"When we had our children, our ideas changed somewhat. Thenceforward we lived only for them; they made all our happiness and we would never have found it save in them. In fact, nothing any longer cost us anything; the world was no longer a burden to us. As for me, my children were my great compensation, so that I wished to have many in order to bring them up for Heaven" -- Saint Zelie Martin, mother of St. Therese of Lisieux, canonized October 18, 2015 along with her husband St. Louis Martin.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Lucky #7

I'm blasting through these birth stories. I am determined!

Luckily #7 is a synch to tell:

8pm: brother asks if husband wants to play poker

I say yes, but no way is my husband leaving me this pregnant (I am 4 days overdue). Poker games last late.

8:30pm brothers and brother-in-law + sister (and 2 month old sleeping in a car seat) arrive for a night of fun.  I chat with sister as menfolk play cards.

10pm: I have one good contraction while chatting with sister.  I yawn.  Sensitive and intelligent sister suggests I go to bed and she get her man to leave soon.

10:27pm: big contraction in bed, urgent need to use restroom (use your imagination, I'll spare the details here)
10:30 pm: brothers and all leave.

10:35 pm:  husband comes to bed, I hesitate, but suggest to him that I am in labor and get out of bed.

I panic, start to shake. Loving husband calms me down. I note that I have not had another contraction and doubt whether or not I am in labor.  I decide to return to bed.  BIG contraction.

I panic and tell my husband to call the midwife immediately.  Poor husband cannot locate our phone book. I am having more contractions, running the bath (you know me and tub deliveries), and ...still "stuck in the bathroom", as it were.

I hear thrashing downstairs. I go to rescue my distracted husband by showing him where I had secreted the phonebook away to (the kitchen desk, near the phone).

11 pm we convince the midwife to come.
11:05 pm Husband calls my Mom to give her a heads up in case of emergency.
11:06 pm contraction on stairs as I return to our bedroom. I suggest I go to the hospital for an epidural. I am not kidding. I do NOT want to do this.

Return to bathroom.  Attempt the hot bath.  Big contraction. The water isn't helpful. I am miserable (not in pain, but full of self-doubt and fear of the impending labor).

Blessed husband suggest I just lay down on our bed (already!) and let him push on my back (I always get back labor).

11:20 on bed, water breaks.  11:20.30: I feel the head.
11:20.31: someone shouts "Call 911! Call 911!"

Dearest, beloved, and intelligent husband calmly declares he will "call the midwife".  (Puts a new spin on that BBC series, doesn't it).

I hear words like "Do you see the head?"; and "I see the head".  "Catch the baby and hand him to his mom".  "The baby needs to be warm and dry; I repeat, warm and dry".

At some point all of that became background noise.  Again, I noticed the quiet glow of the room in the middle of yet another stormy night.  Once it occurred to me that the life of my child was going to depend on myself and my husband, I became very very calm.  I also knew I needed to help my husband out (he's not the type, guys! Not the type for this!). I looked at him (in a very unlike-myself-during-moments-of-delivery way) and said "I'm fine".  And I was.  He looked back at me blankly for one moment, and then we both were brought back by the voice of the midwife on speakerphone.

The moment my 9 pound 1 ounce baby boy was delivered, I knew he was fine. He was screaming lustily. He was bright red.  I know what lethargic babies with cords wrapped around their necks look like.  This boy scored 10's on his Apgar's!

Time: 11:27pm

I strongly reassured my husband of my baby's health.  I am not sure why my husband didn't pass out at this point.  Instead he put tons of blankets around me and the baby (he took the "warm and dry" directive seriously).  We waited in the quiet warmth of our bedroom, delighting in our seventh child, praising God for the miracle we had just shared in, just the two of us.  I fell in love with my husband that night in a new and powerful way.  For days, my husbands hands held a magical power over me. I would look at them and marvel at what they had done: deliver our child!

The midwife arrived in time to deliver the placenta.  She checked me and the baby, tucked us in, and by 2am said goodnight, with a promise to come back in the morning.

The great fun was the children coming in the next morning to find a new baby snuggled in next to me.

At risk of making this post longer than necessary, I will now state what is admittedly giving me a bit of trouble this pregnancy.  My beloved does not wish to repeat the above performance, and I will admit that while it was a blessed gift, it doesn't necessarily seem prudent to choose an unattended delivery.
My husband suggested it be best to return to a hospital for the birth of #8.  Please stay tuned...

Birth #6

I took a good break, but I'm determined to write about my last two deliveries before baby #8 requires one of his/her own.

After my traumatic return to hospital birthing, following the two home births, I threw up my hands once more and returned home for the birth of my sixth.  Once again, I figured it couldn't be worse than the hospital, and I knew for a fact certain negatives would be ruled out.  One huge negative that I did not mention in the post about baby #5 was that after he was safely delivered, they took him from me (as is usual) to place under the warming lights and put plastic i.d. tags on and give shots to [Vitamin K and the eye goop for protection from STD's] (though I declined them).  The nurses left my screaming and naked baby under the lights as they chatted nurse-gossip.  I was too shy to demand my baby be brought to me.  It is common sense that a baby, snuggled into his mother and nursing, will be right warm and toasty...and not naked, screaming and alone during his most precious first moments from the womb.

Anyone who has experienced the peaceful calm of a baby delivered into a dark bathroom, in a warm bath of water will be as horrified as I was.

At 2 am I awoke with contractions.  It is important to note that until this sixth baby, I had never allowed myself to go into labor naturally.  It was a long path of trust, mine.

By 6:30 am my Mom came to pick up my waking (and very excited) children and whisk them off to early Mass and a day of spoiling.  My midwife had arrived moments earlier.  I rested in my bed until about 8:30, at which point I was at 9cm!  My water had not broken, and my labor was very very slow.  I had contractions ten minutes apart! I was able to rest, walk to the bathtub, return to bed, and even eat a yogurt.  But that little baby didn't seem to want to come!

It was a stormy night, and the day was dark and rainy. It was so warm and peaceful in the glow of my bedroom and bath.

I got impatient, and less comfortable.  At 12:30 I got in and out of the bath one last time, lay down in my bed...and my water broke.  My plump and dark haired daughter was born two contractions later.

After soaking in her beauty and praising God for her, I watched my midwife swaddle her in new clothes, diaper, and blanket right on my bed. I nursed her for a good long time as my midwife checked me out and whisked away plastic bedding.  When she fell asleep, I handed her to my husband and took a shower and put on new pajamas.  The midwife reminded us to eat.

We made the exciting phone calls and that evening, after a dinner alone, the children returned to meet their new sister.  One by one they came in, sighed, ahhed, and held their little baby.

I felt that I was finally given the gift of a labor (not induced) and delivery that was pretty much exactly how I wanted it.  [For the sake of full disclosure, I will not hold back the moment in which I said "I can't do this"...as the baby came out.  Right before then the midwife had told my husband to hold my leg in place. I looked at my beloved and said "do not touch my leg!"...poor man looked haplessly at my midwife.  She told me I would have to keep it back (or whatever she said).  Anyway, the baby was moments from arrival, so I don't count that as too big of a detraction from the above story.  I just would feel guilty if I didn't admit that not every single moment of labor was fun and games.:)]

Yea! 6 down, 1 to go! (would it be too much to ask you to "bear" with me?! haha! Rapier wit, I tell you. Rapier.)