Our first son, Preston Alexander, came two days before his due date so Melissa and I thought, as we approached Milo’s due date, that we wouldn’t have to wait long for our second little boy to show up. Milo was due September 30th, and on that day, we went to the mall and walked around it, probably five times. We were both exhausted afterward, but Melissa didn’t show any signs of labor.
After another week of meetings, all set tentatively, we got to Friday night. Melissa was tired of being pregnant, and I was tired of waiting, and Preston was just wanting to play with his nana who took him to her house for a sleepover. On Saturday, there was a birth fair at the United Way center near downtown that all the midwives from Nativiti, our birth center, were attending. It was a decent size event with all sorts of doctors and midwives, doulas and chiropractors, businesses with products for new mothers and any other type of person excited about birth. It was a cool event to go see and one where an engineer feels really out of his element.
Once again, we walked around a lot and were tired after a few hours of talking and learning and, of course, waiting. We told Jaelin, our midwife who claimed our second birth after delivering Preston with us our first time, that we were going to head home, get something to eat, and pick up Preston since we hadn’t seen him in 24 hours. After taking a detour around a large accident, we got back to the north side of town where we got Dicky’s and went to my mom’s house to eat.
After our late lunch/early dinner, Melissa started to feel stronger contractions that did not go away after a certain period of time. We called Jaelin and told her that we might need her back on the north side of town soon. She was pretty happy about this because it got her out of cleaning up at the birth fair. We realized pretty quickly that her contractions were getting closer and stronger so we called Jaelin again, and she told us to come to the center. Just like last time with Preston, we got to the center and, after a lot of contractions and some good breathing on Melissa’s part, labor stalled and we realized that Milo’s head was a little more in Melissa’s hip than he needed to be. This was a little surprising because that week she had gone to the chiropractor for an adjustment so that he would be in the correct position. After a few strategic exercises, he moved toward the right direction; however, contractions were slowing down and lessening in severity so Jaelin told us to go home and sleep on it.
We were still nervous that labor might start up again, so we went to our friends’, Cliff’s and Jeneva’s, house to hang out and watch sports. They live a lot closer to the birth center so it made sense to hang out there for the time being. I dropped Melissa off and went to my mom’s house, five minutes away, to pick up Preston. He had a blast with his nana and Aunt Sarah and was pretty exhausted, but he perked right up when we got to “friends’ house.” At around 10 PM or so, we decided to go home so we could get some sleep before church the next morning, all the while hoping that Melissa doesn’t add any extra holy water to the service in the morning. We got home and went straight to bed. The only problem was that as soon as we laid down, Melissa started to get really big contractions, to the point where it was hard to talk. Preston kept saying “Milo come,” and again we called Jaelin, who told us to get back to the birth center.
It was go time for me. I threw back on my shorts and shoes and rushed a confused 2-year-old and a woman in labor out the door—well, as rushed as she could be having to stop every few feet to focus. I probably sped a bit as we got on the road, but my job was to make sure that she didn’t have Milo in the van. I realized that we wouldn’t have time to drop Preston off at my mom’s house so I called her and told her that she needed to meet us at the birth center to take him home. Melissa also let Jeneva know we were headed to the birth center because she wanted her there as a friend to encourage and take pictures. It was probably the fastest that I’ve driven down 1960 and up I-45. I even took a different exit than normal so I didn’t have to travel down some smaller roads with stop signs.
We got to the birth center around 11:30 pm. Jaelin and Jeneva had already arrived, and Jaelin had prepared the bath water for a water birth, as well as every other thing that midwives do to get ready for a delivery. I was rushing and trying to get Melissa out of the van and into the house so at least I had done that part of my job. Jeneva helped get Preston out as my mom pulled up, and she took him back to her house to sleep.
As soon as we were inside, Melissa got into the warm bath. She was heavily into labor; I could tell due to the heavy breathing, guttural sounds, and inability to speak during contractions. When she first got in, she laid back but soon transitioned to the side of tub. Something about women’s bodies tells them to do stuff like change positions, move around, and do other things to get the baby in the right position—something about hormones and women things that I’ll never understand. Jaelin told me that if Melissa stayed in this position while the baby came out, Jaelin would have to push baby my way, and I’d have to catch him. That much responsibility is a terrifying thought for me. Melissa got tired of being in that position and started to really have to push so she laid back. At this point, there were still a few things with which I was able to help, such as:
- Providing water
- Providing coconut water for extra hydration
- Letting her smell peppermint oil for nausea
- Letting her smell my hair for comfort
Milo officially exited the womb at 1:42 AM Sunday morning (both boys were born on a Sunday after labor started on Saturday). My favorite part of labor, both times, was the moment that the baby exited the womb, and my beautiful, amazing, and hardcore wife shouted, “MY BABY!” as we put him on her chest. She did it again, and I couldn’t be more proud of both her and baby Milo. They both did wonderful. I’m just glad that I could make sure they made their appointment on time.
Melissa cut the umbilical cord this time, and like last time, I got to hold my baby after they moved him to my chest with a warm blanket. He didn’t recognize my voice as well as Preston did, but that was mostly because I didn’t have as much time to spend talking to him in the womb since I was chasing around a 2-year-old all pregnancy. I knew that he’d have plenty of time to warm up to me.
We texted our families pictures and were home around five that morning. We only slept for about two hours. Our adrenaline was high, and there were Astros and Packers games to watch. (The Packers beat the Cowboys that day. The Astros lost badly to the Red Sox, but of course they eventually became the WORLD SERIES CHAMPS, which I got to see with my sleeping baby on my chest.) We are excited about our family of four and are so grateful for little Milo Henry and his smiles and better sleeping habits than his older brother. We’ll probably have another baby at some point, at Nativiti of course, but we are super excited to have the family that God has given us.