Saturday, November 26, 2011

Luke's Birth Story

Luke Dinkins was born October 4, 2011 at 1:05a.m. He was 7 lbs. 14 oz. and 21 inches long. Now, for the rest of the story...

Once again, we were all sick right before my due date. Will says if there is a next time, we are all going to be under quarantine 2 weeks prior to my due date, so we don't have this problem again. But even though I was thankful that the baby didn't come on time (my EDD was 9/25), after several days had passed and we were all better, I was starting to worry. My midwife Lisa Byrd (Covenant Birth Center) couldn't legally deliver past 10/9, which meant we would be on our own at home or have to go to the hospital to have the baby (the horror!) :-)

Well, we increased our walking (the weekend before he came we walked about 3 miles) and I waited. I was feeling rather anxious, but that Saturday before the baby came, God gave me such peace that all would be well-that He would make all things beautiful in His time. And then at church on Sunday morning, the song in the hymnal which was across the page from the one I was playing was, "In His Time." Just more confirmation of Who was in control of all this!

Monday morning, I finally lost the bloody show-wahoo! I was so excited. I was hopeful that labor would start soon and it did. I had a few contractions throughout the day but nothing I was timing. But around 3:45 I called Will to tell him to come home. I had just had a stronger contraction and the kids were fussy and I was starting to panic. But in the hour it took Will to get home, things had quieted down-only one more contraction and it wasn't bad. I was finishing up Ella's school for the day and wanted us to go walking right away to hopefully get the contractions going again. We only walked for about 10 minutes and I had 3 contractions in that time, so I was hopeful. But back at home I went almost an hour w/out having another contraction, so I decided to do some nipple stimulation to get things moving again. I used the breast pump and had a 40 second strong contraction, but then nothing for 15 minutes, so I pumped on the other side. Once again, I had another strong contraction followed by nothing for 15 minutes or so. I was tired of pumping and just decided I was going to leave it alone, but soon after that, the contractions started coming more consistently. And by that, I mean from around 7:00p.m. on, I had a contraction anywhere from 3-10 minutes apart lasting anywhere from 15-40 seconds in length. I called Lisa and she said to let her know if things were still progressing at 9p.m.

(Taken about 9p.m. before anyone had arrived.)

Well, they were and even though it was still inconsistent like this, with it being my 3rd, she decided to come on and I'm glad she did. She had at least an hour's drive too. I stopped writing down my contractions soon after she arrived, which was about 10:30p.m. At this point, my birth photographer Christy Gant (Studio 9 Photography) was already at the house and Lisa's apprentice Kristen arrived soon after. I was still talking and making jokes in between contractions and they were getting things set up, but by 11:45 p.m., I was definitely in the zone. No more talking and by this point, they had all moved in to the den to wait. My contractions finally did get a little more consistent-about 3-5 minutes apart and 30-75 seconds in length-let me tell you that 75 seconds about killed me AND Will since he was my birthing stool!

I used the birthing ball some in the beginning and looked at my birth affirmation cards some before things got too intense. The 3 main cards I read over and over were, "I can do this because Christ gives me strength," "All you have to do is relax and breathe-nothing else," and the Psalm 23 adaptation taken from The Jesus Storybook Bible. I wrote the following lines on a verse card and put a sheep sticker on it. It was beside me throughout the labor and I often got Will to read it to me.
Inside my heart is very quiet. As quiet as lying still in soft and green grass in a meadow by a little stream. My Shepherd knows where I am. He is here with me; He keeps me safe. He makes me strong and brave.
The part that I kept repeating over and over to myself as it started getting more intense was "My Shepherd knows where I am. He is here with me; He keeps me safe." I didn't care about feeling strong and brave; I certainly didn't-I just needed to know He was with me and would get me through it.

Once again, like at Caleb's birth, I could feel the baby moving down inside me-what a glorious feeling-truly amazing. But unlike my labor with Caleb where I dealt with contractions by leaning into the dresser and swaying from side to side, with this one, I squatted down during every contraction. It really is true that every labor is different and what worked for one might not for the next one. By the time I got to the contraction that was 75 seconds in length, I was almost on the floor because I was squatting so low.

By this time, I knew I was getting close and Will was so thankful because he had been holding my whole weight up for quite some time now. I started blowing on Ella's small pinwheel since I had heard you should blow the baby out and not push so you don't tear. I had torn with the last two and was really hoping I could avoid it with this one. I wanted to continue in the position we were in so I could help the baby out (I really wanted to catch the baby myself), but Lisa had no where to get in that position-Will was behind me and the dresser in front. I really did want someone to apply warm cloths (Lisa's soaks washcloths in ginger root that has been warming in a crock pot) to also aid in preventing tearing, so I had to change positions. She suggested hands and knees or side lying on the bed. There was no way I was moving up to the bed, so I went to hands and knees and continued blowing the pinwheel. Things were very intense at this point and I remember shouting, "It's not blowing!!!" I was blowing on the pinwheel as hard as I could, and the stinkin' thing was not turning. It was also hard to hold it and be on my hands and knees too-thankfully Lisa suggested moving the birthing ball to me, so I had that to rest my elbows on.

But all bets of blowing the baby out were off when Lisa said, "Laura, give me just a little push. " Um, excuse me, I don't know how to do little when it comes to pushing a baby out. Seriously, I've had 3 tries at this and still can't get it right. If one of you has a suggestion, please let me know! :-) So, quickly out comes the head. The baby came out to his lip and then on the next push, his hand came out right next to his head. Maybe that had something to do with my tearing-who knows? Then the baby's all out and Will says, "It a boy! You were right. I wasn't sure, but you were right all along." Will passed the baby up to me and I just hovered over him in disbelief and love. It's so hard to go from such intensity to such ecstasy in just a brief moment. But oh the relief-it was over-praise God! I said over and over, "Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Jesus." He had helped me through it, and I was so happy to be holding my healthy baby boy.

He came out covered in vernix, so obviously he and God did know what they were doing-he needed those extra 9 days in the womb. And he looked just like Will's baby picture. The same squinty little eyes. And only 7 pounds, 14 ounces. After the birth, I looked at him many times and thought, "He is SO tiny-why was it so hard to get him out? Why did I tear with that little tiny head?" I tore a little bit less with Caleb and he was 8 lbs. 15 ounces! Lisa had even told me a few weeks prior that she was thinking that this baby may be a girl since I was measuring small and Caleb had been so much bigger. Ella heard that and her hopes of having a little sister revived.

(Lisa was doing his newborn exam. See his furrowed brow? He has this all the time unless he's sleeping. It's like he's worried we're not doing something quite right.)

Speaking of Ella, the really amazing thing about the labor was that the kids slept through the whole thing. I had expected the kids to watch the birth but I didn't know I'd have the baby in the wee hours of the morning or that they would be in such deep sleep that they wouldn't wake when they heard me pushing the baby out (this is the only time I get loud-and I think it's pretty loud). I even contemplated getting them up right after he was born, but thought, "Why wake them? They'll never be able to get back to sleep," so we just enjoyed that time with Luke ourselves and knew they would be getting a wonderful surprise in the morning.

They did know when they went to bed that I was in labor and that hopefully the baby would come soon. I'll never forget their reactions. Caleb woke first and when he came in the room he was a little perturbed to find someone in his snuggle spot. I explained to him that he had a new baby brother and he could climb across and snuggle on the other side next to Daddy. He was still half asleep so he didn't say anything but just got beside Daddy and dozed off again. Ella was a completely different story. Oh, how I wish I had the video camera ready to capture her amazement. "A baby! You had the baby? Is it a boy or a girl?" It was dark in the room and hard for her to tell. I paused a moment. How would she react? She had so wanted a sister. "It's a boy, sweetie." And her precious response? "Oh, I love him!" Then she proceeded to give him lots of snuggles and hasn't stopped since. She's a wonderful little Mama to Luke.

Looking back, the only thing I wish I had changed was getting on my hands and knees to push the baby out. If God blesses us with another little one, I won't be in that position. I just felt a disconnect to the baby when he was coming out. He was way down there it felt like-so was Will and Lisa and I was by myself with the ball. It's helpful for me to look at someone's face when it's pushing time. It calms me and keeps me steady and somewhat sane. I didn't have that with this one. And also I couldn't help thinking, "This isn't the best position for pictures!" So, I'll just stay squatting down or maybe even try another water birth if there's another little one. But still, all in all, it was a great birth and I'm so thankful to my Savior, my husband (I couldn't have done it without him!) and my birth attendants. "To God be the glory, great things He hath done."

Monday, June 27, 2011

And Baby makes 5!

It's been way too long since I've updated this! In January Will and I found out we were expecting our newest addition. We were both super excited as we had been trying for almost a year. I'm due September 25, so I'm 27 weeks now. It's been awesome feeling the baby move around though I must say I don't feel quite as connected w/this babe as I did w/my other 2. I think it has something to do w/the fact that I am so busy tending to the other 2, so I don't have as much chatting time w/this one. Ella is super excited about meeting her brother or sister (and especially about holding him/her-of course, she really would prefer a sister!) and Caleb gets the concept (I think), but he's started to be extra clingy lately, so I'm afraid it will be quite the adjustment for him when this one pops out. Caleb will be celebrating his 3rd b-day October 5, just 10 days after my due date. I hope to at least make that day a little special for him as much as I can. He'll need lots of extra attention, I'm sure. And it doesn't help that he decided to stop his "Me-Me" about 2 months ago; at least if he were still drinking some breastmilk, I could comfort him w/that and he could share some special time w/baby. He's stuck in that transition from baby to little boy. From wanting to do it all himself to sometimes still needing his Mommy to hold him. And that's okay-I'm in no hurry for him to grow up.

We aren't going to find out the sex of the baby-it will be a surprise once again. And so far, we have come to no agreement on girl names. I think if it's a boy, it may be Luke. We shall see. And we're planning on a homebirth once again with Lisa Byrd as our midwife, but we're still praying about it as we're open to God directing us to the birth center if He thinks that's where we need to be (it's much closer to a hospital than we are at our house.) I think this time around I won't even try for a waterbirth; Caleb's birth was fine w/out it. And it will be easier not to have to worry about setting it up. I'm glad to have had the experience with Ella's birth though.

And speaking of Ella, she just finished up her first year of homeschooling! She's now officially a 1st grader! It was a wonderful though at times trying experience. God still has much to teach me about patience. But the awesome thing is my little girl knows how to read! Her current favorite easy reader series is Henry & Mudge. I think we'll continue with Math-U-See next year, she'll continue reading books, and we'll introduce Story of the World. Science will be more nature studies outside, and we will continue reading through the Gospels and memorizing Scripture. Not sure how baby #3 and baby #2 (who is starting to take more sporadic naps) will all fit into this, but I'm sure God will give the grace we all need to get it done.

Hopefully I'll update this come October with a wonderful birth story.

21 weeks.