Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Joseph's Birth Story

Andy woke me up at 6:30 AM and I rolled out of bed into the living room to spend some time reading my Bible. I had a scowl on my face and he said I looked like a high schooler being forced to wake up early on the weekend because they were staying at their grandparent’s house. He made a comment in an old lady voice “It’s just not right to sleep the day away. It’s good to wake up at a decent hour and start getting things done.”

That morning I had a dentist appointment at 9 AM and I had to drop Samuel off at the Younce’s so they could watch him while I went. I had to be there at 8:45 AM since it was my first time at this dentist, so I had to leave the house at 7:50 AM. In our typical getting ready fashion, Samuel and I were getting out of the shower around 7:30 AM. I was brushing my teeth at the sink with my red bathrobe on and Samuel was sitting on the floor next to me applying lotion on him. And then I felt like what seemed the loss of my bladder muscles. I thought I had peed. I checked the floor and there was a spot about the size of a lemon. I knelt down to smell it to verify if it was in fact urine. Nope, sure wasn’t. It wasn’t anything other than my water breaking! It just wasn’t what I had imagined. It was so uneventful.

How could this be?! It’s FEBRUARY. I can hardly spell that month. Joseph was supposed to be born in M-A-R-C-H. I had at least 3 more weeks of agonizing “when are you due again’s?” And “hasn’t that baby come already?”

It took me a few minutes to accept this fact. Once it finally set in, I ran to the phone to call Andy. He was just driving out of the driveway and saw me in the window. He waved as he continued driving, thinking it was just the typical ‘Samuel got sad to see him go, so we were waving goodbye to Daddy as he drove away to calm his fears that yes, in fact, Daddy, was coming back, just like he always does.’ But, I waved the phone in the air and he stopped. I could see his face as I told him I was ‘99% sure my water had just broken.’ He replied with a trembling voice, “Okay, what do I do?” I told him to head to work and get some stuff done. I hadn’t even started contracting yet, so there was no reason for him to stick around if the action wasn’t going to be starting for awhile. He very hesitantly left for work and I proceeded to call Penny to give her a heads up. I left a message on her phone and then headed to do some laundry.

I called her back in a few minutes to see if she got the message and she had. Her daughter, Keely, picked up the phone and said that everyone had already been called, her mom was in the shower, and she would be here soon. Whoah. I didn’t know a simple trickle of water would create such uproar. But, it sure did.

I knew then that I would not be stepping foot into my dentist’s office that morning, much less stepping foot anywhere outside of my home. I called to cancel. They wondered when I wanted to reschedule my appointment for and I told them I was in labor and I wasn’t quite sure when I’d get around to getting my teeth cleaned.
I then called the Younce’s. They were going to be watching Samuel while I went to the dentist. Dan answered and was excited that it seemed like today would be the day. I’m sure he was a little sad though we wouldn’t be coming over. They love their Samuel!
I took some work I had been doing for the honey shop downstairs just to get it out of our home. I knew I wasn’t going to be working on it that day, or the next for that matter. Lanny and Donovan, the beekeepers, were downstairs and were in shock when I told them the news. You could see the excitement on their faces. Today was the day. I chatted with them in the honey shop for awhile while Samuel ran around playing with bouncy balls and eating honey sticks. They told me if I needed anything to let them know. They said if they heard a lot of noise coming from our apartment they wouldn’t quite know how to respond. I promised them they would. I heard later that they both decided to leave work late afternoon when things were getting pretty intense up here. They both wished they could have helped out in some way and hated to hear me in pain. Their only option they felt like was leaving us with their phone numbers and calling it a day!

My contractions started at 9:00ish. And they came pretty fast and furious. It took me a few to admit that this was it. I finally called Andy and he started his trip home. He had to stop at Wal-Mart though on his way, because I wanted a few more cassette tapes for our video camera and some fruit to snack on during delivery. He did just that.

Penny arrived at 9:45 and Andy quickly followed. She checked our heart rates and blood pressure and all was well. Penny commented on the strength of my contractions and said that I was progressing quite quickly. She didn’t think it was going to be a very long day.

Andy got the pool in the living room. It had been blown up in our back room for the past few days. It was just the Saturday prior to Joseph’s birth that Andy blew it up. I was at an appointment at Penny’s and he called while I was there. “Hey, what are you doing?” “I’m at Penny’s, honey.” “Oh, okay. Well, I got the pool blown up!” “Great job, honey, thanks!” He knew I was at Penny’s. I told him I would call him when I was leaving to head home. I think he was just so excited to let me know it’s up and ready he couldn’t wait another minute to share the news. The pool went right in the middle of our living room floor. It was a perfect spot. Right next to the stereo and in the room I felt most ‘at home.’

Slowly the assistants started to trickle in as things were picking up. I was spending most of my time in the living room on my knees leaning over the couch with Andy and Samuel next to me for support. They were incredible encouragers! Right at 11, I decided to have Penny check to see how I was progressing. I had yet to be checked this pregnancy. So, I was quite interested to see how far I had come. I was 5 cm. and +1 station. Good enough for me.

Soon after, it seemed as though the pool was about ready. Andy took one last picture of me before I went to change into clothes for the pool. It wasn’t until after Samuel was able to get a swim in the pool. He loved it. He cried so hard when we finally took him out and dried him off. He thought it was being filled up for him. They filled it up more, but it was too cold for me. The hot water heater needed more time to heat up the rest of the water. They started boiling water on the stove in big pots to pour into the pool. After what seemed like forever, I was able to get in. Ahh, the contractions in the pool were immediately more manageable. I felt great. I could move around at my leisure with ease, or I could just sit there.

It’s the time between 12-5 where it’s all a blur. It seemed to have flown. I continued to labor in the pool and just hang out. I was enjoying the pool so much. I loved having everyone around for company and loved seeing Samuel continuing on with his daily routines. During his lunch they brought his high chair into the living room so he could spend time with us as he ate and watch what was going on. He seemed to not be phased at all by the commotion. I had some mangoes and some cashews and chocolate covered raisins to keep me going. They really hit the spot and gave me enough energy to keep me going.

Things were progressing great and I couldn’t have felt better about how things were going. I told them that I thought it was going to be much harder than this! At 5, Penny was confident I was fully dilated and wanted to check. Sure enough I was. She said I could start pushing if I wanted to. I didn’t want to. I didn’t feel ready. I wasn’t quite sure I was ready for what was to come, but I started out on the journey.

From 5 o’clock on, I continued to push when I felt comfortable. I was still in the pool and most of the time was on my knees and leaning over the side into Andy’s arms. I felt so comfortable in his arms. As long as his breath didn’t smell like an ‘everything’ bagel with cream cheese, I let him close to me! I was super sensitive to smells at this point and after I turned down the bagel he asked me if he could have it. I said he could. Big mistake on my part. He smelled horrible and I made him go brush his teeth. But, then of course I wanted him back by the next contraction. Poor guy!

Andy took it all in stride and was such a servant the entire day. Never once did I felt neglected or left to do it all on my own. It was a team effort and he was sticking by my side every single contraction. His prayers and words of encouragement were more than I could have asked for.

I got pretty discouraged a few contractions that I didn’t have the strength to get this baby out and I was met with plenty of encouragement that yes, I could do this. It was just a matter of time until he would be born. I felt like they had been saying that for hours. I was getting so tired pushing and I wanted to know if I was making any progress. They all kept assuring me that I was, and that was all I needed to continue.

As soon as Joseph’s head started to crown, it was announced that he had dark hair. That was the icing on the cake for me! I had prayed for him to have a head of dark hair, and he did. I now had the added strength to help this little guy enter the world. That was my nugget from the Lord.

Penny recommended that I try pushing towards her and Andy during each contraction instead of pulling back. It was exactly what was needed. I felt completely different during each push and each push was getting me farther than the last. I pushed way more times than I ever thought I would have to, so the sheer number of pushes was getting discouraging, but I knew it was going to be over soon. The Lord had me in the palm of his hands and he was not going to let me go.

Even after Joseph’s head was born it was a few more contractions for his shoulders and body to emerge into the water. His shoulders came out completely straight. He didn’t turn an inch. No wonder why it was taking so long. His head was face down and his shoulders were parallel to the floor. Ouch.

At 7:38 PM, our blessing was born. They brought him up to my chest and he was a little blue and limp. I instinctively started rubbing him like crazy on his back to help him get some color. He had the biggest cone head. It was precious. Especially since it was covered with practically black hair! Not much of it, but it was dark, and it was perfect. He immediately started spitting out some gunk from his lungs. His first cry was so precious. So weak, but so strong! We thanked the Lord for this amazing gift we had just received.

Penny and her assistants, Felicia, Paula and Julie were checking on him while he was on my chest and making sure he was doing okay. He sure was. He was changing color quickly and looked great. We got a blanket and a hat on him and him and I just sat in the water while they continued to monitor him. We got some family shots of the four of us then. Samuel had been in the other room playing, but right when he was born he came in to see his new brother. He tried to climb right in the pool with me. He was not accepting the fact that he could only look at him from the outside. It was approaching Sam’s bedtime, so Julie went and got him ready for bed and by 8 o’clock he was in bed as usual. It was during that time I started to nurse Joseph. He latched on immediately and was sucking strong right off the bat. His eyes were open and he was looking all around, especially at Andy. He wanted to know all about him.

I needed to birth the placenta so Andy took him from my arms and they got Joseph a fresh blanket and hat for outside of the water. I attempted to birth the placenta in the pool but decided to get out and birth it squatting. It came out right away once I did that. I had thought I was going to start contracting and it would come out, but it came out with no contractions. No pain is fine by me.

They checked to see how I looked and Penny decided that it would be best if I got a stitch or two. She was amazed at how little I did tear considering the position I birthed him in. It ended up being a great thing that it took so long to push because it allowed my muscles all that time to stretch. She stitched me up and I went to the bathroom to pee. Then off to the couch to lie down and hold my bundle. They had just weighed and measured him. He weighed 7 pounds 15.6 ounces, was 19 ½ inches long, with a 14 ½ inch head.

They had prepared some chicken tortilla soup and had it waiting. Joseph nursed as I ate. I was in awe. I could not believe what had just happened. I couldn’t believe I was holding Joseph in my arms! He was perfect. The day was amazing. Our God is amazing! We could not stop praising Him for his goodness. I felt so undeserving of such an amazing gift. I am!

As I laid there enjoying this time with Andy and Joseph the girls were scurrying around the house cleaning up, doing laundry, doing dishes, you name it. By the time we were ready to head to bed, the entire house had been cleaned. The pool had been emptied and it sure didn’t look like someone had just given birth 5 feet from where I was laying.

One by one the women left and eventually, it was just us. Joseph was between Andy and I in bed and Samuel was just a few feet away in his crib. It was around 12:30 AM. We had a long day. We were ready to rest and to bask in the newest blessing the Lord had just bestowed upon us: Joseph Andrew Eckert.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Our Blessing Has Arrived

Our second son, Joseph Andrew was born in our home, Wednesday, February 27 at 7:38pm. He weighed 7 lbs 15.6 oz, and was 19 1/2 inches long. Everything went very well and we are all doing excellent. To God be the glory!