Saturday, November 24, 2012

Benjamin Kent Knight

On Saturday, November 17, Jared and Eloise decided to help get things ready for baby to come by warming up the cradle for him.  I was pretty sure that their efforts were wasted, since baby wasn't due until December 9.  That put me at 37 weeks pregnant on November 18.  According to Jared and Eloise's arrivals, we could expect three more long, grueling weeks of pregnancy before meeting our new baby.  
 I woke up on November 18 at 4:45 a.m. having painful contractions every 15 minutes.  This has happened before.  The contractions usually keep me awake for a few hours, then taper off.  This time they kept going into the day, but stayed 15 minutes apart.  I managed to get a nap in the afternoon, so I was pretty sure that these annoying contractions were on their way out.  At bedtime, when they were back in full force, I was pretty tired, but since I was scheduled to see my midwife in the morning, I decided I would just tough out the night, and then see if I could get some relief from the midwife at my appointment.  I managed to get two hours of sleep, and, when I woke up at 2 a.m., the contractions were ten minutes apart.  I read for a while, texted with my mom, talked to Cheyenne, and remained convinced that I still had at least two weeks of pregnancy left.

My midwife says wild weather brings babies.  I know it is always raining in Seattle, but the storm on Monday, November 19 was a crazy one, even for the Pacific Northwest.  Seattle got two inches of rain in six hours (Tucson gets an average of 12 inches of rain a year, to give you Arizonans some perspective), and many roads were closed as drains overflowed and roads became rivers.

Active labor started the moment I got up, at about 7:15.  By the time I was done getting breakfast ready for the family, it was pretty obvious that the baby had picked this very early date for his arrival.  I called a friend who had offered to take Jared and Eloise for an extended play date in the (we thought unlikely) event of baby coming early.  They weren't too excited about being abandoned for the day, and Jared was deeply upset that the baby, who I had promised after Thanksgiving, was actually going to come before.  Then I called the midwife. I was having contractions every two and a half minutes.

We left for the birth center in a torrential downpour in time to make it a few minutes early for the appointment I had scheduled anyway at 10, and were met by the midwife, Val, and two student midwives, Leah and Sarah.
 From the moment I knew I was really in labor, I knew it was going to be extra hard because I was so tired.  All I wanted all day was a nap.  I was ready to lie down and close my eyes for a few seconds between every contraction, but Val and Todd wanted me to be more active so that labor would progress faster.  They were worried that all of the contractions I had been having would wear my body out for delivery, so I had to keep moving.  I'm glad I did.  Todd is getting quite expert at being my labor partner.
Labor went pretty smoothly.  I was all gung ho to deliver in the bathtub, but I got too hot or something in the water and had a scary moment hyperventilating, so I had to get out of the tub.
I thought that my water would break on its own, like any normal person's, but I dilated to 10 cm and got stuck in the most difficult part of labor.  With both Jared and Eloise, the doctor broke my water and labor suddenly became very fast.  Todd had been joking all day about my water bag made of kevlar, and encouraging me to get it broken so that we could pop the baby out and go home.
It turns out he was right.  When Leah broke my water, she had to be poised to catch the baby.  He was out in two big pushes.  I was exhausted, but he is perfect.  He came out with a purple face (bruised from delivery) and a full head of hair.  If I hadn't pushed him out, and if he didn't have exactly the same newborn face as his brother and sister, I would be convinced that we had the wrong baby.  I didn't know we could make them with hair.  He was born at 3:04 p.m.
We named him Benjamin Kent Knight.  He weighed 7 lbs. 4 oz., and was 20.5 inches long.  Here he is with his papa at the birth center an hour or so after delivery.
 After four hours of recovery, we headed home.  Here is Benjamin getting ready for his first car ride.
 Jared and Eloise were excited about their new baby brother.  Todd dropped Benjamin and me off at home and went to pick up Jared and Eloise.  They came running into the house a few minutes later in their pajamas, both yelling, "Baby Benjamin! Baby Benjamin!" Eloise came up to us, peered into his tiny face, and demanded, "Hold baby!"  We gave her a new baby doll to hold instead.  Jared got a new book as a gift from the new baby.
We waited a day and a half to wash his hair. Here he is after his head wash.
He is a handsome little guy.  He doesn't open his eyes very much.  In the first moment after birth he opened both eyes wide, but he must not have seen anything worth looking at, because his eyes have been closed most of the time since.  His eyes are actually a little bit swollen from delivery, so when he does open them, he peeks out through slits.
We finally did let Eloise hold the baby, but he wasn't too excited about it the first time.
Here is Benjamin's first tummy time.
I put Benjamin down to sleep on the floor next to the table when we were eating lunch yesterday.  When lunch was over, Eloise made a game out of pretending to sleep near the baby.
When Jared finished his lunch, he joined the game.  Here are my three little babies.
I never did get that nap I was promised when I was in labor, but I knew that sleep with a new baby is an elusive dream.  This precious little man is worth all of the sleeplessness.
Welcome to our family, Benjamin!  We are looking forward to all of the new adventures you will bring to us.

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