Welcome to the world Broden Andrew Meassick!
Here I sit on the couch in our little place on Gettysburg Pike one month after your birth. You are snuggled up under my chin after feeding, staring up at me with your wide eyes. You’re laying snug against my chest, arms relaxed and body flat against mine. I imagine you laying just so (except inverted 🙂 in my womb just a few short weeks ago. I love cuddling with you this way, your quiet breath and relaxed arms bringing me contentment, wanting to stay here with you in this moment forever. I am so in love with you and with who you will be and I’m so excited to keep discovering that with each new day of your life.
You were born November 18, 2017 at 7:03 am (the time the same as our wedding anniversary date)! You were 7 lbs and 6 oz and 20.5 inches long, though Daddy said you may have lost a whole pound from the first poop. You didn’t come the way I wanted or planned but despite it all I’m just so glad you came.
On Thursday night, November 16th, after a long week of waiting and waiting, going on walks, doing squats, eating pineapple and just about anything I could think of to get you here, it came to the point where I had to give up my dreams and hopes of having you come on your own. I was sad. I had to grieve not getting to have the surprise I wanted, having my water burst in the middle of the night or in my classroom, and making frantic phone calls to family as we sped to the hospital. It wasn’t going to happen that way.
Instead, I sat grouchily on the couch and your dad convinced me to go on a date that night before we began the process of bringing you into the world. We drove to a hipster little cinema in Harrisburg, purchased tickets to the movie “Marshall” and had dinner at our little crepe place where we sat in the window and drew pictures on the chalkboard tables, as we had done for my first birthday together a few years before, doodling bears and dreaming of you. We got a parking ticket and laughed it off as we ventured back to the theatre. As we sat in our seats watching the movie and I could still feel you bumping around my belly knowing these would be some of the last times I felt you inside of me. On our drive home, I began to panic and second-guess our decision to induce. I got into a long-winded “discussion” with your grandma but your dad came to the rescue with a whiteboard marker listing the pros and cons of inducing on my bedroom mirror. I’m so thankful he is level-headed and decisive, and one of the best pros he listed was getting to play with you sooner.
The night ended with a phone call to my parents reconciling from our “discussion” and a short night of sleep. We woke up and got ready and began the drive to the hospital. Your dad listened to pump up rap music in his Friday Hawaiian shirt, the same shirt he wore when he got punched in the face by a student not too many weeks ago, hoping to make new, good memories to redeem the shirt. I texted friends and family and cried some silent tears as I grieved not sending the messages in the way I had wanted.
We parked our car at Hershey Medical Center and wandered hospital halls looking for the lion that would signal we were in the right spot. Finally, we were directed to the elevators and rode the three stories up to check in at labor and delivery. We got settled in the room and met our nurse Sarah Elizabeth. Cody made jokes about the heating light in the room and about wanting to get out of here in 12 hours, both of us thinking that would be the longest it would take. To my horror the nurse said it would take 1-3 days for the average induction and I panicked. This is not what I planned and I wanted to get out!!
After seeing my tears, the nurse softened and encouraged me that I was making the right decision. We told our families it could be awhile but they were so excited to meet you they came to wait anyway! I was only dilated a little bit and after coloring with your grandma and rocking in a rocking chair between painful contractions, and after 10 hours of labor I got to the point where they gave me a little medicine to get things going. I was glad that it was working naturally given the little push.
My nurses and doctors were sweet and I loved telling them how much I respected them because my best friend Taylor was a nurse. The second one gave me a big hug and she ended up getting to see you later that weekend. That night at 7 pm my third nurse Kaitlin came. She was very calm and helpful, especially cleaning up “aisle 7” as I like to call it. Giving birth is messy business.
As the night pressed on, I got pain medicine and I got an hour of rest through the contractions as I lay on my side holding hands with your dad, I would sleep for about a minute and a half and then wake to endure the 30 second contraction that came like clock-work. The second painful hour came from 2-3 am as I bounced on an exercise ball and talked to your grandma. At 3 I decided it was time for an epidural. I folded my body over, my hair in a mess underneath the hair net. The resident doctor “missed the spot” and the attending physician had to fix the mistake, telling me he was just rubbing my back as he inserted another needle. I got about an hour relief after that, but soon I was in a lot of pain again. It would be time to push very soon. I squeezed your dad’s hand through the pressure of each contraction and an oxygen mask was placed over my face.
About 22 hours after being in the hospital, there was a flurry of doctors in my room. They could not get a read on your heart rate and it seemed to be dropping with every contraction. My parents were shuffled out and doctors began talking about a C-section, something I knew was a faint possibility but never expecting it to happen to me. I frantically agreed, wanting to do whatever we needed to do to get you out safely. They began prepping me for surgery and gave your daddy a hospital gown. Somehow he remained calm and made jokes with the nurses about how to put it on. I remember feeling terrified as they disconnected the belly monitor where I could hear your heartbeat, my lifeline to knowing you were all right. They bumped me down the hall on the bed to the surgery room.
The anesthesiologist put medicine in my epidural but it only began to work after two more doses. The tent was put up and your dad was ushered back in the room and he sat next to me. I asked him if everything was going to be okay and he said he didn’t know. We looked at one another trying to assure each other and ourselves that no matter what everything would be okay, but we couldn’t stand the thought of going home without you. I thought I heard a noise like a flat-lined heart rate monitor so I didn’t understand why the doctors worked so calmly. I lay there paralyzed, unmoving, like a deer-in-headlights, not sure how to feel as I hoped and prayed to hear your cry. It felt like the longest 15 minutes of my life but eventually I could feel the resident doctor attempting to pull you out. I could feel the pressure of your head trying to break the suction. One, two, three! You were out! We heard the sound we were waiting for, longing for: your cry, and I breathed a sigh of relief. They cleaned you off a little. took your height and weight and your dad brought you over for me to see. The first baby he ever held was you! He took our first family photo, a selfie of me on the operating table and you in his arms.
Eventually he was brought to the recovery room and I drifted in and out of sleep, listening to the doctors talk about Thanksgiving plans as I was stitched back up. When they were finished, a kind nurse ran my hand gently over my flat tummy, a feeling I hadn’t felt in many months. You actually were no longer inside of me. I was wheeled to the recovery room where your dad waited with you. They asked if I wanted to hold you but after 22 hours of labor and a C-section I was trembling so severely that I said no for fear of shaking so bad I might drop you.
My dearest Broden, I held the evidence of your unexepected life on a small plastic stick on March 6, 2016. I held you inside my body for 9 months (plus 10 unexpected extra days), and on November 18th, after a unexpected induction and unexpected C-section, my trembling stopped I held you in my arms. I held you then for the first time and I will continue to hold you in my arms until you get so big that I’m not strong enough to carry you any longer. Even then I will continue to hold you, through the expected and unexpected, in my heart for the rest of my life, my son. I love you more than I understand right now. Even now I still can’t believe you are my baby and that we are a family of three. It is my prayer that you grow knowing my unconditional love and the unconditional love of the One who knit you together in my womb.
It is Advent now, the time leading up to Christmas and we celebrate the unexpected way a baby, the Messiah entered our world. This season I am constantly thinking of Luke 2:19, “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” That’s how I feel about you Broden, and this last month, I have treasured up all these things: all the moments, memories, visits from friends, facial expressions, cries, features, the way you squirm around, them too joyfully unexpected and ponder them, and store them forever in my heart and I thank God once again for the unexpected because it is the way you too have come into the world.
I love you my Broden Bear!
Unexpected Adventure Awaits!