I have a thousand things to say about this tiny girl in my arms, but for once in my life I’m at a loss for words.
Where do I start? How can I do justice to the enormity of it all? How many blog installments will be needed to properly convey the grand trajectory of our miraculous journey to this point in time?
I’m overwhelmed with possible starting points. So it looks like overwhelmedness will have to be my starting point. Perhaps through writing down my thoughts, I will find my way out from underneath the overwhelm.
Violet Skye Marie Wingert emerged into the fluorescent light of a Holy Spirit Hospital room in the dead of night. Make that in the life of night — indeed, 1:55am has never felt so bracingly alive. Just like her big brother, Violet made us wait (and wait, and wait). I guess our kids have a penchant for the grand entrance.
The suspense didn’t quite kill us, but it may have killed — or at least maimed — my confidence in Danielle’s baby-related hunches. After all, she had notified me in mid-August, one full month earlier, that she felt our baby might join us 2 or 3 weeks before the due date. So I had been on high alert day after day, week after week, as I scrambled to get ahead of things at work so that I would be ready to make a clean break once the moment of truth arrived.
But days passed. Weeks passed. August turned to September. The due date came and went. Another full week passed. And we woke up on Friday, September 14th, still without a baby in our arms. Just like with Greyson, we were a week overdue. We had another poky little puppy on our hands.
For those who are not familiar with Greyson’s birth story, I’ll mention a few things by way of background so you can understand Danielle’s ultra-woke labor philosophy, which I resoundingly support and will forever stand in awe of. For both of her pregnancies, my wife was tenaciously committed to avoiding induction and medication unless medically necessary. While she was pregnant in 2015 and 2016, Danielle had read voluminously on the subject, and as a result of her research (and her razor-sharp intuition), she made the personal choice to have our babies through natural means. Old school. Hyper-alert. Hardcore.
In addition, with Greyson we opted for a home birth. This meant that our son was born in the comfort of our bedroom (“comfort” being a decidedly relative term for a laboring mother), at the hands of two experienced midwives. Despite a truly grueling 32-hour labor process, Danielle was somehow able to bring Greyson into the world without medication, other than a micro-dose of Pitocin late in the proceedings to get things moving.
Two years later, Danielle opted for a hospital birth but was still committed to a natural birth. So when we went to the doctor on Thursday morning, 6 days after the due date, and the doctor told us she wanted to schedule Danielle for an induction two days later, and not at the birth-plan-friendly hospital we preferred, Danielle was a bit disappointed. This isn’t what she had pictured. But we tentatively signed on and went home to mull over our options.
The next morning, we headed back to the doctor for another check-up. This time, another of Danielle’s favorite doctors was on duty — Dr. Bucher, who would later have the honor of catching our 2nd baby. Based on his comforting assessment that the fluid level and the heart rate and the baby’s positioning were perfect, Danielle and I asked for a sidebar. So Dr. Bucher stepped out of the room. Between us, and with Danielle possessing the unquestioned tie-breaking vote, we decided that we wanted to push the induction to Monday (instead of Sunday) and spend the weekend doing everything in our power to get this sweet baby out.
This one-day-later option would not only increase the odds that Danielle could have the natural birth she longed for, but also greatly increase the chances she could labor at her hospital of choice. We drove home feeling great, and lucid, and hopeful, about our weekend’s prospects. Scratch that — I drove home feeling great, and lucid, and hopeful. Danielle, on the other hand, drove home feeling achingly pregnant, impatient, and uncomfortable — but equally lucid and equally hopeful.
My takeaway from that morning’s change of plans is this: Autonomy is absolutely vital for a laboring mother. The maternal instincts and desires of the woman carrying the baby should heavily factor into the narrative of her birth story, in which she is after all the protagonist. While an induction at our backup hospital preference would have been fine, and the baby would have been just as healthy, it was not what Danielle hoped or dreamed of. And with the benefit of hindsight, we now know it would have been unnecessary too.
After the appointment, I headed into work to log 5 distracted hours while Danielle logged her usual (much more difficult) mama hours with Greyson while she continued to monitor the wrigglings and writhings of the 41-week baby in her belly.
After work, we ate pad Thai for the second night in a row. We had eaten spicy pad Thai the night before Greyson’s labor commenced, and we badly hoped that history might repeat itself. On this night, we ate the spiciest dish of pad Thai I’ve ever laid eyes (or taste buds) on, and it was all I could do to tearfully choke down my portion. I tried in vain to cut down on the spice — first with peanut butter, then by simply giving up and pouring soy milk into my bowl like cereal — but this stuff was borderline radioactive. My steel-palated wife, on the other hand, handled it like a champ.
Old wives’ tales have a checkered reputation. But it just so happens that the old wives who told those tales sometimes knew exactly what they were talking about.
“Spicy food hastens a pregnancy,” you say?
In July 2016, Danielle’s contractions began in earnest within 6 hours of eating spicy food.
In September 2018, Danielle’s contractions began in earnest within 7 hours of eating spicy food.
You be the judge.
To be continued… (obviously.)
One thought on “Violet Skye, Chapter 1: Sugar & Spice”
Beautiful, heart warming story. So glad Dani got to deliver her way! You don’t get a do-over with birth! God has given you so much to be thankful for! Hod bless you and your sweet family!