Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tyler's Birth Story

I expected to be welcoming a new life into the world this week. Instead, we're celebrating with our one month old baby boy.

That Saturday morning, one month ago, was a special day. I woke to Alyssa climbing into bed with us.

Me: "Good morning, Sweetheart. Do you know what today is?"

Alyssa: "It's my party!"

She had turned 4 three days before, but we were celebrating with a party at my parents' house that evening.  The whole family was coming (minus one cousin away at college): grandparents, uncle & aunt, cousins. Even great-grandpa and grandma, who were coming home from Florida that afternoon would be there. Aunt Dawn was making a special princess castle cake and everyone was bringing exciting presents. All of this to celebrate 4 years with our little girl.

The boys made their way into our bed a few minutes later. We enjoyed each others company as we laughed and played on that lazy Saturday morning.  We eventually got up and headed to the kitchen. The kids played around us as Leighton cooked eggs and bacon while I made toast.

Tyler Joseph Leaf born at 4:12 pm

I was so thankful that Leighton and my mom convinced me to order pizza for the party. Usually, I make all the food for their parties, but they thought I deserved a break. I wasn't going to use being 8 months pregnant as as excuse, but for once it was nice to not have to spend the day in the kitchen. 

That afternoon, Zac and Alyssa lay down for a nap, Jake was playing with LEGOs, and Leighton was working on the boys' bunk beds. I headed to Michaels a little after 2:00 p.m. to take advantage of some deals. While at the store, I talked to some employees about a few upcoming workshops at the store, helped a lady choose silk flowers for her house, and chit-chatted with a friend's husband who was there doing some shopping as well.


I walked the aisles, looking for inspiration for craft projects for the kids. I spoke to an employee about one of the products.


I continued placing items in my cart - some predetermined, some by impulse. I walked through the entire store, taking advantage of being alone.


weight 5 lbs 10 oz

I made my way to the register and the way-too-long line.


I talked to the cashier and the lady behind me about my baby that would be born in four weeks, paid for my things and headed to the van. I checked over my receipt and realized that I bought the wrong thing. I considered going inside to exchange it, but didn't want to wait in that line again. I headed home instead at 3:00 p.m.


Leighton heard me arrive home and met me at the door.

Leighton, looking at my expression: "Are you ok?"

Me: "No."

Leighton: "Are you having contractions?"

Me: "Yes."

For someone who just talked to half the people at the store, I suddenly didn't have much to say. 

length 19 3/4 inches

I truly thought I was having Braxton Hicks. As long as I was not dilating, I was ok. I sent Leighton to research what could be done to stop the contractions as I headed to our room to lie down on my left side and drink some water.

Leighton: "All I can find is to lie down on your left side and drink some water. Watch a movie or take a nap . . . because there's nothing you can do to stop it."

Me: "What! Call Eileen (my midwife) to see what she says I can do. We have a party tonight!"

He called her and explained the situation. She immediately began to gather her things to come over. I reached for the phone as Leighton started setting up the birthing tub

Me: "I just want to know what I can do to make them stop."

Midwife: "There's nothing you can do. You know your history. (I had a 90-minute labor and a 46-minute labor; labor as in from my first contraction to baby's first breath.) I'm putting my things in the car right now."

Me: "But I just want it to stop. I'm not ready. I don't have any baby clothes washed. I don't have my towels together. I'm not ready."

Midwife: "The baby's ready though. You need to call your mom and tell her to come over. I'll be there in a few minutes."

my dad giving Tyler his first Chiropractic adjustment

At this point, I wanted to cry, not because of any pain - it still felt like false labor - but because I wasn't prepared. I like to have things in order. I like to be in control. I like to be ready. I was not.

When my midwife got there, she told Leighton to stop setting up the tub and prepare to catch a baby.

Me: "We don't have time for the tub?"

Midwife: "I can check you. If you're dilated more than 5, we don't have time . . . well . . . you're an 8."

Me, crushed: "Can I at least get in the bathtub?" (I really didn't want another bathtub birth, but it was better than delivering in my non-prepared-bed.)

adoring siblings

The next 30 minutes were busy. My mom arrived and got the kids ready for my brother to pick up. Leighton took down the shower doors. I sent everyone around the house to gather the needed supplies. And somewhere during that time, I made my way to the bathtub. As I birthed our baby into the water, Leighton was able to catch him. It was a special moment. Tyler Joseph Leaf was born.

The next 3 hours were a whirlwind of activity: weighing and measuring the baby, washing a load of clothes, taking an herbal bath, sending Leighton to the store to get some things we didn't have, trying to care for this life that entered the world before his mommy was ready.

Alyssa's princess castle cake

The whole family arrived at 7:00 p.m. for a double celebration - for Alyssa's birthday party and for Tyler's birth day. Alyssa opened her presents, was amazed at her cake, and of course, ate pizza. It didn't matter to me that I birthed a baby less than 3 hours before; I wanted to make sure Alyssa still got her special day that she had been looking forward to for weeks. Her baby brother was not replacing it. Instead, he was her special gift.

Because Tyler was born 4 weeks early, there were some initial concerns. He did need a bit of oxygen after birth, and we practiced Kangaroo care a lot the first couple days. He's doing fantastic though! Last week he weighed in at 7 lbs 5 oz. I'm pretty sure it's been the kisses that have ensured his health. After all, he gets at least a thousand of them a day! The other 3 kids absolutely adore him. They are constantly hugging and kissing on him, wanting to hold him, and checking on him while he's sleeping. They run to get me as soon as he makes a peep. Zac tells me every day, "He's so cute!" Jake is convinced that "He's the cutest baby in the world!" And Alyssa acts like she's his mother. Like I said, they absolutely adore him. Zac even gave him his first nickname, Ty Juice (instead of Joseph), and it's stuck with us all.

our family

Little Ty Juice, we love you so much and are glad that you couldn't wait to meet us! We're very grateful for these extra 4 weeks that we get to know you. We thank God for the blessing of you.

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  1. What a wonderful birth story. If all labor could go so easy right for everyone right? LOL

    I love his name too. You have a beautiful family and your dd has a birthday party she'll never forget.


  2. This whole story is so beautiful! I was teary eyed reading it! Thanks so much for sharing it. It brings back very sweet memories of my own home births. May blessings to your whole family!


  3. Absolutely amazing! Thank you so much for sharing! I love reading birth stories, especially home birth stories. Love his nickname! Blessings to you and your family.

  4. Oh, wow! Congratulations. What an awesome double birthday.

  5. Thank you for inviting us to share in Ty's birth and Alyssa's princess birthday party. So well written, I felt like I walked through this beautiful day with you.

    Congratulations, and may God continue to bless and keep you and your dear ones.


  6. That was very nice...glad all worked out for everyone. You have a beautiful family!

  7. What a great story & a lovely family!! Congratulations!

  8. You have an even more creative birth story than I do! What a memory. Thanks for sharing.

  9. What a beautiful birth story-he must be a special little guy! Congratulations-he's beautiful!

  10. I LOVE birth stories! I have four babies too. So glad I found your blog.



  11. Congratulations! That is so awesome! What an amazing home birth experience.

    Stopping by from the TOS Crew. =0)

  12. Beautiful story! So glad he was ok even though early! I can't believe your labors are so short!! My most recent one was 3.5 hours long...and I thought that was quick!!