Peter Jonathan Ells


Where do I begin, well I got pregnant again in October of 2021. A second pregnancy during the ongoing global pandemic. Just when I thought the anxiety and fear of a crazy virus would hold us back from having another.

Oops, we did it again!

The winter of 2021 felt long. Christmas weekend was spent napping with a brief trip to urgent care for Lucy. Picture this: sitting in a crowded waiting room the day after Christmas, two months pregnant, extraordinarily nauseous, mask on my face, and a very sad, very feverish Lucy in my lap.

I feared she may have gotten coronavirus, but it was some other wicked respiratory virus. She was congested, consistent fevers over 101, fatigue, no appetite. Everything that would point to covid, but she tested negative.

The urgent care doctor said, “Well, not sure what it is but she clearly is pretty sick. So what I’ll do is say she has the start of pneumonia so I can order you medicine for her. Because I do hear some rattling in the one lung.” Healthcare is the wild west these days.  

Zachary of course caught the virus. So did Zach and I. I felt so sick. Didn’t help that I was throwing up every morning from being pregnant. My parents caught it. So did my in-laws. Tis the season to share, right?

After we got through those hellish weeks, the promise of the new year and new baby lifted us up. 

As spring approached, covid began to surge again. My level of anxiety went up with it. But I didn’t feel anywhere as close to as scared as I was when I was pregnant with Zachary. We were vaccinated and vaccinations for the kids were on the horizon. I tried to put the world outside of my head and focus on the real chaos that was coming, adding a 3rd child to our family.

As I became more pregnant, it became harder to keep up with the big two. Lucy was understanding. This wasn’t her first time seeing mommy out of commission. Zachary on the other hand, he expected me to be who I always was. He expected me to jump and roll around with him and answer his every call as quickly as I could. Well, mommy wasn’t quick anymore and his feelings were hurt. I shed a lot of tears, feeling like I was constantly letting him down. Big Zach had daily reminders for me that Zachary would be okay. I was giving him the gift of another sibling. 

Yeah, but, mom guilt is WAY more powerful than rational thought. I pushed myself every day to make sure I could still be who Zachary expected me to be. 

By the end of May, things were calm enough with covid again that we felt comfortable hosting a birthday party for Zachary with our families. He had a great day to celebrate himself. He deserved it. 

We also took a trip to the shore for Memorial Day Weekend. Our last trip to the shore as a family of four. Walking the beach at 8 months pregnant was defeating. Zach had to chase them both because I was pretty much useless a that point.

June began and it was the final countdown to number 3. Who would this child be? The anticipation was killing me. We didn’t find out the gender for the first two and we stayed the course this 3rd time. It was so tempting to find out, especially since they had me coming in twice a week for the last month and getting extra ultrasounds. Again, I was considered “high risk” because of my preexisting high blood pressure. I was secretly pretty confident that it was a boy because I looked and felt very similar to how I looked and felt when I was pregnant with Zachary.

38wks with Lucy
38wks with Zachy
38wks with Peter

A couple weeks before delivery, I was playing with the kids outside. As soon as we got out there, Lucy of course said she had to go potty. I called Zachary to come in, but he refused. I put him on our patio, ran (more like waddled) Lucy to the powder room that is located off our kitchen. I could see Zachary out on the patio from the bathroom. I set Lucy up and turned around to run back to get Zachary. 

Slip. Crash.

I fell over my own feet. I landed on my hands really hard. My belly didn’t hit the floor thank God. I was very shaken up. As the evening wore on, I had a pain in the lower part of my belly. I psyched myself up so much I called my doctor. They said since I was so close to delivery it was better to be safe than sorry and asked that I come in to be monitored for four hours. And so we did. I called my Mom and she came over to be with Lucy and Zachary. We put them to bed and left. 

Thankfully the baby and I were fine. If anything, it turned out to be an evening out for Zach and I. When you have kids, even a trip to the hospital can be turned into a date night.

We arrived home just after 1am. After that I made sure to at least try and take it easy for my remaining weeks of pregnancy. I felt so stupid and careless. I also felt really sad because my babies were so aware that I couldn’t be who I needed to be for them. I started getting anxious realizing that this new baby would be a big dynamic change for us. I didn’t think about that so much early on in the pregnancy. The excitement of adding a 3rd was immense, but that sadness and guilt was there. 

I was scheduled to go in for induction the evening of June 27th.

The atmosphere in the hospital was MUCH different this time around. There was a calmness that was not present when Zachary was born. Pandemic times were part of life now. 

INDUCTION

The evening I was due to go in, we had dinner with my parents and Zach’s parents. Lucy and Zachary ran around playing while we talked about what it was going to be like to have one more in the house. I felt ready. 

Zachary ran in at one point and he was eating something. We had asked him if it was good. He shouted, “It’s delicious!” The way he said it and being the age he is, it was so funny to us. We all laughed. I’ll never forget the first time Zachary said the word delicious. I looked at him as he laughed in response to our laughter. He was my baby and I was about to change that. In a couple days, he would take on the role of big brother.

A sibling is a beautiful, blessed gift (obviously I believe that sentiment, 3 kids in 4 years), but it’s also a sudden requirement for the older ones to adjust accordingly. This wasn’t Lucy’s first rodeo, but for Zachary it was. I don’t know if I assume Lucy can handle things better because she’s a girl or because she’s the oldest, but my heart ached for Zachy. He was SO close to me still. I nursed him for 14months. I rocked him pretty much every single night of his life because I could and he wanted me to…even as my belly grew and he couldn’t sit on my lap. He would squeeze next to me in the rocker as I read to him. The thought of changing his world, changing our dynamic, it was crushing. The conflicting feelings that go into motherhood ain’t no joke.

Two year olds get a bad rap anyway. They have so many thoughts and feelings that they don’t know how to properly express. He fell into that category for sure. So much excitement in a tiny body that sometimes it would come out wrong. I didn’t want to let him down and hoped the transition wouldn’t be too hard on him.

We said our good byes. My parents squeezed me extra. The looks on their faces each time I have left to have a baby have been seared in my memory….looks of pride mixed with some fear. They’re nervous any time anyone has to have anything done medically. I can’t blame them! When you’ve had a career in medicine, it’s impossible not to have thoughts of the worst case scenarios. 

THE HOSPITAL 

We arrived at 9pm. After setting up and answering all the questions, the process began at 11pm.

Zach and I enjoyed the alone time we had together and we were each able to get some rest. I definitely got more sleep this time than the first two times. I felt relaxed and ready to get the job done…especially after the epidural kicked in.

My Mom had been texting me through the night. I called her at 5am.

“Have you slept at all?”

“Of course I haven’t. My only daughter is in labor!”

A Mother never stops being a Mother.

My Mom arrived at 7am. I was happy she could be in the room again. Shout out to Zach once again for being cool about his mother-in-law being in the room during the most intense, vulnerable experience of his life and his wife’s life! And if he wasn’t cool with it, bless him for never revealing the truth.

My Mom was hyper aware of everything because the last time she was in with me was when Lucy was born. And we all remember how that went! Lucy’s was scary not only because of her brain injury, but also because it was my first time. Zachary’s was nuts because it was the start of the pandemic. Third time is the charm! 

My Mom was keeping a close eye on the monitors. As I am sure I’ve stated before, she was a nurse. so it was reassuring to have her with me. It’s also helpful to have someone who will be truthful about how you look and offer to fix your hair. Like I said, a Mother never stops being a Mother!

The nurse had me moving around for the last hour of labor, similar to how it was when I labored with Zachary. I was on all fours. I was on my right side with a peanut shaped ball in between my legs. I was on my left side with the ball. It was an acrobatic act….all while I didn’t have full use of my legs. I don’t remember being told to move around as much when I labored with Lucy. I remember sitting upright for the majority of the labor and the pushing. Even though it was tough moving around with limp legs, it was definitely super helpful in moving things along. I do wonder if I had moved around more when I labored with Lucy if things would have moved along faster, but she was also my first one and that typically takes longer anyway. But, anyway, my acrobatic movements kept us all laughing.

The epidural helped for a while, but for the last hour I could feel EVERYTHING around my waist. It felt like what I would imagine it would feel like to get stabbed repeatedly by a bunch of ice picks on my waist every minute. The epidural lasted longer through my first two deliveries. I think it was because of my positioning. I can remember though with Lucy’s labor it wore off by my right hip. Regardless of how long it lasts, it’s totally worth it in my opinion. Labor was much more tolerable for me than it would have been.

I tried to suck on ice chips and I ate a few popsicles, but everything came back up… a few times. My stomach was churning and my waist was taking a beating. It got to the point where every breath I took would end in sharp pain in my waist.

I called the nurse.

“This is getting pretty intense,” I said.

“Okay, I’ll have the doctor check you!”

At 11:30am, the doctor came in.

“Oh, wow, you’re 10cm. You’re ready to have a baby!”

GO TIME

The doctor wasn’t the same doctor who delivered Lucy and Zach, which I was bummed about, but I was familiar enough with her that I was comfortable. With the insanity that is maternal healthcare, I have been lucky to have such a good team with each delivery. 

The doctor prepared her tools. Zach and my Mom got into position. I was about to have a baby for the third time. 

“Okay, Kate,” my doctor said. “Let’s have a baby!”

With each delivery, when the doctor has said it’s time to push, I lose it.

The tears welled up and I breathed heavy. It was time to conjure the strength that I reserved specifically for delivery. 

My mind raced.

Miscarriages, Lucys birth, Zachary’s birth. I’m about to push out a third human. Was I crazy to be doing this again? Of course I’m not crazy. This is going to be great. This is going to be insane. I can’t believe we will have 3 children 3 and under. This is so cool we’ll have 3 babies to take care of. OMG WE ARE GOING TO HAVE 3 BABIES TO TAKE CARE OF. 

I looked at Zach.

“You can do this Kate. You’ve done this before.”

I could see everything he was feeling in his eyes. It’s like he was transferring strength to me. Zach has somehow convinced me over and over again that I am capable of accomplishing anything.

I looked at my Mom. She went through this to bring me into this world and here she was now supporting me again while I brought in a new life. 

I pushed. 

Everything below my waist was still numb thanks be to God. The insane pressure I felt in my pelvis was similar to when I labored with Zachary, but even more intense.  It turned out, my little one was facing up. They say it is safer for a baby to be born face down. My doctor rotated him a few times before he came out to ensure that he would arrive face down. Yes, that’s right. She put her hand in to guide him and turn him as he was coming down the birth canal. Just let that sink in and imagine how that feels. Like I said, I was numb, but oh I felt that pressure for damn sure. I can’t imagine how it felt for Peter! 

After 12 minutes of pushing (felt way longer, but my time keeper husband timed it), and a few shouts of I CAN’T BELIEVE I AM DOING THIS AGAIN, the doctor held up our newest member of the family.

“It’s a boy!” Zach shouted. “We have another boy!”

At 11:44am on June 28th, 2022, Peter Jonathan Ells made his debut. 

OMG I had another boy.

As his little voice screeched, the nurse laid him on my chest. His breathing calmed.

“Oh, he just pooped all over you!” One of the nurses laughed. Classic dude.

I breathed an enormous sigh of relief.

I did it again. Holy shit, I did it again.

My pal Peter

Whether it’s the first or third, there is nothing comparable to the feeling of your newborn in your arms after you deliver. I’ve not experienced anything to match the euphoria, empowerment, and the immense feeling of content. It’s an out of body experience. Each time I have become someone else. Well, maybe not someone else, but a different version of myself that I never knew existed.

After a few minutes of skin to skin, they took him across the room to clean him up. His temperature was running a little cool so they wanted to make sure he was okay. He spent 15 minutes or so in the incubator and then they handed him to me to nurse.  

The pain I put myself through melts away as soon as the baby is in my arms. I don’t care where I’m bleeding from or what I tore or how many stitches I needed. That can all be fixed and heal in time. 

Before going in, I had mentioned to Zach I wanted to get a look at my placenta this time. After Lucy and Zachary, I didn’t think of it. Thankfully, he remembered. 

The doctor held up my placenta and explained everything. I was looking at the temporary organ that my body grew specifically to nurture my baby. Even though I was looking at it, I couldn’t process that it came out of me. I guess the same goes for Peter! Like, how?! How is any of this possible? Will I ever comprehend that I did this? I don’t think so.

Since the world is a little more “normal,” I was able to stay in the hospital for an extra day. Getting that rest and alone time with Peter and Zach was needed. I knew once I got home, our new life would be … chaotic. And now that I am 6 months in, it has proven to be chaotic at times. I am home with three kids 4 and under and Zach works at home 3 days a week. How could it not be chaotic?! There are days when we don’t get dressed till 11 or stay in our pjs all day. Then we have productive days when we are up and out and discovering the world together. No matter the type of day, I look at their little faces and I am grateful.


5 responses to “Peter Jonathan Ells”

  1. This is sooooo good. I felt like at times I was right there in the hospital room with you!
    You are a great writer and a great mom. Those three little ones are lucky little children. And oh Peter- he is just sooooo precious!
    Thank you for sharing this with us Kate!😘

  2. Love this, Kate. You made me cry….again. Such a beautiful recap of the lead up to Peter’s birth. And look how amazingly well they have all settled in to there being 3 of them. It even take Zachy that long to adjust. I know you have lots of crazy days, but the important things are all in place. Well done, Mom!!! (And Dad 🙂 )

  3. As always, beautiful Kate. Peter is so sweet, Zachy has adjusted amazingly well, and Lucy is a wonderful big sister. You are the best!

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