It’s been almost eight weeks since we welcomed sweet Jonan into our family. Enough time has passed that we are emerging from the newborn fog and life is settling into the new normal.
Jonan’s name means “God is a gracious giver.” Jonan is the bonus one. He is our dessert. When envisioning our family, I always saw five kids. Even before I met and married Brian, I saw five kids. I even told Brian that I wanted five kids and he married me anyway. I think he thought we’d have a couple and he could talk me out of the rest. Five, we were going to have five. The jokes on him (don’t worry he is very happy about it). We have SIX. God really is a gracious giver.
Birth stories are the intersection of agony and joy, pain and relief. There is never a moment in your life more intense or vulnerable and I can’t believe I have been blessed enough to experience it six times. All six experiences have been very different from each other. My first three (all girls) were natural deliveries. My last three (all boys) were C-sections. I’ve carried my babies anywhere from 38 weeks to 42 weeks. They’ve ranged in birth weight from 7lbs 7oz to 10lbs 11oz. I’ve had close calls and scary moments but I’ve been so blessed to have happy endings.
Birth stories are sacred. I think it’s important to remember them, celebrate them, compare them… As women, we love each other’s birth stories. No matter our birth story’s setting or style, no matter how or in what manner a new life comes to this earth, the fact still remains….a child is born. And that is miraculous and deserves to be celebrated!
So my birth “plan” (it never goes according to the plan so why do we call it that?) was to carry this baby as close to term as possible and then have a C-section. I had some complications with my previous delivery that required a C-section for this delivery. They offered to do a 39 week scheduled C-section but I wanted to get as close to the due date as possible. This was a high risk pregnancy thanks to my advanced maternal age (apparently uterine years are like dog years which means 38 is really 266 haha…) and gestational diabetes. I was having ultrasounds and stress tests weekly. The plan was to stay pregnant until I got a “bad” ultrasound or stress test.
On the Sunday before my 38 week appointment, I woke up feeling AWFUL. I pushed myself to get ready for church and get our littles ready. I sent Brian a text (he’s the pastor so he goes way early) and told him that I might not be there. But my kids love church and hate to miss for any reason. So I got us there hoping the yuck feeling would go away. It didn’t. I had a feeling that my blood pressure was up and that I was possibly starting preeclampsia (had that with baby #3). Monday night, I had the urge to pack my hospital bag and wash the guest room bedding. I also vacuumed the whole house and did a bunch of laundry. Brian was suspicious to say the least.
On Tuesday morning, I go in for a biophysical (ultrasound) and to see the doctor. The baby looks beautiful. We even see hair floating around in the plentiful amniotic fluid. Baby is moving great and doing all the things he should. My intuition was right though and my blood pressure was high. So, I got to spend the afternoon laying on my side having my blood pressure monitored every 15min. It remained high. I was also presenting some other preeclampsia symptoms and it was decided that we really didn’t have anything to gain by waiting. We would have a late afternoon C-section.
We had so much favor in every aspect of this birth. When I was being monitored, I asked the nurses if I should call my husband to come. They promised that I would have plenty of time to get him there once a decision was made. So, Brian and our children were on standby at home. Once we knew it was baby time, things started happening fast. Brian walked in and literally the nurses were handing him scrubs and getting him suited up for the O.R. Since we have teen daughters and the C-section wouldn’t take long, all our children came to the hospital with Brian and waited together in the lobby.
Once the baby was delivered, Dr. Royal held him above the curtain for me to see. Jonan peed everywhere! The nurses quickly got him wrapped up and handed off to Brian who immediately brought him around for us to snuggle. Ah… that first sniff of my baby’s head, there’s nothing and I mean nothing that compares to that. Those first few moments (even in an O.R. with nurses and doctors doing their thing) are so sacred. Birth is such a miracle, how do you not feel the presence of God? It’s as if Brian and I and this precious baby were in a bubble. We just gazed into each other’s eyes and the eyes of Jonan, praising God. They didn’t rush us. They let us linger there together (while still doing their business of putting me back together). After a bit, Brian and the baby left.
They finished up with me and I was prepared to go to recovery for an hour like with my previous C-sections. Much to my surprise, my nurses took me back to my room where Brian, the baby, and all my children were waiting for me. They did my recovery in-room all while I watched my children meet their new baby brother and even help bathe him. That is a precious memory that I will always cherish. Josiah was totally smitten with his new baby brother. He had a sparkle in his eye that still hasn’t gone away. The nurses were amazing! They really went out of their way to not be in our way. Know what I mean by that? They let us have our special moment and stood in the background.
And then it was my turn to really hold my baby. To open the blankets and inspect all the parts. To count his fingers and his toes. To look deep into his eyes. To nurse him and get skin to skin with him. Even after six times, it’s such bliss. I think that’s the thing about motherhood, there’s always room for more love.
And just like that we became a family of eight.