Our oldest son Joey will turn 21 tomorrow. We are so proud of him! The years have absolutely flown by since he was born. He is officially a MAN now. Oh my, my first baby has grown up.
His birth story....
Joey was due on April Fool's Day. When I found that out, I just shook my head. It took a bit of work to get to the point where we could talk about a due date with this baby, so it was just so ironic that it would be April 1.
I had an absolutely wonderful doctor. I think the world of him and his staff. Most of his staff is still the same as it was when I was pregnant with Joey, and that alone says a lot for this man. The only thing that bothered me just a teensy weensy bit was that he would NOT tell us what the sex of the baby was. When I'd ask, his answer was always the same: "That's not why we do ultrasounds." And I'd always respond with, "I know that, but if you happen to notice anything while you're looking, can you just tell us?" And he'd laugh.
Throughout the entire pregnancy, however, I just had a feeling it was a boy. I even referred to him as Baby Giuseppe. By the time the end was in sight, we had a couple girls' names picked out, but no boys' names. My mom would call me each and every morning during that last month and say the same thing. "Did I wake you? And do you have a boy's name yet?"
The answers were all pretty much the same. "Yes, you woke me and no, we don't have a boy's name yet." I couldn't sleep well all night long, but as soon as Ted got up for work, I could finally fall into a deep sleep, so I slept best from around 6:30 am until her daily phone call around 8:30 am. And we really did discuss boys' names, but just couldn't make a decision. Nothing we came up with really thrilled us.
The day before I was due I had a couple of questions for Dr. D, so I called his office. It would still be a few days before my weekly appointment, but he had always told me to call if I had any questions, so I did. When I asked the nurse (I don't even remember what the questions were now!), she put me on hold and the doctor himself came on the line. He was all excited and immediately asked if I was in labor. I told him I wasn't, but just wanted to know a few things. He answered my questions, then told me to just come on over to his office so he could check me out. He knew that we only lived a few minutes away.
So off I went. I didn't bother to call Ted at work because I would be back home before he got home. Or so I thought.
The nurse looked at my hands and ankles, then took my blood pressure. She let out a long "hmmmmm" and then took my BP in the other arm. She said she'd be right back. The doctor came in, poked at my hands and ankles and then took my BP. He sat down and looked at me and said, "You're the third one today."
I said, "The third one what??"
"The third one I'm going to admit."
EXCUSE ME??? ADMIT??? AS IN TO THE HOSPITAL???
I looked at him and said, "Ummmm....why?"
"You're retaining a lot of water and your blood pressure is pretty high."
I thought about this for a minute, and then he jumped in and said, "You've gotten this far, and we're not going to do anything to jeopardize either you or the baby. You need to be on bed rest."
So I told him I needed to go home first and tell Ted, then we'd go over. He said he was going to get the orders ready.
When I got home, Ted was there and in a panic. He said that he went to the bedroom and saw that the phone book was open to the Ds (for Dr. D) and that his number was circled. He had no idea WHAT was going on. I told him what Dr. D had said, then I said that I was going to take a shower first, because who knows how long it would be before I could get up and move around since I was going to be on bed rest.
We got over to the hospital that night and went through the admitting process and they put me in a private room since I was not in labor. They only had two private rooms, so one was going to be mine. Thank goodness.
Ted stayed with me for a long time, but eventually left around 11 pm. My mom was a nurse at that same hospital, but in a different unit. But either she or I knew most of the nurses in OB. That helped.
They had given me something to sleep, but it didn't help. I tossed and turned all night long and in the morning I was sitting up in bed, reading a magazine, when they came in to tell me that a student nurse would come in to help me with a bath and all that fun stuff. I started to put up a little fuss because I wanted to take a shower, not a sponge bath, but the nurse was adamant that my orders said complete bed rest and that's what I was getting. I'd been getting up throughout the night to go to the bathroom, but no one had said anything. I didn't ask permission, but they never asked me either. At this point I was willing to do almost anything to get potty permission from Dr. D when he came in to see me. The only problem was that he wouldn't be in for a couple of hours yet.
After breakfast and the bath, they took me to ultrasound to check on the baby. Once they got me back to my room, the strict nurse told me that I was to lie down on my left side because that might help my BP to go down, so I did.
Finally Dr. D came in. Before he even got over to my bed I told him that I wanted to be able to get out of bed once in a while, especially to go to the bathroom and take a shower. He said that was fine (thank you Dr. D!). Then he said that the best place for me was right there in the hospital, and even though it was my due date, he didn't plan on anything happening that day. He said he'd be in the next day and he'd check me. If I was inducible, he'd induce. If not, then we would have to do a c-section. He said that my BP was so high and that I was so full of fluid that we would need to get the baby out the next day.
The next morning, he checked me and I was NOT inducible, so he said, in a very sensitive manner, that we would need to get the baby out and the only other option was a c-section. He was so sweet about it. He talked to me as though he felt that he really needed to express to me the importance of getting the baby out and taking care of my pre-eclampsia. I just looked at him and said, "Let's get the show on the road!"
Little did I know how quickly things were going to move. Ted was there, so he made the phone calls to the different family members and then the head OB nurse came in to start my IV.
THIS was not fun. The nutshell version is that they couldn't get it started on my arms or hands, so I had to sit on the edge of the bed and they looked at my ankles and behind my knees for a good vein. I had never had an IV before, so this was all new to me. The head OB nurse was not very kind, and I was trying to be nice while talking with her. Then she said, "It's a good thing this isn't an emergency."
I said (oh so innocently), "Why is that?"
"Then we'd have to do a cut-down."
"What's a cut-down?"
"We slice open your arm and lift out a vein."
Honestly, those were her exact words. I'll never forget them. Just what you want to hear when you're getting ready to have your first baby.
They called Ted out of the room for a minute, and then someone called the head nurse for the entire hospital. She came in, and Ted followed. Brother Bob from our church was with him. Brother Bob happened to be at the hospital and heard what was going on, so they called Ted out to ask him if I would want Brother Bob to come in and say a quick prayer. Ted thought it was a great idea.
Up until this point, an entire hour had gone by and there had been TEN attempts at starting my IV, by four different people. So anything would help, and I happily welcomed a prayer by Brother Bob. The nurse said that she was going to keep looking at my veins and she might try while we prayed. She thought she saw something and as Brother Bob was praying out loud, she got in a vein, HALLELUJAH!!
Then the anesthesiologist came in and told me that they were going to give me a general anesthetic and I said that was fine with me. Shortly after that we went down to surgery, and a while later I woke up in the recovery room, with a nurse telling me that I'd had a boy!
I mumbled, "I knew it was a boy. Does he have any hair?"
Now why on earth I was so worried about his hair, I have no idea. She said that OB would be calling with specifics at any moment, and she was right.
Less than a minute later the phone rang and as they told her about him, she told me. He was 20 1/2 inches long and weighed 8 pounds, 9 ounces. He had ten fingers and ten toes. Then the nurse said that I wanted to know if he had any hair. I heard her laugh right after that and she hung up. She said, "They said he needs a haircut and it's very dark hair."
With great relief that all was well, I fell asleep for a little while. They kept checking my BP and heart rate and all that other stuff, and eventually they took me back to my room up in OB. I kept asking to see my baby, but I couldn't see him until almost 5 pm when they brought the babies out for feeding time.
Ted was with me and I was sort of drifting in and out. I was pretty sore too. I'd never had any surgery before, so I didn't know quite what to expect, but I knew that I had a belly full of stitches and I was having trouble trying to just sit up.
Finally I heard a few babies crying and I knew they were giving them to their mothers. I tried to wait patiently, but it was hard. Finally I heard a squeaking cart and saw a cart come around the corner into my room. All I saw was all this white from the blanket that he was wrapped up in, and this really dark spot. It was his head! The nurse gave him to Ted and Ted gave him to me. I looked into that adorable face and fell madly in love.
I was no longer in any pain or discomfort, just pure contentment. This is what we had prayed for for so long, right there in my arms.
The next day we really talked long and hard about a name, and when he was two and a half days old, he was given the name "Joseph," which was really ironic since Giuseppe translates to Joseph. Ted pushed for the name Joseph, and I agreed as long as he was called either Joseph or Joe...none of this "Joey" for me. HA!!
Four days after Joey was born, we came home, and the true journey into parenthood began.
This is still one of my favorite pictures of Alex and Joey, taken one beautiful fall day.
Here Alex and Joey are in South Carolina, fresh from a day on the beach.
Here are the men in my life (except for my dad!) at Jacobs' Field (now Progressive Field) in Cleveland, getting ready to see a great baseball game!
The four of us on the South Carolina beach one evening.
Joey discovered a hat that Grandpa Gene had in the closet, as we were cleaning out his house.
Alex and Joey on New Year's Eve at a local restaurant.
Joey, holding Pepina, just a few days ago.