Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Birth Story of Mason James

I can’t seem write a birth story without giving a little lead up of the days before so I’m including that too. Those days are still so vivid in my mind as well and I love documenting as much as I can of all parts of our stories. I hope this blog and all my other documenting truly blesses my kids one day as they read back on these memories and the story of their births and more. I have mostly used this blog for Ellie and really don't even use it anymore thanks to Instagram, but I wanted to put Mason's story here as well…so without further ado…

Here the story of when Mason James was born:

Friday, January 10th, 2014: Mason’s Due Date but I had zero expectations of anything happening that day being that Ellie was 20 days late! However, it still called for a celebration so Ellie and I went out for pancakes!! 

Sunday, January 12th: While watching football with our friends at their house, I started noticing contractions and a little more regularly and strong, enough to make me think I should time these suckers with my handy dandy app that I had downloaded for this time around.  I tried not to make a big deal of it but thought it was so funny that maybe my “tiny midwife” was picking up on it all on her own as she came to me with this stethoscope to given a listen!

After a while I made a call to my midwife to let her know I’d had a few hours of contractions, and sent her a screen shot of the info from the app and she told me to stay tuned and keep walking. (Of course, she knew way better than me, that I was most likely getting excited over nothing!) So my friends Laurie and Monica and I walked a couple of laps around the neighborhood and I was admittedly a little bummed when things petered out… 

Monday, January 13th: Nothing special happened, no action really or at least nothing I can remember anyways about this day

Tuesday, January 14th: Another morning as usual. I remember being prayed for at staff meeting and really appreciating it! Taking a photo in the church bathroom mirror (what would be come my last solo belly shot)

and texting YouTube links of funny rap songs to my sister back and forth throughout my work day with some contractions mixed in. Like “Let’s Get It Started” from the Black Eyed Peas and others that their lyrics could be “motivating” for my body to get things going! It helped pass the time and keep me laughing. 

I had a midwife appointment for the afternoon and I was planning to ask them to strip my membranes if possible so I could be proactive (since I was 4 days overdue at this point). The appointment informed me that I was about 1cm dilated and stripping my membranes might have gotten me another cm…Matt and I left the appointment (we had left Ellie at his parent’s house in West Salem) and headed back to pick her up and decided to walk to big hills in their neighborhood (something we also did during those final days waiting for Ellie to arrive!). An hour walking on the big hills seemed to bring on some stronger contractions and then standing in their kitchen afterwards, breathing and bending through a few more contractions, I began to wonder if maybe we needed to get heading home to get things squared away for the evening and get to bed, in case that night proved to be the night! 

We got home and I don’t really remember the next couple hours before bed (other than the contractions petered out again!! ugh!) but then decided it was time to go lay down and listen to my Hypnobabies track like I had nightly for the last several weeks in preparation. I would ALWAYS fall right to sleep to them and usually wake up as soon as it was over, half thinking there’s no way I heard any of that and also remembering that I was so happy I had used them with Ellie and if nothing else they helped me be relaxed, calm and confident I could birth a baby! 

Well the track ended, waking me up and as I rolled over to get up to use the bathroom, in mid-roll I completely soaked myself!!! Not as in “whoa, I just peed my pants without-ANY-warning-of-it-coming-kind-of-way, but in a “whoa!! that was A LOT of water that just came out of my body!! And was that my water breaking?!!” So of course I immediately called my midwife and she asked her questions and didn’t really confirm it one way or another but said it was possible it was more of a “leak” and stay tuned to see if things were going to pick up. We got off the phone, wishing each other both rest, and I hoped we would be talking again soon :)

After cleaning up and getting set for sleep again, I turned off the light and turned back on my Hypnobabies tracks again for another round and planned to sleep, praying to be awoken with contractions… And I was! Through the rest of the night, on and off, getting up to walk around a little bit and then falling back asleep and waking up bummed I had fallen asleep because surely that “meant” things weren’t happening! (looking back now, I was pretty much in early labor, contractions were happening, but just think I didn’t want to allow myself to really acknowledge it because all the other little stops and starts). 

Wednesday, January 15th: Morning arrived, with frustrations that things hadn’t picked up enough (in my mind) to constitute actual labor so I decided to plan to move on with my day like normal. 

Matt went off to work about 7:30 and I called my friend Monica to see if she wanted to go walk at the mall with Ellie and I, like Ellie and I had been doing for weeks. Having Monica there was a hopeful move that I would actually NEED her there because things were going to pick up as we walked the mall and it was already arranged that Ellie would be staying with Monica and her family when we went to the birth center. She had to drop her sons off at school but said she could be over about 8:45. As we hung up, I noticed my contractions were coming back and maybe a little closer together! By the time she arrived, I quickly had realized, we would NOT be going to the mall! 

So we hung out at my house for a little bit as I called my midwife to check in and tell her things were moving along (I think contractions had gotten about 3 mins apart at this point and she listened to me breathe through a few of them and based on what she could hear in my voice she said she thought I could come in and at least get checked out again if nothing else) Matt quickly came back home, thankfully his work is about 5 minutes away from our house. I asked Monica to snap one last picture of us as a family of 3 and we were on our way out to Bella Vie! I believe it was about 9:45 at this point. 

The 25 minute ride out was quiet and pretty uneventful, it was cold and grey out and fortunately, all the in the car contractions were manageable. I lobbied one final time to call the birth photographer that had offered to come and take pictures for free, but Matt told me it would make him very uncomfortable to have another person in the room besides the midwives so it was vetoed. (If I could do that decision over, I would have pushed a little harder for that one! My only regret! Husbands, if you're reading this, just say YES to your wife is she asks for a photographer!!) But ultimately, I decided I wasn’t going to let it ruin my mood (and I could give our little digital camera to the midwives at least for some pics, which was better than nothing). I was excited and thankful to be headed to one of my favorite places in the world and that I would be meeting my boy later in the day! 

We arrived a little after 10am and the all the staff and midwives were in the staff meeting and said we could walk right on back to my room of choice (and the same one Ellie was born in) called Sweet Pea and they would be in a few minutes. It had pretty, light green walls, a 4 poster bed and a natural light filled bathroom with it’s huge tub in the center and chandelier hanging above it, separated from the bed room with french doors. Even though, I had been in for several appointments over my pregnancy, the memories of Ellie’s birth in the same place flooded back as we set our bags down. My midwife Desiree (also the same one who was there when Ellie was born) came in with her apprentice, Lauren (who I had gotten to know and love over all my prenatal appointments) and asked if I would like to be checked. They explained that because my water “may” have broken last night, they really try to do only very few checks at this point to minimize bacteria. I said yes, because of how the contractions had been going, I knew I wanted one and guessed it would probably be my only one that I would want. I just needed to officially know if things had actually progressed from last night and were moving in the right direction! The check determined I was now dilated to 5cm and I would definitely be staying at BV! Yay! Like the Black Eyed Peas had sung a few days ago, “Let’s get it started!” 

 Contractions were kind of all over the place and the timing had changed again. I was calm and they were very manageable if I just paused and closed my eyes and went silent through them (that’s my M.O. for managing them) and the midwives suggested a walk around outside for a bit, also telling us we could come back in and watch a movie if we wanted after a bit. So out we went, but it was COLD!! And I made it out to the back yard area and they had intensified enough, that outside was the last place I wanted to be!

Back inside we went, (It was laughable how quick that walk was!) From there, I decided I liked the large overstuffed chair in the room to sit in during each contractions and I had begun to get pretty vocal. Not screaming or yelling or anything but “Oooooooohhhhh-ing” deeply and slowly. Desiree came in again and I think because she could hear it in my voice, she knew it was time for the tub. She asked if I was ready for it and I gave an enthusiastic “Yes!” It was about 11:30 at this point.

The tub, just like last time, felt amazing!!! I worked through contractions and enjoyed the warm water.

I continued to vocalize and Matt would place his hand on me with a reassuring touch during each one, (though of course the defensive part of me wondered if it was his way of telling me to “be quieter” cause it was a little embarrassing! ha!) But we continued on, just us, and the midwives would come in a do a doppler listen about every 20 minutes. After a few rounds of that, things picked up even more and I could tell the pressure was starting to intensify down low. All of a sudden, there was a loud, “POP!” and we were both so surprised and quickly called for the midwives. 

My water had broken, or broken the rest of the way (if indeed there was a leak the night before? who knows! Maybe i did just unconsciously pee my pants!) Back to my water breaking… was the strangest sensation as it never did break with Ellie and she as born “en caul” which was also crazy! 

The midwives discovered that with my water there was a little meconium so the remained close by and we knew it was getting close to “Go time”! I found out later because I asked at a follow up appointment it was 1:20pm at this point. I asked for my birth music to be put on and I know it was because I remember Matt apologizing to the ladies if the music was bugging them (Not sure how mellow, worship music would bug my Jesus loving midwives, but for whatever reason, I clearly remember him saying that! Even though, I can’t at all remember hearing the music actually playing!) I also asked for one midwife to get our camera and take photos. 

Quickly, I could feel my body starting to do its own thing and push and I just went with it. Loud moans and eyes closed, I just tried to surrender to it and trust it was working. I would reach down and feel the progress and could feel Mason’s head which was so motivating. A few minutes of that and out popped his head! Such relief!! But that was it! I was dismayed as I had to wait for another contraction for his body and my body to work together for the next part to happen. I swear it was like 2 minutes and I actually checked the time stamp on the digital photos and IT WAS! For a full 2 minutes, Mason’s head was out but his body was still in! Birth is crazy! 

That blessed contraction finally came and with it I felt his body slide the rest of the way out! It was the coolest feeling ever that I will never forget and for whatever reason, I didn’t experience that feeling with Ellie (maybe because of her sack not breaking?!)

 It was Matt that lifted him up and on to my chest, entirely on his own! A father delivers his son! 

I know that is something Matt will never forget as well. Mason was quiet for just a moment but then his cries came loud and strong, he already was so different then his sister who was so quiet and hardly cried after she was born! We asked what time it was and were completely astonished so hear them tell us is was 1:38!! WHAT?!! That’s it?!! We couldn’t believe we had only arrived just 3 hours earlier! Amazed, thankful, energized (I’m sure from all the oxcitocin flowing) AND not being exhausted from staying up ALL night (like we had with Ellie). There is something to be said for having a baby in the middle of the day :) 

The next order of business, right after the placenta was delivered was to FaceTime my sister right away! I was still in the tub, less than 10 minutes after delivering and we had to call Auntie “Mono” and introduce her to her new nephew. It was exciting to know that she would be doing the same for me in a few months to follow, when Margaux arrived. We talked for a few minutes, showed off Mason and then said our goodbyes. 

 The midwives handed over Mason to Matt for some Daddy-Son skin-to-skin time while they helped me get cleaned up and then settled into bed. 

We snuggled him and relaxed in wonder of another child of ours brought into this world. Thankful for the amazing birth support, beautiful, relaxing environment, gentle process and faithfulness and provision of God to bring our son safely, sweetly and amazingly into our arms. Another wonderful birth experience and I know not everyone’s goes that way and there are so many variables and possibilities and I don’t for a second take for granted both of my births and am so thankful for the gift they have been to me.  

Mason weighed 8lbs, 7 oz and was 21 inches long (same length as his sister). Praise the Lord there were no effects from the meconium and no other issues. We did discover he was born with the sweetest little birthmark on his shoulder and it seriously looks like a little red lipstick mark from a kiss. We call it an “angel kiss”! ha! We relaxed for a couple hours, just the 3 of us and made calls to all our loved ones to tell of his arrival! 

We made plans for big sis, Ellie to come and meet him the next morning and did have another photographer friend scheduled to come and capture that part. My parents and youngest 3 siblings (including 17 day old Caleb, Mason’s new Uncle!!) planned to come out that evening to meet Mason so we just relaxed until that time came. We enjoyed the full Bella Vie treatment and a delicious dinner in bed, with a sweet view!

The next day was filed with visitors, photos and the sweet memory making of Ellie meeting her brother for the first time! Seeing her immediate love and excitement for him was wonderful! We knew from day one she was going to be (AND IS!) the best big sister! 

(Telling Ellie the story of how she was born in this tub too!)

We stayed one more night at Bella Vie (and got to listen to the muffled sounds of 2 more babies be born in other rooms while we were there, which of course the birth junkie in me loved) and we headed home Friday after lunch to begin our life as a family of 4! 

(Car ride home)

Now, three years later as I finally write this all down, it takes me right back to that amazing, special experience that I will never forget. And it makes me incredible grateful for the last 3 years of life with Mr. Mason James Robert Miller and for all that is still to come.