I am humbled, honored, and super pumped to introduce
Parker Jae Ward
Born January 10, 2011 at 10:48am
6lbs, 8oz, 20.25in
Here’s how it all went down, got tired and stuck, and eventually came out:
On Sunday morning, January 9th, I woke as usual around 5:30 and got ready to head to work to endure what had become physically the most difficult hours of my week. I am blessed to work with 130-140 volunteers each weekend to help create an environment at our church that will allow those who are broken, hurting, lost, and vulnerable to feel comfortable, welcome, and open to hearing God’s Word (just another day at the office – I have the coolest job ever). Our church has 5 weekend services and I made it through the first 3 without any major issues. It was between the 10:00 service and the 11:30 service that I was waddling through the church lobby talking to volunteers, checking coffee supplies, and trying to ignore the size of my ankles, when I was stopped by one of our team leaders. As she and I stood in the middle of the church lobby I felt the most uncomfortable and disgusting and holy-cow-I’m-a-grown-woman, feelings. I couldn’t tell if I’d peed my pants in the sort of way that keeps my mom off of trampolines or if this was the beginning of the end of a 9 month journey. I casually ended the conversation I was having and made my way quickly to the restroom then directly to Jason who was behind the computer at my desk. He smiled a holy crap smile and went straight to google to search either water breaking or how to teach grown women to tinkle in the big-girl potty. As soon as church was underway I led one last devotional, began scribbling post-it note reminders and leaving them on desks and folders around the office, started cleaning and re-setting the lobby for our next service, wrote my final weekend report when the weekend was only 60% over, and I left the binder titled Angie’s Maternity Leave Plan smack dab on the center of my desk. All the while, Jason and I remained very quiet, composed, and nonchalant around my co-workers and volunteers. We rushed home as soon as we could sneak out the back door at church and I began folding the load of laundry I’d left in the dryer the night before. Jason forced me to call the hospital, a task I was not excited about at all. “Yes, I think my water may be leaking or maybe I just peed my pants. Umm, yes ma’am, I’m 28 years old but can’t tell whether or not I peed my pants.” I refused to go to the hospital fearing they would charge me an arm and a leg, hand me a package of depends, slap me on the rear and send me right back home. Instead, I kicked my legs up on the couch next to Jason and took a nap.
At 5:30 Jason convinced me that a hospital visit would be best and would at least give us some peace of mind. We debated back and forth about whether or not to pack our bags into the car. We decided that in an effort to provide good entertainment for the neighbors we’d pack our stuff and then unpack it with our new case of depends when we got back home. We calmly pulled out of the driveway and giggled when Jason said, “if this is really it, it’s not at all what I expected.”
We made our way to the second floor of the hospital and buzzed ourselves into the maternity ward. It was silent and cold and I was still completely sure they’d tell me I had peed my pants, we’d grab some dinner on our way home, and I’d be back to work for the Sunday evening service. I put on the hospital gown, laid on the bed, and the nurse hooked me up to several machines to monitor contractions, check my blood pressure, and monitor the baby’s heartbeat. After one test said my water had not broken, they suggested we do another test that the nurse found more trusting (no clue why we didn’t go with the more accurate test from jump street). When the nurse came back, what seemed like 5 hours later, with our lab results she began unplugging me from the machines as she told us we’d be staying and having a baby – thank goodness we decided to bring our bags. She gave me a second gown to wear as a robe to cover the split in the back of gown number one and walked us to a delivery room and told us that since I was not having very intense contractions we’d likely be facing a 12 hour ordeal. Jason called our parents, told them the news and encouraged them not to rush and to be careful on the icy roads – they began arriving within 45 minutes. Oh, and being told I was having a baby brought on the contractions immediately.
The early hours of labor were tolerable but all of the pain I was experiencing was in my back. I knew I would be in for a long night but told Jason we’d have a baby by 5:00am for sure. A couple of co-workers and friends dropped by the hospital to give us some company and to cheer me along. By midnight I was progressing slowly and the nurse offered me pain medicine that she said would make me feel woozy or drunk. I turned it down thinking I’d need to wait for my labor to progress to avoid the medication wearing off just in time for the fun part. In the middle of the next back breaking, intense contraction, I assured the nurse that I was a fun drunk and ordered pain medicine and had her call for an epidural. By 1:30 I had a numb abdomen and legs and hoped I’d be able to get a nap in before the main event. Just as I dozed off and Jason nuzzled himself into a corner of the rock hard couch the nurse came rushing in, flipped me on my side, flung an oxygen mask on my face and shot something new into my IV. I was terrified and shaking and Jason looked confused and just as nervous. Our baby did not like the medication they administered to help progress my labor and her heart rate had dropped…a lot. Jason held my trembling hands and prayed for our baby and for us.
That 5:00am I promised came and went and by 7:00 the next morning (about the 12 hour mark) nothing had happened. Our doctor made his rounds just before 8:00 and assured us he’d rush in as soon as he was paged that our baby was close. By 10:00am there was still very little progress and the nurse informed us that our doctor suggested a C-section. They were worried if we attempted to use medication to help move us along we’d end up in the operating room under a lot more stress in a few hours anyway. I was scared. The nurse had tears in her eyes as she told us knowing that after 14 hours in the hospital this isn’t how we expected our story to end. I just wanted to keep the baby safe and if someone was going to be more at risk it had better be me. Time to suck it up and meet this little girl.
Our parents joined us in the delivery room one last time and we all prayed together. The nurse brought Jason his scrubs, hat, booties, and mask and they wheeled me down the hall. I entered the freezing cold operating room to hear the surgeon counting the supplies. They put up a curtain in front of my face and spread my arms out on either side. After the made the first cut Jason got to join us and sat over my left shoulder. The entire surgery took right around 15 minutes but it felt like 9 more months passed as I waited and prayed to hear the cry of a girl I was already in love with.
At 10:48am Parker Jae Ward made her debut with a loud cry that flooded the room and my flooded my heart. Jason rushed over and trimmed the umbilical cord and fell more in love with her every second as they cleaned her up and took measurements. We are still amazed by Parker and humbled by the magnitude of the blessing she is to us. Motherhood, fatherhood, parenthood – the Ward’s are loving every minute of it!
And, I didn’t pee my pants :)