Birthing j

This month marks baby j's birth month - he will be one year old. And because as I am typing this, a year ago this darling baby boy of mine was still in my belly I can't help but feel a bit nostalgic. Thus, I'm thinking of this post as a little tribute to this special day, when we welcomed our little son.

We still had roughly two weeks to go until our due date, and with e coming close to her date, I was almost certain we would still be going like this for a little while longer, though looking back apparently everyone except me had a feeling he'd come so soon. 

Earlier that weekend, some wonderful friends from church had thrown Little Man a Baby shower. My sister even flew in from PA and on my previous doctor's appointment that week, a kind nurse had asked if I wanted the doctor to check me. I graciously declined by saying I had a baby shower on Saturday and rather not wanted to know our progress. We all joked around that Baby Brother needed to stay put until after the shower. And he did. 

Sunday night, my sister's flight to State College left from Charlotte - an hour away from us. I drove her to the airport and on the way back home, stopped at the Cookout to purchase a red cherry milkshake for my wonderful husband. Walking into the fast food restaurant, the young man taking my order dropped his gaze on my ever so low hanging belly and then proceeded to ring me up. One milkshake for the pregnant lady coming right up. 

That night, from Sunday to Monday, I had gotten up to soothe e, who had awoken mid-dream, walking around her room a bit disoriented. Helping her back to bed, with a hug and a kiss good night, I felt a very low ache in my belly. It was so deep down and almost unnoticeable, that only thinking back to this night I now know this was the beginning. As imperceptible as it was, I returned to bed also.  

Dooming the early Monday morning alarm that woke me with a start, my body now felt so different than it did just a few hours before. While my husband snoozed the alarm to turn around for another few minutes of precious sleep, my body was aching with cramps, making it impossible for me to doze off again. I had to get out of bed and heat up a corn bag, which I laid on my back to help ease the pain. If that is a right thing to do or not, I don't know, but I felt the need to do it. And while I crawled back into bed, heat on my back, I told JC I didn't want him to go into work. I didn't want to be alone with a two-year-old and in labor, which I refused to believe that it was labor. I didn't want to be the "one" that called the doctor or showed up at the hospital just to be sent home again. 

A short while later I moved from the bed to the couch and threw a load of laundry in the washer somewhere in between. At nine we called his parents over, and I told JC to go into work. I still refused to think of it as labor, but regardless didn't want to be alone. He left for work, and my contractions continued. At nine thirty I called the doctor's office, pausing the conversation with each contraction. They started to hurt now. A friend had advised me to think of a cow to help relax with each contraction. And so I did, inwardly moo-ing every time.

The nurse gave me the green light to go ahead and come in. Since my in-laws were there, we all made our way into the truck, but not before I finished hanging up the wet laundry first. I clearly remembered my long recovery from having had e, and my goal was to have as much taken care of while I could still move around good {to some extend}. Finally, I shuffled my way to the truck. It was nice and cool outside, and the passenger seat was equipped with a seat warmer, which I turned on as high as possible, all the while thinking of the cow. My father-in-law drove us to the hospital, though all the previous times I did not remember the way taking that long. Nor did I ever notice all those potholes before. On my way, I called my sister, who had just made it home from a delayed flight to Washington DC. 
We made it to the hospital around 10 am, my father-in-law, despite my best efforts of trying to convince him not to, cautiously stopped at the emergency entrance. I was embarrassed, to say the least. After all, I was just in labor, not dying. 
But he did it anyways, and a nice elder man wheeled us to the check-in. Now here's the fun part - my grandmother-in-law had a heart surgery scheduled that morning, to have a pacemaker put in. And when the family heard we were at the hospital for the birth of her sixth great-grandchild, some of them broke away to come and visit us at the door, which I greatly appreciated. 

After check-in, and brief monitoring upstairs we were admitted to labor and delivery, but not before I was asked to walk across the hallway in just a hospital gown {think Something's Gotta Give for a moment}. That was right after 10 or so. The next hour and a half are a blur of contractions and pain, wonderful family and church members taking turns to check in on us. By now the peaceful cow had turned into a raging bull. 

I will skip the boring part of my husband at work {he made it in time}, and increasing contractions {no medications},  breaking the water {it doesn't hurt}, a cousin turned birthing coach {a blessing}, and a moment of my husband running out the door {to get the doctor}. Pushing is a freeing feeling. At least up until the baby is halfway out and you wait for the next contraction to finish his birth. That was just awkward. 

He was here. My son was here. The nurse handed him to me, and I held him on my chest, soaking him in. We done had another baby, I thought. 

Phone calls were made, pictures were taken, and people came to see him. Those first few hours after birth are exhilarating, with hormones on a high, I was ready to hug the whole world. We stayed on the same floor as my husband's grandmother, who came and visited us at night to meet her newest great-grandson. By Wednesday, I was ready to head home. 

The first weeks back home were quite an adjustment. Between exhaustion, tending to two small children two and under, and changing hormones tears fell a few times. Times of change also have me realize again, that my own family is far away and cannot take part in the joy of a birth the same way my husband's family can. Some days I can accept it better than others. 

Birthing j to me was a much better experience than e - even though in the midst of it I wasn't sure if e was this painful or not. But this time around, I knew what to expect. I knew it would hurt and I also knew to hold off a push or two once I felt the urge to push. My hospital bag was packed with only the essentials this time, and the diaper bag remained in the vehicle altogether - less is more in this instance. 
I enjoyed giving birth to him. I enjoyed giving birth to e. Birthing is a wonderful experience that I am very grateful for and I pray that we not only will be blessed with a few more babies but also that I may take a turn and do an even more natural birth in a birthing center or a water birth. But whether or not we have natural births or not, birthing centers or hospitals - what counts is that our babies have made it into this world and that is reward enough I think.

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