Happy birthday, baby boy

Henry on his cab ride home from the hospital.

What started as a regular checkup turned into my son’s birthday, a month early. Henry was born at 12:04 p.m., weighing 5 pounds, 11 ounces, and measuring 19 inches long.

Because of slightly low thyroid levels brought on by the pregnancy, beginning at week 35 I had weekly appointments in the fetal evaluation unit just to make sure all was okay. On the morning of Henry’s birthday, after a week of consistent abdominal pain from what was determined to be Braxton Hicks (by an awful resident about whom someday I may talk), I felt good and was looking forward to my final weeks of pregnancy. Turns out I would be pregnant for only a few more hours.

After a really great eight months together, for some reason that morning Henry’s heart was decelerating. It would beat normally and then suddenly drop. After sitting in three different positions while on the monitor and having the machine beep a warning every time, I got treated to a wheelchair ride up to the labor and delivery floor for further monitoring. “Should I call my husband?” I asked. They handed me my phone.

I’d be on the phone with my husband often for the next hour and half, sending messages that began with “I’m going to labor and delivery to be monitored if you’d like to come down just in case” and ended with “emergency c-section happening now.” I was talking to my husband on the phone as I was getting the epidural.

Tim got to the hospital right after the c-section was over. We saw Henry for the first time together in recovery. And that healthy, perfect little baby latched right onto my left breast and ate.

Neither Henry or I expected to meet each other that day or to celebrate his birthday so soon, but meet and celebrate we did. It’s hard to believe he’s been here for almost a month, but, right now, it’s also hard to believe he hasn’t always been here.

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