Earlier this month, we welcomed our third child into our family. Drew Louis Longenecker made a very speedy entrance into this world. His first name is a derivative of the name Andrew, which runs in my family line. His middle name is the first name of one of his paternal great-grandfathers.
He was born early in the morning on a Tuesday. The Saturday prior to his arrival, I woke up in the night feeling contractions that were about 3 minutes apart. So I woke up John, and we headed to the hospital, which is about 45 minutes from our home. The contractions weren’t super strong, but my contractions generally don’t get too intense until right before it’s time to push. When I went into labor with Brooke, I was already 7 centimeters when we arrived at the hospital, and the nurses were quite surprised since my contractions weren’t registering very strongly.
Well, as we drove to the hospital on Saturday night, the contractions didn’t seem to progress. If anything, they seemed to feel less strong the closer we got to the hospital. Once we arrived, I told John that I wanted to wait in the car to see if the contractions picked up. The contractions started getting further apart, so we headed home without ever stepping foot in the hospital.
Fast forward to Monday night – or really very, very early Tuesday morning. I woke up to Brooke singing in her room. When I woke up, my stomach hurt a little bit, and I figured my stomach was just upset. After a few minutes, I began to think that maybe my stomach pains were actually labor pains. I started timing the pains, and they were a minute and a half apart. Once again, I woke up John, and we headed to the hospital. There is a hospital only 15 minutes from our house, but it doesn’t have a maternity ward. Because of how close together my contractions were and because they were intensifying quickly, I told John I thought we should go to the emergency room at the closer hospital.
We arrived at the hospital by our house and my contractions quickly intensified. However, we could tell the ER doctor really did not want to deliver a baby. So he called for an ambulance to take us to the hospital with the labor and delivery facilities. It took the ambulance 20 minutes to arrive (not sure what took them so long). When we left in the ambulance, I felt like I could have the baby any minute, but I knew we were still a 20+ minute drive away from the second hospital. As we left, John overheard the ER doctor say to the hospital we were being sent to that they needed to be prepared to deliver our baby as soon as we arrived. And sure enough, within 10 minutes of us entering the doors at the second hospital, Drew was born.
It was a bit of a traumatic experience because I had zero pain medicine, and I could tell my body was ready to deliver our little guy while in the ambulance. Only an hour and half lapsed between when I woke up to Brooke’s singing and Drew’s birth, and it was probably the most intense hour and a half of my life.
When Drew was born and the nurse laid him on me, I didn’t even have the energy to look down at him. I couldn’t believe the pain was done and he was born. While his entrance into this world felt dramatic, he has proved to be a very low drama baby. He’s a great eater and a great sleeper. He cries only when he needs something (which is generally to eat).
I was nervous about entering the newborn world again. The sleep deprivation aspect of newborn life is hard for me. I feel like it affects all aspects of my life in not the most positive way. A few weeks before Drew was born, I had the thought that God is the one who made babies to need to eat every few hours in the beginning of their lives. I know God is a loving God, and he didn’t make babies this way just to play a joke on new moms. It occurred to me that there must be something of value for me to learn or gain from the experience of having a newborn. There must be a God-given gift that comes from having a newborn and needing to wake every few hours to feed the baby. So when things have felt tough, I’ve reminded myself to look for the gift and to cherish this experience. I make sure I find time each day to do what I call “conscious cuddling,” meaning I take the time to cuddle Drew “just because” and soak in these moments that I know are fleeting. My heart is so full. I love Drew, and David, and Brooke, and John so much. I’m grateful for my family. They are my world, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.