Monica went into early labor Monday morning at 2 a.m. We checked into the hospital later that day just to be sent right back home due to the slow progression. Sure enough, right when we get home that afternoon the contractions become RIDICULOUSLY painful! Witnessing the agony Monica went through over the next 18 hours gives me a whole new respect for my wife, women, and the miracle of life in general. The constant battle with fatigue and debilitating contractions made me feel completely helpless when trying to console her. At 9 a.m. Tuesday morning we decided to head to the hospital again...this time we were not going to leave the hospital without a baby! Of course we hit morning traffic...never a good thing to have a prolonged drive to the hospital with a laboring woman!! After almost an hour long commute, we arrived at Northside Hospital and were immediately admitted to labor and delivery.
Within an hour, Monica was examined, her water broke, and she was about to get an epideral...THANK GOD! Finally, no more crippling pain. All is right with the world right?!?...wrong. As the contractions progressed, Poppy's heart rate dropped after each contraction. Needless to say we were panicked once again! The doc wanted to do an emergency cesarean, ASAP! This isn't the way any parent expects to deliver their child into the world, and we were scared. Eventually we learned the umbilical cord had wrapped itself around Poppy's neck twice, and was causing a lot of stress on it's little body with each contraction. A crew of doctors came in and took Monica away to the O.R., then put me in a skin tight blue uni-suit (can you say camel toe) with a sweet hair net! It was a sight to see, which added a little comic relief to the situation.
While Monica was getting prepped for the "procedure," I waited patiently for the green light to go in. When I finally walk through the doors, I see my wife's big pregnant belly prepped to be cut open. I made my way to sit next to Monica's upper body, shielded from her mid section by a blue curtain. I held her hand, and we tried to assure one another that everything would be o.k. It was my job to announce the sex of Poppy to Monica and take a picture at the moment "it" is out of the womb. The anticipation is sucking the air out of the room at this point. As we hear suctioning, Monica feels a lot of pulling and pressure, and the Dr. says "we've got a head, get ready Joe!" Holy shit! This is it! "We've got a baby!" says the Dr. I raise up take a quick snap shot, and I see our child that we have been waiting 9 months to meet! "It's a boy" with tears of joy streaming from our faces, Monica and I hug each others head as we hear our little Jensen (formerly known as Poppy) screaming for oxygen, using his tiny lungs for the first time. The feeling of seeing your child for the first time, seeing your first born is an emotion that can't really be put into words. Sure, you can say it was amazing, incredible, unbelievable, and ground shattering...but none of those words truly capture how we felt at that moment. In my opinion, this is the meaning of life...this was a divine moment given to us by God. Love in its purest form that started when we laid eyes on his 8 lb. 12 oz. body...a bond with another human being this deep will change our lives forever.
Announcing the sex to the grandparents, Cara, and Molly (on the phone) in the waiting room was also a cool moment. I held up an announcement card that said "It's a boy", and they all started screaming! Such an emotional moment. Others in the waiting room looked at us like we were crazy! But that is the fun part of waiting to find out the sex. I would recommend this to anyone planning on having a child. It takes almost militaristic discipline, but the anticipation adds a whole new dimension to the delivery of the child.
Jensen James Gerda was born on St. Patrick's Day, 2009. Weighing in at 8 pounds, 12 ounces with 22 inches of length from the top of his head, to the bottom of his feet. He has some seriously long fingers, big feet, and a head full of dark hair! Mom is doing great too. A little sore, but after 3 days in the hospital we are going home to start a new chapter in the Gerda family story.