Nearly every mom who’s given birth can understand the concept that “birth is a journey.” For me anyway, each birth is a unique experience, and pregnancy, labor, and delivery are all part of God’s refining moments in my journey of life. This pregnancy was no exception.
I’ve been pregnant now eight times in the eight short years that Chris and I have been married, and have given birth to six beautiful children; three boys, three girls. And yes, I’m a busy mama. This pregnancy began with a decision. After Connor was born we thought we wanted to wait a while to have any more children. But the more we thought about it, we really wanted Connor to have a buddy that was close to him in age. So we decided to try for another baby, it didn’t take long and we were expecting baby number six, oh my! The timing was a little crazy, right in the middle of remodeling our home! Painting, fixing walls, sanding, building cabinets, tiling, and morning sickness, oh yeah, and did I mention the five little helpers? :)
It was a hard pregnancy. Like I said, it’s a journey. And the journey that God takes us on is not always easy. I think I learned a lot this time. Cheerfulness seemed to be the theme that God has really put in my heart these past months, to be a cheerful mom in spite of the pain, in spite of the mess that the kids make, in spite of all that needs to be done and not really feeling like doing any of it. God is still teaching me cheerfulness, I’m still on that journey.
Like most women, the first three months are the hardest part of pregnancy, and then those last two weeks, they drag on and I always seem to gain more and more weight with each of those last few weeks, making life just a bit more unbearable, and my outlook just a bit more down! “Will, I EVER stop gaining weight?! But all the while, I keep reminding myself, “hold on Jenni, you are almost there, you will be holding your baby so very soon!” The last few weeks of this pregnancy were kind of weird for me, I had many days where I thought, “I wonder if I’m in early labor!” I had been having contractions every 5-10 minutes for hours at a time for weeks. I think it has a lot to do with how many babies I’ve had, my womb knows what it’s getting ready for and I guess it feels the need to keep itself in shape for the big event ;)
The morning before the baby was born is really when this birth story begins…I woke up at 2:00am to those lovely painful contractions, the kind that make you wonder, “now, why was I so excited for labor to start?!” I had decided to try to rest for as long as I could and let Chris sleep if I could let him. I had to get up and use the bathroom a bunch of times and was having good strong contractions about every 10 minutes, and a few other symptoms that made me realize this was the real deal. So I called my mom so she could get going, we are going to have a baby today! Mom has driven up for all of my births, and most of those drives she’s made in the middle of the night.
At about 3:30am I finally decided to call my midwife and inform her that I would be calling her sometime soon…”Special delivery, this is Charlotte.” “Oh, I’m sorry Charlotte! I have the wrong number!” Oh my goodness, I called the wrong midwife! Charlotte was my midwife for the last four babies, and since we moved even further away from her we had decided to go with a different midwife this time, oops! Sorry Charlotte for waking you up! Then I called MY midwife and informed her that I was in labor and would likely be calling her in a couple hours, but that I would be going back to bed to see if I could get a bit of rest…or lot of rest maybe? I went back to bed and the contractions kept coming consistently. I finally woke Chris up at about 4:30 and told him that he needed to inform someone at work that he wouldn’t be coming in, and asked him to call his mom, I’d been in labor for about three hours by now, and my labor usually lasts about 7 hours, that would mean I would be holding our sweet little babe at right about…
9:00am?!!! Oh no. The kids would be up around 8:00, what would I do once the kids got up? I wonder if I will be able to concentrate through the contractions if the kids are noisy in the other room? I was looking at the clock, and asking myself all these questions, and after about 4 hours of labor and two people who’d taken the day off already, my labor just stopped. It was the weirdest thing. You know how when you are in the midst of labor and you are kind of thinking, “okay, I want off now. I was just joking, I don’t really want to have a baby today, just let me go back to bed, K?” It was kind of like that! My mom arrived at our house at about 7:30am, to a very quiet house and I overheard her say to Chris, “so I guess we aren’t having a baby this morning?” Um, no.
But rather than crying about it, oh wait, I think I might have done some crying about it. We decided to make the best of it and enjoyed each other’s company.The nana’s helped clean up the house a bit and helped with the kids, and I got some rest since I had been up for half the night, IN LABOR! And it took me awhile to recover from that, I got some good fluids back in me and then we decided to go and celebrate at nana and papa’s, auntie Carrie’s birthday was earlier in the week so we went over to their house for dinner and cake. Actually Chris and I dropped the kids off early and we went on a much needed date, to Home Depot to get some lights for the kitchen, and then to the mall to do a little walking and just hanging out together.
Chris also took the time to pray with me, I had been very anxious about the labor/delivery part and had spent the past few weeks trying to prepare myself for the coming challenge that seemed too big for me to handle. In my heart I know, God will never leave me nor forsake me, and yet it is so easy to feel so alone in this challenging journey of birth. No one else feels what you feel. The amazing thing is that Christ went on a similar painful journey, and He did it because He loved me. Chris’ prayer that night seemed to give me renewed hope and I felt my spirit lift my eyes to the one from which my help comes, I knew that sooner or later I would be walking down the road to delivery again and I probably wouldn’t get a “take a breather” pass the next time around.
After our little date we went back to the party and around 7:00pm I started noticing that I was having increasingly intense contractions that I was having to stop and breathe through. Okay now, this seems more like it. Normally I start having warm up contractions before I go to bed, last night I didn’t really have any of those. So we went home, put the kids to bed and cleaned up around the house some more. And now I had the reassurance that we had a plan of what to do with the kids, my mom was home, everyone that we wanted to be there were going to be able to be there. I really felt ready to have her, we went to bed at right about midnight, and that is when labor really began…
To be continued…