I was in shock. I had emotionally figured out how to make it on my own through all of this, but now it was changing. I was so excited, it was just so hard to wrap my brain around. I told Taylor that daddy was coming home…but she didn’t understand. She ran to the computer because that is where she always talked to daddy. All day Thursday, I cleaned my house and went on multiple walks. I was so antsy I couldn’t sleep. All day Friday, I had major contractions. I was so anxious, I just couldn’t calm down! My sweet sister-in-law and my mom came over to help me clean the rest of the house. They left around nap time giving me a Benadryl and telling me to take a nap too. I was hoping the Benadryl would stop the contractions and the nap would calm my anxiety. I woke up to a nice big contraction and realized they weren’t going anywhere.
Taken on Wednesday before my doctor's appointment
After putting Taylor down for an early bed time, I took Bennett outside to walk up and down our culdesac. I kept seeing my shadow under the street lights and laughing because my hips looked as wide as a football players shoulders. My shadow waddling along was a sight to see. I woke Taylor up and headed to the airport. His flights went through Doha, London and Chicago and were to arrive in Wichita at 10:40 PM, Friday, the 14th. He had very short layovers and his plane came right on time. The second we walked in the airport, Taylor started crying. As happy-go-lucky as she is, she hated public places at that age. I was sad that she was upset for Wes’s home-coming, but what can you do? He finally walked around the bend, and there we were, a family again. It is a great memory for me. Even though it was almost 11 at night, all of our family members that could come were there. Even our niece and nephew and grandparents. Taylor and I had made a sign and we had little American flags. We collected his huge green bags and made it home by about 11:40.
Once we left the airport Taylor was happy again, so we played with her and read books until after midnight. We headed through the kitchen to get ready for bed. Wes hadn’t slept in over 36 hours and I was ready to sleep through these nasty contractions. I had to stop at the counter and hold on during a contraction. I practiced my breathing for when real labor would come. Wes started an e-mail to his commanding officer letting him know that he made it safely. I took a Tylenol P.M. and laid in bed. About 30 seconds later, I started screaming! I had a major contraction AND my water broke.
I couldn’t think. Wes hadn’t been home longer than an hour, I just took a Tylenol P.M., and we were supposed to have two weeks to get back into the swing of things! Wes kept saying, “What? What happened?!” I told him and we both started laughing. How in the world was this happening right now? When my water broke with Taylor, it was the normal amount. Since Brendan was breech, his body didn’t stop the flow so it wouldn’t stop. I changed pants three times before I decided it was useless. I wrapped a towel around me and brought an extra one. We called our parents and the plan was for my dad to come to our house to be there with sleeping Taylor and for my sister-in-law to come cover for him soon. My mom and Wes’s parents would meet us at the hospital. My contractions became back to back with just a few seconds in between as we climbed into our car. Since Wes had just gotten home he didn’t have a bag packed for the hospital. He did have a carry-on with almost anything he would need, so he grabbed that. We sped to the hospital and parked where there wasn’t a marked spot because there was construction in the parking garage. Wes ran in to get a wheel chair while I waddled behind him. They were out of wheel chairs at the time so we walked to the elevators and up to the 2nd floor. I had to stop for each contraction then run in between them. I’m sure it was a funny sight, I mean, I would have had laughed watching myself. If you’ve had a baby at a hospital, you know how annoying it is to stop and check in at the front desk. Even though I had sent in pre-admission forms (I was a planner this time around!), we still had to stop before getting to a room. I saw a clock that said 1:07 AM. While standing there, I started having intense pressure. It always felt like Brendan was falling out, but this felt for real! The nurse rushed us to a room and asked for a urine sample and for me to change into a hospital gown. I was trembling and shaking and got changed with lots of help. When I finally got in the bed, the resident said she needed to do a test to make sure my water had in fact broken. Because my four pairs of pants and two towels weren’t evidence enough. We asked her if she could please check on Brendan because we knew he was breech and I was so afraid of his cord coming out first. I began to feel the need to push. That stage in labor is kind of undeniable, when it’s time to push, your body can’t help but push. I told the resident that he was coming and that I could feel him coming. She told me that the feeling was the Q-tip test to see if my water broke. Because I would totally not know the difference between the feeling of a Q-tip and the feeling of a small child? They confirmed that my water had broken, did a sonogram and confirmed that he is breech and started prepping me for surgery and telling me all the risks about surgery. At this point, I was getting angry. I am not a yeller and apparently was not expressing my pain enough. This baby was coming and no one was listening. While explaining the surgery, the resident finally began to check me to see how far along I was.
Chaos ensued. I was dilated to a ten and there were feet! Not just a Q-tip! Feet were so much safer than the cord so I calmed down a little. I was also happy to know that after all that pain, I had made it to the end! Nurses were yelling down the hall to prep the operating room and began to wheel me there. Did I forget to mention that Wes was by my side this whole time? He was in my face telling me it was okay, telling me to calm down, telling me that our baby boy is almost here. They told us that they would have to separate us until they were able to give me an epidural for surgery. If they couldn’t get it in before they had to pull Brendan out then Wes wouldn’t be able to come in. That wasn’t an option for me. Wes did not fly across the world, land in our city two hours ago for him to sit outside and miss this. They told me not to push and the only way I could get myself to try and stop was to yell at myself. Everyone down the halls heard, “I AM NOT PUSHING! I AM NOT PUSHING!” I didn’t even have an I.V. in so we had a ways to go to get everything ready. By the grace of God, all of the doctors worked quickly together and finally ushered Wes in. He stood by my side and was my voice. When no one heard me saying my face was going numb from too much of the epidural, he made sure they knew. When I couldn’t hear how much Brendan weighed, he came and told me. He told me he was beautiful and that he had a little bit of brown hair and blue eyes. Although my doctor didn’t deliver him, the on-call doctor from the practice was the father of one of my childhood friends. I couldn’t stop the tears. Wes was supposed to be gone. I was supposed to be fast asleep with my Tylenol P.M., holding my big watermelon belly, having weird pregnancy dreams. Instead, I was holding my baby boy with my man by my side.
In two hours we went from being two girls, to two girls and one daddy, to two girls and two boys. It was a whirlwind, scary at times, but Brendan came, purple feet and all! We were all exhausted and quickly fell asleep. Thankfully Wes was already used to a hard bed and slept as good as he could on the couch. All of our nurses knew the story of how God brought Wes home just in time.
Oh, the irony of it all: from the first tear when I just knew Wes would miss the birth to Wes’s commander sending him home right away. One flight delay would have been too late. A normal, safe pregnancy wouldn’t have been a reason for Wes to get to come home. A slight complication that was just enough to scare us, but not enough to put Brendan in any immediate danger was enough. My mom and I didn’t get to put all our birth class preparations in use after all. It was a wild ride and I will never forget all that adrenaline (or all that pain). If adrenaline truly makes memories unforgettable, then we’ll have this one forever.
James Brendan Lewis - 7 lbs 6 oz., 19 in., born October 15, 2011 at 1:45 AM