As I may have mentioned I’m not one that usually likes to read my own writing, or worse yet, chuckle at my own writing. It’s like listening to your recorded voice, or your worse yet, laughing at your own jokes.
However every year at the same time I like to look back at my Diary of a Delivery: Part 2 – Showtime! and the birth of our third child, Levi. Oh, if you’re looking for Part I you can click here. It’s filled with me ditching my laboring wife for a fantasy baseball draft, McDonald’s and what it means to the outside world to have a third kid.
Before I repost Part 2, four years after it was originally ‘published’, I should probably say something about that little dude that made this possible.
That’s it. I’m going away from the bragging about my kids chatter that I’ve done in the past (though there will be a post about Lukas winning an Xbox One, because … well, did your kid win an Xbox One from the NFL? Probably not).
Levi is, well, Levi. He’s funny, smarter than the ‘Job with His Name On It’ label some have given him (don’t let the size fool you, he’s no dummy), has much love for his older siblings who he admires and looks up to, and can hold his own with anyone.
He’s … Levi.
And four years ago today our family had the day that follows. And four years later updates in bold and italics:
As Mom and new baby sleep, I thought I would continue my Diary of a Delivery with the second and final part (thank God!).
If you read yesterday’s post then you’ll know that I signed off the computer at 11:12 p.m. I should have gone to bed. Instead, I thought I would sneak in a game or two of MVP Baseball 2005. Stupid idea and let’s find out why!
Sunday, March 27, 2011:
3:17 a.m. – I wake up to what sounds like Lis having labor pains. I hear a lot of heavy breathing as she slides out of bed. I stay where I am.
3:38 a.m. – I wake up to the sound of more breathing and pacing. Stupid me! I decided to stay awake until 1 a.m. playing my Nintendo GameCube. I didn’t know this was going to happen so soon! Oh well, it was kind of worth it as Lukas went 4-for-5 with three home runs and seven RBI cementing his claim on the MVP race over both Erik and Randy. Don’t ask.
4:45 a.m. – I text my mom and Stephanie letting them know that Lis is having contractions every four minutes and she seems to be in pain. I tried to ask her but she just groaned. I’ll take that as a yes.
4:48 a.m. – Funny how the sounds she is making now resemble the same sounds she made when she got into this mess nine months ago.
Four years later, still my favorite line.
5:00 a.m. – Lis decides it’s time to go. She showers as I sneak in a 10-minute nap. When she gets out, she tells me I need to get ready. I take a lukewarm shower as we await my parents arrival.
5:30 a.m. – Mom (and Dad) arrived at the house. I give Mom the option to come with us or stay and wait for the kids to wake. She decides to come with us so I call Plan B – Stephanie (and Erik). She says they are on their way. They’ll watch the kids before heading out to the hospital. Dad will leave shortly before them.
6:02 a.m. – We’re on our way to the hospital. Lis seems to be having contractions every two minutes apart. I’m hoping the baby doesn’t pop out on Highway 2. (Little did I know what lay ahead).
6:09 a.m. – Leaving Monroe passing the Arco. (This was in Mom’s notepad. What she failed to mention was the new Jack in the Box that just opened a week or so ago).
Three years later Lis would actually work at this new Jack in the Box. Mmm…Sourdough Jack.
6:45 a.m. – We enter the hospital. Only one of us is allowed in – not including Lis. Mom and I draw straws. I pick the small one and head in to support my wife. We go over the checklist of items that usually surprise the nurses: Blood transfusions (too many to count), the special antigen in her blood thanks to those transfusions, cancer, prior C-section because of low platelets, delivered the second child with no problems, allergy to Tegaderm.
Four years later and more blood issues to add to the list. Oh, this will be in a future post as well, once we know what the heck is going on.
8:35 a.m. – The nurses confirm Lis is in labor so we book a room one floor down and head to Room 320. It’s a nice room with a view of the parking garage. The doctor checks in with Lis and lets her know everything is going great.
8:48 a.m. – Erik, Stephanie and Dad arrive with the kids and more importantly donuts. The anesthesiologist finishes the epideral with Lis. He may have stabbed her in the back five times (there’s a joke here about me stabbing her in the back fewer but since that has never happened it doesn’t really work) before getting it right or giving up and saying that it was right. Lis and I have questions about this. He was a nice dude but Mom, Lis, Stephanie and I all agreed that the poking seemed to take some time. That coupled with later in the day Lis feeling pain she shouldn’t have felt make us think maybe something wasn’t done completely right.
10:26 a.m. – Our first non-Johnson guest arrives. It’s my good buddy Ian Barnes. Ian and I met working at the Boys & Girls Club in Monroe back in 1996 – I think. Wow…we’re at 15 years now! Ian was my first and only roommate and is explained best by saying “George Costanza”. He’s a good dude and he played topper at my wedding giving a nice speech after my brothers both spoke. Ian’s primary concern right now is that he was the first of my friends to arrive. He thinks this should move him above Josh in the rankings.
Good ol’ Ian. He really came on strong these last four years. Too bad he’s in China. Well not too bad for him. If you’re out there Ian, we miss you!
10:28 a.m. – Lis asks the nurse if she is having contractions. She must be feeling good. Lis asks the nurse for grapes. Supposedly, I was going to peel these grapes and feed them to her. Luckily, they never arrived.
10:30 a.m. – Lukas has an explosion in the men’s room. I think he’s got a mix of his Dad’s nerves and his mom’s unwillingness to hold it in. Not pretty.
10:35 a.m. – Lis is getting her hair braided by Stephanie. First-class service!
10:55 a.m. – Dad and I feel like we just cleaned up a crime scene. We calmed down Lukas. We put clothes inside of trash bags, inside of trash bags, inside of trash bags. I scrubbed down everything. We soaped and sanitized everything. As we finish up two dudes walk in. We look back…there is no sign of evidence. Let’s hope this doesn’t play out later in life, though it was nice to have my dad there as a co-conspirator. Lukas whispers to us, “Don’t tell Mom.”
And my favorite story from that wacky day doesn’t even include Lis giving birth but Lukas destroying the bathroom, and my dad and I bonding over cleaning up after his mess. And we’re talking a mess!
Noon – The doctor pops in and decides to pop the water balloon inside of Lis. Things seem to be progressing nicely. She’s at 8 cm. This thing looks like it’ll be here within the hour.
12:15 p.m. – Dad, Erik and Lukas escape to go get lunch at Burger Stop.
12:40 p.m. – Ian and Mom strike up the most fascinating conversation of the day – peeing in a public restroom. I was about to go into detail but … do we really need to?
1:00 p.m. – There’s always the question of who’s going to be in the room when Lis gives birth? Just me? Do we include my mom? We included my mom when Lia was born so she was granted a free pass this time around. I thought it might be nice to ask Stephanie. She and Erik have done a lot for us this past year, helping with the kids, coming over every Tuesday to hang out with us so I thought I would ask if she would like to be in the room. Her face lit up, turned red and she said she’d be honored to be in the room with us.
This was nice to remember. Things were mildly sprained for a bit but they continue to support us, making a nearly once-a-month trek to visit us, and now get to experience their own childbirth in two months.
1:10 p.m. – False alarm. She’s not ready yet. Mom, Stephanie and I wait.
2:00 p.m. – The doctor comes in to do the hourly check up on Lis. Lis is still at 8cm and her contractions have calmed down. They are not as hard as they were or should be. This causes a concern for the doctor. The doctor is going to give Lis’s body one more hour to do what she does. If nothing progressed then there would be two options.
Option A) Give her Pitocin, a drug that would increase strength of her contractions but, because of her prior C-section, also causes a bigger risk of having a uterine rupture. If she has a uterine rupture then she would need an emergency C-section, which is a much bigger concern because of her prior blood/cancer issues. Lis would need a special type of blood that carries an antigen and is not found in blood banks near you but has to be specially ordered.
Option B) Just skip straight to a C-section, which is something Lis did not want to do. We all know what a C-section is – surgery and a few more days in the hospital. The plus…can we tie her tubes while you’re in there (thus getting me off the hook)?
The doctor gives us time to think about this. Lis, Mom, Stephanie and I sit in silence trying to figure out what to do. Meanwhile, Harry from church texted me saying that they are in the congregational meeting waiting to hear news. I had texted a few close family and friends at 7:45 that morning and it’s now seven hours later. The natives are getting restless. I tell Harry what the doc just said. He texts back and says they are stopping to pray for us. How cool!
2:35 p.m. – The nurse pops in and says we have a guest. It’s Ian, leaning up against the nurse’s desk. Like a little kid, Ian comes up from the lobby. Dad is pestering him with a toothpick. The chairs hurt his back. The room is a little tense and Ian thinks that it’s because of him being there. We fill him in and he becomes one of the ladies.
2:40 p.m. – I go downstairs to visit with Randy, Nayheli, Maddux and Josh, who have all arrived and been waiting for a while thinking that the end was near. Dad is on his phone; Randy and Lukas chase Maddux around; Lia is asking Nayheli 100 questions; Josh is relaxing from a day of softball and Erik has to take his “baby” out for a walk. It’s too much chaos for my mind at that time so I skip out on the fun and head back upstairs to the Room of Tension.
Classic my family!
3:00 p.m. – The doctor pops in again, does the ol’ lube and poke and says Lis is at 9cm and that she seems to be progressing. He’ll give us another hour.
3:30 p.m. – Lis starts getting serious contractions and is in serious pain. Her hands are so tense (and numb) that the veins on her hands are bulging. She wonders why she’s feeling this pain (see: 8:45 a.m.) after all she’s had an epidermal and he’s refilled it twice already. Oops?
And she doesn’t even remember me sitting by her side as she clamped on to my hand. And her hand is twice my hands size!
3:45 p.m. – Classic Ian! Ian pops his head in and we all shake our heads as if to say, “Not a good time.” Lis waves her tense hand in a, “Get the hell out of here!” motion and Ian quickly disappears.
Classic Ian again!
3:50 p.m. – Lis grunts out, “I think I’m ready to push.”
4:03 p.m. – The doc checks her and … can’t feel the cervix! We’re ready to proceed. A few tears may have arrived as I thought about my belief in the power of prayer. Two hours ago, this didn’t look like a strong possibility. Our church family prayed and well …
4:05 p.m. – Mom, Stephanie, the doc, three nurses and an EMT learning how to do on-site deliveries all stare at my wife’s vagina.
Another fun story to share years later. Some people are particular about who is in the room giving birth. Not us!
4:13 p.m. – Levi Edward Johnson has arrived! Lis did great. It was only two forceful pushes and he was here! His head was turning as it was coming out of the canal. The doctor gave an explanation to my mom about what was going on. I cut the cord causing blood to squirt like a B-action movie all over Lis’s face, the bed, the wall and part of the nurse. Oops! “That’s what happens when you let two men try to do something,” jokes the Doc.
Another fun story to chuckle at. I still remember Lis’ face when the blood hit her between the eyes.
4:25 p.m. – My Dad brings in Lukas and Lia to introduce them to their baby brother. Lukas is excited to see him. Lia’s not sure what to think. Later she was wanting to touch him and was saying that, “He’s a good baby.” Erik comes in followed by our Pastor. He heard things were somewhat hectic so he thought he would drop by to represent the church. Pastor asks what his name is. “Oh…that’s right I should mention that to everyone…Levi Edward.” Edward is my dad’s middle name and mine. We gave Lukas Lis’s Mom’s family name of Stevanato. Lia is a Marie, after my mom.
5:30 p.m. – Randy, Nayheli and Maddux return. They went home when they heard it might be longer. The entire Johnson clan is here. The First Five, the daughter-in-laws, and now the four grandkids. Our little family has grown from seven to 12 within 2-1/2 years.
Since I don’t recall how everything else went down, I’ll summarize the rest of the night. Josh brought pizza for us so we all (minus Lis and Levi) went downstairs to eat. While we did that Levi got his first bath! Darnit! My tired family left around 8pm and Josh hung out until 9pm or so. I received a ton of congratulations via text and Facebook. It made me feel special.
Levi has been great! He’s quiet. He sleeps and eats a lot (that’s all they’re supposed to do at 20 hours right?) and is pretty alert. He came in at 9 lbs and 20.5 inches long. And he was eight days early! Yikes! Everyone loves to compare babies when they first arrive. For the first time in three tries all the comparisons are with me. He’s got a conehead, just like I did when I was delivered. In fact, that went through my mind when his head arrived first. I thought of my late-great Uncle Jeff comparing my cabeca (head) to a football and how Levi’s head was similarly shaped. Actually after looking at him longer I thought his head looked like Grandpa Simpson’s.
Four years later and he’s still registering at the 99-percentile in height and head size. I don’t like to get excited about having a tall kid, but there’s a lot of indications that Tank will live up to his nickname.
If you ask people that have kids what the best day of their life was they more than likely would say the birth of their kids. I thought this was cheesy at first. If you have multiple kids, would they all be your best day? Well yesterday (after Levi arrived) was a pretty darn good day. I got more emotional with the third one than I did with the first two. I will blame the long, long day and the mental and physical exhaustion it took on me. Lis’s family got to meet the baby just minutes after he was born via webcam – how cool is that?! It might sound funny but they often get lost in the shuffle because they are in Brazil. But this baby is as much a part of them (though this one looks like me while the other two resemble the Brazilians) as it is with us so it was special watching the happy Tia’s and Avo light up.
It was neat to see the Johnson clan together and happy. We have had minor issues in the past few months but we were all stuck together in a decent size hospital room smiling and sharing laughs. Babies can do that. This one sure did.