03 March 2009

molly rose cooke... YOU are a cutie patootie!

All "birth stories" are beautiful but not too many are written by the new dad!! I'm hoping that my contributions to this story will add some intrinsic value from a "dad" perspective. Molly Rose Cooke joined our family [on the outside] at 8:24PM on Saturday 2/28/2009. She was born 8 pounds even, 21 and 5/8 inches! This is a little heavier and a little longer than Lucy!  In a nutshell, mom & baby are doing great! 

For those of you looking for more than a nutshell...

The rest of the story will be in chronological order (relatively) and hopefully with corresponding pictures! 

Friday 2/27 2PM - "NON STRESS TEST" at Midwives. We elected to have our wonderfully supportive midwife strip membranes to try and kick labor into gear! For any readers that have not had the pleasure yet, do not confuse "NST" as a synonym for "stripping membranes". They are indeed 2 very different actions despite being performed @ the same doctor's appointment....

Friday afternoon - Andrew forces Laura to walk around the recently deserted (economy very very bad now-a-days) Owings Mills Mall in Baltimore MD. Laura &  I dine on Chic-Fil-A and several varieties of small cookies from Mrs. Field's. We then had the pleasure of trying to shop @ Motherhood Maternity. Strange store, but friendly staff (even to me, the odd husband standing around)! The manager looked extremely nervous when Laura told her she was at 41 wks and having contractions! She was probably wondering if in-store childbirth was covered under her store insurance plan! haha!

Friday 5PM - Labor pains starting to get pretty "good" as I called them (Laura didn't think they were "good", I think she had other adjectives for them)! So from about 6PM to 11:30PM on Friday we stayed at Mom & Dad Cooke's (Finksburg MD) and labored. This included time in the hot tub (counting contractions on the cell phone stop watch feature) and breathing deep, time in bed massaging out the aches and time getting "comfortable" on the couch...
Mom Cooke. Thank you. None of this would have been possible without your love, support, direction & encouragement. 


At 11:30PM Fri we made the call to the midwives. It had been approximately 2 hours where the contractions were between 3 and 5 minutes apart each. They were mild-to-strong and due to their consistency, the midwives suggested we go to the hospital.

MIDNIGHT FRI 12/27 Sat 12/28 - Andrew drove Laura and Mom Cooke drove Lisa Cooke to the hospital (Howard County General - Columbia MD). We got "monitored" by hospital staff approximately every 2 hours. We got a verbal lashing from all nursing staff (including the beloved Mom Cooke and Lisa Cooke) whenever we took a rest! There was a LOT of walking. In fact, we walked until about 5AM Saturday...

Making time for a smooch @ 41 weeks! THAT'S true love!
Walking with no contractions while in labor & delivery:
The contractions were still regular but less frequent and strong than at the Cooke's house. Every time we paused to look at the terrible artwork and work our way through a contraction I wondered how many kids were actually born in that HALLWAY versus their delivery rooms and/or the O.R. We circled the unit passing many other expecting couples along the way over the hours. All trying to "walk that baby out"!

When a contraction hit: 

Special thanks to my sis Lisa, who, without which, this post and capturing the precious 1st moments of life would not be possible...
While monitoring, we found little Molly's heart ALL OVER Laura's belly instead of down low where it was hours before and where it should be... SO! We took our baby march to the stairwell. That's right. No rest for the weak! 

I'm not sure what comment I made in the picture below... I LOVE  her expression though! Her reaction and my 2 cents were probably both not appropriate to capture (in text) on the blog! We were getting delirious. It WAS the middle of the night afterall! 

Not too many ladies can make 41 wks look this good! My name tag reads "L&D" in case anyone was wondering. Guards @ the hospital don't want to waste any time talking to someone who's running in at midnight with a pregnant wife! (Imagine that!)

When the stairwell, in it's orange glory, did not encourage the strong labor contractions we went to this mysterious object known as a "birthing ball". I've used this in the gym for abdominal exercises but I've never tried to have a baby on it until this night!

Yes, for anyone that pays meticulous attention to detail, that's a rosary across my right leg. Not sure if Laura even knew I had that back there and was doing some heavy praying as well!

I have to agree with Laura that this black night gown looks better than anything the hospital would've picked for her to wear! Unfortunately it got "itchy" so we resorted back to the default hospital gown (or gowns) if we were walking! Those gowns don't cover much 'round back when your belly is out so far!

The picture below is me trying to keep up with the 3 million text messages from friends & family! 

NOTE: Yes. I apologize for using the cell phone as this is a 'cell phone restricted area that may interfere with medical equipment'. That being said, I made nor accepted any phone calls! Just sent "some" text messages...

On that note, I have fat fingers and the Japanese keep making these cell phones smaller & smaller which is a terrible combination!  

About 7 or 8 hours into labor and delivery (at the hospital, not counting the laboring since ~2PM when the membranes were stripped...). I look a little less than enthusiastic.  Lisa snapped this photo while Laura was sleeping & I was trying to do the same. The hospital has INCREDIBLY comfortable accommodations for the husbands............
Back to the ball around 9am Saturday... Lisa making funny faces...

At about 945am, midwife Jackie met with Laura & myself. She, in a very realistic & polite manner explained our situation from an outsider's and professional's view. Laura & I were trying for a natural birth but were not close-minded when it came to the safety of our Molly Rose. 

The progression:
  • Dilated to 4cm after 2pm Friday midwife appt. More than 60% effaced. Molly's head quite low.
  • Arrive at hospital at 5cm (~midnight), more than 70% effaced with Molly's head in position and heartbeat very very low.
  • Heartbeat "floated up" and around during the night but never got back down low.
  • At 6cm by ~945am Saturday, heartbeat was up by Laura's ribs, contractions had nearly stopped.
Upon an internal and an external squeeze/review from Jackie we were confident that our chances of a natural birth had just passed us. Very calmly, we discussed the following items with Jackie, my mom and Lisa...

1. We were at 41 weeks.
2. The contractions started by midwife on Friday were not enough to start 7cm+ labor
3. The baby's heartbeat would not come down after a VERY FULL night of walking and labor drills (yes, not exercises, drills!)
4. Water had not broken
5. Labor-stimulating meds were not a preferred option by us or medical staff due to high baby location & possibility of unnecessary cord complications
6. Anatomically speaking, it's possible that parts of the pelvis are too narrow/small to support childbirth (there's SOME abbreviation for this medical term but I cannot recall @ this point).

After considerable thought, prayer and discussion Laura & I decided to schedule Molly's birth for 8PM that evening. Despite resorting to "plan B", we were in good spirits and we were supremely confident that this was the best & safest option for mom and baby.  

Jackie came in around 2pm and told us that the docs had an opening at ~4pm so we took her up on the opportunity.  Unfortunately, Mr. Anesthesiologist didn't want to come to work until 7pm anyways (!?)... yeah. 


The following pictures took place from approximately 12 noon to 7pm Saturday 2/28/2009! (Molly's birthday)! They are not in order as these hours were spent quite randomly trying to pass the time...... 

I feel they're pivotal to this beautiful birth story though because they show the extremely positive & fun-loving atmosphere that Molly was soon to be brought in to! Not to mention, Laura & Lisa agree that I'd make a sexy doctor :-)

Pictures of that 41 week belly! 
Andrew trying to relieve some pressure!
Contractions did come & go through this time but were nowhere near as strong as at the Cooke's the evening prior.  Nor were they regular...
I got yelled at (multiple times) for playing with the random medical equipment in the room. I should've brought scrabble or something! (or the drug-doc should've showed up on time)!

Wow... Size "N" for "No way a human can be this teeny-tiny"! I'm clearly very excited to be meeting Molly Rose soon!
Lisa's photography amazes me. I've never seen scrubs look this good!
Andrew demonstrating how McDreamy (reference to a character on Laura's favorite TV show Grey's Anatomy) washes his hands (and entire forearms) before a big operation!

The support system for Laura & Molly! Gold help 'em!

Lisa posing as "Lexi Grey", little sister of whacked-out Meredith Grey of TV drama Grey's Anatomy.

Grandma Jen Merkel giving everyone a status via text message! She LOVES that blackberry (and also apologizes for any medical equipment interference it may've caused)!

Mom Cooke and Lucy play in the delivery room, offering smiles and laughter. Lucy carries with her a baby doll. Laura & I have been giving her baby dolls over the past few months to play with so she get accommodated to having a little one around!

Lucy offering some love and support to her "MaMa"!

The LAST picture taken of our "family of three". We were all SO excited to meet Molly Rose we were bursting at the seams!
Mom Cooke snuggling up to Laura on the bed offering kind words of encouragement & prayer!
Laura making several comments like "well, if I'm having an operation, I'm going to look GOOD"! Her she is in the delivery room applying eye makeup (liner? shadow? something like that)!

I brought a HUGE (largely ignored) box of "Loose Family Photos" for us to organize. Well, we did not organize it but we did flip through this monstrosity and had a BLAST walking down memory lane. It's AMAZING how much Lucy looks like Laura as an infant/toddler.  During this activity there was a LOT of talk about what Molly would look like. The top question by far was..... Will she have red hair?


The 1st official picture of Molly Rose Cooke! 

Molly's first cry! (Yes, actually the "if the baby cries they're ok" cry caught on camera) THANK YOU LISA)!!!

I put on the first (of millions of) diaper!

Remember the diaper marked "N" from earlier in the birth story? It fit on our little angel like a glove!

DARK HAIR! YIKES! In this picture it does look a LITTLE red but after her 1st nursery bath it's definitely more dark dark brown like her mom's hair than red like her big sisters!

Just when I thought my heart was full to the max with Laura & Lucy... she opens her eyes and I become a big crying baby... 

Dad and Molly go meet Mom for the 1st time:

Mom is too excited to put words to her emotions but with a smile that big and tears abound, few words are necessary.

Aunt Lisa snuggles the new cutie:



List of everyone who made a trip to the hospital but may've eluded the camera.... Grandpa Paul Cooke, Grandma Jen Merkel, Grandpa Tim, Uncles John, Brendan & Paul, Aunts Nina and Lisa, cousin Lily, friends Calvin & Katherine Buster, Tim (TK) Kelly, Kandi Wertz, Emily & Josh Beck! It was CROWDED little maternity room! Thanks to everyone for your love & support!

Molly Rose, thank you for making our lives even brighter than we thought possible! Welcome!


celesle said...

that was the most beautiful birth story I have ever read! may God continue to bless the Cooke family. welcome to the world Molly Rose!

Lisa and Michael said...

SO BEAUTIFUL!!! Great post Daddy- very impressive!!! Those last couple pics of you and Molly and her little feet are SO cute! Thanks for the embarrasing pictures of me... ;o) I'm so honored to have been there! My name is Lisa WALK by the way though, not Lisa Cooke :) ha ha ha. It's okay, I'm AKA cooke :)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Laura and Andrew!
Welcome to our family Molly!

You are so precious and sweet and Grandma Tammy absolutely loves your name.

Lucy we love and miss you.

Laura, your dad tried to call several times....maybe on his days off he will try again.

I am so happy everyone is healthy and happy. We said a lot of prayers during this time.

Well, I am off to celebrate my 40th birthday today.....Yeee Hah!

Love you Molly and Lucy,
Laura and Andrew,
Tammy (Grandma), Dad (Grandpa), Meghan (Auntie), and Maddie (Auntie)

TK said...

Yays, baby pics! Sorry I wasn't able to make it for lunch, the snow on Broken Land at 1 was still bizarrely well packed and slippery. Glad I was able to come over and meet her!

Anonymous said...

this was one of the BEST birth stories I've ever read. It made me tear up. I have a 3 yo daughter who has red hair, too, and we have the same big question...will the new little sister be a redhead??? Your story is beautiful, as is your family. Congrats!
-Laurie (from the bump)

Traci said...

What an amazing post. I have tears in my eyes for you guys. She is gorgeous and Lucy is going to make a fabulous big sister. Congrats!

SpunkyToes said...

What a beautiful post!!! Congrats again to your family.

~*~ Just plain me~*~ said...

Love the story! Love the pics! Yall did an awesome job documenting the experience, I'm sure it will be nice to look back on in the future. Congrats mommy & daddy!

Katie E. said...

She is so beautiful, just like the rest of her lovely family!
Thank you for taking the time to chronicle Molly's birth story. All the photos and inside information is so great, I almost feel like I was there. The Evans Family is so happy for you, and we can't wait to meet Molly and see Big Sister Lucy again!
Lots of love to the whole family!!!

Amber said...

Congrats Andy, Laura and Lucy on your precious lil Molly Rose! I love her name and she is absolutely beautiful! Her birth story is very inspiring and well told :). Thank you for sharing ;)

Joey said...

Congratulations. Molly is absolutely beautiful. What a great birth post Andrew, so detailed and great pictures to remember one of the most exciting life events. Made me feel like I was there..which is so neat because there is nothing more exciting than a birth of a baby! It was a definite tear jerker for me. Yeah for Lucy for accepting such a huge change, what a great sister you already are.