Pregnancy is really hard on me. And being pregnant in my 30s has been even more difficult. But seeing Caleb's fat cheeks, and being able to kiss his adorable little nose, and smell that newborn head, I can say it is worth it!
I'll admit that having given birth to 35- and 37-week babies has spoiled me. My last two pregnancies were so mentally and emotionally challenging because I was thinking "any day now" for the entire last month. And Caleb decided he wasn't ready until 4 days before my due date--the longest I've ever been pregnant!
I’d been pretty discouraged that I was quickly approaching my due date and NOTHING seemed to be happening! I'd experienced some good contractions, but hadn't had those "false labor" episodes that at least signaled that the end was near. I became increasingly discouraged as my due date grew nearer.
So I spent a lot of time praying and trying to be patient. It was actually at church on Sunday, while I was reading the words to the Hymn “Master, the Tempest is Raging” during Sacrament Meeting, the words at the end of the 2nd verse struck me as profound: A plea to the Lord to “Hasten, and take control!” I’d been frustrated that I had no control over this life-changing event. I was anxious about when things would happen. I was frustrated that I couldn’t plan my life. I was anxious about how things would play out. As I started to remember more vividly the pains of childbirth, I began to question my desire to have another natural birth, and I started doubting my ability to handle it. I worried about caring for a newborn again, and how my life would change. But as I read the words to the Hymn, the thought came into my mind, “You want to be in control of this, but aren’t things always better when He is in control?” And the chorus reminds that all of the elements sweetly obey His will. And Peace, be still. And I did feel peace and trust again that He knew what was best.
Interestingly enough, it was that very night that I began labor. I’d had a few contractions in the evening, which wasn’t unusual. I went to bed for a few hours and awoke at about 2am to a hard contraction. I laid in bed for about 45 minutes until I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep through them as they became increasingly more intense. So I got up and read for a while.
This labor was very similar to Rachel's. The contractions became more and more hard, intense, and took much more concentration to get through them. But they didn't get close together. In fact, they were still quite irregular. I went to the bathroom around 4:00 and chatted with Vince about what to do. As I laid in bed again, the contractions actually stopped. After about 1/2 hour I decided this must not be the real thing, so I thought we should just go back to sleep. But then at 4:30, I got hit HARD by a very strong contraction. That was the turning point for me! I knew then that this was it.
So we made calls to the midwife and my mom and got ready to head in to the hospital. My sister, Beth, came to stay with the kids and Mom followed us to the hospital. We got there a little after 6am. I was still worried about them checking me and hooking me up and that the contractions would stop and I'd be sent home. So I was anxious to see if I'd progressed from the 3 cm I was at my last appointment. Fortunately, I was already at a 6, and they let me stay!
I was able to get in the tub around 7:00. I tried that for a while, and made some progress, but my contractions were still far apart and a bit irregular. When I was around 8 cm I decided to get out and try sitting on the birthing ball and standing to help move things more quickly.
The last hour was definitely the most difficult. That was the point in which my brain turned foggy. And although I could hear and was aware of things going on around me, I became so focused on myself and what was going on in my own body. I knew I wasn't thinking clearly. I remember people asking me questions about trying different positions or techniques, but I couldn't answer except for "I don't know."
Up to this point, my water was still intact. I had a hard time feeling the overwhelming urge to push, so I asked my midwife to break my water. (I was almost fully dilated.) The same as with Rachel, as soon as she broke my water, Caleb's head descended quickly. I definitely felt the urge then! Pushing was more difficult with Caleb than with any of my others that I can remember. But it didn't take very long. And at 9:52 am a beautiful baby boy was born into our family! It was a very emotional experience for me as they laid him on my chest. I cried a lot. I went through so much to get him here, and was so happy to finally have my baby boy.
At first I thought we would name him Adam, but when we saw him, it just didn’t fit. After much discussion that day, we decided to name him Caleb. He was 7 lbs 11 oz and 19 ½ inches long. He looks a lot like his daddy, and similar to his siblings, but with his own unique Caleb look. We are already so smitten with this new little bundle of joy!
We’re especially grateful that he is here! And that he is healthy. And that I am healthy. We truly have been blessed.