We welcomed our Birkelo “Birk” Pruett into our lives on July 22nd, 2015 at 8:05AM. He weighed in at 8 Ibs 9 oz., and was 21 1/4 inches long. It truly was love at first sight.
The pregnancy was a long and hard one, to be honest. We found out early on that I had something called polyhydramnios. This basically meant that I had an increased amount of amniotic fluid. And if you are trying to stay svelte and beautiful whilst pregnant? Polyhydramnios is not really something you want to have. Near the end, I was so swollen I hardly recognized myself! That being said, I made the mistake of going home and googling polyhydramnios and found out that sometimes it is caused by a congenital birth defect. We did not do genetic testing, because we knew we would love our baby either way. So at that point, we were left to wait until he was born to know for sure that there was nothing wrong with our baby boy. Around 34 weeks, I found out at one of my appointments that I had started to dilate. We were rushed to the hospital for monitoring, and it turns out I was having contractions every few minutes. I was quickly given a steroid shot to promote lung growth, and at the same time, I was also given a drug to stop my contractions. (If you’d like to know the most painful thing I have felt (truly!) it was that shot!) Unfortunately, that round did not work, so they gave me another shot in the other arm. Again, it did nothing to slow down my contractions. At the end of the day, I did not dilate any further and they sent me home. Our Birk was covered in prayer, and we were fortunate to carry him to term after that scare! We did, however, have weekly monitoring and ultrasounds to make sure he was swallowing and moving properly.
Because of my polyhydramnios and because Birk was such a big baby, (they thought he was going to be 10 Ibs!) I was scheduled for a c-section. The night before he was born, Chad and I each wrote a letter for him to open some day. Perhaps when he leaves the nest…perhaps on a special day. We wanted him to know exactly what we were feeling before we ever even met him. We each read each others letters aloud, and could barely get through them without crying. We snuggled and talked through the night. Nervous and excited about our early morning trip to the hospital. We knew our lives were about to change overnight.
On July 22nd, we woke up in the wee hours of the morning. Since the c-section was scheduled, we had time to pack our bags and get ready the night before. I was able to curl my hair and put on a little makeup, while Chad paced the house and prepared the rest of our “hospital necessities”. The car ride was filled with unspoken anticipation. It wasn’t until we were in the hospital and I was hooked up to the monitors that I started to get nervous. I remember I just kept repeating “gosh, I’m just getting really nervous”. Chad and I didn’t talk much, because we were both so anxious. We just looked at each other in amazement. Sometimes we giggled. Other times we said how excited and scared we were. I began to feel very uncomfortable, and it turned out I was having pretty strong contractions! He might have come that day after all! An hour or so later, one of my very best friends, Cassie showed up. She was there to capture our special day on film, and she did such an incredible job in doing so. Not only did she do a wonderful job taking photos, she also relieved so much of my anxiety! We laughed and laughed as her tiny body (minus her adorable baby bump) was suited up into her over sized scrubs. Between the three of us, we told jokes and laughed and the time flew by as my nerves slowly melted away.
A little while after Cassie arrived, she and Chad put on their scrubs, and we all headed down the hall to the room where the surgery would take place. They had Cassie and Chad wait in another room while they gave me the spinal shot. For any of you soon to be c-section moms, that really was a breeze, I promise. I read on many blogs that the drug made women incredibly nauseous, so I was super thankful that feeling never kicked in. They laid me down on the table and that’s when the hard part started. I quickly felt my legs fall asleep and then the drugs began to work their way up towards my diaphragm. I am a tad bit claustrophobic, and so the feeling definitely put me on edge. Chad was not in the room yet, and my nerves really kicked in. The nurses and Dr. were just chatting away and I remember just shouting out, “hey, I’m starting to feel pretty weird here. I might have a panic attack!” They did their best to soothe me, and I did my best to soothe myself. I looked up at the bright lights and slowly breathed in and out. My body just told me to pray, and pray I did. With each slow breath, I prayed for peace and for my body to calm itself. I prayed that God would keep me safe and keep our baby boy safe as he was delivered. Moments later, Chad and Cassie were in the room and I felt Chad in my ear whispering that he was there and that he was proud of me. He was nervous, I could hear it in his voice. He said the silliest things in those few moments as they prepped me for surgery. I won’t repeat them because I don’t want to embarrass him, but we laughed so hard about it afterwards. I felt some tugging and pulling and pressure, and the minutes felt like hours to me. It felt as though the room was silent (trust me, it wasn’t) and I know i asked “is everything okay?” about ten times. Chad kept reassuring me everything was fine, and I finally heard “Dad, do you want to look over the curtain now? Here he comes!” and then I heard Chad tell me with a shaky voice that our boy was here. He said he was definitely big and that he had dark brown hair. (Which was a huge surprise! We were sure he would come out with blonde or strawberry blonde hair)! The moment I heard Birk cry and saw him for the first time as he was lifted over the curtain, I felt myself blow out a huge breath of air. Chad went over to where they weighed and measured him. He was crying so hard and wiggling about. Chad leaned over and grabbed both of his tiny hands, and Birk immediately stopped crying as he heard his dad’s voice for the first time outside of the womb. That memory brings tears to my eyes. When they laid Birk on my chest for the first time moments later..skin to skin…my heart nearly exploded. I felt an immediate connection to him (which truly surprised me) and I just wanted to stare at his beautiful face for hours. No one existed but him and I for those few moments. I examined every inch of his face and opened his tiny fist to reveal even tinier fingers. It shocked me, how tiny his fingers were. I couldn’t believe he was mine. That he was ours. And then there was Chad. It was then the three of us, and we were a family. They rolled us into a recovery room where I could nurse Birk and relax before our families came in to meet him. We loved on Birk. We both enjoyed skin to skin time. We stared at him, we kissed his little body and we just spent time as three.
I remember how proud Chad and I felt to introduce him to our parents. How thankful we were that he came out healthy and beautiful. Pink, chunky skin and beautiful brown hair. The next few days in the hospital went by in a blur, and I honestly enjoyed every minute. I barely slept a wink, as Birk was nursing every hour or few hours those first few days. I didn’t mind one bit. I loved those middle of the night hours when it was just he and I awake. Chad sleeping on the cot next to us. The TV blaring nonsensically in the background. I had tunnel vision only for Birk. We snuggled and I told him about how great of a gift he was to our little family and how much his parents loved him. Sure, there were ups and downs. First time scares and jitters. But nothing compares to knowing God knit that tiny baby in my womb and that he was here and healthy. That he was our little boy to raise together.
In the next few weeks/month, we ran into a few medical scares with Birk and we are still walking through those waters. Fear and anxiety is a very real thing as a parent, but we are thankful for friends, family and a community of people who cover our baby boy in prayer. We know he is well taken care of and that God loves him more than we do. We rest in that! I wake up every day thankful he is here and that I get to spend the day tired, frustrated, exhausted, joyful, scared, overwhelmed and just plain happy that he is our baby boy and that we get to care for him. He is worth the sleepless nights and long (but oh so short!) days.
Birk Pruett, we love you so much. Our little warrior!
There is a wonderful story behind his name that I would love to share with you soon!
I apologize for the multitude of photos, but how do you choose just a few? Cassie did a wonderful job documenting our day!
This ring was given to Chad’s grandmother, “mama hugg” by his grandfather, “papa hugg” on the day she gave birth to Chad’s dad. I wore it on my wedding day, and also on the day of Birk’s birth. I love keeping their memories alive, and I cherish the special meaning behind it.