"The Day Declan Was Born"

Article by Kelly Sarno

One day when my kids were at school and I was working in my office my husband said he wanted to try a cool exercise he saw online. It was kind of an odd request but I figured I’d entertain.

He said we would both take a piece of paper and list out the top 5 days that changed our life. I feel like I was done in an instant. And in true Sean fashion, he took a while! I knew without a doubt what mine were. And they listed out in chronological order.

  1. The day I learned about my biological father.
  2. The death of my nana.
  3. The death of Berit. (Story in a previous blog)
  4. The day Declan was born.
  5. Everett’s accident.

Sean’s were listed as more of seasons. For example, his time at Umass Amherst. And when it came to “The day Declan was born.” Sean thought I meant, being a mom. But he was wrong. It was very much the day that my first son was born. And sitting here in SHOCK that my first baby is 5 years old today I thought I would share the story of... The day Declan was born.

On Friday April 17th I was already 8 days passed my due date, not even 1cm displayed and no signs to an end of being pregnant! I was willing to do ANYTHING to just get it over with. This day was one of the firsts that I wasn’t stressed about it. After a CRAZY winter of blizzard after blizzard it was finally a beautiful day and we were able to take Lucy for a walk in the woods. Of course she found a MASSIVE mud puddle to roll around in about 50 or 60 times, but none the less the day was awesome! We got home and had to give her a bath, so there I was, 900 weeks pregnant, on my knees giving my 70lb Golden Retriever a bath. After the mayhem I decided to treat myself to a DIY manicure. Couldn’t help but try to move things along so I also bounced on an exercise ball while I did it! Went to bed fully expecting to spend yet ANOTHER day pregnant.

I opened my eyes on Saturday, April 18th and the first thing I did was look at the clock 6:40am and the sunshine poured into my bedroom. The second thing I did... was fart. Hahaha! Seriously, if you’re a mom, you know the gas is REAL! As soon as I farted, I totally thought I peed the bed. I stood up, totally upset and said out loud “OMG I totally just peed the bed!” Sean woke up groggy and totally unfazed that I could have just urinated in the bed he was sleeping in and I quickly realized it wasn’t the case at all. It was, in fact, my water that had broken! It wasn’t like I thought it would be. I didn’t hear anything. Didn’t feel anything. It wasn’t a massive gush like you see in the movies. It was honestly, uneventful. Sean JUMPED up and was practically pulling the car out of the driveway while I was telling him to calm down. I still had a shower to take and some makeup to put on. He was so cute. He couldn’t understand how I was so calm.

If I’m being honest. I wasn’t. I was terrified. I wasn’t ready. In my 33 years of life before this day, I never imagined it with children in it. I never had a deep desire to be married or have children. And up until that moment my greatest fear was giving birth. I was convinced I would be the one who died giving birth. I also knew going into this that I was allergic to the medication in an epidural. So it was all natural, or nothing. Could I handle it? How excruciating was the pain exactly?

On the ride into the hospital we made all of the obligatory calls to our mothers and family to let them know that this baby was coming! I was set up with some pretty amazing nurses who all had a sense of compassion to the fact that this would be a drug free labor, and not by choice. I expressed my fears and they were beyond amazing about it. At this point my contractions were mild but already 2 and a half minutes apart. Our mothers had arrived and it was all very casual. My mother in law was reading the paper and we were all just small talking. Around 6pm that evening. 12 hours later. Things started turning.

I knew going into this I didn’t want anyone in the room but Sean and MAYBE my mother. Turns out she was my saving grace on this day. They had hooked me up to some pitocin to hopefully get things moving along and within 10 minutes of having it drip into my IV we quickly learned that I wasn’t going to be able to tolerate it. My contractions went from a 5 to a 26 on a scale of 1-10. I spiked an internal temperature of 103° and Declan’s heart rate was 222. Absolute danger zone. I remember so many people swarming in and packing ice around the outside of my body. My doctor came and and told me she was giving me some Tylenol. I stuck out my hand for her to give me the pill and I think she may have chuckled. “Oh no Kelly, this is a suppository.” 😳 I honesty laugh so hard about it now but we were in a pretty serious situation. When she went to check my dialation we realized that most of my amniotic fluid was gone. They had to attach a monitor onto Declan’s head and actually put fluids IN to keep him protected. He was strong willed from the start because he kept on pushing the monitor off.

I spent the next 12 hours with 2-3 minute apart full force contractions and not a drug in my body. I was quiet as a dessert. I squeezed my husbands hand as hard as I could through every one and gripped the side of the hospital bed. And my mother, who sat at the foot of that bed the ENTIRE time, allowed me to dig my toes into the side of her thigh for 12 painstaking hours. I’m 100% certain she had to have had major bruising. She says she didn’t. But that’s what moms do.

It wasn’t until 7:00 the next morning, Sunday April 19th, that they finally called a Csection. At that point in this journey, I was so beyond and realm of comprehension, that I willingly surrendered. The only thing was, that I knew I was going to have 2-3 more contractions between that room and the operating room and I had no one to hold my hand and no one to dig my toes into. You see, I didn’t have an epidural, which meant nothing in my spine. Which meant I was going under full anesthesia and I  couldn’t have anyone in the room with me.

My nurse, the saint that she was, clocked out of her shift, and came back into my room simply so she could hold my hand through surgery. What an angel. It was my biggest fear of the moment and here she was, an absolute hero simply to hold a new moms hand. She took photos for us and did anything she could to give us the best experience in an awkward situation. Neither myself, or my husband got to see the birth of my first son. Sean, however, met him before me!

Because I was completely under, they delivered Declan to Sean in the birthing room. He got to spend the first 30 minutes of his life with him. How beautiful is that? I remember coming to and telling myself to fight to wake up. I told myself that I didn’t want to miss these moments. And with that, I met my beautiful, 6 pound 15oz baby boy. My god was her perfect. His perfect little toes and feet were the first things to touch my face. They laid him on my chest (supervised of course. Because... morphine) so we could be skin to skin and my first thought was gratitude that he had a nose like my husbands and not mine!

The days and weeks and months that followed are a blur. And my postpartum experience is for another blog at another time. But that day was the day life for me changed forever. It wasn’t becoming a mother. It was Declan. I believe that he was meant to me mine. That he was designed to teach me about this life. To challenge me to be better. To help me break family cycles before me. To help me learn to love with every fiber of my being. He made me a mom first. He prepared me for Everett.

I’ll never forget the day my first son was born. And I’ll always have a big laugh when I tell the story. And I’ll always hold gratitude that the universe created such a perfect tiny human to teach me the life lessons I never knew I needed.