Our Fourth Born: Julian's Home Birth

Our Fourth Born: Julian’s Home Birth

Julian William Maaser

Born: 11-15-14 (Saturday)

Time: 12:40 a.m.

Measurements: 7 lbs 8 oz, 21 inches long, 13.5 cm head circumference

Pregnancy

They always warn you that the more kids you have, the less pictures you’ll take. Well…because we keep getting better iphones and gadgets, we actually have plenty of pictures and videos, but now I just don’t have the time to organize them all and do as much writing as I used to. With this pregnancy, I was so busy settling into our house, spending time with the kids, and working on my new blog www.embracing-motherhood.com that I haven’t had a lot of time to write about this pregnancy, so here’s a little overview of what this pregnancy was like.

I always love being pregnant…especially in the beginning. Just knowing that a new life is growing inside of me is so magical and wonderful, and I love thinking about the new little person who will change our lives forever. But this pregnancy seemed to bring on a few more stressful situations than the others. With this being my 4th pregnancy in 5 years and being 35 years old, I all of a sudden was in a higher risk factor bracket. Plus, welcoming a new little peanut into an already full household and busy schedule made me want to plan everything out so perfectly in order to avoid feeling overwhelmed or depressed after the birth.

The beginning of the pregnancy went so smoothly that I kept forgetting that I was pregnant. Things would settle into a really nice rhythm and I kept feeling like saying, “I’m ready to get pregnant again…oh wait, I already am!” It made me so happy to know that for the first time since having children, we wouldn’t have to move again. We were so excited to welcome a new baby into our new home and we spent my entire pregnancy doing one project after another getting everything just so.

We found a wonderful midwife near the Amish community where we get our milk and when she noticed that I was measuring 4 cm ahead of my weeks, I started to wonder if it could be twins. So we scheduled an ultrasound and it’s so funny how when you just start thinking about something that could be, it all of a sudden starts to become a reality in your mind, especially if it’s something that you’re afraid of. I cracked a double yolk that morning and found two baby mattresses at the thrift store…all signs that I was certainly carrying twins.

Andrea rode with me to the ultrasound and we chatted the whole way there about what it would be like to have twins. Scott met us there and when we found out that it was only one baby, we were kind of sad. But then the relief sank in about only needing to nurse one baby, be up in the night with one baby, soothe one baby, and all of a sudden one baby seemed easy in comparison. With the last two pregnancies, we didn’t have any ultrasounds and never found out the gender, but with the answer being right there in front of us with this baby, we couldn’t refuse. We wanted a boy soooooooo bad that we were afraid to find out, and when she said it was a boy, we just about cried we were so happy! Elliot would have a little brother and our “girl, boy, girl, boy” pattern would be complete.

Unfortunately, the ultrasound also revealed that I had a low lying placenta, so we knew that although unlikely, placenta previa which would mean an automatic c-sections was a possibility. We didn’t worry about it too much though until I had some bright red bleeding at about 34 weeks. At that point, we scheduled another ultrasound and we were sadly informed that the placenta was touching the cervix. As we started discussing the ramifications of this, I realized that I wouldn’t be able to have the homebirth that I had wanted so badly and that it could very well mean that I would need a c-section and somehow have to recover from major abdominal surgery while also taking care of 4 little ones…two of which who need to be put to bed upstairs…

But then, a miracle happened and as my bladder filled, the ultrasound technician realized that the placenta was actually quite far from the cervix. Phew! But there were a few other concerns such as significant calcification, a heterogeneous placenta with many “lakes”, and the lingering concern over the blood that we couldn’t seem to explain.

So we scheduled a meeting with an obstetrician and he was able to explain in clarifying detail what he saw in another ultrasound that he performed in his office. He said that there were also “lakes” or pools of blood in my uterus (from having so many babies so quickly) and that that would explain why the technician thought that the placenta was touching the cervix. He also did a cervical exam and determined that a blood vessel in the cervix was likely ruptured, which explained the blood loss. We had been most concerned about placental abruption, which could mean hemorrhaging and death during delivery, so we were very glad to clear that up.

We were so happy that we would still be able to plan a home birth and we continued preparing for our sweet little boy to enter our lives. At 35 weeks, I started to really notice my Braxton hicks contractions, and I became concerned that I wouldn’t be able to meet my due date. I started researching “babies born at 35 weeks” and we talked about how if he came early, we would just have to go to the hospital and do the best we could.

When I was 37 weeks, I was so glad that I had made it technically to “full term” and as I noticed the Braxton hicks increasing, I continued to try to take it easy. I knew that every day in the womb was worth three outside, and I wanted our little boy to be able to grow as much as possible before he was born. Besides, we had WAY too much to do before he came and we needed the time to finish all of our projects!

Every day I kept thinking that he would be coming any time and Scott kept reminding me that I said that with every pregnancy. So, I reread my birth stories, and sure enough, I did! I guess I just kind of start to panic a little bit in the end. I know that I want to be able to take the time to recover after the birth and so I want to know that everything I could possibly think of is done so I can rest assured. That in addition to the fact that it takes me awhile to mentally psyche myself up to go through the labors of labor. A part of me just wants to get it started so I can get through it and get the last uncomfortable stages of pregnancy over with, and another part of me feels like I’ll never be ready! Ophelia had been trying to cut her bottom eye teeth for months and she kept waking up in the night, so I didn’t even want to think about the baby being born before her teeth came in.

When we were at the midwife appointment two weeks before my due date and she started making plans for our next appointment ON my due date, I only half-heartedly made it thinking that there was NO WAY I would last that long. But sure enough, my due date came and went and still no baby. Every morning I excitedly thought, “This could be the day!” And then when night time came around I became worried and thought, “I’m not ready yet! We’re too sick, too tired, there’s too much to do!”

But then four days after my due date (and one day before my original due date – based on the date of my last period rather than the ultrasound’s diagnosis), things began to happen.

Early Labor: Out and About

It was a Thursday night in the middle of November, and winter was coming much too fast. We knew that it was our last evening of mild weather, so Scott and I moved all of our yard furniture, toys, etc. closer to the house in preparation for the early nights and blowing snow. I had really been trying to take it easy because every time I walked a lot or exerted a lot of energy, I noticed that my Braxton Hicks contractions would increase, but I just really wanted to get this done, so we pushed through it. “I’m probably going to put myself into labor now!” I told Scott. And sure enough…

For the past few nights, weeks, I would feel contractions intensify in the evening after putting the kids to bed, but then they would die down as I slept. So after all of our moving on Thursday night, I wasn’t surprised to feel them again. I slept peacefully that night until about midnight and then they started to become too painful to sleep through. So I got up to make sure everything would be ready if I DID go into labor. Ruby still needed her lunch prepared for the next day, I needed more sourdough muffins, another batch of kombucha, the mirrors were streaked, there were dirty dishes, and of course I needed to get some coffee ready for the next day.

Scott came into the kitchen groggy and excited, “Is it happening?” he wondered. “Maybe, maybe not” I said unsure. While he was there, I got on my hands and knees and he really rubbed on my lower back and the back pain that I had been feeling for weeks finally melted away. I think that our little boy was in a somewhat of a posterior position and we must have helped him to turn and descend into a more optimal position. I shooed Scott off to bed and stayed up for a few more hours getting everything ready. Finally, at 5 a.m., I went to bed and the contractions died down while I slept.

I was up at 7 a.m. to help Ruby off to school and once her and Scott left, I called my mom to tell her that even though I wasn’t feeling contractions at the moment, I had felt them pretty intensely in the night and that things would probably be starting again soon. She had already planned on trying to work from home that day and so she said she would be there at about noon to help out just in case.

The evening before, Scott started feeling really sick and I knew that he would need his strength to take care of me and our family during my labor, so I strongly encouraged him to take the day off and rest. He came home from work, reluctant to take the day off when he wanted to save up as many days as he could for after the baby was born, took a bunch of herbal “get well” pills and slept all morning long.

I sent a Facebook message at 10:00 a.m. to my midwives to let them know that things were starting to happen. With Ophelia’s birth, I had started feeling contractions for her in the morning, things got intense by noon, and I told my midwives that she would probably be born at 7 p.m.…she was born at 7:20. But this time around, there wasn’t any time that I felt comfortable making a prediction about when the baby would come. About 6 weeks prior, however, I had written on the calendar that I thought he would be born at 10:59 p.m. on November 15th. With that prediction, I was less than 2 hours off.

So anyways, while Scott slept, I took Ophelia and Elliot to the thrift store to get Scott a really cool coat that I had seen earlier. I was starting to have contractions that were definitely more than Braxton’s, but not enough to stop me from moving around. It was half off toys day and Elliot loaded up on his favorite toys of all…little figurines of superheroes, fighters, and the like, and Ophelia got a cool little ferris wheel/merry-go-round toy. I got Scott his really cool winter coat and one for myself as well, plus this amazing white chair that we needed for the dining room.

I was about to drive 40 minutes to get our milk on my own, but I was relieved when I called my mom and discovered that she would be there soon. I really wanted to be able to get milk and go to Meijers before labor kicked into full gear, so I was really driving fast, passing everyone and speeding quickly to get it all done. Elliot and Ophelia enjoyed getting out of the car with us and playing in the barn as I filled up our 8 gallons of milk. My mom helped me to carry them to the car and we just laughed about doing all of this work during early labor! It was so fun to have my mom there with me and I really enjoyed chatting with her on the drive. We both agreed that staying busy during early labor was so good because it doesn’t make you feel like a watched pot and get too nervous about what’s to come.

Getting Milk at the Farm

Getting Milk at the Farm

Elliot and Ophelia Pretending to Switch Seats

Elliot and Ophelia Pretending to Switch Seats

When we got home, Scott was feeling well rested and much better, and we decided to pick up Ruby early from school (2:00 p.m.) and try to head to Meijers. Ruby felt so special to have us both there to pick her up and she said that if the baby was born in the car, he could have her coat to stay warm.

After we dropped Ruby off with my mom and got about one third of the way to Meijers, contractions were picking up and becoming too intense for me to feel comfortable being out and about. So we turned around and went to Vics, the local grocery store, instead. While we were picking out cheese and sour cream, my midwife Laurie called us to see how things were going. The store was really busy and it was fun trying to talk quietly about my mucus, cervical dilation, and pain level. Contractions were about 5 minutes apart, lasting for about 35 seconds, and intense enough to make me pause, but not too strong to talk through.

Pre Labor: At Home

I told my midwives that when I got home and started to relax that things would probably start to move quickly. I don’t know, I just kind of assumed that with the fourth baby in five years, things would just progress rapidly, but they never really did. The entire labor was just slow, easy, manageable, and calm…just like our little boy would be.

So Scott unloaded and put away the groceries, my mom had just pulled out a fresh batch of my sourdough muffins from the oven, and the kids were all playing quietly throughout the house. I started putzing around slowly folding laundry, checking on the kids, tidying up the house, and walking around. During contractions, I would just sway back and forth, but they still weren’t getting very intense. In the picture below, I was leaning against a chair to get through a contraction when Elliot climbed on my back to “help” me, and if you look at my face, he actually did!

Elliot Helping Me Through a Contraction

Elliot Helping Me Through a Contraction

After the bath, we all got the kids dressed in their snowpants and headed outside for a fire in the early November snow. My mom kept saying that she was going to lay down for a nap, but there kept being one thing after another that kept her on her toes. I even put on some slippers, coat, hat, scarf, and mittens, and rolled my ball out by the fire.Scott unpacked my birth kit and made our bed with the plastic and extra sheet and we got ready for things to progress. I started hanging out in our bedroom a lot. Scott drew a nice warm bath with music and soft lights and I enjoyed relaxing in the tub for awhile. I kept trying to check myself, but for some reason, it was really hard to tell what was going on. After the bath, I told the midwives that I couldn’t be dilated more than 4cm. There was also some more blood that came out, but I think it was from the placenta, not the mucous plug. I’m not really sure that I ever lost my mucous plug during early labor, maybe I lost it awhile ago???

The first midwife assistant, Julie, arrived and hung out with us by the fire. We turned on the back porch lights since it was completely dark, and the kids enjoyed playing on the slide and eating snow. It was such a fun distraction to keep busy during early labor. When I bounced on the ball during contractions, I could hardly feel them.

Having a Fire

Having a Fire

Ophelia (1.5 years old)

Ophelia (1.5 years old)

I was getting so excited about the impending action, but also a little anxious wondering when things were going to get going. Julie reminded me to keep eating and drinking water and I suddenly remembered I hadn’t eaten anything since lunch, so Scott brought me a plate of chicken and mashed potatoes. That food gave me instant energy and I could feel my contractions intensify almost immediately!

Grandma Reading with Ophelia

Grandma Reading with Ophelia

When we came inside at 7:00 p.m., I realized that things probably wouldn’t be happening until after the kids went to bed, so we moved all of the birth supplies to the new birth location…the living room. I set up a bunch of candles over the fireplace and Scott got my Enya/Joshua Radin mix going on the tv. We got the kids in their pajamas and I enjoyed watching them do their nightly wrestling in our bedroom.

Nightly Wrestling

Nightly Wrestling

After that, Scott brought my ball upstairs and we were able to pretty much go through with our normal bedtime routine. Scott cuddled up with Ruby and Elliot and read them three books. I read Ophelia a few of her favorite books and when I felt a contraction, I would sit and bounce on my ball. When Scott brings Elliot to his room to read him three more stories in bed, I usually read Ruby three more stories in bed while Ophelia reads to herself, but on this night, my mom read Ruby a whole bunch of poems from A Light in the Attic and I was able to take Ophelia downstairs to put her to bed.

After I kicked my big ball down the stairs, I was a little worried about managing my pain during contractions while I read Ophelia stories. But I just kicked the ball into our room and things seemed to stall out just long enough to have her sit on my lap in the rocking chair, give her some milk, and read her three stories before putting her to bed.

Active Labor

While we were putting the kids to bed, the other two midwives Laurie and Jillian arrived and got all of their things set up. After that, they checked the baby’s heart rate and took my blood pressure. I felt so bad that I had encouraged them to come out so much earlier and now here they were getting here so much later and still nothing was really progressing very fast. After I apologized, they said, “Don’t worry! We’d rather be here early than get here just as you’re pushing him out.” My mom was so sweet and showed them where the food was, the extra beds where they could rest, and chatted with them for a bit while Scott and I got things settled in the living room.

My mom soon joined us in the living room and we talked excitedly about the day so far and what was to come. I kept waiting for things to pick up, and they didn’t. My contractions were 3-5 minutes apart, lasting for less than a minute, and still not very intense. I kept trying to check myself to see how far dilated I was, but things were just too mushy and I couldn’t tell. One of the midwives said she would check for me and even though I typically don’t like being checked by anyone ever after feeling violated during Ruby’s birth, I was very curious to see just how far along I was. It wasn’t easy for her to tell either, but she guessed that I was at about 6 cm. At least there was some progress. I couldn’t imagine being at a 6 and having things fizzle out overnight.

At about 9:30 p.m., my mom finally went lay down. “Wake me up if things start happening,” she said. I felt so bad that things weren’t progressing, and that all of the midwives had to just sit around waiting for me. But I put all of those feelings of being a watched pot out of my mind and knew that this time was all about me and whatever I needed. I let everything else melt away and focused on my body and what it was telling me.

During contractions, I would bounce on the ball and the pain would just melt away. I didn’t really even feel the need to vocalize, but I did anyways just so that the midwives would know that something was going on. They were set up in our little homeschool room staying out of sight, but within earshot. They would come in to check the baby’s heart rate periodically, but basically let us do our thing which is just what I wanted.

By 10:00 p.m., Scott wondered if I was up for some video games. That sounded perfect! So Scott and I played this silly fighting game called Altered Beast where you have to punch and kick all of these evil creatures and every time you kill the white wolf you power up to become an increasingly more muscular man or ferocious beast. The midwives later told me that it was so funny because they would hear all of these sounds and rush in to see what was going on only to see us excitedly talking about the game. Even during contractions, I would keeping pushing A and B to fight the evil creatures.

By about 10:40 p.m., I suddenly got really tired and just wanted to lay down so I closed my eyes and rested on the couch for awhile. I almost felt myself slip into a deep sleep and contractions seemed to stop. After laying down for about 20 minutes, I felt another contraction coming, so I slipped onto the ball and rocked through a very mild one. I laid down for another 20 minutes or so and expected to get up to a very powerful contraction, but once again, it was very mild.

I went to the bathroom at 11:25 p.m. and told the midwives after I checked myself that it felt like the baby’s head was lower and that I was dilated further, but that contractions had died down, so I didn’t know what was going on. Jillian told me that my body was probably saving its strength for the final push, but I was starting to feel like maybe things wouldn’t be happening that night after all. I was starting to get really tired and feeling a little shaky. I was also getting really anxious about how long things were taking, and I didn’t know if I would be meeting my sweet little boy soon, or in hours…how many hours? How much longer???

I was determined that I didn’t want to go to sleep and wait until things picked up the next day, and even though I was tired and really just wanted to lay down, in between each contraction I would squat and sway, or pace the room, or go to the bathroom, or bounce on the ball.

When the midwives came in to check on me, I apologized once again for things taking so long and Jillian said that her and Julie didn’t get to see each other very often and were really having fun catching up. I said I wished that I had some wine for them or something! Scott remembered our kombucha and offered them a glass. He ran to the kitchen and came back with two little glasses and a bottle of our red raspberry leaf kombucha. They loved it and just before I could give them the recipe, I felt a powerful contraction coming on, so I got right to my ball.

Active Labor

Active Labor

Transition

I’m not sure if I was quite to transition at this point, but by about 11:30 p.m., contractions started getting intense to the point where I needed Scott to start rubbing my back. He reached into his old bag of tricks and pressed really hard on my hips massaging them with all of his strength. I didn’t feel like doing our “washing machine” move from Ophelia’s birth, but just steadily bouncing up and down on the ball during each contraction. A low guttural moan started to escape my lips at the height of each contraction and my entire focus was on that moment and what I needed to do to get through it.

But as each contraction ended, the pain completely melted away and Scott and I would joke and laugh and putz around getting ready for the next contraction. At one point during a particularly powerful contraction, I yelled at Scott, “What are you doing! That really hurts!” He had been rubbing my hips pretty intensely and all of a sudden it got painful! “Push in the middle of my back!” I commanded. He did, but it didn’t really do much. (Sidenote: For over a week after the birth, the only thing that really hurt were my hips from Scott pushing on them so hard!)

With just about every other labor, I had experienced back labor and these techniques really worked, but maybe this baby was in a better position because I never once felt any back labor. The peak of each contraction lasted about 20 seconds and was intense, but manageable. I never felt out of control or that the pain was too much. I just knew that I needed to get through it one contraction at a time and that every one brought me that much closer to holding my sweet baby boy in my arms.

This went on for about an hour and then at 12:30 a.m., Laurie told us that she had another mom in labor with contractions 2-4 minutes apart and lasting over a minute. “Well,” I said, feeling like a failure, “she sounds closer than I am.” Laurie explained that she would be sending her backup midwife, Dorthy, to come and assist us. “My last two births happened with the midwives getting there five minutes before I pushed, and now our midwife is going to be gone for five minutes until I push,” I joked.

I knew things were feeling close, but I guess in some ways, I was still scared and I realized that there had been a small part of me that had been holding back this whole time. The part of me that didn’t want to quite accept what was happening, the part of me that kept feeling like there was one last thing that needed to be done before he could be born, the part of me that didn’t feel like I could handle it, the part of me that was afraid.

Scott asked Laurie if he could help her out with her second load, and in that moment, I just let it all go. The fear, the worry, the pain…I let it all go and went inside of myself and felt like something deep within was finally able to exhale. In that moment, I was rocked by a huge and powerful contraction and then I felt a pop and a warm gush. “My water just broke!” I shouted.

Pushing

The other midwives came rushing into the room and yelled to Laurie, “She’s pushing!” Laurie quickly came into the living room where I had slipped off from my ball onto my hands and knees and started leaning against the coffee table. Scott helped me take off my underwear, and I almost knocked everything off the coffee table in one fell swoop until I realized that it was a candle and half drunk bottle of kombucha beside me. So I gently moved them aside and grabbed onto the side and back of the table while I rested my head in the middle and let my body get to work. I could hear the midwives scurrying about getting their supplies and laying chux pads underneath me.

I felt that familiar urge to push that took over every sensation in my entire body, and I knew that I would soon be meeting my son. The thought thrilled me, and I felt the adrenaline surge through me as he traveled down the birth canal. I remembered to take it slow and gently let him enter the world so that I wouldn’t damage myself too badly.

When it felt right, I pushed. In a few minutes, I could hear Scott yell, “I see the head!” I heard other voices too saying things like, “You’re almost there!” and “You’re doing great!” I love hearing words of encouragement when I get to this pushing phase. Feeling that ring of fire is intense and I like to hear that it will be over soon and be reassured that everything is okay. Scott just told me as I’m writing this that as the head was crowning, Laurie said, “This might sting a bit” as she poured some kind of black oily stuff all over my perineum that they had been heating up in our crock pot all evening. I will have to ask them what that was at our next appointment! I have no recollection of that by the way. Then the intense feeling of him crowning was over and I knew that I had delivered the head and that the rest of him would be slipping out soon.

As soon as his head was born, Laurie suctioned out his nose and mouth right away. There was a big smear of something dark on his face. They thought it was meconium at first, but realized later that it was just blood because all of the water that came out was completely clear. As I prepared for the final push, Jillian cradled his head and said, “I’m going to bring him up through your legs,” and with one final giant push, our little baby boy was born. I reached down and picked up his small slippery body and drew him close to me. Nine minutes after Laurie started heading out the door, and there I was holding my sweet little boy!

Everyone helped me turn over and I brought our son up to my chest. He looked a little pale and I quickly wrapped him in a blanket and brought him to my chest. I cooed to him and rubbed his sweet little head in complete awe of the miracle of life as I held him. He never once cried and his bright eyes looked calmly right into mine. Within a few minutes, he started to pink up and I suddenly felt the urge to push again. Out came the placenta.

After I held him for a few minutes, the midwives noticed that his cord had stopped pulsing and so they clamped it and with a few snips, Scott cut his cord. At this point, I was kind of awkwardly propped up on the floor and Scott helped me up while the midwives ushered me to the couch where they had prepared some more chux pads and pillows.

After the Birth

Scott texted my mom to let her know that something had certainly happened. He sent her one word…it said “born”. She was so sound asleep that someone had to go wake her up, but I knew she wouldn’t want to miss this for the world. As I settled onto the couch with my sweet little boy nestled against my chest, Scott cuddled up next to me and we looked into each other’s eyes with that look that says, we just went through something amazing that has changed us once again forever. We looked at his sweet little face and couldn’t believe how alert he was and how simply peaceful he seemed. He was such a beautiful baby!

He latched on right way and ate hungrily. The midwives were busy filling out paperwork and I asked Scott, “Should we tell them his name?” We had decided a while ago what we wanted to name him, but of course we had to meet him first and see if the name fit. When we said it out loud – Julian William Maaser – we knew that it fit him perfectly! Soon, my mom joined us and couldn’t believe that he was here. We joyfully told her the rest of the birth story and she was so happy to meet her little grandson.

Julian William Maaser

Julian William Maaser

Julian and Mommy

Julian and Mommy

Julian, Mommy, Daddy, and Grandma

Julian, Mommy, Daddy, and Grandma

IMG_4100

Mommy, Daddy, and Julian

After Julian ate to his heart’s content, they were ready to do the newborn screening. They gently looked at his reflexes and checked over every inch of his body while I sat right next to him talking gently and rubbing his head. He made one little cry of protest, but otherwise continued to display his calm and gentle demeanor that he had shown since the moment of birth. He was a perfectly healthy little boy and there were no concerns. I dressed him in a little onsie and footie pants that I had picked out weeks before. After that, I swaddled him tightly in really nice new swaddling cloth I splurged on from Amazon.

Newborn Screening with Jennifer

Newborn Screening with Jennifer

Newborn Screening with Jennifer

Newborn Screening with Jennifer

Newborn Screening

Newborn Screening

Mommy's Here!

Mommy’s Here!

When they checked me over, I just had one little “scuff mark” down there, but otherwise things looked great. My blood flow was normal, my uterus was contracting as it should, and I felt great. I had sent Scott to look for the cats who went outside when we were by the fire much earlier in the evening and hadn’t come back in yet. He kept calling and calling but they didn’t come. Jillian asked me if I’d like to go pee, so I handed Julian to my mom and hobbled to the bathroom with Jillian’s help.

Later, when I asked my mom about holding him for the first time, she said, “It was a magical moment because I was all alone with him. Scott was out looking for the cats and both of the midwives were with you. The room was dim. It was just precious. I didn’t have any pretenses or feel like anyone was watching me. I just looked at him and felt so honored and in awe and sort of in shock a little to hold this precious little being that belonged to you.” When I came back to the living room, Scott was expertly rocking Julian, and just like with Elliot, he was soothed by a pinkie in his mouth.

Julian and Daddy

Julian and Daddy

Julian

Julian

I was determined to get those cats inside because I knew I wouldn’t be able to rest easy unless I knew they were safe and sound, so I sent my mom outside to do her loud, “Here kitty kitty kitty!” that was so loud I’m surprised all of the stray cats in the neighborhood didn’t come running. Eventually, both of our cats came running from half a block away and they were eventually corralled inside. Ahhhhhh, now I could sleep!

After that, we said goodnight to my mom and the three of us headed off to bed. It was about 2:30 a.m. on Saturday morning at that point. The midwives came in to tuck us in and gave us a few postpartum care reminders. Scott drifted off to sleep immediately, but I was up checking my facebook status that I had posted of our new family, and felt like I would be too excited to sleep. But at some point I drifted off. Julian was swaddled beside me and slept soundly for five hours (the best he would sleep for the whole first week, so it’s nice he started off with some good sleep). All of the other children slept peacefully throughout the whole labor and birth. We were so excited to think about their reactions to their new baby brother the next day.

Midwife Notes 1

Midwife Notes 1

Midwife Notes 2

Midwife Notes 2

Midwife Notes 3

Midwife Notes 3

Midwife Notes 4

Midwife Notes 4

The Next Day

Elliot was the first one up and came into our room at 5:30 a.m. So early! He is usually pretty good about sleeping in until 7:30-8:00 a.m., but he will wake up early if he has to pee. He cuddled up in bed with us, so happy to meet his little baby brother! He giggled and laughed and loved his little brother as he snuggled under the covers with us. After that, Scott took Elliot out to the living room and I continued to sleep.

Ruby woke up at 6:30 a.m. and joined Daddy and Elliot. Then Ophelia, who usually sleeps in until 9:00 or 10:00 a.m., woke up at 7:30 a.m. and that’s when Ruby and Ophelia came in our room and met Julian for the first time. Ophelia said, “Baby, baby!” but was really pretty indifferent. Ruby was sooooooooo happy! She cuddled right up to him and started talking to him right away. I don’t remember her first words exactly, but I think she started describing the world to him right off the bat and explained how much she loved him and was so happy to meet him.

At about 9:00 a.m., my mom woke up and joined Ruby, Elliot, and Ophelia who were all dressed and fed and playing with Daddy in the living room. She took over and let Scott come back to bed. I tried sleeping some more, but I was still just too excited. Plus I felt really gross and wanted to take a bath and brush my teeth. My mom brought in the herbal bath mixture and I enjoyed a nice hot soak in our walk in tub while Scott cuddled up with Julian. It felt AMAZING!!!

I was so happy to bring Julian out to the living room and to have our whole family was together for the first time. My mom took such good care of us that day. She brought us food, played with the kids, and kept the house clean. At about 2:00 p.m., Grandma Gene and Andrea joined us. It was so nice to have a few extra hands to help keep everyone entertained. Scott and I were able to slip away for another nap and my mom brought us out an amazing platter of dinner when we awoke and came back into the living room.

That night, we were able to easily pick up our bedtime routine with one extra person in tote and everyone went to sleep on time, peacefully, and easily. I am sooooooo glad we had some good bedtime routines in place and were so settled in our home. Scott and I sat in the living room with Julian, who just like when he was in the womb, would wake up after the kids went to bed. He was so peaceful and calm and Scott and I chattered away excitedly about all of the events that had taken place. My heart felt so full of love that it could just about burst.

Elliot, Ruby, Mommy, and Julian

Elliot, Ruby, Mommy, and Julian

Ruby Holding Julian

Ruby Holding Julian

Ophelia Isn't Quite Sure What to Think

Ophelia Isn’t Quite Sure What to Think

Grandma Di is Helping

Grandma Di is Helping

Grandma Gene, Grandma Di, Ruby, and Julian

Grandma Gene, Grandma Di, Ruby, and Julian

Elliot Holding Julian

Elliot Holding Julian

Elliot, Auntie Andrea, and Ruby

Elliot, Auntie Andrea, and Ruby

In the Living Room

In the Living Room

Grandma Gene Holding Julian

Grandma Gene Holding Julian

Julian William Maaser

Julian William Maaser