Dearest Jude (Yes, I’m revealing his name because it is significant),
You are the newest part of our family. Before I give you your birth story, let me provide some background.
When I found out that I was pregnant with you, I was overwhelmed! The pregnancy was completely unexpected, and I didn’t know if I would be able to handle all that went with it: the midwife cost, raising an infant and a toddler, balancing responsibilities, losing my figure again. Rest assure, God had all these things handled. I was just revealing my lack of trust in Him.
Throughout the pregnancy, I struggled with keeping my emotions in check. Many seemingly well-meaning people decided to share their disapproval that I was bringing a fourth baby into our family. They were worried about money, as was I. Did their opinion help anything? No, it just served to make we want to hide from the world. Just because they didn’t approve, was your little life that was growing inside of me going to go away? No, I wanted to love you and cherish you. They weren’t helping!
The pregnancy had some physical struggles as well. I got the stomach flu, all while taking care of your big brother and 2 sisters. I got a terrible cough at the same time I had spasms in my shoulder and neck. Every time I would cough, I would get shooting pains. I was actually grateful for a fever that came later with the cough. The fever seemed to ease some of the neck and shoulder pain. Your dad and I figured out later that I had a magnesium deficiency caused by the close pregnancies. Some extra minerals helped the shoulder and neck pain to finally subside.
As we neared the end of the pregnancy, I longed to hold you in my arms and not in my belly. The end dragged on though. The end of your pregnancy was unlike any of the other pregnancies. I had four false labors. The first one I thought was real, and we even dragged the midwife over. She was beyond gracious, and we did get a chance to make sure everything was prepared for your arrival. The first false labor was on July 20th, close to two weeks before your earliest guessed due date.
We were ready, but you were many days away from coming. My biggest issue with all this is that it was public knowledge that we had a false labor. Your dad had to put a sign on his office door saying “Closed due to new baby.” This was the beginning of my social recluse stage. I was extremely disappointed, and I felt like I let everyone down. I didn’t deliver the baby they were waiting for. I didn’t want to go to church and hear another person ask where you were or why you hadn’t arrived. I just stayed home.
As weeks passed beyond the first false labor, the annoying questions continued. People strangely asked that we tell them when you arrived. Really? Were we planning on having a baby and keeping it a big secret? NO! They realized this, but they thought it was a nicer way to nag. Some of the questions came with implications that I was doing the wrong thing by waiting for your arrival. Some implied that I was doing something dangerous to you! If I was face-to-face with these people, I was afraid I would snap, so I just stayed home.
Each day, my body prepared for your arrival with lots of Braxton-Hicks contractions and some more real contractions. I wondered if I would be able to tell when it was real labor. I jokingly told close friends that I wouldn’t declare it real until I was pushing.
Each day, my mind and heart grew more sad and disheartened by the fact that you hadn’t arrived. Each morning, I woke up wondering why you hadn’t arrived in the night.
I know that one of the many reasons why you decided to stay inside mommy a little longer was that you knew that I needed by sweet midwife. At the beginning of August, my midwife’s mother passed away, and she was dealing with grief and the arranging of her mother’s affairs. You waited until all the affairs were in order.
On August 14, 2012 (25 days after the first false labor), we had what I thought was more false labor. It started at about 4 in the morning. I had a good strong contraction every 20-30 minutes, but they really didn’t get much closer together. They were stronger than the other false labor contractions, but I still didn’t trust anything to be real. We tried to pick things up by taking a bumpy ride, but it didn’t seem to change the contractions.
We tried to distract ourselves and enjoy the time. Your dad took the day off of work, so I was feeling badly for that. I decided to let everyone draw with washable markers on my belly. I told your older brother and sisters that maybe you would want to come out to see the pretty pictures they drew. It was a fun activity to pass some time. We did take pictures, but there are too many stretch marks to share the pictures 🙂
As the evening came, we had to call the midwife and others to take them off the alert. When we got to 10 p.m. that night, I had a nervous breakdown. That’s the only thing I can think to call it. I melted into a puddle of tears in your daddy’s arms. I didn’t think I could take it anymore. I told him that I couldn’t stand going to sleep one more night and waking up with no baby. After an hour of tears, we finally laid down to sleep at 11:00 p.m.
10 minutes later, I started having a very strong contraction, and the next one came ten minutes later. Finally, the real thing! Your dad waited until he saw a real pattern in the contractions to call everyone that would be coming to your birth. He called your grandma (who helps your daddy by filling up the birth tub and other details), our dear friend Hannah (who would be in charge of your brother and sisters if they woke up), the midwife, and our dear friend Lisa (who would be taking pictures).
The contractions were quite painful, and because my emotions had all unraveled, I was having a hard time dealing with them. My body would shake with each contraction, and I was completely overwhelmed. Of course, your wonderful dad was hugging and kissing me and telling me it was going to be alright. I slowly got into the right mindset to start handling things better.
Your grandma and Hannah arrived first at around 12:20. They immediately set about preparing the birth pool with water. During a quick break from preparing the water, Hannah came to my side and said a prayer for me. Such a precious friend!
When the water was ready, I was very ready for the water’s warm comfort and relief. Once I was in the water, I relaxed much better during the contractions and didn’t fight against them so much. Our dear friend Hannah put together an I-pod mix of music for the birth. As I got in the pool, your dad turned on the music. The water and the music helped to change the mood and relax me.
Our favorite Photog Lisa Holloway arrived at about 1 a.m. She and I had discussed photographing a birth, when I was pregnant with your older sister, but it had to work into her busy life as the mother of 9. The middle of the night worked! Good timing, baby boy. Through our friendship, I learned that Lisa would not bring judgment but rather encouragement to my birth. She was nice enough to give up her precious sleep to provide the amazing pictures you see. I barely knew she was there except for the noise from the shutter on her camera.
As I labored in the pool, a lot of thoughts went through my head. I really didn’t see the extra people who were there, but I was aware they were there. The extra eyes brought extra pressure on me to do a good job. Your dad says that I did just as well with the other births, but I felt a little more pressure to perform. As the contractions came, it felt better to have your dad apply pressure to my back.
Soon, I felt the urge to push. Your dad knew I was pushing, but he would say things like “It will be time to push soon.” He was hiding the fact that I was pushing, because the midwife had not arrived yet. He knew that your grandma especially wanted the midwife there. He called the midwife, and she said she was about twenty minutes away.
With one push, I felt my water break. The next push your head was out. Your dad told me to stop pushing, as the cord was around your shoulders. He quickly looped the cord off. The next push you were born into your daddy’s hands.
I put you to my breast right away, and you took right to it! While I was nursing you and you were wrapped in a towel, I asked, “Did we verify that it was a boy?” You dad said, “Oh, it’s a boy!” Hannah laughed!
The midwife was curious to see if you showed any signs of being past due. She quickly noticed the large amounts of vernix floating in the birth tub. She said, “Overdue babies do not have this much vernix.” I said the vernix looked like mozzarella cheese. Hannah laughed.
The midwife helped me birth the placenta. Mommy had her post-birth orange juice.
She checked mommy to make sure I didn’t tear, and she reported that I didn’t. Praise Jesus! I made it through four births without tearing!
I’m sorry that your story isn’t all puppies and rainbows, but this is the real story. Rest assure, I love you so much!
We named you Jude. It is the name of Jesus’ brother from the Bible, but it is also a great Beatles song.
Now that you know the story, listen carefully to the words. They fit.
Side note: The Olympics ended right before you were born. Paul McCartney sang “Hey Jude” at the Opening Ceremonies!
You are my sweet Jude-jubee! I have grown through all these struggles, and I wouldn’t trade them in for the world. If I didn’t go through them, I wouldn’t have my precious little boy. I can’t wait to see what other adventures your life will hold.