Daddy’s Baby Girl: A Stork-Style Christmas Story
It’s true, UPS, Fedex, USPS, DHL don’t deliver much of anything on Christmas, but I know who does…
This is the story of Lydia Rae.
For the birth of our little baby girl to have much effect on you, the reader, it’s important to understand that kid #1 has hitherto been a mama’s boy.
Warren is completely attached to his mother, almost as if they’re the same person. It’s adorable, funny, and annoying all at the same time.
Just a few scenes to extrapolate this…
A year ago, just after Warren didn’t destroy the cake on his first birthday, my brother in law (who is seventy seven inches tall and two hundred and sixty-five man-pounds of solid muscle) was play fighting while we were taming Thanksgiving aftermath in the kitchen. He’s a royal piece of intimidation, expecially if you don’t know him. But even if you do know him he’s still intimidating.
Warren could walk already and he was standing right there, in the kitchen, about to witness the Incredible Hulk submit his mama, in a morally appropriate manner of course. Even though this was his uncle, whom he should have been comfortable with, the horrified look on his little face when his mommy was grappled, albeit gently, is an unforgettable sight to anyone that witnessed it.
He instantly let out the shrillest scream, like Wesley after Prince Humperdink pumped the machine to 50 in Princess Bride. It was a scream that we had never, ever heard from him before. That wasn’t enough to show his displeasure. He then proceeded to cast himself to the floor in a convulsive tear-soaked rant. There wasn’t much else he could do to stop the shenanigans. But stop them he did; dead in their tracks.
Our eyes were wide open. What is with this kid?
To this day, he hasn’t backed off the line he drew in the sand. He’s extremely protective of his mother.
But it doesn’t stop there. He isn’t just protective of his mama, it applies to all her stuff and even how she looks at odd hours of the day. He knows exactly what stuff belongs to his mama and exactly how he wants her to look.
If he sees someone using his mama’s stuff, doesn’t matter what it is, he’ll scream and cry at you and say “that’s momma’s” relentlessly, over and over until you give it back to her.
And then there’s the eye glasses situation. This is hilarious. Warren has his own little fashion sense. He keeps his mama looking good and disallows her from breaking the fashion rules of a 2 year old.
My wife normally wears contacts during the day, but when she wakes up in the morning she puts on eye glasses just like any other normal human being would.
That’s not okay with Warren, he won’t let her wear glasses unless he asks her to. And he does from time to time.
“Mama glasses off!”
What about the hair? He won’t let her change hair styles from up to down or down to up in the middle of the day. He’s been this way since he was born, but now he can use his words.
What’s more telling is that if she has bedhead, he freaks out until she fixes it straight, or he won’t look at her at all.
He’s been spoiled with his unlimited mama time for the first two years of his life and daddy gets shafted all too often.
So what happens when mama is away?
Just this last week when my wife was shooting a wedding for her photography business (she took the pic above), it was my opportunity to put Warren to sleep (I actually like doing it).
Though I think I’m pretty good at it, this time was different and it broke my heart.
It was past Warren’s bedtime after one of the most challenging days in my parenting life, January 3, 2012.
This was the benediction to that day…
Emotions were high all around. It seemed like the entire county was sick. I was fighting to stay healthy. Janica was too. The house was stressed trying to keep our newborn baby girl healthy. Warren was sick with bronchitis and ear infection type stuff and was not a happy camper, but he seemed to enjoy spreading his mucus germ love all over the surfaces of the house. And with disorganized baby stuff everywhere, Christmas aftermath, and a two year old who wanted his mom and isn’t so sure about the new kid on the block.
Thank goodness for the Elmo toothbrush with the candy toothpaste. Seems to always calm him down.
After screaming hysterically for his mother for twenty minutes, he started to relent enough to let me tell him a scripture story. I did. It was about Noah and the Arc. He loves that story.
At night we always say a prayer together. One of the things we pray for is for him to sleep with angels. Oh, his tender little voice when he repeats that… you can tell he’s connected to heaven. Turns your heart to mush and it calms him down almost every time. We did our thing and I tucked him in and said goodnight.
I left his room and was sure to leave the door cracked open.
Ahhhhh… Baby’s are asleep.
Daddy needed some chill out time, this was the first effort I’d made at holding down the fort, all day, with two kids, a newborn and a sick two year old. Luckily my mother in law was there to spell me a couple times.
I was sitting on the couch watching Sportscenter when I heard Warren’s voice.
I’ll never forget what he was saying, in a sweet little voice. Not constrained. Not angry. Just soft, gentle and totally Warren.
“Mama, wh-are you?”
“Can you fine me?”
“I here mama.”
“You hear me?”
“Mama wh-are you?”
My heart broke and I started to cry. The last several days had been full of so much emotion and it all just came out. I felt Warren’s pain right then and I understood what my son was going through.
This little boy missed his mama.
Now, why all the Warren stuff up in here? This is about Lydia right?
Because it should be obvious now that this daddy couldn’t wait for a daddy’s girl.
I wanted my turn.
Rewind 12 months.
I’d been anticipating another addition to our family for a year. I’m getting old, and I wanted a baby girl. I’m sure I had a little jealousness too, because Warren was all over his mama.
I was ready to add number two just a few months after Warren was born, but considering how Warren showed up, that just wouldn’t do. Mama needed some rest. Her guts needed some R and R and I needed to kept my mouth shut. It wasn’t time yet.
So I waited.
T minus 9 months.
When the decision was made to put an end to the waiting and the minds convergeed to allow for the possibility of baby numero dos… I got a little giddy with anticipation.
It’s a bit embarrassing to admit that. People read in to what that kinda thing means, especially when it comes from a dude. For a normal human dude like me, that feeling comes from a few different angles but not the same source. I’m trying to be vague here.
( Insert avoidance of TMI right here and add spaced out ellipses . . . )
The childbearing years provide a really unique emotional excitement slash anxiety slash nervousness. Expecially when you’re really pushing for one particular outcome, a girl.
But anticipating pregnancy is like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get or if you’re going to get anything at all… and I wanted a girl, plain and simple. I didn’t care what the ol’ wive’s tales, astrologists, or Chinese had to say about it.
Of course I wouldn’t have been disappointed in the least with another baby boy, I just felt our second child would be a girl. Bonus for me is that’s exactly what I wanted.
Turns out I was right.
But this baby girl entered my life far sooner than I ever would have anticipated. Our relationship started early.
One evening I was standing straight upright, staring at my mug in the mirror. I don’t normally do that for very long, I’m a guy, my visage doesn’t need much attention in order for it to perform its proper function in life.
I must have lingered a little longer this time.
Of a second, everything went quiet.
As I was staring and observing that I wasn’t getting any handsomer, I felt the presence of a woman, standing by my side.
( I might have done a discount double check move just to make sure… )
Yep, unmistakably so.
The feeling was so real that I turned to look to see who was there, expecting it to be my wife.
Nobody was there.
But someone was standing next to me. And she was radiating love. A love that makes an entire soul smile from head to toe.
As it was so still and quiet, my mind was clear and I could hear quiet well.
“Wow.” I thought. “This is a powerful woman.”
At that moment, three words were spoken to my mind as if I felt them written on my heart.
“I’m yours now.”
I knew instantly what that meant.
The feeling was like an atom bomb exploded in my heart.
I knew that was my baby girl.
Once that realization rested in my mind, she was gone.
Insert note here… A virtuous and loving woman has an aura about her that is powerful, like my angel wife. You can just feel her presence.
It’s important for me to note here that I don’t suspect that every child of mine will make themselves known like this, though I wouldn’t mind if they did and won’t be disappointed if they didn’t.
This sweet little ditty of an experience set my peace for the coming months.
My baby girl came in to my life well before she was born, and weeks before we knew we was pregnant. I’m grateful for that.
As for the pre-ultrasound gender games, Lydia kind of spoiled that by announcing herself so…
I already knew we were having a girl. The only question was if this girl was coming right now.
Based on the three words and the fact that we were trying to have a baby, I could only assume that she was here already.
The next few months were filled with noteworthy things like convincing Warren that mama’s tummy was baby sister. He would hug and kiss it and then hug and kiss my gut too. Not sure how weird it was when baby sister wasn’t a belly anymore.
Ultrasound gender games.
Jump forward through a blessedly routine first trimester and midway through the second to the moment when Janica yelped as the cold jelly was lapped on her belly.
It was August 18th.
The room on the second floor of the Copper Top Medical Suites was dark.
A big 42″ LCD screen lit the room and added to the faint light that emitted from the humongous ultrasound machine.
This was nice. It felt like we were sitting front row… in Janica’s guts… looking at the baby.
Where’s the popcorn?
We had moved the ultrasound appointment up a few days from its original date so that more fans could line up at the door waiting to get in to see the red carpet screening.
This was just after our family reunion so half the family was still in town. One of those rare moments of convenience in the child bearing years… We’d soon have another one of those.
Grandpa and Maka (Warren’s name for his grandma, my mother-in-law) and Papa (my dad) were there already
Janica’s sister, was predictably and chronically late, as always.
The nurse was stalling until everyone got there. I could tell she was measuring and checking things that she didn’t normally bother with to bide the time.
Some people in the room were kinda nervous. Others anxious. I wasn’t.
What’s all the fuss about anyhow?
Truth is, Janica’s the only one that knew about my experience with our baby girl.
Dadgum it. This is when I realized my mistake. If I was a betting man and had kept the annunciation to myself, I could have made a killing and won big… maybe even a full back scratch or something cool like that.
But there was this itch in the back of my mind. It was kinda like a plate of leftover doubt casserole left in the back of my emotional fridge. You know, a feeling that you could somehow be wrong. It had been almost five months since our little moment.
Maybe she’s not coming yet?
Not more than a second before the technician would have made it official, sis in law came full smiles blazing in to the room.
She’s used to people waiting on her. Bro in law came in tow, completely innocent.
Three. Two. One.
And… there it was.
The official crotch shot.
Ms. Technician, I really should have remembered her name, slapped all that stuff on a DVD and had us out the door a minute later. They don’t mess around up in that ultrasound factory.
The drive home was great. All one minute and eleven seconds of it. We live just over a block from the hospital. Makes it nice. When GO-time comes, no real need to break the speed limit like we did two years ago.
When we got home, Warren just had to see baby sister again. At random times over the next few months, he’d beg to watch the DVD. Don’t have any clue how he can make sense of an ultrasound video at that age but at least he thought it was cool.
Glad to have a DVD and not just a fistful of flimsy pics strung together like arcade tickets.
We didn’t miss the pics at all, except of course for the one where “IT’S A BOY!!” or “IT’S A GIRL!!” was written on it with the arrow pointing to the stick or the hamburger. That one pic was usually good enough to be displayed on the fridge door. You know how it goes.
The next three months just went.
Lydia was sure to hiccup about eight times a day.
October through December are pretty crazy at our place, and there was Lydia, just enjoying the ride in her water world.
I’m sure she really enjoyed playing basketball with mom three times a week. Janica really didn’t mind there being six women on the court when she showed up. It wasn’t till 32 weeks that Janica and Lydia quit playing ball together.
I about needed CPR every time they left the house. I was the worry-wart and told her so frequently. Janica isn’t a soft basketball player, but she is a crazy active women who is addicted to sports regardless of potential for self-induced labor. [For the record, I don’t mind that].
In a marriage, the moments where a man can say to the woman, “I told you so” are very egregiously few. Being my lucky day, I had that opportunity and… umm… like a manly man I didn’t take it. I kept my mouth shut and let the doctor do the talking.
It was just days after her “last” time playing ball that Dr. Haskett told her to chill out because she was forcing herself in to labor.
That meant mom was out of commission for a couple weeks. Not quite bedridden but darn close.
We had to make it through Thanksgiving to avoid major premie status and the accompanying risks.
Lydia was due on January 11th, which was a hopelessly long way off.
To be Lydia or not to be.
If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been calling the baby Lydia. You might not think that is a big deal and that would be because I haven’t mentioned how stringent and selective the baby name process is in our little family.
Baby naming is an important matter. And one that is never done in haste.
Luckily my wife has gone along with the naming craze, which has been mostly my doing. Sometimes happy, sometimes not happy. Bless her heart.
This “process” has particular motives based mostly off of my own Seth-isms.
We brainstorm names, at random times, whenever we feel like it, usually while watching Sportscenter, but without having an official, real conversation about it. We avoided those at all costs.
Of course we keep a running list, if perchance we were able to find a semi-suitable name or one that might warrant hearing it again.
The truth is we didn’t really talk much about it. but when we did, this is how the conversation would go no matter who started it:
“Do you like [insert name here]?”
“I just don’t like it.”
“I don’t know.”
After the extremely rare occasion when a glimmer of hope showed on behalf of the suggested name, the answer would be…
“Hmmm. I don’t not like it…”
Whatever that means. We just roll with double negatives in our family.
To be fair, I must confess. Some names she mentioned I really liked, but I never showed any more enthusiasm for one name over the other. I did that on purpose because I felt like the name wasn’t my decision to make.
You’ll see why.
We don’t really get serious about names until we know the gender. And even then it’s only half serious.
After a while, we had our list of 18 names that we both liked or at least were willing to admit, “Eh. I don’t not like it.” Whatever that means.
Luckily, fetal Lydia made it easy for us.
It’s worth mentioning that we’re willing to hold our ground and make sure the name is right. Warren didn’t get an official name until we were forced to name him in order to give him a blessing before he was life flighted to Salt Lake. We named him after we had a chance to meet him.
What are the motives behind the name charades?
Simple. There are three motives.
One. My name has been a great strength to me in my life because it describes me perfectly and the meaning makes me smile. If possible, I hope that my kids can have the same.
Two. For us, the naming process ain’t just, “Oh, I like that. That sounds good.” We feel like the baby has to like it.
Three. Naming children is a traditional source of consternation and argument within a marriage. Why not avoid all of that by putting all the pressure on the kid to name him or herself? Nice.
It’s common sense really.
The baby should have some say in what she’s named. She’s the one that’s going to have to live with the name we give her for the rest of her life. I’m not so presumptuous as to think that baby’s come to this world without ever having had a name before. They’re used to names.
I believe their spirits have a history prior to birth, and most likely a name too. So why not make an effort to verify that she at least likes it and can derive strength from it?
You might also be thinking, “Well, Seth, super genius rocket scientist, you can’t wait to name the kid until you can ask her in person and she can succinctly reply.”
It just has to feel right. It has to fit. By intuition, spirit, divine intervention, whatever. Just gotsta to be right.
All we can do is collect names that could potentially fit. We do this by liking a name or not liking a name. Even so, liking the name is one thing, but having it feel right is completely different.
We both really like Emma, and still do, but Lydia didn’t want to be called Emma. That much was crystal clear, because she named herself.
She names herself.
On the night of November 14th I was laying in bed, half asleep because I couldn’t get anymore than half asleep no matter how hard I tried.
My thoughts went to this baby girl that was laying right next to me, behind a fleshy curtain.
Who is she?
A royal princess. A queen. What would she look like? How will her hair shape her pretty little face? Curly like my sisters? Straight like Janica’s? Would she have dimples like Warren? What are her talents and gifts? Where is the knucklehead that’s going to marry my baby girl and take her away from me? He’s probably already alive somewhere. How can I keep her safe and guard her?
I already felt so attached to his little girl.
Right then, that night, I decided I was bored with the notion of calling her “baby,” because she just felt so real to me already. And rightly so. I be she might have been bored being called “baby” all the time, even from the womb. She can hear.
My iPhone was right by my head while I laid there motionless (probably giving me radiation poisoning while I sleep). The list of girl names was in it because there’s an app for that, as you might have guessed.
I wouldn’t need it.
There was only one name on my mind. The name Lydia was all I could think about. All of the other names just fell away.
“Oh?” I thought, observantly.
I knew what this meant. So I asked her the question, directing it in my mind to the baby, “Do you want to be named Lydia?”
That was that.
I like it too. It sounds like her. But what about the meaning? The meaning didn’t really matter as much, seeing how she liked the name anyways. I had no idea what Lydia meant at this point. No idea if it would really describe her, just that it felt right and she liked it.
We’d done our part in making a rough list and as best I could tell, she had told her daddy which name she liked best.
It was when I looked up the meaning of her name in several different languages that it all came full circle.
LYDIA: Fair maiden, beautiful child of God, noble kind, light and spirit. An ancient name, biblical and a part of Greek mythology.
Got a winner.
Now see if you can go and get wifey to partake.
I had no idea how my wife would feel about it. Weird thing is I didn’t mind and had not a single worry about it. It would work out if that is her name.
What I’m about to tell you goes to show that intent is powerful. Our intention was to select a name that fits our new baby girl and that she’d be proud of.
On the following night of November 15th we were laying in bed. This was a weird night where I was exhausted, half asleep, and Janica was wide awake.
My habits over the years have made my night owl propensities even stronger, so it’s usually the other way around. I’m wide awake at 10pm and have to lay motionless and mindless to fall asleep. (I’m in the final stages of deprogramming the night owl tendency and replacing it with a new one as an early riser. I love the mornings).
Janica felt impressed to axe me about baby names. She knows by habit that this is usually a mildly unsafe thing because I would typically say something like, “Eh, don’t worry about it. It’ll come.”
This time was different. She had it made up in her mind to be sneaky and resolute. She axed me which name I liked better, Emma or Lydia.
We’d never talked previously about narrowing the names down so this was a bold move indeed, and one that I’m glad she took. I don’t know that I would have come out with the info on my own. I’m a dude, we usually aren’t so forthcoming.
It had already been extablished that we both liked Emma, and it wasn’t until just yesterday that I found out Janica thought I was stuck on the name Emma when she really liked Lydia. She secretly had her own strong feelings about the name Lydia and was hoping I would choose that name over Emma.
It was dark and my back was turned so I didn’t even get a mental image of the look on her face when I said:
I turned over half way. “She wants to be named Lydia.”
Then the fitting response…
“When did you plan on telling me that mister!” She said three quarters excited and one part annoyed.
“Do you like Lydia?”
“Yeah.” She said.
“Then Lydia it is.”
I rolled over and went to sleep. I was such a stereotypical dude that night and I regret it because this was a special moment where I could have told her about what had happened the night before when Lydia basically named herself and she could have shared her feelings. Etcetera.
In the Ellsworth household, Lydia’s name is somewhat of a mini-miracle and shouldn’t go without mentioning, but it did that night.
I told Janica later, to her delight and then disdain that I hadn’t told her earlier.
Onward, the bun is cooking.
‘Twas the season to be jolly and to be cooking things like buns in the oven. We had that latter part down. Not so much Jolly because Janica was getting uncomfortable.
The Holidays are crazy up in our house. It’s more than just holidays. It’s everyone’s birthday and our anniversary too.
But Lydia was patient through it all and it looked like she wouldn’t be coming early after all, despite Janica playing so much ball (poor rhyme there).
Happy Thanksgiving, and no Lydia.
Insert collective sigh of relief. (This was premie danger zone aversion check point number one).
Happy birthday to Warren. No Lydia.
Happy birthday to Janica. No Lydia.
Happy Anniversary to us. No Lydia.
Happy family rolls in to town. No sign of Lydia.
Christmas Eve. Errr…
Janica was laying on the ground all bloated and hurting in her lower back while the rest of us were watching the unreleased Scorsese film Hugo from the comfort of the living room (my bro in law gets hook ups like that from Hollywood).
We both had a feeling that the action was imminent, but nothing was really out of the ordinary. Her back had been hurting on and off for over a month.
It was Christmas Eve now and all through the house every creature was stirring even the niece and nephew mice.
Warren danced around the house to Jingle Bells on Christmas Eve, excited for Christmas Day, whatever that was. There’s no chance he actually remembers his first or second Christmas and was operating based on his perception of our excitement.
And to sleep… I still feel that Christmas excitement when I go to bed. Santa’s coming!
The way we did our festivities this year was epic. We had our own shindig with Warren on Christmas morning.
That is the first time that we’ve actually experienced an Ellsworth style Christmas morning, at home, with just our little family.
Santa visited our little fireplace, but he didn’t dash through any snow, or precipitation of any kind. Just a warm winter night in Utah… as Al Gore smiles to himself.
Christmas on the Sabbath.
I woke up anxious and glossed over. That’s weird for me. I felt like a brain-dead Eeyore without a tail. Not because we stayed up late the night before or because it was Christmas morning.
Something was up today.
Warren really enjoyed what Santa brought and entertained us for the whole twenty minutes before church.
Church services were at 9am sharp. Santa was so good to him that Warren didn’t like the idea of going to church much.
( Interesting factoid, Janica hung a stocking for Lydia. All homemade and purty. Santa didn’t fill it up though. Goes to show that you can’t trick that dude just to get some extra loot on Christmas morning. )
Christmas on the Sabbath is so pure. Easy to put Christ at the center of the day, right where He should be. Today and every day.
At our church, you have to get there 15 – 30 minutes early to get a soft seat in the chapel. Luckily the in laws were in town and mom in law was at church early to sing in the choir.
But that don’t mean we ain’t have to hustle.
I had Warren all dressed and we were headed out. Janica was right behind me. Or so I thought.
All of a sudden she wasn’t.
I was disappointed to see that we didn’t have a white Christmas. It was bright, clear and freaking warm.
I had Warren packed in to the Escalade and we were halfway backed out of the driveway waiting for my wife.
An entire 187 seconds passed.
“What took you so long?”
“I peed myself and had to go change.”
Pause for reality check.
What do you say to that? I mean really?
I didn’t say anything.
I just thunk it, “What?!? You don’t just pee yourself!”
Church was just a minute away.
We ducked in to the chapel right as the opening song started Once in Royal David’s City. Mom in law had saved seats in the chapel on the third to last row, in the middle section on the isle right.
I pretended not to hear the inquisitive eyeballs of the congregation… “Really? You’re sitting there? With Warren? And your big head in everybody’s way?”
(The kid is notorious in church, and not for his reverance).
Couldn’t have been more than two seconds later that I felt a tug on my suit coat. Janica pulled me over and whispered in my ear…
“I’ve got to go to the bathroom again.”
“What? Really? Didn’t you just go?”
Then she was gone.
Hmmm. As I was left to my thoughts, I couldn’t help but think. And I couldn’t help but think that this was weird.
Something’s up. Wonder what it could be…
Fact is, I didn’t wonder much. I knew exactly what it was.
She had just gone literally three minutes earlier, just before she had to change her clothes.
When she sat back down in the chapel, the mumblings started and the minds wandered. But just a bit, because it was a fine Christmas program indeed.
In my mind it was water broke city. When she whispered to me that she had to go really bad while sitting in church, that was a dead giveaway.
You don’t just wet yourself and then almost wet yourself three minutes later with abnormal amounts of liquid flowage. I don’t care how pregnant you are, there’s no way you have to go bad enough, after three minutes, to leave church. Nobody makes urine that fast.
I knew what was imminent and it made me smile. None of this bothered me. Not even the fact that it was Christmas.
If her water broke, and I was sure it did, we were having a baby on Christmas Day.
By now there was a trio of men at the pulpit singing The First Noel.
I sat and listened to the song, intently. It was beautiful. The words sunk deep.
“The first noel, the angel did say…”
Came the thought: this was to be my baby girl’s first noel. The song took on a whole new meaning after that.
Wow. The beauty and sacredness of the First Noel hit me hard. I cried through that whole song and I don’t mind admitting it. I cried because I loved Jesus. I cried because I loved my baby girl and couldn’t wait to meet her. I cried because I understood the symbolism and beauty of sharing a birthday party with Jesus.
It was an official man cry of course. You know, a little water works from the eyeballs, but complete emotional mush inside. Kinda like a Starburst roasted over a fire.
Here’s what really hit me.
Consider this… Jesus’ birth was foretold by angels. Lydia’s birth was foretold by an angel.
Mary was told the name of her son before he was born. By the same angel, Joseph was probably told the baby’s name as well. Janica and I were both told or felt on separate occasions Lydia’s name before she was born.
And to have Lydia and our Savior Jesus Christ born, or at least celebrated, on the same day… You just can’t draw it up any better. That’s good company.
I’ve heard a couple dozen people share their thoughts about the lameness of being born near Christmas. But being born on Christmas… how can that be anything but freaking awesome.
A special day for a special baby girl.
Admittedly, we’ve been kicking around the idea of celebrating her half birthdays :)
This baby girl will know just how special she is. Like Christ, Lydia radiates love and is so perfect. She really is noble kind, full of light and spirit.
She’s a love machine that will heal the world.
The time of deliverance.
Thus, on to the action.
We had a mini meeting of the minds after the church service. There was some doubt about whether or not her water did break because there wasn’t a crazy amount of liquid flowage, just abnormal, and it had stopped.
Eh, whatever. No big deal. Let’s just hang out.
In my mind that paralleled what happened with Warren. And there was no need to rush and jinx the Christmas spirit. We’ve been the rounds before with this water spillage situation and nobody was freaking out. So grateful for that.
We just hunkered down and enjoyed the day, assuming we’d spend many hours of labor at the hospital, we gorged ourselves fat.
I’m glad we did.
It wasn’t till all the festivities were played out and dinner was e’t’ that we checked in with the doctor and journeyed the half mile to the hospital, to “check things out.”
We went in all bloated, full and contented, if indeed we were to spend all night and the next day in toil and strife, for heaven sakes we had the carbs to push us through.
But something told me we wouldn’t.
Once there, typical procedure was to verify the actuality of the spillage. In due process, we were validated. Water broke.
We promptly told the nurse we wanted to try for a normal birth. Janica desperately wanted that experience.
We could see the mountains and valleys on the monitor proving that she was contracting so we figured all was well, business as usual.
But the look on the nurse’s face should have been a dead give away. There wasn’t anything usual going on here. Her expression seemed to say, “Really? Are you serious? That’s not going to happen.”
Luckily we had an angel keeping watch over his flock by night.
Dr. Jones did an amazing job at Janica’s bedside explaining the realities of what we were up against. Much kudos to that homie.
The main dude, Dr. Haskett, was out of town. So again Janica would be delivered by a stranger. Amazing how Dr. Jones gained her trust in like 2.43 seconds flat. That’s extremely hard to do.
Remind me to send him a care package with a bow on it.
We were gently informed of our situation.
- Water did break.
- Must have baby.
- Must be C-Section.
Those weren’t the words we’d been waiting to hear.
We learned that a natural birthing process wouldn’t happen tonight and that we were indeed going to have a Christmas baby… in like thirty minutes.
Janica burst in to tears.
Dr. Jones took a soft cloth and wiped the tears from her face.
I was caught in this awkward moment that nobody was aware of but me. I couldn’t cry even though I wanted to. Somehow I was all excited inside. I’d already done my man cry. But naturally I felt torn because I should be all busted up about it and have that sweet moment where we cry together, holding each other, at her bedside.
Well, Dad Wood saved the day. He was there and he did the crying for me. Thanks dad.
As you can imagine, giving the final okay to proceed with the Cesarean was tough for Janica. She would have to give up her desire to experience child birth.
I’d be lying if I said that was an easy pill to swallow. It hurt. And I can’t even swallow pills. I choke on simple multi-vitamins.
Dr. Jones gave us a compassionate look and promised he’d take care of us, just as he would his own sister and then relented to allowed us a moment while he prepped for the surgery.
We were hoping throughout the entire pregnancy to avoid C-section because having a two for two record would stamp Janica as a C-section only kinda girl with permanent ink and potentially limit our ability to have as many children as we would like.
And though I had spent all day preparing myself emotionally for the fact that Lydia was making her stage right entrance on Christmas Day, Janica hadn’t.
I blew it.
I played the typical role of the dude who failed to share that piece of information with his wife… because she didn’t ask.
The equation ended in Janica still crying while knucklehead husband was smiling.
I wonder what the doc was thinking when he saw that moment, frozen in time.
Everyone agreed that priority number one was to have healthy mama and healthy baby. This was the sure way to do it.
Even with the water breaking, we both had thought that we would try for a natural process, not knowing the associated risks. We thought for sure this time when the water broke things would go normally, meaning she’d be going in to labor, because there was just no way her water broke without dilating, again.
Nobody thought that was possible. What are the chances that her water broke again without dilating at all?
Just a few months in to the pregnancy, Dr. Haskett said, quote, “That’s not going to happen again.” To his credit, the chances of that happening twice in a row are astronomical.
Good thing I’m not an odds-on-favorite betting astrologist.
Reality was that there were no signs of dilation. Only sign of anything normal was that she was contracting just enough for her to say, “I think I felt that one! Was that a contraction?”
What we were facing was at least a 12 hour labor process if she progressed normally. But apparently we don’t do normal in the Ellsworth family and Petocin [spelling?] was out of the question.
Sparing the anatomy lesson, that’s not a good proposition for a healthy natural birth after the water sack has spilt its contents.
After Janica’s emotions settled. It didn’t take long to realize that this delivery was going to be so much easier than the last. Maybe even a little room for enjoyment.
Coming to grips with the fact that this would be our lot for bearing children took about eleven minutes. Then we started listing out all the benefits.
On the monitor there was an animation scrolling across the top that said “Stork Delivery” which featured a lanky bird carrying a baby in the traditional stork bundle across the screen.
That couldn’t be more accurate for what we were feeling.
After coming to the hospital and expecting a long night of labor, to find out baby was coming in a few minutes was shocking. Is that cheating?
Alas, it is what it is and we’re fine with it.
All of that happened in 11 minutes which means that there were only 19 minutes left before go time.
We called in the troops.
They were as shocked as we were. Just a few minutes earlier we were leaving the house to go see what the deal is, now baby was coming.
We had a packed house fifteen minutes later, all excited.
They wheeled Janica out and prepped her for surgery. I got to take my time putting on the sweet one-size-fits-all body suit. Which means I had time to maneuver my 6′ 10″ frame in to that thing without putting pressure on certain sensitive areas. That was nice.
Once ready, they ushered me back.
I took one step in to the OR and a flood of memories buckled my knees.
The sterile smell. Janica tied down with her arms out like she was strapped to a crucible. The green sheet separating her from the doctors at the foot of her bed who were intensely working head down. The clinking of instruments saving my son. The beeping of monitors bringing me back to reality.
But then I heard it.
There were no urgent voices here. No hurried movements.
I almost couldn’t believe it. I looked through the windows of the OR and down the adjacent hall.
What I saw let me know this was indeed real.
Our entire family had their noses pressed up against the oblong windows of the double wide doors protecting the OR wing of the hospital, in a form like the penguins from Madagascar. They wanted to see as much of the action as they could.
This was another perfect moment of sheer convenience where the whole family was able to enjoy these fleeting moments.
It was Christmas night. And I was happy. I’m glad we had enjoyed the day before coming in. It was all too perfect.
“We’re almost there…”
It can’t be this simple, I thought.
“Just moments away now…”
“And here she is!” Dr. Jones said.
I heard the cry instantly this time.
Oh, my baby girl. My sweet baby girl. I finally get to meet this precious soul… No, not quite. I’ve already met her. And yes, she’s mine. I got to meet her first.
I looked at the clock.
It was 8:53 pm.
The familiar strains of The First Noel filled the room. Though the sweet melody came from the speakers in the corner of the room, my heart was singing.
Lydia Rae, born on Christmas Day.
+ Thanks for taking this little journey with us. If you enjoyed this, Lydia’s proud big brother had a story of his own that you won’t want to miss. Read it here.
This story has also been published on Amazon. Check it out here.
That was great! You really are a great story teller! Congratulations!
Wow. I've learned so much from these stories. It has a deeper meaning and impact for me because Janica and I had our babies 3 days apart. So I was already in baby minded mode and the special feelings that come with sharing the same space as a celestial spirit. Truly a sweet edifying uplifting story. I love feeling the touch of the spirit when feeling the confirmation of the truthfulness of your personal revelation.
Wow thanks Erin!
I loved it! Still teary eyed.
Love it doesn't begin to describe it…Amazing and love especially that it's the side of the daddy! What a great couple of parents for a wonderful baby girl! Lucky girl!
thanks Kim. Great to see you the other night.
Seth this is so beautiful, your children are so blessed to have such a wonderful daddy (and mom!). Thank you for reminding us how precious each and every child is and how privileged we are to be parents. The spirit really touched me reading this, thank you so much.
I'm glad you posted her story. I remember reading about your son and hoped to hear about your daughter as well! (my sister knows your sister in law ).
Well done! You made me laugh & you made me cry & touched my heart & my spirit. It's nice to actually read many of these things that you were thinking & feeling all along, but not really totally sharing with anyone. I can relate to so much of this, since I have been around through a good portion of Janica's pregnancy & for the birth of sweet Lydia & the 3 weeks since she has blessed our family. Both Lydia & Warren will love being able to read over & over about their wonderful entrance to this earth life, & be forever grateful for the wonderful parents they were blessed to have.
I love you, my tender-hearted brother! Thank you for the story, we are excited to meet your precious Lydia!
Wow. Totally made me laugh and cry. Beautifully written, thank you for sharing. Her LOVE will heal the world. What a beautiful truth. These are very special children coming…to very special people :) with love to you and yours…
I really enjoyed reading your story! It was very touching and so sweet. Like you and your wife, Mark and I take the name thing seriously as well. Her name and birth is indeed so special. Congratulations to your beautiful family. Thank you for sharing Seth. You are indeed a talented writer.
Seth I think its wonderful that you write this important events down and in your own way. your children are going to love reading these when they are older. Wow, life… its a crazy awesome thing and we are so happy for your family and your new little Lydia.
That really was a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing how your sweet baby girl came into your lives. Love and hugs!
Whoa! That is so cool. I loved it. So sweet and tender. I love how the Spirit works and you received revelation along the way. I can totally relate to the already had a c-section hoping for a normal delivery. That is tough. Bless you both and MANY THANKS for sharing!
aw, that was so great! seth, I want to buy yer books when you get published. great story and what a blessing to your family to have baby lydia. I can't wait to meet her. thanks for sharing these wonderful details!
Love to you son. Love the fact that you are sharing such heart and spirit with us. We are so grateful for Lydia. You will always think of her as a strong vibrant loving woman because of this experience – how priceless.
Thank you for your story. I am married to Michael Ewert who your wife knew in college. I too have had 2 C- Sections and sometimes I have a hard time accepting the fact that I will not ever have a normal birth experience but reading your two stories really helps to put things into perspective. Miracles do happen and there are many people here and on the other side who are watching out for us and helping us. Thank you.