My husband and I have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of our first child, a boy, after several years of infertility. Turns out our son had a surprise for us all when he made his entrance into the world five weeks early – on Mother’s Day, no less! Welcome to the world, baby Judah. This is his epic birth story.
Last weekend started innocently enough; I hopped on a train from Massachusetts to New Jersey to celebrate my baby shower. My family and friends had covertly thrown me two showers – a surprise shower in Massachusetts for my local friends and my “planned” shower in New Jersey with my home state family and friends. (Speaking of, I’ll have more pictures and a recap coming this week!) I had a wonderful time and our baby got lots of thoughtful, sweet gifts.
Sunday morning I woke up early and after taking just a few steps after getting out of bed, the unthinkable happened: my water broke. My brain went into overdrive as I simultaneously realized all of the following: 1) I was five weeks ahead of my due date; 2) now that my water had broken, I was on an 18-24 hour clock to have this baby because of a risk of infection; and the big one, 3) my husband was in Japan at that very moment.
I frantically dialed him on FaceTime, noting that it was about 9pm Osaka time.
“Um, honey?” I tried desperately to keep my voice steady.
“Yeah…?” Larry replied, groggy from a sound sleep.
“My water just broke.”
Cue a moment of dumbfounded silence, then: “…What?”
Things happened quickly: my husband called the airline, since he was scheduled to come back to the States the next day but to no avail – there were no earlier flights. I researched area hospitals since there was no way I’d be delivering with my doctor at my hospital in Massachusetts. In the rush of the morning, I had a relatively leisurely breakfast in bed, took a shower, and grabbed my bag. It was go time.
Once at the hospital, I was quickly registered and examined. The OB on duty was slightly concerned since contractions hadn’t yet begun. They would give it a few more hours before they wanted to induce me. Thankfully, my son must have heard their plans because my labor started fast and hard within just a few hours of being in the hospital. I was committed to having as natural a birth as possible but was worried about not having my primary labor support there with me – my husband.
That said, the internet and smartphone technology came through in a big way! Larry was able to FaceTime with me for most of my labor and even some of delivery, providing labor coaching from 6,000+ miles and multiple time zones away. He talked me through contractions while my mother, mother-in-law and a close friend who drove down from New York stayed by my bedside. He stayed on the phone just as long as he could until his plane took off from Tokyo, bound for Washington D.C.; I had just begun the final stage of delivery.
At 10:52pm on Mothers Day, our son Judah entered this world five weeks early, vigorously shouting his arrival with healthy cries and at a hefty 5 pounds, 7 ounces.
Before he was rushed off to the NICU, I got to hold him for a few minutes, admiring his tiny face and bright eyes, already looking around at the world in wonder, this face I’d been longing to see and dreaming of for over four years. In an instant, I was in love and I knew his father would be too just as soon as he got to see him for himself.
At a little before 1am, my phone rang. Larry was calling from the plane somewhere over the Pacific; he flew on an older plane that actually had the old phones where you could swipe a credit card to place a call. He was beside himself.
“Hey, Daddy,” I said with a smile, as I was wheeled to the NICU to see Judah for the first time since he was born. “Your son is here. He was born at 10:52pm at 5 pounds, 7 ounces and he’s perfect, Larry – he’s just perfect.”
“Is he hooked up to a breathing tube?” I could hear the fear in his voice that had been mounting over the last three hours since he last heard from me or anyone at the hospital.
“Not a one,” I said proudly. “He was crying loud and strong. He’s our little warrior.”
The phone signal began to break up. “I’ll see you soon, Daddy. I can’t wait for you to meet your son tomorrow.” Larry arrived in D.C. the next morning, where a friend of ours met him at Dulles Airport and drove him directly to the hospital here in New Jersey. I’ve never been so happy to see my husband in my entire life.
We walked to the NICU hand in hand to meet our son. Our journey of building our family after years of infertility was finally over… but the journey of new parenthood and life in the NICU has only just begun.