Hendersons in the Netherlands – Pt. 4

The second to last day we were back in Amsterdam.  I have to mention that Cal slept record stretches on this trip and was as happy as could be – even with the big time change.  

This day we boarded a private bus first thing in the morning for our own tulip tour.  Tom, our tour guide, was a professional photographer on the side as well – so he was thrilled to take pictures upon pictures for us.  Our first stop was near a petrol station – that had rows and rows of gorgeous tulips behind it.  We were the only people there and took a bunch of family photos.  This one, taken by Zach’s brother Tony, is my favorite of Cal. 

Pictures truly don’t do these fields justice.  The colors are even more vibrant in person.

We drove all around northern Holland and stopped to view more fields, but none were as beautiful as the first.  We had a pit stop for lunch in an art town called Bergen.  It was great timing because it had started to rain and we were able to avoid getting soaked.

Our next stop was to tour some beautiful windmills.  We got to look inside, experience a little of what life was like for the people living there, and climb all the way to the top.  The Dutch countryside is truly stunning – even amidst the moody weather.

Tom brought tons of snacks on our little day trip: chocolate (which was how we learned of our favorite brand – Tony Chocolonley), fruit, nuts, and cheeses.  We were all exhausted and full by the end of the day.

We were so lucky to have incredible weather nearly the entire trip.  That night it poured rain so we took an Uber to an Italian restaurant [Zach was craving some pizza] and then back to the boat.

The next day was our last.  The forecast was rainy all day – so we bundled Cal up in his coverall and set out.

We had a few places we wanted to see and some souvenirs we wanted to score before heading back home.  We stumbled through the Red Light District and Zach took a lovely video of this woman [who was actually a man – the purple light below the red indicates transgender] who was not thrilled we were capturing his/her best side.

Like I said before – I didn’t know how a trip to Europe with a baby would be.  So I prepared as much as possible.  One of the things I packed with us [that Zach told me was a little excessive] was a waterproof car seat cover.  It came in handy our last two days and I am so glad we had it.  Sometimes being crazy prepared isn’t THAT crazy, guys.  Maybe Zach will have that engraved on my headstone after I’m gone?  

After grabbing some souvenirs for Sloan and family members we met up with our group at the Pancake Bakery for a late lunch.  We took our haul back to the boat afterwards and packed our bags for an early morning departure.

That night we had our last dinner on the boat – where the staff made us said apple pie.  Again – mostly because of Sean, but we didn’t mind to reap the benefits of his life-saving gesture.  We ordered everything on the menu we could find the strength to consume and then ended the night with some live entertainment in the lounge.  Mostly Gina dancing/lip syncing to Benny and the Jets.

The next morning we left at 7 am.  A bus took our whole crew and all of our luggage [except Zach’s phone which was accidentally left on the bus] to the airport.  We grabbed a bite to eat and then took off at 10 am.  Calvin did so well on the flight home.  He took three solid naps and was happy and content for 10 hours being cuddled the entire stretch.

Then, back home.  No more Igor bringing us sodas.  No more freshly baked cookies at our disposable.  No more live dance performances from Gina.  But we were so ready to be back with our Sloan.  13 days was too long to be away from her and I have vowed never to be gone this long again if I can ever prevent it.

Overall, it was a fabulous trip.  Spending time with my in-laws and having adult conversations – uninterrupted by hangry kids – was so wonderful.  There were so many hilarious moments that will become memories forever.  Also, I feel prepared to take the plunge if ever in the future we want to take young children to Europe on our own.  Additionally, I respect moms that live in foreign countries more than I ever thought possible AND am singing another tune when it comes to cruising.  *Did I mention I do not like cruises?  Oh, I didn’t??  Well…I am not a fan.*  But a European River Cruise is a whole different ball game than my experience on Carnival Cruise Lines.  Let the record show that this kind of cruising I am 100 percent on board for.  No pun intended. 

It was depressing to wake up and not see all of Zach’s family the next morning.  But one, very energetic face, made up for it.  

Hendersons in the Netherlands – Pt. 3

The next day we arrived in Antwerp.  Zach’s family did another bike tour of the city and the three of us shopped down town.  We hit up a bunch of stores, walked around the diamond district, and saw one of the main attractions:  a beautiful cathedral.  A lot of people warned me about taking a stroller to Europe [with the cobblestone streets and all] but I am so glad we took it.  We logged some serious miles on that bad boy.

The weather the entire trip had been so beautiful – it didn’t get down to the chillier temperatures until the last few days.  We toured inside the cathedral to warm up for a bit.

We ate a late lunch at Wagamama and then did a bit more shopping.

After we hit up the Nike store [and Cal got fed inside of one of the dressing rooms] we made our way over to Laduree to snag some treats to take back to the boat.

We had dinner on the boat that night and got to bed for our early wake-up call the next day.

That day was one of my favorites.  Gina hired a private bus and tour guide to take us to Brussels for the day.  We all loaded up on the coach and set off.

First we saw a popular site – the Atomium – built for the World’s Fair in the 50’s.

My personal favorite photo of the day – featuring Sean.

Then our bus stopped at a gorgeous cathedral and we walked to a popular shopping area with the most amazing glass roof and chocolate shops on chocolate shops on chocolate shops.  Too many to choose from – but I managed to pop into one I had read about in my research and buy two more boxes.

We stopped at the main square with beautiful buildings all gilded in gold.

Then we walked to Mannekin Pis – one of the most famous statues/fountains in the city.

Also, where Chad had one of many of his waffle breaks.

We stopped at a Cafe called Charlie’s for lunch.  I was totally gaga over the tile.  The food was just as fabulous as the interior of the restaurant.

We met back up at the bus afterwards so we could tour the palace and the royal gardens and greenhouses.  We felt really lucky because the greenhouses are only open a short window of time – and we happened to be there during that period.

Zach and I reported back to the bus so I could feed Cal – but Zach couldn’t resist a waffle truck in the same parking lot.  He got one to go for the ride back to the boat.

We had a dinner reservation later that night in Antwerp at Sir Anthony Van Dijck.  As part of the booking – the cruise line treated us to one fancy shmancy dinner on land.  It happened to have a Michelin Star and was quite the showcase.  Cal was a dream and slept through 4 out of the 5 courses.  When we got back we got ready for bed and ready to head back to Holland.

The next day we arrived in Dordrecht.  It felt like we were in the Dutch version of Cape Cod.  We walked through the entire city in a few hours.  It is small, but so charming.

We stopped by a local market in the square.  Zach got his fries he’d been craving since the first day. 

Then we met up with the rest of his family on our way to a beautiful church.We found them eating soup, bread, and pancakes outside a little bakery.
Afterwards we met up with Zach’s parents for dinner in the Bistro on the boat.  That night they had a tasting menu – which we decided to give a go.

It was a little wild for our taste, but the dessert [banana bread pudding with fresh berries and walnuts] was out of this world.  It was so good, in fact, that we asked for it the following night.  We were disappointed to hear they were out of it – but later the staff made another batch and had it sent to our room.  I could have kissed them all on the mouth.  I feel like we owe the extra special service to Sean.  He saved a Russian guy at dinner a few nights prior by giving him the Heimlich.  The staff on the ship was so grateful they made us a special apple pie our last night for dessert.  Sean saved us too – by packing antibiotics that Zach took advantage of when he came down with a nasty cold at the beginning of our trip.  He was even thoughtful enough to pack baby Amoxicillin for Calvin if he needed it.  Everyone needs an Uncle Sean!  That night we made our last stop – back to Amsterdam where we started.


Hendersons in the Netherlands – Pt. 2

The next morning we awoke in Rotterdam.  I went on an early run across the bridge the locals call “the swan”.

I love running in foreign cities.  It’s such a fun way to get your bearings and familiarize yourself with the area.  Then the three of us took an Uber to do some shopping down town.  We walked around all morning and by 11 am felt like it was time to try some famous apple pie from Dudok.  It was a home run.  

Later, we walked around to see more of the city.   We stopped by the Cube Houses and an awesome indoor farmers’ market.  Zach left with some frozen yogurt and I left with a sweet new water bottle.

Oddly enough, Rotterdam reminded me a lot of Johannesburg.  It was a fun city with tons of different cultures.  That night we had dinner on the boat and set off for a new country.

We sailed for most of the day on our way to Ghent, Belgium.  We watched movies in our room, did some services at the spa (I had an amazing facial), did some laundry down at the ship’s facilities, and got dessert ordered to our room that night.

The next day we arrived in Belgium.  The first city we stopped in was Ghent.  My second favorite city of the entire trip.  Zach went on an E-Bike tour with his family that morning and Calvin and I lounged around and had breakfast sent to our room.

Later we took the shuttle into the central part of the city and from the second we set foot there I loved it.  The architecture, the people, the whole city had such a great vibe.

We walked around popping in and out of churches and chocolate shops.  After getting a few sweet souvenirs for family back home – we stopped at a spot to get a legit Belgian Waffle.

The chocolate shop was recommended by a staff member on our ship and everything we bought was delicious.  I know this because…well…I bought tons of chocolate for gifts and ate 80 percent of it.  Only one bar survived the next two days – which I saved for my mom.  We eventually had to go back and buy more in a different city to bring back to my family.  

Something I have never been good at [with both of my children] is nursing in public.  I don’t feel totally comfortable which translates poorly to my babies.  I swear they can sense my anxiousness.  I had to get over my issues really quick on this trip.  In order to get out and see all we wanted to – I had to nurse anywhere and everywhere.  Buses, crowded restaurants, monuments, and even on a canal boat tour.  I’m glad though – I needed to be pushed out of my comfort zone and by the end of the trip it wasn’t a source of worry for me. 

After our waffles we went back to the ship so Cal could take a nap and we could relax for a bit.

For dinner we went back into town to eat at a trendy pizza place – Eat Love Pizza with the whole group.

Afterwards we walked down to main canal in the city and grabbed some ice cream to go before getting back to the boat.

The next morning we had a private tour of Brugge, Belgium.  I didn’t expect it to be – but this city was by far my favorite of the entire trip.  Two large vans picked up our group bright and early and we made our way to Brugge where we met our tour guide, Andy.

We walked around the main square for a few minutes until Cal woke up and needed to eat.

Andy showed us a darling little cafe where we could order hot chocolate and croissants and I could nurse.
After the three of us had our mid-morning snack we met back up with the group.

The walking tour was really great – thanks to our hilarious tour guide.  We walked all around the city and got a side of interesting tidbits.

We ended the tour with a late lunch by stopping off at Andy’s recommendation – a local Italian place.  Afterwards we walked around, bought more chocolate [I gambled on some dark chocolate with basil – also a tip from Andy] and met the group back at the vans to head home.

We did a ton of walking and retired to the boat for the rest of the night.


Hendersons in the Netherlands – Pt. 1

Every so many years the Hendersons do an “adults-only” trip.  It happened to land on this spring, which wasn’t fantastic timing for us with a brand new baby.  But with 16 adults and everyone’s crazy schedule, it was bound to be inconvenient for many.  Since I am still exclusively nursing Cal, we took him along.  We originally told the Hendersons to do the trip without us – because the thought of taking a new baby to Europe [more specifically the long international flight] totally freaked me out.  But they insisted EVERYONE went or nobody went.  And now that I look back at it all, I’m so very glad we went.  So – party of 17 including Calvin – started prepping for our biggest trip yet as a family.  In years past we have done Hawaii and Costa Rica – but this year was to Europe – specifically the Netherlands – to do a European River cruise to see the tulips [a long-time dream of my mother-in-law].  We’ve known about the trip since Calvin was the size of a blueberry, so luckily I had plenty of time to prepare.  Beforehand I did a disgusting amount of research on what to bring and how to prepare to conquer Europe with a 4-month-old.  I even managed to fit all my swag in one smallish suitcase.  Including 4 pairs of shoes.  Yes, I am a freak and print out our itineraries and all of the clothes I have so I never have to pick out what to wear each day.  It saves time, even though it sounds ridiculous.

Calvin’s belongings all managed to be crammed into a carry-on, which really helped Zach and I due to the fact that we had one small bag and two average sized bags.  It was totally manageable.  When it came down to the week before our departure I had all of us packed and I figured if I could get through the flight there – all would fall into place.

Thanks to blessings from above (I’m serious about this – I prayed every night for weeks that he would do well on this 9+ hour flight) Calvin totally crushed his first international flight.  He slept 7 out of the 9 hours and only woke up briefly to be changed and nursed.  He was a total champ.  Zach and I were the only adults who didn’t take sleeping pills.  We flew KLM on the direct flight from SLC – AMS, and it left at 9 pm.  Everyone had planned to sleep to be fresh the next day when we arrived in Amsterdam, but with a nursing baby that was out the question for me.  Plus I told Zach if he took a sleeping pill he would no longer have a wife once we arrived in Amsterdam [please refer to our flight to Africa where he vomited all over himself due to a sleeping pill].  I knew I didn’t have it in me to babysit two children on that flight.  Some slept better than others.  In fact, I know for certain Calvin slept better than my SIL Gina, who was seated next to me.

She woke up 3.5 hours into the flight thinking we were only moments away – and was incredibly disappointed when she found out we hadn’t even reached the Atlantic yet.

I bought a bouncer insert that had a head positioner that I could fit in my carry-on for Cal to sleep on.  He was safe that way from rolling so I didn’t have to hold him the entire flight and could relax a little bit.

It was honestly a life saver.  The best $20 I spent in preparation for the trip, hands down. 

Once we arrived it was 2 pm in Amsterdam.  Since we were taking a river cruise, we never checked into a hotel – only onto our boat.  It was so convenient to never have to haul our bags from city to city – packing and repacking to your next destination.

After we got settled we showered and went to dinner at a nearby Italian place.

Then we walked over to the central canal for a private canal tour of the city.  By the end I could barely keep my eyes open, but it was so beautiful to see the city as the sun went down.

And there was on-vessel entertainment by Gina.  Who couldn’t resist dancing to Prince’s Kiss.
Car seats are pretty rare in Amsterdam [most people don’t have cars – only bikes] and I did get a few awkward stares, but Cal went on his first boat ride of many and loved it.

Afterwards we walked back to the boat – with a gorgeous view of the city at night.

The next morning Zach and I explored the city together.  A lot of the tours and excursions that his family went on we couldn’t do with a baby [mostly biking tours] so Zach was a great sport and stayed back with Cal and I.  I went to Amsterdam years ago, when I was 19, and so taking Zach around for his first time was so fun.  We shopped, got a couple of fresh stroopwafels, and walked around.

Later that evening we met up with the rest of Zach’s family to head on over to the Van Gogh Museum.

This is the museum that Zach was the most excited for – it’s the only artist he is familiar with.  He did the audio tour while I walked around with Calvin.  Cal had impeccable timing and had a little meltdown right in the middle of the silent museum.  The time change had caught up to him and he had absolutely had it.  Once I got him settled down and to sleep we were able to walk around. 

We took an Uber back to our boat and put Cal to sleep and enjoyed some treats back at our room.  One major plus of the cruise line we were on were the amenities and little perks.  Our fridge was constantly stocked with Cokes and Coke Lights.  Not to mention the freshly baked cookies, fruit, and other snacks in the main entry way.  We were assigned our own Butler, Igor, who was constantly bringing us food.  Mid afternoon on the daily they brought you a snack.  Sometimes it was fresh fruit, sometimes a shrimp cocktail, and even cheese and crackers.  And it was all beautiful.

You could also order food to your room at any time – which we took advantage of way too much.  The boat left for the next city late that night – so it cruised while we all slept.  Calvin crashed hard and slept for 10 straight hours.  They had a card in your room that you could fill out what you wanted for breakfast and what time you wanted it to be delivered to your room the next morning.  So Zach and I had breakfast sent to our room the following morning [and almost every morning] before heading out for the day.  One of the most depressing parts of coming home was not having a hot egg white, spinach, and mushroom omelet delivered at 8 am sharp.

When we woke up the next morning we were in the dreamiest town called Hoorn.  Zach went on an E-Bike tour with his family that morning while Calvin and I walked around the city exploring.

We walked around along the water looking at all the gorgeous boats and homes.

We went back to the boat to have lunch so Cal could stretch out and I could enjoy the buffet.  We sat by the window and watched the boats go in and out of the harbor.

Then we met up with the rest of the group to go and explore the city center.

We got ice cream and walked back to the boat.  It was departing for our next city, and we had a special dinner that night.  It was Gina’s 40th birthday and we had a “Shell-ebration” dinner for her.  Lori planned the whole thing.  There were decorations, a carrot cake (her favorite) served on seashell plates, and she gave everyone scarves and eye patches – to dress like pirates.  She also brought along an outfit for Gina – mermaid pants and a shirt adorned with shells with a 4-0 on them.  My favorite part I forgot to mention is that throughout the day we all gave Gina a little gift 40 minutes after the hour.  Zach and I had 5:40 and 8:40 pm.  It was so hilarious watching the other cruisers and the looks they would give our rowdy crowd in the restaurant at the dinner.  We all wrote her notes saying what we “treasure” about her and she got to read them while we ate.

During our meal we made our way to the next city, Rotterdam.

Christmas 2017

Our Christmas this year was very simple.  With Calvin being so new, and with so many people in my family sick, we decided to stay home on Christmas Eve with just our family of four.  I was worried it wouldn’t be as special, hunkering down at home, but I was wrong.

We watched Home Alone and had a themed carpet picnic.  Cheese pizza, Pepsi, and ice cream sundaes like Kevin McCallister.

Sloan was in heaven and has a new love and appreciation for Crazy Bread. Our little “Christmas Cal” slept the entire evening, cozy in his Rock and Play.

After our movie we set out the spread for Santa and his reindeer.

Sloan got tucked into bed and Zach and I prepped for Christmas morning together while Calvin took another snooze.

Sloan woke up the next morning and forgot it was Christmas Day.  Once we reminded her, though, she could barely contain herself.

We rooted through all the loot Santa had brought us, opened up our stockings, and then Zach and I opened gifts we got each other.  Sloan was more excited about the fact that Santa and his reindeer ate their treats than she was about 90 percent of her gifts. 

My family came over shortly after and Sloan and Calvin got to open their gifts from my parents and Blake and Britt.  We had lunch and then afterwards made our way up to the Hendersons for dinner.  Calvin stayed tucked away upstairs while the kids and then adults opened gifts.

Having a newborn in the house at Christmas was better than I expected.  All this time I wished and prayed for him to be born after Christmas and it never really crossed my mind that he would be early.  Having him here for the holiday was so special.  A brand new baby makes you slow down quite a bit – and it made me appreciate the holiday and my Savior even more. I believe the veil is so thin when these new babies enter our world.  It’s hard to imagine being closer to heaven here on earth.

I’ll never forget this Christmas.

Calvin Zach Henderson | Birth Story

I went to my last scheduled doctor’s appointment on Dec 18th.  I was 38 weeks and 1 day.  I had zero progression so my doctor scheduled my induction to be Dec 28th.  She was going to be out of town until the 26th for the holiday, so that was a sensible time for both of us.  Since I didn’t dilate on my own last time – we figured I would have to be induced anyway.  And with the holidays I got to choose if it we before Christmas or after.  I chose the latter.  I remember my doctor saying a few weeks prior – “If I had it my way, you’d go into labor on your own at 38 weeks.”  She was just two days off, we’d find out.

That night I got up to use the restroom around 4 am and noticed some development of the labor process.  I’ll just leave it at that.  I decided to go back to bed and see what would happen.  Around 4:30 my water broke as I was in bed.  I felt it coming and jumped out of bed just in time.  [For some reason my biggest fear was my water breaking in our bed and then having to deal with a disgusting mattress when we got home from the hospital.]  I woke Zach up and told him my water broke.  I’ve never seen him spring out of bed so fast – I swear he got two feet of air off the mattress before his feet hit the ground.

Luckily our hospital bags were already packed.  I decided to get in the shower and get ready before heading to the hospital.  I called my mom around 5 am to head up to our house to be with Sloan.  I shoved a few things in a bag just as my parents showed up.  Zach gave me a priesthood blessing – assisted by my dad – and we were out the door.

Zach said something in his blessing that caught me a little off guard.  I asked him about it when we were alone in the card together and he told me he didn’t know what it meant, just that he was meant to say it.

As we made our way to the hospital I had a few big contractions – so I told Zach we didn’t have time to stop at McDonald’s for a sausage egg and cheese McMuffin like our last go around with Sloan.  We pulled up to the University around 6 am and they made us wait to be admitted until someone could confirm that I was actually in labor.  The on-call midwife confirmed my water had broken and then did a little monitoring of the baby’s heartbeat.  It was then that she told us that his heart had an arrhythmia.  Considering we had been at the hospital for all of 12 minutes, I was a nervous wreck.  She told us it wasn’t a big concern – but that she would have to alert pediatrics and cardiology.  Since I had high blood pressure towards the end of my pregnancy with Sloan – they kept monitoring my blood pressure while we were waiting.  Once we got the news about the baby’s possible heart problem my blood pressure was sky high on every single test.  There weren’t any delivery rooms available at the time – so we continued to wait to be officially admitted and moved over.  Zach and I used the time to talk and say a prayer together.  He felt great about it all – and I was still worried sick.  I had a fantastic pregnancy with zero complications.  I wasn’t sick even one hour of my entire nine months.  I knew that there had to be a catch, and this was it.  Our baby had a heart problem.

Zach was starving and made his way downstairs to get a sausage and egg biscuit from Starbucks.  If there is a will, there is a way with Zach.  He managed to stink up our room in a way which only that exact breakfast sandwich can.  At least this time he brought me a hot blueberry muffin.

An hour or so later we were officially moved over to L&D.  They hooked me up with an IV and I met my nurse who I adored instantly – Sandy.  We went over my birth plan and Sandy explained that pediatrics was going to have to stop by and have a chat.  I never dilated on my own with Sloan, so I didn’t think my body was even capable.  I was at a 3 when Sandy checked me, which was a surprise considering I thought I would be Fort Knox.  But since my contractions weren’t progressing, they decided to start me on Pitocin.  Right after that the pediatric and cardiology teams stopped by to talk to me.  They apologized – but told me I probably wouldn’t get to hold the baby right after he was born because they would need to asses the situation with the arrhythmia.  I just tried the entire time not to burst into tears, and kept my mind busy with asking questions.  They left and told me they would see me when it was go time.  Then anesthesia came around and asked if I would like to get my epidural going.  Last time with Sloan my epidural was a complete disaster (the worst part of the labor process if you asked me) and I was hesitant. I told him I wasn’t feeling any contractions, but to “Check back in, say…30 minutes.  Nothing can happen in 30 minutes.”  As I said those words he started wheeling his cart out of our room and a massive contraction hit me.  It was so intense that I stopped him as he was going and told him to turn that little cart around and come back.  He laughed and said he knew from the moment I told him nothing could happen that it WOULD in fact happen.  He administered the epidural – and this time Zach was sitting in front of me in a chair, holding my hands.  With Sloan’s delivery he got really sick at the sight of the needle and nearly passed out.  Our guy, Adam, was a pro and administered the epidural without a hitch.

Almost as soon as the epidural kicked in – my contractions took it up a notch.  I started to feel some big time pressure and they checked me.  I was at a 5 – which I could have sworn was wrong.  I felt a little bummed that there wasn’t more progression.  They told me they would check back with me in an hour.  As they walked out the door everything switched gears.  I had the biggest contraction yet and started to feel the urge to push.  I pushed my call button for the nurse and told them to come back in. I told Zach, “He’s coming.  I can tell.  It’s time.”  They checked me again and saw that I was complete.  I went from a 5 to a 10 in 2 minutes.  They all were completely shocked.  Then, as Zach explains it, “an entire basketball team rushed into our room”.  Including the pediatric team.  As they were prepping for the delivery I explained that I have never been able to hold my babies as they came out.  I’ve always had to wait to get them checked.  My doctor was doing clinicals in the hospital that day, but I didn’t see her in the room with us.  I asked if she had been paged, and they told me she would be here as soon as she could.  I remember thinking – she’s not going to make it, again.  I really wanted her there considering how worrisome it all was with the baby’s heart issue.  The on-call resident started to give me instructions and got all geared up.  Sandy, our nurse, asked Zach, “Alright Dad, want to grab a leg?”  Zach switched over to my left side and grabbed a hold of my leg.  I started pushing and right in the middle of my second set of pushes my doctor ran in, huffing a puffing.  She explained she ran all the way up here and I couldn’t have been more grateful to see her.  I remember I said, “Welcome to my vagina!” As she settled into position.  The whole crew of 10+ people burst into laughter.  I told Zach not to look down – to focus on my face, but I could see him staring down into the gaping abyss that is a woman wide open – with a baby’s head crowning.  Then another round of pushes.  On my second big push I heard Zach say, “Guys, I’m going to need some help here.”  He loosened his grip on my leg and passed out cold on the floor.  He dropped down to his knees and then I completely lost sight of him.  A few people rushed over to help him and another nurse rushed to my left side to grab a hold of my leg.  I lost focus on pushing and was calling out his name, asking if he was ok.  He didn’t respond for quite a while.  The nurses urged me to switch my attention and focus on the task at hand.  Someone got Zach some smelling salts and he finally awoke.  I kept asking someone to get his orange juice [which he had acquired at Starbucks as well] and Zach kept telling me he was alright.  “I’m ok, K.  Just keep pushing.” After another set of pushes I checked in on Zach.  He was soon by my side and staring only at my face.  I vividly remember him patting me on the head like a dog – telling me that I was doing a good job.  He was still as white as a sheet.  We’ll work on his labor coach skills some other time, I guess.

On my fourth round of pushes I heard the nurse saying, “That’s it!  He’s almost here!” And then someone said to me, “Open your eyes – it’s your baby!”  I looked and there he was – screaming his guts out!  I’ve never been more grateful to hear a piercing cry like that in my entire life.  My doctor, who likely hadn’t been briefed on his heart situation, placed him right on top of me.  He was still hollering and wailing, which apparently was a good sign.  The pediatric team seemed a bit flustered that they didn’t get to inspect him – so they all came to me.  Using stethoscopes they all determined there was no arrhythmia after all – that his heart and lungs were more that perfect.  I burst out in tears.

What Zach said in his blessing all made sense at that moment.  But it sure didn’t to me at the time.  I got to hold my baby, Zach got to cut the cord.  Then the basketball team left, my doctor congratulated me, and it was just the three of us.  If I could bottle up a feeling – it would be the moments right when your baby comes into the world and into your arms.  I never feel the spirit as strong as those moments.

Calvin Zach Henderson  |  6 lbs 2 oz  |  19.75″ long  |  3:19 pm

We are officially a family of four.