kept teasing his entrance.
Just after midnight on the 24th things start moving. Contractions coming close and pretty hard, so it’s a trip to the birthing center. Only to find out poor Kat’s having serious back labor (been there, done that. NOT fun.) No real progression, just pain as her boy’s decided to go spine-to-spine (like his daddy before him). After a couple hours, a homeopathic shot to try to help her sleep, and home we go.
I got about three hours, and Jason reported he managed a couple. Poor Kat didn’t get much at all. I hear my girl in the morning and go downstairs–I’m in the third-floor guest room. She’s on the phone with the midwife, pain is horrible, and she’s opting for hospital and epidural.
This is the right choice.
So we get dressed, feed the cats, move out. I let BW know.
I sit in the back seat, rubbing her arm or shoulder, see that Jason keeps taking her hand while we try to help her breathe through the pains–nearly all in her back.
When we park, she has another big one right in the lot. A nurse heading home after shift stops, gets her a wheelchair, and escorts us straight up to labor and delivery. So grateful to her.
Now she has her midwife and an OB nurse, the exam, and finally after another hour or so, relief. You just don’t dilate well with back labor, and they’re going to try to encourage the baby to turn from back to front, but first Mama needs to sleep.
And finally she’s able to for a few hours.
The room has a little sofa that expands so Jason gets some sack time, too. And the long day continues.
They have what they call a peanut ball–because of its shape–and as we go through various OB nurses–shift changes–and a shift change in her midwife–they have her try various positions with the ball.
She can eat broth and jello, but would like her own broth. BW and I make a trip to their house for that, some more supplies, and go back on watch. BW takes Jason off for something to eat; I catch some Zs on the sofa.
Day becomes evening–but she’s making progress now, and the pains are tolerable. We order pizza–and BW and I sit and have a slice in the waiting room so poor Kat doesn’t have to smell the pizza goodness. Then BW finds a place to sleep a bit, I go back to doze in the chair in the room with Kat sleeping and Jason conked on the sofa.
The night passes. I’ve actually coached before, helped out–and of course had my own labor experience. I’ve never witnessed such a long one. She’s passed 24 hours since that first midnight trip to the midwife. Come on, Baby, what’s the deal???
But as dawn breaks things are moving. Baby’s turned nearly fully around, she’s nearly fully dilated. Time for more broth, more jello, more shift changes.
Honestly, by now that room is pretty much the world.
I’ll add here, that my boy was a rock throughout. So proud of him. Of them, as they showed such strength, such endurance, such teamwork.
Then Kat spiked a fever–likely from being on the epidural for 24 hours. And the baby’s heart rate’s a little elevated. I admit that was the only thing that scared me.
By then we have our original midwife Joanne, and a completely wonderful OB nurse Allison on duty. Kat has to get antibiotics, and they have to tell her this means at least 24 hours in the NICU for the baby after birth–hospital policy.
My poor sweet girl just broke. She rallied because she is The Amazing Kat, but news like that during the last legs of a long, long labor took its toll. I know both Jason and I had to struggle to maintain so we could reassure her. Joanne and Allison were just wonderful with us all.
Now, fever down, baby facing up (almost), it’s time to push. Joanne’s predicted at least a nine pound baby–holy shit! I mean seriously!
Kat, as you might expect, is pretty damn tired by this time, but she is so strong, so brave. I would never take an actual picture of a laboring woman, but I still have one of her in my mind, so clear. She looked like an Asian goddess–powerful, beautiful, fierce–as she began pushing her son into the world.
Jason and I help–deep breath, hold it, hold it while you push. Suck in, hold, push. Jason was just magnificent.
I could see him crown–all that dark hair–and telling her that helps.
There’s his head, and oh my God, he’s gorgeous. Joanne explains that–big baby means big shoulders, so she’s going to have to do a little turn to help him get them out. But no–he’s ready, and with another fierce push, he just slides out into the world–and with a lot to say.
Under two hours from first push to last, at 10:39 a.m. on October 25, and we have a new light, new life, new family with a now blissful Kat holding her son, a beaming Jason holding them both.
A little comic relief when they ask if Jason wants to cut the cord. A big, instant, resounding NO. Nana? A quick, delighted, grateful yes. So I make that snip–as I did with my oldest grandchild–to give my youngest his first independence.
They have to clean him up, and Daddy crosses the room with him, takes pictures while they do all the post-birth stuff with Kat. I hold her hand through this–she has pain with this part, wants it over, wants her baby. My girl hasn’t had an easy time of it, and this part isn’t any easier.
Finally done, and Allison wheels the baby and scale over so Kat can watch him be weighed. Joanne had it right. He’s nine and a half pounds, 21 inches of serious handsome.
Kat gets her baby back, he even nurses a little. BW can come in now, meet his newest grandson. (He brought something up during the early pushing. I met the poor guy at the door, grabbed whatever it was, and said: I don’t have time to talk to you! The baby’s coming! Closed the door in his face. )
The baby has to go to NICU, but can stay with his parents for at least an hour first.
I get to hold him. Oh, here he is–and he looks right at me. There you are, I think. Yes, there you are. And where have you been, what have you seen?
They haven’t picked a first name–they have a short list, but decided they wanted to meet him first. His middle name is Wilder, a gift that BW treasures. I’ve been thinking of him by a name for the last couple weeks–had to keep reminding myself not to–but this one name on their list kept sticking in my head.
They still don’t decide when Allison asks. Don’t know yet.
It’s while Jason’s filling out a form, and I’m holding the baby. Jason laughs, looks at Kat: I can’t finish filling this out because it calls for his name.
Kat says: He’s Griffin.
And holding the beautiful Griffin Wilder, Nana does a happy dance. Because that was his name in my head.
I give Griffin back to his mother, hug my kids. BW and I leave the new family alone. Jason will stay at the hospital with Kat and Griffin. BW and I will go back in the morning–then I have to go home for Saturday’s signing.
Kat and Jason look so much more rested the next day–and Jason takes us down to see the baby, who is doing really well, but has one test that’s inconclusive–so maybe a little longer in NICU. Kat’s doing some nursing and pumping so he has plenty of milk, and he has wonderful nurses looking out for him.
Still hard to go home. Despite that, I slept like a log Friday night!
Saturday’s signing is busy and happy–even with a soaking rain. Girlfriends at home after help everything smooth out.
I get a text they’re maybe letting Griffin come home Monday. So that’s when I’ll head back down to help the new parents for a few days–and get lots of Griffin/Nana time.
But it turns out that test–and what they were waiting for–means our boy spikes a fever of his own. Nothing dangerous, but he needs to stay in for a couple more days.
I keep the cat company, help get the house ready. I know how hard it is for them to leave the baby–though there’s a hotel attached to the hospital.
They finally decide to come home, just make the trip back and forth–so I go with them on a visit, get to cuddle that sweet boy again. He’s doing really well, but needs to finish the course of antibiotics before release.
I fix a pot roast with all the trimmings. They both need some red meat, some home-cooking.
At long last, a full week after he came to us, Griffin comes home.
He’s healthy, beautiful–and his parents can finally take that full breath out. Their baby’s home. He’s so beautiful–all babies are–but maybe cooking that extra week added more magick. His eyes are already brown–no newborn blue for Griffin–and he’s so alert–and so chill.
And apparently a night owl like his mother. <g> I slept just fine his first night home–not so much for the new parents. But that’s why Nana’s here. Give me the baby, get some sleep.
Fed, changed, swaddled he reclines in his little bouncer wide awake for a full hour while I sat at their table writing. Then he slept for another before he made any fuss that first morning.
Nana believe in the three S’s when a baby’s fed, changed. Swaddle, sway and a quiet Ssssh in the ear. Griffin responds well to this.
He also likes going outside. Put on one of his little hats, and–as the weather was gorgeous–step outside in their pretty yard, show him his domain. I tell him this is his kingdom, and he seems to agree, and be pleased.
Mama nurses and pumps, cuddles–looks so happy. Daddy changes, cuddles–and looks the same. They started reading him bedtime stories in NICU and have made that a sweet, sweet habit already.
Nana cooks, does laundry and all the things new parents shouldn’t have to worry about when they’ve had this long, incredible journey, and have their baby home.
He likes to look up to the sky through their kitchen skylights. It’s obvious to me he’s spent some time flying up there before this trip to Earth. He recognizes their voices–and looks you right in the eye.
Daddy took him for a walk in his stroller around the neighborhood, and–as that post-birth business was tough, and Kat’s not supposed to do a lot of walking as yet–Nana walks him now and then, too.
He’s had a couple of visits with friends and family, and seems happy to be admired and passed around. He’s also very content to sit with his Nana in the mornings while she writes–though I did my final spell-check on the last chapter of the book I finished during all this with him in one arm. Sweet.
Now the new family is settled in–and Griffin has his first check up with the pediatrician. It’s time for Nana to go home. I made sure to cuddle and rub before I did so I could take that incredible new baby smell with me.
My kids are an incredible team, warm, easy, loving parents–I’ve been privileged to witness that first hand. My girl is a warrior. My son is a rock.
They have a perfect baby–so relaxed, so laid-back and so beautiful. It’s been my joy to have all this time with him.
The only hitch? They refused to let me take him home with me. So selfish!
But they did send more pictures–of Griffin in the Chewbacca outfit Jason and I picked out on our NY trip. Cutest wookie ever. And the report that he’s healthy, has already gained a half pound–now an even ten.
So I guess they get to keep him. As long as they bring him to Nana’s soon.