Our fourth baby was due this past Friday. But like the many ways babies can be so tricky, she decided to stay put a couple of more days. So, on Sunday morning, around 4:30 AM, my wife leaps out of bed and says rather breathlessly, “I think my water broke!” My immediate reaction was to strip the bedding so the mattress doesn’t get wet. What a thoughtful husband.
My wife never had her water break at home with our previous children, so we were at a loss as to what to do. We were sort of under the impression from the accumulation of many years of birthing facts that if your water broke and nothing was happening that it wasn’t an immediate need to rush to the hospital. She wasn’t having contractions, and in our mind it was just better for her to labor at home until they are strong enough and close enough to justify going to the hospital.
I call the labor and delivery department at the hospital where we were going to have the baby just to confirm our thesis. The nurse answering the phone must’ve thought I was a moron, first-time father when I asked, “My wife’s water broke, do we need to come to the hospital right now or can we wait?” There was a pause and she replied, “Yes sir, you need to come right now.”
I go to my wife and tell her the news, and for about 20 minutes I’m fumbling around with loading the car with bags and getting dressed like Ricky Ricardo and Fred Mertz when Lucy has little Ricky.
We get to the hospital and my wife was yet to have contractions so the nurses send us off to walk around awhile. That gave me the opportunity to get some breakfast at the cafeteria, but by the time I ate and had my coffee, the walking must had done the trick, because my wife was stopping every 45 seconds to endure a contraction. Once we get back to the room, in a desperate voice she says, “I want an epidural!” This is around 9:30 AM. The epidural doctor comes in around 10, takes about 20 or 25 minutes to administer the medicine, and within 10 minutes after it starts working she is ready to push.
Our regular doctor was off for the day, but the doctor he had covering for us was a crack-up. He comes in with a ratty old shirt and a pair of short pants and a Lucky Strike ball cap. He turns the cap around like a fifth grader and says, “All right, this kid doesn’t like what we are doing to it, so let’s get it out of there.” At first, a normal parent would be thinking, “A crazy man just walked off the streets and is impersonating a doctor,” but he knew all the nurses and they all just seemed to love the guy. After a few good pushes from my enduring wife, Eliana Sophia was born at exactly 10:45 AM, even though her official paper work reads 10:46. I made sure to be looking at the clock as soon as she came out. And for all you ladies: She was 8 pounds, 15 ounces, and 21 inches long.
At this point, mama and baby are doing quite well. There was a concern with jaundice, because all three of our boys were in the hospital for at least a week until their jaundice decreased. Eliana, according the the lab, has negative blood, but also negative coombs, which means she may not get it. Hopefully they will be home in just a couple of days.
Her little brothers also love her and are already wanting to hold her and feed her. The youngest boy has this Of Mice and Men thing going because he strokes and pets her just a bit too hard, but it appears she is going to extremely spoiled.
UPDATE: My wife thought it may be wise to tell a little bit about her name. Originally she was going to be called Gabrielle Grace, and I imagine a good number of our friends may remember she was called Gabrielle for at least 8 and half months. However, “Gabby” is just too easy a nickname and my wife hated it. “Gabby” gives the impression she is nothing but a blabber mouth talker. I happened to like Gabby, but I succeeded to my wife on this one.
So, about two or three weeks ago, while researching alternative names, she came across Eliana, which means “God has answered” in Hebrew. That is significant, because we were praying our fourth child would be a girl. The Butler men have either all of one sex or the other. So, I have uncles who have either all boys or all girls. It just seemed as though it was genetically determined that we would have another boy. But, God does answer prayers, particularly my wife’s, and can over-ride genetic determinism. Hence the name Eliana was an appropriate fit. Sophia means wisdom in Greek, and I thought it sounded rather regal, so we went with that as a middle name.