I will forever remember Finn’s birth with immense fondness; our first moments with him full of love and joy and awe and wonder and oh-my-goodness he’s so fresh from being passed from the hands of Jesus into my very own. Superfluously, the days surrounding Finn Jameson- his fun and lighthearted entrance, his slightly chaotic, yet peaceful homecoming and the warmth of the days following, will forever remain on the highlight reel of life.
As I write this, he is almost eleven months old- but the voracity of light and tenderness surrounding Mr. Finn Jameson, as he took his very first breaths and lived his first days on this earth still simmer at the surface, almost palpable. Finn, I want you to know, always, how wanted and cherished and loved you are. Even now, the recollection of our first moments together evoke such gut-wrenching, wonderful love, I almost forget the rest.
But as for the details:
After a series of incredible blue skies and warm, sunshiny days, Friday, 1.15.2016, dawned grey, threatening rain.
Be as the drizzle may, nothing could dampen the flood of aloha in my heart as mom’s plane landed onto these beautifully unparalleled, (though soggy) Hawaiian shores. No sooner had we deposited her bag into the trunk than were off- in search of a quiet, cozy table to gather around and a simmering plate of eggplant parmesan (because, yes, at 9 months pregnant, I quickly digress to anything, including old wives tales, which heralds itself as the “bringer of babies”). The zesty Italian dish had yet to hit my bloodstream when I saw that it was already time for Matt and I to begin making our way to our 3:30pm doctor’s appointment.
Good news. I was 3cm dilated and 80% effaced. I was ready. They stripped my membranes.
It was just Matt and I, on the car ride home. I vividly remember waiting at the Kamehameha stoplight to make that familiar left-hand turn onto Kaneohe Bay Drive, watching the rain hit the windshield, and asking Matt if he remembered how Ryker was born on the brightest, clearest of Hawaiian days. Then joking that, if perhaps, Finn was born on this gloomy, vacillating Hawaiian day we could liken them to Thor and Loki. He actually laughed and I was pretty proud of my comic book reference.
That evening I sat on the couch with mom, talking without pause through tired eyes.
It was just after 8pm, with everyone already tucked up in bed, when I first began walking the same seven strides of a dark living room- contractions had riotously commenced. It didn’t take long before I found myself keeled-over the island, simply trying to breathe.
From time to time, I tried to lie down, craving the comfort of our bed, but movement seemed a familiar friend, helping me weather the storm. So in and out of the master I went. Matt contemplated the couch to try and log some shut eye- bad idea. Terrible actually.
Eventually the wave-like rocking of my contractions were solidly 3-4 minutes apart, crashing and leaving me breathless.
We left Ryker, sleeping soundly in his crib, in the care of his Mimi, and snuck out.
Snuck out without a working gate key, mind you- in the pitch black of night, with a seizing basketball for a belly. I tried to convey to Matt how I felt about jumping over the top of condo gates when I couldn’t see or breathe, but I all could manage to mutter was “I think my pubic bone just split apart.”
At 11:30pm I was admitted to Queens. The monitor confirmed my contractions were intense and consistently 3-4 minutes apart. I was now 4cm.
Hunched over the hospital bed I didn’t even notice the nurse had admitted us to room 1027. Honestly I didn’t even know the significance of that room- till my husband repeatedly insisted that this was, no doubt, the exact same room where, less than two years ago, Ryker was born. He was 100% correct.
I simply wanted to keep doing what was working at home- walk the halls, stop, lean, just breathe, setting myself a goal of 1:15am. I can’t, however, remember if I made it because Matt was already craving relief and urging me to call the anesthesiologist. I do remember tears pricking my eyelids as contractions just kept coming and continued to elevate. So, whatever the time, we called for the epidural and I simultaneously gulped down every single protein bar Matt could scavenge from the vending machine three floors down.
I didn’t have much hope for pain relief. During the marathon of Ryker’s birth I had three separate epidurals, given by three different doctors, and they all failed- miserably they all, very much, failed.
Enter Dr. Chow, who stood there for an eternity of a good fifteen minutes, staring at my scantily-gowned anatomy, talking backstory and small talk with my husband- I did my very best to sit still and not emphatically insist he hurry up.
At 2:30am he had the epidural in and medical grade tape plastered over practically every visible surface of my back. He ordered me to keep sitting upright, because gravity, and relayed to my husband that he set the drip to his new “experimental program.” Yes, he said the words “experimental” and “trial” and something about my rhomboids and placement; then told me relief would come.
Which it did not. Instead there was the most intense back pain of my entire life; I was certain I was doomed. I was about to have the epidural taken out and just give up on the rest of my entire life, when Dr. Chow returned, calmly made adjustments, allowed me to lay down and gave me a bolus of anesthesia- which must have gone straight to the bloodstream, because oh-my-word-just-wow.
In reality, breaking waves of pain had only been at me for a few hours- nonetheless, relief felt like oxygen and the seismic, seemingly intolerable agony of contractions quietly subsided and quickly drifted into background subtly.
It was now a sunny 7am Saturday morning and I was so happy (SO HAPPY).
I could breathe. I could relax. I could nap.
What is this- get ready to have a baby whilst taking a nap? I’m in love.
Unfortunately, this newfound nectar-of-goodness steadily and progressively slowed down my contractions. At 11am the nurses decided I’d had enough of the la-vida-loca happy-baby-mama life and Doctor B ordered up a dose Pitocin. I fortified myself with a chai latte.
Mom arrived at 11:30am- her sweet spirit breathing gentleness and compassion and a smile into our day.
We were now two-stepping this strange dance of Pitocin to encourage my contractions and epidural to combat the pain- but we began to make progress. Contractions picked up. Anticipation rose to the surface. My husband’s laughter made me brave.
There was loud Irish music and hula dancing, and laughing and the taking of bets.
Around 2:30pm, the epidural could no longer evaporate the pain away. There was still Irish music and more hula dancing, but there was now also breathing and rocking.
At 3pm Doctor B checked me and my water audibly broke with a pop. The contractions transitioned and within fifteen minutes I was at a 10.
Before I could catch my breath or get my mind around the fact that this was actually it, everyone was telling me to push. I kept telling them I didn’t remember how. Everyone was talking at once, I just wanted a hot minute to take a breath. They said I was doing it right, keep going. It must have been true because about 5 pushes later, there he was-
Mr. Finn Jameson, fresh from heaven, snuggled right in, skin to skin, heart to heart, steeling himself against the outside world all wrapped in my arms.
I breathed it all in. Basked in the joy of it all. Thanked his Maker. Held him close. Whispered hello. Delighted in how he twisted his tiniest of fingers around mine. Smiled as he opened his eyes to the beauty and harshness of this new world we would weather together. Love overflowed. Right there in the very same room we fought so hard to meet his brother in. We lingered together, the three of us, and love spilled over in a way I can’t put words to. We lingered longer and waterfalls of love and tremendous joy spilled up and over our hearts, splashing rivers of thankfulness and awe over everything, drenching our hearts in worship and soaking each of us with the truth that “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the (good, good) Father…”
You are deeply loved Finn Jameson, always and forever.
Photo's by: Annie Groves Photography