Thursday, October 10, 2013

October 8: The Band of Brothers

Sometime around 10pm on Monday, I had a real contraction. Oh, right. That's completely different from the Braxton-Hicks I endured all day Saturday.

My first thought was for Phil. He was just falling asleep (he asked me if I was okay, and I blew him off, but he has no recollection of that—he was one tired man). With eight hours of sleep over the last three nights, I don't know when I have seen him so utterly wiped out. And I suspected I would have to get him up very soon.

At 10:20, I started timing contractions. Seven minutes apart, almost a minute long. After a few, I realized I needed to work my plan, figured out in the middle of the night last week, so I got up and brought a few bags of supplies to the car (stepping over two trenches and two mountains of dirt, because everything is in upheaval for the electric installation).

Having done all I could, I listened to two or three songs on YouTube. Contractions were three minutes apart, and although I could talk through them, I didn't want to be stuck delivering at home.

I called our friends who had offered to host the birth, called the midwife to tell her this was it, and then had to wake Phil.

If the baby was born 24 hours later, Ken and Cheri would have been on the farm, and we could have left the boys. But instead, we worked the plan: get the boys up, get them to carry their pillows, sleeping bags, and mats. With camera, computer, a few stuffed animals, and a tired husband, we loaded up and headed out.

My final concern was about when to call the midwife to say, "Come." With Joe, my water broke and he was out in two hours. But with the other boys, my water didn't break until midway through pushing, and those labors ranged from 25 hours to ten hours. Midwife in town about a half hour away ... fifth birth ... it was too much to plan.

So God worked it out for me. We parked and as I stepped onto the gravel drive, my water broke. Perfect! No mess! Clarity! I called the midwife and said, "Come now."

Then I headed into the tub and spent a really good hour in the hot water. Over time the contractions increased in pressure, and when I just wanted to submerge my whole body and moaned gutturally, I figured I had reached transition. I think I had three transition contractions. I don't remember that stage ever passing so quickly. (Not that I'm complaining!)

We were so thankful the midwife arrived when she did. The first time she came in to see me, she checked the baby's heart rate and I said, "I need to push." So I started off pushing in the tub, because I couldn't imagine getting up. Move to vertical from a horizontal? As if!

But after a few minutes, I didn't think that was working, and it wasn't as hard to stand up as I thought. A quick walk down the hall, about fifteen more minutes of traumatic, intense pushes, and we welcomed Caleb Enoch at 1:27am. (I asked the midwife later about those pushing contractions. I thought usually the laboring woman has a minute of intense effort, then three minutes off. I remember it like this: finish pushing, quickly gulp four swallows of coconut water, next contraction comes. Was I right? "They were coming right on top of each other," she said. So I wasn't crazy.)

He weighed 9 pounds even, which was a lot for his 19" body. And he came out screaming and didn't let up until the midwife gave him two doses of Chamomilla 200C (that's a really high potency homeopathic remedy, so the fact that he needed two doses—he was one unhappy baby at birth).

The cord pulsed for probably a half hour, and we all just sat there, waiting. The midwife said that he ruddy complexion is due to that extra time with the cord intact. Babies naturally have higher amounts of red blood cells, so that they can survive three minutes without brain damage, if the placenta gets squeezed too much or something at birth. Then add on an extra thirty minutes of cord blood and lung breathing, and the baby is red complected at the moment.

And so we welcome Brother Number Five to the Band, and his brothers are so happy to have him.


  1. Many congratulations, Amy!! I've been reading your blog for awhile and am intrigued by all of your adventures. I'm one of your old friends from Awana camp, Jenny Duncan. :-)

  2. Congratulations and God bless!!

  3. Congratulations, Amy and Phil and the Band of Brothers!

  4. Aww, congrats!! That is so exciting! :)

  5. Belated Congratulations! I lost track of your blog after some busyness in our lives sometime last September. When I found you again on my blogroll, I remembered you were close to having your baby. Enjoying catching up again and glad the birth of your 5th son went well! :-)