Let's see...where to begin...I think I will begin at the beginning of the pregnancy. This one began a little stranger for me than the others because I got really tired and started needing to take naps. (I don't take naps. Think super grouchy mama-bear...grrrrr!) After three days of that, I took a test. At 11 at night. Why did I do that?! I really should have waited until the next day so I could get a good night's sleep first. :) Anyway, for the next 5 days, I was doing pretty well. Then, I went to church on Sunday, taught the kids class and started getting over heated. Then, we came home and had lunch with some friends from church. After that, I decided to clean up the dining table and chairs that I had purchased from the garage sale down the street. I started to feel a little yuck. I didn't sleep well that night. The next night we had friends over for dinner and I ended up having to call it a night early and then I couldn't sleep because it seemed like every noise was amplified. That is where it all started. The next morning after not getting any sleep, I threw up for the first time in a series over the next few months. During my pregnancies with Zekey and Ailey, I got just as sick. For those who don't know, I get a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum for the first 4-6 months of my pregnancies. This one was no exception. The biggest difference this time was that I was in a house, not a motor home/rv. I think the close quarters and LOTS of God's grace was the only way I was able to cope the times before. This time, I had to have help. I couldn't make it to all the places in the house that I needed to because it was too far for me to go. I was literally on the floor or in my bed most of the day because I couldn't stand upright. I was exhausted, I couldn't sleep and I cried lots (due to the hormones and sleep deprivation) which in turn caused me to throw up even more. It was a vicious cycle to be in, let me tell ya! However, my God is a BIG God and He is in the business of miracles and He absolutely worked many in me and my church family. I was so very blessed by all the help that came pouring in. I was the children's minister for our church campus and when I wasn't able to be there all of a sudden, the other teachers closed ranks and took up my slack. They also brought us meals, helped with the kiddos and cleaned my house for me. One very sweet friend in particular decided to come twice a week (a 45 min + drive) to help me out. I can never repay all of that, but I pray that our precious Lord blesses them beyond belief!!!
Even though this was a very rough time physically and emotionally for me, spiritually it was a sweet and wonderful time. I have never been closer and more focused on God than those couple of months I was so sick. I spent many evenings and nights praying for others taking my focus off my pain and worshipping along singing to my Lord. It was so good and I actually miss that very much!
I was in that very weak place for about two months and then I had a breakthrough. One day I was sitting or laying, I can't remember exactly, when God told me to ask Him as my Daddy to heal me. I've often had a very hard time calling God, Daddy. All of the years that I had ingrained in my brain that God is to be feared and respected, I had always thought of God the Father more in terms of a king or emperor. Even though He is my father, there was still a formality there for me. I felt somehow that calling him Daddy was disrespectful. Yet, that is exactly what Abba means. It means daddy. I finally said, "Daddy, please heal me and take this pain away!" and I literally FELT something break off of me. I continually got better from that day on. It was such a sweet relief! How AMAZING is our Daddy God?!
As I got better, I was able to do more and I was just so, so thankful to be ABLE to wash the dishes or do the laundry or clean the house or fix my kiddos lunch. It was such a good feeling to be able to get back in my groove....sort of ;P I had really good check-ups with my mid-wives and got to know them better and grew to really love them! They are such sweet ladies and have such a passion for what they do. I'm so grateful that God gave me that opportunity as well as that setting to bring His little one into our family. He really and truly cares about every aspect of our lives and every detail big or small. I love that!
I will say that as my pregnancy progressed, I did still have the sciatica and joint issues that I've had with all my pregnancies so far. I handle that stuff way better than the nausea, weakness and crazy crying hormones because I deal with joint stuff on a daily basis anyway. One of the sweetest moments was when we all got to see Brea for the first time on sonogram. The kids didn't really know what they were looking at, but it was neat all the same. Of course, I didn't want to know whether we were going to have a boy or girl. I've come to like the surprise and anticipation. One funny thing is that Sam felt that God gave him the name Gideon for this baby. He really and truly thought we would have another boy because of this. He was right with Braden and Zekey. Ailey was a bit of a mystery. ;) I really didn't know, to be honest. I kinda thought we would have another boy because Sam was so sure, but I had this idea in my head that a sister for Ailey would be nice. Those who know me know I have a fairness complex and love for things to be even in a sense. The boys had a brother relationship as well as a sister on and then if we had a little girl then they would all have both relationships, ya know? I must have expressed this several times because Braden kept saying he thought we were going to have a girl. When I asked him why he thought that, he said it was so that Ailey could have a sister relationship. Haha! I will say that Braden was absolutely sure that Ailey was a girl from the beginning and he was right again with Brea. I think God has gifted him with prophecy like his daddy. :) Anyway, the reason I think its funny about Sam and the name is not long after we had Brea, one of the families in our homeschool group was trying to find a home for their dog and we had been discussing whether it would be wise to get a dog and guess what his name was...yep, Gideon. Just funny. :)
Okay, as I got closer to the predicted birthdate, I got more antsy. I was ready to meet our little one. Its funny how I was sooooo focused on my pregnancy with Braden, then less with Zekey, then waaaay less with Ailey and then really not focused at all with Brea. I kept myself super busy and active once I was able and just didn't think much about it. Funny, huh? I have to admit I did get more focused at the end than I did with Ailey because I was just done! I didn't want to be preggo anymore. As I have stated before, I am not one of those mommies that enjoys pregnancy. As a matter of fact I don't like it at all. I do, however, love, love, love the end result! Its definitely worth it all every time. I take one look at my sweet baby and I'm smitten! As I was saying, I was ready to be smitten. I got to the one week over due date and still no baby. The problem was that the dating wasn't precise to begin with thanks to my not paying any kind of attention to the dates of my cycle. Its just par for the course is all. Anyway, the midwives and I had always left a week's leeway in there because of that. When the two-week mark started looming, my mid-wife suggested I get a bio-sonogram done to make sure the fluid level and heartbeat and all that were still good. So, I made the appointment for the next day or maybe it was two days later...can't remember now. It was on a Tuesday and everything was good and they were actually dating me as being one or two weeks yet to go. It was kinda funny because.....the next day, that evening my water broke. All by its lonesome...
Apparently, I'm a bit odd in that. A lot of times, the water will break with a first baby, but usually not in subsequent ones. With the exception of Zekey who was induced, (and I believe my water would have broke with him as well had I not been in a hurry to have him out), my water has broken every time. AND it always breaks first and THEN the contractions start sometime later. With Braden they started about an hour later, with Ailey it was about 10 hours later and with Brea....well, I had to jump start them!
Yes, I am talking castor oil. My mid-wife had mentioned that might need to be the case, but I vehemently opposed that idea! I had heard stories of my mom growing up and having to take castor oil twice a year and her mom had the same regimen growing up as well. I heard in vivid detail about the rush to the potty and the cramping and the sometimes side-effect of throwing up. Now, if you read the first part of my post where I had a very close face-to-pot relationship to my own potty, you can obviously understand my "hesitation" in taking the castor oil. Also, I'm pretty hard core about getting my fiber in on a daily basis and I just couldn't see the benefit of diar of the rear during labor. I'm just saying. Oh and I've always had two points of concern about my labors and deliveries. Once I get into real labor, it is short and to the point and there are two to five pushes and the baby is out. I've always been concerned about having the baby in the car. Not because a health professional wouldn't be there, but because I would never want Sam to have to somehow clean up the super yucky mess that would ensue in said car. Ew. The other point is that I never wanted to have a bowel movement during labor. Same principle of someone having to clean that up. Yeah. Again with the Ew. Its irrational, I know, but present nonetheless. So, along with the other concerns concerning the castor oil, that second labor concern fell right in that group. You still with me?
Okay, so my water broke around 7 or 8 pm on Wednesday the 6th of April. I was laying in bed on my side watching a show and it just started doing short gushes. It was a lot like it did with Ailey. Well, I let Sam know and we got going. I got a sample for my midwife to inspect and Sam went on red alert. :) I called the midwives and let them know. I brought the sample up to the birth center about an hour/hour and a half later and had it confirmed that it was indeed water breakage. I still didn't have any contractions so we all decided I should go home and get some rest. I didn't want the craziness of the aftermath of my water breakage with Ailey. I went home and tried to go to sleep. I had called Donna and she got in a few hours later. The next morning dawned and after a fitful sleep as in nearly non-existant, I started another day anew with no sign of contractions. I was still leaking fluid on occasion as it would come out in gushes. I was actually not wanting it to come out so much because it does help buffer against the pains of contractions for me. The midwives had decided to go ahead and spend the night at the birth center just in case. I've got my timing off from here on out so I'll not focus on that. I called at around 6 in the morning to find out what I should do. She told me that we could still wait for a while but if I wanted to speed things along I could take castor oil and use a breast pump in conjunction to get the contractions going. I resisted that thought and told her I would just wait some more. I did end up asking Sam to get the breast pump out, but had pieces missing and had to borrow my midwife's instead. So, I went and got and brought it home and started the nipple stimulation WITHOUT the castor oil HOPING it would be enough. After doing that for 10 minutes every hour for about 4 hours with a whole lot of NOTHING happening, I checked in with my midwife and she told me emphatically it had to be in CONJUNCTION with the castor oil, no exceptions. I started crying. I didn't want the runs during labor! She said that I would need to do something to get them going if we got close to the 24-hour mark with no steady contractions. I did start having random ones somewhere in all of that, but they would peter out and nothing would happen. I didn't want to take that castor oil, but I didn't want to go to the hospital more, so, on thursday around noon-ish/ 1pm I got my so-called odorless and tasteless castor oil out and took my first of three tablespoon sized doses.
I'm going to take a moment and describe this process, cuz you know you wanna know! :) Okay, the consistency and texture made me think of downing a tablespoon of cooking oil, only thicker. Mmmm....yummy. :( I downed it straight and then ate a couple of bites of ice cream to get the "taste" out of my mouth. Then I went and hooked myself up to the lactinator a.k.a breast pump. 10 mins later, I unplugged and waited the rest of the hour to repeat the process. As I went to take my second dose, I got it into my mouth and halfway down my throat at which point I gagged. I barely managed to contain it and got it all the way down and knew I couldn't take the third dose straight. Right after that is when the deluge struck with determination! I will spare you the gruesome details, but suffice it to say that lots of toilet paper was harmed in the making of this story. :) I will also say that I am very grateful that we changed out the toilet seat on our potty right after we bought it. I thought for sure I would have permanent ring around the bum! I was really, REALLY hoping I wouldn't have to take that third dose. After my first bathroom run, the contractions started. I hooked myself up once again to the lactinator and they continued and I was thinking I was gonna be able to skip that third dose. Plus, I was kinda wondering what else could possibly come out. Fiber has NOTHING on castor oil, people!
After a really good, strong run of contractions, they started tapering off. Fantastic. Knowing that the next dose would most probably be making a reappearance if I tried to take it straight again, I got on the computer and googled the best way to take it. There were many suggestions such as put it in a smoothie or mix it in juice, but I ended up doing an adjusted version of drinking it with soda. We had sprite wanna be in the fridge along with fruit juice, so i mixed those up and added the third dose to it. The thing that surprised me the most was that the castor oil sank to the bottom of the glass, instead of floating on the top. I had to fill the cup several times to get most of the oil down. It was much better that way, I have to say.
That third dose was the kicker because the contractions never did stop after that. I didn't even have to get hooked up again. :) After they got going good and strong and were consistent, we all decided to have a reunion at the birth center with the expectation of a certain blessed event occurring rather quickly. I think that was around 8 pm on Thursday night, at which point I was now at the 24-hr mark of my water breakage. I went and laid down on the bed and tried to rest. The contractions were still consistent and strong, but not very productive. I then got into the tub and relaxed in there.
My midwives were in and out alternating sitting with me for long lengths. I think Olivia was in there with me the most during this time. It was actually rather fun because we were joking around and laughing quite a bit. I remember looking at the clock and seeing that it was midnight and saying, "I can't believe I'm still pregnant!" I think it was about that time that one of my midwives suggested that I push to see if that would help. It may have been before this at around 11, though. Its all a bit jumbled. I stood up and tried to push, but didn't feel as though that was working. We then tried me out on the birth stool and that just plain hurt. So after checking me and discovering that my cervix which had been completely out of the way, was now swollen a bit, my "head" midwife Jennifer said that it was not a good idea to push and that I needed to do the opposite and completely relax. They warmed up the water in the tub for me and I got back in and leaned my forehead on the rim and started snoozing. I hadn't had any sleep for about 36 hours + at this point. :( (I ended up with that spot on my forehead being very tender for several days :)
I hadn't had anything to eat since dinner so Sam went home and brought something back for me and I was only able to take 1 bite because it was right about 1am and my contractions kicked in in earnest. These were the real deal that we'd all been waiting for. I knew immediately that this was it because I had major back labor. I've had that kind of labor when its time for the baby to make his/her debut every time. This time I didn't ask for quite so much pressure in that my lower back area because I didn't want to be bruised there this time. I learn a little more every time!
It was fast and furious after that. I let my uterus do most of the work and Amissa was supporting me and taking turns with Sam giving me back pressure and making sure I wasn't tensing up in response to the pain. So, the contractions started at 1 and Brea was out by 1:29 am.
We were again surprised by our little GIRL! I think Sam was most of all. :) He was smitten right away, though. We didn't have anyone taking pics of the process, so no birthing room pics, but Sam took some once I got into the bed. Once again, no tearing, only minor lesions and I was able to walk right away, though a bit wobbly. Even though I was in the bed for several hours after that, I didn't get any sleep. We stayed and got checked every so often to make sure all was still good and it so was. God had again answered all my prayers and then some and it was an amazing and interesting experience!
We came home around 5:30 in the morning and both kinda crashed. Neither of us got much sleep because the kiddos were up a couple hours later. They all just fell in love with their new little sister. It was very sweet, that's for sure. We just are so thankful that God planned sweet little Brea into our family. She is a treasure!