Gabriel, our Angel
What had started off as a joke, turned out to be our reality. Because our first born came relatively quick for a first birth, we had joked around through the second pregnancy about how, “you better read the chapter on how to deliver a baby.” My husband just laughed. No seriousness at all to the “jokes”, except the small twinge of underlying questioning (or gut instinct) I had. I was prepared for this birth to be shorter than the first, and even the OB (Dr. Soper- who is aweeesome) told us to head to the hospital at the first onset of labor. But, where my dilemma comes is, is that my biggest fear was that I would show up too early to the hospital, be 3 cm., they admit me, and I end up with some interventions I never wanted to begin with. The flip side of that fear was that… well, we would just not make it in time. Oh, if only I knew. On February 6th, we spent the cold Winter’s evening inside. MIkey fell asleep around 11pm, and the crazy nesting momma that I was, decided there was no better time to organize and get more things done. After all, I was within just a few days of our due date, so a few last minute things could certainly use to be done. As I was watching a movie and being productive, I became extremely… HUNGRY. So, I decided there was no better time than now to head on out and get a Steak N’ Shake burger and shake (Orange dream cycle to be exact). While out, I had noticed that I was having some crazy heart burn as well. So, I also made a quick dash into Walgreens for some Tums. And, I am sure I said out loud to myself, “when is this baby going to drop?! Guess I better be prepared for a longer pregnancy.” I even remember that night doing Google searches on induction and being two weeks “overdue.”

No longer than an hour after Googling that, I (although I didn’t know it at the time) was at the beginning stages of labor. After returning home with a nice full belly of completely healthy and great for birthing type of foods, I decided I had better try and get some sleep. At about midnight I laid down on the couch up in the loft (sleeping separately from my husband at this point, because I would be turning over 100 times a night, and getting up to use the bathroom about another 100.) I found myself tossing and turning, as I thought what a terrible idea it was to get that burger, and how now I was really paying for it because the stomach cramps I was having were totally not worth it. I got up once or twice to use the bathroom, seriously kicking myself for eating something that caused this so close to having a baby. (If only I had really known how close!) At about 1:00am, I started to question if maaaybe I could be experiencing some light contractions. Maybe it wasn’t the burger after all. So, what’s a girl to do, but call one of her best friends and ask her her opinion on what to do. Of course, I would never wake up Mikey if it were not really labor. One of us should get good sleep if the other one can not. Based on my uncertainty and calmness, my friend (Tara) advised me to drink some water and try to rest a bit and see what happens. At this point (1:30am), I was still experiencing some cramping, but nothing at all consistent, or even anything that I could time. After trying to rest for the next hour, I finally got up, went into the bedroom, woke Mikey up and said… “I miiiight be in labor.” I seriously had no clue if I really was or not. I was having NO signs of symptoms of being in labor. So, we pulled up a contraction app, and timed some contractions (if that’s what you call them. Because obviously, I still have no idea what that word means). Things seemed to be pretty close together, and pretty long. The contractions were about 45 seconds -1 min.

long, and about 1-2 minutes apart. This still did not seem very consistent or severe enough for me to call Dr. Soper. I went ahead and called my mom at 2:30am, telling her that they might (notice might is used a lot in the birth story, because there was certainly a lot of uncertainty) start thinking about coming up (from Columbus… and hour away) because I could possibly be in labor. But, I reassured her not to rush, and that I could call back with more information. We were relying on my parents to come up when my labor started so that they could stay at home with Samuel, while we went on to the hospital. I decided that a nice warm shower would give me time to figure out if I was in labor or not. And, that was a good decision because I certainly figured out I was in labor about 2 minutes after being in the shower. At about 3:00am (in the shower) I started rocking back and forth chanting, “you can do this”, “God help me” and “This is normal.” I tried filling the tub with water, as the shower was still on, and squatting with my elbows on the edge of the tub. This just made things more uncomfortable. All the while, Mikey is following my orders (I mean, suggestions) of gathering together some clothes and bags (no, our bags were not packed) and emptying the dishwasher. I manage to get out of the shower, and pull on some black yoga capri’s and a thin long sleeve shirt, and waddle down stairs. The first thing I see is Mikey doing exactly what I had asked (while I was still sane), and shouted, “Why are you emptying the dishwasher?! We have got to get going to the hospital!” I managed to call my mom, asking her where they were. She said, “We just left the house. You just called us a half n’hour ago saying you were not sure you were in labor.” I then quickly assured her I now was in labor. I told her that

we would find someone else to come over, and we were going to head on up to the hospital. I got off the phone with her, could hardly talk during contractions (which were right on top of each other), and called my friend Angela to come over as quickly as she could to sit with Samuel, while we went to the hospital. She only lives 10 minutes away, but that seemed like waaaay too long for us to wait. I remember getting down on the rug on my hands and knee’s, rocking back and forth, moaning in pain, asking Mikey to please do a hip squeeze. After that intense contraction was over I went to the bathroom one last time, as I made the call to Dr. Soper, telling her we were on our way to Methodist. I demanded that we go ahead and get in the van to wait for Angela to arrive. We pulled out the van (while I called Angela several times, asking if she was there yet) and sat in the driveway, until we saw her lights. I told Mikey to “go go go!” I felt one major contraction as we were pulling out of the neighborhood. Then the contractions seemed to slow down (looking back now I can see that I was coming into the resting period before pushing). I had another contraction about 1 minute after the last one, and then another one at the light of Sheek Rd. and Main. St. But, this time the contraction was joined with a large involuntary push. I went back to being without any contractions, as we pulled onto interstate 65, heading north towards Methodist. The whole time, Mikey was driving nearly 100 mph. I didn’t notice it, and felt very calm and relaxed. Time seemed to stand still and there was no sense of panic in me whatsoever. We passed St. Francis hospital and Mikey asked if I wanted to just go there. I then said, “It’s too late for that. I think I am pushing again.” With one final contraction, and the strongest involuntary force I have ever felt, our sweet

boy came out in two strong pushes. There was no time for talking, informing or anything of the sort. I just simply lifted him up to my chest, as my feet were up on the dashboard and my yoga pants down around my knees. He was a slippery little thing. He appeared to be okay, and I never once felt a sense of concern or panic. I just wiped his mouth out, listened for him to breath, and snuggled him up to my chest. I looked over at Mikey and he looked over at me (all this happened within 5 seconds or so) and said, “What the hell?! She just had the baby!” Apparently he had called 911 at some point, and was speaking to them. Everything went to fast, he didn’t even know I had pulled a baby up and that Gabriel was born. Mikey would ask me questions that they were asking him, and I kept reassuring him that we were fine. The 911 operator suggested pulling over and we insisted we were fine and were just going to finish heading up to the hospital. I am pretty sure I joked about stopping to get something to drink. I was just so relieved that the pain was over, and was experiencing the biggest high life could offer. I had our beautiful baby in my arms and I had pulled him up onto my chest without any assistance or guidance. I finally held him up so we could both see him, and was amazed at his beauty. I could not believe how perfect he looked. We immediately were concerned about him getting cold, as the van was still not warmed up yet, I had a very thin shirt on and obviously we didn’t think to bring any blankets or coats. So, I put him straight on my chest, under my shirt and we cranked the heat up. When we arrived at the Methodist ER about 10 minutes after his birth, what seemed like every doctor and 10 nurses came running out to the van. I waddled out of the van (while a nurse held the baby) and hopped onto a stretcher. The nurse handed Gabriel back to me, and covered us with so many warm blankets. When we got into a room, they put Gabriel under a heat lamp, and I

went ahead to deliver the placenta. Gabriel was never more than 2 feet from my side. Mikey came in a few minutes later as our eyes met, and no words were even needed. We had just experienced one of Earth’s greatest and craziest miracles together. After our experience the name Gabriel made perfect sense to us. The name Gabriel means, “God is my strength.” I know that God was right there with us the whole time and that God was our strength during the delivery. Gabriel is our little Angel and we could not be any more blessed by having him for our son!

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