Thursday, September 18, 2014

Welcome, Baby Peter!!


What an exciting month we have had! Four weeks ago we welcomed Peter to our family. As He has been in the past, so He was again: God was so kind and faithful to us through our little birth-journey.

(2 weeks before baby arrives)

My Mom drove down over a week before the said event. She and I were able to get some good things done around the house--like putting up all the tomatoes on my counter and getting the last of the baby gear ready.

(she's here!)

(making pesto)

We had all kinds of fun while she was here waiting for the baby.

(out to eat at Cheddar's. It was actually really, really pleasant to hang out with the kids!)



My dad pulled into town the night before Peter came. He got to hang out with us and help put the finishing touches on our packing for our trip.

Trip?? Yes. We were planning on having this baby in Tallahassee, Florida--a two hour drive away.

We had such a great experience giving birth to Zack "naturally" (i.e. no medications) that we wanted to travel further down the "natural" road. Unfortunately, Home Births are not exactly legal in Alabama. Well, you can have your baby at home if you want, but you can't have help from a midwife--legally. So our options were: 1) Give birth at home by ourselves, unassisted. 2) Find an "underground" midwife who practices illegally in Alabama. 3) Drive over the state line to use a legal midwife. 4) Give up and go to the hospital.

We chose to drive to Florida and use a midwife. It was such a great experience. We had heard of The Birth Cottage from our friend, Shayne, who was our birth instructor last time. We went and checked it out, and loved it. The Birth Cottage is this snug little house nestled back off a crowded narrow street near downtown Tallahassee. We were greeted by a lovely flower garden out front, and by Peachy and Layla, the midwives, inside. I thought their names were just perfect--the whole place is very earthy, and a little hippy feeling. It was just lovely. :)


The night my dad got here we put the finishing touches on our packing. We had a long list of "birthing essentials" including sheets, towels, absorbent pads, diapers, and Depends :). Mom helped us get the back of the Expedition ready for an accidental roadside birth. We were ready to go.

That same night I had some contractions that caught my attention. I had been waking up to go pee about every hour for weeks and weeks...and I often had contractions. I told myself to ignore them--I was so tired of getting my hopes up and being disappointed. But then at about 5:30 I had one that was in my "top 5" for this pregnancy. At the end of the contraction I felt that classic "pop" that I've heard and read about. It felt like a water balloon inside me had popped. Nothing gushed out, but I woke up Tim and asked him to get me a towel. Man, he hopped out of bed like there was a fire. I was all calm and collected, and he was hurriedly getting out clothes to put on. I loved how he got right down to business.

I wanted to take a shower and give myself time to adjust to being in labor. I had 2 contractions in the shower...not much to worry about. After I got out, I kept my eye on the clock. While putting on make-up--contraction. Ten minutes later--contraction. Then five minutes later. Then three. It was beginning to be difficult to finish getting ready.

I came downstairs to finish getting ready. We just needed to pack some snacks and say goodbye. I was worthless...I concentrated through my contractions while Tim got our waters and trail mix and ice chips (just had to have ice chips! First time I've ever wanted them!).

We finally hit the road at about 6:40. My contractions were probably about 3 minutes apart still, and while neither of us said anything, we were both worried that we wouldn't make it to Tallahassee. I sent out a text to a few friends to pray for us, and wasn't able to pay attention to their replies at all.

(Looks a little tense, doesn't he?)

Fortunately we had a minor distraction on the way. I asked if Tim had gotten ahold of our midwife. I knew he had texted her at home, but I didn't know if she had responded. Turns out she hadn't. He tried calling and got a wrong number recording! Yikes! He tried calling the Birth Cottage and got an answering machine! No one knew we were coming, and I was in pretty hard labor. My anxiety made my contractions slow way down for a little bit while we figured it out. Finally Tim realized that I had entered the midwife's number wrong in my phone, and we were able to get ahold of her. It was such a relief! My contractions get right back on track...but I wonder if that little break was what helped us get to Tallahassee with out having a baby in the car :).

Labor in the car was not as bad as I imagined. It was intense, but the time just flew by. I put on my favorite pandora channel and let it play quietly. Aside from the midwife-phone-call-crisis, there was no conversation...until Tim asked for an update on how I was doing. We were about 30 mins from Tallahassee, and I tried to at least start letting him know when my contractions were.

We got to the Birth Cottage at about 8:30. Tim hadn't sped at all, even though he was nervous. When we parked the car, Peachy came out to meet us. I burst into tears of relief. Tim came and held me till I pulled myself together, and then we went inside.


Peachy got us settled in one of the bedrooms. I sat on a birthing ball and leaned on the bed while Tim sat behind me and gently rubbed my arms and shoulders. I tried having him rub my back real hard--my back was hurting so bad--but the effort it took to not let him push me over was too much and I had him stop.

We probably worked like that for an hour or so. Then I had one super-duper contraction. I've read a lot of birth stories, and some of my favorites are in the Spiritual Midwifery book by Ina May. She would tell her patients that they weren't going to explode, even though it felt like it. I kept telling myself that..."I'm not going to explode...I'm not going to explode."

This labor was so much more intense that the last. I remember Zack's labor being very quietly leaning on Jesus to get me through each contraction. This time I felt panicky and out of control. My prayers were along the lines of, "Help me Lord! Be my hiding place!"

Well, during that super-duper contraction, I felt the baby move down a little. When the midwife came in next I told her how I felt. She said maybe she would check me and see if I was far enough along to get in the tub. They like you to be at least 8 cms before you get in, to avoid slowing down your labor. She checked me (the first time in my whole pregnancy--different than at the doctor!) and I was at 9 cms! Peachy went and started filling up the tub while I sat on the bed and breathed through some more contractions.

When the tub was full, I took one last potty break. Sitting there on the toilet I felt a bit of an urge to push, so I did a little. It took a huge effort to get into the tub--it felt great but I had a contraction as I was climbing in. My expectations of the birthing tub didn't match up to reality. I expected relative bliss and relief. It did feel nice, but the buoyancy threw me off. Just like I didn't like to brace myself when Tim was rubbing my back, I felt like I had to brace myself in the tub to keep from floating...and I didn't like it. I started to feel like I was going to throw up--not because I was nauseous, but because it just felt like there was nowhere for whatever was in my stomach (one peanut and about 5 grapes) to go but up. I had another contraction and pushed a little while Peachy was out getting me a bowl (which, thankfully, I never had to use). I asked her if I could push and she said I could. Tim went out to get the other midwife, Layla, and I think I pushed again while he was gone. Once everyone was in the room (2 midwives and Tim), I was really, really needing to push. I think about on my second big push Peter's head came out. Man, I felt so different from how I felt with Zack. With Zack I felt in control of myself--in control of how hard I was pushing. With Peter--no control. I felt like my body was taking over. It felt way more like in the movies which I have been poo-pooing for the last 3 years. I felt like a wild woman.

Once his head was out the contraction was over. So, there we were, just hanging out till the next contraction. Everyone was reminding me to relax, which I did with some effort. I felt panicky when that next contraction came. I had such a big feeling of knowing what needed to be done, and not wanting to do it. Thank goodness nature takes over. His body was much harder to push out. I was aware of Peachy working and working to get his shoulders out. But, out he came, and then relief (it was 10:26--not quite 5 hours after my water broke!). They put him up on my chest, all purple and warm and wet. He was just sort of in a ball, and no one had seen if we had a boy or a girl. We let him hang out there. Someone was dipping warm water over him. He didn't make much of a fuss and I remember urging him in my mind to breathe and cry. Finally he did, though I don't remember him crying much. He was real rattly and congested sounding, but they didn't suction him out. I loved how confident the midwives were with his ability to transition to his new world--breathing and swallowing and living. It was peaceful to me. Finally, after what seemed like forever, I rolled him over enough to see that we had yet another boy. That was something I had really wanted--to be able to discover that for myself instead of having someone else blurt it out.

When Peter's cord stopped pulsing it was time to cut the cord. Tim got to do that right up on my chest. Then they gave Peter to Tim and worked on getting me out of the tub.

(Proud Papa)

No one ever really talks about after the birth. Man, there was so much blood in that tub. It was appalling. I had never considered that. They said it was normal. When the water was all out there was so much mess in the tub--blood and yuck. I'll spare you the nasty details. I wish I had known how gross it would be. I am so, so, so thankful I didn't have that baby in the back of the car. What an enormous mess it would have made, and probably would have scarred my husband for life.

Next I got to shower off and get into bed to nurse Peter. I loved not being in a hospital bed. Tim went out and got us lunch. I had 3 requirements before they would let me go home: pee, nurse the baby, and eat a high-protien meal. Tim got me some chicken fingers and a chocolate milkshake. Yum!! I felt great eating and hanging out.

(I think this picture is so hippy looking. I love it.)

After eating, they had me get up and go to the bathroom to get ready to go home. On the way back I almost fainted...blackness started creeping into the edges of my vision and I heard that familiar rushing noise in my ears. Peachy rushed me back to my bed and whipped my feet up in the air till I felt better. It was crazy how fast it hit me. I laid on the bed and just felt awful.

They certainly weren't going to let me go home in that they told us to lay down and take a nap and see how we felt in a couple hours. It felt good to rest, even though I couldn't fall asleep. A couple hours later they started doing all the necessary things to get us out of there. No one had weighed Peter yet...or done any sort of counting fingers and toes. So we did all that. He weighed in at 9 pounds 12 ounces (and that was after he peed and pooped!). His chest measured bigger than his head! No wonder it was hard to push him out. Everything checked out just fine.

(sweet Peachy checking him out)

We finally got packed up and headed home. I still felt pretty crumby, but better than I had earlier. Tim drove us the 2 hours home...Peter slept the whole way, thankfully, and I dozed some, and texted some.

(ready to go...)

We got home around dinner time. Sharon and Larry were here, and Mom and Dad, and of course the boys. I headed straight up to bed, while everyone else met Peter downstairs. It was so crazy to think about that I had been to Tallahassee and back, and had a baby, and was back in my own bed is less time than it had taken me to labor and birth Zack. I loved not sleeping in a hospital this time!!

(Grandmother and all the boys)

(Grandma and Peter)

(Grandmother and Peter)

(the next morning)

Thank You, God, for your protection and provision. Thank you for this beautiful baby boy. We give him to you to do with as you please, and we pray that he glorifies you!