We had it all planned out. We had prayed for God to allow us to make two important journeys before Andy’s arrival in the world. First, we wanted to go to Lexington, Kentucky to see Stacy’s sister walk across the stage so we could officially refer to her as “Dr. Walker” with pride in our voices. Second, we wanted to visit Virginia Tech to see Stacy’s sister walk down the aisle so we could officially refer to her as “Mrs. (Dr.) Heath” with pride in our voices. Neither of these trips would be a problem under normal circumstances and we would have never thought to tackle these excursions, even with Annie in tow. But having an extremely pregnant Stacy makes everything a little more adventurous. Nonetheless, we were bound to try these adventures with glee in our hearts.
We left for Lexington on Friday, August 24th. I got off work at 5:00 and we hit the road. We arrived in Lexington about 10:15pm, fell into the bed around 11:00 and I went to sleep, excited that I could get 6 or 7 hours before we got up early to have breakfast the next morning with some friends we know from the blogging world.
When Stacy woke me up at 3:46 am by poking me in the face (she said she used her special powers; I say she used her finger), I wasn’t a happy man. I like my sleep. But the wide-eyed look she gave me, quickly followed by the statement, “my water broke,” quickly changed my thoughts from sleep to more important matters. After some brief discussion, Stacy woke her mom, who woke her dad and we all chatted about options. Stacy’s dad asked me how long we had before the baby came. Yes, he was still pretty asleep at that point too, and just as clueless as I was about how long we’d have before we’d NEED to go to the hospital. Ultimately, we decided we’d leave Stacy’s dad there to attend graduation and ride home with Jamey (Stacy’s sister) and all the rest of us would make the trek home.
At about 5:00 am we pulled out of the hotel parking lot and headed for home. I set the cruise control on the fastest speed I could without risking a ticket and we headed south. Asking Stacy if she was okay approximately 4.3 billion times along the way, we made it home in a bit over five hours with no major incidents and only slight labor pains. Stacy and her mom said their brief goodbyes in the driveway and we kissed and hugged Annie and bid them well on their adventure at their house while we stayed at ours to wait for the inevitable labor to come.
For a while, nothing exciting happened. We cleaned a little, finished the décor in Andy’s room and piddled around the house to pass the time. We watched part of a movie and ate a light lunch. We tried to nap. Around 2:00 pm, we decided it was time to kick things up a notch so at Brandy’s suggestion via text, we broke out the breast pump. That worked! Quickly, contractions were coming on strongly enough that I was reminded how awesome it is to be a man during the child-birthing process. We went for a walk, and Brandy arrived to provide coaching and support. I packed the car and we waited for Stacy to show it was time to go to the hospital. By around 6:00 pm, she was at that point that it became clear we needed to go. Another exciting drive with my wife in labor (thankfully a short one this time) ended without incident with us arriving at the hospital. Checking in took FOREVER and this lady, who had a mild case of the plague and apologized for having a “frog in her throat” as she coughed up a lung, had me sign a million forms while Stacy labored without losing her religion. Had it been me, I’d have cussed the lady and told her all the things she could do with her paperwork if she didn’t get me checked in NOW. This is yet another reason why God allowed women to birth babies instead of men.
Anyway, we got checked in and they ran a test to prove Stacy was in labor. I truly thought that test was a joke, but apparently there is a scheme in which women come in the hospital with a basketball hidden under their shirt and act like they’re in labor so they can get admitted to the birthing ward, where spa treatments are available on demand and calm tranquility abounds. Okay, that last part really was a joke! But the hospital staff were insistent she take a test to prove she was in labor. Surprise – she passed!
They gave us a room far away from anyone else’s because Stacy was committed to birthing Andy with no drugs. Apparently they’ve dealt with that scenario before because a few hours later I was pretty excited to have that distance when Stacy started screaming. Labor was lengthy, obviously painful and at times really hilarious. My favorite one-liner was when Stacy screamed “Jesus, take this baby out NOW!” Yes, my saintly wife was telling Jesus what to do. All jokes aside, Stacy did amazingly well through all the pain and difficulty. Exhausted though she was and claiming to “be done and ready to go home” toward the end, she did great. Brandy’s coaching, my level-headedness, and the nurses’ and doctor’s expertise were all there to observe the beauty of God’s process to bring a new person into the world. With one final push and scream, we saw Andrew James. We were all worn out, but God had given us a beautiful, healthy baby boy. I called Stacy’s mom and my mom and invited them to come see their new grandson the next morning. No one was upset we woke them, and everyone gladly came the next day. Through a process that lasted almost 24 hours, Stacy performed like a champ. I was (am) so proud of her and have proudly told numerous people how great she did. As for me, all I can say is that we sure made a beautiful baby.
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