After 9 months of not knowing who was growing inside my belly we welcomed our third child, a BOY, at 7:52am on Thursday, February 27. His birth was beautiful and amazing and absolutely magical. I know most c-section deliveries aren’t described that way, but the experience of witnessing a baby’s first moments of life are always incredible no matter how they come. Even though it was just over 5 days ago, the details of the day are already starting to slip, blame that on sleep-deprivation and postpartum brain fog (that’s totally a real thing, by the way).
My parents arrived in on a late flight from Atlanta on Wednesday, just in time for us to grab a quick dinner at the nearby Red Robin, bottomless french fries were calling to us all. Knowing that it would be a while before I would eat a big meal again, I wanted to make sure that the last one counted! We were so lucky that my parents were able to sweep into town just long enough to keep the big kids and meet their newest grandchild despite the distance and their demanding work schedules.
I knew that there would be no way I would be able to sleep the night before. I was far too excited and wound up about the big day. Brian and I stayed up until he could no longer stand it watching Breaking Bad (we are on season 4 right now via Netflix) and we folded to exhaustion around midnight. I double checked my alarm that was set for 4:30am before turning out the light counting the last few baby kicks I would ever feel from the inside.
I ended up waking up before my alarm, mostly out of habit from the previous months of insomnia, so it was easy to jump into the shower and prep for the day. I still couldn’t believe that it was finally baby day and that it was really happening. Before long it was time to head towards the hospital for our 6am check-in. The car ride was quiet, and I found myself feeling very introspective about the day. It was the last time I’d be riding in the car pregnant, the last time that I’d have just two children, the last moments of my last pregnancy with my last baby ever. The finality of it felt very sad and heavy. I’d been blessed with a great, mostly easy pregnancy and this chapter, like many more before it, was ending. Damn pregnancy hormones.
We arrived at the hospital at one minute past six a.m.
Last belly shot.
Not long after checking in we got set up for monitoring and the great waiting game until it was go time. I gave my name and birthday about a million times to the staff as they worked and hooked things up and we listened to the baby playlist I had made, lots of Fleetwood Mac, Band of Horses, Lana Del Ray, and Radiohead.
Finally, it was time. Dr. Wonderful and the anesthesiologist came by and we headed over to the operating room. I remember those few steps from the monitoring room to the operating room table the most well of anything that entire day. The brightness of the lights, the coolness of the hallway, and the warmth of the blankets draped over my shoulders are etched into my memory. The anxiousness and excitement simmered just below my airways when we walk into the already prepped room. There are several new faces in the room to greet us, all so warm and nice. When the news spreads that we don’t know the sex of our baby the room filled with a collective gasp and there were smiles all around. It was really sweet to feel that shared excitement from the staff too.
Before long the curtain was up and the doctors had begun. The nurses talked to me and told me what was happening, Brian sat by head and I grew more anxious with every minute for the big announcement to come, would we welcome a son or daughter? I heard my doctor say she could see the head full of hair. More pushing and pulling happens, and with one final move, as if in sync with the soul sweeping in and arriving to meet the baby’s body, the room filled with the loudest high-pitch cry I have ever head followed by three of the most beautiful words, “It’s a boy!”
It took us by total surprise when she said boy. Deep down we had both just assumed we were having a girl since all of our friends had guessed that as well. But our little Henry, our Huck, was here. We caught a glimpse of his pouty lips over the curtain just begging to be kissed. I was already over the moon in love.
Our hospital does c-sections a little different, allowing moms to have their arms free and they place the baby on the mother’s chest right after the baby is born for skin-to-skin. Having had two previous c-sections before I was especially excited to get to bond with our baby right away. One of the nurses came over and laid him on my chest. I whispered to him gently, and sang softy to him, as if it were just the two of us alone in the room as the doctors and nurses continued to finish up the c-section. I even got the chance to nurse him right there immediately, and he instinctively took right to my body. It felt like a spiritual experience with my body being able to do exactly what it was made to do, even if it involved a little different delivery method. It was the most awesome experience.
It felt like just a few minutes before we were done and headed back to recovery where we stayed for two hours. I had access to my phone so it was really nice to be able to read through the encouraging text messages of words and scriptures prayed over us and so many sweet friends inquiring about our yet-to-be-announced dear boy. At the two hour mark we were able to move back to our room and greet our waiting family with the big news.
Henry “Huck” Jude Ridgely Ritz, 6lb. 14oz., 19.25″ long. The perfect completion to our family.