I’ve never written a birth story before. Some things seem almost too precious to write down, like they’re only dear enough to savor in your heart. Too dear to share. But I want to write it all down because 1. there are so many of the details I don’t want to let myself forget and 2. who doesn’t love a good birth story?
I don’t know why some big decisions in life are so clear and easy and “yes, that is what we should do” simple, but some aren’t. Some are big and scary and you don’t know which is what and its frightening to say one way or another. That’s how I’ve felt for probably two years about having a fourth baby. I didn’t know. In the back of my mind, I’m always slightly afraid that I’ll take on one inch more than I can actually take on and I’ll snap into a million pieces. I thought maybe that fourth baby would be my breaking point…could I handle it? We debated for months. Yes, no. Yes, no. Until last August when our answer became a resounding, “yes.”
Flying back home from South Dakota last August, the day before Jack’s 7th birthday. I knew something was going on, but that? No way. We left so early that morning, a flight before the sun. The kids quickly zonked out, Jack’s sleepy little head on my lap. I, on the other hand, was not sleeping. My head was in a million different directions, different scenarios, different streams of sanity. Somewhere in the middle of my frantic thoughts, Jack sat up and stared at my face. “Mom, I just want a baby so bad. I don’t remember when Sophie was a baby and I want to be a big brother. Like a big brother, you know?” Ya, serious folks. He said that. Right in the middle of my stewing, little Jack Jack was thinking about a baby too, but on an entirely different wave-length.
Learning Well LLC is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Affiliate links from Amazon or other programs are used on this website. For more info, please refer to our disclosure statement.
Fast forward to 40 weeks + 6 days of pregnancy and a thousand stories later. I posted this post that day, whined about how tired I was about being overdue. I skipped church. We did a little house shopping (more on that later…and yes, we found the one that very day.) We ate lunch out. I wasn’t hungry. Noah, Mom, and I went to get groceries and it started. I had been having so many of those rude fake contractions, I wasn’t sure. But after the groceries were put away and they were still happening, my mom made me sit down and she timed them. Jarrod was in the back with the kids completely oblivious that the words of our baby’s birth story were slowly being jotted down.
I moved slow, unusually calm. Mom called Jarrod to come get ready to go. I showered. Somewhere in there Sophia came inside. She was a nervous burst of energy in the room. While I showered, she brought be jewelry, pajamas, a toothbrush. She put things into my bag; shoes, my camera, make-up. The boys came inside. Noah was nervous. He flipped through books on the couch and chewed on his lips. Somehow Jack missed the memo of what we were doing, “What?! You’re going now!? I thought we were eating dinner….” Ya, it confused the little guy that everyday for the passed 6 weeks had asked if it was time, is it time, is it time a million times. They were all nerves and excitement. My mom made them dinner. I snapped some pictures with my just three before we left. We drove off to blown kisses, wide eyes, and big waves.
Get the 6 Secrets to a Simpler Mom Life
Even though I’d done this three times before, there’s still a big element of holy crap we’re about to do this thing. I don’t know if I’m just an old worry wart now or what, but I had more anxiety this time then I ever have. Just worried. What if something went wrong during delivery? What if something was wrong with the baby? The anxiety never really went away til much later. The night drifted on. They moved us from the first monitoring room to the delivery room. The contractions got stronger, but not unbearable. I hadn’t felt contractions in over five years and strangely enough, I wanted to. (for a little bit and then give me the drugs, you get me??) Jarrod paced and ate Swedish Fish. He kept making me laugh.
The anesthesiologist came in. I soon felt that cool rush of the IV down my back that I both welcome with open arms and curl my toes in fear against…a love/hate relationship. With Noah, I had no drugs. With the other two, I did. I chose the latter this time too.
It was getting late, around 1 am. It was so quiet and calm. Jarrod dozed, I dozed. In between, I listened to everything; the clock, the monitor, the baby’s heartbeat, the blood pressure cuff, Jarrod’s slow deep breaths…I took it in. I knew that this was going to be my last rodeo and I wanted to make it count. I wanted to remember it all, see it all, take it all in. Around 2:30 am, the doctor came in to break my water. After she did so, I knew the look exchanged between her and the nurse meant something was up. “It’s not uncommon, especially in overdue babies, to have a bowel movement. We’ll have to call the NICU team but there’s nothing to worry about. Also, it looks like the baby is facing upwards instead of downwards so we’re going to try to get the baby to rotate.” Cue more anxiousness.
They had me twist my upper body to try to get her to shift and they said they’d be back in 15 minutes to check again. After five, the intuitive mama-gene kicked into hyper-mode telling me it was time. And it was. In about 45 seconds, our quiet oasis was filled with people; the doctor, nurses, the NICU team, a sweet Asian student nurse named Christina who I’m pretty sure was more freaked out than me by a long shot. The adrenaline in me kicked into overdrive, leaving no room for the anxiety because for those of us that have been through this crazy experience you know there’s no room for anything else but to focus on the present. A little sweat and five pushes later and my 9 pound 7 ounce bundle was in front of my eyes, blinking at me. The sweet smell of a newborn baby hit me in the face like a kiss. The doctor gave Jarrod the go-ahead to make the announcement. He had been so so sure that this was a boy, he’d basically not even looked, until he did. I saw his face take it in, “it’s a…..girl.“
They moved us up to the Mother-Baby floor. They said to rest. There was no way. I finally had this little person in my hands. There was no chance of resting. The sun started to come up a few hours later, over the mountains a million colors bursting just for us, I just knew. I thanked God for my perfect daughter,
for the other sweet babies I knew had barely slept waiting to hear the news,
for the months we have to prepare ourselves for that moment,
for the two sons and two daughters I now had; perfect playmates and best friends forever,
for all I had and hadn’t seen.
Jarrod left later to get the kids. I could hear them in the hall before they came in. Their faces as they met their sister are forever engraved in my memory. Their pride and wonder…it was almost too much for my heart.