As the contractions pushed our baby closer and closer to the other side, Mary announced – your baby has a FULL head of hair!
What?? Whose baby? What color hair? Tim and I were both blondies when we were kids and neither of us had a ton of hair when we were born. We fully expected a baby with wispy blonde hair. That’s not at all what we got!
When it was finally go-time, Mary called in what felt like the SWAT team. All of a sudden our room was full of hustle and bustle. I had my eyes closed throughout most of my labor as that helped me focus, but I could hear all the movement and caught glimpses of my doctor and the nurses moving things around and getting all set up to bring our baby into the world.
Once they were all set up, everyone got quiet again and then we waited. And waited. And waited. Our baby seemed to have decided he or she was more comfortable on the inside. My contractions stopped. Or so it seemed. I joked with the doctor that the baby had decided to stay put. And then another wave came. And another. Pretty soon the nurses were encouraging me – that was a great push, do another just like that! And again – your baby has a FULL head of hair! Each word of encouragement, the excitement in their voices, it was all so helpful in getting me through those final steps.
When one nurse placed a towel on my chest, that’s when I knew we were really close. I remember feeling hot and sticky under the warmth of that fuzzy towel, but stealing a glimpse at it and thinking – I’m going to have a baby soon! I’m going to have a baby, laying on my chest, wrapped up in that towel in just moments. A few more contractions, one big exhale, so much relief, and the doctor lifted our baby – our BOY – onto my chest. Until then we didn’t know. We had suspected, but we didn’t know for sure that we were having a boy. At 8:51am on Saturday morning I was handed a beautiful, squirming, screaming baby boy.
The doctor asked, and Tim made the game-day decision to cut the cord. And I even surprised myself and asked if I could see my placenta – I grew it myself after all! Instead of being grossed out – which is what I expected – I was amazed. It was much bigger than what I had imagined in my head. I still have no idea how the baby and that placenta fit inside my belly. No clue.
It was extraordinary having made it to the other side. Having a baby in my arms. I couldn’t believe that we made this, I grew this baby, I had just birthed a tiny human being, and we would get to keep him too! What a miracle.
I confess though that it wasn’t pure overwhelming bliss once they placed Beckett on my chest. The total joy would come later. I mostly felt relief at the beginning. Pain, yes. But mostly relief and gratitude. I was so grateful to have made it to the other side. So grateful to have done so without an epidural. And so grateful for both Tim, my nurse Mary, and the doctor who each encouraged and instructed and challenged me in their own way.
Beckett Elijah Kroll was born on July 9th, 2016, at 8:51am, weighing 8lb 3oz, and reaching 20.5 in. He was chubby and round when he first came out. And he had so much hair. He screamed and screamed as he laid on my chest, and it was the absolute best noise I’d ever heard.
Read the final part of Beckett’s birth story and the story of his name here.