Monday, June 29, 2015

Josiah: A Year in Pictures

These are a few of his favorite things/activities:

- Daddy, Mommy, and Isaac
- His blue blankie
- Snuggle times
- A bottle of milk
-  Bath time
- Pots and pans
- Music
- Stairs to climb
- Taking his socks off
- Going down slides
- Talking on Skype with grandparents
- Meat and potatoes
- Taking books off the shelf
- Making dinosaur noises
- Playing Peek-A-Boo

Josiah's Birth Story

Once upon a time, a precious little boy was born into the world...

And I can’t believe it’s taken me a whole year to share that story!  I guess I was too tired after giving birth and then adjusting to life with a newborn to write down the details of Josiah’s birth story right after it happened.  Time continued to pass, and I continued to put off the recording of this beautiful experience.  Finally, I decided to wait until his first birthday to share this story, as that seemed an appropriate time to look back and remember... 

It all started on a Saturday night - or maybe I should say early on a Sunday morning.  Nathan and I had turned the lights out on the late side around 11:00 p.m., and strangely enough, neither of us could sleep.  We were restless, and tossed and turned until midnight.  Right about then, I started to feel the same noticeable pressure in my lower uterus area that I had felt when I went into labor with Isaac.  I was surprised to think I might be in labor, since it was 9 days before my due date.  While the possibility of an early birth had been anticipated since Isaac had been early, I definitely wasn’t expecting one quite that early!  But the pressure continued and was undeniably different than the normal discomfort of trying to sleep that far into a pregnancy.  I remember saying to Nathan, “I think labor just started.”  We lay there awhile longer talking about the ramifications of this news and then got up to start making preparations for our home birth.

A birthing pool had been sitting in our dining room for a week or two in readiness for the big day (or night), but we had not completely inflated it or put the plastic liner in it yet.  Nathan set to work finalizing those details while I began getting out all the things on my check list from the midwives to have ready such as towels, blankets, clothes, snacks, etc. 

It didn’t take long for contractions to kick in as I began moving around and tending to these tasks.  At 12:45 a.m., I recorded them lasting 20-40 seconds long with 2 minutes and 10 seconds in between each one.  At this point, I was quite certain we would be having a baby within the next 24 hours!  While I was still in the early labor stages, this was definitely not false labor. :)

Nathan and I worked for three hours getting all the final preparations taken care of with me stopping to work my way through contractions as necessary.  Finally, at 3:00 a.m., he went back to bed to get as much sleep as possible before active labor kicked into gear and/or he needed to tend to church duties in the morning.  I made myself comfortable in the living room with soothing music playing, water and tea to drink, and soft blankets on the floor since I preferred to work through contractions on my hands and knees.  I knew I wouldn’t be getting any more sleep that night, so there wasn’t any point in going to bed.  I did try to rest on the couch in between contractions, in order to preserve my energy as much as possible.  At 3:15, my contractions finally increased to 30-35 seconds long, with 1 minute and 10 seconds between each one. 

I remember it being a very peaceful night.  Up and down I went from the floor to the couch, resting, breathing, rocking on my hands and knees, repeating.  I drank and snacked as I needed to and enjoyed the quiet with the Lord and my baby as we worked together to bring him through the birthing process.

I can’t remember exactly what time I called my mom.  I think it may have been around the time Nathan went to bed, which would have been 4:00 a.m. in Houston.  I knew she would want to know that I was in labor, especially if she wanted to change her airplane ticket (again!) to try to make it in time for the birth.  She was due to arrive in New Mexico on Tuesday.  We thought by scheduling her to come in a week early this time, she would make it in time, but apparently, that was not to be!  Sure enough, my dad graciously arranged to change my mom’s ticket for that Sunday, putting her on the first flight out of Houston at 6:30 a.m. (or something like that).  I was relieved my mom would be coming as soon as she could, but unsure if she would make it in time for the birth, since second babies tend to come faster than firsts!

As the clock ticked past 6:00 a.m. in Taos, I called the friend who would be caring for Isaac during labor and delivery just to give her the heads-up that I was in labor and today was the day!  We made arrangements for her to pick Isaac up around 7:30, giving him enough time to eat breakfast and get clothed for the day.  Next, I began making phone calls to church friends to see who might answer their phone at such an early hour and be available to make a last-minute run to the airport (3 hours away) on our behalf!  Thankfully, the second person I called and left a message with called me back almost immediately.  She was more than happy to make the trip!  The gratitude I felt for such a true friend was tremendous!

Back to the couch I went to continue laboring through the contractions.  They hadn’t changed at all in duration or time spans, but little by little, were starting to increase in intensity. 


Eventually, I woke Isaac up, got him dressed, and fed him breakfast, all while working through contractions.  Nathan was getting showered and ready for church since we weren’t sure how long I would be in early labor and how many church duties he might tend to during that time.  My early labor stage with Isaac has lasted for most of the Sunday before he was born, so we knew there was a good possibility it might be a long while before active labor with this little one kicked in, especially since my contractions hadn’t changed in timing yet. 

After Isaac got picked up, I took a hot shower myself, which felt amazing and brought some relief to the discomfort that goes hand in hand with labor.  I didn’t want Nathan to fill the birth pool until I was further along and closer to actually delivering because I didn’t want the water to cool off too soon.  In the meantime, the hot shower beating down upon my back and belly was just what I needed!

I think I called the midwife around 8:00 to tell her I was in labor and give her my stats on contraction times, etc.  She was very comforting and helpful over the phone and encouraged me to keep her posted as things continued to progress.

Nathan left the house a little before 9:00 to participate in music practice for the morning church service (and keep in mind we live at the church, so leaving the house just meant stepping out to the sanctuary).  Not long after he left, I experienced the “bloody show” I knew to expect that told me labor was progressing beautifully and right on track.  Looking back, I’m quite sure I also hit “transition” at this point, meaning that active labor kicked into full gear and things got more intense.  However, at the time, I didn’t recognize transition for what it was because the timing of my contractions never changed.  I kept waiting for them to last longer and get closer together just as they had done with Isaac and as I had read was the normal process.  Only later did I come to find out that they don’t always change in timing and it’s better to gauge what’s happening in your body by the intensity of the contractions. 

Nathan came back after music practice around 9:30 and we discussed what to do.  He offered to stay with me at that point and make last-minute backup plans for someone else to take his Sunday school class and preaching responsibilities.  However, I didn’t recognize myself to be as far along as I actually was, and felt like I still had several hours to go, so I encouraged him to at least go teach Sunday school.  Honestly, I was concerned for a new family that had begun attending our church with three children.  They were part of Nathan’s family class for the summer, and I knew if he backed out of teaching, they would be sent to the other adult class by default since we didn’t have a children’s class arranged for that morning.  I was concerned they would be in over their heads and not understand what was being taught; it would be so much better to be in Nathan’s class!  Even thought I did want Nathan to stay with me, I felt like I could surely endure 45 more minutes by myself.  I told him it would probably be best at that point to make arrangements for one of the deacons to preach in his stead, but he could at least teach the Sunday school class.  He agreed only because I was confident that I could keep going by myself for a little longer, but told me several times to text him if I needed him.  He would keep his phone on the pulpit just in case.

Again, in hindsight, I wish I hadn’t urged him to teach that class, but since I was still waiting for those contractions to change in timing, I was sure we still had at least a few hours ahead of us.  As it turns out, it wasn’t long after Nathan left again that I started feeling very alone and in need of support during labor.  It would have been so nice to have had him there!

Around 10:00 a.m., I again called the midwife to tell her about the bloody show and how things were progressing.  Although I tried to say that I thought I still had a ways to go in labor, she was able to hear one of my contractions over the phone and made the call that she and her team were going to head my way immediately.  She recognized the intensity of the contraction better than I did and guessed that birth might be sooner than I realized.  Due to her location and the fact that she needed to go by the birth center to get all her supplies first, she said it would take about an hour before she and the team would be at my house, which I assured her was plenty of time before I would deliver.  If anything changed or things intensified even more, I was to let her know via her cell phone immediately.

Not long after hanging up with her, maybe around 10:15, the intensity of my contractions and the feeling of being alone was too much for me to bear on my own, so I texted Nathan and said, “I need you.”  Five minutes passed but he never came in the house.  I texted again, “NOW.”  Five more minutes passed and still no Nathan.  I was starting to realize that I was much closer to birth than I had realized and began to panic just a little at being by myself.  So I did the only thing I could.  I dashed out our living room door to the sanctuary door, poked my head in, and said with all the urgency I could muster, “Nathan, I need you NOW!!!!”  Yes, the whole Sunday school class heard me, but at that point, I didn’t care.  This was getting serious!  (It turns out, I later learned, that Nathan had turned away from the pulpit to write on the white board both times I texted and had completely missed my messages!)

As soon as I stepped foot back in our living room, with Nathan right on my heels, the urge to push came over me.  Now I was really in a panic!  I didn’t know what to do!  When I had had that urge during Isaac’s birth, the midwife’s first reaction was not to push yet since I wasn’t fully dilated.  She had to work me through some breathing techniques to slow down the urge.  What if that was the case now?  What if I really wasn’t supposed to push yet?  How was I supposed to know?  I hadn’t been checked at all.  And I couldn’t remember those breathing techniques for the life of me!

Meanwhile, Nathan was stripping off his suit jacket and asking me, “What do you want me to do first?”  “Fill up the birthing pool!” I called out (since I had been unsuccessful in hooking up the hose to the faucet when I had tried myself a little earlier).  “No, wait!  Call Kiersten!  They’re supposed to be here at 11:00, but I need her now.  I need to push!” 

Thankfully, when Nathan made the call, Kiersten and the second midwife, Joan, had just passed the church on the way to the birthing center for their supplies.  They told Nathan they’d be here in two minutes (much to my GREAT relief), and immediately whipped their car around.  The two student midwives who were also part of the team were sent on to the birthing center for the supplies.  (I think Kiersten had some sort of small, emergency kit in her car that she brought in.)  They flew into my house at 10:35 a.m. as I was standing straddle-legged in the living room unable to move and only able to push.   I’ve never been so happy to someone in my life! 

Kiersten immediately got down on the floor to check me and said, “I see the head!”  I couldn’t believe it!  In her very calming way, she encouraged me by saying things were looking great and explaining how with the next few pushes, she was going to catch the baby, pass him up to me from between my legs, and then have me take a few steps backward to sit in the big recliner in our living room.  In the meanwhile, her assistant, Joan, was flying around gathering chucks pads and blankets and towels off my stacks on the dining room table to have ready.  With the next push, I remember feeling a lot of pressure and a little bit of burning pain.  “Now that hurts a bit,” I said to Kiersten.  She said, “That’s the ring of fire.  Just take it nice and easy.  He’s almost out.”  And sure enough, with the next push or two, there he was in her hands giving that newborn wail and being handed up to me!  The time was 10:38 a.m. on Sunday, June 29.  (Did you catch that?  The midwives walked in exactly three minutes before the baby came out!  Talk about cutting it close!)

I was in shock that he was here!  All I could say as I gazed at my newborn son in my arms was, “You’re so beautiful!  You’re so beautiful!  I can’t believe you’re here!”  Not only was I in shock that he had come so fast, but also that pushing him into the world had been so easy and pain-free compared to Isaac’s birth when I had pushed for 3-4 hours!

The midwives did all the things they normally do for newborns at that point  - checking his vitals, cleaning him up a bit, etc. - all while I was still holding him and trying to come to grips with the fact that labor was already over!

Eventually, they had me move to the couch so I could lie down and be examined myself.  Everything check out perfectly - there was no tearing or pelvic bone separation or anything to be worried about!  I felt great!

We told them the baby’s name was Josiah Daniel.  Eventually, they cut the cord after it stopped pulsing, and he began to nurse like a champ.  We made several phone calls to family, starting with my mom who was en route to Taos from the airport.  She arrived a mere two hours or so after he was born and was immediate help!

Since a baby shower had been planned by the ladies of the church for that very Sunday, the whole birth team was able to eat a nice meal from the shower.  And the ladies attending the shower were very excited to be celebrating our baby boy’s birth from the other building!

It was a joyous occasion all around.  I couldn’t get over how well I felt after this birth compared to Isaac’s.  Instead of being utterly exhausted, I had plenty of energy for several hours (though eventually, I did need a nap of course).  I had no pain from tearing or pushing.  I could walk normally and didn’t need to be carried around.  It was just so perfect in every way.  I LOVED giving birth in the peaceful atmosphere of my own home and not needing to leave the house in the midst of intense contractions as I had done with Isaac.  We never did end up using the birthing pool since things happened so fast, but that was okay.  Delivering in a standing position in my living room ended up working out just fine. :)  Maybe I’ll finally get a water birth with the next baby!

Josiah ended up weighing 7 pounds, 4 ounces and measuring 19 1/2 inches long. His first name, Josiah, means “God has healed” or “God will support/save.”  My prayer had been that God would use this birth experience to prove to me that my body had healed from the trauma it had endured from Isaac’s birth - and He answered that cry!  I was so grateful to see that I could have babies without the same difficulties I had experienced the first time.  His middle name, Daniel, is in honor of my dad and means, “God is my judge.”


From the very beginning of his life, Josiah has marched to the beat of his own drum and shared his opinions with gusto.  He demonstrated early on that he didn’t care much for sleeping but definitely loved to eat and be held!  He’s our little tempest who can be so happy one minute and then screaming in defiance the next.  It’s been quite the challenging year learning how to parent a child who is so completely different than our easy-going, textbook compliant first-born!  While we dearly love our adorable little JoJo Bear and are deeply grateful to have him in our family, he has definitely been used by the Lord to build our character and keep us humble as parents.  Thankfully, his tempestuous ways began to mellow out a bit around 9 months, and he has been developing into a much more content fellow.  A joyful, charming personality is really starting to blossom which is such a blessing to see!  While I am sure Josiah will continue to keep us on our toes, we wouldn’t trade him for the world! 

My prayer for my precious, second-born son is that he will become like his Biblical namesake - a man who cherished God’s Word and was obedient to it, “doing what was right in the sight of the Lord” from an early age.

So grateful for our sweet midwife, Kiersten, who brought our little Josiah into the world!