The day we were headed to a birthday dinner and stopped to have a baby instead 

by Katie on March 14, 2016

True story, y’all.

We will begin this with a reminder that Leyton was born very quickly. So quickly that for the last two months of this pregnancy, I borderline received a lecture from my doctor about getting to the hospital sooner this time. Because if a first baby was fast, this one was going to be ten times faster. And I really did take his words to heart. Really.

But, since Leyton’s birthday was also preceded by a few hours of contractions 26 hours earlier that fizzled and eventually stopped, and didn’t return until 22 hours later, I was a bit concerned about knowing exactly when to go. I posed this question to my doctor a couple weeks before my due date, and he let me know that if I was having manageable contractions that were six minutes apart, I was probably fine to camp out at home a little longer. But if they were painful enough that would prevent me from having a conversation with someone at that point, to head on in. And so, I also took those words to heart. A little too much, it turns out.

On January 6th, I woke up off and on from midnight to roughly 5am to some mild contractions. I had a doctor’s appointment later that morning, and decided to skip going to the gym beforehand to get a few more work things taken care of instead. I was a little optimistic about meeting my boy soon, but my doctor informed me at my appointment that virtually no progress had been made toward that yet. He said all bets were kind of off since I had already had one baby, and had her fast, but the likelihood of him arriving in the next day or so was very slim.

Brandon was a little disappointed with this news, because he had just decided a few days earlier (after knowing my due date for nine months) that it would, in fact, be very cool if our boy arrived on January 7th – the birthday he already happens to share with his dad.

So, that afternoon, I worked at my desk on my exercise ball, rather than in my desk chair, cooked up something spicy for supper, and took Leyton on a long walk after I cleaned the kitchen.

And the next morning, I awoke to some more mild contractions. But still, nothing that hung around consistently for more than one hour, and eventually all activity stopped. I mean, I still made Brandon’s birthday breakfast of pancakes and sausage gravy through everything. So, clearly, I wasn’t in the throes of labor.

But when those contractions stopped mid-morning, I basically made it my job to try to have a baby that day. Again, any work I did (which, let’s face it, at this point “work” was virtually a lost cause, but I did at least get the last few invoices sent out and that sort of thing) was from my exercise ball. I took lots of breaks to get outside to power walk (or waddle) down our road any time it wasn’t raining. I made what felt like a drug deal between middle class mothers with a friend of a friend over an essential oil that claimed to induce labor.

And a little before 2pm, I was rewarded with a contraction. And I felt a little hopeful. But things were still rather mild and ten minutes apart, so I remained skeptical. In fact, I had probably a 30 or 40 minute phone conversation with my sister during which she never knew I was having contractions the whole time, if that tells you anything about the severity.

By the time 3pm rolled around, things had gotten a little more frequent. It was time for me to head to pick up Leyton, my essential oil and then my mom from the airport. Then, we planned to all head to Texas Roadhouse to celebrate the two birthday boys (Brandon and his dad). At the last minute, I decided to pack our hospital bags in the car. You know, just in case. And off I went.

About halfway to the hospital, I decided I should probably ask my mom to drive home (even though I’m not really sure that was the safer decision). By the time we arrived at the airport, I had instructed Brandon to do what he needed to do to prepare to meet us at the hospital instead of the restaurant, but I would be in touch.

We parked, walked in, met my mom at baggage claim, everyone went to the restroom, and we made our way back to the car. I opened the back end to load my mom’s bags, while mentioning I was going to have her drive. At the same moment, the back of my car revealed our packed hospital bags. And I wish I could have taken a picture of her face in that moment. “What’s all this!?” Long, shocked pause:  “Are we going to the hospital!?”

“Well, maybe…”

“REALLY!?”

“Maybe…we’ll see…” Y’all. I have to be the worst labor predictor in America.

After I convinced my mom to stop trying to explain everything to my dad and put away her phone while driving in an unfamiliar city facing unfamiliar rainfall, we eventually approached 7th Avenue in downtown Phoenix. Where traffic was stopped and hail was pounding on our car. [We also realized on this day that our babies really like rain and big football weekends.]

Brandon called in this moment, and he made the executive decision for us to all meet at the hospital. Traffic began moving again and we made our way back to the west side of town and out of the hail storm.

We all met in the parking lot, where we transferred Leyton and my mom into Brandon’s truck, and sent them on their merry way to the restaurant. My mom protested a bit when we told her to just take Leyton on home after dinner and we would see them the next day.

“The way you have babies, he’ll be here before we finish eating!” she said. But a little after 5pm, we had them on their way and we gathered our things to go inside.

And, well, turns out she was right.

We made it inside (after stopping in front of the doors for a hay sales call – no joke – that ended with Brandon finally telling them he had to go because he was literally standing outside the hospital with his wife in labor), I got myself checked in and eventually back into a room where they immediately called my doctor and the head nurse emphatically let us know we would be having a baby. “Probably very soon,” she said. By this time, I was also fully convinced we were having a baby that day. I had stopped talking during contractions, but yet was still able to answer all the nurses’ questions better than Brandon could in between them. They got my doctor on speakerphone in the room. He was in the hospital, but still wrapping up a c-section, and said he would be there as soon as he could. And he confirmed with the nurses that I would be fast.

Not long after that, one of the nurses made a comment about my water breaking. “It didn’t last time,” I let her know.

“Oh good, I don’t have to worry about my shoes then.”

And approximately 73 seconds later, she did indeed have to worry about her shoes. I still feel a little bad about that.

Things kind of got crazy immediately following that. They loaded me up onto the bed as best they could (I had been walking around the room), and ran me into a delivery room. Once we got there, things were pretty intense. They were all really not trying to encourage me to have the baby (we’re guessing it was because my doctor hadn’t made it in yet). Finally, one of them told me I could “push if I really felt like I had to,” whatever that was supposed to mean.

But about that time, I was beginning to doubt my ability to actually have our baby, and was desperately wishing I had done things differently (i.e., couldn’t feel every bit of that). I don’t recall ever even thinking this with Leyton, but I pleadingly looked up at Brandon and said, “I can’t do this.” Which made him panic a little, and he started asking the nurses within earshot if they could get me something.

But we didn’t really have to worry about that, because just a minute or two later, at 6:19pm, someone in the room literally caught our baby about the same time my doctor walked in the room. And I collapsed on the bed. Sweet relief. It’s kind of crazy how much pain you can feel in one second and what a big rush of relief you can receive in the next.

I mustered the ability to lay back on the bed so I could see my baby, and locked eyes for a second with Brandon, who mouthed a “thank you,” to me.

A couple minutes later, one of the sweet nurses placed our baby boy on my chest, and all was right with the world. I still hadn’t really seen his face yet, and was still pretty shocked we had pulled off the trifecta of birthdays for Leister men. I think Brandon called our family then. They were just finishing up dinner, and he told them to go ahead and head over to the hospital.

I fed our baby boy, then he went to retrieve Leyton from the waiting area so she could meet her brother and we could have a few sweet moments as a family of four. And sweet it was.

Both grandmas joined soon after, then Brandon’s dad and grandma. I took the photo of the three generations of birthday boys from my bed, while scarfing down the Jimmy John sub we had them pick up on their way. (Classy, right?)

We eventually said goodnight to everyone and got moved to our recovery room.

And spent the next 24 hours in debate over what his name was going to be. Similar to the five or so months prior.

Of course, there were tons of interruptions – more family visits, nurses, doctors, hearing test, newborn screening, Brandon had to go to work for a bit…

And that’s how we took our baby boy home without a name. His hormonal postpartum mama may or may not have shed a few tears over that, but we’re not here to delve into those kind of details.

21 hours after we took him home, we were basically still stuck. Half joking, I told Brandon, “Maybe we should just let Leyton pick.”

He immediately responded, “I’m okay with that.”

“Seriously?”

“Seriously.”

So, we retrieved our nearly three-year-old from her two doting grandmas and brought her to our room, where we had a little family chat about Baby Brother’s name. And without the slightest hesitation, she made the decision we had pondered for five months in roughly five seconds. Which left us both wondering why we didn’t just ask her to begin with.

She was sent out to let the family in our house know that Baby Brother’s name was Bowen. And let me tell you, there was nothing more precious that first week than hearing her sweet little voice say his name.

Welcome to the world, Bowen. We couldn’t have asked for a sweeter completion for our family.

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