Little Sweet Pea came to our family, after a long awaited spell…10 long days to be precise.
Here is the story, the long and detailed version. I am guessing you are a woman if you proceed. Either curious as to why I could be crazy enough to experience natural child birth, or a natural junkie yourself. All others I assume have already tuned out or never visited.
This is the VERY long version, so I will do subheadings…
Why another Christmas Baby?
I started counting my children and the number seemed small, or felt like there were missing members various times. Then, many months before our planned starting time, I felt an urgency to bring the next one here right away! One time my hormones practically jumped upon Riley as they never do. To his delight, of course! I explained and we prayed. But, I didn’t get pregnant. We didn’t get pregnant the next time either, and our prayers were united that this was right; which would give us a November baby. Wisely, I thought, “Well looks like we’ll be skipping this month…I already have 2 Christmas babies!” But, quite uncannily, our oldest son prayed for a baby in the prayer, and Riley and I hadn’t told the children we were trying! When I told Riley about this unique prayer, he told me he’d listened to a talk at work about not putting of child-bearing. This was a second witness to us and we both knew in our hearts we should bravely proceed. And go-go gadget pregnancy~We got pregnant.
Because of this certain re-directing of our plans, I knew we were supposed to have another Christmas baby. I didn’t bemoan it over and over and over like I re-hashed my feelings to a pulp with our fifth Christmas baby who came as a 2 month before we were planning surprise.
The Fears that Came:
First, I had some early contractions and once went to the hospital to check for a bladder infection. I felt such peace and love from God and my family…but I prayed my heart out then and later that baby would come full term, Lord willing!
I didn’t bemoan and stew, and walked forward in faith…that is…until end of November and December hit. At this time, I was slammed with worry, with pressure, and with fears. I wanted more than anything to get my Christmas gifts done and I bemoaned this knowing I was ill-prepared to welcome a son into the world with my mis-aligned priorities.
I was cautioned by the spirit through a woman at church, to care more about my son’s birth then finishing Christmas gifts, and I took the call seriously. Emotionally, I did all I could to work my fastest and best, but for my heart to be more sweetly anticipating the birth of my son.
This was a war inside for longing to give my children a dreamy home made Christmas, and …I was scared silly! This time it wasn’t for six children which I usually fear a new number. No, I think we’d already hit rock bottom insanity and I knew grace and angels and such would somehow make a way. But I was more scared of actual child birth! Even though it had gone so well for me five times before. I was scared of a still birth, scared that this time I would need an epidural. Scared of an emergency C-section. Afraid to die in child birth. Just plain scared. These are all valid fears, that every woman has to face every time she goes to heaven’s gates and picks up a child…and some women wade through unearthly sorrows at these vulnerable gates. I felt a small portion of the grief others I knew personally going through these specific things went through. And when I say small, I mean infinitely small compared with their actually experiencing it.
The Climax of Hope
But at the same time I made great head way. In fact, one night, was nothing short of blissful. It was after Paul Bunyon’s birthday, and he was so grateful and felt so loved as I served him with all my heart on his birthday, and I knew that the Lord was giving me the best. Three absolute treasures, at a time of year of the celebration of births of all births. I knew it was my hearts fondest desire to have three Christmas treasures. My heart was beyond poignant, in gratitude as I finally truly came to terms with this timing.
The Let Down: A Late Birth.
Little Sweet Pea was due Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve came and went, then it was Christmas. I had visited an old woman in a nursing home who had 2 Christmas babies, one was at 3:00 on Christmas day. I was sure it was foreshadowing. Christmas day came and went, and we had the children do a lovely Christmas puppet show, with the threat of going to bed and not getting to watch 7 brides for 7 brothers if there was any complaining. The show went without a hitch and was lovely with the children’s impromptu acting and singing.
And then the night time fell. No baby.
At 3:00 in the morning, I went and took the little baby Jesus from the Christmas Creche, and I layed him down in his manger by the tree. I knelt in prayer and I waited. I waited for my birth with joy and anticipation….Aha! He was my late Christmas gift and I was REALLY ready now.
In disappointment I greeted December 26th without a baby treasure boy. And the 27th. And the 28th. There was a day that tears and grief would over come me and I plead for the grace of Christ to bear me up. And…it did. In pain and sorrow, it did bear me up, and for that reason alone it was worth it to feel the grace of Christ on the silver edges of my wings, but the edges only.
Here are some scriptures and a Priesthood blessing from my dear husband, that brought hope and comfort, or just a feeling like He understood my pain:
“For ye shall not go out with haste nor go by flight; for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel shall be your rearward”. 3 Nephi 20:42
(So discouraging yet a spark of hope.)
“For the Lord hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit…For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee…And all they children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children.” 3 Nephi 22:6, 13.
Boy did I feel like a neglected woman, especially as the time my mother could help dwindled before my very eyes. My hope there in being the promise of peace with the children and that the Lord understood I felt neglected!
And here was my blessinig from Riley, that’s fruition was absolutely true, and in raising the boys, will be unfolding I hope with such joy!
Riley’s Priesthood Blessing to me:
~That I would have angels attend my birth
~That I would feel the Savior’s love with every contraction
~That I would raise my son in joy as well as with my other boys.
~That the Lord di have trust in me in raising righteous men to the Earth.
I got excited and hopeful again on New Years. I was geared up for a New Year’s Baby, alright! The First of January greeted me with not a Happy New Years and Happy Birthday, but Happy Flu instead! On a completely unhealthy level I could say maybe I was grateful all those New Year’s Calories couldn’t reach my hips…but in all truth I am sure plenty was packed on as throw up isn’t nearly as much food as it seems, or least I’ve been told. My Dad cautioned me not to become bulimic in Sixth grade and I was ever grateful for that golden moral caution that kept me safe through stormy years of highschool over- eating and sorrow that never ended in a tragic habit.
At any rate, the next day, Jan 2nd had my hopes up only to realize my care takers, Riley and my Mother, were now sick. I had to wait for them to get better, mean while my mom’s flying out date inched fretfully closer.
At Long Last, baby comes!
On Jan. 3rd, I prayed with more faith and less fear than ever before. This just had to happen before my mom left. I pushed on my pressure points that supposedly induce labor, did my rigorous squat exercise dvd again….and had relations with Riley! All of which we’d been doing before, but never all three on the same morning. By this time contractions were starting every 15 minutes, and for me consistent ones with a consistent time between them, means labor!
I knelt and said a prayer that the labor, if it were the Lord’s will, would be beautiful, lovely, and smooth if that matched his will. And I suppose it was according to His will, not in His extra love for me by all means, for a trial can mean He loves you that much more, and thinks that much more of your ability to refine….truthfully I think I had no mental stamina for any sort of a trial at this point, and I do feel undeserving of it, but the labor was perfect if you measure perfection as to without a hitch…which isn’t a heavenly measure I am sure without a doubt.
I folded laundry with the children and my mom, buzzed about doing light housework, and calling Riley over for contractions. These were what I call the ‘whisper’ contractions, you breathe through them with a deeper breath, listen to birthing music and think easily happily visualizations that can easilly distract you. I was happy as a lark. Paul Bunyon stood in for Riley for two of the contractions as I hugged and leaned on him. He was so proud, it was so sweet, and his Dad was so pleased of how he was treating his mother. He ran for water for me and was so excited and sweet.
Then began my hummers, a low hum helps me so much to manage pain, and a wonderful husband to lean on, and apply slight pressure to my low back, lifting up a tiny bit. I love to have Riley sing to me too. I find alone these contractions are so much harder but leaning into my husband’s chest, receiving his love and comfort, humming, and sometimes still getting to tap into a beautiful visualization helps. (I take baths and listen to my birthing music before hand to have a store of visualizations in my mind ready to easily retrieve when I can feel the hill of a contraction coming on…its sort of like walking up a hill; mounting it with greatest pain, and walking back down as it cools down. My aunt told me its like riding a great wave and then coming through it….or traveling through blue and cool colors that brighten to orange and red and then cool down to purples and blues. All these sort of thoughts keep you like a mama bird over her nest of eggs, the eggs are the pain that is under you, with you managing it, never letting the pain rise above you, and receiving the pain letting it warm down your legs and hips and feeling it expand and work its wonder, relaxing as much as you can so that it won’t be resisted against to lengthen labor.
Here are my imaginings this time:
~Throwing snow balls with a happy running 10 year old boy
~Ice skating on a rink with him, a classic that began with my first child.
~Watching Sweet Pea run as fast as he could with a big grin on his face.
~Coming into Sweet Pea’s room as he worked on a science or building project and asking him what he’s been thinking about
~Seeing him Chop wood in the winter, he’s practically all grown up and the sound echos through the valley. I can see he’s a hard worker and then he smiles and I can feel of the goodness and happiness of his soul
~This one was a favorite and a new one: Him as a grown up man, showing me his new baby, with wife greeting me, I in a shawl, now Grandma Em.
~And during the car, when the pain got so intense the bright orange color shone brightly, and I could see the Savior’s outline in the color as in the Second Coming Picture many are familiar with and I could feel He Loved Me!
After lying down to rest for a few contractions they slowed down and then Riley took me for a walk after bundling me up on this deeply cold day. It was so refreshing and so beautiful as we slowly walked and stopped so often for contractions. He sang hymns to me the every 2 1/2 -4 1/2 minutes contractions came. I loved these hymns and his low voice is always so peace inducing, but my favorite was when he sang: In the bleak Midwinter. A song I felt symbolic as the next few days were a record low for the year in cold for MN.
In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water as a stone.
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter, long ago.
Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak mid winter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.
Enough for Him, whom Cherubim, worship night and day,
Breast full of milk, and a manger full of hay;
Enough for Him whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and Camel which adore.
Angels and Archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and Seraphim thronged the air;
But his mother only, in her maiden bliss,
worshiped the beloved with a kiss.
What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him, give my heart.
Riley and I both felt it was time to go to the hospital, and not too shortly was it. On arrival we spent the first half hour registering, yes I am in labor, no, its not my first birth. Heading up the birthing room and casually getting measured, so thick was my peace, so full was my joyous calm through contractions, that I was astounded to see I was a 7! I best get in that water and make some use of it! As our birthing room had the birthing tub all set. Riley left to get something when it was foretold I was a 7, and upon his arrival back, I made him aware, and none too soon did he come, for I had my first transition stage contraction; it hit with full force in my legs and caused my moan to escalate to a plaintive higher pitched moaning hum. I felt a pop, it was my water. I stood for a hug contraction hoping the pain would lesson with a different position; asked Riley to fan me with the fan my son had contracted out of Lincoln Logs and paper plates as I was so warm, Riley kissed my face as I lay back in and half out of the tub and oh how it eased the huge pain. I was getting the urges to push but my midwife said I wasn’t quite ready with my cervix…so I let that urge bring baby closer and then while standing on my knees, the contraction came that brought the pushing involuntarily, 2 big waves and me bearing down because my body told me, forced me to, and I felt the familiar ring of fire. I remembered my first baby and the nurse who told me to push past the ring of fire, so I knew to push, and I did, and….baby came right out once the firey ring was past.
Now this transition time, for a birthing woman is the hardest point of labor as the body gears up to push baby out. Its usually now that I say, pathetically, “Oh, I can’t do it”, and Riley urges me forward. Then usually I have 20 minutes to an hour of pushing, and then baby is in my arms. But this time, it was so fast. It was like 10 minutes of an almost steady intense contraction as my body went from 7 to 10 and pushed out the baby too; but felt like 3 minutes…and the baby usually comes with a series of these contractions that tell me to push. And usually I have to remember to cry a jungle call and give it all I have for the baby to come forth…it was almost sad to all be over and I know that sounds strange…but there he was! All pink, and so small and handsome and perfect, “You already!” I said, and kissed him lightly in wonder and a little shock too I think! Soon they clamped me from him cutting the chord so I could come to the bed.
And there he was skin to skin on me and soon nursing contentedly and me in wonder that 10 minutes after hopping in the tub, that baby was in my arms all safe and beautiful.
After Bonus Plug:
Now to most of you this will sound unusual, but I had Riley and the midwife make me a shake that had a tiny bit of the placenta in it. This is the second time I have done this, and the second birth without baby blues or post partem depression…I know the feel good hormones stalked up in that puppy and shedded causes an imbalance and so I am thankful for trying this ‘weird’ technique and advocate it to any willing to try…it can’t hurt! I had it dried as well and took it in capsules for the next month or two. Post partem blues or depression can steal away that heavenly peaceful time to enjoy an infant, which is so sad. So if this might help, I urge you to give it a try. I had Riley put in THREE frozen bananas a CAN of cranberry juice and many mixed berries and strawberries. Literally no hint of anything faintly funny, it was like getting a fresh Italian Icecream or the fruitiest fruit smoothy. So there’s my ‘strange’ plug to happy post partem feelings for you and baby.