Let me pre-curse this post with a very important life tip: never take a pregnancy test on a Friday night with a house full of family when you aren’t trying to get pregnant. Just trust me.
When I found out I was pregnant, not only did I go through a stage of denial and then panic, I quickly realized that if this test wasn’t lying to me, I would be having a baby during baseball season. While this statement may not mean much to you, I was immediately horrified as I imagined a lonely pregnancy in Cincinnati without family, friends or a husband half of the time, growing a human during the most stressful months of the year, Mat possibly missing the birth of our first child. The list goes on. I cried for WEEKS.
While we didn’t plan on having a baby just yet, we planned on one day planning it so that our first child would be born in the off-season for all sorts of (hopefully) obvious reasons. I somehow managed to forget that we live life on the no-plan plan and here it was- another curve ball that I wasn’t ready for (excuse the corny baseball pun, I had to do it).
Back to choosing the timing of a pregnancy test wisely, four weeks went by and it was finally time to go to the doctor to confirm that this stick wasn’t a liar. I was living in a little bit of shock with a side of disbelief in the meantime. As you probably know by now, a little Latos was in fact on the way and we were told when our little alien would make it’s way into the world. The first thing I did was open my MLB At Bat app to confirm the last thing that I ever wanted to see- my due date falling right in the middle of a road trip. MOTHER OF GOD.
Earlier last year, a handful of athlete’s and their wives caught a whole lot of criticism for having babies during their husband’s respective sports season causing said athletes to miss games for paternity leave. Some sports talk personalities even went so far as to say that the athlete’s should not have missed games for the births of their children referencing reasons like it being the second child, playoffs, etc. I watched all of this unfold in horror as I sat there making my own little human who could possibly one day inconvenience the sports world. GREAT. While it shouldn’t have affected me, hearing all of that negative banter about an already insane situation (in my mind) just added to my anxiety. To each their own but child-birth was easily on my top 3 list of fears and I couldn’t imagine going through it without my best friend by my side.
While a due date is nothing more than a possible day that your baby MIGHT come, you still have to operate as if that’s the day you need to be ready and I had three choices. The first was a natural . The pro here is that this is generally the most healthy, best option for both mother and baby. The con was that there would be a good chance that Mat would not be able to make it back on time once I went into labor as he was scheduled to be on the road a few days before and after my actual due date. That was a huge (emphasis on HUGE) con for me right off the bat so I wrote this option off almost immediately. The two choices left were to plan to induce labor or plan a c-section.
I won’t go through the laundry list of reasons why a c-section was more appealing to me given our situation but I will tell you this- this was one of the hardest decisions of my life. Fortunately my due date was close enough to an off-day to schedule baby extraction surgery on that day. This decision allowed for Mat to be in the hospital with us all day and return to work the following day. Landon was born on a Monday and Mat was scheduled to pitch that Thursday. As daunting as my in-season child-birth once seemed, it actually worked out perfectly as Mat didn’t have to miss a start to be there.
MLB allows players 3 days for paternity leave so Mat slept at the hospital with us and went to work from there until we were released. He took his paternity leave once we were allowed to come home and then he met up with the team in Baltimore. There was no point in him sitting in the hospital with us for three days so we decided that it would be best that he take his time off once we were allowed to come home to make the adjustment to life with a newborn a little easier. Plus, with a ten-day road trip right around the corner, I was worried that he wouldn’t have enough bonding time. I was worried that I would feel like a nightmare post surgery. I was worried that he would be stressed out. It’s accurate to say that there is not much I wasn’t worried about at that point.
Speaking of points, I’m not sure where I’m going with this post other than to do what I always do- humanize the game. I am in no way trying to paint a picture of a sob story or even complain about our situation because we are #BLESSED, but people can be so quick to be cruel about a number of things that they may not fully understand. It would be unfair of me not to acknowledge that things could have been much more complicated. Imagine if Mat was in the minors and it was a financial burden to travel. Imagine if the baby came early and he couldn’t get back on time despite my meticulous planning. Imagine the military dads who are overseas when their children are born.
While there are always scenarios where “things could be worse” (or more complicated), this is our story. Countless people criticized my decision for a planned c-section but I knew that this was the only reasonable scenario given the circumstances and nobody had to experience it but me. I cannot express enough that it is so, SO kind to think before you offer unsolicited opinions on personal matters. It’s easy to judge but it’s never too soon or too late for a reminder that we don’t always know what goes on “behind closed doors”.