Friday, October 23, 2020

Baby S' Birth Story

 Our dear fourth child, who I did mention a couple times in sporadic blog posts, is now FIVE weeks old! And it's about time he has his birth story written up. Yes, HE. We had our fourth boy on September 18th and the whole family is in love! Let's hop back to just before Baby S arrived...

With our first boy arriving very early at 35 weeks, boy #2 coming at 38 weeks and boy #3 at 40 weeks on his due date, my husband suggested that this one was going overdue. I just told him to not dare say that again! I had a gut feeling that this one was going to sneak up on us and would likely be fast (like the last guy!).

I had Braxton Hicks contractions on and off starting at around 18 weeks, so my goal was just to carry this little one to full term! I did run up to 35 weeks in this pregnancy and strength trained following a prenatal plan from G Personal Training through the week before baby was born.

Basically I stopped running at 35 weeks to spare my pelvic floor some stress as baby was getting bigger. Though I was always set on running through my previous pregnancies, I'm glad I did stop running when I did this time. The prenatal strength work went really well up until the last week before baby. Like our boy #3, in that last week baby's head dropped so low that it didn't feel good to do much of anything! Just hobble around and try not to irritate my pelvis. 

Last run with baby #4

During that 38th week, baby was sitting uncomfortably low and that irritated that pubic symphisis area. Thankfully it was in the last week of pregnancy with our third baby and it ended up being the last week of pregnancy with this guy, too! With Braxton Hicks contractions on and off since halfway through this pregnancy, it's hard to know when early labor really started but I knew things were moving along on the Wednesday before baby was born. I took the three boys out for a walk and had a few stronger contractions on the way home. Yep, no more walks too far from our house after that! The last thing I wanted to do was have a baby in front of a neighbor's house ;) 

The local homeschool co-op was set to have a corn maze field trip on Thursday and I wasn't able to get there for that. Again, the random strong contractions would come and I really didn't want to be 45 minutes from home! Our midwife came for our 39 week appointment that day and baby checked out great. She doesn't check my dilation or do an internal exam during these appointments, which I appreciate, because it really doesn't tell you much with a fourth pregnancy anyways. When baby decides to come, they will! And they will likely come fast. 

The boys love to listen to baby's heartbeat <3

Our midwife did mention that baby was sunny side up or "occiput posterior position (OP)", which isn't a huge issue but does increase the likelyhood of back labor. While toddler took his nap that afternoon, I tried to sit on all fours for a while to give baby a chance to move to a better position. I also had a dear friend and my brothers' & their wives praying for baby to move. 

As the stronger contractions started in increase, I was excited to finally meet our boy or girl though not very excited about going through labor and delivery again. I feel like I was more anxious this time and the memories of previous labors seemed so clear - honestly I felt a little dread thinking about transition and the really hard stuff. 

But as my husband says, "well that baby has to come out eventually" (so matter of fact). Might as well get it done! My prayerful friend gave me this Bible verse and I focused on that throughout the labor:

  You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. Isaiah 26:3

Yes, this is labor. Maybe for the last time?

So I had my family and friends praying for us. I let our midwife know contractions were becoming more regular. Fed the kids supper. Made a crockpot meal and two batches of muffins. Anything to keep moving and productive while in this early labor phase. Movement seems to speed up the process for me.

Contractions were bearable but strong enough that I stopped to breath through them, so I called my husband and had him come home from chisel plowing. We sat down to watch "Aladdin" for a family movie and then labor just,

Stopped. 

Nothing! I was so frustrated. Here I had him come home from the field and some people knew that labor had started, and then now it was all a false alarm? I was bummed and a little embarrassed for jumping the gun. 

So we put the kids to bed around 8:30 or 9, talked for a bit and then decided to watch an episode of "Yellowstone" before bed. And just as Kevin Costner came on the scene...

POP! 

At 10:00 p.m., my water spontaneously broke. That was so weird - my water has only broke during pushing in the past - and this time I hadn't even been having contractions any more. It felt SO loud that I looked at Leo and said, "did you hear that?!" He replied, "Hear what?" Huh. I guess it was just me. 

"Go get the *tub ready." (*this is an inflatable birthing tub with a throw away liner, not our bathtub)

"I'm calling Rebekah!"

"Are you serious?" He said. 

"YES, I'm serious!"

Interesting dialogue, right? Our midwife was grabbing her things and driving to us quickly, though it was a 1 hour 30 minute trip ahead of her. 

I laid there in our bed and didn't budge for 1 hour 30 minutes in an attempt to not let anymore water leak out, which would make labor move too fast. I'm all for a fast labor but we really wanted our midwife there this time (if you haven't heard the story of our third boy, you can catch up on that here :).

Active labor contractions are hard. Especially hard when you don't want to move. Extra especially hard when you also have to pee! 

Our midwife drove like the wind and I was thankful she didn't have to deal with winter roads this time. I may or may not have called her a few times on her drive, you know, just to check how far away she was. So maybe a I was a little desperate at that point?

As soon as she was through the door, I walked down the stairs and had Leo help, just in case I fell or something. It must have been around 11 p.m. or so when I got downstairs and finally went to the bathroom. I didn't last there long before heading to the birthing tub. Leo had it all set (he's a pro by now!) and ready at the right temp, Rebekah was here and baby was good to come whenever he or she wanted! 

I ended up pushing for about 40 minutes and it just felt harder this time; like I wasn't pushing efficiently or something. It seemed like no matter how I tried, he was still sitting up high in my belly. I know I went into labor already exhausted from a day with three kids. That could be part of it. I felt frustrated and I don't know how mamas do it when they have to push for hours!

Eventually the pushes paid off and baby was almost there! Our midwife mentions that I can feel baby's head and I'm always hesitant to. Like maybe if I think too much about what is actually going on, I will pass out or something?

But I did it anyways. I touched baby's soft hair, thought for a second if that was our little girl or boy and that this may be the last time I experience this. 

After a few very uncomfortable but productive pushes, baby was out and here's a testament to the power of prayer: Baby had turned before being born and didn't arrive sunny-side up! Praise God and thank so many for their prayers!

1:02 a.m., 7 lbs. 6 oz. and 21 inches long

We took a peek and there you have it, our baby BOY! We had thought long and hard about girl names, while giving little thought to boy names. Good thing the only name we had thought up ahead of time was a winner! As far as social media and the blog is concerned, he will be baby "S" :)

Water births are amazing!

Our older boys (7, 5, and 3 in November) slept through everything! Only our oldest snuck down at 2 a.m. because we must have been talking a little loud. He was in a sleep daze but seemed excited to see baby. 

We were so thankful my parents came to pick up the older boys at 3 p.m. that day so we could have some time with just baby. That's the crazy thing about homebirth - there are no days in the hospital after baby to recover. Good help is essential because baby comes but life still goes on! Loud, energetic older siblings and all.

Leo and I had five days to enjoy having baby S all to ourselves. Really this is the longest time we have had alone together since before having kids! (I mean baby was there, but he's pretty chill) 

The quality time, just the three of us, was really sweet and very hard to come by.

The big brothers have been loving on their little brother since the moment they met him! So many kisses. Hugs. Darn near smothering but it's sweet and these boys are really the best blessing. 

Messy, chaotic, loud.
God is so good to us!

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