Thursday, May 03, 2012

A Baby Story: Tommy Magnum

I'm finally getting to this Baby Story. I started writing it oh, about 2 weeks ago, but since then things have been just a little crazy.

I updated my Facebook status to read: I'm beginning to think a touch of lunacy is required to have 4 children.

I remember there being a rough transition when Rem joined our family. Figuring out new baby, maintaining discipline for 2 others. It all worked itself out.... life went on and we found a new normal.

This transition of adding new baby is complicated with all the above only it is maintaining discipline for 3 this time, one being a pretty tenacious 2 year old who is potty training himself, complete with independent diaper changes (let's just say he doesn't wield a diaper wipe as effectively as his mommy yet). Then there is homeschooling, a routine that the girls crave and demands a lot of my time. And finally there is baby himself. I've described him as a diva -- it's either his way or the highway. I prayed for an easy-going brown-eyed boy and God thought I could handle a high-maintenance blue-eyed one. Good thing His plan is perfect.

You can read here (on Drops of Living how I'm coping with "not enough" sleep. Tommy's longest stretch is about 2 hours at night, nursing takes 45 minutes, and rocking/coaxing/begging him to go back to sleep takes at least half an hour. That makes my nights a series of 45 minute naps. But God is good and I actually feel really great about everything and strangely not tired. Thankful for the many blessings throughout the day, (sometimes even an afternoon nap) and many kind friends and family who have jumped in to help.

So back to the birth story, without much further ado:

He is here, 2 weeks early! I was mentally preparing myself for May 1st. Oh, how thankful I am that I didn't have to wait that long. My last two babies were about a week passed their due dates. I thoroughly believed my body needed to gestate babies for 41 weeks -- mentally it is easier to think late than early.

I didn't believe I was going to have a baby on Monday (April 16). I went to bed on Sunday telling myself "this is false labor. There is no way you can have this baby tomorrow. There is no way. You have 2 or 3 more weeks. 2 or 3 more weeks. Get ahold of yourself Woman!" I felt contractions for the previous month usually at night as I fell asleep, but these were different on Sunday night. They were in my back and it was familiar pain just like my 3 other labors. Yet I was still telling myself, "You have 2 or 3 more weeks. 2 or 3 more weeks. Get ahold of yourself Woman!"

The back contractions kept coming throughout the night, about every hour. At 5am I woke up and couldn't go back to sleep. I had a short painful contraction that lasted less than 30 seconds and then another one about 15 minutes later. They continued on about every 15-20 minutes.

6 am
I got up and although I was still telling myself, "You have 2 or 3 more weeks. 2 or 3 more weeks. Get ahold of yourself Woman!" part of me was beginning to worry that I might actually have a baby and we didn't have a name for the little fellow. The list of suggestions from FB was a long one with 56 friends giving multiple name ideas. Jeff "okayed" a few: Ian, William, Matthew, Isaac, Zachariah, Thomas, Abraham, Daniel, Wyatt, and Ryder. We wanted it to have an easy, likable nickname, so a couple of the names were out like Ian, Isaac, Wyatt, and Ryder.

Jeff didn't really care at this point, so it was up to me. I narrowed it down to Zachariah and Thomas. After reading through various Scriptures about Zachariah and Thomas, I kept coming back to Thomas. Yes, it's my dad's name and is special for that reason, but the Thomas in the Bible was an awesome guy too. He was courageous and loyal (a lot more than his "doubting" nickname refers to). When the other disciples tried to keep Jesus from going to Bethany to raise Lazarus from the dead because of the danger from those in the area who had just earlier tried to stone Him (John 11:8), Thomas said to them, "Let us also go, that we may die with Him." (John 11:16). When Jeff got up and asked me what I was doing, I said, "Our son's name is Tommy Magnum*." And he said, "Okay."

I called the midwife to let her know about my contractions. She said that short contractions tend to go away and I shouldn't get my hopes up when they were so short and far apart. She wanted to check in with me in a few hours to see if I made any progress, but I was once again telling myself, "You have 2 or 3 more weeks. 2 or 3 more weeks. Get ahold of yourself Woman!" 

Jeff went to work and the kids started watching tv and I roamed the house in a daze of hopes vs. reality. I was in a lot of pain, but I was comparing it to period cramps. Ya, they suck and I just wanted to lay in bed, but I could still function. I cleaned the kitchen and did some laundry.

The contractions were about 10 minutes apart, but still very short. My mom sent a text, "How is everyone?" I didn't want to mislead her, but I also didn't want to jinx any chance I had of this being true labor. I told her I was feeling a lot of contractions and hopefully that meant I would have a baby soon, but most likely not today. She took that to mean "the end of the week-ish" (this was Monday) and she didn't worry any more about it.

I sent a text to my sister and asked her if she was busy. The kids were driving me bonkers and they were already bored with tv. I said, "I don't want to be the sister who cried wolf, but I just can't handle them when I am in this much pain. Hey, how about 'Wolf' for a baby name?" 

Her reply: "I'll come get the kids, please don't make any name decisions under duress." I told her to hold off on coming to get the kids because I was feeling terribly guilty if this wasn't "it." I have never tossed my kids out just because I didn't feel like parenting for the day, yet the contractions were getting more severe. Could this be it?

I talked to the midwife again and she sounded more positive since the pain was worsening and closer together. She said to call when things were "urgent" feeling. I gave birth with this midwife before and she knows me. She trusted I could tell when it was "it" even if I didn't trust myself.

My new fridge was delivered. We had to buy a new one because our old one wasn't working. Being fridge-less since Thursday, I was super excited about the delivery. The guys came, set everything up in a few minutes and were about to leave when I noticed the top of the doors were uneven. A contraction hit about the time they were reading the manual trying to figure out how to fix it and I suddenly didn't care any more about uneven doors. Powering through the pain, I graciously told them it was fine and they could go.

I called Jeff and told him the fridge guys came but they didn't hook up the water so maybe he should come home and do that. He asked, "So you are having a baby?" I wasn't ready to commit, but thought it was a good idea if he came home and talked some sense into me.... and hooked up the water for the fridge.

Jeff hooked up the water, loaded up the kids and took them to Salem. I'm not quite sure what I did for that hour +, but I didn't get baby clothes ready or do any nesting. I remember being really excited that this might be baby time, but also crazy nervous because my three previous deliveries were long, drawn-out, incredibly painful and I dreaded it. It is an odd feeling to dread something I hoped for so much.

Jeff returned home and I think I was still roaming the house and moaning. He helped me count contractions and they were 2-5 minutes apart and still less then 30 seconds -- nothing to get too excited about. He cleaned the house from top to bottom because he doesn't do "sitting around."

I went to the bathroom and couldn't move, the contractions went from every few minutes to no break at all. Jeff brought me my phone and I called the midwife to eek out, "this is happening."

Lisa and Rachel arrived and quickly went into birth mode. Lisa assessed my progress, checked baby's heartbeat and charted contractions. Rachel was busy setting up the birth supplies that I sort of had together, but not really because I wasn't planning on having this baby for 2-3 more weeks.

I felt the urge to push and my water broke. From here on out, I won't type repeatedly, "I was in a lot of pain" because I think you get the idea. Natural childbirth isn't a walk in the park. I felt myself slipping into "I can't do this" mode after half an hour into pushing. I had someone turn on Pandora to my Selah station and those soothing God-centered songs really helped me buck-up camper. I COULD do this. I WOULD do this and I would be holding my son in my arms soon.

Almost 4pm
My midwife Lisa is extremely knowledgeable (1,000 + births and counting) and helped me have the fastest birth possible even though this little guy was bound and determine to take his time. Tommy was born at 3:58pm wailing like crazy. I scooped him into my arms and can't express the overflow of emotions from sheer gratitude that this little body was finally OUT of my body and excitement that I was holding a precious life, taking his first gifted breaths.

I also can't express how amazing it felt to sink into my own bed while holding my son in my arms. Peace and contentment. I'm pro home birth and loved the experience of it. I loved the midwive's calm attitudes. I loved the quiet of my own space. I loved not being bothered with unnecessary procedures. I loved holding my newborn for an hour at least before he was weighed and measured. I loved the home visits the midwives made on day 1, 3, 7, and 2 weeks after the birth. They are so caring and attentive.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, my darling little diva boy isn't the easiest character. But we are overflowing with love for him. 2 weeks is a bit early to tell about personality, so we are soaking up time with him, enjoy kissing his soft cheeks, and snuggling as much as possible. The kids ADORE him. Caps deserved since they fight every living moment of the day to hold him. He is well loved around here.


*Why Magnum?
50 cal Magnum Hand Gun
We've had a few raised eye-brows over our choice for Tommy's middle name. Actually a few people said, "Are you serious?" when they heard his full name. We chose Magnum for a couple reasons. The first being that Remington was named after a rifle, so shouldn't his brother have a powerful, gun themed name as well? Magnum refers to the gun cartridge and generally means it is bigger and better than a non-Magnum counterpart. 

The second reason for Magnum was that is it just a cool sounding name. It was the name of a popular tv show's main character back in the 80s. I grew up watching it and thought the mystique of Magnum PI was pretty awesome.

When my dad heard the baby's name he said, "He wasn't born with a mustache, was he?"

No mustache. Yet.


Tawny said...

I love it the baby story! Thomas coming into this world was not without drama (like that rest of them), and I laughed out loud when you said the fridge was delivered during your labor. Tonight I saw the photo of your 4 kids in the bed--after the rough evening-- and thought, "You are blessed indeed."

I want to be you when I grow up.

Applejacks32 said...

Loved your story! I look forward to meeting your baby- hope it is sometime soon!

Anonymous said...

Ohhhh, Sunny, this was so precious to read. Thank you for sharing!!!! That was a LONG labor for a 4th baby!!! Looking forward to seeing more pics and getting to know your little ones better through FB :-) They are all adorable!!!!

P.S. I found out last summer that we are actually also kinda-sorta related through your hubby's side of the family. Small world, huh???

Leslie F said...

Oops, anonymous is Leslie :-)

Alison Naknakim said...

Thanx Al for sharing your birth story. I have always enjoyed hearing how you and your family are doing.

Dan & Hillary said...

I love your Dad's response;-) Thanks for posting your story!!

Olivia said...

Thanks for sharing! It was great to 'hear' Thomas' birth story. :) That is interesting to hear that someone who has gone consistently late with their babies CAN have one far I have gone approximately 41 weeks with both of mine. Maybe our third will come sooner?? :)

Anonymous said...

I loved your birth story! I am also using Lisa, and I'm due in three weeks. I love what you said about keeping your head in the right place when the "I can't do this" feeling comes. God Bless! ~Shannon

April said...

You are one of my heroes when it comes to natural childbirth. My mother had me natural but that was like 36 years ago. I was like NO WAY but you know what? If God so blesses Adam and I to conceive and give birth do a child, I want to try Natural for sure!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I hope nights get easier soon. Jenni B