Mar 13, 2018

What Do I Do With a BOY?


I am happy to report that since my last post {3 years ago!}, we were blessed with another baby on June 12. We were excited about this little one's arrival on so many levels. Since we kept the baby's gender a surprise until birth, it was so much fun to speculate and have others predicting what this little one would be.

John's due date was possibly the most inopportune time of our lives to have a baby. At the end of February, the home we were renting sold MUCH quicker than either us or our landlord expected. In fact, we had 17 showings the first day, and he received multiple offers that day. I was in Seattle at the time, 25 weeks pregnant, and my husband called me to tell me that we had 30 days to pack, find another home, and move.

On April 1, we moved most of our stuff into storage, and the bare essentials went with us to an apartment with a 3 month lease, in anticipation of purchasing a home. In case you were wondering, I was now 30 weeks pregnant. On May 24, we became the proud owners of a lovely colonial, but it needed some cosmetic updating. The walls and carpet were interior throwbacks to the early 90's, and I wanted to freshen things up a bit before we moved in. Since we had 5 weeks left on our lease, we threw as much as of our free time before the baby's arrival into the renovation. I spent the next 3 and half weeks tearing wallpaper from the walls of nearly every room in the house. Many kind friends came and helped out, so that by the week of my due date, the wallpaper was down, we had purchase zero VOC paint, and I was full-steam ahead on the next phase of renovation.


 My parents came into town the Thursday before my due date to help with the house and children. On Saturday, the evening of our 12th anniversary and fully 40 weeks pregnant, my husband took me on a date to P.F.Chang's and, hot date that it was, Home Depot. I remember walking around the store telling my husband that I ate too much and that I did not feel very good. The next morning I awoke at 5 a.m. to the WORLD'S. WORST. HEARTBURN. I had not experienced any heartburn the entire pregnancy, so this caught me by surprise. I woke Ben, and told him I had to run to the grocery store and buy Tums. On my way there, I remember thinking, "What the heck?! I'm gonna die!" Side note: I now know that I was actually having a severe gall bladder attack, but at the time, I just thought I was suffering Hades-grade heartburn.


I got home and writhed in bed until it was time to get up and prepare to go to church. At that point, I was beginning to wonder if this heatburn was food poisoning, or maybe actually labor. I had never experienced this kind of pain outside of childbirth and I was 9 months pregnant, so maybe this was it. I told Ben to call my parents and see if they would take the girls to church, because I just didn't think I could make it. I laid in bed, putting on a brave face and trying to hide the level of pain I was experiencing from 3 very wide-eyed little girls who came to kiss me good-bye before they left for church.


Around noon, I decided I couldn't take the pain anymore, and I wanted to at least be checked out by the midwife. Unfortunately, our recent move landed us in Akron, and our hospital and midwife group were in Westlake, a mere 50 minute drive. At the hospital, my least favorite midwife was on call. She admitted me, checked me out and put me on the monitor. I was 2 cm and having regular contractions, but that was not the pain I was experiencing. By this point, I could not even stand erect from the severe abdominal pain. She offered to break my water and gave me some Pepcid for the heartburn.  I took the Pepcid, but declined having my water broke, as I wanted to wait till my regular midwife was on call the next day. Since nothing of consequence was happening, there was no reason for me to stay, so I asked if we could discharged. Just as we left, I threw up the medication, which left everyone scratching their heads a little.

After leaving, we decided to wait it out around town, rather than drive all the way home. I was still trying to figure out what in the world was happening to me. The pain I was experiencing was like heartburn, but more pressure than burning sensation. The pressure was too constant and high in my abdomen to be contractions. Was it the flu? Food poisoning? Unusual labor?!?

As with Elise's pregnancy, we ended up at the thrift store, but I felt too terrible to go in, so Ben went in and found a few deals. The one deal that he passed on was a small hutch for $15.15. I was grateful, consdering we only had my parent's van (they took ours so they didn't have to switch car seats), and I was in labor and all. We sat and waited and drove around and sat and waited some more. We went to Denny's for lunch, where I ate two or three bites of cheesy hashbrowns. I couldn't stomach anything. By the afternoon, we asked my in-laws if we could come over and spend the evening there, since they were only 25 minutes from the hospital. I remember being relieved to be in the air conditioned house. I didn't want to talk to anyone because of the pain, so I just disappeared in the guest room. Every time I would come out, I was the central focus, as I breathed through contractions. By that evening, the contractions picked up in intensity and interval, so we started off again for the hospital. Halfway there, they fizzled to nothing. I asked Ben to turn around. We got home and they started up again and increased in intensity again. I was so exhausted from all the pain that I told Ben that I just wanted to go to the hospital and have my water broken. Poor Ben. He is so incredibly patient when I'm in labor!

Of course, once we got to the hospital again, as a laboring woman's perogative is, I changed my mind. I didn't want to deliver with this particular midwife, and I still wasn't sure what was going on with my body. I hadn't eaten anything except a couple bites in 24 hours, and I was already drained. I knew that was no way to start labor. We sat in the parking lot, and I sobbed as again my contractions completely fizzled. My phone was drained, so I went inside and called the midwife. She gave me the good advice to go home and try to rest as much as possible between contractions. She may have been the least favorite midwife, but that was the best advice ever.

So we made off for my in-law's house again. By now the gallbladder attack had mostly subsided, but the pain had left my abdominal muscles so sore that I really, truly could not stand upright or get up from the bed by myself. The contractions were consistent but manageable as I lay in bed, drifting off briefly between contractions but unable to sleep through them. I thought the night would never end. I called my regular midwife early the next morning, and she suggested we come into the office where she could assess me. At ten, I finally decided to go in. By this time, I had decided that I had had the flu, and I was probably dehydrated, which was causing the constant but non-progressing contractions. When we got there, she manipulated me to a 3. I told her that I was done, and I just wanted this baby OUT. She agreed and sent me over to the hospital to be admitted and have my water broken.


I was done with all the pain by this time. I was too exhausted to stay on top of contractions, so I opted for an epidural. The midwife came in at 11 o'clock and broke my water, which was stained with meconium.  She immediately said we had made the right move and notified the on-call pediatrician to be on stand-by. I had the same anesthesiologist as my botched epidural with Elise, but thankfully, it went smoothly. By 12:30, the epidural was working perfectly after a second dose of medicine was added, and my midwife said she would be back at 2 to see how I had progressed. Around 1:50, Ben left to get some lunch, after I assured him that nothing was happening, and he would be fine to take a break. Famous last words.


The midwife showed up and asked what I thought was happening. I miserably assured her that I thought a lot of nothing was happening, and I doubted that I had progressed at all. She donned a glove, felt around a bit, obviously calculating in her head, and said, "Well, you're an 8. Where's your husband?" I gasped in shock, then told her I'd sent him to lunch. She said, "Well, I would have had you start pushing now, but I'll come back at 3. He'll be back by then."

When Ben returned from lunch, I was giddy with delight. Sure enough, at 3 on the button, Colleen showed up. I was 10 cm and definitely feeling pushy. They broke down the bed, and I started pushing. I pushed for 10-15 minutes and our sweet babe slid out into the midwife's arms. She held him out to Ben to show him the genitalia and allow him to announce the gender, and he said with complete shock, "IT'S A BOY!" It really was shock, because he leaned over a couple seconds later and whispered, "It really is a boy, isn't it?" After 4 girls, I don't think he believed we actually could have a man child.

We named him John Oliver Newman. We like to give our children at least one Bible name, so we named him for John the Baptist. Ben's grandfather, a POW in WWII, was also named John, which also made it attractive. Oliver was my choice. When Grace was born, the surgeon who performed her emergency anastomosis was so kind and had amazing bedside manner, and I have loved the name ever since. John arrived at 3:21 p.m., weighed an even 8 lbs. and was 20 inches long.

I am just now finishing John's birth story, and he turned 9 months old yesterday. Is that any indication of how full our lives are now? It's good. It's a blessed life. And we are so thankful to be entrusted with another little one.

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