Dear Holly: Mommy Gave Birth to You with No Epidural


Dear Holly,

Mommy made a deal with me that if she could give birth to you without getting an epidural, she could go on a “new wardrobe shopping spree” with the money we’d save; her epidural with your brother Jack apparently cost us $1000.

Well, Mommy gets her shopping spree because she chose nitrous oxide (laughing gas) instead of an epidural! Not that she’ll actually spend a thousand dollars- probably just a couple hundred. Either way, she earned it!

Dear Holly: Mommy Gave Birth to You with No Epidural

Last weekend began with our family having a pretty good idea that you would be born, since your due date had already passed.

Dear Holly: Mommy Gave Birth to You with No Epidural

Friday night for dinner we went out with Grandma at a place near our house called Homestead Manor, which is a very old mansion that has somewhat recently been converted to a fancy restaurant.

Dear Holly: Mommy Gave Birth to You with No Epidural

Dear Holly: Mommy Gave Birth to You with No Epidural

Then on Saturday morning, I took your brother Jack to the Franklin Main Street Festival. It was so packed that we actually had to take a trolley in and out of the place, which I think was Jack’s favorite part of the whole thing.

Dear Holly: Mommy Gave Birth to You with No Epidural

Dear Holly: Mommy Gave Birth to You with No Epidural

That evening we went with Mommy and Grandma to Arrington Vineyards, taking a picnic dinner from Whole Foods there.

Dear Holly: Mommy Gave Birth to You with No Epidural

That was Jack’s last Saturday as an only child, because the next morning, Mommy went into labor and gave birth to you Sunday night:

Dear Holly: Mommy Gave Birth to You with No Epidural

After laboring since 6:00 AM on Sunday, we finally left for the hospital at 4:20 PM and were at Vanderbilt by 5:00 PM.

When we arrived there, the doctor warned Mommy that the window of time was small for her decide whether or not she’d get the epidural. Mommy decided to delay, choosing to spend some time in “the Lexus of laboring tubs”.

Dear Holly: Mommy Gave Birth to You with No Epidural

That seemed to progress things rapidly. The doctor told us that Mommy was already so far along by that point, that the epidural might take effect too late.

So Mommy took the laughing gas, which according to the doctor, “It doesn’t numb the pain at all, it just makes you not care as much about what’s going on.”

At 8:08 PM, right at 3 hours after we arrived at the hospital, you were born.

Everyone in that room was so impressed with what Mommy did; myself obviously included.

Nonna and Papa had brought Jack down to the hospital Sunday night once I texted them the word “born” from my phone, using my left hand; since my right hand has busy holding Mommy’s.

Dear Holly: Mommy Gave Birth to You with No Epidural

We were required to stay at the hospital for 24 hours after you were born. Since all the doctors kept quickly confirming that you were perfectly healthy, we made it clear we wished to leave the hospital the moment they would allow us to.

Therefore, you and Mommy and I all got to leave for home after just 25 hours after you were born; and just 28 hours from the time we first arrived there.

Mommy had a very efficient birth!

Back at the house, Grandma had made dinner for all of us the following night. At one point, your brother Jack asked for more water. Immediately, Mommy jumped up and got it for him.

Papa commented, “Look at her! She just had a baby with no epidural and she’s already up and moving?!”

That’s because your Mommy is amazing.



Dear Holly: Mommy Gave Birth to You with No Epidural

dad from day one: Baby Jack is Born!

Born on Tuesday, November 16, 2010 at 8:50 PM

22 hours 20 minutes of labor

8 pounds 6 ounces

20 ½ inches long

Head full of black hair

There is only one person who directly assured me back before we knew the gender of our baby that he would be a boy.  That was Tommy Huong, a Vietnamese co-worker who had already predicted the gender and birthday of another coworker (he has evidently memorized the 12 year patterns of the Chinese calendar).  So last Friday (the day after the due date) when someone at work suggested we all do a “baby pool” to predict when Baby Jack would actually be born, a better idea instantly surfaced:Go ask Tommy!

I ventured over to his desk and as he turned around it was as if he already knew why I was there, being that he was too far away to have heard the recent conversation.  “When was the due date?” he asked me.  “Yesterday,” I answered.  Tommy turned to his calendar and without any hesitation, placed his finger on Tuesday, November 16th.  “Tuesday, he will be born Tuesday.”

So we enjoyed the weekend.  Then I worked a full day on Monday.  That night around 8:45, my wife said I should finish the last two episodes of Dexter on the disc from Netflix so we could mail it off the next day- and so I have could time to watch my new favorite show before our schedules became forever changed.  I watched my two 50 minute episodes of Dexter, walked to the bedroom in perfect time to hear my wife proclaim, “I think I’m in labor.”  And she was.

From 10:30 Monday night until 5:11 Tuesday morning, she labored at the house.  Then we drove in the rain to the hospital; a 40 minute ride.  After laboring for 12 hours without any pain medications, she then pushed for four more additional hours while not furthering past the 8 centimeters mark (and 100% effaced).  By that point, it became clear that after making it that far, she no longer had the strength to push without some outside help.  So my wife chose to get an epidural.  Because ultimately, we wanted to do everything we could do to avoid major surgery.

But even after several hours of the epidural, it took everything she had to push our baby out.  In fact, if it weren’t also for the diligence and determination of the midwives to honor our request of avoiding a C-section, cutting the baby out of my wife’s stomach would have been the only option.  But the midwives tried every trick in the book, and finally, it worked.  In the end, Baby Jack turned out to be one big Bambino.  The first words my wife said when she saw him coming out was, “You’re a big baby!  How did you fit inside of me?!”

I realize that the expected Hallmark way to portray the first time I held Jack is to say that I cried, as the emotions surrounding the miracle of life flushed through me.  But for the fact all my emotions were exhausted from helping my wife suffer through over 22 hours of labor, here’s what I thought instead: “You’re darker than us!  If anyone should be Mario, it’s you!”

I’ll explain.  A few months ago I told the story of how the name my parents gave me while my mom was still pregnant with me was Mario.  My mom is half Italian and half Mexican, and therefore, dark skinned.  The name Mario would not only have represented my dark skin, but also cover both my Italian and Mexican heritage.  But as soon as I was born, my pasty skin and seemingly American features brought cause for a name change.  Therefore, a few hours after I was born, I was named Nicholas- a less ethnic name that still points to some kind of a foreign background.

So 29 years later as I held my own son for the first time, I had the opposite reaction from the one my mom had when I was born.  Because as of now, Baby Jack doesn’t necessarily especially look like my wife or me, but instead what I would imagine Super Mario would have looked like when he was first born.  One of Jack’s noticeable features his full head of black hair.  I think he has “Gerber baby” lips.  And as I have already studied his profile multiple times, it’s safe to say he has an Italian nose- which I am so proud of!

My parents holding their first grandchild for the first time.

Right before we were released from the hospital, Jack was circumcised.  I felt really bad for him, yet at the same time realized that I don’t remember my own circumcision.  It’s still sad to think about him having to go through that though.  He’s holding up just fine and so is his mommy, despite a drawn out entrance into this world.  God has answered all of our prayers for his and my wife’s safety and health; we are so grateful for that.  The pediatrician at the hospital told us that she checked him from head to toe and couldn’t find anything that needing fixing or reason for caution or concern.

Jack is a cool baby, if I do say so myself.  He’s pretty low maintenance- he just wants to be held all the time.  But I’m guessing we won’t have trouble working that out.  Thanks for following dad from dad one, so far.  If life is a sitcom, this is the season finale.  The new season premieres next week where I am promising an interesting new plot twist…