Friday, May 25, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday Jonah!!!

Dear Jonah,

  It's been the most amazing first year with you.  You are a breath of fresh air, my little star shine. You have such a brightness about you, everyone can see it.  You have hardly ever cry or fuss. You are always smiling and happy and just the sweetest little boy I know.  Super smart!!! You know probably 20 new words with your first being baseball and your second being hotdog! :-D You have been a real joy to us all and I love you more than words can say.

In honor of your special day, I am going to share your story of how you can to us for the first time ever.  It was one of the best days of my life.

I love you little buddy!  I can't wait to spend many more years with you.  I am blessed to have been the one chosen to be your Mama!!

(There are some of his birth pictures in here! He was 6 days old when I wrote this)
The Birth of Jonah Andrew Dawson

I have sat down three times now to start this story, but I am always at a loss as to where to start. Jonah's story doesn't just start the day he was born, but the day he was placed in my womb.

We had just planned to move to Lexington, Ky and I knew my help was going to be badly needed because we pretty much had to do it on our own. Of course I wanted another baby, but I knew it just wasn't a good idea to get pregnant before we moved. We tried NFP methods and even though they haven't really worked for us before in the past, we thought this time it might and were even more careful. In other words, I am still shocked to this day that I've got a beautiful new baby sleeping in my bed! It was in the plans for him to be here since the beginning of time and it was made very clear to me that there was a plan for Jonah's life. We were of course thrilled! A little worried about how all of this was going to come together, but still thrilled.

                            (Our home was the second door. See how close we were to everyone!)
So we made the big move. It wasn't easy. I had been a country girl all my life and we were moving into a townhouse/apartment right smack in the middle of the city. We adjusted and were just happy to be together and to finally be able to make ends meet. I didn't like the townhouse very much though. It was 3 stories high and had so many stairs. My legs took on a nice shape, but it was hard to lug my hugely pregnant self up those stairs all through out the day. I remember one time when I was nearing 30 weeks Liam fell asleep in the van and I had to carry his 45 lb frame to his bed on the top floor. It was then I started hinting around that we needed to move!
Pregnancy went on great. I had sickness off and on, but that's pretty normal for me. I felt good and was able to keep up with the children and take them on all their activities and not feel too run down. I love being pregnant, so even though it has its ups and downs, I always really enjoy it. This one was extra fun because the children really got into it. They were just as excited as I was to feel the baby kick! They also started to be very helpful. On time I had them stuff pillows up their shirts and told them to each bend over and pick up a few toys. It dawned on them how hard it was on me, and after that I rarely had to do much bending and picking up.

In March I had reached the point where I had enough of those stairs. Ryan finally agreed it was time to move. It was warming up and there was no place what so ever for the children to play outside. There was too much traffic and it just wasn't safe to let them out alone. They were getting cabin fever, every one was starting to feel like we lived on top of each other (the townhouse was 1600 sq ft but seemed smaller because of the strange layout), and we were all just done. So I actively started looking for a home. We looked at a bunch of houses. There were a couple we liked, and we went to file the paperwork and we were always a day late because someone right in front of us wanted the house and got it. I finally find this amazing house in Craigslist.  It was better than any of the others, within our price range, and close to Ryan's job. I didn't even wait for Ryan to see the listing. I called the owner and set up a time to see it. The man had just listed the house and there were many others interested. To make a long story short, we got the house and even though I was over 30 weeks pregnant, we made the move and settled as best as we could before the baby came! :)
                                                                   (Our new home!!)
I put a lot of thought into choosing a midwife this time. I needed someone mainly to help me with breastfeeding. It has broke my heart every single time I had to supplement, even though I did the very best I could and made sure the supplement was the most healthy I could get. I still wanted to be able to nurse my baby. I also wanted someone who would come out when I needed her there, not just when labor was active. It was also important to me that this person would click with my children. There were 4 of them, and they are so very different from other children. Mine like to be super hands on, they ask an above normal amount of questions and are really into birthing and babies! So this someone had to be use to little ones. I knew Karen was the one the first time I talked to her on the phone. We just really hit it off! She is amazing! Even my little Jemima, who is very shy with others out side of the family, quickly made the best of friends with her, was usually waiting for her at the door for every visit and made sure she got to sit on her lap and help with the doppler. If she couldn't give Karen a hug at the end of our visit, you would have thought this little girl's world was ending. :)

On Friday May 20th (which also happened to be my due date!) I got some bad news that got me a little stressed out and I spent most of that day worried and afraid. That night I had a really bad dream and got even more stressed out. It was then that I am pretty sure my little baby went breech I had a feeling he was the wrong way when I woke up Saturday morning, but I didn't want to worry anyone and I figured he would probably flip back anyway. Karen came out Monday May 23rd and confirmed that yes, baby was breech. I then actively do everything in my power to make him flip. I saw the chiropractor twice, laid upside down on an ironing board, used this Japanese smoke stick (I STILL can't remember what it was called!) that I had to set near my little toe, got on all 4's and rocked, tried placing frozen peas where the baby's head was, used a flash light... I tried it all. I did this all afternoon Monday and then started Tuesday morning, took a break when we went to dance class and then picked right back up and once again tried to flip the baby. I called Karen and twisted her arm into coming out and turning the baby. I was really convincing and I talked her into coming out and trying. Jemima kept saying that “tomorrow my brother comes out!” and I just had this feeling she was right. I knew turning the baby was the last thing to try and I really wanted to at least try! :) Well, it WORKED! It was one of the most amazing things I had ever been through. After we got baby to flip I sat on the birthing ball and rocked for a few hours trying to get his head to engage. Then I went to bed and had the best night of sleep that I have had in a very long time. I don't think I even woke up to go to the bathroom. I do remember Jemima coming in at one point and I let her nurse. I had her night weaned, but for some reason I let her nurse and then we fell asleep in each others arms. I guess we both knew that was our last night as her being the baby.

I woke up on Wednesday May 25th at about 6 am to a very strong contraction. I didn't think too much of it because I had been having BH contractions just as strong off and on for a couple weeks. I go to the bathroom and on my way out have another just as strong and I had to stop walking as I was having it. I walk to my bedroom window and just look out at the morning and then am floored with another contraction. I then get the clock and time them just to see and with in 5 minutes I had another one! I then wake Ryan and tell him I think I might be in labor, and that I am going down stairs and will be back in a little bit.

I go downstairs and blog about flipping the baby, having nice contractions as I am typing. I knew I was in labor, but I had to blog about what had happened the night before while it was fresh on my mind. I knew that once I gave birth I would probably forget most of the details of it, and I wanted to remember it forever! After I had finished the kids came down and wanted breakfast, so I fed them, and went to the bathroom had a “show!” That is my sign that yes, I am indeed in labor! So I go back upstairs and really wake Ryan up, then I tell the kids. The excitement was so high in my house you could probably feel happy energy before even making it past the front door. They were all ready to meet their baby brother.

I had a feeling that this birth was going to be very much unlike any of my other births from the day I found out that there was a baby growing in my womb. I didn't know details, but I knew it was going to be different. I accepted that. My main goal was a healthy baby, and for me to be healthy. I love birth! It doesn't matter what way, it's all amazing. I love giving birth. I see women in labor and I can truly say I would love to take their place if I could. Yeah, it hurts a little, but it's awesome! So I was very excited too.

I call Karen and she decides to come out right away just in case baby flipped back to being breech. I then call my Mom. She starts to panic because my dad hit a deer two days before totally killing her van and she was stranded a hour and a half away from me. I also call my dear friend Jamie and let her know. I wanted her here for support not only for me, but just in case Jemima got a little scared or in the way. Jemima doesn't trust just anyone and Jamie is one of her favorite people.

I am checked right away just to make sure we feel a head. At this point I was just enjoying laboring. It was not at all painful, but progress was being made with each contraction and that was very empowering. I am very comfortable laboring, it makes me that much more glad to be a women! I am at a 3 cm, but I can easily be stretched to a 6. Baby is still too high and we still weren't 100% sure if that was a head or a bottom. So I labor some more for another hour. It would be easier to tell once I was more dilated.

The birth team gets here. I wish there were words to explain the way the energy felt in my home! It was so peaceful. Everyone was there just for me! Jamie took my children outside to play, the other ladies went upstairs to set up, my midwife went for breakfast, and Ryan and I got to spend a little time just working through contractions together. It was beautiful. I then joined the children outside and walked around enjoying the morning.
After about an hour and a half later we go back to my room to be checked again. It was all set up and ready for me to give birth in. It was such a peaceful setting, any baby would be so lucky to be born there. I knew the second I saw it, that this baby would not be born there. So when I was checked, I knew I was at a 6 cm, everything was soft and my body was making itself ready (and quickly!), that a head would not be felt but a bottom. I was ready for it, I was at peace with it. So when Karen checked and then looked up at me to tell me I said “it's a bottom, isn't it?” And she had to tell me that yes, it was. I think she was more upset than I was. :) I said “well, let's go then!”

Ryan and I are left alone for a moment, but my choice had already been made. We had two options. Go to Stanford, Kentucky, about an hour and a half away and refuse a c section and try to deliver vaginally.. The doctor there has done many breech births, the hospital doesn't allow them now, but he will do them if you refuse a c section. Or, go to Frankfort, Ky, about 45 minutes away. They are very welcoming of homebirth transfers, but this means a c section.

What I knew, baby's bottom was not engaged and without an ultrasound I wouldn't know what type of breech he was. There is only one type I would consider, frank breech, which is bottom down, legs up. Any other type is dangerous. The cord could prolapse and once that happens you have seconds to get the baby out or he will be cut off of oxygen. And even then, I would have to get a sure sign from God that yes, I can do this and this is safe. I was getting major red flags, and then I got a loud solid NO. You've seen God talk to people in movies. With a loud booming voice. It was like I heard that in the flesh. NO, DON'T TRY IT! You know you've made the right choice when you are at total peace and not at all afraid. I was able to calmly tell Ryan that we needed to head to Frankfort. We then mad a mad dash to quickly pack a bag.

I was given herbs to help stall contractions. I had already got in the mind set to not let myself progress any farther, but these sure helped! I then have to tell my children. This was the hardest part. They were so brave. I told them that the baby flipped back to being breech and that I had to go in for a c section. Not a single one broke down, they were scared and sad, but they put on their best poker faces and kissed me goodbye. I then had to go back into the kitchen for my shoes and I see Kathryn at the kitchen table head down crying her eyes out, her heart was truly breaking. I go to her and she says “I'm sorry mama, I didn't want you to see me scared” and I hugged her and told her I promised I was going to be okay. Daddy would call as soon as the baby was born and she would see both of us soon. I was able to calm her before I left. My birthing team stayed behind to watch the kids. These are amazing women! I don't know what we would have done without them because my mom was still stranded. I will forever be greatful for Jamie, Amy, and Sierra for standing in and watching them with no notice and no telling for how long. They even cleaned my house and from what I heard, all of my children had a great time! (Thank you ladies from the bottom of my heart!!!)

Ryan made good use of time driving. I bet he turned a 45 minute drive into a 25 minute one. I thought for sure we were going to be pulled over! :) It was a very calm ride. We just chatted the whole way there. It was just like any other drive, you'd have never guessed we were heading in to have a unplanned c section! Contractions picked back up hard as soon as we pulled into the parking lot.

Karen met us there and we walked up to labor and delivery while Ryan parked the van. I had to stop twice for contractions, but I made it walking. Everything went so fast from here on out! I was sent to a room, paperwork was quickly drawn out, an ultrasound machine brought in along with the doctor. On the off chance we were wrong, if Jonah was head down, we were going to hightail it out of there and go birth at home like planned. But I knew he wasn't and I was there for awhile. :) It was kind of humorious to see a bottom on the ultrasound screen in the place of a head. The doctor checked to make sure he was not stressed and he wasn't. They usually make people wait 6 hours before they do a c section after going in, we didn't have 6 hours, we didn't have 2! Jonah wanted out, and my body was ready to get him out. The doctor left to get ready and I finished signing paperwork. I had contractions at this point very timely and they were starting to really last long. They didn't hurt, but I knew more progress was being made and I had to fight against my own body to MAKE them stop. This was a hard battle.

(Ryan and Karen... haha you're both going to kill me now... HUH?)
Less than an hour later I paged the nurse “Nurse, you better tell the doctor to get me into surgery NOW or this baby will be born vaganilly! He's coming fast!” For the first time in my life a doctor listened to me! Gray walks in, bless his heart. He was in his 60ies, reminded me of Ryan with his silly humor, and he was there to give me my spinal. I will never forget this man as long as I live! If I had any thing to be nervous about before he walked in, it was gone just a few minutes after meeting him. We joked and laughed while he put the spinal in, he said he was painting my back up before putting the needle in and I told him to make sure it was pretty and he said “of course sweetheart, I'll make sure this is the best I ever did!”
The poor nurses didn't know what to make of me at first. The hospital birthing world isn't ready for a birth junkie such as myself!! They could not believe I was able to have a normal converscation, have a contraction, and go right back to where I was almost as if the contraction didn't happen. I was also truly enjoying myself. No, this wasn't the birth I had planned, but by golly this was going to be fun too! The nurse that wheeled me into surgery said “I like you, you're the most fun I've had as a labor and delivery nurse!” She said she wished she could have seen my homebirths. :) We chat for a few minutes and she asks if it's okay if she puts on some music. There was excitement in this room!!! It was very light and joyful. Yes, of course, music! A new baby is being born TODAY, this calls for reason to celebrate. I then comment to another nurse who had just met me for the first time after having a huge contraction “I sure hope the doctor gets in here soon, I bet I'm 9 cm!” She didn't believe me!!!

The spinal wasn't fun. It didn't hurt, but it was strange. I could feel the liquid going into my back and it felt like a stream of cold going to each leg. They went numb and I kept testing to see if I could lift them. Then I lost all feeling to my legs and felt the liquid go to my hips, and then lower back. They made sure I couldn't feel pain before starting the incision. I felt it! It didn't hurt at all, but I felt the cutting.

Ryan and Karen came in shortly after they started and Karen took some amazing pictures. I asked to watch, but it's against hospital pollicy (which I still thinks stinks!) I thought since I had to be cut open I should at least be able to watch, but it wasn't going to happen. However, I have the pictures and it gave a great idea of what it looked like.

I then smell this awful stink and asked what it was and no one answered. I then say quiet loudly “it smells like blood and flesh burning!!!” Ryan grins at me “You're right! They have to burn where they cut so you don't bleed to death.” I remember thinking “Wow! That's pretty smart!”

They took their time cutting me open, they knew I wanted a VBAC, should I ever be blessed with another child, so they made sure it was a perfectly even cut. It probably seemed longer to me that it really was.

I hear the doctor gasp “Oh no!! I just cut the baby.” I try to remain calm thinking I heard her wrong but then I hear the other doctor say “oh it's only a paper cut nick, it's not even bleeding!” I didn't worry about it, I knew he was fine deep in my heart.

I feel a gush when they hit the bag of waters and someone says “MICIONIUM!” This is not something that is really worried about at home. This does happen and it's rarely a problem. They seemed to get a bit hyper at this point.

                                                        (Most amazing picture ever!!)

Finally I feel some tugging and then pop, Jonah is born at 1:17 pm! Just like my other babies, he comes out looking around and not crying, and then he's made to cry and lets out a nice husky cry. He was born a perfect pink color.

Then the doctors do the one and only thing I still complain about. They see a lot of micionium and act without really thinking it through and cut his cord. He then goes from a beautiful healthy pink with an Apgar of 8 to a gray color. His cries then turn to gasps and he starts grunting for air. They cut off the oxigin I was giving to him through my placenta! They suctioned him hard because he did swallow a lot of the micionium.

This was also the reason he turned breech. From what the doctors could tell, he had been sitting in it for nearly a week. His finger nails and toe nails were stained green (and were green for nearly 2 weeks) as was his cord. For about 3 days his ears drained nasty green goo. The NICU doctor said it was a good thing I went through most of labor because my utrus contracting helped squeeze a lot of it out of his air ways.

They brought him to me for less than a minute before taking him to the nursery. I could tell he needed the O2 so I made it quick. I kissed his little cheek, his hands, told him how much I loved him. He opened his eyes and looked at me as if to say “I know!” :) I told him to go relax and learn to breath so I could hold him and I let them take him on. I knew the longer I looked at him there, the longer it would be before they brought him to me.

           (This one will forever warm my heart. I will never forget this very moment for as long as I live!)

He was in the normal nursery and Ryan was able to go see him as often as he wanted, but he was under the watchful eye of the NICU doctor the whole time and even put on oxygen. I had to spend 4 hours away from him and that was rough!

They had to really clean me out because there was micionium everywhere. This was the worst part by far. I was warned that right before they sewed me shut it was going to feel like someone was standing on my chest. Gray said if it was too much he could “knock me out” like he does the others, but I wanted to stay awake. It felt worse than someone standing on my chest. My heart was on fire! I thought I was having a heart attack! I was able to turn my head and see my sats and everything was perfect and Gray said this was a normal feeling. I didn't believe him at first, but Karen was there and promised I was fine. At this point Ryan had left with Jonah and Karen stayed with me. I am so glad she was there, he would have probably put me out if it wasn't for her. I really thought I was going to die it hurt so bad. I then inform him I am going to puke and he said he had something to stop that and he stuck an Alcohol prep pad right in front of my nose. To me, that is the worst smell on the planet second to bleach and, even not in labor, it makes me sick. I try to tell him this and start saying to take it away and he's like “relax, it will help you” and then Karen tells him to take it away and he still doesn't listen. I start to puke and he finally listens and throws that prep pad in the trash. They had to stop stitching me up while I was puking, so it took them awhile. I have to say, they did a great job, you can hardly see my scar!

After they finish stitching me the doctor says “you're good for a VBAC! Everything went perfectly, and you should have no problems what so ever. I am so sorry, but I did accidently nick your baby's bottom. He might have a scar, but it's nothing serious, it wasn't even bleeding. I am so sorry!” She then tears up and I thought she was going to cry. I was not at all upset and that made her feel better. She then says “You know, you were at 9 cm when we started the c section!” I was so happy the nurse that didn't believe me was there to hear that. :-D

I am then wheeled into recovery. I thought they were going to bring me the baby, but he wasn't healthy enough yet so I just sat there and chatted with the nurse and Karen (Ryan was still with Jonah). I finally get wheeled out and there is my Mom! Dad drove her in his beat up farm truck (that is not road worthy at all!) because she had to see with her own eyes that I was okay. My poor mama! It was like God took every fear that could have been in my heart and gave it to her so I wouldn't have to bare it. She was very relieved to see me spunky as ever. And she got to see her adorable grandson through the nursery windows. They only stayed a short time because Mom had to get home to her 4 kids. I was so worried about them driving in that truck!

Karen leaves for a bit to get her things from my house and grab Ryan and herself some dinner and I rest while Ryan visits Jonah. The kids were called and were then taken to Jamie's house to spend the afternoon there till Ryan could get them. I wanted them right away, but Ryan wanted to wait till I had Jonah and got him nursing before we brought them in. So I have to wait. I get a little upset at this point because I want my kids! So I rest.

Finally the nurse walks in with my beautiful baby boy and warns me that he is doing great, but if he starts to breath heavy or change color to page her. She also insists that no one else holds him but me (fine by me!) and to hold him skin to skin, which is what I was going to do anyway, and she places him in my arms. Heaven on earth in a little hospital room in Frankfort, Kentucky! His skin is still silky soft and new, they had only wiped him down and he hadn't had a bath. He had that brand new smell. I put him under my gown with his skin touching mine and I just watch him sleep. I am once again amazed by how beautiful he is! Finally I get to meet my little baby. It is love at first sight.

 He wakes up and nurses like he has been doing it all his life and falls back to sleep. Never once did he had any trouble breathing after that. I let Karen hold him for a few minutes, and Ryan too. Then took him back and just held him. It was like my first baby all over again (it was the same with my others!), I couldn't take my eyes off of him.  I only set him down when I went to the bathroom or when he had to get his check ups at the nursery. Other than that, we were snuggling skin to skin. I got my babymoon and it started in the hospital. The staff was wonderful! They left me alone to bond. And when my big kids were brought in that night, the nurses made sure not to come in till they left. Each child got to hold him and give him kisses and we all got to spend about 30 minutes together before Ryan took them home. They all adored him.

I spent only 2 days in the hospital. I did so much better than they thought and they let me go! I was so glad, I wanted to be home with my children. I missed them like crazy! I got better treatment at home. There was always someone willing to bring me a meal, bring me a glass of water, change a new baby's diaper, snuggle me and the baby, snuggle the baby while I got a shower, just bonding.

Birth is amazing! Even though it sometimes it doesn't go the way you planned. Jonah's birth is probably my second favorite out of all 5, because even thought I had to have a c section it was still a very empowering experience. I knew he needed help being born. I was given a sure sign from our wonderful and loving Creator that this one had to be born differently. I could very well have birthed him vagionaly, many women birth breech and turn out just fine. But with this micionium swallow it would have made the risk so much higher. And we had no way of knowing that till the bag of waters burst. I was just told NOT to try it and I trusted that God was leading me to do the right thing, the best thing for this baby. He knew Jonah had swallowed micionium, our sign was that he kept flipping breech. I am so thankful God gave me the answers and then filled me with such piece that I didn't have any doubt that I was doing the right thing. I am just so blessed to have been given a 5th baby, I don't even care about the scar. :)

How we came up with the name: This one was tricky! We kept going back and forth on the first name. Ryan wanted something different, but I just knew this baby was suppose to be named Jonah! I also wanted to name him after my Great Grandpa, John Andrew, but there are already a few John's in the family. I figured Jonah was close enough. I wanted to give him Andrew too, after my Grandmother's brother. There hadn't been a baby boy named after him yet, and even though I don't see my Uncle Andrew often, he still is someone I think about often and love dearly. I knew he would be tickled to have a great great nephew named after him too! :)

I know you all will ask (or at least wonder!) and if I didn't make it clear when I was talking about a VBAC I will make it clear now. YES, I do want another baby, if God sees it fitting to bless me a 6th time! In the past I said I'd leave it in His hands, and I will still do that, but this time I really REALLY want another! Maybe that is why so many have more after having 5, if you can handle 5, what is one more? :) I want more! There is so much love in my home, and it's not the house that makes it, but the people inside. These people are my safe place, my loves. I want to add to that! Life just shines because of them. How could I not add to that?