Thursday, May 28, 2015

Barrett's Birth Story (Part One)

On Friday, May 15, 2015, at 12:37 in the afternoon, we met him.
James Barrett Bell.
The one who had already snuck into our hearts
was finally able to snuggle in our arms.  

We didn't know our family needed a second.
At least not yet.
Brian and I knew we wanted a house full of children.
Little Bells running amuck,
sneaking cookies before dinnertime,
hiding car keys and remotes,
displacing toys from their homes and scattering them all about every inch of ours,
bowing their heads for bedtime prayers,
sneaking into our room for late night and early morning snuggles,
high fiving and fist bumping and finger pulling in delight,
occupying our hearts and invading our home.
But we thought Baker was enough, for now.
He needed us.
We rationalized waiting for a second until Baker was more independent.
We were cautious,
hesitant that another would deter us from meeting Baker's different abilities.
But oh how we dreamed of another.
We prayed God's plan to prevail, trusting in His plans over our own.
Our arms craving the warmth of a newborn,
yearning to smell their yummy, scrumptious goodness.
We whispered baby names aloud,
schemed house plans and nursery decor and a big boy room for Baker,
dreaming of one day,
not realizing how differently God's timing and our timing were for that one day.
We learned, on a late afternoon in September,
that sometimes the greatest blessings in our lives are also the biggest surprises.
The following nine months would consist of unspeakable joy,
faith in a plan bigger and higher and greater than our own,
a little nausea and a lot of growing,
Sour Patch Kids and snuggles from my first baby boy.
I started with monthly doctor appointments, then moved to biweekly,
and finally, the time came for us to see each other once a week.
I approached each appointment with an unhindered excitement,
my list of aches and worry-filled thoughts silenced in the thunderous booms emanating from the handheld Doppler, monitoring each rhythmic heartbeat.
Each visit was memorable,
the first ultrasound to see our little butterbean sized miracle,
and the one proclaiming news of hues of blue,
but the one that sticks out the most vividly came more recently.
The plans for Barrett's delivery started the previous Thursday, May 7,
with a midafternoon doctor visit.
I visited my doctor for my 38 week appointment.
 Her angel nurse took care of all of the lab stuff,
I got to hear Little Brother's heartbeat -
a strong 137 beats per minute.
I made small talk, and we chit chatted away.
I was measured and progress was noted.
And then the words from my doctor,
"Let's have this baby next Friday."
A plan.
This girl loves a plan.
I could sleep in my own bed on Thursday night,
shower and fix my hair and apply my makeup just so on Friday morning.
Drive, unhurriedly, to the hospital.
And proceed from there until my arms were cradling my baby boy.
A plan.
We had a plan, and it sounded pretty great to me.
I visited her the next Thursday as well,
at one day shy of 39 weeks.
My appointment was preceded by Baker's first IEP meeting, an appointment to get my nails manicured, a trip to Edgar's bakery to grab some of my favorite sweet treats for my doctor and nurses, a thorough house tidying, and revisiting of packed bags.
Everything was a go for Friday.
I had progressed slightly more, and my doctor anticipated our boy's arrival before one o'clock the next afternoon.
In fewer than 24 hours, I would meet him.
My heart could hardly contain my delight!
I squealed in excitement all the way to pick up Baker from school.
Brian and I had a fun night planned for our Baker Boy.
We spent the evening culminating the ever-long process of saying goodbye to our only child in his first love language - toy stores, playgrounds, and ice cream.
Baker would spend the night with my parents. 
I have never had such a hard time leaving that precious firstborn of mine.
We snapped a few last pictures as a family of three,
and excitedly anticipated seeing him for the first time as a big brother!
The next morning, Brian and I drove the familiar route to our hospital.
The only events that get me on the road before the sun comes up are Black Friday and birthing a baby.
We got checked in around five in the morning.
I loved the busyness of the room from the start.
Nurses bustling about,
family checking in with whispered prayers and lemon drops and kisses on the cheek,
friends calling and texting, eager for updates,
the sound of LB's heartbeat - a calming, rhythmic pur from the machine beside me.
The next few hours were filled with an anxious excitement as we grew closer to meeting our boy.
 I cherished each contraction, eager to welcome and then will it away as quickly as it began.
Brian was vigilant, standing guard, his eyes somehow both glued to the monitor, while never breaking our gaze.
He was the perfect calm through each stormy contraction.
Even through the epidural, I could feel them intensifying.
I knew the time was drawing near.

I asked for my purse.
Everyone laughed as I carefully applied lipstick, and then liner, and then gloss.
Minutes later, my obstetrician visited.
As I anticipated, it was time.
Our lives were fixing to be forever changed.
Our hearts were fixing to experience a love like never before.
At 12:25, we said our see you laters to the family.
I held tightly to Brian's hand through the first contraction.
And then rested in preparation for the second.
Barrett was on his way.
I pushed and I pushed and at 12:37, he was here. 
First his head, with a full head of dark brown hair like his daddy,
then the rest of him, so fearfully and wonderfully made.
I heard utterings of a big baby,
a healthy boy.
Brian cut the cord, and the day continued as magical as it began.
My boy was placed on my chest, and for the first time,
I held the child in my arms I had held for so many months in my heart.  
My first words, through quivering lips and joy-filled eyes,
"Thank you Jesus for this precious gift that is too wonderful for words."
I couldn't break my gaze.
My eyes couldn't be diverted from this little blessing of ours.
I fell all over in love again with my husband.
What incredible moments to share with the man I love.
After several moments, the nurse took him to be weighed and measured.
All of our predictions fell far short.
At birth, he weighed 9 pounds and measured 21 inches long.
Our big old sack of sugar,
who would soon be affectionately named Little Bear,
had stolen our hearts and changed our lives,
and made us a family of four.


"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights."
James 1:17

Stay tuned!
Parts two and three coming soon.

Part Two - Barrett meets Baker
(this is probably the most incredible thing I'll see this side of Heaven)

Part Three - Bringing Home Barrett

Read Baker's birth story here.

1 comment:

  1. Jennifer,
    We have never met but have mutual friends in Columbus and a mutual occupation- education! I stumbled across your blog from one of our mutual friends and have followed your pregnancy and updates of your precious Baker. I just wanted you to know how much of an inspiration your writing is and how, through your words, you encourage me to see the sunshine of life even in the cloudiest of days. Thank you, for providing such a positive outlook on this that we call life.
    Congratulations on sweet Barrett's birth,
    Heather Dodson