We welcomed baby number 7, and boy number 6 to our family! We're overjoyed to welcome Gideon Thomas!
My labor and delivery with him went well, but was rather long. My sister had come into town to help out and be with me (as I was incredibly blessed to be with her two months earlier as my niece arrived into the world!), and on Monday (August 13, a week and a day before Gideon's due date) we decided to travel to Tennessee to visit the aquarium, as a fun outing for the kids. It's a 2+ hour drive, but always fun, so well worth the drive. That night, around midnight, Rachel woke up with a stomach bug, so I spent the night rocking her, cleaning up, doing several loads of laundry, and, go figure, after being on my feet all day, contractions started - real contractions, not Braxton-Hicks, accompanied by some spotting. I was NOT excited at that point, to say the least! I woke Michael up to let him know things were looking like they were starting... he took my place on "sick toddler" duty and let me go back to bed. I took a quick shower, during which the contractions slowed some, and then went back to bed. Contractions continued, but much more spaced out than before, so I was able to get some much needed rest. (Oh, and thankfully, her stomach bug lasted less than 12 hours!)
All day Tuesday, the contractions remained continual, but never very consistent. Sometimes they'd be 10 minutes apart, sometimes 30 minutes would go by without any. Finally I gave up trying to track them and went about my day. The problem with these contractions is that they were really strong! Usually, I don't experience terribly painful, strong contractions until closer to transition, so I was really confused about what was going on. I happened to have an appointment with my Midwife that afternoon, so I was eager to see if any progress was being made. And, my hopes were quickly dashed when she said "no progress, we'll see you next week!" Over 12 hours of painful contractions, and NOTHING?! :( I was so disappointed! But, having been through false labor with Judah, I knew that even though progress wasn't being made, *something* was happening, anyway. I just hoped it wouldn't go on for another week with the terrible contractions!
Throughout the night Tuesday and into the morning on Wednesday, the contractions continued. Strong enough to wake me up every 10-20 minutes (with the occasional break for some longer rest here and there), but never really establishing a pattern. Wednesday morning my sister and I decided to go for a nice, long walk. We went to a local park with a 1.75 mile trail, and, slowly at times, made our way around the path. During our walk, the contractions definitely picked up - 5-8 minutes apart. But, once I got into the car to come back home, they again slowed down. I had no idea what to think! We went about the rest of our day, and made dinner together, and during dinner making, things definitely picked up again... now ranging from 3-5 minutes. I was still really cautious about calling anyone, as I didn't want to give a false alarm. Finally, though, Michael insisted, and I notified my homebirth "team" around 6:30 pm.
Everyone arrived by 8 pm - my midwife, her two assistants, and two of my dear friends. Michael said he would have set up bleachers somewhere had he realized there were going to be 7 people attending the birth! But having people close to me who I love and bring me joy is so helpful to me during labor. We can laugh and chatter and enjoy the time together, which helps me to focus less on the pain! And that's what we did! I wanted to get into the pool, but still be unsure about how far along I actually was, I didn't want to get in too early. During Rachel's homebirth, I was never checked for progress, but this time around, I needed some reassurance. So my midwife checked me, and I was at a 7! We got that pool filled ASAP and I got in - during those few minutes of waiting, the contractions really picked up in intensity, so things were moving pretty fast.
Once in the pool, it was immediate relief. So relieving, in fact, that the contractions stopped briefly, which was such a nice break. However, once they started again...! They came on strong and LONG... the first one felt like it would never end, and at that point the baby gave a good kick, and my water broke. The second one, I felt the baby come down, and all of the sudden, his head was out! I had been kneeling at that point, but then I sat back a little and asked the midwives to help catch him... but my midwife calmly said, "Oh, you've got this!" and so I reached down and brought my little boy out into the world, up out of the water, and into my arms! It was *incredible* to experience the delivery that way! Really, I can't even describe how amazing it was.
I had felt strongly all through this pregnancy that it would be a boy, so I wasn't surprised in the least when I took a peek and saw my suspicions confirmed! We were overjoyed! Gideon Thomas was born at 9:06 pm, almost 48 hours from the first start of contractions. The "pushing" phase lasted all of 4 minutes, during which I actually did no pushing at all - he just made his way into the world. It was beautiful! But, I'll admit, I was very glad for it to be done, lol! This is my favorite picture from the birth - it was taken with a phone camera, so it's not the highest quality, but it's still my favorite:
And now we're settling in to "life with a newborn and 6 other kids". It's a wild ride! Michael has been able to be at home with me for the past two weeks, which has been a huge blessing. All the kids have adjusted well to having Gideon around, even Rachel, who I was a little nervous about! Gideon himself is having a bit of a struggle adapting to life in the outside world - he's a little on the "high needs" side of things, and spends most of his time awake being rather unhappy about it. But, I am thankful that I've gone through this before and have learned a few things - First, that babywearing, breastfeeding, and co-sleeping are lifesavers during this time, and second, that it will get better! Otherwise, he's doing just fine - nursing well, gaining weight, and being super cute!
Here are a few more pictures:
|All wrapped up next to me - his favorite spot!|
|One of the first I was able to catch him with his eyes open!|
|Waking up from a nap (1 week old)|
|What I wake up to every morning!|
We thank God for the blessing of another wonderful little boy!