Sunday, January 1, 2012

Little Baby Austin

We have a new baby!

Well, okay, he's not BRAND new, but he's pretty new. And I do want to introduce him before his first birthday.

(Funny thing about having seven kids: There are tons of things to blog about but very little time to blog. I do plan on making an attempt to blog more frequently, though. How else will the grandparents keep up with the kids who are growing at the speed of light? Nathan suggested I spend less time reading other people's blogs and more time writing our own. Point taken.)

So, back to that adorable new baby. He is the joy of the entire family! Even Steffen has come around. He loves to smile and coo. He’s patient, and as long as there are loving arms and a rocking chair, he’s happy.

Now, on to the story of his birth: (Warning: Long Blog Post to Follow)
We were expecting the newest little person on October 14th. I’ve had babies both early and late (and even one on the due date), so there was no telling when the newest addition would arrive. I thought I would go past the due date this time.
On the morning of Friday, October 7th, I was teaching Latin to my elementary aged students, and I started having contractions. Nothing too terrible, but it was a bit annoying to have to talk through them. When we all got home around lunch time, I decided to lie down and see if they’d let up. Nope. They actually felt stronger when I was lying down, so I got up. I wasn’t timing them ( I HATE timing contractions) but they were about 10 to 15 minutes apart. They continued on like that into the evening.

I decided that I REALLY needed Indian food, so I called Bryan and we met him at the restaurant. We had a delicious meal, and then headed home. I had enough contractions on the way home to make me think that driving probably wasn’t the best activity for me to be doing.

Bryan insisted on timing the contractions that evening. (He LOVES timing contractions.) So, over my objections, he clocked them at about 10 minutes apart. I was hoping that I’d be able to sleep. When I was in labor with Steffen, I couldn’t sleep through the contractions and I was EXHAUSTED by the time he finally came. This time, however, I only woke up a few times. The rest of the time, I dreamed that I was having contractions. It was really funny! I would be talking to people, and then I’d shush them when a contraction would start and breathe through it- just like in real life.

Now, Saturday was Yom Kippur, and Bryan was of course fasting. I was too pregnant to fast, and I was concerned that he might be shaky or something if these contractions really took off. He didn’t think it would be a problem, and, in fact, decided to go ahead and go to a Yom Kippur service. I should have known then that this labor was the real thing because I was, shall we say, less than pleased about that.

Bryan was gone for several hours. Justin had gone with him, but everyone else was with me. I was bouncing on the exercise ball, pacing around- usual labor stuff. Steffen kept climbing on me during the contractions and driving me crazy. That little guy loves his Mommy!

When Bryan got home, I tried to lie down for a nap, but I was far too uncomfortable. I tried getting in the tub instead, and that’s when things really started to take off. The contractions got closer together- about every five minutes- and my back started to hurt.

We were supposed to go to a friend’s birthday party that night after sundown, and I had already decided that I wasn’t going to make it. Instead, our friends got more than just our presence at the party. They got all six of our kids for the night! The little birthday boy was thrilled with the sleepover. Our friends have five kids of their own, and let it be known that they actually managed to get all 11 kids to church the next day! Now, THAT’S impressive.

When Bryan got back from dropping the kids off at their house, he came back ready to go to the midwife right away. Since she was in Austin, it was going to take us about an hour to get there. I, on the other hand, had different plans. I wanted to stay home as long as possible and just keep doing whatever I wanted: laundry, mopping, baking, anything to take my mind off the contractions. He eventually won out and we got in the car just before 10 PM.

The drive there wasn’t too bad, although I still much prefer to give birth in the comfort of my own home. (Background: The midwife I had used before was booked, and the midwife in Austin wouldn’t come to us. It was too far.) I kept telling myself that at least we weren’t driving to a hospital!

We arrived in Austin right around 11 PM, and I was 4 CM. SEE- I could have stayed home and done laundry. I was very concerned that Bryan get some rest, because even though he had eaten after sundown, his fasting had wiped him out. He napped on the bed, and I alternated between the bed and the chair. The midwife was a little concerned that my contractions weren’t lasting long enough based on her observing my reaction to them. They seemed long enough to me! We had timed the contractions at home, and they were right at a minute long. I think she was basing them on how long I was breathing through them, but I was only doing that during the 30 seconds or so that would peak.

Around 3 AM, I was getting really discouraged. I wanted to be at home, and I was pretty convinced that all of these contractions were taking me nowhere. At that point, I had a momentary flash of reason, and I realized that I had no idea whether they were “working” or not because I hadn’t been checked since I got there. So Michelle (the wonderful midwife who did a great job responding to my need to be left alone to labor in peace) checked me. 6 CM! Progress!

I hit transition pretty quickly after that. Always before, I’ve started pushing when it was “time.” This time, I wanted to just let my body dictate the time. When I started pushing some, I asked Michelle to break my water and then I got in the tub. She left me to push some on my own with just Bryan there, but she must have had her ear pressed to the door, because when the time came to REALLY push, she shot back into that room without having to be called twice! At that point, everything calmed down, and I went into that lovely haze that gave me a chance to rest for a few minutes. Bryan was like, “Umm, did the contractions stop?” Then, one push and out came the little person. Michelle tried to untangle him from the umbilical cord, but it was wrapped pretty tightly. Another half push and the baby was born!
We unwound the cord which was wrapped FOUR times around the neck. (Our theory, considering the back labor I had had was that he turned from face up to face down during transition. I could feel him turning during those final contractions. ) Then I finally got to pick him up out of the water. We rubbed his back and thumped his feet, and then he started to pink up really quickly. It was then that Bryan and I took a peek- ANOTHER BOY!!! We both laughed. What are the chances? (50/50- I know, but it doesn’t seem like it when you have five boys in a row.)

I couldn’t believe how small he was! 6 pounds 8 ounces, 20 inches. When you’ve had 9 pounders, a guy that little looks like a preemie! But Michelle reassured me that he was a perfectly normal size.

We fell in love immediately, and a few hours later, we brought our little Austin Matthew home where he belonged.

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