The Birth of John Kenneth as told to Karen (aka Grandma Zoo), By Connie & Mike (Mom & Dad)
I got a call from Mike at 4:10 AM the morning of February 24, 2016, thinking I would be heading up the road to be the “assistant coach” like last time, only to be told that the baby was already here. What??? I got the short version, due to Mike being on the way to the hospital, following the ambulance after things had unfolded. What follows are the details of the events of that morning and things leading up to that morning.
Things were kind of crazy with the estimated due date for this one, what with the Dr saying one thing, and Connie figuring for a later due date, add to that the fact that Mike was out of town for the whole Month of January, it had everyone on edge, just “being ready” for that call at any time. The Dr estimated a February 7th date; Connie figured it was later. She also knew her last baby came later, though there was concern with both pregnancies that her babies would be early. Needless to say, there was a lot of tension over this between the Dr. & Connie. At one point the Dr even turned to Mike trying to get him on his side, but Mike just replied, “She knows her body better than anyone.”
Connie had rather strong “Braxton Hicks contractions” throughout this pregnancy, to the point of having to stop and rest fairly frequently, and toward the end they were of course even stronger.
For a whole week, about from the 14th of February onward, the “Braxton Hicks” contractions changed to a more intense “Prodromal Labor,” where the contractions got closer together, about 5 minutes apart, & more intense, and then would stop all together. This was frustrating and exhausting at the same time. This would occur in the evenings from about 8 PM or so, to about 4-6 AM, therefore Connie was not sleeping well at all, as was evidenced by her demeanor.
She had two “stress tests”, both of which indicated that the baby was fine, plenty of fluid and a good heartbeat and movement, much to the Dr.’s surprise and somewhat dismay. They were of course pushing for an “induction” to the point of saying things like, “you’re compromising your baby’s health and possibly even it’s life,” trying to get her to agree to the induction, when she knew that was not the case at all.
Connie also had 3 acupuncture treatments during the last week, which helped tremendously. On Monday the 22nd, she had no contractions at all, which was a blessing and allowed her to sleep all night that night! Hooray!
Monday night was also the night of the “Snow Full Moon”. The “traveling birth support bracelet” she received from Shannon and the MBS group to borrow, Connie neither had positive or negative feelings about after it arrived She received it the week Mike returned and the week she was supposed to be due. Connie was pretty anxious at first that she might birth this baby before it arrived. The bracelet though almost felt “dead” and she couldn’t understand why it hadn’t helped. Connie put the bracelet out in the full moon for night on the 22nd after checking with her stepmom, Janet (Bubbi), who is a bit of an empath. The next morning, Connie noticed there was quite a difference. She put it back on with an amber piece she had, to wear as a necklace. [Connie is now really glad she wore it as a necklace, due to the way events unfolded for the birth].
Then on the 23rd, the Prodromal Labor returned. It started around 8 PM. She had a small glass of wine, and took a shower to try to relax and during some of the contractions did some “repositioning techniques.” After a while the contractions “fizzled out,” and she went to bed sometime around 11-11:30, and slept for a short time.
She woke up at 1:30 AM Wednesday, to use the bathroom, and felt a little “crampy” but not in labor. But then, about 5 – 10 minutes later felt the 1st contraction, which felt much stronger than any others had up to that point. She was also shivering when she woke up, which is something that had not happened before, which was leading her to believe that this might be the real deal, but, as she wasn’t sure if this was more of the same, or in fact the “real deal,” finally, she let Mike sleep a while longer until she determined what was going on.
This time, the contractions picked up and she was drinking water, pacing or using the restroom frequently. She mostly labored in the bathroom where she could use the sink, grab bar and stool for support. Then at about 2:30 she realized that things were more intense & that she might need help, so she woke Mike up. Mike began timing contractions and became a leaning post for her, but she noticed that he “stunk” and told him to get a shower. So as not to aggravate her, he hopped in the shower. Contractions were about 2 minutes apart.
After Mike got out of the shower, he contacted Kym, the Doula at 2:45 AM via text. Upon receiving that text, she immediately called Mike, and was asking him about the contractions & Connie’s demeanor and “did Connie want her there now?” In the end, Kym sent an alternate, due to the fact that she was already on her way to another birth.
At 3:10 AM the alternate Doula contacted Mike, at which time Connie was showing a little blood now. [Things were definitely progressing rather quickly at this point]
3:12 AM – Connie tells Mike to load the van, that she felt like she was getting close. [Little did she realize just how close]
When Mike & Kym were asking Connie questions, to which she could not reply to, she remembers asking Mike, “Why am I doing this? Why didn’t I let them take him out yesterday?” [At one of the stress tests when they were pushing for an induction.] Little did she realize how quickly things would unfold. Mike’s reply, “Because you wanted a natural birth.” Then he went to take care of Luke.
3:13 AM – Mike is notified that the alternate Doula is heading to Loma Linda Children’s Hospital. [That was quickly changed to coming to the house]
3:17 AM – Mike wakes Luke to get him ready & Connie sent them to the front bathroom, which turned out to be a very good thing. Because while Luke was going potty, Mike hears what sounds like a “water balloon” hitting a solid surface, and immediately thinks to himself, “Oh, no!” At which point Connie hollers from the back bathroom, “Mike my water just broke!” So, Mike puts Luke back to bed, tells him to “stay put”, and goes to check on Connie. Mike is saying, “What do I do now?”
3:22 AM – Mike texts the main Doula, Kym and she calls him back and tells him, “Call 911, and all will be fine.”
3:25 AM – Mike calls 911, telling the dispatcher that his wife is in labor and that her water just broke. 911 D – How far apart are the contractions? Mike – She’s having one now. [At this point Connie moves to all fours and another contraction is upon her]
While still on the phone, Mike goes to check Luke, and then comes back to Connie. Connie tells Mike the head is coming out, having reached back to check and felt hair, during the brief moment that Mike had stepped away to check Luke. [After Connie told Mike that the baby was coming and he stepped away, she wondered to herself if she was going to have to catch the baby?]
911 D – Hears Connie’s comment to Mike in the background and asks, “Is there a head?” Mike – No, uhh, yes. Yes the head is coming out.
911 D – Instructs Mike to guide the baby out.
[It should be added that all of this is being done in relative darkness, only by the glow of the iPad, as Connie was very sensitive to any light during all of this.]
Mike guides the baby out and sees that the cord is around his body and unwraps it and notices that he is trying to “spit up” and turns him over and pats his back, and he lets out a faint cry, then he hands the baby to Connie, letting her know that he’s going to let the Firemen in, as the front door was locked.
Mike grabs a towel to wipe off his hands and goes to the front door to open it, just as the crew is clambering out of the truck.
Connie is holding the baby face down, in somewhat of a “football” hold to make sure that all of the amniotic fluid drained out.
Due to all of the back and forth, being on the phone, etc. the exact time of John Kenneth’s arrival is a bit in question, but lets just say that he made his debut at about 3:36 AM, the morning of February 24, 2016.
Mike escorts the crew in and the Doula also arrived at the same time. So, their tiny bedroom is crammed full of people and of course the biggest Firefighter comes into the even smaller bathroom with Connie. She recalls thinking, “the biggest guy? Really?” He checked the baby & the baby was fine.
They got Connie up & she didn’t want to come out all bloody, so there was some cleaning up. They got John wrapped up in a clean towel and the Doula got a robe to cover Connie, and with the baby still attached to Connie, they got them loaded into the ambulance and on their way to Loma Linda, with Mike following along.
The Doula stayed with Luke and also cleaned up the worst of the birth mess in the bathroom, until Ed (Zeyda) arrived around 6 AM. Janet was on her way much earlier due to Ed getting off work about the time that they got a text at 3:10 or so, that Connie was in labor.
In the ambulance, after the cord was cut, Connie said “give me my baby,” as one of the guys was going to continue to hold him, even after she had already asked politely. She was already uncomfortable from being strapped down on her back (it’s painful for her to be on her back at all) and not being able to deliver the afterbirth, so she was not to be trifled with. She put the baby to her breast and he latched on and started nursing, much to the amazement of the crew.
The crew that arrived was from Station #5, and they asked to please contact them with his weight as they were all guessing him to be about 7.5#. His weight at the hospital: 9# 3oz, 20.5 inches. Just a tad bigger than Luke was.
Connie & John were kept overnight Wednesday night, which meant that Mike was also at the Hospital. Janet was at the hospital too, making food runs, etc. while Ed remained at the house with Luke & the dog.
Seeing as things were covered, I delayed my arrival until Thursday night after work.
Mike, Connie Luke & John all came home late Thursday, due to extra blood draws for Jaundice checks.
He had a check up Sunday, the 28th and weighed 9# already and the Jaundice was declining too. So, even though he as some “tongue ties” he’s doing much better than Luke was at this point.
Connie is also doing much better this time too. Even though she didn’t get much rest the two weeks leading up to the delivery, the delivery itself was short (2 hours!) and uncomplicated, with only a 1st degree tear, which has made a huge difference in her recovery and nursing of John.
Unfortunately, they discovered in the aftermath of all the chaos and confusion that money was missing from Mike’s wallet and Connie’s purse. They have their suspicions as to who the culprit was, but seeing as it was cash, there is no absolute proof. It’s really a sad situation for someone to take advantage of circumstances like that for their personal gain.