I approached this birth with one main thing in mind — “Listen to your body and listen to your baby.”
Last Monday, in the wee hours of the morning I was having some contractions. I was also excited to have the baby in the next week despite all five of the other babies going several days past 40 weeks. My husband encouraged me to be patient and that the baby would likely wait another week. I wanted to be patient, but my body was telling me the day was getting closer. I stayed up Monday morning to see what the contractions might lead to. I washed apples, diced them and prepared homemade applesauce at 3 o’clock in the morning. I made a french toast casserole so that if baby came the family would have something for breakfast. I needed something to keep me busy. By 5:30 a.m. I was tired and went back to bed. Hubby stayed home for a little bit to see if anything might happen, but I felt ready to face the day so he headed off to work.
Tuesday morning was my due date I was feeling the same way. I wasn’t out of bed until 4:00 a.m. but the contractions were enough to wake me up. By 6:00 a.m. I gave my midwife (and her assistant) a heads up that I was having consistent contractions, but they weren’t getting that strong. She came to check on me and set up all of her supplies. After some laboring around the kitchen, I could tell my body wasn’t progressing that quickly and I was tired from the night before. I had went into this birth saying I didn’t want to be checked (for dilation) at all, but I could sense my body telling me that baby wasn’t quite ready. Another opportunity to listen to my body. Being checked confirmed how I was feeling as I was 5 cm dilated. I rested for the rest of the morning and asked hubby to stay home from work in case I progressed quickly.
The rest of the day was on and off contractions. I did as much as I could with the kids, then I would rest, walk, clean up and continue on with the day. Hubby ran a few errands with the older boys after nap-time and brought home Chick-fil-A for dinner. I started baking cookies with the 2 and 3 yr old. We were feeding the kids around the kitchen counter and my water broke. I wasn’t expecting that to happen and it was exciting to know baby was coming sooner than later. Hubby said I needed to tell my midwife as she felt the baby would come quickly after my water broke. I texted her and she was on her way.
A friend came to help Drexel get the kids ready for bed. I labored around the kitchen cleaning up a little and chatting with my midwife. Around 7:30 p.m. I wanted a little more privacy and went to the back room to labor. We had filled up the tub in the morning, but it had cooled since I didn’t get in it then. Drexel warmed up the tub while I finished a few last minute things to distract myself. Around 8:00 p.m., I got in the tub to labor. I could tell baby still needed more time and my contractions were moving a little slower than I had hoped. I was telling myself “You prayed for a slow and steady labor, now you have it and you’re still not thankful.” Well — I was tired at that point and I could see Drexel’s face that baby wasn’t quite ready to get pushed yet. My midwife checked me and I was 7 cm dilated.
I listened to my body and knew I needed some warmth and rest. I got of the tub and laid in the bed. I felt warm and relaxed. I nearly fell asleep between contractions. I could feel transition approaching (around 8 c.m. dilation and the hardest mental stage of labor) and the intense contractions came right with it. I had one contraction and the “I can’t do this, I feel like I’m going to die” came out of my mouth. In other labors I maybe hadn’t said it verbally, but it felt good to say it this time around. It confirmed to myself that I was indeed at transition and baby would be coming soon. After three intense and painful contractions, I got out of bed. I labored by the bed while Drexel warmed up the tub. I was thankful for the squats I did the entire pregnancy as my legs sustained labor well.
I climbed into the tub around 10:00 p.m. to relieve some of the pain. I could feel baby coming and was ready to push with each contraction. I was thankful transition was mostly behind me and that pushing was approaching. With each contraction, I focused in and listened to my body. At this point I knew I needed to embrace the pain, use it for good and talk to my baby. After a few good contractions, baby was coming! I had a strong contraction and pushed out the head. I wanted to be completely present and catch the baby as much as I could. The midwife watched and Drexel encouraged me. On the next contraction, I pushed out the body and Drexel caught his baby. It was 10:44 p.m. He brought the baby up to my chest and we simply looked at the sweet face together. We truly appreciated not being rushed to find out the gender. We adored the little cheeks and how much vernix protected the body.
Then I reached my hand down to check the baby and told Drexel that we had another boy! I had to double check as I was so shocked, but he had actually called it while I was in labor. At one point I heard him say “I think it’s a boy.” I stayed in the tub and adored our tiny little boy. We named him Jedaiah. The midwife watched everything and shortly after I delivered the placenta while still in the tub. That was the first water birth (out of 5 total) that I delivered the placenta in the tub. It was beyond amazing to not be rushed out of the tub, then rushed to deliver the placenta. Drexel helped cut the cord while I was still in the tub. He took Jedaiah and I climbed in the shower to rinse off.
I transitioned to the bed to nurse and bond with my new baby. The midwife checked my bleeding and assured me the placenta was perfectly intact. Her and the assistant left the room to give Drexel and I some time together and then came back to weigh him, check me and clean the rest of her things up. They went home around 12:45 a.m. and we laid there snuggling sweet Jed.
The whole experience was truly mind-blowing. In seconds I went from feeling like I could never birth another child, to looking at him feeling like I would do it a million times over. You mamas know that feeling — indescribable!
God heard and answered every one of my tiniest prayers. I don’t ever expect my prayers (or your prayers for us) to be answered, but I trust in a faithful God who knows all things and is a Loving Father. When prayers are answered so clearly I can only give credit to Him alone. I prayed for the baby to be born in the evening so Drexel could be very much present and Jed was born at 10:44 p.m. I prayed for help with the kids when we would need it and my friend showed up faster than ever. I prayed for wisdom to listen to my body. I prayed for no bleeding or hemorrhaging after he was born. I prayed for uninterrupted time to bond with him, without cell phones or telling anyone the news, and we had the whole night to do that. There were so many things I prayed for and seeing those prayers answered just confirmed Jedaiah’s name.
Jedaiah Anais — Praise God for Grace. I included this verse when we shared the news and it is Baby Jed’s birth verse. “Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.” Isaiah 30:18
I wanted his name to include so many aspects of our first year here in Texas. It has been nothing but unmerited favor from God — His grace and goodness being poured over our lives. We deserve none of it and all that we have experienced is a result of the grace of God. From our family rhythm, to finding out about a 6th baby, to a healthy pregnancy, down to every detail of his birth and delivery — grace upon grace.
Bonding with Jedaiah has been amazing. I’ll share more about that in another post where I share the photos of introducing him to the kiddos. We are approaching our first week as a family of 8 and we are very thankful for the continuous love and support from those near and far! We have had delicious meals and gift cards continue to arrive in the mail, along with genuine offers to help however we need it. I am incredibly thankful for my husband, the rock of our family who continues to lead us so well. He is blogging his version of the birth story along with his daily adventures with the other 5 kids. From what I’ve already read, I find it incredibly hilarious and together we hope to keep the blog rolling while we adjust to parenting 6 little ones!
Thank you for your faithful prayers which were clearly answered. Thank you to Brenda Keep of Waco Birth Center — she was a gift and blessing every step of the way! Thank you to Amanda, the student midwife, (and all of Brenda’s staff/family) — Amanda was such an encouragement the entire pregnancy and in labor. She also took most of our great action shots in this post! Between Amanda, Drexel and I — these photos tell a great story. It was nearly dark in the room and I am thankful for these precious memories!
Thank you again!
With All Our Love,
The King Family