The Story of Jack

Today, my first Mother’s Day, feels like an appropriate day to share Jack’s story. My heart is so full today celebrating being a Mammy with my little family. The day Jack was born was the greatest day of our lives, and after a heartbreaking struggle with fertility, I truly think that he is a little miracle. That’s a story for another day – Today is all about Jack!

Our first (blurry) family selfie

I found out I was pregnant during the Ireland v. France Euro 2016 game. I came running downstairs to tell Colm, and even though France beat us 2-1, we couldn’t wipe the smiles off our faces. After having our pregnancy hopes dashed many times, we were cautious and had our doctor confirm it the next day with a blood test. Finally being pregnant was the greatest feeling in the world and I dove right into preparing for our little one – reading parenting books, researching the safest car seats, and nesting like a woman possessed. We found out at our 20 week scan that we were having a boy – our dream come true!

My pregnancy wasn’t tough by a lot of standards, but it did have its complications. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes at 28 weeks. For anyone that knows me, you know that I consider chocolate and ice-cream staple foods. Giving up goodies was miserable, but I was very lucky to be able to manage the condition through diet, which spared me from having to take insulin. I did have treats on special occasions like my birthday and Valentine’s Day (I may have cried when Colm bought me a Red Velvet cake), but I was happy to do what was best for my babe by eating a bland diet and exercising.

I was convinced Jack would come early, especially as I had multiple visits to triage (and one overnight stay) with false labour. On February 21st at 3:30am, exactly two weeks before my due date, my water broke. It was during a terrible rainstorm (Fun Fact: Women tend to go into labour during storms) but we got lucky and the rain stopped for the drive to the hospital. Anyone who lives in the Bay Area will appreciate how helpful this, plus it being the middle of the night, was in commuting from Berkeley to the hospital in San Francisco. Our hospital was UCSF – the super fancy 7th best hospital in the United States.

By 8am, I was in the delivery room with the epidural doing its job and our labour playlist playing. Colm and I were really calm and excited, texting back and forth with family and friends at home who were eagerly waiting on news of baby Tully. Our medical team was great, and things progressed quickly. Everyone was so impressed that it was my first time and baby was in such a hurry until it became clear after 14 hours of labour, I wasn’t going to be able to deliver him naturally. The only option was to perform a caesarean before he, or both of us, went into distress. I had no birth plan, so was open to all eventualities, so immediately said ok. They brought me down to the operating room, got Colm gowned up and at 17:43pm, our precious little man entered the world. Jack Anthony James was born 7lbs 9 oz, 19 ¾ inches of perfection. I will never forget the moment we became parents and seeing Jack held up over us like Simba from the Lion King. He was incredible and tears of joy ran down my face.

Jack’s first photo

Having a c-section, you miss the first moments of your child’s life. Colm stayed with Jack while he was cleaned up and evaluated. It quickly became evident that Jack was having trouble breathing. Hearing this was distressing for me strapped to the table, but must have been terrifying for Colm to actually witness it. Jack was sent to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit with his daddy in tow, while I was sent to recovery. I was in recovery for about an hour before Colm came into the room, accompanied by our gorgeous little man. By the time he had reached the NICU, his breathing had regulated. He got checked out anyway, and the nurses fawned over him, but he was thankfully perfectly fine. I finally got to hold him, and it’s safe to say it was the single most amazing moment of my life.

Meeting my love

(Almost) 12 weeks later, Jack is doing beautifully. He is a healthy, buster of a little man and is showing more of his personality every day. We feel incredibly blessed to be his parents and he brings us so much happiness. So cheers to Jack on our very first Mother’s Day!

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