Saturday, September 15, 2012

Introducing Thomas Perry Ninness (uncondensed version)

We are on day 5 of life with a new baby, a SON, a BOY. We are in love and tired and in love. Before all I can think to blog about is how exhausting newborns are, I wanted to write about that oh so perfect, perfect day.

Monday morning, September 10th, started like any other day fighting unwin-able battles with a 2-year-old. I dropped big sister off at a friend's and cried on the way to my doctor's appointment  thinking that parenting was surely something everyone else does well that I don't. I had no idea how the course of the day would change, into one of the best days of my entire life.

My doctor, who I absolutely adore, said she really felt like it was time to have this baby. I was 6 cm dilated, baby was super low and I was almost fully effaced. While she gave us a choice of waiting, she knew the type of birth I desired, knew how I needed to be sure Mary Kate was settled, and strongly encouraged us to move forward. An hour's worth of phone calls later, I was walking into labor and delivery, Ross's blow up mattress in hand. And thus began a constant flow of grace, of God whispering that all was well, all was right. Mary Kate was with a wonderful mom-friend for my doctor's appointment and her bff's mom assured me she had her. She picked up my extra carseat, and without me asking, remembered her sound machine, big sister clothes, and pillow and blanket to settle in for her first slumber party. Mary Kate was settled. My first big need met.

Ross tied up some loose ends at work while the planner in him came to terms with the sudden change in our Monday. By the time he walked in, we were set up with a great nurse and ready for that blessed epidural (that only partly worked but that's okay.) When I was laboring with Mary Kate, a hymn I had sung since childhood played in my heart, comforting me. With Thomas, the same happened. The words to the song "You satisfy the hungry heart," played in my head over and over. Knowing the Jesus I love was with me, satisfied my need for his comfort, affirmation, assurance, and peace. He did not disappoint.

We were blessed with the best of the best nurses and a doctor who had no other patients delivering that day. My uncle works in the anesthesia department and insured our anesthesiologist knew us before he walked in, breaking the ice (and the bed I was propped on for the 10 inch needle, but that's another story). 4 hours, one bolus dose of meds later and lots of sweet time with my parents and in-laws and we were ready to push. It was so different this time. Ross said it best- that with Mary Kate, I seemed like more of a victim, just waiting to be told what to do. With Thomas, there was a lot less epidural and with the increase in pain came an increase in awareness. I knew what to do and Lord help anyone who tried to stop me. I pushed for over an hour with Mary Kate. With Thomas, it was maybe 20 minutes before I saw this little person on my chest and heard my husband scream, IT'S A BOY! IT'S A BOY! He was half laughing, half crying and I was completely in awe. I've said it before but not knowing the sex is worth every minute of wondering, arguing over two names, wishing I could organize clothes. It is a moment, with each child, that I'll still be talking about when I'm 80. It's that special.

The rest of the night was spent loving and holding and nursing this perfect boy, and looking forward to introducing him to his sister the next morning. It was spent hearing the words "You satisfy the hungry heart, a gift of finest wheat. A gift to us, oh saving Lord, the bread of life to eat." He had satisfied my husband's hope for a son. He had satisfied my need for a controlled, safe delivery and, after 15 weeks of uncertainty, a healthy baby. Every need I had, He met, and then some. I never feel closer to Jesus than when I am bringing another of His souls into the world. And this soul, this one we worried over, prayed over, agonized over, was here and healthy as he could be. The goodness is too much.

The next morning, we were ready for a day of introducing our first love to our second. But before she arrived, there was a knock at the door. In another moment of God whispering, in walked a priest from our church and a seminarian. He asked if he could bless our baby and offer us communion, that "gift of finest wheat." I nearly melted at this surprise, this gift of the Eucharist on a Tuesday morning. Ross asked him many questions about our son's namesake, St. Thomas (more later on this). I then realized that the seminarian with him was someone I prayed for every week as I walked to the nursery at church and saw his name on a poster. He is studying at the North American College in Rome and knows our Father Tim well. It was another moment of how small the world is and a wonderful feeling to bring Father Tim into a special moment for our family. Our son received a blessing less than 12 hours after he was born and his mom and dad received communion. Oh it was special.

As Mr. Baker was leaving, we got that sweet knock at the door and in walked my dear friend, her daughter, and the new big sister. Mary Kate ran up to Thomas, kissed his head and repeated "hi baby, hi baby." She has not stopped wanting to kiss "baby budder" and is everything we could have hoped for in her response to him. I was told that I adored my baby brother from the day he was born and it is fun to see my girl love on this little boy. She is pretty good about loving him on his feet and the top of his head but we're trusting that a few smothering kisses to the face are good for him. Natalie captured some priceless moments that I will forever be thankful for.

We were discharged Wednesday morning, but not before one more, this time loud whisper, that all of our needs during this wonderfully crazy time are being met. Mom and Dad brought MK up to help us pack and MK was being awful. She had to be taken off the floor a few times and there was tension in the room as Ross and I tried to parent her and my poor parents stood unsure of how to intervene during these repeated tantrums. Ross took her out, mom and dad went for coffee, and a combination of fear and hormones rolled over me. How am I going to parent these two needy creatures? How will I ensure MK feels loved and adored while I take care of a newborn? How will they both feel immeasurable love from an exhausted mama? Sobbing, there was a knock at the door that I almost shooed away. In walked a woman from our church, (an angel, I'm sure) and I exploded in tears for her. She is a mom and heard my blubbering. Then she offered me communion. She assured me that Jesus would provide for my every need, and Mary Kate's, and Ross's, and Thomas's. I received Communion, and as it has always, always done, that bread of life soothed my heart. I stopped crying. Mary Kate came back less a toddlermonster and we left the hospital assured of this great new life waiting for us.

I'm sure I'm missing some (even after that novel) but what I will remember about Thomas's birth is how Jesus met us at every stop. Every fear that inched in, He pushed out.  The love in his house has multiplied and everyone is smitten with this newest person. After a summer of fear, there is nothing but hope and excitement for the fall. Welcome to the world Thomas Perry. We adore you!

Dr. Combs, who walked us through pre-term labor and everything in between. LOVE her.

This is SO, SO my husband.

smitten. completely, instantly in love.

both sets of doting grandparents

never love this man more than when I have his baby :)

Thomas, in the company of Godly men

first kiss from his big sister

"hi Thomas. hi baby!"

holding daddy's hand for the first time.


  1. CONGRATS!!!!

    SO happy for you guys!!

    He is precious and I LOVE the name

  2. Congratulations! He is perfect in every way! It is a special thing to hold someone so fresh from being with our Father! Love you all!

  3. Beautiful reflection. Can't wait to meet Thomas!

  4. Love every word Keri! It brings back such wonderful memories of when we welcomed our first son and had a doting (not even 2 year old) big sister. Sweet sweet - doesn't get any better. Soak it up.

  5. thanks for the reminder of how precious those first moments are. beautiful story, friend.