Saturday, August 24, 2013

John Amos Vail

In my long absence from this blog, this happened. 

38 weeks

So then, naturally,  this happened.

A couple minutes old
 Our third boy entered our family and our lives, and he's already four months old!

We named him John Amos, although he is going by Amos. John is after Cory's dad, whose name is John Barry but has gone by Barry his whole life. Amos is just because we liked it! It means "God carries my burdens." That was a good reminder during my pregnancy, and my prayer is that it will remind him throughout his life that God is faithful to carry our burdens when we need him to.

I wanted to sketch out the story of his birth before it fades from my mind (as it already is!). What is it about birth stories that we women gravitate towards so strongly? It's such a momentous moment in your life, whether you take the drugs or not, schedule a C-section or go all natural, birth at home or in the hospital. I find it hard to believe that I've done this three times now, but thankfully it's gotten a little bit easier every time! Amos's birth was picture perfect for this crunchy (but still hospital-going) Mama.

So I have Braxton-Hicks - a lot. The weeks leading up to the birth sometimes feel like perpetual labour, but I am encouraged that that is one of the reasons I go so quickly when the time actually does come.

I managed to avoid any internal examinations until the day I was actually in labour. I woke up on a Monday morning feeling gross, slightly nauseous, and crampy. This was two days before my due date. I had an appointment scheduled for 9:30 that morning and also needed to get groceries. Cory had arranged to take the day off work and come with me, and my mother-in-law was already planning on watching the older two. I fixed breakfast, got the kids dressed and ready, and was having contractions about every 10 minutes. Nothing too painful or out of the ordinary yet, but when I went to the bathroom and saw a slight "show," I knew this might be the day. So along with the kids' diaper bag I packed them some pajamas and toothbrushes to take to Nanny's, and grabbed my hospital bag to take with us as well. We dropped the kids off and headed to my appointment.

By the time we got to the hospital I was pretty sure that today was going to be the day, contractions had moved up to about every 5 minutes and were slowly getting more painful. When I went in to see my OB, she checked and found that I was 3cm dilated. She recommended that I stick around the hospital and head up to Labour and Delivery whenever I felt that I wanted to. Cory and I went to the Tim Horton's where he got a coffee and I grabbed a bagel, and we sat in the lobby and chatted for about an hour. Contractions continued, but I stuck it out until I started to notice people staring at me as I had to cringe, close my eyes and focus on my breathing every time one hit. Also chatting with my husband was going from a fun date to the most irritating thing in the world (I prefer silence when in pain!) We decided to head up to L&D.

We got there, checked in and got changed and settled in our room. Cory went to get my hospital bag and I wandered around the room a little bit and sat in the chair. It's funny, as much as I'm an "all natural" kinda gal, I'm really not a big fan of walking or bouncing on a ball during labour. I know it helps speed it up, but honestly my labours progress so well on their own that any extra help in that department is really not necessary and causes me to loose my focus. My preference for early labour is to just sit quietly. Once it gets harder I want to lie down and just focus.

I had the best group of health professionals for this birth. My lovely nurse was actually a friend of mine from playgroup, the intern was very kind and helpful, and my doctor was the most caring I've had yet. It made such a big difference. When they asked what my plans were for pain management and I told them that I didn't want anything they were very supportive and didn't mention it again. I also requested delayed cord clamping (where you wait until the umbilical cord stops pulsing before you clamp and cut it - this is so that the newborn gets every last drop of mom's blood instead of leaving a lot of it in the cord). While I could tell that the doctor didn't really think it was a big deal, she graciously agreed and complied with my request.

After a couple hours they offered to break my water to speed up the labour if I wanted. I hemmed and hawed for a bit - I'm not a big fan of interventions and I knew my water would break on its own before too long, but in the end I decided to just go for it. I wanted to hold my baby, and with my past history I wasn't worried about labour stalling after my water broke (which would have required more interventions). The intern came in and broke my water around 1:00 PM. I dilated very rapidly after that, and then after 5-10 minutes of pushing our wonderful Amos arrived easily at 1:45 PM.

I remember the nurses chuckling while I was pushing because when they would ask how I was doing I would answer "pretty good, this really isn't that bad!" It really wasn't - I remember with both my first births reaching a point in the labour where I felt like I had reached the end and I just couldn't do it anymore. Then they were born. With Amos, I never felt like I reached that point. I always felt in control and like I could do it. It's a great feeling!

After he was born they placed him immediately on my chest. They did his APGAR's, his Vit. K shot and his eye cream right there on me. I held him while they stitched me up (this doctor was the first I've had who did her darndest to not let me tear, but he was big and I tore along the old scars from the first two babies). I was able to nurse him almost right away and he latched on no problem. They then left us alone with our new boy for an hour while we called people to let them know. The first question on everyone's mind of course is "how much does he weigh," but we didn't know for over an hour because they just let me hold him. When they finally did weigh him, he was a solid 9lbs 1oz of perfection.

Cory held him while I showered and got changed back into some real clothes and we went to our room. I would have loved to have gone home right then (and next baby I'm going to try harder to make sure that happens!), but it didn't work out this time. The pediatrician had already left for the day so there was no one to discharge Amos, so we had to stay overnight. By morning there is no point in leaving right away just to come back for the 24 hour heel prick, so we stayed until he had his test done and then went home. We skipped his Hep B shot and nobody gave us a hard time about that either (thanks Lord!). My recovery and the transition to three kids has been slow but steady, tiring but better every day.

And today?

At our church picnic, 4 months old
My little guy already has his first two teeth. He loves bouncing in his jumper and being worn in the Ergo during long walks. He loves nursing, bonfires and his big brothers. He hates, hates, the carseat, but makes up for it by being a happy gem the rest of the time. He loves to giggle, play with his feet, and he doesn't need nearly as much sleep as his older brothers did. My sweet Amos brings joy to my life every single day. I'm so glad God sent him to us!

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