I’m baaaaack! I’m so thankful to have had such a wealth of knowledge shared on the blog while I frolicked with my littles during my parental leave this summer. A sincere thank you to all of our guest bloggers. You’re all wonderful!
For my first week back, I can’t resist not to share with you my most intense experience this summer: the birth of my little Georgie. Without further ado…
We have a tiny new human living with us. We call him George Edward. If there are words to describe how much I love this little guy, I can’t find them. And although I am exhausted to the point of tears, I have never felt so fulfilled. George is so sweet and soft and warm and his scent is intoxicating! He has deep slate eyes, scrawny chicken legs, a wrinkly forehead and two sisters who absolutely adore him.
This is George’s birth story:
Georgie was born into my hands on our bathroom floor on July 20 as the morning sky turned indigo. The sheer intensity of birthing my baby’s head and body shocked me; laboring up until this point had been rather manageable.
It was nearly 1:00 a.m. when I woke to what felt like slight stomach cramping and pressure in my bottom. I had experienced these sensations for several nights prior, but when I went to use the bathroom on this particular morning, I noticed pinkish blood in the toilet. I knew our baby would be coming soon. Trying not to get too excited, I attempted to fall back asleep. Nope, I was much too adrenalized! I washed my face, brushed my teeth, braided my hair and laid out the robe I bought to labor in.
What next, I wondered. On my way downstairs for a cup of tea, I checked on each of my girls, stroked their heads and then nearly squealed with excitement as I thought about the arrival of their baby brother or sister.
I admired fireflies flashing and the moon’s brilliant glow from my dining table as I sipped my tea. I wanted to be outside in the early morning calm and summer heat in the worst way. But without landscaping complete at our new home and a disgusting amount of flying insects swarming our lit porches, I stayed indoors.
Around 1:30 a.m.– remembering that my midwife advised me to contact her as soon as I had an inkling that I might have my baby in the near future– I crafted a text message. The message didn’t wake her. Instead of calling though– because it felt rather discourteous to ring so early in the morning–I went to wake my husband.
“Addison….Addison….Addison….Addison…” my whispers grew louder and louder into a whispery shout. He grumbled.
“Are you ready to have a baby today?”
“Really?!” he woke with enthusiasm. “What is today?”
He proceeded to run through Wednesday’s work schedule declaring approvingly, “Ok, today should be a good day.” He showered, then came downstairs to keep me company.
We hung the “Homebirth in Progress: Please Do Not Disturb” sign on our front door, and then we chatted. I don’t remember what about. I do remember giggling a lot. The anticipation was invigorating. At one point, I joked that rubbing your wife’s feet really gets labor going, so he did.
After a few more crampy sensations, my first phone call went out to my mom around 2:30 a.m.
“Are we going to have a baby today?!” she answered. Her sparkly energy, as sparkly as the glitter she dusts over her body, conquered her tone. I said I thought so, but wasn’t entirely convinced because the sensations were so mild. Regardless, I thought it best she take her time, but head our way so she would be available to the girls before I went into active labor.
By this time, my husband urged me to call our midwife. At ten to three, I did. I had been having 30 second contractions two to four minutes apart, but had been walking, talking and laughing through them, basically rather unfazed.
Over the phone my midwife wondered, “Any pressure?”
Yes, rectal, I reported. She sounded slightly alarmed, told me she would shower quickly and head our way.
Some time later, my mom arrived. The girls were still sleeping, so we talked about when we would wake them for the birth of their new sibling.
Our midwife arrived next. It was sometime around 3:30 a.m. She checked my blood pressure and temperature; 108/72, 97.7℉ and the baby’s heart rate and position; 130s, LOA.
Addison offered my mom and our midwife eggs for breakfast. Eggs, for the love of God. Of all the breakfast foods one could enjoy, he made the one that I absolutely could not stomach my entire pregnancy. I had been feeling slightly nauseous prior to the egg scrambling, but now the nausea really started to take over.
To take my mind off of it, I paced and paced. I swayed my hips back and forth, back and forth encouraging the baby to descend further.
Over an hour later around 4:40 a.m., my contractions lengthened to 45 seconds every two minutes. I started to hum through them. True to my character, I couldn’t decide what to do next. (I don’t know what I want, but I know what I don’t want.)
At this point, my midwife talked with me about getting into the tub or shower. We hadn’t planned for a water birth, but I was interested in using water therapy during labor.
I definitely didn’t want to get into the shower. My hair would get wrecked! Not that it was looking particularly glamorous or anything. The soaking tub did look rather appealing though. Our beautiful soaking tub! (Quick backstory: We added square footage to our home to accommodate this piece. Before we planned to have another baby, Addison suggested that it be a potential birthing tub. Brilliant, I thought. Ultimately, I planned a land birth because of the tub’s narrowness, and because my midwife thought a land birth would allow me a better opportunity to catch my baby in a comfortable position.)
It was glorious. I was comforted surrounded by the warmth of the water and the scent of a wash cloth doused in a calming oil blend.
Addison went to wake the girls. Willow woke and was excited to play with Grandma, but Iris thought it a better idea to fall back asleep in her sister’s room.
While in the tub, I endured around five intense contractions with a lot of pressure. With each one, as Addison noticed my vulva full and swelling, he gently (although relentlessly) encouraged me to get out of the tub so that I could catch the baby as planned. On the final contraction in the water, I yelled for my midwife; my baby was about to be born.
She and Addison helped me out of the water onto the bathroom floor where I positioned myself on all fours. At 5:01 a.m., my membranes ruptured onto my hand which I had in place to feel for my baby’s head.
My midwife replied, “Very efficient, Jess!” This comment made me want to laugh, but the intensity of birthing George’s head consumed every grain of me.
At 5:03 a.m., my mouth open wide as my body writhed *Cue Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire*, George’s head came earthside resting in one hand as I supported the rest of my body with the other. My midwife instructed me to wait for the next contraction to birth his body, but it was too late. I shifted my weight as he came slipping out in the same contraction right into my own hands!
During this moment, my midwife informed me that George had a nuchal cord and calmly instructed me to lift it up over his head. As he wailed, I went to unwrap it but found it was too tight for me to comfortably lift over his face. At that, I frantically ordered, “Help me!” and my midwife did.
I don’t quite remember the order of the following events. We were all so consumed with excitement and triumph.
I heard Addison announce in sheer disbelief, “Oh my God, it’s a boy.” I replay that moment over and over and over in my head. You see, he was convinced we were having a third little girl. Confident in his ability to read ultrasounds, he told everyone we were having a girl when he apparently saw a vulva on our 20 week scan.
I observed my sweet baby’s wrinkly, red, wet head and his healthy coating of vernix. Oh, the vernix! I couldn’t believe how much there was. His body’s wet warmth pressed against my abdomen. I felt our cord tug between my legs.
Through tears and laughter I exclaimed, “Oh sweet boy, oh sweet boy, oh my sweet baby boy!” My redundancy actually started to annoy me, but it’s all I could get out. Admittedly, I was terrified to have a little boy, but the moment I held him in my arms, my heart swelled. A boy!
My mom and Willow entered during this time. It had been the plan for Willow to announce the baby’s gender, so I turned his genitals toward her.
“I can’t tell,” she said timidly.
“What do you see between the baby’s legs?” Addison encouraged her.
“A penis!” Willow really, really, really wanted a brother.
My mom wondered, “Is this baby Walden?”
When I announced he was in fact baby George, she cried a happy tear. George was her dad.
Iris apprehensively entered the birth scene in her diaper and rockin’ bedhead. George and I were surrounded by our beautiful, loving family.
Our birth assistant arrived about six minutes after George’s birth.
At 5:13 a.m., Willow and Iris clamped our cord with the midwife’s help. Willow so desperately wanted to hold her little brother.
“After I’m done giving birth,” I told her.
While we waited on the placenta, I told Addison he didn’t need to worry about me wanting anymore babies; I didn’t feel like giving birth again. (Fast-forward 18 hours: As I changed George’s diaper and put him into his jammies, I warned Addison that he might want to look into getting a vasectomy if he was sure he didn’t want anymore little ones. George’s utter adorableness already had me thinking about a baby number four [Insert ‘What is wrong with me’ looking emoji here]…. How quickly we forget!)
I was extremely uncomfortable on the towel-laden, tiled bathroom floor still waiting on the placenta’s delivery, so I requested a move to the bed. After what seemed like an eternity, the placenta was born with a relieving gush at 5:34 a.m.
The midwife checked my bottom and reported a first degree laceration on my perineum and skids on my periurethra. No repairs necessary.
We all watched admiringly as Walden, I mean George, crawled to my breast for his first feed. I called George Walden twice! Boy, was I second guessing his name. After much discussion, we all decided that George was indeed the perfect fit.
George measured in at a perfect 20 inches. He weighed 7 pounds 3 ounces which Addison guessed right on the money, just like he had Iris’s. Our little guy sported 34 cm head and 33 cm chest circumferences. Apgar scores totaled 10 and 10 at one and five minutes. Sprightly little dude.
George breastfed for the first time at 6:10 a.m. after navigating his way to the tippy-top of my mountainous boob. Little George now satisfied with his first meal, I choked down peanut butter on toast and grape juice. Eating after birth has always been very unappealing to me. At least it wasn’t eggs.
Although several hours later, it seemed so soon that our house was still and silent. The midwives had left, and my mom took the girls to spend some time at her house. Addison, George and I cuddled in bed. George had no trouble sleeping, but Addison and I were preoccupied with the arrival of our new family member. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him.
That afternoon, my brother came to meet his nephew. He had been rooting for a nephew since I became pregnant the first time! He came with lots of cute, little newborn boy clothes.
Later that evening, my mom brought the girls back home before they would depart again for their sleepover. My father in law and a friend came to visit too. We all had pizza for dinner together. When it was time for the girls to return to my mom’s for the night, they protested. This was the first time in herstory that Willow and Iris didn’t think going to Grandma’s was the greatest idea of all time. I suppose George is a pretty good reason to want to stick around. I was apprehensive and saddened to send them off, but Addison and I appreciated the opportunity to have a night alone with George. The girls did just fine once they arrived at Grandma’s.
That night, well, I don’t really remember much from our first night as parents of three. Baby snuggles, sticky meconium diaper changes, nursing. I think that covers it.
The next morning, the three of us had breakfast while we watched a deer and her spotted fawn prance in our backyard. Later, Addison took down our “Homebirth in Progress” sign. My heart sank. My pregnancy was over. The one I had announced to Addison back in November next to the gravel-filled hole that would become the foundation of our home. Our birth, the one I had anticipated for 39 weeks and 5 days, was over. We would never have those moments back. Taking down the sign elicited a familiar feeling; it’s one I get when I finish a book. No longer involved with those characters, no longer captivated by their stories. It took me almost two weeks to process that feeling of Overness.
My pregnancy is over. My birth is over. But George is here now. He is an unfinished book. His big sisters’ lives are unfinished books. And I get to be, quite possibly, the most important character in their stories. I get to be their mom.