Everyone loves a birth story, right?  I know I do.  Since Jude's birthday was Saturday, I figured now was the perfect time to share this story.  So here you have it.

I might as well get the sad part of this story out of the way first as to not let it take away from the awesomeness that it resulted in.  Yes, Jeremy was deployed to Iraq during Jude's birth.  Yes, he did miss it.  Was it devastating?  At first.  But rather than dwell on that, we simply let it go and accepted the unfortunate fact early on.  It doesn't change anything about Jude's existence now nor does it affect how intensely we love him.  It's just an unlucky footnote in an otherwise amazing story because this story is anything but an unhappy one.

Now that we've got that out of the way...

Photo by B.G.
Jude was due on August 13, 2010, which for the record, was a Friday.  The quirky, morbid side of me thought that was cool.  The superstitious side of me thought we had enough bad luck and wished to avoid being in the hospital on that day.

Because I like to be prepared, I made sure I had plenty of help well before and after Jude's arrival.  My mom came and stayed with us for three months to help out with the baby and Jonathan.  My best friend, Nicole, was able to visit for a few days and Jeremy's mother flew in on Jude's due date  to stay for a month.  Also, I had Becky living nearby to keep me company and take amazing maternity beach photos.  All things considered, I was a very lucky lady to have such awesome company.

Jude, as it turned out, would not be a Friday the 13th baby.  Two days before, on a safe and boring Wednesday, we all went out for pizza at Mellow Mushroom after doing some rigorous, labor-inducing walking downtown.  While eating our dinner, I began to notice some more-than-subtle cramps that I remembered from Jonathan's birth.  After I was sure these cramps were what I thought they were, I decided to share the news with my dinner mates.   To this, my mother replied, "Do I have time for another beer?"  She did, and I can't say I blame her.  We finished our pizza and my mother her beer before deciding it was time to go.  As much as I would have enjoyed that cliche movie scene LADY HAVING A BABY exit from the restaurant, I decided it was a better plan to stay calm.  And so, I waddled my cool-as-a-cucumber butt out to the car.  Nicole, who had never lived or driven in Savannah, offered to drive my SUV through the crowded streets of downtown to where Becky lived, to drop off Jonathan before making our way to the hospital.  Like my own personal birth team.

Once getting to Becky's, I rested on the couch and Instant Messaged Jeremy to tell him to standby.  Because of time difference, it was basically the middle of the night for him.  The connection was shaky, so I said: "Going to the hospital!"  He said: "Awesome, babe! Keep me posted" Then Yahoo said: "Jeremy is now offline."  Ha ha, Yahoo.  Very funny.
Sadly, Yahoo was not joking.  The internet space satellites apparently did not grasp the severity of the situation, and so that was the last time I would "talk" to Jeremy before Jude was born.  I have since found out that Jeremy was not worried.  He figured it would be another day before Jude was born because that is how long it took Jonathan.  Guess I forgot to tell him that second babies come faster.  Oops.

So rather than freakout over the internet issue, I decided to do some heavy breathing and more rigorous walking.  My contractions were steady and close together, but I just didn't feel in pain enough, so I was sure it was too soon.  I walked around the neighborhood twice.  This was such a peaceful time to really take in those last moments of pregnancy and to mentally prepare myself for what lie ahead.  Even though Jonathan's birth was a painful, traumatic experience, I swore to myself from the beginning of this pregnancy that I would not scare myself into a panic.  I convinced myself that I was in control and that I was mentally strong enough to walk into this labor with no residual fear.  So I walked.  I massaged my big belly for the last time in this pregnancy.  After the walk, the contractions were getting dangerously close together, so we decided it was go-time.  I covered Jonathan in kisses and waved goodbye.

In both of my labors, there comes a point when I become all giggles.  It must be nerves, excitement or the calm before the storm, but that point during this birth was in the car ride.  The roads felt as bumpy as a dirt track, and every song on the radio was getting on my nerves.  Instead of griping about it, we all laughed.  Every bump became a giggle, and at one point, I was yelling profanity at poor Mike Posner.  Still, we laughed.

Around 8:00 pm, we giggled/waddled our way into L&D.  The nurse took me back and giggled along with us.  (Thank goodness for sweet nurses.)  When she first checked my progress, I remember praying for at least a five.  I've been through this scoring process before.  When she said seven and a half, we cheered.  Before long, we were comfortably settled in a delivery room.  

My mom was in the corner still giddy with excitement.  Nicole was on the phone, working her way up the chain-of-command to request the powers-that-be to please inform my sleeping husband that second babies come faster than the first.  I, on the other hand, was waiting for the contractions to become unbearable.  

My form of pain tolerance was to simply close my eyes, breath through the contractions and envision my body preparing itself for birth.  I learned with Jonathan that when you fight the pain, the pain fights back (and wins).  With Jude, I settled into the pain.  I welcomed it.  I knew it was there for a purpose so I made friends with the pain.  Amazingly, the unbearable pain never really showed up.  Around 10:15, the doctor came in and checked me again.  I was nearly there, and he promised to come back in fifteen minutes ready to deliver a baby.  Those fifteen minutes were the toughest part.  I had a sheet fisted in my left hand and Nicole's hand vice gripped in my right.  The urge to push was becoming so extreme, I made Nicole call the doctor in.  At exactly 10:30, the doctor returned with a team of nurses the size of the Spanish Armada, and the fun began.  Suddenly, there's a giant spot light shining down on me and I'm on.  I stayed cool ALL day, impressed everyone with my coolheadedness, so naturally what do I do at this point?  I freak the f*%$ out.  --I can't do it! I can't!--  Rather than knock me out and wheel me into O.R., my doctor looked me dead in the eye and said "focus and push".  So, I did.  A few pushes later, at 10:40pm on August 11, 2010, Jude Sebastian was born.  

The moment he was out, I reached my hands for him.  I heard his first cry.  They did the nose-sucking, cord-cutting business and then laid him on my chest.  My sweet baby was perfect.  Tears running down, overcome with emotion, I stared face to face with my new son.  I kissed his nose and wiped his brow.  He stopped crying in my arms, and we just stared at each other for a lifetime.

This moment is indescribable.  The moment when that bond you shared from carrying them is realized and you are now staring each other in eyes.  This little face you've  never seen before, but feel like you have known your whole life.  The moment you become a mother (again) and your heart explodes with love.

We all cried and laughed in the exhilaration of the moment.  Thanks to Nicole's hard work calling Army personnel local and overseas, we were able to get Jeremy on the phone only moments after the birth.  We both laughed and cried and said our "I love you's".  It was bittersweet.  We did our best to keep the sadness out of Jude's special day.  We chose to ignore the negative and celebrate him instead.  We had another healthy, beautiful son.  Life was good.

The next day, Jonathan met his little brother for the first time.  We all sang Hey Jude together.  There wasn't a dry eye in the room.

I had a lot of time that day to focus on resting, nursing and bonding with Jude.  I got almost no sleep, but I was too content with just staring at him for hours on end.

On Friday, his due date, my mother-in-law came into town and we headed home.  It was then that I learned that all of the girls had planned a surprise baby shower for me on his due date.  I actually felt bad for foiling their plans, but it was nice to come home to a few of my closest friends there to greet me.  I felt great, physically and emotionally.

So, the day wasn't as perfect as many parents want, but the outcome was perfect and that is all that matter.  It doesn't always matter HOW they come into the world, just that they DO.  We won't let some bad timing ruin the story of what we consider the day the world became a little more awesome.

Okay, now go get some tissues...

7 weeks later...

See...told you it was a happy story.