Sunday, June 23, 2013

Joseph's Birth Story

I woke up with no expectations on Joseph's due date, 3/13/13. Malakai was born a couple days past his due date. Caleb would have been born past his due date if I hadn’t been induced. The odds were against me, but hey, a girl can hope, right? My house was clean. I was sleeping well at night. I felt great. I felt a little too great to be about to have a baby. I met a friend at ChickfilA for breakfast and they gave us free ice cream to celebrate due date day. If anything can console a pregnant woman who is still pregnant on her due date, it’s a ChickfilA icedream.

The rest of the day passed smoothly. No action. The rest of the week passed smoothly. No action. By the weekend I was starting to feel a little uncomfortable and Joseph was starting to feel a little lower and a little too squished. I think I lost my mucous plug on Sunday. 

Monday morning, Kai woke up with the stomach bug. We had 4 really "fun" days and then Caleb caught it too. Kai barely escaped going to the ER for fluids. We asked everyone to pray that Joseph would not arrive until the boys recovered. By Sunday, the last of Caleb’s symptoms were gone.

Sunday night I also started having contractions for the first time. At first I kept thinking Joseph was making some odd movements that were causing the sharp pain in my abdomen. You would think I would recognize a contraction after doing this twice already! I began to notice the pain was rhythmic—happening every 10 minutes. It started in just one spot, but it slowly wrapped around front to back and I realized I was having contractions. They continued all night—every 10 minutes. I went to bed and they were just strong enough to wake me up for a moment at their peak.
The next morning (Monday) was Brandon's birthday. He stayed home from work to help with the boys since I didn’t sleep well and suspected labor was beginning. All day long the contractions continued right on time—every 10 minutes. My appetite kept fluctuating between feeling starving and then feeling too nauseated to even think about food. In the afternoon, Brandon drove me to my appointment at the midwifery clinic. The contractions continued and I refused the midwives' many requests to check me for dilation—afraid they would find me too dilated and pressure me to check into the hospital too early. I get too impatient in the hospital. I wanted to labor at home. They set my induction for Wednesday if I didn't go into labor on my own by then. We went into Kroger on the way home to pick up some dinner and desert for Brandon's birthday. As we walked through the store the contractions were so intense I couldn't think about anything but getting back to the car to sit down and rest. We drove home and served up salad and hot dogs to the boys while Brandon opened his birthday gifts. All the while it was becoming less and less possible for me to focus on anything but the contractions. It was time to call in the grandparents.

Brandon got the boys ready for bed while I packed their bags. When Nana and Papa arrived to save the day and pick up the boys at 9:00, I was laying down and timing contractions about a minute apart every 5 minutes. Brandon was baking his birthday cookies in the kitchen. Through the night the contractions would space out to 10 minutes apart and then drop back to every 5 minutes if I moved. I kept thinking, "I have to rest. This is going to take a long time." By 3 am I couldn't lay down through the contractions anymore. I kept finding myself on my hands and knees rocking, then quickly changing because that made the pain so much more intense.
I felt so weary and birth still felt so far away. I kept reminding myself of the curse as though it were a promise, “In pain, you WILL bring forth children.” I would bring this baby forth! He was going to come out! And I clung to Isaiah 66:9, “'Shall I bring to the point of birth and not give delivery?' says the LORD.” No, of course not. I've done this before. I know the moment seems too far away, but God does give delivery!
Brandon realized I was out of bed and came in to find me complaining that I was too tired and I needed help and we should probably go to the hospital. He immediately jumped into coach mode and before I knew it I was settled on the couch eating chobani and an apple while watching a movie ( Fitzwilly-- an old Dick Van Dyke movie on netflix). He had his arm around me through every contraction while timing them for me.
I read on Ann Voskamp's blog that during labor she visualized herself as a big bag of sand. With every contraction she imagined the pain seeping down and out through her big toe like sand seeping out of a small hole in the bottom of the sand bag. That image worked for me so well and I focused on that through every contraction. I took long slow breaths.
By 8:00 am the contractions were about 4 minutes apart and very painful so we headed for the hospital. We called my mom on the way because she was going to attend the birth as well. We told her we'd call her back once we checked in and found out how close I was.
When we checked into the hospital at 9 am I was excited to see our nurse was a familiar face—our friend Marci from our old community group. She hooked me up to the monitor and my midwife commented on my nice contraction pattern—now every 3 minutes. Then there was this long silence. Just waiting. I couldn't stand the silence. I requested that they check me and I was 7 cm. Ugh. So close, but not close enough. I stalled at 7 cm for a couple hours during Caleb's birth. I couldn't take this painful waiting for hours more. Brandon kept asking if he should call my mom and I kept shaking my head, “No, I need you here”.
I got up to use the restroom. The walking made the contractions fall one right on top of the other. I asked Brandon, “Why am I doing this again? Why shouldn't I just get an epidural right now?” “Uhhhhhh.....”, he said. Oops. Guess I should have told him ahead of time why I wanted it natural this time. That's ok. I was complaining, but I remembered why. It was curiosity really. I wanted the experience. My friends who had natural childbirths not only chose to do it that way again, but they were passionate about birth. They would tell me that it was so painful it was like an out of body experience, but then they would choose to do it again. I didn't understand it. Also, the tribulation before Jesus returns is compared to labor pains. If He returns in my generation, I want that labor experience to hold on to and compare to. This was my chance if I could hang on a little longer. I would be disappointed later if I stopped now. Yolo!! You only labor once!
 (Ok, so I didn't think Yolo! while I was in labor, but now it will be stuck in your head during you next labor, won't i?t! bwaha)

I remembered the Bradley book my friend Joanne had lent me. I remembered reading the way I would feel during transition. It was normal to feel like, “I can't do this and I need help.”. I just needed to surrender to what was happening. That feeling just meant I was close. I was almost there.
I found myself on my hands and knees rocking again. It was so painful. My slow deep breaths turned into moans that I couldn't silence. I decided I would just keep moving and pressing into the pain and if nothing happened after an hour of that then I would call it quits and get the epidural. Our nurse stepped out of the room and told Brandon to press the call button if I felt the need to push. The next contraction came there on my hands and knees and then there it was--this crazy, unmistakable urge to push. It didn't matter that the nurse and midwife were out of the room because there was no way to not push!
Brandon pushed the button and the midwife rushed in. The next contraction came and I pushed and felt Joseph's entire little body move from the place it had been resting for 9 months. It was happening. Forget moaning, I was screaming now. I think as every contraction rolled in I cried, “No, I don't want to do this!” but I did and I was doing it. I couldn't believe I was about to hold my son. Somewhere in the pushing my water broke, but I really have no memory of it. I moved from hands and knees to squatting. I reached down and felt his head—almost there. A couple more pushes through the crazy burning and I couldn't believe I was looking down at this beautiful, blue squirmy baby. A second later he was in my arms. He was so blue. Fear crept in and I remembered the special care team that was there waiting to whisk him away if need be and the ultrasound specialist's words, “Oh, he WILL need surgery.” Then the sound I had waited to hear for so long flooded the room—this soft, beautiful baby cry touched my ears and color flooded Joseph's face. I was holding my third son in my arms. God had added to me another son. He had brought delivery.

The special care team was ushered out of the room (Thank you, Lord!!) and I was given precious time to hold my Joseph and nurse him before they took him away for an echocardiogram. He was here; he was in our arms; and he was perfect.

1 comment:

  1. Jessica, so beautiful! I love all my babies and you--! and I love your writings. Such difficulties -- yet you are so brave, so steadfast and enduring with a wonderful heart. I admire you immensely sweetie. ♥ -The Nana