We're happy to announce the arrival of Charles Stephen!! 8lbs. 7oz. and cute as can be. He was 21 1/2in long with a button nose and a yell loud enough to be heard across the house. He has 11 people catering to his every wish and desire and even while he sleeps there are various humans around the house trying to sneak a kiss on his little noggin.
Since it seems my blogging is very sporadic and doesn't show signs of improving any time soon, I thought I'd better post the birth story immediately. Feel free to ignore if not interested but I'm always itching to hear details, beautiful or not so beautiful, so here you are.
We had decided to have a hospital birth this time around, which is new for this family. Christopher, of course, was born in Kenya in a hospital, but all our other births were either at a birth center or at home. They were amazing births and I will never regret the experience but this time, Big Daddy Weav said it will be a hospital birth. I happily agreed, since the thought of teen boys hovering around the bedroom in horror as birth pangs rose and fell and my vocal chords with it just was not appealing at all.
Saturday, May 8, we had an appointment for a non stress test for baby, since I was late according to my ultrasound date, altho we weren't sure exactly when my due date was. we decided to take all my things along in, just in case because I had this funny feeling........ I had started with contractions Thursday evening and off and on since then so I figured it would be any moment that the real thing would kick in. I had never experienced false labor before and I was discovering it to be a bit frustrating. To make a very long story short, after having a long discussion with the nurse doing the test, and talking between the two of us, we decided to induce. I already had an induction scheduled for the following Friday, but with all the contractions we knew the real thing probably wasn't far off and we decided to go for it. Never did I imagine I would choose induction but I knew Marlin was leaning that way and the only thing holding me back was fear.
After getting situated in our room with a beautiful view overlooking the city, they hooked me up to monitors and started the pitocin drip. We would be having a midwife deliver but met with the ob/gyn to talk about the risks of induction with a previous c-section. Marlin has also told me that he thought I should go ahead and plan on an epidural when things got tough which took the pressure off me to make that decision. Me? An epidural? Yes please, I'll take one. However, the need for an epidural was a long way off. It would be 22 hrs before little man would make his appearance.
We spent a relaxing afternoon and evening reading and talking, in between chatting with various midwives and nurses who were fascinated with this couple having their 10th (living) child. Through the course of conversation it came up that we had been in Africa and turns out different of the staff or their spouse had also done humanitarian work there.
Throughout the night my womb was fairly calm until about 3:00 in the morning when all of a sudden contractions hit and I started having to focus and breath through. They had offered me pain killer but I wanted to hold off until I was desperate. Call me a glutton for punishment but I wanted to experience at least some of the hard work. Between 3:30 and 4 things started heating up big time and when I felt my water break I knew we were in business. I buzzed the nurse and said I'm ready for that epidural. By the time she got back from paging the anesthesiologist I was starting to shake and the contractions were back to back. I started stressing a little that here was my chance for a pain free birth and I had blown it by waiting to long. The nurse admitted she wasn't sure the anesthesiologist was going to make it in time but to my great relief he showed up shortly after and oh blessed relief. The epidural wasn't at all scary, altho I'm not easily scared by needles as long as I don't look. Almost immediately my whole body relaxed and I felt extremely sleepy. The midwife did a quick check thinking I was probably ready to push only to discover I was 4 centimeters. What????? Never have I had such intense contractions at 4 centimeters so I'm suspicious it was the Pit, altho who knows, I may have been ready to deliver much sooner if I wouldn't have had the epidural since they had to kick the pitocin way back.
What to do? A nap of course! I hadn't slept much Friday night and almost none Saturday so sleep we did. By 9:30 a.m. I was fully dilated and then the midwife suggested something that no midwife has before. She suggested waiting for 15-30 minutes to give time for my body to work him down without me pushing so hard or long. I said sure and when they came in at 10 I was ready to go. I could feel him entering the birth canal but because of the epidural there was pressure but not that overwhelming pain. He was born after 15 minutes of pushing and "thank you Jesus!" he was out. Marlin said it was his favorite birth ever and no question about it, he's a fan of the epidural. :)
So my opinion? I don't regret the epidural at all. As intense as the contractions were at 4 I can't imagine what they would've been like at 10. I loved the calm way he was born and I would do it all over again. The only downside is that you don't have the overwhelming euphoria when the baby is finally born after much agony and sweating. Excitement? Yes, but it's different. Do I regret my natural births? No, no, no. I would encourage any woman to experience natural birth at least once. It is a raw, powerful experience that can teach a woman a lot about herself. If the Lord blesses us with more children and an epidural is possible, it will certainly be considered as an option. One thing I struggled with was wondering if my running from the pain of childbirth was a bad thing. I tend to over think things and sometimes to over spiritualize, and that's why it's so important to trust our husband's leadership. If Marlin would've encouraged me to go natural, I would've done that, trusting his heart. After 8 natural births, and one c-section, he said I have nothing to prove to anyone and to go for the epidural. I knew that was his preference and I rested in that.
Our whole hospital experience was amazing and it fit with where we are in life right now. Our children were in good hands now that we have older ones and Emily came and stayed at the hospital with me after the first day, giving Marlin time to be with the other children and giving Emily and I a special time together at the hospital loving on baby.
It's also a very special time in life to have a baby. Emily's old enough to keep the house running smoothly and she has done a fantastic job. The boys help and Big Daddy spoils me way more than I deserve. The ladies from church have been faithfully bringing meals and I really do believe I am blessed among women.