Take a Sad Song and Make it Better

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.

IMG_4501EditAs 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.

IMG_4518EditSoon, 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.

IMG_4519EditAs my body was pushing, my mind was debating.  “Are you sure you should be pushing?…Are you just in a hurry to get this over with?”  My mind cautioned me, but my body knew what it was doing.

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.

IMG_4521EditThe midwife had not arrived, but your daddy was on the job!  He knew how to skillfully take care of you.  You joined the world at 1:53 a.m. on August 15, 2012.

IMG_4522EditYou can tell from the look on my face that I was ecstatic to have you in my arms!

So relieved!  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!

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IMG_4535Edit8x10CropThe midwife arrived 10 minutes after you were born, and she saw you happily sucking.  🙂  She said there was no need to worry about suctioning, as you were nursing so well.

IMG_4543EditThe 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.

IMG_4541EditDaddy cut the cord.

IMG_4549EditThe midwife weighed you, and we found out you were 8 lb 11 oz and 22 1/4 in long.

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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.

Love,
your mom

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My Beautiful Tie Breaker Baby :)

To my second daughter (third born),

We didn’t know if you were a boy or girl until the moment you were born!  Your brother and sister really wanted to meet you, and of course, your dad and I anxiously awaited your arrival.

Since we didn’t know what to call you, we nicknamed you “Baby Ninja”.  Why?  You were the most active of all my babies.  You kicked and moved around so much, that we decided that you must be practicing your ninja moves!

The last few months of my pregnancy with you, I was obsessed with nutrition.  I had read about how vitamin C could help keep the bag of waters intact.  My water broke before birth started with both your brother and sister, so I at an orange every morning for the last trimester.  I also only allowed myself to eat sugar and white flour once a week for the last months.

We had a lot of “false labor” with you.  I would have contractions for an hour or two, then they would go away.  My body was getting lots of practice in preparation.

We drove everyone crazy with not knowing if you were a boy or a girl, but the day finally arrived.

I was feeling pretty crampy when we went to bed about 11 on Friday.  I was waking up about every 20 minutes, and I thought it was probably just more “false labor”.  Then, I woke up around 1 a.m. on Saturday, and things kicked into gear.

Your daddy was sleeping, and he rolled over and jabbed his elbow into my stomach!  I was getting kinda irritable, and I told him that it was time to wake up and pay attention!

Contractions started at about 9 minutes apart, and they quickly progressed to 7 min, then 5.  We kinda lost track of the contractions after that.  Contractions were intense, and I had forgotten how much they hurt!

Your grandma arrived to help around 2:30 a.m, and the midwife arrived around 3:45 a.m.

Your grandma’s main job was to get the birth tub ready.  It was a difficult job because the tub was being used for the third time, it didn’t hold air very well, and the water just wouldn’t get warm enough.  I really wanted to get in the water.  Your dad and grandma finally figured out that the water heater was turned down way low.  They finally turned it up just in time for me to get in the semi-warm water.

The water helped a ton.  As soon as I was in, I had the urge to push.  Your daddy was doubting that I was ready to push, and he kept wanting the midwife to check my dilation.

She was completely wonderful and trusted me, and she told me to push when I felt ready.  I pushed once, the water broke.  I pushed again, your head came out.  The last push was your body.  When your head was out, the midwife said that you looked pretty enough to be a girl.

OH HOW WONDERFUL TO SEE MY BABY GIRL! You broke the tie, and the girls won!  You weighed 8 lb. 4 oz. and were 21 1/4 in. long.

You were born 4:25 a.m.  We had prayed that I wouldn’t hemorrhage or tear.  I didn’t do either.  In addition, I think the Vitamin-C kept the bag of waters intact!  You didn’t need to suctioned either.  You just coughed and spit up the mucous.

You were the first of our children to be born in our new house!

Your brother was all prepared to be at the birth, but it was the middle of the night.  We woke him up right after you were born.  He was so excited to meet you and be up so early in the morning.  We let your sister sleep; she doesn’t wake up so well ;).

Our dear friend who you will affectionately know as “Auntie” arrived quickly after your birth.  She was also supposed to be there for the birth, but we waited too long to call her.  She got to introduce you to your sister.  Here is the moment she met you 🙂

We are so pleased to have you as part of our family!  You are a treasure and a very sweet baby!  You are a precious gift from God!  We had a little birth-day party to celebrate your arrival.

With much love,

Your Mommy

My next bundle:

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To my beautiful baby girl (second born),
 
Here is the story of your birth:
            When I was only a few months pregnant with you, I started having extreme pains.  I thought the pains would go away, but they didn’t.  The pain was so severe that it made me throw up!  Your dad was very concerned, and he took me to the hospital.  I couldn’t walk because of the pain, so your dad had to carry me to the car. 
            When we got to the hospital, we had to wait in the emergency room waiting room for about 45 minutes!  This was an agonizing time for me, because I had to sit up.  All I wanted to do was lie down. 
            When they finally took us back and found a bed, they didn’t have a room.  We had to be in the hallway!
            They did an ultrasound and determined that I had an ovarian cyst the size of a Nerf football.  In addition to its size, it was twisting my right ovary and fallopian tube.  I had to have surgery to remove the cyst and ovary that was dying. 
            We were so nervous that you weren’t going to make it through this experience, but you did!  Phew!
            Before the day of your birth, we got everything ready for your arrival.  We set up the birth pool and a single bed in the den next to the fireplace.  In the months before your birth, we also prepared your room by painting and put up fun girly decorations. 
            It all began on August 21st when I went to visit the midwife.  I knew that I was having constant Braxton-Hicks, and I wondered if I was making progress.  The midwife informed me that I was 3 ½ centimeters dilated, 50% effaced, and that you were at -1 station.  For the next few weeks I was very antsy for your arrival.  In fact, my labor stopped and started a few times before you actually came. 
            Well, it was Saturday, September 1st when my real labor started.  I was sleeping, and I woke up at 1:45 a.m. to go to the bathroom.  When I sat up in bed, my water broke.  I still got up and went to the bathroom, and I then informed your dad that my water broke.  Because it was early in the morning, he was very disoriented, and I had to tell him two or three times before he actually got what I was saying to him.  We then decided that we should try to go back to sleep, but my contractions started.  It wasn’t possible to sleep; I was too excited.  We then called the midwife so she could start making her way to us. 
            For the next couple hours, your daddy prepared the house while I labored with contractions about every ten minutes.  We called your grandma around 3 a.m., and she came over to help us.  When the midwife arrived at about 4:30, I was in the tub.  She checked my progress and said I was dilated to 6 centimeters.  She could tell from the intensity of my contractions that it would be a while until you arrived.  She proceeded to get comfortable and fall asleep on the couch.  Because of her lack of urgency, I got out of the birthing pool and into the single bed we had set up in the living room.  As the midwife slept, your dad and I lay in the bed laboring.  I was doing well and was actually falling asleep between contractions.  Your dad would wake me up before the contractions started so that I wouldn’t be startled.  It was strange because I could even feel you moving during the contractions.  You would kick and squirm while I was in pain, and I would say, “Can you just not move around right now?”
            At around 6:30, your grandpa came to pick up your brother so that he wouldn’t be there for the birth.  Around this same time, my contractions became more intense, and I got into the tub again.  When, I got into the tub, the midwife checked me, and I was only dilated to 7.  My contractions were about 5 minutes apart now.  About Forty minutes later, I had the urge to push, and I screamed out in pain.  One more push with a scream and you were out.  You were born at 7:46 a.m.  Your dad caught you.  You were covered with vernix, and I brought your gooey body up to my chest.  You opened your little eyes and gave a good healthy cry.  The midwife suctioned you to get the mucous out of your nose and mouth.  A little while later, your dad cut your umbilical cord.  Your dad held you as I got out of the tub to give birth to the placenta.  When the midwife examined the placenta, she said that it was quite roomy for a little baby. 
            I pushed you out so fast that I was sure that I tore, but when the midwife checked I didn’t even have a nick.  God was good, and all my good nutrition had paid off.  When the midwife knew that I was fine, she checked on you.  You were looking a little white so she did a little more suctioning and rubbed you down to get your circulation going.  You pinked right up. 
      After the birth, the midwife informed us of what a miracle baby you were.  She said
that most of her clients who have surgery during their pregnancy either lose their baby,
or they don’t carry the baby to full term.  Neither happened to you!  We were blessed
with our beautiful bundle of joy.  “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the
morning.” Psalm 30:5
            After things settled a little, I put you to my breast to nurse.  You were a natural.  That first time you nursed, you sucked and sucked for about 30 minutes.  You knew that your mom had good nutrition just waiting for you. 
            After you were done eating, I couldn’t wait to see how big you were.  The midwife weighed and measured you.  You weighed 7 lbs. 4 oz. and were 21 inches long. 
            Then I realized how hungry I was.  Your grandma then prepared us breakfast of eggs and sausage and chocolate chip bread and fresh orange juice.  It was delicious. 
            You had a great birthday!  Everyone who met you couldn’t stop saying how beautiful you were for a newborn.  We kept visitors to a minimum, and only your grandparents came to see you on the day of your birth.  

Your blessed mama!