June 17, 2011

8.5 Months Later...

***SPOILER ALERT***We had a baby!

I've wanted to write about Garrett's birth for quite some time - as much (probably more) for myself, in case I forget parts of it years from now, as for you, my friends and family.  It'll be a long story, so make yourself comfortable.

I had an appointment with Dr. Nelson the morning of my due date, Tuesday, September 28th.  Evidently, Garrett hadn't finished packing yet for his big move, so we scheduled an appointment for the following Thursday so Dr. Nelson could check Garrett's weight and make sure there was still enough amniotic fluid water in my uterus his pool.  I left Christie Clinic somewhat disappointed and drove a few blocks to where Nathan was working that day.  We went to Le Peep for lunch, Nathan went back to work, and I met my friend, Jen, for a pedicure at Regency Beauty Institute.  (The gal who transformed my toenails said something about pedicures stimulating the onset of labor.  She also guessed right the first time what name we had picked for our baby boy!  I told her it started with a G, but I was still impressed.)

I can't remember anything about the rest of that Tuesday except for the last hour.  Nathan had gone to bed before me.  (By then, he had started sleeping on the futon.  I had apparently become a loud and restless sleeper in my 39th week of pregnancy.)  I got in bed around 11:00 but had trouble getting to sleep.  At 11:30, I experienced my first contraction.  There was no mistaking what it was, but I wanted to make sure I was really in labor.  I got up, went downstairs, watched TV for a while, drank some water, walked around, went to the bathroom - all the things the experts recommend doing in an effort to determine whether or not you're experiencing true labor.  The contractions kept coming consistently, but I waited until nearly 3:00 to wake Nathan up.  We got in bed together, and he started timing my contractions.  After a few more, we decided to call the hospital.  The nurse, whose name I wish I could remember, said it sounded like this was probably the real thing and recommended that I take a shower to try and relax a little bit.  Nathan took a shower after I did, and then we called the hospital again to let the nurse know we were on our way.  After we loaded up the car and said our goodbyes to Solo, we laid some plastic and a towel on the passenger seat...just in case my...well, you know, and off we went.  "This is the best day of my life", I told Nathan.

We checked in at Provena Covenant Medical Center in Urbana around 5:00 a.m. on Wednesday, September 29th.  (I was so relieved when I learned we'd get to stay; I had heard too many stories about women in labor being sent home.  I couldn't imagine anything more disappointing at that point and didn't want that to happen to us.)  Mom and Mark, who live in Lima, OH, were prepared to get in the car and make the 5-hour journey to Urbana as soon as we let them know it was time for Garrett's arrival.  I had called them on our way, and Nathan called my dad and his own parents after we got settled into our room.  At some point, I texted my friend, Kara, to let her know I was in labor.  She Solo-sat while we were in the hospital.

Nathan and I had taken a childbirth preparation class in July.  I felt much more confident about my own labor and delivery afterwards.  I even thought I was capable of doin' it without drugs.  Well, I caved and got the epidural, and from about 9:00 a.m. on, I could hardly feel a thing!  I sometimes had to look at the monitor to determine when I was having a contraction!  Oh, the wonders of modern medicine.  And don't think for a minute that I feel bad about getting that epidural.  Our experience was no less miraculous.  But kudos to all the millions of women who've gone through labor and delivery without it!


By the time Mom and Mark arrived at the hospital, I believe the rest of our parents had already shown up.  I'll never forget the moment my mom walked into the room.  We both cried.  Tears of joy, tears of excitement, and perhaps tears of uncertainty, but oh, the comfort she brought.  Comfort only a mother can bestow.

I remember everyone encouraging me to try to get some sleep, but I was too excited.  Plus, "Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?" was on TV!  Nathan was by my side, the nurses were coming in periodically to check on me, and we would soon be holding Garrett in our arms.

Dr. Nelson came in shortly before 2:00 that afternoon, did her thing, and said it was about time to start pushing!  A couple of students from Lakeview College of Nursing had come in, along with I don't know how many other medical personnel, but I didn't care.  The students, who had never attended a delivery, held my legs while Nathan stayed right next to me and gently cheered me on.  "Come on, Erin!  Push, push, push, push, push!  You're doin' great.  Again.  1...2...3...4...5...6...7...8...9...10...breathe."  It didn't seem like I was pushing hard enough.  It seemed like all I was doing was making funny faces.  But a mere 20 minutes later, Garrett had arrived!

There are no words to describe what seeing Garrett for the first time was like.  I actually don't remember seeing him before Nathan cut his umbilical cord or immediately thereafter.  I vaguely remember when Garrett was placed in my arms.  All I could do was cry.  And cry.  And cry some more.  And some more.

"Hi, Son."

The only concrete element of our birth plan was to spend about an hour as a family of three before welcoming all 7 of Garrett's grandparents in to meet him.  In the mean time, Nathan ran out to the lobby with Garrett's image on our camera so they could see him right away.

Garrett Wesley Hanna
7 pounds, 2 ounces
20 3/4"

He was so alert from the very beginning.  I could tell right away that he looked like Nathan.  His ears were kind of pointy, and his 2nd toes on both feet curved toward the others...just like Nathan's.

The best day of my life!
A pleasant pregnancy, a safe delivery, a healthy baby.  A loving family, a warm home, a loyal dog.  How are we doing now?  Better than we deserve.  Garrett brings new joy to our lives every single day, and we look forward to the days, weeks, months, and years that I hope with all I have we get to spend being his parents.

Thanks for reading our story.


  1. So beautifully written. You brought back all the emotions that I felt that day in the car on the way to the hospital...and I'll never forget walking into the room and seeing you there. And when you asked if I wanted to hold Garrett for the first time.

    I'm very proud to be one of the Grandparent Paparazzi!

  2. Oh Erin, this is a simply BEAUTIFUL post! Thank you for sharing this with us and letting us experience what you were feeling during that time. (Thanks for a good cry this morning too!)

    You are a WONDERFUL Mommy to Garrett (and Solo!), and I'm am loving watching you in this new, and best role ever!