The Birth of John Wayne

by - August 07, 2017

No, this is not a biographical story about the late, great western actor. It's the story of how our son came into this world.

At my 38 week appointment my doctor reluctantly told me that statistically speaking I would probably go past my due date. I knew that first babies often come late, but I kept hoping that my physical health prior to pregnancy (and the excessive amount of squats I'd been doing) would lend themselves to an early birth. As the week went on my husband and I were on a roller coaster of selfish desire. He had been gone several weeks and weekends over the past 2 months, and we were approaching the only uneventful week all summer. Not to mention I was counting the weeks left until school started knowing that taking time off would be an act of congress.

On Sunday, July 16th, Eddie and I lay in bed discussing just how much we'd like our little man to make his debut. Not only would the timing work out nicely, but we felt ready. (Whatever that means.) We held hands and Eddie said a quick prayer for the health of our baby boy and for a quick arrival.

For an hour or so I attempted to sleep in the bed which had become increasingly difficult on my back. Eventually, I moved to the recliner and Eddie to the sofa so that we could be together. I stayed up texting a friend until after 10 p.m. and finally drifted off to sleep. At some point I got up to go to the bathroom and started to fall asleep again, but suddenly felt like I had just peed my pants. It didn't seem like much, so I assumed it was one of the many pleasantries of pregnancy and ignored it. Then the trickle returned, and I got up to return to the bathroom. As I did, I felt a small rush of fluid and knew that my water must have broken. I woke up Eddie, who was both confused and unnaturally calm. He recalls the time as exactly midnight.

I called the doctor just to make sure that the hospital was our next step, Eddie took a shower, I changed pants several times, eventually called the hospital because the doctor didn't call back, grabbed a towel for the car, and we began our ride to the hospital.

At the time I couldn't tell if the cramping I was experiencing was contractions or not. I tried to time them, but they seemed really close together and very weak. We checked into the hospital at 1:00 am, my mom arrived shortly after, and the contractions became very obvious. The monitors timed them at 3 minutes apart. Despite this milestone, a test came back saying my water hadn't actually broken (most certainly a false negative), so they ordered an ultrasound which put me at .4 over the amount that would require me to stay in the hospital. After much debate on behalf of the nurse and doctor, they checked us in officially for labor.

At this point everything moved in fast forward for me. My contractions had already become rather strong. I was doing everything I could remember in order to muscle, or rather relax, through them. I got on all fours, I walked, I took deep breaths, but the the pain was becoming blinding... literally. Despite the fact that JW was in the right position, I had intense back pain. My vision blurred every time a contraction hit, and I found it so impossible to breathe that I became increasingly anxious that I would pass out and be unable to birth my child.

Although I was always open to an epidural, I truly believed that my incredible pain tolerance, my low tolerance for medications, and my meditation experience would make labor bearable. However, in that moment I knew that if I chose to continue to do this naturally that I would miss out on all the beautiful parts of labor, because I couldn't get out of my head due to the pain.

After convincing my husband that I really did want the epidural, they were fortunate enough to catch the anesthesiologist in the hall and begin prepping me rather quickly. The man looked like someone you could trust, and I was pleased to find that the epidural took the edge off without leaving me feeling paralyzed. When the nurse checked me after the epidural, I was already 5 cm.

After a brief sleep, I woke up to an intense pressure in my pelvis. Because of the numbing epidural, I debated calling the nurse. Luckily, she came in on her own accord a few minutes later, and we found out that John Wayne was ready to make an appearance. The nurses were somewhat unprepared, so they asked me not to push as they gathered materials. They gave me a few opportunities to push every 5-10 minutes as they waited for the doctor to arrive. When she finally came, we were only 10  minutes away from meeting our little man. Everyone kept remarking at how well I pushed, but I kept thinking they were crazy. I thought they were just trying to encourage me when they said I was almost there, but JW came quickly.

I had kept my eyes closed between contractions knowing that I'd get emotional if I caught sight of Eddie, but when John Wayne entered the world I cried tears of joy and relief.

Born 7/17/17 at 9:16 in the morning, (Just missed another 17 didn't he?) weighing 6 pounds 4 ounces, 18.5 inches long.
As for the name... I wanted something biblical, but Eddie didn't like any of the ones I picked like Ezra or Judah. We landed on John the Baptist for his wild nature and faith-filled heart. Wayne had always been the middle name in honor of my father who passed. We laughed at the combination at first, but then decided it was perfect. Both our fathers were big fans.

Photos by: Morgan Gardner Photography
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