I have been blessed with three beautiful, healthy children. Truly blessed. Each one of them has their own story, their own personality, their own special place in my heart. My oldest, Sam. Oh how I love him. He made me a mother, after all! He came into this world at a whopping 10 pounds 1 ounce, looked me in the eye once and I knew that I would never be the same. He filled our entire family’s hearts with so much joy that I was sure we might burst. And my youngest, Nora. My only girl. How I love her. She completed our family, she brought pink into my life (which I’m still getting used to), and she showed me just how quickly my husband could be stolen by another girl. I love all three of my babies, in different ways but all equally. But today, I’m sharing with you the story of my middle. My “little middle” as I like to call him. Mr. Cooper Alonzo.
May 28, 2010
I remember putting Sam (21 months at the time) to bed, and then heading out to the patio to lay on the swing. We had sold our house and were living with my parents while we searched for a new one. My parents, my aunt, and my grandma were all on the patio with me, watching my tummy roll around as my second baby boy kicked and punched and flipped. This was the 7th anniversary of my grandpa’s death, and we had spent the day missing him and talking about him. As I laid on the swing with my hands on my belly, my aunt came over to tell me goodbye. “I think it’s about time you had that baby,” she said, “I think he’s coming tonight”.
May 29, 2010
5:51 a.m. I feel a HUGE contraction, which causes me to sit up straight in my bed and hold my belly tight. I lay back down, and another one comes about ten minutes later. My movement has woken Sam (who currently sleeps in a pack’n’play at the end of our bed), and I put him in bed with me. I grab a stack of books, and as I read to him, I begin to cry because I know these are going to be his last hours as an “only child”. As an only child myself, this hits me hard, even though I know that he will love his brother and he will be so happy to have siblings when he grows up. But, nonetheless, the hormones take over and I’m crying. The contractions die down a bit, and I text my husband (Matt) to tell him what’s going on (he’s at work…driving a truck…this information is important for later in the story).
I wake up my parents, and tell them that I’m having some pretty serious contractions. Unfortunately, my first pregnancy included approximately 5 “false alarm” trips to the hospital, so no one is really taking me seriously at this point. My mom suggests that we walk, which was our tried and true method the first time around. So I agree. We get Sam dressed, throw the stroller in the car, and head to the Farmers Market. I still remember walking around the market like it was yesterday; in fact, every time we go there I think of those moments. Pushing my one baby in the stroller, feeling my second baby kicking and the pains of contractions. I remember buying Sam candy-coated popcorn and I remember one of the market vendors asking my mom and I, “when is baby coming?” We both looked at her and said, “Well, we hope today!”. As I pushed the stroller up and down the aisles, the sun getting warmer and warmer on my shoulders, I would grasp the handle when a contraction came along. My mom was timing them. We decided to go back home and rest.
I laid down on the couch, and my dad offered to take Sam for a walk. Then my mom had to run a friend somewhere, which was about 15 miles away. I suddenly realized that I was home alone, and very well may be in active labor. I was texting my friends, telling them about the big contractions and how close together they were. I didn’t blame anyone for thinking it wasn’t “time”, especially after so many false alarms with Sam. But, when you know, you know. And it was time. I called the doctor, told him what the situation was. He was out on a bike ride; said he would head up to the hospital and that I should do the same. So, I called Matt at work, waited for my parents (and Sam) to get back, and we got in the car. On the way to the hospital, the contractions got significantly harder. I began to worry, because my one fear was that I would get there too late to get an epidural. After a 10 pound, 1 ounce first baby, I was preparing myself for a record breaker, and I wanted the drugs!
11:07 a.m. We pulled into the hospital, and I said goodbye to my little boy, who was happily running off with his grandpa to look at the fountain. My mom and I went into the Emergency Room, and checked in. No sense of urgency, as I apparently didn’t look like I was in too much pain. They asked if I wanted a wheel chair, and I said no I was fine. So, we walked down the long halls, went up the elevator, and got checked in to Labor and Delivery. The nurse checks me, and I know in an instant. It’s too late for the drugs. “You are at 8 cm!” she says. To me, this means nothing. I was at 7 cm when I arrived at the hospital for my first son, and he wasn’t born for another 7 hours. But this time is different. “It’s too late for the epidural,” she says. I begin to cry. My mom gets Matt on the phone, who is attempting to leave work. I can hear the profanity through the phone (which is very unlike him, by the way); the poor thing doesn’t know how to help me, and he knows how badly I want the epidural, how scared I am to give birth to a giant baby with no drugs.
The nurse calms me down, tells me that they will order some pain medications right away. I feel a bit better. She tells us that she’s going to go ahead and get us a delivery room now, because I’m so far progressed. My mom calls Matt again, tells him to hurry. (Remember when I said he drives a truck? Yeah, it’s not exactly easy to drive 20 mph over the speed limit in a semi truck, in a residential area. However, it was done that day.) They ask me again if I want a wheelchair; no, I’m fine, I’ll walk down there. I get situated in the bed, and the nurse comes in with the I.V. Hooray! But no. She has the wrong piece. Says she will be right back. I look at my mom and say (either out loud or with my eyes, I’m not sure) please make them hurry. She holds my arm, and I tell her that I can’t do this without drugs. Yes you can, she says, but I don’t believe her. There’s so much pressure. I think his head is coming out. Wait, what?? “Oh, it’s just pressure,” says the nurse, “it’s OK don’t worry”. My mom lifts the sheet and looks, just in case.
And then, it was like a scene from a movie. The nurse threw the I.V. onto the floor, ran out into the hall, and screamed for help. She didn’t use the call button, she didn’t use the little fancy remote around her neck to call the doctor, she just ran out and yelled. And help came. The next thing I know, my knees are next to my head, my mom is holding me, and the doctor is saying “push”. I feel his head come out. Then I look at my mom and say “OK Mom hold onto me, because I know it’s going to hurt to push his shoulders out, I just know it!”. She laughs. Seriously, laughing? She looks at me and says “Sara, the baby is already out, the doctor has him in his hands!”
12:14 p.m. I look down, and my mom isn’t lying. There he is, the tiniest little thing I’ve ever seen, in the doctor’s hands. He’s here! I just walked into the hospital, and he’s here! My mom calls my husband, and he hears the first cries over the phone. He is almost there. My mom (much to her dismay) cuts the umbilical cord. (If you know my mom, you know that she had NO intentions of beign in the room for his birth, let alone being the only one there with me!) My husband runs in the room at full speed just as they are putting our tiny baby on the scale. (And by tiny, we are talking 6 pounds 13 ounces. But, considering his brother was nearly twice that size, he looked like a preemie to us!) The nurse asks us if we have a name, and I look at Matt. We had two names picked out; his choice was Cooper and mine was Adam. Without a second thought, we both look at my mom and tell her she gets to choose, because she was the one there with me when he came into the world. She chooses Cooper, and although it was “Matt’s choice”, I wouldn’t have it any other way. He is a Cooper, through and through.
After a series of hilarious phone calls (what do you mean he’s here? I thought you just got to the hospital? she had a 6 pound baby after a 10 pound baby?), we get settled into our room with our baby boy. Our second baby boy. I look at him, with his perfectly round head and his dark hair, and he looks like a tinier version of Sam. Sam comes in and meets his baby brother for the first time, and I cry as he kisses him. And then, all of the sudden, it hits me. I just gave birth without an epidural! No wait, not just without an epidural, without ANYTHING! I just had a 100% NATURAL CHILDBIRTH! Seriously, it took me a while for that to sink in. This was not my birth plan (which, as you know, many times that is the case, right?! Hence the title of this post having the word “accidental” in it; which refers only to his birth, NOT the pregnancy! Just wanted to throw that out there!) ). I thought people who did this naturally were insane. I thought they were literally, truly insane. And now, here I was. I didn’t do it by choice, but I did it. And you know what? It felt amazing. I decided right then and there that if I ever had any more kids, I was doing it all natural again, with no drugs at all.
Two years later, we were blessed with our baby girl, and I did it without drugs, just as I’d planned. And it felt amazing. But let me clarify, it felt amazing after the fact. I realized that I was completely delirious in those moments after Cooper was born, focusing only on the fact that I had done it without drugs, and not on the fact that he was born just an hour after I exited my car in the parking lot! Let’s just say, there was no mistaking when Nora’s shoulders came out! (but that’s another story for another day)
To this day, Cooper remains “my tiny man”. Weighing in at just 29 pounds, he will be 4 years old in just 25 short days. And I can’t believe it. He just never gets older to me. He’s my baby, my tiny baby with the perfectly round head and beautiful dark hair. These days, he loves Buzz Lightyear, following his brother around, and wrestling with his grandpa. He drinks juice like it’s nobody’s business, and he cries when his Batman pajamas are in the dirty laundry. He says the most hilarious things, and I picture him growing up to be an actor, a baseball player, and without a doubt a heart-breaker. But no matter what he becomes, or where he goes, he will always be my “little middle”. He will always be the one who made Sammie a big brother, the one who taught us how much we can truly do with absolutely no sleep, and the one whose birth story will forever bring laughter, shock, and serious jealous glares from my mommy friends.
I love you Cooper Alonzo. To infinity and beyond.
There are so many ways to become a mother. Read other stories in our series, “How I Became a Mother.”