Less than 24 hours after writing that last blog post, I welcomed our newest son to the world.
This beautiful boy is named Dominic, and we're calling him "Nico" for short.
I'd been having contractions for weeks leading up to his delivery, but Tuesday morning, I could tell the real ones had finally arrived. Since I hadn't slept much the night before, I figured I'd try to lay down for a bit as they ramped up, catching at least a little rest before the marathon I knew laid before me.
I texted Chris my plans and got into bed. Our cat, Piper, immediately climbed under the covers and nestled against me as a new contraction hit. I realized then that it was go-time. I texted Chris again and let him know to start making his way home. I got plans for Vince and Nate in motion and also messaged my friend, Sam, who generously agreed to come and photograph the festivities.
I hopped into the shower one last time when I noticed bright red blood. I hadn't had that experience with Vince or Nate, but knowing that every pregnancy is different, I called the OB to give them a heads up that I'd be arriving to the hospital with this symptom as well. No one could tell me if it was normal or not, so I crossed my fingers and hoped OB triage would have some answers for me.
Chris arrived home in record time. I was out front talking to our neighbor, Jake, when he came peeling around the corner. Clearly he was excited to get us to the hospital!
On the way there, my contractions continued to ramp up. From about 8A-9A, I only had maybe three that whole hour. From 9-10, they moved to every 10 minutes. By the time we got to the hospital at 11ish, I was only about 5-6 minutes apart. It wasn't long before they were coming in waves and I was calling for an epidural.
Funny thing, though, is that I had originally toyed with the idea of not having an epidural at all. I'd had a failed one with Nate and I'd somehow survived. Having been warned there could be some problems with Nico, I thought foregoing the epidural would ensure he got here faster. However, once the contractions really kicked into gear, I worried my heart rate and breathing would cause problems as well, so called for the epidural to calm things down a bit.
Alas, the triage nurse didn't think I was progressing as quickly as I was (mostly because she hadn't set up the monitor properly to check me for contractions). However, when the second nurse came in and confirmed that I'd doubled my cervical opening within an hour, that should've clued her in to the fact that yes, my body was doing exactly what it was meant to do.
Alas again, I don't think she much cared. She didn't get me sent up to labor and delivery until I was already ready to pop. I felt the urge to push while I was sitting in the wheelchair on the elevator, and again when I used the bathroom before getting on the delivery bed. I think I was in the delivery room for all of 15 minutes before I started shouting that I HAD to push. Again, the nurse was telling me I'd need to wait for another hour before they'd be able to give me an epidural, but there was absolutely no way that was going to happen. Having gotten her notes from the triage nurse who clearly didn't know what the heck she was doing, she thought I had way more time than I did.
Chris confronted her as I started shouting that I needed to push. The man has the patience of a saint, but a line was crossed and I knew he was doing what he could to protect me. I can't overstate how much I appreciated his advocacy in that moment, because it felt like no one was taking me seriously. After he confronted her, she immediately called for the anesthesiologist. I knew it was too late, but it was still nice to know that Chris had forced her to listen. She dropped the bed, did a quick check on where I was, and from the look on her face, I knew I was right. I said, "He's crowning, isn't he?" She didn't bother to answer.
Suddenly there were five people in the room talking to me at once. I couldn't focus on any of them- I could only feel the overarching need to push. Chris was to the left of me, and I think Sam was somewhere to the right but had gotten shuffled away by the sudden barrage of nurses. One of them (I later learned she was the midwife) said, "On the next contraction, you're gonna push!" and I said, "He's coming!" So I pushed. She counted to ten and told me to stop pushing, but I couldn't... the next contraction was already starting, so she said, "Okay, push again!" and I did. His head came out and with one more push, the rest of him followed. They laid him on my chest and oh... my heart.
Chris and Sam were somehow on either side of me, bending down close to say I'd done it. He was here. He was safe. God is so good...
My doctor walked in a few minutes later and threw her hands up saying, "So you had a baby, huh?" LoL. Yes, I guess I did.
She got gloves on and went to work helping finish the postpartum work with the midwife. I honestly don't know where everyone else went. I'll spare you the postpartum details, but suffice to say that it wasn't fun and I don't recommend it to anyone, especially not without an epidural. Ha ha!
So yes, at 1:41PM, Dominic Angelo arrived earth-side with 10 fingers, 10 toes, and a nursing reflex that would put Dyson and Hoover to shame.
God is good. In all things, God is so very, very good.
I'm currently awaiting (rather impatiently) the birth of my third son, Nico. My due date is May 12th, one day away.
My due date wasn't always May 12th, and that's the story I'm going to tell you fine folks today, because according to every pregnancy calculator known to man, I never should've gotten a positive pregnancy test when I did.
The longer Nico clings to my rib cage, the more sure I am that my impossible pregnancy test was, in fact, a gift of compassion for my husband and his dying father.
You see, after our wedding in May, Peter's health took a marked turn. He spent some time in a local hospital that didn't take necessary steps to help properly diagnose him. After pushing to have him placed in a better hospital, we finally got a diagnosis of cancer which had spread too far to effectively treat. It was a crushing blow to Peter, his wife, and my husband. I prayed- hard- for a miracle that Peter might regain some semblance of himself despite the prognosis. Chris had only just moved home and begun enjoying a closer bond with his dad, and I know he had so many hopes for what to do with the time they now got to share. Alas, it was not meant to be. However, God is good and had plans for them.
In early August, I began noticing the tell-tale symptoms of pregnancy. Sure enough, on August 11th, I saw two pink lines staring up at me from the bathroom sink. I shared the news with Chris, and we agreed to tell his mother that night. I also shared the news in my CathSo group (which is why I know the date!). The next morning, Diana told Peter via a scheduled phone call (due to COVID restrictions, she wasn't allowed in to see him and had to schedule calls with the nurses' station). About a day or so later, Chris was able to go in-person to see his dad as well.
Unfortunately, on August 22nd, Peter passed away. Peter was such a darling, generous man; quiet and humble, but so very warm and funny. I am genuinely sad that he was called home so soon as I know he, too, was happy to finally have his son back home.
A few weeks later, I went in for my first ultrasound. By my calculations (that included pertinent info like menstrual cycle and possible dates for conception), I should've been 8 weeks along. However, upon completion of the ultrasound, I was measuring less than 6 weeks, pushing my due date to May 12th. By that calculation, it wouldn't have been possible for me to test positive on August 11th. In fact, I wouldn't have even conceived until more than a week later! Even a super sensitive pregnancy test wouldn't have picked up anything until well after Peter had passed away.
So either the ultrasound was wrong, or God had given us a glimpse into our happily ever after so that Chris could share this joy with his father before he passed away. The longer that Nico remains nestled within my womb, the more I believe that impossible test was a very special grace granted by God, especially knowing how much that conversation meant to Chris.
God is good. In all things, God is good.
Please say a prayer for the repose of Peter's soul and a quick and healthy delivery of his grandson, Nico. C'mon, buddy... we can't wait to finally meet you!
Meet Chris, everyone!
If you've seen some of my catch up entries, you already know we've been friends for more than 15 years. You know he's handsome, you know he's brilliant, and you know he's great with the boys.
He's also a car enthusiast, knows more about various aircraft than the whole of Boeing, and could probably beat MacGyver at MacGyvering. *Grin*
He's always been ridiculously intelligent. His childhood was spent tinkering with everything thanks to his parents who not only encouraged it, but took him to workshops and programs that would actively teach him how! He's a natural sponge for information and somehow keeps it all pristinely locked away for recall at a moment's notice.
Long before we ever made googly eyes at one another, we engaged in the most entertaining, thought-provoking conversations. While the rest of the group would drift into debates about comic characters or video games, we'd be off into the weeds discussing politics, social constructs and philosophy. We've always enjoyed deep conversations with one another, and somehow there's always new fodder for us to attack.
Since pairing ourselves up, we routinely watch programming that grapples with complex problems or interesting historical quandaries. We'll share current events, play devil's advocate, or listen to interviews with prominent philosophical contemporaries. I'll ask an outlandish question that forces him to pull the brakes and really yank at the underpinnings of his belief set, and then he'll drop an atom bomb into my lap that has me spiraling off into tangents for DAYS. Through it all, we learn, we laugh, and we grow in our understanding of the world, each other, and ourselves.
I cannot overstate how much I appreciate that intellectual stimulation.
Then there's his natural propensity to fix everything... he's an engineer by trade, so he is a professional (and highly skilled) problem solver. Whether the problem is mechanical in nature (fixing a broken appliance) or situational (the kids aren't doing what they're supposed to be doing), he's able to effectively diagnose it and figure out efficient steps that rectify whatever is amiss.
He also relishes his role as step-father. Since signing on, he's put so much time, thought and energy into parenting them properly. Just last night, we had a talk about Vincent's unique challenges, specifically stemming from a marked increase in verbal/auditory stimming. He's invested in helping them both succeed as men, and that manifests in a million different ways.
Last weekend, he let Nate help him build a shed in the backyard which made Nate swear he was a professional architect. Ha ha! He's so patient with them, but isn't afraid to come down hard if necessary to keep them on the straight and narrow. I take so much comfort in him as their role model for masculinity. I worried so much for their prospects as adult men before Chris arrived, but now that he's taken on the task of showing them what a true man looks like, I feel genuine relief for their futures.
He is a true partner. I swear he's more supportive of me than I am 90% of the time! Whether it's getting off the couch to help me up while I'm a pregnant turtle, offering to pick up groceries to knock something off my to-do list, or sneaking out in the morning (and thus, forgoing the morning coffee and lunch I'd make for him) so I can catch up on sleep, he is outlandishly thoughtful. Just as I recognize all that he does for our family, he recognizes all I do by not waiting for me to ask for help but offering it when he sees the opportunity present itself.
My favorite is him not complaining when I order out these days because I can't stand to be near an oven. Uuuuugh, I'm really looking forward to having Nico OUTSIDE of me...
Anyway, I could wax on forever about how wonderful he is. It still amazes me that we ended up together. A couple days ago, I was smiling up at him like an idiot and he laughed asking, "What?"
I answered, "If you'd have told me that you and I would end up together, I would've laughed you off a cliff. I sometimes still can't believe it. It's insane." He agreed. It really is insane when you think about it. But when has God ever made a lick of sense to us mere mortals?
That said, I'm genuinely glad God's the One in control, because there's no better husband, father, or friend that I could have chosen for myself and my children. I always go back to that photo I shared in this entry about God banishing fear:
It still rings 1,000% true. I was holding a tattered, germ-ridden teddy bear and God was holding Chris behind His back. Ha ha! Luckily, I was blessed with the gift of Faith and an unshakable trust in God's desire to care for each of us individually, so I had no real problem handing over the trash bear. I just had no idea that the prize bear was someone I already loved and respected so much.
So that's Chris in a large nutshell. At 6'4" and a delicious amount of muscle, a large nutshell is the only one I can fit him in. *Grin*
Trust God, friends. I cannot emphasize that enough. If you learn nothing else from my story, learn this: the same God who cares for the birds in the sky and the flowers of the field cares infinitely more about you than those birds and flowers (Matt 6:26-30). He cares so much that He came to dwell among us, taking on our humanity to elevate it to the Divine. He wants your joy and happiness and cannot be outdone in love. So love Him, trust Him, and recognize that short-term pain falls away and becomes background noise as the life He created you for unfurls into eternity.
He's got you, friend. He's got you.
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