You have to write it down, because we are so very quick to forget.
Two lines appeared and my heart had strength in it to hope. From that moment on I took one aspirin a day. Two weeks went by and we saw your gummy bear body on the screen, the heartbeat steady, constant and strong. They gave me pills to keep my hormones strong and steady. Two more and there you were, stronger, bolder… constant. After 12 weeks we heard you, constant. At 20 weeks we all went in and it took daddy and the ultrasound tech only seconds to see you, little boy. Oh the joy. For you I have prayed little one. Your kicks were counted, welcomed and treasured. Your movements set our imagination in motion. Dreaming of the day you’d be in our arms.
The last few weeks of my pregnancy were a trial for me. I had met my limits physically. I had gained a total of ten pounds and they estimated I had a 8+ pound baby inside me. I had false labor every night starting at 37 weeks and my body fooled me two times into thinking it was the real thing. So off we headed to the hospital only to be heartbroken when the contractions would stop. At my 39 week appointment they said my blood pressure was high, but baby were still facing too far back. It could be hours, could be days… days? I couldn’t imagine another day. I went home to clean like a crazy lady, ignoring the discomfort and pain. Hands and knees, vacuuming while lunging (the best I could), I did some downward dog poses, laid on the couch as belly down as I could and then got up and Ben took me on a long walk. I woke up at 1 o’clock to contractions, I couldn’t sleep through them so I went into the shower, they stuck. I ate, they stuck. I tried to lay down again and quickly realized that was a bad idea because they stuck. I texted my mom that we would be dropping E off and patiently waited until six to wake up Ben. We grabbed all the bags and headed out.
When you are strep B positive and you know you need antibiotics or they’ll hook your baby up to them you don’t mess around getting to the hospital.
We got checked in, iv’d up, one dose down and un hooked to roam around the halls. Stopping with every contraction, breathing, letting my body do the work. In the room my compiled list of worship music was playing, my pages of scripture resting near my water, both reminding me I didn’t have to do this of my own strength.
E’s birth ruined me. It took a lot of emotional healing. No matter the journey a healthy baby is the only outcome we want, at all times. However, when your heart dreams are shattered because of things you could have controlled, like internal monitoring, pittosen unnecsarely given which caused heart rates to rise and more… I made the decision and was supported, to doing this time around with minimal intervention. When the time came that I needed a little help it would be through nitrous, safe for me and for my unborn baby, it has no side affects, it is self administered.
Labor progressed and my legs were starting to tire out. So I sat on the bed criss cross style, eyes closed, breathing through each contraction, concentrating on the music.
And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine. – “Oceans”
With each contraction I tried my very best to hide under them. Letting it wash over me. My body pushing my baby earth side without me so mach as lifting a finger. My job is to relax, stay calm and not allow anxiety or tension to build. I knew the moment I needed a little extra help and so the nitrous was brought out. It helped me to stay calm and gave me rest as the contractions began to flow into each other. I was checked and almost there but we needed a little push in the right directions, they broke my water and we changed positions.
The moment the nurse put me on my side I started to panic. Internally. Allison, our birth photographer, and the staff told me later that I was the most peaceful laborer they’d seen. I laughed then and even now because of how un-composed I felt in that moment. My nurse had been amazing, and so I knew that she was doing what was best for baby and I when she placed me in that position. It was getting us somewhere. Quickly the contractions started melting together, the peak was so high I no longer had the ability to hold the nitrous to my mouth let alone breath it in. I began thinking of every way, anyway I could get them to get me out of this position. If there was any point that I needed this baby out fast it was now. And the irony is that this position would have done that very thing, but I couldn’t handle the pain.
“I need to push!“
It was a lie. I was so desperate. She started moving things around, getting the room ready, called the doctor. Then we waited. It took about 10 more contractions, eternity, before I actually felt the real pressure. And I knew what it meant. It meant it was time.
So we began. At first I knew when to assist my body with breathing and pushing. After a few minutes I didn’t do much because my body was doing it on it’s own. Then I hit a new wall. It was the strangest, hardest pain yet. I actually spoke, well probably screamed, “What is that?” and my doctor said “It’s your baby!” And if I could have I would have kicked him. Of course, I knew that. But this, this was altogether the worst.
It is what I suppose all the birth books call the moment where you say “I CAN’T DO IT!” Because, that is what I said. It took three more contractions and he cleared the pelvic bones. It was the greatest relief. He was still inside but the rest of the pushes just came and all I did was aid my body.
Then his little head was rested on my tummy, then my chest. I tried to pull him close but the umbilical cord was still attached so they stopped my efforts. Otherwise I would have smooched every element of his tiny body at once. The pain was over, the relief flooded me. His perfection filled my every sense. I just sat there and stared at him. Honestly, time stood still for a moment. Ben was at my head, taking in his son and kissing my forehead. I still remember the first look into his eyes after each of their births, something I will never forget.
As they cleaned everything up and got the bed put back together the doctor asked if I wanted to see the placenta. It’s not normally my thing but he said there was something interesting so we agreed. He showed us where the puncture was made, only centimeters from a blood vessel that had made its way into the lining of the placenta. Not a normal, everyday occurrence. If that would have been punctured our boy may not have made it. Blood would have filled the placenta and no emergency c-section would have saved him. I share this not to bring fear into this story of birth but instead to bring hope. You could look at something like that and give chance or fate the credit for his safety and protection while he grew. But this little life has had prayers poured over him since the moment those two pink lines appeared. For his protection, for his growth, his health and God’s will over him. So I say to you, dear reader, it was God’s will that He be here, among us on the earth. Nothing would get in the way. God’s hand was with the nurse as she broke my water, carefully placing the tool in the exact right spot. Only centimeters aways so that the doctor would take note and share it with us. So that we could see a glimpse into His omnipotent power and His perfect will.
Can I take one more moment from this story of life to say that my heart claiming His, God’s, victory in my birth story is first and foremost birthed from the pain and confusion from over 5 miscarriages. The little lives, the little heartbeats that have been in my womb were taken to be with Him sooner then my momma heart could ever understand. But my heart can proclaim He is still a good and perfect God. He is. And those five lives are a testament to Him and His goodness just as the story above is. They have shaped and formed me into the mother I am today. The one who is learning to see things with Heaven-bound eyes, learning to entrust my life and the lives of my babies to my God.
After about an hour of bonding with my little boy we gave everyone the okay to come for a quick visit. With Allison still there ready to take pictures we waited patiently for big sister to arrive. When she came in she carried a teddy to give to her new baby. She ran to her daddy and curiously gazed at the little pink bundle mommy held. She asked to come closer, to see his hands, his head, his nose, his toes… she was smitten from the first moment. Nothing could have filled my heart more at that moment. I had prayed for this, for joy to fill this room. Not jealousy or tears. In an instant we had become a family of four.
I write all of this over a year later. Life with two kids is a bit crazy, add two business to that and you get a lot of crazy! But once one years old comes around things seem to begin to level out. Barre’s first year of life has been full of smiles (it’s the easiest thing to do, make him smile), giggles, not sleeping through the night until he was over nine months, crawling at 7 months, and head butting as a sign of affection (that’s a boy for you…). And I love it all. I prayed for a son, and the Lord heard and answered my prayer.