Friday, February 25, 2011

Birth Story

Tonight will mark 4 weeks since I gave birth to Elijah. I thought I might finally put down a few thoughts about his birth to remember for later.

*Warning: This is a birth story. A home birth story. I tried to be discreet but by nature, this story might contain more information than you want to know. :) Read at your own risk.

My parents' first day in Morgantown was Thursday, January 20th, 2 days after my due date. I was so relieved when they made it here and I hadn't started labor. We were just really hoping that they would be here when the baby arrived, especially since we were planning our first home birth. Everyone was enjoying being together again so much that we cheerfully went through the weekend without really being concerned about labor still not starting.

I think it was Tuesday morning, the 25th, that I woke up in a terrible mood. I think it finally hit me that my parents might miss the birth after all. I couldn't shake my unhappiness all day and it was just a lousy day all around, for everybody.

Wednesday morning I was still blue, but beginning to accept what was happening. I knew that once labor began, it would more than likely take a long time. My track record is no pre-labor and long labor once it starts. I knew I could easily walk around having contractions for a day or two before any serious contractions started that would end in the birth. Since there was still no sign of this beginning on Wednesday, I knew that we were running out of time and perhaps God's plan wasn't what I *thought* it would be. :) Dad and Mom ended up taking me and Cecily out to a nice lunch at Red Lobster while Peter got the other kids together to go ice skating for the homeschooling skating time. After lunch, we drove over to the rink to see the kids before heading home. By the time we were home I was significantly cheered up.

Thursday morning I thought I was possibly having some contractions. We talked it over and decided to go to the mall to walk around and encourage labor. As we circled the mall, I was definitely having more and more contractions. The rest of the day I had contractions when walking, but not much else. In the evening they seemed to get more regular, happening without the stimulation of walking. I called the midwife and she suggested that I get to bed early because I could wake up in full labor. Once in bed, I woke every 1/2 hour to 45 minutes with contractions, consistently all through the night.

When I finally decided to get up for the day the next morning, I was happy, expecting that labor would keep progressing and I'd be seeing the baby by the end of the day. Once again, things didn't happen exactly like I expected. As soon as I got up, the labor completely stopped. It never picked up again all morning. I felt strange. I was hot and sweaty and tense all over. It was like I was in labor, but without contractions. I didn't feel like I could really participate in the activities of the day with the kids. I wandered aimlessly and felt the need to rest. I finally gave in and napped shortly after lunch. I slept very soundly, but was aware that I was once again beginning contractions. They were regular. Almost exactly 20 minutes apart. I stayed relaxed and timing the contractions for quite some time, then finally got up. To my amazement, they stopped again! Apparently only when I was resting/sleeping was I able to maintain labor. We ate dinner. Contractions gradually came back. They were never closer than 20 minutes, but they were getting pretty intense. I called my friend, Marlene, who was planning to come for the birth and help assist the midwife. She came over and took my vitals and called the midwife. They agreed to wait a little longer before the midwife would actually come. She had her bag packed and we knew she had a 1 1/2 hour drive to get to us, but it was still so hard to tell how long it would be.

Meanwhile, the children went to bed and Dad, Mom, Peter, Marlene and her daughter, Hannah and I all went downstairs and watched an episode of Little Dorrit to pass the time. I let them know whenever a contraction hit and we timed it. Eventually, Dad and Mom decided they'd better get to bed and try to catch a little sleep before the birth. Contractions were still 20 minutes apart, but FIRM. The rest of us watched a little more TV and talked until suddenly, I was in so much pain that we decided it was time to head back up to the bedroom where I had the birthing tub ready. Marlene had called Donna, the midwife, shortly before this and she was on her way. I got into the tub. I'm not sure, but I think I only had a few contractions in the tub. They did get a little closer together but were still something like 11 minutes apart. Marlene told me that they were lasting longer than two minutes each though. I could tell that each one was tremendously effective. I could feel the baby's head move down like 6 times in a single contraction. I knew it wouldn't be long now. Peter went to wake my mom. She came in a minute and held my hand for the next contraction, at the end of which I was ready to push. Peter and Mom helped me get out of the tub and onto the bed to push. Since the contractions were so spaced, we sort of sat and waited. On the second or third contraction, he was born. (Amazing how these details escape you when you're the one in the midst of the pain). Marlene was there coaching, but alas, the midwife didn't make it. I was not in the least concerned about this insignificant detail. All I cared about was that he was born. I was fully prepared that she would not be there. Peter and I weren't nervous about that. I knew she was coming and that was what mattered. Peter lifted our beautiful little boy onto my stomach, covered him with a towel to keep him warm and we waited. Soon, Donna came in and looked us over, delivered the placenta, cut the cord, did the baby check and weighing, etc.
Elijah was perfect. His apgar was good and he pinked up immediately. He was alert, but not hungry initially.

I realize that this story is not the picture most of us have in our head of what a birth looks like. It was strange for us too in many ways because we've had 6 births that were not at home. Though it wasn't perfect and I think we would know better how to make it more comfortable in the future, we weren't nervous about it. After all the months of the most thorough prenatal care I'd ever had and talking with Donna who has been delivering babies at home since the 1970's, we felt ready. Donna has delivered over 400 babies and is a wealth of information. Each prenatal visit, she would come to my home, sit on my couch and talk and answer my questions for 1 to 2 hours. By the time it was time for delivery I was not concerned about being overdue or about delivering our own baby at home. I understood that this was normal and nothing to be concerned about. I was really only concerned that the baby would be born before Dad and Mom had to be at the airport on Saturday morning! The Lord graciously allowed that to be the case. We certainly felt His grace in that. We were and are so grateful for the safe delivery and our healthy new son. Thank you for PRAYING us through it!!

The prayer requests I made before the birth were answered in many ways. The children were all provided for in the way of attention and stability by the extra love and time spent with my parents. As far as trusting Christ in labor, I think it went well. It was bearable. I was able to focus on relaxing and helping the contractions to be effective. The long spaces between contractions helped me rest and keep up my energy. I felt the nearness of my God in these details. Again, thank you for praying for these things.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Back a Bit: Crazy Day with Mom and Dad

The last day that Mom and Dad were here and the day of the baby's birth, was Crazy Day. This is a tradition that my mom created. My kids know it well by now. Every time that a sibling is born she gives the kids a Crazy Day following the birth. Since the baby wasn't born in time, we elected to go ahead and do it the last day that they were here. It was the first ever Crazy Day that ended up being before the birth. But every Crazy Day is unique after all.
I took many pictures from the fun day that I wanted to go ahead and post. My mom does such a good job making it fun for the kids. Mom got a painting project for them. They were magnets. She had them come in two at a time to do it with her to make it manageable.

Cecily had a great time painting two little wooden butterflies.

Ben did a turtle that turned out so cute.

Amelia did a large wooden butterfly.

William did a very detailed elephant.

Sam's was a frog.

And Calvin's was a lion. I guess Calvin was the one person who got kind of sour about it not turning out just how he wanted. In the end, my mom helped him fix it to his satisfaction. No one else had any trouble and enjoyed it entirely.

For lunch, Amelia helped mom to put slices of cheese inside of some hot dogs and then wrap them in crescent roll dough. For breakfast we had served dinner, which was a Mexican Shepherd's Pie, and then we were planning to serve breakfast for dinner. Lunch was these fun wrapped hot dogs.

We wrapped the hot dogs in foil and tucked them in these lunch bags with some other fun food to have a "picnic" in the basement.

The lunch bags had Toy Story characters printed on them and a place to write each child's name. I knew they would think they were fun.

The pajamas were part of the Crazy Day craziness too.

Mom took this picture of me. It was around 12 hours before the baby actually was born.

After dinner, while I was at home laboring, Dad and Mom took all of the kids to Wendy's for a treat.

Samuel took all of the following pictures on our camera to show me when he got home.


Yum. I don't know if the Wendy's trip will end up being a great memory for Mom and Dad, but I'm sure the kids loved it and it was certainly helpful of them to take the kids like that.
Next, they brought the kids home and put all to bed, we sat up and watched an episode of Little Dorrit and finally gave birth around midnight. An interesting day and evening. :)
Ready or not, Mom and Dad left for the airport at 8 AM the next morning. I have a group of pictures from a bowling night we did for William's birthday that I will post next and then I will return to current things.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Goings On

There haven't been a lot of goings on. Naturally, we're not doing much besides letting me rest to recover from the delivery and adjust to being a nursing mom again and including our new little boy into the family. But I have a collection of random photos from the last week or so and a few that I took of the baby last week to share. The boys worked together to sculpt this snow truck. They entered a picture of it into a contest for the newspaper. They didn't win. I think the judges were looking for a more traditional snowman. But it was fun to do!

Sleeping in the bassinet in the basement.
Fun cookies from a friend. A great way to celebrate a new sibling.

Chatting with Grammy. She was the very happy recipient of a phone call!

Cecily was repeating everything that Amelia was saying on the phone, pretending to be talking on her "phone" also.
Hanging out by the sliding glass door trying to absorb a little sunlight. Notice the distress lines in the forehead.
Really not happy now.
Trying the other side.
...but still there are distress lines.
Ah....found his thumb and all is well.
She can't get enough of the baby. He's only awake every so often. She's usually very close by when he is.
I love him.
His feet are worth capturing and remembering.
So amazing. The first week is always hard, but hazy with wonder and awe as well. He's such a miracle. So thankful.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Elijah's First Day

I didn't announce here about the birth of our new son. But most people have been able to keep updated through my mom's blog. Elijah Franklin Jones was born on January 29th at 12:15 AM, weighing 8 lbs. 9 oz. I will try to post some of his birth story and thoughts about how it all came about soon. Baby check.
Our wonderful midwife.
Proud father.
Relief and tiredness.
The next morning, after saying goodbye to Grammy and Papa, each of the kids got their turn to greet the new brother.
Sam's been waiting and waiting. The wait was hard for him. He finally gets to see that baby!

Whew! Safely here and resting peacefully.