Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Nicholas' Birth Story: Part 2

This is part 2 of Nicholas' birth story. You can find part 1 here.

Saturday morning, I got up with the kids and let Leighton sleep in a little. He had been so busy the past few weeks between working 50+ hours at his job and then caring for everything at home because of my bed rest. I spent just a few minutes in the kitchen cleaning up, we ate breakfast, and then I spent the remainder of the day in bed. Leighton had to be at the church that afternoon to practice for the Christmas cantata at church the next day. Since he is the choir director, it was imperative that he be there. I assured him that I'd be fine on my own. The kids sat in bed with me reading books and then eventually watching a movie as I napped.

Around 5:00 p.m., a contraction woke me up. I was surprised by the intensity of it. I tried to fall back asleep, futilely thinking that maybe I could prevent another from happening. 

But another happened. They weren't incredibly strong, but strong enough that they were slightly uncomfortable. 

Leighton got home then, thankfully. I did not dare stand up, but lay there drinking water, willing my body to cooperate. I sent my mom a text, letting her know the situation. Because I am prone to labor quickly, the little time we have is precious. I wasn't convinced it was for sure labor, but I wanted her to be aware.

I continued to contract sporadically. 7 minutes. 4 minutes. 10 minutes. 6 minutes.

Leighton called my parents and asked them to run to the store to purchase an inflatable pool, just in case, since my birthing pool had not arrived yet. I did not want to birth in the bathtub for the third time (bathtub birth 1 and bathtub birth 2). It's uncomfortable, restricting, and too shallow to experience the soothing benefits of the warm water. I longed for another "perfect" birth

It wasn't long after that that we started to accept that labor was not stopping and baby was indeed coming. Since Eileen, my midwife, was out of town, Leighton called Heather, the nurse midwife who had assisted with some of my prenatal appointments. 

No answer.

He called again. Still no answer.

Now what? I had teased him throughout the pregnancy that no one was going to make it to the birth and he'd have to deliver the baby by himself. My joke wasn't as funny in reality. 

Leighton called Eileen to ask her opinion of what to do.

No answer. 

Now things were getting interesting. He called Heather again. And again, there was no answer. 

My parents showed up at our house--pool-less, because stores don't carry summer swimming pools in the middle of December, go figure--and we discussed our options. We decided to head to their house and use their jacuzzi tub for the birth since it is much deeper than our tub at home. I started listing off items--birthing kit, pajamas, diapers, clothes for baby, lavender oil--while Leighton started filling the bag. The plan was to head over by ourselves while my mom and dad packed clothes for the kids, got them ready, and met us at their house.

Somewhere during Leighton's rush to leave, I decided to stay. My contractions were getting more intense. Because of my prior fast labors (including my 45 minute birth, from first contraction to baby's first breath), I didn't want to birth the baby on my mom's kitchen floor, or worse yet, our van. No, we were staying home. I asked Leighton to fill the bathtub, because even though it's not ideal, it was a better option than birthing on an unprepared bed. Cleanup in a bathtub is almost as simple as pulling a drain, more or less.

And then? Eileen called back. And while Leighton was talking to her, Heather called on the other phone. We went from having no midwives to having 2 on the phone at once. 

I continued to labor, my dad watched the kids, my mom went back and forth between them and me, and Leighton tried to decipher his conversation with Heather because of bad reception. Eventually, through the broken call, it was determined that another midwife was going to come. Heather was an hour and a half away.

So here we were 4 weeks before my due date, with no birthing pool, and my midwife on the other side of the country, with our backup midwife too far away, and a midwife that we've never met coming to help.

We like to keep things interesting.

The next little while was filled with typical labor activities: getting in the bathtub, getting out of the bathtub because I felt like labor was stalling, walking around my room, putting books away on the shelf, walking some more, trying to find a comfortable position, eating half a clementine before my taste buds betrayed me, walking, walking, walking. I eventually climbed into bed to relax through the contractions.

At that point, the backup midwife's backup showed up. She checked my vitals, listened to the fetal heart tones, and filled out paperwork. Then she quietly sat to the side and let us do our thing. Me lying in bed, Leighton at my side encouraging me, and my mom close by reassuring me as well.  I fell into such a relaxed state that I had a couple times where it felt as though I had dozed off between contractions with the sensation of the next tightening waking me up again. It was a strange experience.

It wasn't long before I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom. As I walked from the bed, a contraction came so strongly that my legs refused to hold me. Leighton supported the weight of my shaking body as I tried to focus on my breathing. The contraction passed and we made our way to the other room.

I emptied my bladder and then climbed back into the warm water in the tub. Instantly, my stomach contracted, this time breaking my water in the process. Two pushes later, and Leighton delivered our baby, by himself, just like I had joked. Between this being our fifth birth and having a midwife there in the room, he had all the confidence he needed to calmly and skillfully help bring our child into this world. It was a precious moment for us both.

first chiropractic adjustment
As we pulled the baby to my chest, my mom announced, "It's another boy!" And I laughed, just like I said I would if we added a fourth boy to the family. Throughout the pregnancy, I was absolutely convinced he was a girl. Wow, was I wrong, haha! This baby has been full of surprises from his conception to the way I felt during the pregnancy to his early birth to his gender. I wonder what other surprises this little one has in store for us.

I was still sitting in the bathtub, cuddling my newest blessing, when Heather arrived.She had missed the birth, but was there in time to preform the after-birth duties: weighing, measuring, checking, examining.

Nicholas Samuel Leaf
5 lbs. 18" born at 8:19 p.m. on 12/13/14

Though he was born many weeks before we expected, he has done so very well and has not shown many signs of being a preemie. Today, over a month later, he is thriving and has added lots of squishy baby fat. The other kids completely adore him--constantly hugging, kissing, holding, and loving on him. They enjoy helping me with him and are very concerned when he's unhappy. Every time he cries, Tyler assumes it's because he wants a kiss. He rushes over and plants a kiss anywhere on little Nicholas--head, hands, feet, belly. If he continues to cry, Tyler tells me, "Mommy, kiss him!" From the very first moment, this baby was very, very loved.

There is no denying that this little one was planned by God, perfectly for us. He is the best surprise we never knew we needed.

Nicholas, I feel so honored to be chosen to be your mommy. May God give me the strength to raise you to serve Him and to be the mother you need me to be. I love you, little one.      

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1 comment:

  1. Beautiful story. You will be the perfect mother for him as well as for the other four. I love you.