Friday, May 23, 2014

The Most Terrifying Birth I've Ever Experienced

My eyes popped open before my brain registered that my phone was ringing. The blinking display told me Josh, Lyndsay's husband, was calling. It was 3:00 AM. Why the Hell would anyone be awake at that hour, let alone daring to wake me?

And then I figured it out.

"Hello?" I said, hoping it was the call we'd been waiting for.
"Hello," Josh responded, calmly.
"What's going on?" I asked, wanting his words to come out faster.
"Are you ready?" he questioned.
"Are we having a baby?" I shrieked excitedly as I sat straight up in bed.
"We're having a baby," he replied.
"How long until you get here?" I looked at the clock.
"We can see the building now," he answered.
From a conversation Lyndsay and I had just had yesterday afternoon, I knew she would labor at home as long as possible to make sure she wouldn't be sent home from the hospital once she got there. Since our hotel is directly across the street from the hospital, they waited to call us until they were sure it was really time.
"How long has she been contracting?" was my final question.
"A while. She finally decided it was time to go," Josh told me.
"Ok. Getting up now and we'll be right over!"

I hung up the phone and announced, "We're having a baby!" loudly enough to fully wake Jimmi from his interrupted dozing. "She's in labor?" he asked from under the warm covers. "Yup! They're getting to the hospital now!"

I dialed my parents' number. My mom's sleepy voice answered, "Hello?"
"We're having a baby!" I announced, only half believing it myself.
"You had a baby?!" my mom's excitement was clearly audible.
"We're HAVING a baby!" I reiterated. "She's almost at the hospital now."
"You're having a baby?" I could hear her holding back the happy tears.
"Yes! We're heading over in a few minutes. I'll call you when I know more."

I grabbed a hoodie and a pair of jeans from the hotel room closet, debated about whether or not to pack a suitcase, then decided Jimmi could always run back and get anything I needed. As I brushed my hair and threw on just enough makeup to make me feel presentable, I started to regret the fact that we'd stayed up late enough to only allow two hours of sleep on what will probably be our last chance for an uninterrupted night in a very, very long time. But who knew Lyndsay would go into labor two days before her actual due date? She's never been early before. In fact, she's always been late!

Jimmi and I took the elevator down to the subway level that connects our hotel to the hospital with underground tunnels and started following signs for the building that houses Labor & Delivery. A thought crossed my mind as we saw the closed doors at the end of the hallway. "I wonder if they lock this up at night?" One nonproductive push on the door told me my fear was correct. "Damnit!" We turned to the nearest stairway that would lead us to street level and headed out into the cool, Minnesota air. Our bearings were off when we exited the unfamiliar door. I looked across the street and was relieved to read the sign inside the glass doors. "That's the building we want," I pointed and we hurried toward it. But the bad luck continued when we reached the automatic doors and they didn't automatically open for us. "Shit!" I exclaimed, losing patience. We ran around the building to another set of doors that weren't about to let us in either. "I don't know where to go," I said, half to Jimmi, half to myself. I called Josh as Jimmi and I wandered around the building and before he had a chance to figure out exactly where we were, Jimmi spotted a security guard driving out of the hospital driveway and flagged him down like a New York City taxicab. The guard, who was much more helpful than anyone in NYC would ever be, pointed out the large, red button to the left of the first door we tried that, for some reason, we didn't see when we stood right in front of it a few minutes earlier. We thanked the guard and I pushed the button that elicited an awful buzzing noise. "May I help you?" asked the voice that stopped the buzzing. "Hi! We need to get to the third floor. We're having a baby!" The door magically opened, as if we'd told the guard at the giant door at The Emerald City that I was sent by Glinda, The Good Witch of the North, to see The Wizard. I just hoped she didn't look through a secret security camera, notice that I was clearly not pregnant, and send the flying monkeys to come take us away.

The five second long elevator ride seemed never-ending before the sound of the bell alerted us that we'd made it to level three. The way-too-cheery-for-three-thirty-AM receptionist smiled at us, "May I help you?" My mind drew a blank as I tried to come up with as few words as possible to explain our unusual situation. "Hi. We're the parents of the baby Lyndsay B is having right now." I expected a look of confusion to creep over her face but, instead, she nodded without losing her smile and sent us to the Family Waiting Room until Josh could come out with an update.

The room was small with nothing more than a vending machine and a TV. I found the remote and flipped to the Rock Show on VH1 Classic, where I was greeted with a Def Leppard video from the days when their drummer still had two arms. Jimmi dozed off in the chair next to mine and I pulled out my laptop and began to write. "Labor," I titled the post I hoped to publish within the next few hours while I waited for my daughter to make her appearance into the world. I knew Lyndsay had requested that Jimmi and I wait in the waiting area until she was ready to push, which I assumed would give me plenty of time to work on my prose.

Josh entered the room a few minutes later to let us know Lyndsay was four cm dilated and 75% effaced. She had gotten her epidural, so she was comfortable, and had invited us to come see her. I packed up my computer and Jimmi and I followed Josh through the maze of hallways the led to the room where my daughter would be born sometime that day.

*SIDE NOTE* All but the last two paragraphs above were written upon our arrival at the hospital last Friday, May 16, 2014, at 3:30 AM. The events that played out during the rest of the day left us all so traumatized, I was unable to write about it until now. Also, I wanted to make sure all of Lyndsay's family and friends knew what had happened before I broke the news in a blog and scared them all to death. I'll now continue with this post, attempting to remember all of the details.

Lyndsay looked tired but happy when we entered her room and I hugged her with excitement. She had a sly smile plastered across her face when she announced, "I've been having contractions since Tuesday night but I didn't want to say anything in case they stopped. Do you know how hard it was to keep a poker face in front of you whenever one of them would come?" I had no idea she'd been in pain for three out of the four days we'd been in Minnesota. She continued, "That's why I didn't want the midwife to do an internal at our appointment yesterday. I knew it was coming and I didn't want to stress you out until I was sure it was time. She knew I wasn't telling her something because she called me when I was on my way home to see if I was ok." I was stunned by that information, but it was probably smart of her to keep it from me since I probably would've been a nervous wreck if I'd known.

Jimmi and I sat on the couch in the labor suite and I made sure I let Lyndsay know she could kick us out at any point if she wanted to rest or just needed some space. I listened to my baby's heartbeat coming from the monitor that was wrapped around Lyndsay's belly while we waited and Jimmi and Josh kept themselves entertained watching Grouwn Ups 2 on TV. Then the labor nurse went over the birth plan with us. "Do you want the baby to come right to you when she's born or should we clean her up quickly first?" As much as I wanted her immediately, I decided wiping off some of the birth goo wouldn't necessarily be a bad idea. "Do you want to cut the cord, Dad?" she asked Jimmi, who nodded without enthusiasm. I hoped he was just tired and he'd actually show some kind of excitement sooner than later. "Are you planning on some skin-to-skin contact when we hand her over?" That was the question I was hoping for. If the nurse hadn't asked, I would have. It's been proven that babies develop better when they are cuddled with their naked bodies pressed up against their mom or dad's bare chest. I nodded emphatically and the nurse took a gown out of the closet so I would be prepared to strip down when the time came. 

When the doctor arrived to check Lyndsay's progress, Jimmi and I stepped into the hall to give her some privacy. Yes, I know we'd be watching a baby emerge from her nether region in the next few hours but, until then, there was no reason we needed to see what was going on in her hoo-ha. The nurse opened the door when the exam was over and gave us some concerning news. "She's six centimeters dilated and ninety percent effaced, so things are moving along nicely. The doctor broke her water to get things going a little faster and there was a lot of thick meconium." I knew exactly what that meant. The baby had her first bowel movement inside the uterus, which is not a good thing. If she were to inhale any of it during the birthing process, it could cause breathing difficulties or an infection. The nurse could see the fear in my eyes. "Don't worry," she tried to calm me. "We'll monitor her very closely but, what this means to you now, is that we'll have some extra doctors from the neonatal pediatric team in the delivery room to really check her over as soon as she's born. It also means that you might have to wait a few extra minutes to hold her." After the nurse went back to check Lyndsay's monitor for contraction regularity and blood pressure, I explained everything she'd said to Jimmi, who wasn't able to follow any of it since he had never been through a pregnancy or birth before. "Is she gonna be ok?" he asked with a nice amount of fatherly concern. "I hope so," I replied, totally unaware of the drama that would soon ensue.

About an hour later, around 8:30 am, Jimmi was passed out on the couch in Lyndsay's room and Josh's eyes were growing very heavy. I was running on pure adrenaline and Lyndsay was too uncomfortable to sleep. The anesthesia running through her epidural catheter had made her very itchy and, while they weren't painful, she could still feel when she was having contractions, which was pretty constant, by that time. 

I was happy that Lyndsay hadn't asked us to go back to the waiting room because I don't think I would've been able to deal with not knowing what was happening every single second of the process. 

And that's when everything turned completely upside-down.

I heard Lyndsay calling to her husband, and her voice sounded odd, "Josh, can you come here?" Josh was half-asleep and trying to process her words when she called out a bit more desperately, "Can you check my blood pressure, Josh?" That didn't sound good. I looked up at Lyndsay and noticed that her face and chest were tomato red. "Are you ok?" I asked as I jumped up from the couch. "No!" she responded. "I can't breathe!" My heart stopped and everything started moving in high-speed. "Josh, get someone!" Lyndsay ordered. Josh was in shock and fear had him frozen. "Get someone, NOW!" she yelled from the bed. Jimmi woke up as Josh and I ran out of the room and every emergency alarm started blaring from Lyndsay's room. The lights outside her door were blinking and I stood there, helplessly, as about 20 doctors and nurses ran from their respective patients' rooms, into ours. 

Jimmi finally joined me in the hallway as the room became too full for any additional onlookers. I heard someone say, "She passed out!" And then another, "Call pediatrics and neonatology NOW!" A nurse flew out of the room to make the calls and, within seconds, five more people were barreling down the hall and into Lyndsay's room. I tried to look in and see what was happening but I only caught a glimpse of the baby warmer being prepped. I could hear the sound of Lyndsay's bed being broken down to prepare for birth and I realized that I had no idea if either Lyndsay or the baby were ok. 

A nurse made her way out to us and tried to speak in a calming tone, "Are you supposed to be in there for the birth?" she asked. "Yes. Is everything ok? Is the baby ok?" I could tell the nurse was hiding the seriousness of the situation when she said, "Ok, you're gonna need to hurry, but I just wanted to warn you that they're gonna need to use forceps to get the baby out." My body went numb and I cried, "No! No forceps! They'll crush her head!" Jimmi wrapped his arm around me and told me it would be alright, but he had no idea what the nurse was saying. I turned to him to explain, "One wrong move could cause cerebral palsy! They could kill her!" The color drained from Jimmi's face and the nurse tried to reassure me, "They're very good at it." I shook my head like a dog shakes a squirrel after catching it in his mouth, "No! No forceps!" The nurse was firm as she grabbed my hand, "They need to get the baby out NOW." I knew I had no choice but to allow it, then the sounds of the room filled my head and another nurse came out and said to us, "Get in here NOW!"

Jimmi and I hurried through the crowd of scrub-clad hospital staff until we made it to Lyndsay's bed. She was very pale, but awake, and wearing an oxygen mask. Her hair was matted to her face with sweat and her feet were in the stirrups as the doctor instructed her, "Push!" Lyndsay looked at me with tears in her eyes and kept repeating, "I'm sorry! I'm so sorry!" I didn't know if she was apologizing for whatever caused her to pass out or for starting to push without us but, whatever the reason, there was nothing to apologize for. And that's when I heard the angry cry of a baby who had just been forced out of her nice, cozy, temporary home into the cold, bright world outside. "What's the time?" called a doctor and the nurse shot back, "Nine o'clock on the nose!" There were so many people in the room that I wasn't able to see much of anything until they whisked her away and set her down in the warmer to check her over. Jimmi and I followed and my mind was all over the place. Is the baby ok? Is Lyndsay ok? 

What the Hell just happened?

I turned to Jimmi, who was in a state of shock from what he'd just witnessed. While the doctors suctioned and cleaned the baby, I asked Jimmi, "Could you see anything?" He nodded with wide eyes. "Yeah! It was crazy! I got to the bed, Lyndsay's body contorted and the doctor pulled the baby out and held her up by her feet!" At that moment I didn't care that I'd missed it. For months I've been hoping and begging and praying that Jimmi would be present for his daughter's birth. And he was. He saw her take her first breath. But then a thought came to mind, "Did they use forceps?" The nurse replied, "They didn't need to. By the time they got everything ready Lyndsay was conscious and fully dilated. She was able to get her out in three pushes!" Wow. "You're very lucky," the nurse continued. "Her umbilical cord was in a true knot. That only happens in about one percent of pregnancies and usually results in fetal death."

What? My baby could've died at any point in the last few months and no one had any idea? I started to imagine a scenario where Jimmi and I flew out to Minnesota, excitedly awaiting our daughter's birth, only to find out her lifeline had been cut off and she passed at 39 weeks. My entire body shuddered at the thought.

"She looks perfect!" One of the pediatrician's words snapped me back into the present and I finally allowed myself to smile. "She's ok?" I asked. "Looks great! I don't think she inhaled any of the meconium, but we'll need to monitor her for the next twenty-four hours to make sure." A nurse handed Jimmi a scissors-like instrument and instructed, "Here you go, Dad. Cut right here. Be careful, it's tougher than you think!" 

I was trying to listen to both sides of the room at once to make sure Lyndsay was doing alright, but it was tough. There was still a crowd around her as she tried to deliver the placenta so I couldn't really see what was happening. I turned back to the baby. Baby A. Aria. MY baby. I couldn't believe she was finally here. "Apgar eight at birth and nine at five minutes," called a doctor to a nurse, referring to the baby's color, muscle tone and breathing. "Nine?" I asked. "That's perfect," the nurse explained with a smile. "We never give a ten." Aria's weight was recorded at exactly 7 lbs. and her tiny frame measured 19 1/4 inches. 

I turned back to Lyndsay and everything seemed to be getting back to normal on her side of the room so I began to relax for the first time all morning. I watched one of the nurses pull out and ink pad, look Jimmi up and down and giggle, "We usually stamp the footprints on Dad's arm so you can go across the street to Jimmy John's for a free cookie. Do you have any skin that isn't tattooed?" Jimmi laughed and lifted his shirt to reveal a virgin rib cage, where he plans to have Aria's footprints permanently placed later on. "That'll work!" said the nurse.

And then, finally, the moment came. It was time for me to hold my baby girl for the very first time. I didn't care who was in the room. All modesty went out the window as I stripped off my shirt and exchanged it for a hospital gown to make my bare chest more accessible for the baby's skin. I sat down in a chair and the nurse brought the beautiful angel to me, placed her in my arms and said, "It's time to meet your Mommy."

I cuddled the soft, warm newborn for awhile and then turned to Jimmi, "Ready, Daddy?" Jimmi took off his shirt and took over the chair where I'd been sitting. "How do I do it?" he asked, looking a bit terrified. "Don't worry, you won't break her," I giggled as I handed over our baby. "Whoa," said my husband with the first touch.

Once things had settled down with Lyndsay and the barrage of doctors and nurses had left the room, I walked over to her bed. She was still very pale and looked completely exhausted, but she was smiling upon completion of her promise to us: to care for and deliver a healthy baby. "Thank you," I whispered through tears as I leaned in to give her a hug. Then I took my little Aria from her daddy and handed her to Lyndsay.

Over the next hour or so we stayed in the labor suite while we waited to be moved to our neighboring rooms on the postpartum side of the floor. While Jimmi and I sat on the couch, getting to know the newest, tiny member of our family, Lyndsay had to endure frequent visits from the nurse who pressed down uncomfortably hard on her stomach, trying to help her uterus to contract and stop the bleeding, which is normal after giving birth. But, after about 45 minutes, I could tell something wasn't right. I couldn't hear what the nurse was saying but I caught a few words here and there that led me to believe they were worried about Lyndsay's copious blood loss and the fact that it didn't seem to be stopping, as it should have by that time. "I'm gonna take you two and the baby down to your room now," said the nurse, motioning to Jimmi and me. "Lyndsay will be down shortly and she'll have the room right next to yours." We put the baby in the rolling bassinet and followed the nurse down the hall to our own room. 

The postpartum nurse greeted us with congratulations when we arrived then gave us a quick rundown of where we could find diapers, wipes and formula. She gave us a knitted hat for Aria that had way too much blue in it for my taste, then asked if we had any questions. I shrugged and shook my head and she seemed surprised. I had to explain to her that this wasn't my first rodeo. I may not have diapered a newborn in eleven years, but I was sure it would come back to me pretty quickly. When she left the room, Jimmi and I stared at each other for a moment, then looked down at our baby. 

We were parents.

Exhaustion hit us quickly and the fact that we hadn't showered was pretty apparent. "Maybe we should take turns going back to the hotel to clean up," I suggested. Our hotel was right across the street from the hospital so it was a convenient solution. I made sure Jimmi felt comfortable staying with Aria on his own before I headed off into the fresh air. When I returned, refreshed but still tired, it was his turn. He came back faster that I'd expected and I smiled at the thought of him actually rushing to get back to our daughter.

It was then that I realized I hadn't heard from Lyndsay or Josh in quite some time. I shot Josh a text, "Everything ok?" Then I waited for a reply, which never came. We weren't allowed to take the baby to the other side of the floor, and one of us needed to stay with her, so I suggested that Jimmi run down to the labor suite where Aria was born to check on Lyndsay. He was just about to leave our room when the door burst open and Josh appeared, eyes red, tears staining his cheeks and the bracelet with a medal of St. Gerard, protector of pregnant women and babies, that I had given to Lyndsay at the beginning of our journey, wrapped around his left hand. When I saw him I stopped breathing. 

Oh my, GOD! I thought. Lyndsay's dead. 

I forced myself to speak while the baby his wife had just delivered for us slept on my chest, "What happened?" Josh sobbed uncontrollably, "They couldn't stop the bleeding. It wouldn't stop!" My heart was racing and all the joy of the day drained from my body. How could this be happening? People don't die in childbirth anymore. Do they? "Is she…" I couldn't get the words out. "Is she ok?" Josh wiped his eyes with his thumb and middle finger and answered, "She's in the O.R. She needs a transfusion then they need to clean everything out and look around to see if they can figure out what's causing it. They're gonna put some kind of balloon into her uterus to try and stop the bleeding but, if that doesn't work, she'll need to have a hysterectomy."

What?! No! That's not fair!

I didn't understand why this was happening. Why couldn't we have anything just work out the way it's supposed to? Why do I always need to have so much to write about? This woman had a baby for us, now her life is in danger? I thought about Josh and then I thought about Hallie and Hunter, their kids, and my heart was breaking. If Lyndsay didn't make it I would never forgive myself. We invited Josh to sit with us while he waited for Lyndsay to get back from surgery. He watched the clock for about an hour and then decided he needed to go back and wait in her room. Jimmi went with him so he wouldn't have to wait alone. 

Time seemed to tick on forever before Jimmi returned. "Is she ok?" I asked, fearing the worst. "They didn't do the hysterectomy yet. They put the balloon in and got the bleeding to a trickle. They're gonna watch her for a few more hours. If it doesn't stop, they'll bring her back down to the O.R. and finish it." I wanted to go see Lyndsay. "Is she awake?" Jimmi told me she was in and out and I should probably wait awhile. When I couldn't stand it any longer I walked down the hall and knocked gently on her door before pushing it open, slowly. "May I come in?" I asked quietly. Josh waved me in and the sight of Lyndsay sent chills through my body. She was a ghostly white and her entire body was swollen. There was a catheter bag attached to the bed that was filling up with blood as I stood there. Josh said, "They're emptying the bag about every ten minutes now." I looked back at Lyndsay's puffy face. She blinked sleepily and tried to smile. "How are you feeling?" I asked. "I just wish I could go home," she replied, clearly still feeling the effects of the drugs she'd been given. It was best not to stay too long as she was completely wiped out and I knew she wouldn't even remember my visit in the morning. She needed to rest and get better so she could go home to her kids.

I went back to my room and gave Jimmi the update. Over the next few hours I waited on a text from Josh to tell us what was happening. Finally Jimmi went down to check on everyone. They decided to wait out the night before doing anything else. As long as the bleeding didn't get worse, Lyndsay would be able to keep her uterus. And the doctors still had no idea what had caused any of it.

Back in our room, Jimmi and I sat, staring at our little girl. She was just perfect. Absolutely, stunningly beautiful, and a miniature clone of her daddy. "Well, she's halfway there!" I teased, referring to my long-standing joke of hoping for a baby with Jimmi's looks and my brains. As Jimmi held Aria, completely in awe of her entire being, I noticed his eyes looked glassy. "Are you crying?" I asked my husband, the man who has only once shed a tear in front of me in the last eight years, and that was during my first chemo treatment. He lifted his hand to wiped the streams coming from his eyes and sobbed, "I don't know why! She just looks at me and I can't help it!" My own eyes began to well up at his confession and I snapped a picture to remember the moment forever. Though, I really didn't need to. The waterworks continued regularly, each time he looked at her, for two days!

Jimmi adjusted to fatherhood almost immediately as Aria melted his heart of stone with each bat of her eyes. Every sound she made throughout the night had her daddy jumping up to check on her and ask, "Is she ok?" It made me smile when I'd respond, "She's fine. Babies make noises." If she would get the hiccups, Jimmi would tense up nervously, "She has the hiccups. Is that alright?" I giggled, "It's fine. Babies get the hiccups." Slowly and patiently I taught my husband how to feed, burp and diaper our daughter, repeatedly reassuring him that he would not break her. The only thing I needed to get used to was bottle-feeding a newborn, as I had breastfed both boys from day one. Each time I'd stick the 2 ounce nursette into her mouth, I'd apologize, "I'm sorry I can't do it myself, Baby Girl. Please forgive me."

Learning to feed her (and still crying).

Letting her listen to The Beatles for the first time (and still crying).

We woke up the next morning - who am I kidding? We never actually slept - and the nurse informed us that Aria would need to have some blood drawn to screen for 50 different disorders that could be detected early. She would also have a hearing test later that day. I then asked her, "Are we allowed to bring the baby to see Lyndsay?" The nurse assumed it would be ok as long as they temporarily disconnected her anti-theft device, but she went out to make sure. I texted Josh, "How's Lyndsay?" He responded that she was doing better so I asked, "Think she'd be up for a tiny visitor?" He told me she'd like that and the nurse confirmed we were allowed. 

Jimmi and I wheeled the baby down to the nursery where her blood would be taken from her tiny heel. I remembered that fiasco with Dylan and I dreaded hearing the blood-curdling scream she'd produce. But, surprisingly, she took the heel sticks and squeezes like a champ and barely made a sound. When she was done the nurse escorted us to Lyndsay's room. We entered to find a completely different scene from the day before. The swelling had gone down almost completely and Lyndsay was back to her normal color. I breathed in with relief, picked up Aria and placed her in Lyndsay's arms. 

Looking at the two of them made me realize how lucky they both were to still be alive. I couldn't believe how close we were to a completely different outcome and I silently thanked the Man Upstairs for giving us the better of the two options. 

We got back to our room just as the hearing specialist arrived. Aria immediately passed with her left ear but she needed two different tests to confirm the status of her right ear, which turned out to be just fine. I went back to our hotel room and started to pack up for our departure the next day. We had been given the option of flying home just 24 hours after Aria's birth but we didn't feel comfortable leaving until we were sure Lyndsay would be making a full recovery. 

A selfie Jimmi sent me while I was packing up the hotel room.

True love.

Sunday morning came quickly and we were shot into a whirlwind of final check-ups, discharge paperwork and packing. Lyndsay had been moved into the room next to ours the previous afternoon and I knew our last visit would be emotional for me and I didn't want it to feel rushed. I dressed the baby in her "Going Home" outfit and brought her to see the woman who had protected her for the last nine months. 

I was so happy to see Lyndsay dressed in regular clothing and sitting up in a chair. All of her IVs and tubes had been removed, but they left some pretty brutal battle wounds. Her ever cheery smile spread across her face as she held my baby and Aria immediately relaxed at her familiar voice and scent. I found myself wondering if my baby would miss her. Would she feel abandoned? Would she know me as "Mom" or would she always feel incomplete? 

We spent our last few minutes together before transport was called to escort us out of the hospital, with me in a wheelchair. No, I didn't need one, but the staff wanted me to feel like any other new mom on the floor and the wheelchair was part of the "normal" protocol. We gave our last few hugs and snapped a photo of both couples with our baby, then we placed Aria in her brand new car seat, picked up the diaper bag, and off we went. 

Finally. We were going home with our beautiful daughter.

There were many questions about the safety of a 2 day old baby flying in an airplane. I made sure to clear the possibility of issues due to pressure changes in Aria's ears with the pediatrician, who assured us she should be alright, but keep a pacifier or bottle handy to help her pop her ears with the sucking motion, if necessary. But the part I worried about most was the going through a large airport with lots of people and even more germs. And what if we had to sit on the runway for another three hours due to the ongoing runway construction? What then? Well, luckily, that part was taken care of for us by some very generous friends who know people in high places. A private jet was lovingly donated to get our precious angel home without unnecessary exposure to germs she's too young to fight. And, let me tell you, it was pretty awesome traveling like a rock star! We called to tell the pilot when we wanted to leave, we drove our rental car right up the plane where a porter loaded our bags and returned the car for us. We got in, got strapped, immediately started down the runway and were in the air within 10 minutes of our arrival at the small airport. Barely two hours later we were on the ground in another small airport in New Jersey, where my parents were waiting for us in the car on the runway where we landed. The entire trip took three hours, door to door. It was crazy!

Jimmi's parents were waiting at our house when we arrived. They were so excited to meet their very first grandchild! 

Jimmi's dad

Jimmi's mom

My dad

My mom (on a different day when Aria wasn't quite as happy).

My dad, staring in awe at his newest granddaughter.

Both grandpas, swooning and taking pictures.

At last, I've completed writing the terrifying story of Aria's birth. I hope you all understand why it's taken me so long to get it out. Our daughter is one week old, today, and we're all adjusting nicely. Jimmi was able to spend a few days bonding with his baby before leaving for tour on Wednesday, which is what I had hoped for. We are both, no, we are ALL so in love with this little miracle who has entered our lives and there aren't enough words to thank Lyndsay for all of the sacrifices she made to get her to us safely.

Now, please enjoy some additional photos of the many faces of Aria Eileen Kane:

Meeting her big brothers.

Winston loves Aria.

I loved waking up to this.

 Chloe, the Nanny Dog.

Jimmi on the left and Jimmi's brother on the right. She definitely has Kane genes!

Big brother, Dylan.

Daddy's girl.


  1. Well, I absolutely cried when I saw the photo of those little footprints going onto Jimmi's side. There will never be sufficient words to thank Lyndsay and Josh for the gift they have given us all. Here's to the next chapter!!! xoxoxo #TeamAria

  2. I just got all teary eyed. Especially when I saw Jimmi crying. I am so excited for you guys that she is here and healthy. Keep posting those pictures. <3

  3. Well, i just cries my eyes out. Beautiful!

  4. I'm a little late in reading this, your latest blog. I was unable to keep from crying my eyes out for the entire story! I hope to get to meet you and your husband (and maybe sweet Aria!!) at Dorney Park, if Blood Drums will be playing again (fingers crossed!). I already have a tiny gift for you Jimmi and your daughter--just something sweet and sentimental. Many blessings to you and the rest of your beautiful family! I wish you an amazing and wonderful experience with your sweet newborn.

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