I know I'm going to be grateful to have this all recorded, but I'm slightly dreading going over it again. Wasn't the best time I've ever spent. :) So saturday morning, literally as Jeffrey was walking out the door I had my first painful contraction. You know....one that actually meant something. I yelled that out to him as he left just so he was aware that things might start happening. Throughout the morning I kept having more, nothing regular, and nothing major. It was enough though to be uncomfortable and to not want to have to take care of Jacey and Jaclyn by myself. So I called Cyndi and asked if she could come pick us up and spend the day at her house. We wanted to be there anyway because Kandice and Brady were in town for a short time and we wanted to see them as much as we could. So most of the family was over there for the rest of the day and it was so nice to have other people to help with my kids and to visit with to keep my mind off of what was happening to my body! Jeffrey joined us after work and we were all about to sit down to a delicious steak dinner that Cyndi had prepared, when my contractions started to pick up a bit. They were getting a little more intense and more steady, being consistently around 15 minutes apart. It was 7ish at that point and we decided to head home (after we ate really quick...we couldn't resist) and get things ready for the home birth. We left the kids and headed home to tidy up and get the bed "birth" ready. At one point, my contractions stopped for about half and hour and I was nervous that I was jumping the gun and that perhaps this was false labour! I was a week early afterall and I've never been early before. And I'd always "induced" labour with castor oil, so I thought for sure since I wouldn't do that this time, I'd go over. Thank goodness they picked back up again!! Cyndi brought the kids home just after 8 (my contractions were on average 6 minutes apart by then) and helped Jeffrey get them into bed. By 9 o'clock the kids were sound asleep and I was definitely getting into the more intense-have to breath through them to endure it- contractions. They were getting closer so we called Carol. We had already talked to her that night, before we left Palmer's and she actually was in SW calgary babysitting her grandbaby. Luckily, Mark and Emily's movie was full (not lucky for them) so they were actually on their way home and Carol was free to leave and come help us!! Funny how things work out like that!! I guess it's not funny, it's actually just one of those things that shows me how Heavenly Father micro manages our lives more than we realize. Anyway, so Carol headed up to our house to check me out. I was about 4 cm dialated and was definitely in active labour. The next 3 hours were pure torture, as the contractions got worse and worse. I had flash blacks of being in the ambulance with Jaclyn and it made everything feel worse and brought back some of that fear I had in those moments. Jeffrey was great, always by my side, letting me squeeze his hands and putting pressure on all the right spots on my back. He joked at one point that he used to think it was fake when women would hurt their husbands' hands on movies or tv shows when they were squeezing them during labour....but he was now a believer! Haha! It was great to be at home. I laboured on the bed for a while, the birthing ball, the tub...actually I did a rotation of those three places. It was just so nice to be able to try different places and positions to find what was the easiest place to get through the contractions. Obviously there was no easy place, but some helped more than others. I didn't like labouring in the tub when I was pregnant with Jacey, but I wanted to give it another chance because I've only heard good things about water births. It was a lot better than Jacey's birth, but I still didn't love it. It felt nice in between contractions, but it still felt like it magnified the pain a bit. Luckily for me though, I just so happened to be in tub when the baby came. I wanted it to be there because I knew it would be the easiest place to contain the mess. It was my second time through the rotation of bed, ball and tub when I went from just having contractions, to going through transition and having to push! And man, was that the worst few minutes of my life!! I know everyone will think that Jaclyn's labour is the worst thing I could have been through, but I feel like this one was worse. With the memory of Jaclyn's birth, plus the pain of this one, it was like DOUBLE. I felt like I was back in the ambulance and it was a moment where I felt completely out of control and full of fear!! I "kind of" freaked out (that's an understatement) and Carol had to get right in my face to bring me back to reality and let me know that everything was ok and that it was all normal and I was about to have this baby! Anyway, so I barely had to push, or rather, I didn't push for very long and I felt that amazing, incredible, miraculous RELIEF that comes with having a baby out of your body!!! I cried purely out of relief for about 5 minutes afterwards because I was DONE!!! I felt kind of guilty about that later, because Jeffrey was crying too and I think he thought we were crying for the same reasons, but we so weren't. He was crying about the miracle of birth, and meeting our precious little baby for the first time. You know, normal reasons. And I was also in awe of and was so excited to see our baby, but my mind was consumed with other things at the time. Anyway, so after discovering that it was a boy (our intuitions were right) and having those first few bonding moments as parents and son, I was rudely bombarded by more cramping. I never remember delivering the placenta. Well I guess I remember delivering it, but I didn't remember that it was a painful thing, but man, it felt like I was having another baby! And the cramping didn't stop. I felt kind if jipped because that relief that I was craving and thought I was going to have, was gone. I know that after birth cramps are worse with every child, but these have been so much worse than I imagined. And they still haven't left. I have been living with a hot pad on my lap ever since. Anyway, after I got warmed up and all those after birth "shakes" subsided, I was able to nurse little Thomas. He ate like a champ! I had to stop him after an hour so we could bathe. He would have kept eating, it was awesome! We both got in the bath and cleaned up. It was soooo nice to be at home, especially at this point, because afterwards, I was able to get into bed, put Thomas in his bassinet next to me and just relax. There was no packing up and driving home from the hospital. It was amazing!! Cyndi was there (which was perfect because about 10 minutes before I had him, Jaclyn woke up crying and she was able to go in her room and help settle her back down) and so she was able to see him and hold him right afterwards. She slept on the couch the rest of the night to help out if the kids got up again. We were so grateful for her help and presence! The midwives packed up all their stuff after making sure baby and I were both good and healthy and then they left. It's been so nice to work with midwives, especially Carol, because they are so thorough and they come to you!! I love that I haven't had to go anywhere to get Thomas checked out or anything, they've been visiting me at home and will be back again tomorrow to see us.
These past few days have been sooo much better than with any baby I've had. Aside from the massive cramping that is. Thomas and I have figured out nursing with no problems. That has always been a problem with my babies. He loves his binky, the second night he slept for 8 hours. He is just a happy baby and has given me very little grief! One of the biggest things so far is that I haven't felt like crying 24/7. Without fail, on day 3, when my milk comes in, I cry all day. But here we are on day 4, milk has already come, and I am a different woman this time around! It's a miracle!! One that I could accredit to a few things. First being the lack of nursing problems. That has always been a reason for tears in past postpartum periods. Second is placenta encapsulation. Yes, I am indeed ingesting my own placenta. Thanks to purebirth.ca (thank you Emily for referring her to me) I was able to call a lady to come pick up the placenta the next morning and she took it away and basically dehydrated and ground up my placenta and put them into pill capsules. So now I am taking those pills daily and there are supposedly many benefits. Just to name a few; a boost in energy, a boost in milk supply, and the BIG one for me, helping curb the dreaded postpartum depression. And so far, I'd say it's working!!! The third reason, and the one that I am also giving the most credit to, is that wonderful Book of Mormon challenge that our ward did. Not having postpartum depression is something specific that I prayed for all the while, basically asking Heavenly Father to let this be one of the promised miracles that I could receive for accepting and achieving the Book of Mormon challenge from the Bishop. So whether or not the placenta encapsulation was the means for this miracle to come to pass doesn't matter so much to me. I am just happy that so far I've received this answer to my many prayers!!! Now I know that I could totally be speaking too soon and I know as well that having emotional ups and downs are normal anyway, but I've never felt this good at this point and I'm hopeful that it's going to continue!! I'm so grateful to Jeffrey who has taken the week off to be at home with us, to help out with Jacey and Jaclyn so I can focus on Thomas and getting my rest. I'm also so grateful to the many friends and family that have brought us meals/food and for giving Jeffrey a break by taking the kids for a few hours! I'm surrounded by so many loving, giving people and I don't know why I am so lucky to have that, but I sure am grateful for it!!
Speaking of Jacey and Jaclyn, they are absolutely in LOVE with Thomas! Anytime we emerge from the bedroom, they RUN to my side so they can "pet Thomas!!" That's what we get for getting a hamster before a baby. They treat him like an animal, always asking if they can pet him. Haha!! Sadly, both my kids got colds right as we had him, so I've had to make sure they stay out of his face and that hasn't been easy for any of us!! I can't wait for them to get better so I don't have to be so paranoid about all their love!! Anyway, we are just having a great time getting to know Thomas better. He is absolutely adorable. He has Jaclyn's nose exactly, and Jacey's mouth! He looks more like Jeffrey than Jacey does, if that's possible!! Today he's wearing one of Jeffrey's baby outfits, one that we have a picture of Jeffrey in..and it's like looking at twins! We are so blessed to have three healthy kids and have so much love in our home!! I love looking at the kids crowd around Thomas trying to kiss and caress him. And I love watching Jeffrey sleep with him in his arms. I just love my family so much and am honored to be apart of it!
ps. Tommy's stats @ birth - born at 12:38 am on April 10/11, 8lbs 4 oz, 21 inches long.