Ah, the sound of a newborn baby’s cry… especially your own!
On Monday, July 02, we welcomed into the world a new edition to the Earl family, Malacai Huntington, weighing in at 7lbs, 13oz. Malacai is our third child, and I think I was more excited to see this little guy than the first two. Not really sure why – maybe it’s because we haven’t had an infant in the house in three and a half years, and the memories of those moments have faded somewhat.
Michelle had a pretty good pregnancy. No crazy weight gain, not TOO much sickness – but, there was the PUPPPS. What’s PUPPPS you ask? Well it’s an acronym for Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy, an overly technical way of saying “pregnancy rash.” Poor Michelle struggled with PUPPPS with our first (Kaelyn), and this time again with Malacai. The “rash” affects about every one in two hundred pregnancies, and really it isn’t known what ACTUALLY causes it. Most guess an increase in hormone levels, but either way, it’s annoying. Michelle really struggled with it during the last trimester, a typical timing for the onset, and the unusually hot weather up here in these mountains seemed to aggravate it. So, needless to say, she was ready for the baby to come! (PUPPPS slowly goes away a few weeks after delivery.)
This third time around was a little different for all of us. With Kaelyn, she came right on her due date, and Connor was ten days early, so we assumed that little Cai (short for MalaCAI) would be early. Malacai was due on July 1, so, right around June 20, we began to wait. First the Braxton Hicks began, then some contractions. Day after day went by, and still no sign of baby. As we came closer to the due date, we began to try everything to induce labor, short of force-feeding Michelle castor oil. We ate Mexican food a lot, took lots of brisk walks, but the week before Cai was to arrive, he didn’t. The contractions got worse, but they were all so erratic- we couldn’t time anything. I remember on Thursday night, June 28, after eating Mexican food and taking a long walk, Michelle began having strong contractions. And, they were timing down to ten minutes apart. I was excited, so I encouraged her to call her midwife. After calling, the midwife told us we could come into the hospital, or wait it out. Michelle decided to wait it out. Well, the night waned, and we waited. By midnight, no water breaking, no strong pain, so we went to sleep. Much to my disappointment, I woke up the next morning – no baby (both of our other kids came at night).
Saturday night rolled around, and we (me) were all going stir crazy waiting. I said, “Hon, why don’t you call Heather (midwife) and ask if she can induce you? Your rash is really bothering you anyway!” Michelle felt awkward calling with such a request, but she broke down and did. See, by this time, Michelle was already 5cm dilated. Heather felt sure we’d be in by then, so she called the doctor-on-call after hanging up with Michelle, and explained the situation. He said to Heather, “Third child, 5cm dilated, and no baby? Bring her in Monday at 7AM.” Well, we were all excited. FINALLY, there was an end in sight.
So, we showed up at the hospital bright and early Monday, and Heather broke Michelle’s water at around 9AM. We waited around for a while, and then the strong contractions started. By about 11:30, Michelle wanted an epidural, so they called it in. Noon came, and the anesthesiologist arrived. He began working on Michelle, and the contractions got really strong and close together. Michelle looked up at her nurse and said, “I need to push.” The nurse just said, “No, don’t push, just relax.” “Are you sure?” Michelle asked. Again, she felt like she had to push. “I’ve got to push!” Michelle described it to me that she felt like someone was trying to push open a door on her insides. I think the nurse saw Michelle’s desperation, so she called Heather over. Heather arrived shortly, checked Michelle and said, “Let’s have this baby!”
By this time it was about, I don’t know, 12:30, 12:45 or so. This is a good time to note that at this point, the epidural didn’t do a thing for Michelle. She felt her legs, her toes- you know, everything. And the pushing began. All I could do was hold her hand and kiss her head. She pushed hard, and I could see it was hurting. Everything in me wanted to burst out crying as the pain was noticeably worsening for her. At about 12:55, I could see the head. It scared me. It was a deep blue color, and I could see the cord on his neck. No sound. Heather said, “Keep pushing!” “I can’t do it!” Michelle said, but she pushed on. I was increasingly more scared as I saw this baby. And then, just as quickly as could be, Malacai was released. It was 1:01PM. But, still no cry – I’m talking like, maybe a good 30-40 seconds of silence from this baby. I kept asking, “Is he okay?” Heather reassured me he was, but he still didn’t cry. They were suctioning his throat, and FINALLY, Cai coughed and then began crying. Actually, so did I. My mom was in the room, she did too.
Friends, this is our third child, and I can tell you, I’ve never been so happy to hear the sound of a baby’s cry. Anyone reading this who’s a parent knows how stressful it can be to hear a baby cry (well, for long periods of time anyway). Malacai was a little bruised from his quick delivery, but now looks as sweet and handsome as ever.
I can tell you, this little guy is a huge blessing from the Lord. I’m not sure what it is, but he just is special to me. I love ALL my kids the same, but this feels different. Maybe God is just showing me how easy it is to take these gifts for granted. Right now, I really appreciate this little boy. I can’t wait to watch him grow up, right alongside K & C. And, should the Lord bless us with another, I’ll remember how Cai came into this world, and I’ll appreciate a newborn baby’s cry.