My Family

My Family
-Cozumel 2014

Thursday, March 24, 2016

The birth of Titus Matthew

                                            Titus Matthew Birth Story August 24, 2015

 Whenever you find out you are pregnant, there is a flutter in your heart that you can not compare to anything else, usually it's accompanied by weeks of sighs of happiness and a sparkle in your eyes as you announce once on Facebook the joyful news, and then again and again to all your relatives and friends and the occasional WalMart stranger that are not on FaceBook.... That joy is incomparable!!
  Through all this joy though I started getting sick and having health problems very early on in this pregnancy. It was more than just morning sickness, although I had that, it was pretty much under control. But I had many many other little problems here and there that far out ranked the MS. At the same time I was glowing with joy from being pregnant I was also in a very sad and hard spot in my life. I really suffered this pregnancy. I have no words to describe how much, and I frankly don't even want to rehash it all. I was lonely, weak, in pain, miserable and at the same time I found out I was pregnant my husband started having symptoms of Hyperthyroidism. He went to work and took care of his family by bringing home the bacon. But when he got home he was dead to the world. He lost around 30 pounds in less than three months. Which happened to be my first trimester. I didn't  have much help. I needed it and I relied heavily on my 6 year old to help me out. Friends from church came and helped and even brought food. My sister helped some also. But I really and truly suffered everyday, all day and night. It was rough. Physically I had never had it that bad in my life and I was scared to death that my baby was feeling all the suffering and sadness I was. I worried about history  development. I prayed for him often. I cried often also. I felt like I was handling it bad, and so I felt guilty because of it. My hormones were messing with my head. The never ending responsibilities and daily life was already rough but with my physical disabilities added on top of that pushed me almost over the edge. At only 20 weeks into my pregnancy I could barely walk. Walking hurt my abdomen. Very very bad. It took me an incredible amount of time just to walk across my living room. Let alone a store. I couldn't cook much and my husband barely had the energy to keep on going everyday. He would go through drive thru and pick me up stuff. I craved Wing Stop everyday for months. Yes. That's where at least 30 pounds of my pregnancy came from I'm sure! Then chicken Express Livers and Cousins BBQ chicken and I craved potato salad with a vengeance! It was ridiculous. And very expensive. And very high calorie also... I also craved lemon water. Id drink the juice of around 15 lemons a day. If I didn't I would get sicker. Yes my teeth deteriorated from all the acid. Then I craved ground beef and ate it at every meal for weeks. Just ground beef cooked with spices and olive oil. It was not a wonder that I gained more weight this pregnancy than any of my others! I was gaining while Nubun was losing. By my second trimester we made the number 10 together! (Him being stick thin like the number one, and me being as round as a zero...)
   I had three girls, I love girls! I wanted more girls!! But I also wanted to have a boy. Nubun video taped me when we went to get my gender revel sonogram. She announced it was a boy, everybody cheered, I cried with joy! God gave us a son!!
    I'll move on to events following up to meeting our baby boy.  I was also blessed and very pleasantly surprised because this was my first baby ever that I had carried that was head down the whole pregnancy. My previous two babies were breech till the bitter end! What a relief! What a blessing! What an awesome God I serve! 
    Every one of my labors with my babies were different, they had some similarities but not one birth story was the same as the next.  
    I thought I might go early on this pregnancy because I was carrying him so so so low. Not that in the real world that means anything but in my head I felt that I would go early.  They say a Mother's intuition is never wrong! 
   THEY were wrong. Early came and early left and my due date was here. It landed on my husband's birthday. I thought it'd be so exciting to give him a son for his birthday! 
I mean, seriously, I wouldn't even have to buy him a birthday present! Or make him his birthday brownies!! 
   Here hun-- have a son!
   We went to the mall that day, and I walked and walked and walked! I patted my tummy lovingly and told the baby inside to get out, get out, get out!  I told Nubun to GUN IT down the bumpy roads. I rejoiced in any laboring misery that'd come my way! None came.  I danced in my living room, did twirls and even jumped up and down while my 7 year old took a video of it all.  (If ever I need a smile or a laugh, I look back on that video!)  

   Baby was laughing in my womb, hanging on tight, not willing to come out yet. So with achy hips, swollen feet and all, I kissed my birthday man goodnight with a promise to bake him his brownies later.... (It's been 7 months. He is still waiting.)

    On day 8 after estimated due date we went out to eat at a restaurant. Sitting around the table I looked at my sweet little family and told my husband. 
   "This could be our last meal together as a family of 5!" 
    He smiled real big.  We went to bed that night still pregnant.
 On day 9 we went out to eat and again as we were sitting around the restaurant table I looked at my family of five. 
  "Ok. Ok.  THIS could be the last time we go out to eat as a family of five!" 
   Nubun again smiled real big. 
  On day 10 we went out to eat... Yes, we went out to eat quite a lot around this time... 
   Cooking? Me? Only thing I was cooking around then, was a baby. A bun was the only thing in my room to oven. 
   As we were sitting around the table I smelled the aroma of greasy french fries and mustard in the air, and smiled. I looked at my sweet husband and said.  
    "This will NOT be the last time we eat together as a family of 5" he laughed. This day came and went as all the rest had, no baby in sight. I was all ready for the birth, birth team gifts, check, essential oils for birth, check, last pregnant picture in bathroom mirror, check, birth tub ready, sign ready, baby was not ready!
   As day 11 came, it was Sunday and that morning I felt great, got up early, made and ate my breakfast of sausage egg and cheese biscuit. I fed the girls something, or at least I think they ate something that morning, and then I bathed them, put them in their colorful dresses and got them ready for church. On the way there I turned over and looked at Nubun driving. 
    "I feel too good to be going into labor anytime soon." Then I laughed. I didn't even need to clean the house for a picture perfect birth today! I was glad to be able to go to church as a family. 
  Nubun shrugged his shoulders. "You just never know." 
    The looks of my sweet church family when I walked into the foyer was that of disbelief. 'She's STILL pregnant?'
  It was fun! It was funny and it was a bit frustrating to see some of the looks of pity, but through it all I was happy to stay pregnant for as long as there was a need.        
   Then again, during services I kept thinking how Nubun could take off work for only so long and how soon he would run out of vacation days.  I desperately needed him home when I went into labor. I knew it'd be fast and if he were at work I could kiss my water birth plans good bye, or a birth with my husband present good bye....
   Once home, I actually kept picturing myself having a totally unassisted home birth with only the help of my 3, 5 and 7 year old girls. There would be blood and screaming everywhere and I'd never have grandchildren because of the trauma they would suffer that day. On one of those thoughts I'd start bouncing on my birth ball, willing my baby to come out RIGHT THEN!!! 
   I googled 'birth ball inducing labor exercises' and Nubun did some pressure points on my back and hands. Evie massaged my feet.  I thought about castor oil for a very short split second then I decided to eat a whole papaya instead. Papaya works!! Let's just keep it at that. 
   Around 8:30pm I had an idea and told Nubun about it, he agreed and 5 minutes later, we packed up all the kids in the van, still in their Sunday outfits, we were on our way to my friend and massage therapist's home to get a labor inducing massage, I was stiff and sore and needed a massage desperately! 
    I walked into Mindy's beautiful massage room and breathed in the sweet aroma of essential oils. With lots of help I laid down and sighed a sigh of relief. My sweet, long time friend worked all the kinks out of my sore muscles and massaged with essential oils my pressure points around my ankles, feet  and hands. She worked and worked on me for well over an hour, I was relaxed and felt so refreshed when she was done! I had real tears of satisfaction in my eyes! It was just wonderful! 

   I came home and felt good, no contractions, I just felt relaxed and rejuvenated and tired all at once. We put the girls to bed, then went to the couch of the which was deemed the 'ugly couch' and sat down. (For most of my pregnancy I could not sleep in bed so I had to sleep on the couch leaning back but not laying down, instead) Nubun and I talked for a while, then I chatted on the phone with my friend, Heather. Right before I put my iPhone down I teasingly wrote her. 
   "We better quit chatting and go to sleep. Because in a couple of hours we will both need our strength! Haha"
     I didn't believe my own words, I felt ready for a long restful night....
  I put my phone down and leaned over and told Nubun.  "Well, day 11 has come and gone, no baby yet!" 
  He looked at me and smiled. "He will come when it's his time." 
  We fell to sleep shortly after that, side by side on that ugly couch like we had been doing for months. That night I was feeling relaxed and at peace and was sleeping very well. 
   At 1am I woke up to a very painful contraction. I got up when it was over and went to the bathroom, came back and fell back to sleep. At 2 I got another strong contraction, again, I got up and went to the restroom. Thinking nothing of it. How many times had I done this before? And I was still pregnant? I went back to the couch and sat back down, but was uneasy, uncomfortable and wondered if something was going on. I could not go back to sleep after that. At 2:40ish I got another strong contraction. I grunted with this one, waking Nubun up. Again I got up and went to the restroom.
   When I came back to the ugly couch Nubun was not there but busy running around quietly, I looked at my cozy place on the ugly couch and cringed, it did not look inviting. Instead I went over to the bar stool a few steps away and leaned over it and was swept away by the sudden intensity of the next wave.
  I felt like almost 4 years of my life had led up to this moment, leaning on that bar stool in front of my kitchen, and soaking in the quiet and dark of night. I breathed deeply in and could smell a combination of wild orange and peppermint from the diffuser and cinnamon from the candles. Nubun had lit the candles and had started the diffuser. With each wave of pain that'd come my mouth would water and my saliva was salty.  Of course if you know me I love the beach, I love the sea and the salt taste in my mouth made me think of sea water...
   My breaks in between contractions were getting shorter and shorter, so when a wave stopped I almost ran to my bedroom to get my birthing clothes on. 
   Bahahaha!! Imagine me running! I looked in the mirror, and with a shaking hand put some mascara on, I smiled at my reflexion, I needed make up, but didn't care anymore. I could not even remember if I had done both eyes. I texted a heads up to some of my birth team. 
   Then I again, waited in between contractions to walk back to my bar stool, the only semi-comfortable place for me to labor.
   My husband was quietly but hurriedly walking around the house getting things ready for this memorable event. We had not said a word to each other, I never told him it was time, he knew, after three babies together, he knew before I knew. I leaned over with a giant wave of a contraction, my head was hanging, I got a tingle go up and down my spine, they were getting stronger and this one took my breath away! Literally. After it had passed I looked up, Nubun was reading my list of Honey-Do's-when-labor-starts on the refrigerator, he looked at me and smiled real big. 
  I spoke, my voice was weak, "I think we need to call everybody. It's time."
  He smiled bigger as he walked towards me. "I already have." 15 minutes ago. He squeezed my shoulders and kissed my forehead.
  I didn't notice when he started filling up the birth pool, I didn't notice when he lit all the candles or picked up the mess on the sofa in the den.  I had a list of my own I was doing. First thing on the list was to get dressed in my birthing clothes.   Check!
   Second thing was....  well, it didn't matter because that is the only thing on the list I managed to do. I leaned over again in another strong wave, my toes curled and I tightened every muscle in my body, gritted my teeth and closed my jaw....  Every birth professional knows how very bad this is to do in labor, but when in labor every bit of common sense falls out the window at some point in time. I didn't have a warning, I had no early labor, I had no early contractions to build me up for the heavier ones later on, all I had was contractions that can break you, make you wanna give up, all I had to start out with-was transition!! 
   Transition from no labor pains at all, one minute, to OH MY STARS!! GET THIS BABY OUTA ME!! The very next minute! 
     I mumbled something to Nubun asking him to do something, then walked down the hall. I heard the front door opening quietly, and I told him to forget it, I didn't care anymore. I was beyond caring about anything but birthing that baby!
   I heard voices in the living room talking quietly about the birth tub, I walked in there and saw Nubun start to fill up the last ring on the tub with air. The air pump was loud but my girls didn't wake up. 
  I saw Heather walk by, I stopped wherever I was when the next contraction came, I was leaning on my cubicle shelf, and she rubbed some oils on my lower back, it helped. The smell of Frankincense and Peppermint filled the air. 
   During another contraction I felt somebody rub my shoulders, their hands were cold and that felt so good! When the contraction was winding down I looked up breathless and saw Ann, my lovely midwife, I got tears of thanksgiving in my eyes. 
      She asked me how far apart were my contractions. I looked at her confused. I didn't like the question because she was making me think. 
   "8 minutes apart, or 1 minute apart, or I think 30 seconds." I clenched in dread as the next wave started mounting.
   "I don't know!" I blurted out. 
  'I don't care' I screamed inside.
   "It's ok" she soothed me and rubbed my back some more. That was all she needed to know. As that contraction winded down I turned around and leaned over a chair, Ann sat down in it and watched me through the next couple of contractions. As one was winding down another one started, I no longer had contractions, it just felt like I had CONTRACTION. It was just one giant contraction that never ceased, I kept having peaks but no rest in between contractions because there was no in-between. It never fully stopped to give me a rest. 
  "You are having double peak contractions." Ann said. 
   For a brief moment fear and dread creeped up inside me. This was more than I could handle, I was not counting on this!  I looked around the room full of midwives and loved ones, but saw nothing. I could only FEEL, I felt the intensity of childbirth that women had been feeling for thousands of years, it was raw, it was powerful and I felt it all! 
   I was scared. 
  I wanted to scream but nothing came out, I was not doing well in my head, I was not on top of this labor like last one, I was not on top of my pain. I was in turmoil and I felt trapped, this wasn't gonna stop till baby was in my arms. Another peak was coming....
    I tensed up all over and Ann could see it.
  "Andrea" she said.  I heard her calm sweet voice and I was jerked out of my tunnel of fear. I looked at her, trying to focus on her caring face. 
"Andrea, I need you to relax your jaw, bend your knees and spread them apart a little." I did as she said and immediately felt better. 
   I paused and breathed. I felt a sense of duty calling, I had to push this baby out. I put my fears behind me and started praying for God's help. 
  "Do you want to get into the birth tub now?" She asked. I looked at the tub, only 4 feet away. My first thought was 'I can't'. 
  My other midwife Michele encouraged me. "We will help you." Somebody was helping me on my right side and someone else was holding me on my left side, I managed the few short steps to the tub. I looked at the water inside. Then I looked at the side of the tub I would have to step over to get into that glorious warmth. 
  'Oh!!' I said either out loud or in my head. 'Forget it!!! let me just push the baby out right here! I can't step over THAT!' But somebody was picking up my leg, and my leg was cooperating with them. I was halfway in and halfway out. Straddling the side of the tub. I shook my head in protest. 
    'Enough! No more!!' I froze for a second, shaking my head, determined not to move again!  But somebody else was picking up my other leg and that leg was also cooperating as well. 
  I felt water surround me, it was like liquid awesomeness! I immediately kneeled down in the water and tears briefly burned my eyes from relief! 
   "This feels good!" I said and smiled. I could finally relax just long enough to look around and see everyone who was there.
  "Where is Dr Taylor?" I asked my husband about my chiropractor and friend. My birth team was complete except for her, and all we needed was for her and the baby and we would be complete! As I was there, on my knees I looked at the water. It was time to do what I had been dreading my whole pregnancy, getting into the birthing position. Every position I ever practiced being in during the pregnancy was dreadfully uncomfortable except standing up. Well, the water wasn't deep enough for me to stand up in, so forget that.  I leaned over the side of the birth tub, and leaned into the arms of my husband. He was sitting on the birth ball right outside of the tub.
   I was on my knees, I was uncomfortable, I was hot, but the hot water gave me the relief my body needed to finish my son's journey earth side. 

   Birth is hard no matter where you have your baby, but I knew the love and the strength of a mother is greater. 
    I prayed, I prayed, and prayed some more,  I was gaining strength in Him, in my birth knowledge, my ever loving midwife's care, and my husband by my side, I needed no intervention I just needed patience, love, care and utter silence! 
   It was time, I was a Mama on a mission, I bowed down in concentration and took every peak that came with determination and prayer. 
    When another peak would come I was moved to a different world, I was in my own little tsunami, my consciousness was no longer there, it was in an angry sea with mighty waves splashing over each other, white sea foam was in my imagination and my throat was dry. It helped me to be in this other state of mind, it helped me get through my labor pain, it helped me do my job of getting my baby down in the right position for a rocket launch! 
   When someone talked I could hear them, my birthing world would shatter and I was knocked back into reality, I didn't have the strength or the ability to talk, scream or be angry the only thing I could do was barely lift my head and voice my primal need.
   You got it. 
   I shushed them. 
   "Shush!" I heard that primitive, and rude sound coming out of my mouth, it was low and it was breathless and every single word or noise I'd say would be a huge effort and distraction and it would take me away from my angry sea where I needed to be. 
    While I was still early on in my pregnancy I told Nubun all the sweet things I'd like to hear while I was laboring. 
  "Talk to me about our honeymoon in Hawaii" I said. "Remind me how beautiful that resort in Charm Churree was" I'd smile with the thought. "Tell me how good I'm doing. Say anything positive and speak to me in words of love!" I said.  "Whisper in my ear sweet nothings..." I'd day dream of the romance...but when the time came I was in my nice hot birth tub leaning over the edge, sweat dripping down my face, hair sticking to my face, I was uncomfortable, miserable, in pain, but content to be in quietness. Nubun leaned over and whispered a sweet nothing into my ear. 
   I shook my head 'Huh?'
  'What'd he say?' The stormy thoughts in my head bounced around. 'No idea'. He leaned over again and whispered sweet words of encouragement and love... Again I was jerked out of my imaginary wild sea and my continual prayer for help and I was bumped back into reality. I looked up at the love of my life, sweat dripping down the back of my neck and my hair plastered to my face. He was smiling, looking at me with oh so much love...
  "Sssssh!!" Is all I could get out. Just. "Sssssh!"
 He smiled, leaned over and got as close to me as he could and was just 'there' and that is what I REALLY needed. Who cares about our honeymoon in Hawaii! Seriously! And sweet words of love? Just be quiet already!
    My husband of ten years and veteran of three births with me already, understood. 
  Quietness wrapped me and love surrounded me and I went back into my world of unimaginable yet manageable pain.  I leaned over and looked down at his knees, I could feel sweat trickle down my back, sweat beading up on my brow, but I concentrated on what was going on inside. 
   Pop! I felt my bag of waters break. 
   I breathlessly whispered.  "Water broke"
  Nubun repeated me and my midwife softly cheered me on. 
  And with a strong swoosh I felt my baby move and drop down into the birth canal. It was an incredible feeling I had never felt before with my previous births. 
   "He moved!" I whispered, but didn't have the strength or voice to explain how he had moved. They all motioned and mouthed to each other. "What does she mean?" And shrugged their shoulders. "I don't know"
    Just mere seconds, or was it minutes? I don't know, but shortly after stepping into the tub I started pushing. No one told me to, nobody said I was dilated enough, my body knew though, and that was what I was listening to. 
   Ann was checking me for dilation, but I don't remember if she told me I was complete or not, it didn't really matter I was pushing that baby out no matter what! I felt my baby coming down the birth canal and then I felt burning. 
  "Burning!" I again whispered. They checked me again but saw no head. I felt the ring of fire everyone always talked about, for the FIRST TIME! 
     They tried to listen to the heart beat but could not find it, they checked one side of my belly, then the other side. I heard whispers, my heart froze in fear!
  There was more hushed whispers then Michelle grabbed the Doppler and she told me to lift my right leg and stretch it out. I did and she found the heart beat! 
   "How's my baby?" I asked Nubun 
    "He's ok" he tried to reassure me. 
     "No!" I raised my voice with all the strength I had. "Ask them!" I insisted. I didn't want reassurance I wanted TRUTH!
     He asked them and they echoed what he had said. "Your baby is doing just fine."
    After I heard this I doubled over in determination to get my baby out! I pushed, and pushed and pushed some more. Ann told me I was doing good. 
    I felt more burning and Ann said his head was coming out to stop pushing, I stopped and just breathed. After a few short moments she told me to give little pushes, I obeyed.
   His little hand came out and reached and grabbed Ann's hand. She gave his little hand a squeeze, then encouraged me on...
   "Good! Andrea, you are doing good." I felt his head come out, and stopped pushing. I FELT HIM COME OUT! In all my other three births I had NEVER felt my baby come out, I just knew that they had cause my contractions stopped. This time around I FELT my baby come out! I was flooded with a sense of awe, but grounded yet, by my never ending contraction. 
   "Andrea, your job isn't done, you need to push his body out." 
    Oh. Ok. That's why my contraction had not stopped. I pushed again with all my might, his head and body did their turn as his shoulders slipped on through and out he came! It was 4:39am. Less than 2 hours of labor.
   Ann asked Nubun if he wanted to catch. 
   "No." He said. "I did last time, it's her turn this time."
  "Andrea" Ann said. "Get your baby"
 And so I leaned back and saw my baby's face for the first time, under water, looking so sweet so perfect, so...mine! I scooped him up and out of the water onto my chest!

    There is no feeling in the world like this! I held him near my heart and leaning back I looked at him, overwhelmed with love and I finally found my voice. I cried out with joy! 
        "Oh my bay....Oh my bay... Oh my baby!!!"
     I gazed at him for that brief moment of utter happiness, sheer joy, and a sense of instant and overwhelming love! I finally looked up at Nubun, he was looking at me and I smiled, he reached out and wiped the hair out of my eyes and held my face in his hands. He didn't say anything. I didn't say anything. Sometimes there is no need for words.

   We both looked at our baby, somebody said "Aren't you gonna check and see if he is a boy?"
  "Oh! Yes!" and I did, and he was!
      After those few short and magical moments, I asked them to go get the girls. My heart leaped with joy as I thought about my girls meeting their little brother for the first time.
  I looked at my little boy, and kissed his head and was in another world of happiness and joy, as if the whole world stopped spinning and just focused on my wee little son.
   I heard my husband talking. "Come and meet your little brother. He just came out of Mommy's tummy!"

 I looked up to see my three girls come in the room still dressed in their Sunday dresses from the day before. They were in a sluggish awakened state, blinking at their new little brother in my arms, as if they couldn't believe this was real and they weren't still dreaming. They had waited for so long to meet him that now it was surreal! 
   I was still in the birth pool waiting for my placenta to come out, we were both wet. Jasmine reached out and touched his head, Evie gaped and stared but didn't touch. Colleen yawned, uninterested and climbed up on to the couch and snuggled in the couch pillows.
   We moved to my bed and then the placenta was out and I was officially unpregnant and blissfully happy! 
   We all took bets on his weight. I had said all along I wanted a 10lb 3oz baby to beat my friend Heather's record of a 10lb 2oz baby! Everybody looked at my big boy and agreed he was definately a ten pounder, Ann said he was closer to 11lbs! I was just all smiles and proud of my big boy who I worried about for 9 months, and now there he was, fat, soft and perfect! God is so good!

  He was 10lbs 11oz!!!! I looked at my sweet little big boy, spilling out of his newborn outfit and saw a glimpse of heaven! I already loved him so much!  
   I'm so thankful for my birth team, my husband who never ceases to amaze me and my God who granted me even the desires of my heart. 
    I have had two very different hospital births, one birth center birth and one home birth, I loved my home birth and can not believe that it took me four births to finally discover the awesomeness of staying home!!
                             My Wonderful birth team. The only one missing is Dr Taylor. 
                                                This is my Mom. I love her so much!

  Titus, how many ways can I tell you how you have completed our little family, how we love you, are crazy about you and thank God for you!! You're one special little baby boy, and you couldn't be loved more!!
  "...I cease not to give thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers:....' ....for you are fearfully and wonderfully made.'

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