Four days before baby's estimated arrival, the kids and I were running errands while Ryan decided to stay back at home to edit turkey hunting videos. After a few hours in and around the city (which included eating lunch with ALL three kids at Panera), I came home and proceeded to make dinner, empty the dishwasher and loading a new set of dirty laundry while the husband continued editing on the couch. Remembering that the girls had their first day of summer school the next day, I got their backpacks ready along with a whole host of things Conrad needed for his daycare Monday morning.
I glanced over at Ryan and saw he hadn't really moved from the couch since I had been back home - all the while the other kids were running around and directing all of their questions and needs towards me. In the heat of the moment, my choice comments directed to my normally helpful husband started what would be the second crescendo of the night.
As I continued to pack their bags for their first day of summer school, the waves started coming slowly. Having had inconsistent contractions nights before, I didn't take them too seriously. My body LOVES hanging onto babies - all my babies up to this point were super late or right on time. Honestly, I thought I had a week before the arrival of our fourth baby.
At around 8:00pm, I began shaking after the contractions. The shaking was a dead giveaway that this was real. Walking from our bedroom, I peeked into our living room where my family was sitting. The kids were all stuffing their faces with some stolen chips from the kitchen pantry.
I looked at my dear husband and told him plainly it was time. He swooped the kids up and told them that it was bedtime. I'm pretty sure Conrad still had Fritos being chewed up in his mouth as Ryan carried him upstairs to bed.
After the hubs got the kids tucked in, he called his parents to make their way over to babysit. We also made a last minute plea to our dear neighbors who would watch the kids in the interim. We are so very lucky and blessed to have amazing neighbors like ours.
With the contractions about five minutes apart, I started packing last minute items. I also contacted the on-call physician, explained that I was having contractions with my fourth child and that I lived a little less than an hour away from the delivery center. Without any hesitation, he told me that we had better start heading that way.
At 8:15 pm, we started our 40 minute journey the hospital. The contractions were getting stronger. As we passed the halfway point, Ryan looked at me and asked whether I wanted to go to a closer hospital just in case. Nodding my head no, we continued our path towards our destination.
During what we plan to be our last drive to deliver our final baby, our conversations together were a little more lighthearted as we mentally prepared for our night. Laughing, we mutually agreed that we knew what may have initiated this night. It is moments like this that explains the secret to our marriage.
There were a few moments during the ride where the contractions seemed to stop; moments after we questioned whether they were real, it appeared that baby heard our concern and immediately issued the waves as confirmation that the due date was today.
When we arrived, we immediately moved to triage and I went from walking around dilated at a 4 for the past week to now dilated at an 8. The hospital staff swiftly moved us to the birthing room. They asked me if I wanted an epidural, and I said yes. Ryan looked at me and said, "Are you sure, that's cheating right?"
I had a few choice words for my dear husband in that very moment as well.
This time, the anesthesiologist arrived only a few short minutes to put in the epidural. Moments later, those waves were gone. The scene felt very familiar to my second child's birth, which was peaceful and calm.
About three hours from the time I started having the contractions and eight pushes later, we found out that our little Lorelei Summers was a girl. She had a full head of hair, the roundest face you ever did see on a newborn and little thunder thighs.
And yes, she had the Nickerson toes! She weighed in at 8 lbs and was 19 inches tall. We fell in love immediately.
The next day, we couldn't wait to introduce her to her siblings. Dad picked the kids up from school a little earlier than normal so they could meet the newest member of our tribe.
The girls were ecstatic.
Ansley asked why her toes were pink.
Conrad had no idea what to think.
They all wanted to hold her.
I will admit, I was a little worried about Conrad's reaction.
Oh, my heart. Aubrey, the patient sister.
The two littles sharing a kiss.
Just the girls.
Ansley is so doting.
Our littlest member - now part of our clan of six.
The fun and the blessings are only beginning.
Thank you Mary Verett for capturing our initial moments as a family of six. We are forever grateful.