As crazy as my own entrance into this world was (I was born in the van on the way to the hospital), I suppose it’s only fitting that my son came with as much fanfare. No one wishes for a dramatic birth, but that’s just what I got with my first child.
And since my little guy’s birthday is coming up soon, I thought it fitting to share my/his birth story.
My Son’s Birth Story: 1st and 2nd Trimester
For some background to the story:
We live in a very rural area. Our hospital in town stopped delivering babies several years ago because there wasn’t enough business to keep an OB department going.
So that makes any expecting mother drive at least an hour and 15 minutes one way to the nearest hospital for prenatal care and delivery.
So I Decided
I told my husband right away when I got pregnant that there was no way I was going to labor in a vehicle for an hour! Especially after hearing my friend’s story of delivering along the way! Besides, there was a perfectly capable midwife a few minutes from us (who used to be an OB nurse at our local hospital).
My husband wasn’t keen on a home birth, so I said he didn’t have to be there. I called another midwife neighbor to ask her to assist. Though not certified in the States, she had delivered babies in Guatemala for 13 years.
I felt I would be in good hands with these two women looking after my care.
After all, I was a low-risk pregnancy. First time pregnancy, no health issues, not overweight, not on meds and I ate a healthful diet.
And that’s how I began my pregnancy:
One Week After My Positive Pregnancy Test
My brother had just gotten married and my husband and I agreed to help watch their kids while they were on their honeymoon.
Sunday afternoon my nephew and two nieces got dropped off at our house. I was so excited for all the fun things I had planned for the next three days.
That night before bed, we all sat on the couch – two heads resting on my shoulders – reading books before bed.
The next morning I called the first girl into the bathroom to comb her hair for the day. Her hair looked like a giant birds nest! “Wow!” I thought, “This kid is an aggressive sleeper!”
As I parted her hair, I quickly found the reason for her birds nest hair-do.
Lots of lice.
[Lesson: Beware of wigs at party photo booths!]
My stomach jumped into my throat as I tried not to panic. Immediately my mind raced to all the furniture she had sat on. The carpeting. The mattress she had slept on. My shoulder she had rested on.
“Oh Lord! Please don’t let me have lice!” was my desperate plea.
Let me preface this with the fact that I know *knew* nothing about lice, conventional treatment or natural treatment.
How my three brothers and I made it all the way through public school without ever getting lice, I’ll never know.
Trying to remain calm, I called the other two kids into the bathroom and checked their heads. Yep, more lice.
I put up the girls’ hair in pony tails without any brushing and went to fix breakfast. I didn’t want to tell the kids anything because I didn’t want to make a big deal – especially before I knew what I was going to do.
My husband came home and we sat down to the breakfast table. My hormones got me and I couldn’t hold back the tears during breakfast. He was clueless.
After breakfast I talked to him in private and he – the bald guy – headed to town to buy lice treatment, combs and gloves.
Not knowing what else to do, I treated each child with that horrible shampoo and treatment while wearing a mask myself. I could still smell the treatment through mask and I’m sure I exposed my baby to it.
I spent the next three days giving hair cuts, picking nits and applying mayonnaise masks. Mayonnaise right away would have been safer for my baby and the kids! Live and learn.
My midwife came for my first appointment and we went over all my family health issues. I consider myself coming from a pretty healthy family until I start listing off everything my immediate family and grandparents have or had! Then I realized I didn’t have a super healthy family history.
She used a doppler and listened to the baby’s heartbeat. Everything sounded great! I peed in a cup and she tested for proteins and whatever else it is a midwife does with a patient’s pee. My blood pressure was good.
It was so weird to me to be taking all these precautions and measures for a little heartbeat the midwife found. I wasn’t showing yet. I didn’t have morning sickness. Sure, I slept a lot.
I was just waiting for the telltale bulge of my belly to convince myself this was really happening!
The date of November 11, 2017 was the most terrifying and exciting date of my life.
My midwife was super sweet and assured me to call her with any questions I had even if I thought they were silly. She left me that day with a list of things to begin gathering in preparation for my birth and a date on the calendar for my next appointment.
In the Meantime
My mother-in-law broke her hip.
She fell down a pile of dirt and landed on a large rock. It snapped the leg bone right next to the hip. The doctors had to do surgery and insert two rods to help the bone heal properly.
Since my in-laws are the ones who live on the farm, she does a lot of behind the scenes work for the farm that I easily forget about. Bookwork, cleaning, lawn mowing and flowers, among other things. Doctors ruled no weight on her broken leg for 8 weeks.
That meant a wheelchair. And lots of help.
[In the meantime, my sister-in-law announced they were pregnant with twins! Due three weeks before my baby!]
I didn’t help much with things like personal care because I didn’t have the stomach for such things at the time. And my mother-in-law had others who were trained nurses to help her. So I did extra cleaning in the barn. Extra lawn mowing. Extra cleaning in the house. And extra cooking for the guys. I was sure glad I had these great homemaking skills under my belt!
Sure, it was extra stress, but I made it through. And my mother-in-law began the slow healing process.
Then May 16 Came
May 16, 2017 is a day our neighborhood will never forget.
The weather had been hot and muggy all day and we came under a tornado warning that afternoon. That evening we were all planning on going to a family birthday party across town.
By evening there was a tornado watch far west of us. The radio warnings kept coming as did the tornado. It continued on the ground, headed in our direction showing no sign of lifting or veering.
After sitting in the driveway listening to the radio for another few minutes, we decided not to go to the party. We parked the truck back in the garage, unloaded the birthday gift and snack and I proceeded to make my husband and I a last minute supper.
If we were going to be without power for a while, I at least wanted our bellies to be full with a hot supper!
My husband kept a watch out the window and on the computer – monitoring the tornado’s path.
It still hadn’t left the ground. [The tornado ended up staying on the ground for 83 miles: the longest distance ever recorded in Wisconsin!]
As he watched, I gathered.
Flash lights, candles, water, food, blankets, toilet paper, first aid, books, games and my wallet. I hauled everything to the basement corner we were going to wait it out in. My husband teased me for what I stashed away, but I told him “If the house collapses on us and we are still alive, I don’t want to be bored, hungry, thirsty or without toilet paper!”
[If you don’t have emergency plans in place, I urge you to check out Julie’s emergency preparedness resources.]
The tornado got closer. I popped the last prenatal vitamins I would take for weeks and took my half-eaten supper to the basement.
I’ll have to share the tornado saga another day.
No, our house did not get hit, but all three of our farm locations did – which included my in-laws house.
Power was out for the next three days so my husband and I stayed upstairs at the farm. We had the farm generator running 24/7 and transported a little generator around to our house and neighboring houses, running it a few hours at each place to cool freezers and refrigerators.
Sleep was fleeting.
The night of the tornado we were up until 2am. My husband got up at 4am to check oil levels and gauges on the tractor running the generator and start morning chores. I followed him at 4:30.
We slept the next two weeks at the farm. This allowed my husband to check on the generator every couple hours: day and night. It was also nice to be around to help manage all the work crews that showed up and deal with any media that stopped by.
I was able to go in and nap whenever needed and it was nice to not have to be home alone all that time. I could cook breakfast every morning for the guys and my wheel-chair-bound mother-in-law took phone calls and kept the schedule straight for where suppers were coming in from.
Most of our lunches for the next two weeks were cold cut sandwiches brought in by Red Cross.
Emotions ran high, blood ran hot, and energy ran out many times in that month following the tornado. For everyone.
And I tried to take care of myself for baby’s sake. But how do you sleep amidst such worry? And how do you nap when you could be working? How does a 14 week pregnant mama grow a baby for two weeks on cold cuts, chips and lots of adrenaline?
My Son’s Birth Story: Third Trimester
Thankfully, the rest of the summer required less adrenaline to make it through.
Tornado cleanup continued and we slowly pieced our lives back together. Thankfully no human lives were lost in our area – just lots of animals and buildings.
Our neighbor man mowed our lawn many times and cut many of the down trees and had our entire lawn cleaned up in no time. I cried every time I saw him show up to help us again.
My feet were swollen already and got a little more swollen with all the walking we did. I couldn’t fit into my tennis shoes anymore but thankfully my maxed out Chaco straps could still contain my monstrous feet.Some swelling is normal during pregnancy so I wasn’t worried. I could keep up with my husband on our evening walks downtown and showed essentially no signs of pregnancy stress.
A few days after returning home, four of us girlfriends got together and had a freezer meal making day. Each of us went home with 16 meals for the freezer. That was a long day on my feet. I felt exhausted. But pregnant lady exhausted. Or so I thought…
Related Posts: Prenatal Care for a Healthy Pregnancy