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An Open Letter to Crosley Rae

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Wow. I don’t even know where to start with this. What a completely surreal, emotional, enlightening, terrifying, happy and out of this world experience. I’m going to apologize in advance for sentences that read like they were written blindfolded as I’m running on whifs of sleep and too much caffeine, though I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I’d also like to apologize for the photo dump that will be taking place on this post, she’s had just a few photos taken of her already.

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Crosley Rae Baston made her debut on February 5, 2020 at 8:37 PM. Her journey to this point was spectacular with the majority of the credit due to my wife, which I’ll go into detail soon. The rest of the credit goes to the staff at St. Elizabeth. I have no point of reference on what to expect on what giving birth or the birthing process looks like outside of me being the oldest of four and sitting in the waiting room while my mother gave birth to the other three.

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Lauren, you are magnificent. One of my proudest quotes about her immediately after giving birth said by the nurses was “you did better than the majority of moms with all the drugs.” The decision to go completely natural in your birth was bold and looked as a silly decision by some but I cannot imagine you ever backing down from your viewpoints and a solid challenge. The diligence in which you tackled pregnancy was spectacular. The hours spent reading, researching, listening, watching, note taking and actively performing tasks should warrant you at least a bachelors in the subject. Your nightly routine of stretches, meditation and copious amounts of creams applied could make its own popular YouTube channel.

Lauren’s water broke around 2:00 PM on February 4. This was not an ideal situation as we’re now on the clock for an admitted time to the hospital. 10 hours is what we had before we had to be admitted to the hospital to reduce the chances of infection. This put us at midnight, February 3. We tried to just go on living our normal lives for the next 10 hours and tried to go to sleep around 8:00 PM, knowing if we had to get up it would be a long night ahead. Around 11:15 PM she woke up with some bleeding, scared and not knowing what this meant we went directly to the hospital. After being admitted to triage and finding out everything was okay, there was no going back home, we weren’t leaving without a baby in our arms.

Not much really happened for the next 15 or so hours. But then it hit. The rest of Lauren’s water broke and we essentially skipped active labor, going from early labor to the transition phase. One of my best friends whose wife went natural told me that the hardest part was watching someone you love be in the worst pain of her life and there’s nothing you can do but watch. This was absolutely the case. I don’t much cry but I couldn’t help but sob along with her as the contractions increase in intensity and the pain became more and more unbearable. Finally at 8:37 Crosley made her entrance. It took Lauren at least 15 seconds to register exactly what had happened. Seeing her hold my daughter for the first time was one of the happiest moments in my life. Something I will hold dear for the rest of my life.

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I believe that all the preparation and being physically fit prepared Lauren for the biggest battle of her life. Her ability to listen to the doctor and do exactly what she was directed to do and have her body prepared to do whatever was needed is a testament to why physical and mental preparedness is so important. Not just for labor but for any painful or extraordinary situations that come our way. Her mental capacity to push through situations during labor that are phenomenally challenging points to the benefits of physical fitness and meditation.

One of the reasons we chose the house we’re in now is it’s proximity to important things like schools, highways and you guessed it, hospitals. We’re fortunate enough to be just four minutes away from St. Elizabeth. Our entire experience through this organization has been second to none. From the staff, options given to new parents, ability to answer any and all questions and general positivity has been, in my mind, a world class one.

Peace of mind is something that cannot have a price tag attached to it. I don’t know exactly how to quantify feeling at home in a place that is foreign but they pulled it off. Starting with Dr. Vornbrock. Working with us on everything from our active lifestyle, wishes for the birth and answering all of our questions. During labor she was right by our side every step of the way. Even getting down on the floor during intense parts of Lauren’s labor to be by her side. Her bedside manor was and is second to none. She speaks directly but calmly, letting you know that she is there with you.

All of the preliminary meetings and classes were informative and professional. My recommendation to any expecting new parents is to take advantage of anything the hospital offers. You’ll pick up something new each time you go. They may not seem helpful now but I promise you, something will happen and you’ll think “oh yeah, they said that would happen.”

Seeing familiar faces at the hospital was a massive plus. We’re extremely lucky to be surrounded by such an amazing community of people at Triumph and even more lucky to have Dr. Oak on staff. Having her so close to bounce questions off of was so helpful. When we arrived at triage, scared about what was happening next, Dr. Oak was working that night. It was so wonderful to have someone we knew there to comfort our nerves.

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One of the initial parts of the intake process is asking basic questions about health and wellness. These questions range from family disease history to mental wellness to domestic abuse questions. It’s quite the list of questions and somewhat intrusive. When we received our postpartum room they asked another set of questions, some being identical to our intake process. At first glance this was slightly irritating to Lauren. But asking about mental health during every step of the was something I found fantastic. Knowing how much things can change day to day especially for new mothers was impressive to me.

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During one of our many walks around the unit during early labor we ran into one of our long time members Paula Minning. She stopped and asked how we were doing. As we described how things had been a little sedentary she jumped into action, getting us additional birthing materials including an inflatable peanut and cub chair. She came to our room to show Lauren additional positions that would help to move things along.

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After three very intense hours we were finally met with our little girl and eventually moved to the postpartum unit. Did I mention it’s like Vegas in there? You have zero reference points for time, is it 4 AM, 8 AM? Who knows! Anyways, dazed and tired I was walking to get Lauren more ice and water and I saw another familiar face. John Mihelic stopped me in the hallway and told me he was watching Lauren’s monitor while she was giving birth and was cheering her on. Maybe it was the lack of sleep, proper nutrition, emotional state or a combination of all three but I was wildly touched. John has only been a part of our community for a short time but he has been looking out for us. It was a great feeling.

The nursing staff was incredibly attentive. Stopping by whenever needed to see if things were going well and if we needed anything. The lactation consultant even came by at 4 AM to sync up with Crosley’s feeding schedule to make sure things were going well. Making us feel welcome and un-afraid to ask any seemingly silly questions we may have.

Overall this has been one of the most fulfilling and dreamlike experiences of my life. I’m excited for this new chapter. For now, back to slivers of sleep and copious amounts of love. I love you Crosley, you’re going to forever be my little girl.

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