Ezekiel Joseph Rogers
Born June 12th, 2017 / 7lbs. 7oz. / 20 inches
Let’s start with the due date, June 1st. I ridiculously assumed he would be early. All of my babies have been late, but little did I know, Ezekiel was going for the record. After weeks of keeping the house clean, making sure someone was on call for the girls, bouncing on birthing balls, creating worship sets that would go off without a hitch if Nehemiah couldn’t be there… Everything was ready, everyone was ready, but not Ezekiel.
At 40 weeks, 2 days, I went to church, fielding the endless echoes of “You’re still here?” and “Still no baby?” I had invented some pretty witty comebacks in my head, most of which I kept to myself. With an outpatient induction scheduled to start on Thursday the 8th, I started feeling stressed. Everyone was ready, but for whatever reason I felt like Ezekiel wasn’t. Something just didn’t feel right. When the doctor called on Wednesday asking if I wanted to come in early and have the baby, I asked them to push the induction back and a weight lifted from my shoulders.
We enjoyed the rest of the weekend as a family. I stopped eating pineapple and taking long walks, and just soaked up our last moments as a family of four. Saturday night, contractions started. I was up all night with contractions that were painful enough to wake me up, but not progressing things enough to bring us our boy. Nehemiah took the girls to church on Sunday morning while I did my best to rest. A full day of contractions went on as I felt that painfully familiar experience of prodromal labor.
Monday, June 12th
Our seventh anniversary and the day before his new induction date.
At one in the morning, I told Nehemiah this was finally it. His sister came to watch the girls and we headed to the hospital. I went to check in while Nehemiah parked the car. The nurse smiled and asked, “How can I help you?” I chuckled, not really sure how to answer and then said, “I think I’m having a baby? I know I am having a baby.” For whatever reason, I got the vibe that she didn’t believe me. After being checked by two different nurses and sitting on the monitors for over an hour, I thought they were going to send me home. They were saying things, like “Your uterus isn’t tilted forward, but when you go into labor…”
My mind starts racing: I’m sorry, when I go into labor? I know what labor feels like and this is labor. I’m 41 weeks and 4 days, don’t you dare send me home. I wanted to cry.
I keep it all in… Smile and nod and hope for the best.
They call for the midwife, who, after a very long time, enters with the greeting, “So, you’re the difficult one!” Ummm, thanks? She checks me again, saying I was dilated to a six and fully effaced. She had no idea why the nurses couldn’t figure that out before and neither do I, but I was just happy to hear the words, “We are going to admit you.”
First things first, I requested the epidural. I had one with both of the girls and was ready for that breath of fresh air after contracting for over 24 hours. They were apparently extremely busy that night, and the wait for the anesthesiologist dragged on. I decided to get up and use the restroom even though I knew it made my contractions pretty intense when I changed positions. So, there I am frustrated that it took so long to be admitted, impatiently waiting for an epidural and having contractions on top of each other in the restroom. I hear Nehemiah and the nurse out there chatting and I can’t get the toilet paper off the roll. It was jammed in there and I just kept contracting, trying to turn the toilet paper roll, shaking the holder, punching the holder, trying to rip off tiny pieces to make a big piece of toilet paper… Finally, in a rather pitiful voice, I call for Nehemiah to rescue me. He and the nurse got a good laugh out of that.
Finally, the calvary arrives and it is time for an epidural. I am so ready for this. Once again, Ezekiel had other plans for his birth story. The anesthesiologist was having a difficult time finding the right place to do the procedure. After repeatedly hitting bone, she moved to the next space down and tries again. Problems with the lidocaine mean sharp pain for me. She stops for a second and says, “Dad, are you okay?” Nehemiah is white as a sheet. He forgot to breathe and nearly passed out. He sits down. She tries again, hitting a blood vessel this time. I’m done. I can tell without looking that Nehemiah is done. It had never been this difficult with my other deliveries and I didn’t like the way this was going down. I apologized and said, “I’m just gonna go for it.” Not really even knowing what that meant.
For the next two hours it was just Nehemiah and I. The back labor I had been experiencing shifted and for a short while, it felt like we had a bit of peace. I asked him to play Elevation Worship and I remember leaning against his chest, resting between contractions.
I was told that I was nine and half centimeters and accepted the offer to break my water. As I knew the end was nearing, anxiety started to creep in. For whatever unfortunate reason, the midwife and nurse were not very present. The encouraging words and uplifting coaching I had received during previous deliveries was severely lacking and I felt very alone. Even with Nehemiah by my side, I just wasn’t fully prepared for what I was experiencing and if you know me, you know that lack of planning is my nightmare. I asked Nehemiah to play Victor’s Crown, more than once. With the nurse saying things like “Do what you’re told” and another nurse trying to convince the midwife to leave me for another patient, I did the best I knew how and was trying not to lose myself in a full blown panic. Thankfully, this stage was the shortest, only pushing for about 25 minutes.
Then, as if he always had been, Ezekiel was here.
Shaking, and breathless (me, not Ezekiel), I held him against me. I slowly regained my senses while Nehemiah cut the cord. I repeated phrases like, “Hi baby” and “You’re finally here” over and over. Our hearts expanded instantly as Ezekiel looked around the room, incredibly alert, that overwhelming rush of love, washing over us. It was one of those moments I didn’t ever want to end and never want to forget.
Welcome home Ezekiel Joseph.