After 273 days of pregnancy, I am excited and pleased to announce that Phoenix Williams Vester (aka Baby Finn) has officially arrived!
It has been an exciting journey and I feel compelled to share our amazing story.
A lot has happened since I wrote “the final stretch” in June. So I wanted to spend a few paragraphs recapping our life since early June, before talking about baby Finn’s arrival.
The baby shower (backyard babyQ) provided by our very good friends was an exciting day. Nicole was worried about being the center of attention, but she did a wonderful job greeting and talking to the 60+ attendees who arrived for our special event. When it came to opening gifts, Nicole felt right at home, entertaining everyone as she opened the presents we received. We are so thankful for all of our friends and family who attended this special event – some of whom who flew in from out of state just to join us during a special time of our lives.
With our pregnancy considered “high risk” (due to our age), Dr. Perry felt like Nicole should have non-stress tests completed starting at week 32 of the pregnancy. The monitoring-based test was completed twice a week to make sure Finn was developing well. Since Nicole wanted to use Dr. Perry again (he delivered Sydney over 16 years ago), that translated into a 40-minute drive time (each direction) when visiting his office. However, we both attest that the drive was a small price to pay for his amazing skills and abilities. I could not recommend him more, as you will likely realize upon reading the paragraphs below.
As the pregnancy progressed, Nicole felt the challenges of carrying Phoenix around. Our daily walks with Maggie and Val (our cat who LOVES riding in the kitty stroller) became more demanding on her body. I remember her announcing “I never thought that just walking would be a challenge for me” as we walked back up the hill toward our home in Zionsville. While she will always be her toughest critic, I was amazed and impressed at just how tough she was (both physically and mentally) throughout the entire pregnancy.
The frequency of appointments with Dr. Perry increased as Finn’s due date approached. Each time, we kept hinting to Dr. Perry that we were okay with baby Finn arriving sooner rather than later. Each time, he held strong to his expertise and didn’t cave to bringing Finn home before it was time. Then, at the week 37 appointment of the pregnancy, Dr. Perry hinted for the first time of scheduling an inducement at week 39. We were super excited, especially when a week later he scheduled us to check-in at the birthing center at 8:00 pm on August 3rd.
Having a set time for the birth was certainly an easier approach, when compared to facing the surprise of Nicole’s water breaking and finding ourselves in a mad rush to make the 40-minute drive to reach the birthing center Dr. Perry utilizes. We spent the afternoon of Thursday August 3rd picking up last-minute items, packing and running a few errands. The drive to Greenwood (Indiana) during that special Thursday evening was smooth and event-free.
I pulled into the valet area and unpacked our vehicle, sitting Nicole on a bench, while I parked the car. When I arrived about a minute later, I saw Nicole talking to what appeared to be an older couple. As I got closer, I heard the man say, “let us pray with you.” I hurried up to join the group before the prayer started and felt so honored to have this man and his wife – strangers to us – praying for baby Finn’s pregnancy. After the prayer concluded, they confessed that they just left the hospital where their son had recently passed. We were both taken back by the fact, in the midst of losing their own child, this couple put their emotions aside in order to pray for our pregnancy. While I did not get their names, I will forever remember this couple and their generosity.
Nicole and I checked into our room and shortly thereafter her daughter (Sydney) and sister (Summer) arrived. Syd had to stop by the airport to pick up Summer, who was flying in for the birth from Clearwater (Florida).
The plan was to utilize a ripening agent to prepare Nicole’s body for the delivery process. The expected schedule was for the agent to get Nicole to the point where breaking her water on Friday morning would lead to baby Finn to be delivered. Nicole was planning a natural childbirth – just like she did with Syd sixteen years earlier.
Not too long after the nurses administered the ripening agent, Nicole began to experience some pain during her contractions. With the monitoring of Finn’s heartbeat and Nicole’s contractions (tocograph) in place, the staff at the birthing center noticed that her contractions were lasting up to 3 minutes in length and that Finn’s heartbeats dropped dramatically during these long contractions. Nicole was given oxygen and electrolytes through her IV in order to remedy the situation.
While the precautions to reduce the impact of the ripening agent were put into place, the crashing situation occurred throughout early morning hours of Friday, August 4th. Each time, the dedicated team at Community Hospital South were immediately on-hand to help take the necessary steps to get Phoenix’s heartbeat back to an acceptable level. As a result of the unexpected situation, at 5:00 am Dr. Perry made the decision to deliver baby Finn via a C-section and scheduled the unplanned surgery for 6:00 am.
The good thing about the unplanned surgery, is that there was not a great deal of time to worry about the situation. Still, the stress of being up all night and now the unknowns behind the situation itself did wear on our nerves. When Dr. Perry arrived, our new reality had set in and Nicole found her since of wit and humor, when she asked Dr. Perry, “while you are in there, can you get the kinks out of my colon?” Dr. Perry looked at Nicole with a smile, responding only with…
“I’m going to miss you, Nicole.” – Dr. Perry
Shortly thereafter, Nicole walked toward the surgery room. I was left behind outside the operating room, waiting until after the spinal tap was administered – with the cooler for the placenta in hand. (We are going to encapsulate the placenta to have them made into pills.) What was probably only 10 – 15 minutes, seemed like forever as I was draped in this almost clear fabric jumpsuit, protectors over my shoes, a surgical hat and wearing a face mask. I could not wait to be back at Nicole’s side, during this special event.
My jobs during the surgery were simple:
- I needed to be there with the love of my life (easy task)
- Take a lot of photos (also in my wheelhouse of expertise)
The bummer about the unplanned C-section is that Nicole’s sister (Summer) would not be able to be present during the birth. She had to wait in the nearby waiting area, where I communicated to her via text.
While the surgery was underway, I was seated next to Nicole, keeping her spirits up. The interesting aspect is that I could vaguely hear Dr. Perry and the surgical team talking about random topics. Initially I thought this was odd, but honestly, they are doing their job and it makes sense – as I often talk about random topics while working in my profession. This was no different – it just was interesting to hear them talking about dinner plans and the success of Dr. Perry’s son participating on the track team at his school while delivering our son.
A few minutes later, at 6:28 am, Phoenix Williams Vester was born – weighing in at 7 lbs., 12 oz. He was 19.75 inches long and his head measured 13.25 inches. He came out sucking his tongue and looking so beautiful. When I watched the surgical team clean him up, I snapped as many photos as I could, while taking in the awe of the miracle of our son being born. I looked back at Nicole, who wasn’t able to see him from her view and I felt tears race down my cheeks from this awe-inspiring event. Still, as I write this paragraph, I find myself fighting the tears again.
My love for Nicole, through this entire process, has grown exponentially – far more than I could have ever expected. These past months have been a testament of just how strong our relationship is at this point. I see our bond continue to grow stronger each day – providing the perfect environment to raise baby Finn. We are blessed and so grateful to God for giving us such an amazing gift. I reflect back on the couple who prayed for our child and Nicole’s delivery – believing these prayers were heard and answered.
After returning to our room at the birthing center, we were briefed with information from the surgery. It turns out that baby Finn’s umbilical cord was only a third of the length it was expected to be. As a result, when the ripening agent started to take effect, an eager baby Phoenix began pushing down the birth canal with each of those long contractions – causing Nicole to feel what seemed like she was going into labor. However, our baby wasn’t able to navigate down the birth canal, due to the much shorter length of the umbilical cord.
Dr. Perry’s insight and decision to go forward with the unplanned C-section saved us the process of trying to deliver baby Finn naturally – only to yield unsuccessful results and ultimately require the surgical process in the end. I cannot imaging appending the burden of pain from an unsuccessful natural child birth to the pain expected from the C-section surgical procedure.
When I reference Dr. Perry as being awesome, I cannot be more truthful in my thoughts, as he has navigated us down our pregnancy flawlessly – leveraging his knowledge, forethought, expertise and dedication. I could not recommend him more, based upon our amazing experience.
Throughout the weekend of Finn’s delivery, there has been a common theme that has resonated with me – that the birth of a child is a miracle. I could not agree with that statement more, as the conception, journey and birth of our son has been truly a miracle. God has certainly blessed Nicole and me with a beautiful son together!
Nicole started using the hashtag #FinnMakes5 a couple of months ago. As soon as I saw the hashtag, I knew it would be the title of my next blog post. In fact, each section of this entry has been “hashtagged,” just because it is fun and the trendy thing to do.
The arrival of Phoenix into our family completes a picture that we started talking about on our very first date in November of 2013. For he is the fifth member of our family, bridging the time we shared apart with our children, Eric and Sydney. Our promise is to raise Finn in a loving environment, dedicated to being the best parents possible – working together through every challenge that comes our way, growing closer as a family.
As I noted above, I am excited and pleased to announce that baby Finn has arrived. God has truly blessed us. I am also so grateful to be a part of this amazing journey, with Nicole – my best friend, my soulmate, my everything! I love her more than words can ever express and truly appreciate everything she endured to bring Phoenix into our lives!
I put together a video that summarizes the pregnancy and Finn’s path to our lives. If you are interested in watching, simply click the following video:
Have a really great day!