Dear Gwendolyn,

If you are ever interested in your birth story and learning the how, why’s and what’s of how it all went down then I encourage you to read further. If you like to believe that you really were born in an exotic country and secretly heir to a royal throne that you will one day find out about, then don’t keep going. You may be disappointed.

Turns out that most people (including myself), don’t really have a clue as to what happened on and around the day of their birth. Right now, that makes me sad because that is a somewhat significant day in our lives and all…the whole day we came into existence and what-not. It should be something we know a little bit about, right?

So, I decided to write it down for you while everything is still relatively fresh in my memory for you to read  whenever you shall wish.

We decided to name you Gwendolyn because, well, we love the sound of it and the origin of the name is from a story about Merlin’s (the great Wizard!) wife. Your mother and I being the nerds that we are, found this incredibly delightful. Your name also means White Ring or White Bow in Welsh. For a long time we did have trouble deciding on your name. You were very close to being called Sally, Carly, Jane, Hazel and even Wilhemina!  We were having trouble deciding until three days prior to your supposed due date when I was walking along Lake Michigan at Montrose Harbor on an oddly, sunny, beautiful February day. Suddenly, as I looked thoughtfully out into the lake and thought about you, your delivery day, and what I wanted to eat for lunch, a voice very strongly inside my head said, “Just call her Gwendolyn already!” And so I listened to the spirit of the lake or whatever that was, came home and told your mother that is what your name is going to be and that’s it. True story. Well, all of this is actually, so, moot point.

Now here are the details about your birth. We went to Swedish hospital the night of Sunday, March 4, one week past your due date. Your mother was given a drug to see if it would kick her into labor. 12 hours later, we found out that your mom was only 2 cm dilated. Totally lame. So, the drug Pitocin was given to start the labor for her. I should mention that at this point, we had used midwives for you and your mom’s care all along. They are a wonderful group located at Swedish Covenant Hospital. The midwife who came onto duty that Monday morning was Amy Graff. If you ever wanted to thank somebody that you didn’t know, but who was invaluable in getting you into this world safely then look her up one day and say to her, “You helped deliver me, ____ years ago. My parents said that you were an amazing and wonderful midwife. Thanks!” Also with us, starting on late Monday afternoon was your Aunt Monica, who was there giving us great love and support.

Anyway, the drug Pitocin did the trick because about 7 hours at about 5:30 p.m., your mom put down the book, ‘The Hunger Games’ that she was reading (it’s a pretty awesome book), stood up and her water broke right in front of me. The midwife Amy came back and now Amanda was 4 cm! Things were progressing! Then something happened.

From about 5:30 until 7 p.m., the contractions became super intense for your mom. It went from 0-60 in no time. Your mom did really great holding onto me while standing up and I’m not going to sugar-coat it here, screamed like a wild Banshee on fire. It was scary as I had never heard her or any living human being, make a sound like that before. She yelled so loud that she made Aunt Monica faint! We saw on the monitor that contractions were very close together and even though your mom said she wanted to try it without any pain medication, she now was asking for them. Actually what she said was not suitable for print and young ears.

But when Amy and the other nurses came back into the room, they said, “Sorry no pain meds now because Amanda is 9 cm!” Holy cow from 4 cm to 9 cm in about an hour. Ay yi yi! And now we can’t give her any medication or an epidural. But I wasn’t too terribly scared because I was seeing how tough your mother could be. (Easy for me to say because I wasn’t the one trying to push you out and go through all that physical pain.) So for another painful and frustrating hour your mom couldn’t push you until she was a full 10 cm. But Amy was helping your mother so very much. So was Christina , the room RN. I felt confident being in the middle of everything with those two. I think we made a good team. Either that or I totally annoyed them all.

Finally at 7:30 pm your mom was allowed to fully push and one hour later I could see the top of your head. You were right there!   Another big push and out popped your whole head! I was looking at you and you were facing me with your big, fat baby cheeks. You looked so beautiful already. Even though you had this dusky blue tint to you and were covered in who-know’s-what.  By the way, I am downplaying your mom’s pushing ability  and high tolerance of pain that happened here. The staff was thoroughly impressed by your mom. She did beyond incredible and I am so proud of her.

I had talked with Amy before hand about pulling you out and catching you and she was fine with it. She had made sure the cord was not around your neck. (It was, but not for very long at all). So, I had my medical gloves on and when Amanda gave one big, ol’ final push you, I pulled slightly on you and out you came into my arms and there you were. Alive and complete. Not screaming but kicking. And actually you were really chill. You kind of bobbed your head around several times as if to say, “Alright. This party looks cool. I can hang out here.” You gave out one good cry which was a relief to hear you take your first actual breaths. Maybe I cried just a bit (I did), as did your mom, Aunt Moni and even Amy a little. I gave you to mom along with the nurses as they wiped you off a bit and you were just the sweetest thing. Already attached to her breast and trying to feed, you reminded me of a hungry, little baby bird. Totally covered in slime.

I gave Amy a hug and counted your fingers and toes. Amanda said, “We created a person,” a few times and was so smiley. I cut your cord, your mom delivered your placenta about 5 minutes after that and they got you weighed. 8 pds 7 oz. and I have forgotten how long you were. Please forgive me. But you had long limbs and torso. Very clear skin and no horns, surprise twin or long tail. Totally healthy much to our relief. One week later and you have been the sweetest kid. Your Aunt Monica was absolutely stellar in taking care of us, our house and you too for the first few days. We are very grateful to her.

Well, that’s about it for the story of your actual birth. I  love you and am off to hold you right now!

 

 

love you forever,

your pops

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