Thursday, August 14, 2008

Jack in Alaska

Jack was born in Fairbanks, Alaska, in 2003 after seven hours of labor. He weighed 8 lb, 5 oz. As with Sam, he was also very cute. And as with Sam, I almost immediately made him bleed by trying to cut his finger nails. Diaper changes were no longer such a big deal, but I felt it was Alex's duty as the non-birthing partner to change the hospital diapers.

Again, I get ahead of myself.

Jack's due date was on a Wednesday. Because Sam had been a week early, I sort of expected Jack to be just as early. So every day that I got closer to my due date, I got a little bit surlier. Ask Alex or my mom. They were both there.

We went out to brunch on Sunday, which was Mothers Day. At 11 p.m. that night I felt my first contraction. Everyone else was already asleep, and I was feeling okay so I wandered around our apartment taking care of last minute details. I wrote a note to my mom to let her know what to do with Sam the next day. I packed some last minute things for the hospital. (Like a camera this time.)

By 2 a.m. I decided I needed help and woke Alex up. (He sure does get a lot of sleep when I'm in labor.) We called our doula at 3 a.m. Other than the fact that we woke her up in the middle of the night, she had a really easy job with us because we only had three more hours to go.

Plus she had broken her collarbone recently and so couldn't do massages with both hands. Interestingly, she had never given birth to a child herself. In case you were wondering, there were three doulas in Fairbanks, Alaska, at the time. As with all my births though, the people and events around me were exactly what I needed at the time. I can't ask for more than that.

We finally woke my mom up to tell her we were leaving and took off for the hospital at 4:50 in the morning, driving over every pothole Alex could find.

We checked in, and a doctor that was not mine came to check on me. (The doctor that was not mine was substantially less strange than my own doctor, so I was not disturbed.) He broke my water with that little crochet-hook thingy to prevent, I assume, what had befallen my poor doula the last time I gave birth.

While all this was going on, Alex was sitting across the room, filling out some forms. Forms that were apparently not specially produced for the maternity ward. Reading from the form, he asked, "Is there any chance you might be pregnant?"

Thank God for the 11th hour laugh. And it didn't even wreck anybody's clothes this time.

At this point, I was 8 to 9 cm dilated. Four pushes later at 6:04 a.m., I had a baby Jack.

I said hello to him, but he was cold so the nurses and Alex took him to the nursery for an hour.

And then the doula and I made awkward conversation for an hour. But I do have to give her credit for not abandoning me. It was a little anticlimactic. And lonely.

Alex's faux paus for this birth happened during our rehash later that morning. "I can't believe how easy that was," he said.

Dumbass. All you women out there—and probably most of the men—know that what he should have said is, "I can't believe how much easier that was." But because he is such a super supporter during labor, I forgave him.

FUN FACT: The pain of contractions is less easily forgotten the second time.

Although I have to say, I recovered really quickly. I changed out of my hospital clothes the first day and spent much of my time in a chair, as opposed to the hospital bed. One nurse came in on my second day at the hospital, saw me dressed in street clothes, sitting in a chair in the corner, and had to ask, "Are you the patient?"

But no matter how good I felt, I was staying my maximum allowed time. Because at home? There were two kids instead of one. And dishes. And vacuuming. And pets. And laundry. And you get the point. I treat trips to the hospital to give birth as a little bit of a spa vacation. You know, after the blood and the gore and the gut-wrenching pain.

I felt very lucky though because this time, not only did I get this:

I got this:

And a few weeks later, I got this:

Poor Jack didn't stand a chance with us. When he was three months old, we strapped him in his car seat and drove from Fairbanks to Oakland and then across the country to Maryland. It was a looong time after that before he could sit in his car seat without crying.


  1. Great story, I'm enjoying reading them.

    I agree that recovery is quicker each time. After my second (which was the quickest and easiest) I was up and showered within the hour. I also stayed the maximum amount of time allowed and by the third, wasn't afraid to ask the nurses to take the baby for a bit so I could rest!

  2. My two birth experiences were completely different. First I did the "old fashioned" bith and then I had a C section with the twins. I had to be induced with my first so it was all very planned, but my water broke a week before my planned c-section for the twins. It seemed that everything happened backwards. I had to push out a 9 lb baby - but the other two that were less than 6 lbs. apiece were removed surgically. Basically that was just a rambling way to say that I had a hard time comparing anything about my births!

    I love these stories and the pictures. Looking forward to #3.

  3. This gives me great hope for my second labor. My first was also a 22 hour marathon. Hopefully when number two arrives in December, it'll much faster.

    Thank so much for sharing!

  4. Lovely story and beautiful photos :)

  5. I'm loving your birth stories. I should do that myself as I'm sure over the years I will forget the details and the boys will hopefully appreciate having these to read.

  6. I love this story.

    I have that same picture of my boys under the Gymini.

    And Andy tried the humor in filling out forms thing - I did not laugh.

  7. Birth stories are so fun!

    What a gorgeous smile he has. Yum.

  8. What a cutie! You are good at this baby stuff.

    Having any more? (People keep asking ME that this week, so I'm just spreading the love...)

  9. awwwww. Jack has fuzzy head... I love fuzzy headed babies. :)

  10. I love these stories...I am feeling inspired, both by you, and by my recent new baby. I think I might copy your idea and post my stories!

  11. Another lovely birth story - I'm almost jealous that you have a 3rd one to tell!

    Maybe after the birth stories - you can tell about why you moved from one end of the country to the other. I know I'M curious!

  12. I HATED that crochet hook thingy. I still cringe when i think about it. Although not enough to skip a laugh when I heard about Alex and the form ... you guys (and of course your boys!) are too cute!


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