After 12 difficult hours of screaming and crying—and that’s just me—Jameelah and I are proud to announce the birth of our son, Nam Edwards Le, aka “Button,” which has been his nickname for the past 10 months, at exactly 7 pounds and 20 inches.
Intense labor started at about midnight. Up until then, it was minor contractions, so we just watched episodes of “Chopped” on the Food Network. Then, contractions started really hitting, and it was terrifying and exciting. I don’t know what that feels like, being a dude and all, but I would imagine it was like that one time I did 50 abdominal rolls and the next morning, my stomach hurt like CRAZY every time I moved. I’m sure it’s exactly like that.
And then it got worse. The contractions got closer and closer together, and I was trying to remember everything the instructor told us in baby birthing class, including “Wait till contractions are four minutes apart, lasting one minute each, for one hour, before calling your midwife and heading to the birthing center” and “if your water breaks, check for meconium, which may mean the baby is in distress” and “Huy, that placenta model is not a toy! Stop using it as a hat!”
We were hoping the baby would arrive soon, because if he prolonged the labor, we would have to induce, which sounds painful, probably exactly like that one time I had to get one of my teeth removed. Well, he came, and it turned out to be back labor, which is basically the baby deciding to cause the mother as much pain as possible on exiting. Of course, we were going natural, so it was a long, long 12 hours. Our doula was very helpful, saying things like “that contraction is gone, and it’s never coming back” and “You are in power; just punch the pain in the face!” She was straddling the birthing tub, exerting downward pressure to counter the back pain, while Jameelah squeezed my fingers so hard it imprinted my wedding ring into my knuckles.
I had never seen such bravery in the face of unimaginable pain. I will never complain about having to load the dishwasher again; or at least for a month. At one point, the pain was so intense Jameelah started crying while addressing the baby. “Get out of here!” she said, “I don’t need this right now!” At another point, between contractions, she reached out and caressed my hair and looked at me so tenderly, and looking back at my exhausted wife, I was filled with so much love. And fear. “Please, please don’t yank the hair off my head,” I was praying. It made me wonder why anyone would ever have a second child after going through this soul-numbingly painful process.
But then the baby came, and I looked at him with the awe of a new father, and immediately I thought, “My son; my little boy…I hope you get cuter soon, because Daddy has to send out pictures of you to people, and that conical alien head is just not cool…”
Seriously, it’s magical, like having your own baby unicorn. Jameelah is doing great. Baby Button is doing fine, and he changes by the minute. We haven’t slept much for days. The baby is so incredible, and sometimes it is so surreal. I can spend hours just staring at him and his little baby hands and tiny baby feet. And I do, because that’s much more fun than actually changing his diaper.
Thank you so much for everyone’s kind words and support. I can’t wait for Baby Button to meet this awesome community. More updates later.