My version of the birth story, little by little:
I am currently sitting in suite 8 of the international hospital with more anticipation than I've had in a long time. This morning I woke up to the sound of voices outside my room. I could tell Josh and Danielle were talking to someone on Skype, which I thought was sort of odd. I recognized mom's voice on the other end of the call and started hearing words like "contractions" and "hospital" and "3 minutes apart." I laid there for a minute or two deciding if this meant we were about to go to the hospital or not. I got up and sure enough, Danielle had been having contractions for about 2 hours that were 2-3 minutes apart. Sounds pretty close to birth, but they weren't very painful so they were unsure if it was real labor or not. With some guidance from Mom and Dad and some input from the hospital nurses we headed off. We went up to the second floor where we entered a suite that was already prepared for us. Imagine a hotel room with a hospital bed and lots of cords. And now you've imagined our suite. But it is very nice and we've enjoyed some sort of olympic-type games on tv. After they checked out Danielle and said that she was in early labor we walked around the halls to try to get the baby moving. Ok, Danielle walked around the halls to try to get the baby moving and Josh and I just followed her around. As we walked around with our hands behind our backs like Chinese men, we followed her down the halls in a line like baby chicks. We took a walk outside where I was freezing cold and Danielle thought the weather was wonderful. It's not just in movies...pregnant women really are burning up every minute of the day, apparently. We spent probably a fourth of this walk stopped while Danielle had a contraction and Josh timed it with his handy contraction-timer app on his ipod. I strongly recommend this if you have an itouch.
We have internet connection and Josh and I split a grilled chicken panini for lunch. Hospital life isn't so bad, after all. Well...from my perspective. It's probably quite a different story from the one who's actually going through the pain. So here I sit in a room full of intimidating machines of all shapes and sizes while a guy checks the equipment to make sure everything is in place and ready for birth. Danielle and Josh are in the "spa room" where Danielle is sitting in a large bathtub in warm water in an attempt to soothe the pain. I'm imagining that it's not working.
Josh and Danielle came back to the room about an hour ago. For some reason I had this picture of Danielle walking back into the room saying, "Wow! That was really refreshing! I feel great now!" and looking happy and ready to give birth to a baby. I was forgetting something. "Happy" and "ready to give birth to a baby" don't tend to go well together in the same sentence. So when she returned and I noticed that she was looking paler (possibly it was just because of the drab hospital outfit she had to wear) I was a little in shock. I said "Are you alright?" and she just said "Yeah...very painful." I ran downstairs to a little cafe that is in the hospital and got a latte for Josh and a coke to share. When I realized things were moving along quite well (I'll spare you the details, to be sensitive to the weaker stomachs reading this)
and that is where I paused writing when Josh told me that she was 4 centimeters dilated and that he should be born in the next 3 hours. I then called mom and dad to give them an update. While I was talking to them Josh called and said Danielle was ready to push. So I quickly told Mom and Dad and then called Danielle's mom to let her know the good news. I've been picturing this whole thing like Father of the Bride II...and how I'll hear a baby cry and then Josh will walk out with the baby and put him in my arms. I realize this is not realistic. And that Josh will call me when he's born. But I've never had an experience like this...all I'm imagining is movies about babies. In the above paragraph I was going to finish the sentence by saying that I took that as my cue to go to the waiting room. Josh said he'd come back and get me...I walked out of the room thinking that there was no way I was coming back...she was going to have this baby soon. He brought me some of my stuff because he figured I was bored (which I wasn't...I occupied myself with things like pacing). Somewhere around this time I realized that most likely the next time I saw him he'd be a dad.
I've been in the waiting room for the past hour...for the first half hour-ish I had nothing to do. I stared at my feet. I checked the time way too often. I studied an emergency fire escape plan out of pure impatience. I watched kids walk out of the pediatric clinic. I looked out the small space on the window that wasn't covered up and watched the security guards as they laughed at me. I paced up and down the waiting room. I tapped my feet and did strange things with my fingers...what I always do when I'm nervous. My body that was tired before was now hyped up on adrenaline. I told the security guard that I was nervous because my sister was about to have a baby...she said "oh ok" but I knew she didn't understand a word I had said. I read signs about the swine flu and being quiet in a hospital. I watched as nurses took medical supplies into Danielle's room. I observed patients' family members and doctors and nurses quickly walk through halls. Anticipation abounded. And it still does. My mind only stopped thinking about my nephew when a man got my mind off of things by noticing that I was a Tar Heel fan because of my shirt.
My video camera is ready and my stomach is turning in knots. We've been waiting for this little guy for so long and he's finally almost here. I can barely believe it. Josh just called to report that she's pushing and that she's doing great. It was a little letdown, since I was expecting the next call from him to be that the baby was here. But he should be out soon and I should be a happy aunt with a nephew in my arms. Now I'm off to attempt to study my missions trip lesson, but probably with no success.
I am sitting on a pull-out couch in suite number 8 as I watch my brother and sister-in-law start their journey of parent-hood. I'm watching my new nephew cry his heart out and be comforted by his mama's voice. The name of this fine young man is Harvey Joshua Shelley....Harvey after the paternal grandfather, and Joshua after the father. He's got 3 good names that suit him well! He and Danielle both did very well in the labor/delivery and they're recovering well from the tough day.
I left off where Josh called to say she was pushing. So that's where I'll pick up. I talked to Mom and Dad and gave them an update and called Danielle's mom too. And I did alot more pacing. Alot. It was many more than a few times that I heard a baby cry and thought it was my little nephew. And then I heard cries of pain (from a woman that was clearly in labor) and thought it was the sound of Danielle's voice. I thought to myself that if Danielle were to scream while in labor, that's how she would scream. So I stood there staring down the hall, praying my heart out, and exchanging confused glances with the security guard who also heard the screaming. About 5 seconds after 10ish hollers from the lady in pain I heard a baby cry. And I just knew it had to be him. I continued pacing and I saw nurses coming in and out of the room and it seemed like something was definitely happening in there. They started to bring the scale and other medical equipment out of the room so I knew he must have been born. Josh texted me and told me he was here and I called Mom and Dad and Danielle's mom to let them know that they were now grandparents! About 45 minutes to an hour later Josh called me in and I got to meet little Harvey. Sure enough, the screaming was from her. Danielle was looking great....not anything like she had just gone through the intense labor that she did! And to brag a little on her, she did the whole thing without any pain medicine at all. She's a champ! Josh did great cheering her on and the new arrival did a great job coming out. The vacuum did have to be used a little to get him out, which resulted in a very cone-shaped head (which will go away soon). But we're so thankful that he arrived safely and that he's a healthy little boy! We couldn't be more happy that he's here and we're so glad that the anticipation is over! We're so excited to get to know him better and to spend some more time with him. Hopefully tonight we can get some much-needed sleep and feel rested up in the morning. We love you Harvey!!
10: 55 am
Last night was a little bit of a rough night of sleep. I was able to fall asleep at about 2 but woke up a few times every hour until 7:30ish. Josh and Danielle didn't get much sleep but they did get in alot of rest and Harvey did great last night and slept alot. Tonight I may go stay with some friends so that I can get a little more rest. We've just been hanging out in the hospital this morning with Harvey. He's now laying on Josh while Danielle takes a shower. She's been feeling a little rough this morning and is having some pain from the stitches (once again I'll spare you the details). But overall we're doing good and Harvey is getting the hang of this eating thing. As you can imagine he's currently my favorite baby. And he doesn't cry much...which is nice. And he sleeps alot...which is very nice. I can't wait to take him home!!
Now I'm sitting on Danielle's hospital bed (don't worry, it's clean) as I watch my nephew sleep, my brother read booklets about raising a newborn, and my sister-in-law rock in a rocking chair staring at her new son. And I'm waiting for food. I've felt bad spending so much money on food while I've been here (Shelley frugality kicking in) but Josh assured me that it was necessary because I have to eat and my only other option for food is to eat meals that consist of granola bars and crackers. I don't mind eating take-out...it's quite handy to have food delivered right to your door. So don't worry...I'm not complaining.