A Birth Story: January Sunshine

As I look back three years ago today, I remember the first time I gazed into my sweet second born’s face. Such a precious little soul that has had such an impact on our family. After a roller coaster pregnancy, we learned many lessons but especially how love grows as a family grows. Let me start from the beginning:

The news of this precious new baby came as a pretty big surprise. I was loving every minute of mothering my sweet little one year old and to say we were smitten with our first born would be an understatement. I daydreamed about what it would be like to have more children one day but wasn’t really planning for it (to be honest, we weren’t doing anything that would prevent it either. Just living life willy nilly.) A few months after our sweet son had his first birthday, we decided to make a somewhat abrupt life change and left the non-profit my husband worked for to move closer to family. Living near family had never been a top priority before we had kids. We had several adventures to pursue. But after having our first, we realized the blessing of being near others who loved our children as much as we did.

We moved to my husband’s parents’ town to begin our pursuit of settling down to raise a family. But we were in transition. So we moved in with his parents while we got settled looking for a place to stay and for my husband to find a job as he worked toward getting his teaching certification. One month turned into six months, and we felt all the transition pains as we worked toward our goal of getting settled.

The first month we lived with his sweet parents, I discovered much to my surprise (I really should not have been surprised at all) that we were expecting our second child!  When I saw the pregnancy test was positive, I laughed, cried, and fell to the bathroom floor. Babies are always good news but this was a lot to take in.  After all, I had no home to call my own, no income to support us, and now had a hard deadline to work all these life necessities out. I shouldn’t act like I would be the one to fix these issues. God had it all in His hands, thanks to His goodness. After seeing the test results, I  ran out of the house to tell my husband, who was climbing out of the boat after a morning of fishing. His parents live on a private lake that is full of some seriously huge fish just waiting to be fried up and gobbled up.  I don’t even think I said any words to my husband when I stood face to face with him. I just nodded with tears in my eyes and watched my husband smile from ear to ear as he wrapped his arms around me.

The next morning, I remember jumping out of bed and running to the bathroom to throw my guts up. I hadn’t thrown up once with my first pregnancy so I hoped this wasn’t foreshadowing difficult months to come. I find it so odd that I hadn’t felt nauseous at all before taking the test. Now that I knew I was pregnant, all the pregnancy symptoms seemed to wash over me at once.  I am so psychological, it’s kind of embarrassing.  Though, the pregnancy was a bit harder in general than my first one, this was the only time I actually had to hug the porcelain. Very thankful that it did not continue.

Through the rest of the pregnancy, my husband worked on his certification and interviewed with schools, as well as worked as a waiter at a local restaurant.  I got bigger and found an amazing group of midwives as I planned on having a home in which to have a home-birth when the time came. I also search halfheartedly for a job to help get us through this tough financial period. I could not get my mind around working and leaving my sweet one year old during the day! I knew he would be well cared for by my mother-in-law but I wanted to be the one that did everything for him. This was seriously hard for me to get over. And pregnancy hormones and mood swings did not help one iota.

Eventually, I found a job working at Lowes in the paint department for 4 hour shifts for 5 days a week. It ended up being a great experience and was just what we needed to get us through until my husband’s first teaching paycheck.  It was a strange time for us because my husband and I had pretty much opposite schedules and rarely saw each other. It made me so much more thankful for every moment I did get to spend with him.

Soon after my husband started teaching, we moved into a 1920’s duplex in the historic side of town and began making real strides toward getting things set up before the birth. We also worked hard at trying to insulate our old but awesome duplex so that our newborn wouldn’t feel winter’s blustery temperatures.

Because I only had two cycles between weening my son and getting pregnant with this second baby, we weren’t sure when the due date would be. My midwife settled on mid-December after calculating the due date based on my last period. As, the days rolled by, I felt huge all over! I even thought my face looked different than it had before. I did some walking and exercise, but not like I had with my first. And I did not spend much time mentally preparing for the birth. Settling in a new place and all the added stress of starting over was a pretty good pre-occupier of my thoughts.

Mid-December was fast approaching and I wasn’t measuring where I should. Everything else looked great and I was consistently measuring larger at each appointment, but still smaller based on my due date.  I wasn’t worried. I knew due dates are iffy especially when there isn’t a sonogram to help nail it down. After much thought and conversation, my midwives decided to move the date back. But because of a simple miscommunication, they moved it back two weeks instead of what the senior midwife suggested which was four weeks. That may sound confusing and nerve-racking, which it was to some degree.  But really it was the waiting and thinking this baby could come at any moment for 5 long weeks! I even called my parents thinking that I was going into labor one day. It was a total false alarm. But they wanted to stayed a couple days to wait for the baby to come. They didn’t want to leave only to find out that the baby decided that only then would be the right time to come into the world. Nothing is worse than someone waiting for your baby to come. It is totally out of the mother’s hands and yet she can feel so responsible. Eventually the decision was made to go back to life as normal until serious contractions started, which ended up being over a week later.

The day finally arrived and I felt the consistent waves of contractions around 6:30 that morning. The night before, I had stayed up with my mother-in-law and sisters-in-law watching the finale of Downton Abbey. It was great having one last girls night before starting over with a newborn.

The contractions slowly got stronger over time. I remember letting my mom know that the birth was actually going to happen and my parents drove to be there. I really wanted my mom to attend the birth this time. I knew she would be helpful but I also wanted her to have the amazing experience of witnessing a home-birth. I am so glad she made it. I remember her being so encouraging as I worked through a few more difficult contractions as my husband set up the birth pool and other things before the midwife arrived.

I don’t have many details about the birth in my memory any more. But I do remember getting into the birthing tub. Last time, the birthing tub was just what I wanted at the end of my labor. But this time, I remember sitting in the water, not ready yet to push. So I was aware that I was wet, half naked, sitting in a kiddie pool in the middle of my bedroom while my midwife, mother, and husband stared at me. It was weird. I felt kind of ridiculous like, “How did I get into this bizarre situation?” I also remember looking down at the water and noticing grass floating around. “He didn’t wash off the water hose like I asked him to,” was my only thought. I had to get out of that water pronto.

So I got out and toweled off and my midwife helped me get on my bed. Shortly after, I started pushing (not really feeling the urge but my midwife said I could). I remember having a difficult time with it. I know labor is always hard. But I was having a hard time staying focused, unlike with my first birth. I don’t know why really. Later I chalked it up to not being as prepared as I should have been.

I had read that a sign that the baby is about to come is when the mother expresses self-doubt. She will typically express that she doesn’t believe she can really push the baby out. I remember thinking this as I said out loud, “I don’t think I can do this!” I don’t think I really had self-doubt. I just really wanted the labor to be over so I thought if I said this, it would help it along. Again, I am so psychological, its embarrassing. My midwife looked at me very directly and asked what I meant by not thinking I can do this. I think she was trying to gauge whether I was going to need help as in medical intervention or if I was essentially, just complaining. I told her that it was just hard and that I am ready for it to be over. I saw her face relax. She then asked me to get off the bed and squat on the floor as I pushed, just to get things going. I reluctantly let her and my husband help me to the floor. I remember squatting down and my sweet midwife held my hands as she encouraged me to push. With this push, I heard a pop and looked down to see a burst of water hit the floor. Just like in the movies! I felt just like the Cone-head mom when her water broke. It went everywhere. All over my midwives pants which I apologized profusely. And I didn’t look, but I couldn’t stop thinking about how we had yet to get a bed frame and our box-spring was just sitting on the floor. Seriously disgusting.

My midwife then helped me get back on the bed and the real serious pushing began. I believe I only pushed one or two more times before the head was delivered and a push or two later for the rest of my sweet baby to come out to meet us. It was another boy! I could hardly believe it since this pregnancy was so different than our first son’s. But I was instantly over-the-moon in love with our precious Delano David.  8 lbs and 11 ounces of pure January sunshine.  After 11 hours of labor, on such a cold, January day, I had the warmest snuggle partner in the whole world.

I remember when Jenkins came home from my in-laws to meet his new brother. My sweet two year old peaked his head into my room to see me. When he saw I was holding another baby, he stood up straight and said “Bye bye, momma.” just like a big boy and closed the door. He started sleeping in a toddler bed that night by his own request. He became my husband best friend after that day for long time, even though he still gave me plenty of love.  But he grew up instantly that moment. It is still heart-breaking for me to think about it.  But when new babies come into the family, everyone has to adjust. Even though I hated losing my baby Jenkins, I was still giving him the best gift in the world, a brother. My newborn had his parents and his brother to love him. Love is never divided between children as if a parent has only so much to give. Love multiplies with every new family member that comes into the fold. It’s amazing watching a family grow. On that sweet day our family of three became a family of four, and we have never been the same since.

Thanks so much for reading! To read other birth stories, go to The Honest Truth page. Be sure to read my friend, Kate’s birth story from last week: A Birth Story: Three Kids Under An Ozark Roof. God bless!

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