Frederick: peaceful ruler. Hudson: after one of the great missionaries, Hudson Taylor, who adopted the culture of the people he was trying to reach, and whose walk with God was characterized by deep, abiding passion and trust.
2016 was a year of watching leadership fall apart and factions split over racial tension and warring classes. Never have we seen a political election with such a complete dearth of good leadership. Into this year, we bring in this wee baby, coupling his advent with prayers that he would be a gentle, kind leader of men.
In the weeks leading up to Freddy's arrival, I had contractions almost every night. In the flurry of the year's end, I nested. My family was coming for Thanksgiving. We had three other small children whom I didn't want to see miss any Advent adventures. We had a plethora of December family birthdays leading up to Christmas. And I was determined to get it all done before the baby arrived.
At this point we didn't know if Freddy was a boy or girl, and by the time I hit week 38, I was convinced that I was growing a large tumor, not a child. I go through this stage with each pregnancy, apparently. During this time, I question every medical professional who told me I was pregnant. I hold in derision every ultrasound and heart beat monitor. I'm convinced I'm probably dying of some rare disease. Sleep deprivation from going to the bathroom 37 times a night probably doesn't help...
After Thanksgiving, I was so visibly miserable that my mother elected to stay in PA. After all, the baby was probably coming any day now. My dad left my mother, and his compression socks (hello, swollen ankles!), and promised to come back with Baby made his arrival.
A week into my mother's stay, and Baby had still not come.
Week 39. Sunday morning. I had slept fitfully, but then again... I did that every night. At 4:20 in the morning, I was jolted awake by a contraction. Once again, not surprising. I had been having them for weeks. By 4:50, I had determined that these contractions were fairly regular. 1 minute in duration, 2 minutes apart.
I'm a little bit of a birth novice. I prefer to be largely ignorant of what constitutes "real" labor. In this instance, that was probably not the wisest... I got up. Showered. And began to blow dry my hair.
By this time my contractions had intensified to the point that I was incapable of holding a blow dryer during a contraction. I called my midwife at 5:30. She asked about the timing, exclaimed at how close my contractions were, but she noted that I was still able to talk through them, so they weren't that intense.
Here's where I went wrong.
I believed her.
What I neglected to account for was my pain tolerance. Apparently, I have a rather high threshold. I am always able to talk through my contractions. And all my years of chronic illness have apparently bred in me an intense survivalist mentality. Because by now, I was definitely in an intense stage of labor. But I thought I probably had another several hours of labor before things got really intense.
It was Sunday morning, so Scott ran some materials for church to the senior pastor's house. Another mistake.
By the time he got back, it was after 6 a.m. I had lost the ability to walk while contracting. On my way to the car, I had to stop three times. That's from our house to our car. NOT THAT FAR.
My least favorite part of labor is the car ride to the hospital. So. Uncomfortable.
Walking into the ER we had to stop 2 times because of contractions. I looked at Scott and said, "I think I need an epidural." Scott says that's when he knew: I had asked for an epidural for Bets right before I started pushing.
"Hi, my wife is in labor, we need to be admitted." As we stood at the check-in desk, the woman started asking basic registration questions. "No, she's in active labor..." (That request for an epidural had freaked him out.) I had two more contractions. My husband looked at her and said, "She's had four contractions since we got out of the car. I'm telling you, she's in LABOR."
The woman got it.
She grabbed a wheelchair, and said to me, "Whatever you do, don't start pushing." (As if any woman ever has control over when she pushes... pfft. Your body basically decides. But it's precious that people think I can control that.)
And that little 60+ year-old, gray-haired lady ran as she pushed me through the hospital.
When I arrived at our room, there were 3 nurses.
They tried to get a blood draw and start an IV. They put on a heart monitor and helped me into a hospital gown. I was in too much pain to be of much help in these ventures. I just stood by the bed and groaned like a dying cow (yes, that's what I sound like. Very disturbing.). My contractions came faster. The room got brighter. They paged the on-call midwife.
Then there were 7 nurses in our room.
"I need to push!" The attempts at IV and blood draw immediately stopped.
And they all freaked out, "GET INTO BED! GET INTO BED!"
There were 10 nurses. Plus a midwife.
And getting into bed was miserable. Next time, I'm going to ask about doing the whole things standing up... Scott started sweating, his skin looked pasty, and he said, "I think I'm going to pass out." It was a rather rapid-fire, crazy morning, but in the moment, I thought, "Really!? YOU are the one who is going to pass out!?"
One push. Another. Another.
And less than 5 minutes later, in a room that was searingly bright, with 10 nurses, a respiratory team, and a strange midwife, in the midst of brief, but aggressive pain: a baby boy.
Less than 10 minutes after we were admitted into the hospital, Frederick Hudson made his appearance. He came quickly. He was fat. And he was perfect. No one knew that we didn't know if he was going to be a boy or girl, so I got to check for myself!
2.5 hours of labor.
9 pounds, 1 ounce, and 20 inches long.
He was purple. And had a massive hematoma from sitting so low for so long. But the fat rolls... gotta love those fat rolls.
As we were wheeled to another room, the nurse asked his name.
She chuckled... "Well, he'll probably be the only Freddy in his kindergarten class."
Yes, he probably will be! This kid is an eventful, happy anomaly from day one. Although, as Scott said, "Honey, if we do this again, I'm going to have to become a midwife. I'm not sure we'll make it to the hospital for birth number 3..."