I was driving home from work when my phone rang. It was Mary.
“Ashley? I have some shocking news!”
(totally used to this by now) “Okay…what’s going on?”
“Well…[Kelly] is in labor.”
(was not expecting that) “Okay… wow!”
“She is in the hospital. She’s already dialated to a 3. But the baby is 5 pounds. She’s 6 weeks early.”
(holy shit balls)
“She’s worried you’re not gonna want the baby because it’s so early.”
“I know. So you probably want to get on a plane because your baby is gonna be born tonight."
"Oh! (wait a minute, she's serious) Okay!”
(I should have known. It was raining. It was a Thursday. Of course this was happening tonight.)
“She is really scared. She’s at the hospital alone. They’re giving her the epidural, and once they give her the epidural, there’s no going back, so I think your baby is gonna be here by midnight.”
“Wow…(huge grin with simultaneous tummy flips) okay…well…I need to call Ryan and tell him we need to book a flight. Maybe we can fly out tonight?”
“I think you should get there as soon as possible if you want to see your baby being born.”
“Okay. Awesome! Thank you!”
“You’re welcome! And congratulations!”
I hung up with Mary and immediately called Ryan. The entire thing was extremely reminiscent of the day that changed everything. I was attempting to avoid crashing my car while driving in the rain during rush hour, trying to tell the man I love that he was about to be a father. Five years of waiting and trying and crying and praying - it was finally here. And it was happening RIGHT NOW! He was not going to believe me.
I pulled in to the garage and purposely left the garage door open. I figured we’d be leaving for the airport immediately. I was ready to run inside, throw some stuff in a suitcase and leave for the airport. I figured Ryan was upstairs packing and I was already two steps behind him.
I threw the door open and ran inside.
“Hey” said the voice on the couch.
Ryan was sitting on the couch, feet propped up, cheesy muzak playing over the phone, laptop open, while Isner was on TV – trying to beat someone of no consequence in the US Open.
Not quite the scene (or the pace) I expected.
“How’s it goin’?” I asked the zombie.
“I don’t know what I’m doing. I got home and I tried to book a flight to Atlanta, but all I could think about was trying to redeem our miles for the Mexico trip. So now I’m trying to cancel our trip to Mexico and I’m just sitting here on hold. (long pause) I made popcorn.”
“That's good, but Dude! We’re gonna have a baby.”
“I know. (long pause) I should probably just hang up.”
“Have you booked anything?”
“No. There was a flight for $99 on airTran, but it leaves tomorrow morning.”
“There’s nothing tonight?”
“I don’t think so.”
Hmmm…that changes things.
“Well…my mom said something about redeeming her Delta miles if we want? And I have American Airlines miles. And Whitney was going to check when she got home to see if there was anything last minute – you know how she gets those updates all the time. Or do you think Linda could get us on an emergency Continental flight? We could fly standby?”
And that’s when Ryan’s brain exploded.
He sat in front of the laptop for the next 3 hours trying to find the cheapest flight that got us in to Altanta first thing Friday morning. I spun in circles and consumed the entire bowl of popcorn like a rabid squirrel.
“I’m gonna go pack.”
I got the suitcase out of the closet (which, incidentally was in the baby’s room) and I looked around the room. “We’re gonna have a baby. There will be a baby in this room when we see it again.”
In one hour, I had 4 shirts in my suitcase and I’d spun in a circle about 47 times. I called my mom.
“I don't know how to pack for this trip. I mean, I don’t even know how long we’ll be there. This baby is so early. The baby could be in the NICU for months. We could be in Georgia for months!”
“Do you know for sure this isn’t false labor?”
I yelled downstairs…"Ryan? How do we know this isn’t false labor?”
He yelled back up…"I thought about that too.”
I said, “I’m gonna call her. I’m just gonna check in and see how it’s going. Maybe I’m spinning in circles for nothing.”
I called Kelly.
She sounded exhausted.
“Oh…ummm…hi. Ummm…You still wont this baybee? S’gonna be ril smowl. Doctor said is’about fahv powns.”
“Of course we still want this baby!!! Of course! We’re so excited! We’re trying to pack and get there tonight, but it doesn’t look like anything is flying out tonight. But how are you? You doin’ okay?”
“Oh…will…ahm fahn…ah mean…they jus came in an checked me. Ahm’bout three senameeders. They trai’da break muh wooder but there wuz nothin’ in they’re. Ahm jus inalodda pain raht now.”
“Mary said they gave you the epidural? That it’s probably coming pretty soon?”
“Yeah…ahm gonna try da do this nat’rul. Ah dunno how long ah can…ah mean…ah dunno…this baybees gonna be ril smowl. You sure y’all wanna fahv pown baybee? Ah mean…sophie was fahv powns when she wuz born an you sawl’er. She’s enormous!”
“Yes! Of course we want this baby! Just let me know if you need anything from us. We can’t get a flight out tonight, but call or text me with updates as soon as you get them. We’ll be up all night, thinking about you and how you’re doing. I’m so sorry we can’t be there with you right now. Is anyone there with you?”
“Yeah…manda came up an she’s hear. She brought sophie wither. Ah dunno what she thot she'd do ada hospidul. Run aroun' an' play with muh ah vee? So stupid."
(suddenly felt sick to my stomach. This is the woman we tried to avoid. The woman who terrorized Kelly and taunted her with food. Now she's at the hospital with her? Now she's just hovering around? Is she gonna take our baby?)
I heard Ryan on the phone downstairs. He was talking to Mary. I wrote a note on a piece of paper to ask Ryan to ask Mary, "How do we know Amanda's not going to take the baby?"
Mary sounded stressed. She didn't know Amanda was there with her. She said she'd talk to Kelly and call us back. She never did.
Kelly called around 10:45 to say she had the results of her ultrasound. “Do y’all wanna know what you’re havin’?”
“Oh…well…umm…it’s a girl.”
I mouthed the words to Ryan. He grinned from ear to ear. I stopped being able to hear anything else that came out of Kelly’s mouth. We were having a girl.
I hung up the phone and Ryan and I hugged. And kissed. And I probably jumped up and down a little.
“Who can I call?”
“Well…are we telling people?”
“I don’t know. Maybe let’s wait. But I really want to tell my mom.”
“I know. Me too.”
“Well…oh my God. We have to pack. We're having a girl!"
Just then my sister called. She wanted us to know she was also looking at flights and mom was at Wal-Mart picking up some stuff for us to take to Georgia.
"Can she make it PINK stuff?"
Whitney was silent.
I laughed and started to cry.
I could hear her getting choked up too.
"Are you serious?"
"Yes. And we're naming her Sadie Brooke." (Whitney's middle name is Brooke)
"Oooooooh, I love that. Ashley!!!!! You're having a girl!"
"I KNOW!!!" (lots of tears and laughing)
Ryan walked in the room and he realized I'd told her.
"So we're telling people then? Cuz I'm gonna go call my mom next. She's gonna freak out."
The next hour was consumed with calling our immediate families. We wanted to share the exciting news, in case anyone felt like embroidering a pillow real fast. I fought the urge to write anything on the blog or facebook so we could make the official announcement tomorrow when we saw her.
Bev LOVED the name Sadie. Chad thought it was awesome. My mom wanted to tell every single person in Wal-Mart that she was having another granddaughter. (I made her promise not to call any of her friends, even though she REEEEEALLY wanted to.)
I texted my friend Holly that our birthmom was in labor and we were headed to Georgia. She asked if my sister would be able to let her in our house while we were gone so she could deliver some essential stuff. I asked if she could make it some PINK stuff and my phone rang immediately.
"WHAAAAAAAAT? Are you SERIOUS!?"
"OOOOOOHHHHHHH! Ashley! A girl!!!"
"I know! And we're naming her Sadie Brooke."
"Oh...because of your sister?"
"Oh that is just...(tears) Oh my gosh. Well...(more tears) Oh..."
(neither of us could speak)
"So...we're just trying to pack and get everything ready. The nursery is not even close, I mean we have the crib and the dresser but we don't even have the switch plates back on the outlets."
"Well, do you need anything? I mean, is there anything specific that you are worried about that we could do for you while you're gone?"
(normally I would say no and act like everything was totally fine, but there was a very honest part of me that didn't want to come back to the nursery the way it looked at that moment with piles of clothes on the floor and posters still rolled up in tubes. Nothing hanging on the walls. I hadn't thoroughly "nested" yet.)
"I'll be totally honest...I would love your help. I know you guys sort of turned your closet in to a good, organized system for Kendall. If you have any ideas about that - I mean, I have the dresser and I was going to do a changing station on top of it."
"Do you want...I mean...I was already creating a pile of stuff I was going to bring over. I have sheets and a changing pad cover..."
"That would be awesome! I'm not going to turn any of it down. We seriously have nothing ready. I have a basket. That's it. I was going to put diapers and wipes and butt paste and stuff in there, but it's just sitting on the dresser. And we don't want to buy too much in Georgia because we still have to fly home with all of it. Plus, a baby!"
"I will take care of it. Don't you worry!"
"Oh my gosh. Thank you. You're the best."
(turning to her daughter) "Kendall! You're gonna have a little friend named Sadie!"
Later, we called my cousin Shannon who has started her own photography business (babyday photography...please look her up on facebook. She's AH-MAZING!) to see if she was able to possibly come to Georgia at any point and take some of her PHENOMENAL pictures. She was already looking in to flights and thought she could be there by Monday.
It finally hit us. We were having a baby. We were having a girl. We were going to be parents.
I snapped this photo of Ryan.
Around 11pm, we had our bags packed, our flights booked (one way), and we'd told a handful of people that we were bringing home a baby girl. What else could we do but attempt to sleep?
I got a text from Kelly that she was going in for a c-section. She'd labored all night and it was no surprise to us that they weren't going to let her go any longer (she'd had a c-section with Sophie and we heard that pitocin could increase the contractions so much that her uterus could rupture. Not the ideal scenario.) Secretly, I was hoping for a 9.02.10 baby, but Ryan thought that was incredibly strange.
"It will be easy to remember!"
"You don't think we'll remember our daughter's birthday?"
"No...I just mean...I like stuff like that."
We put the dogs up for the night and explained to them that Kelly and Kyle (thank you Kelly and Kyle!!!) would be watching them while we're gone - and when we return, we'll have a little sister for them! I took my phone up to my room and promised several people that I would text the minute I heard anything.
Seconds later, Ryan was snoring. I was wide awake.
I texted Kelly, "I can't sleep. Dying to know how it went. Call me when you're out of surgery and let me know how you're doing."
I got back in to bed.
I got back up.
I checked my phone.
I went downstairs.
I poured a glass of water.
I turned on the TV.
I watched an episode of Project Runway from the DVR.
I went back upstairs.
I checked my phone.
It was 3:00 in the morning.
I had three missed calls from Kelly.
I walked in to the nursery to call her back.
"I'm so sorry I missed your calls! How are you?"
"oh...umm...sorry....did ah wake you?"
"No...no...no...I was just downstairs watching TV. I couldn't sleep. How did it go?"
"well...ah have some shocking news..."
"What is it?"
"Well...it's a boy. They got the sonigram rowng."
(this is a horrible, mean, horrible trick to play on a person)
"Are you serious?"
"Yeah - ahm suh sorry...you prolly told yur hole famlee to by pink, huh?"
"No! We were actually waiting to tell everyone so it's fine. It's totally fine. (long pause) Oh my gosh. A BOY!"
(still can't wrap my brain around it)
"Ah no. Ah don even no how that happen. They tole me the gah doin the ultrasown been doin' it fur fiftee years!! How do you git somethin' like that suh rowng? Do you even wanna boy?"
"Of course!!! We feel incredibly blessed either way!!! We don't care at all. I mean a girl was exciting but a boy is just as thrilling...is he okay?"
"Oh, he's purfict. He's four powns an eleven ownsis."
"He's not in the NICU then?"
"No. He's jus in the nursree with the other baybees."
"He's not on oxygen or an iv or anything?"
"No. He's jus purfict."
"Wow! Good job!"
(holy crap...Ryan is going to freak out. We have a son.)
"Okay...wool ahm priddy tahrd, so ahm gonna trah'da git some sleep. An y'all shud git some sleep too."
"I'm probably not going to sleep tonight. Our flight leaves in a few hours so we're getting picked up in about 30 minutes. So we'll see you later today."
"Oh, alright...wool...see you later."
We're having a boy!!!!!!!!
I walked in to the bedroom where Ryan was fast asleep. I crawled in to bed and kissed Ryan on the cheek. As he stirred, I whispered, "we have a son".
"They got the sonogram wrong. It's a boy."
"It's a boy."
"We have a son?"
"We have a son."
As the reality washed over both of us, we sat in the dark - holding hands and imagining the next 5, 10, 40+ years.
"Oh, man. We're gonna have action figures in our house, aren't we?"
"Hell yeah!!!! And TRANSFORMERS!!!"
"And Spiderman birthday parties?"
"Yeah!" (getting really excited)
"I need to tell everyone it's not a girl."
I leaned over in the dark and texted my mom, my sister, Bev, Chad, Holly and Shannon.
The very first response was from Bev: Oh my gosh - sadie brooke may not work :)
Then Chad: Must be packing :-) That is so awesome! Still calling him Sadie?
Then Holly: Unbelievable!! Delivery went ok?
Then my mom: Oh my goodness!!! I'm in shock. Did everything go okay? Weight? Length?
Then Shannon: The excitement never stops! Boys are awesome :) How big?
I told everyone he was 4 lbs 11 oz but he was not in the NICU. Perfectly healthy.
Everyone was shocked and relieved. We were all anticipating some sort of breathing tube or complication since he was so early. All of my nurse friends prepared me for seeing him in an isolette on oxygen with an IV and a feeding tube down his throat.
But he wasn't.
He was perfectly healthy.
And we were going to see him.
(Oh, God. He's gonna need a name.)