Life can change in just an instance. Like in that moment a precious baby is born into this world…
Our lives changed forever on September 30, 2013, when we welcomed our second son into our family– Elias Michael Anyan!
If you know me well enough, you know that I love hearing birth stories and am fascinated with the amazing miracle of birth… but I will try to keep it short and spare you all the graphic details for now :). So here is the short version of Elias’s long-awaited arrival:
“You’re still here?!?”
“I’m praying that I won’t see you in class tomorrow!”
“You’re how much overdue?!?”
Such comments were plentiful throughout my “due date week” in school, and I did truly appreciate all of my fellow students praying for us and asking us about the baby in a loving, I-hope-your-baby-comes-soon kind of way :)! My official due date was September 24th, but due to the ultrasound and my small measurements throughout the pregnancy, I really wasn’t expecting our baby to arrive “on time”, which made being “overdue” much easier. Still, John and I were getting more and more excited with each passing day, knowing our baby boy won’t stay in the womb forever. It still seemed so surreal that we would be welcoming another baby into our family so soon!
After a weekend of on-and-off contractions (sometimes regular, sometimes painful, but never consistent enough), I figured that “the day” would be coming soon. AND my mom, who must be some sort of prophetess, predicted the birth date to be September 30. She had been right with Judah, and she was about to be right again with Elias.
On Monday, I went through classes having quite regular contractions about 5 to 10 minutes apart. They slowed down when I walked around though, so I still wasn’t getting myself too hopeful. After class, contractions continued and actually didn’t stop when I changed activities, so we thought it’d be best for John to take the day off work and for us to finish packing our bag. I still was hesitant to go because I didn’t want to spend over an hour in the car to get to birth center and then realize I wasn’t really in labor, but around 4:30 PM, my contractions got to 3-5 minutes apart and fairly uncomfortable, and I knew it was definitely time to go! So we dropped off Judah with our neighbors, picked up our doula, and were on the road.
In the car, my contractions were about 2-3 minutes apart and got pretty painful. Being on bumpy roads certainly didn’t help much, but overall, the car ride wasn’t as uncomfortable as expected. We got to the birth center a little after 6 PM, and for the next couple of hours, I labored mainly on the birth ball with my wonderful support team around me:
1. My husband and greatest cheerleader >>> his job: hold my hand, talk to me, put cold rags on my forehead, read to me (the first psalm he picked started with “I am afflicted and in pain…” Ha…ha), give me sips of Gatorade, and not leave my side
2. My wonderful doula Rachel (I don’t have a picture of her because she took all the pictures, but check her out on Facebook: J.Lily Birth) >>> her job: back massages during contractions (which really helped with back labor), hold a heating pad against my back for hours, remind me to breathe and relax, make sure I was taken care of, and take pictures
3. My dear friend Emily >>> her job: supply all of us with Reese’s Pieces/Starburst/grapes/Sprite, be the back-up doula, and cry a lot 🙂
4. My very experienced midwife Susan >>> her job: do her famous hip squeeze, break my water, and catch the baby!
Thanks to my support team, labor went very smoothly and at one time almost seemed too easy to be real labor. Right after I said that to my midwife, the contractions got more intense and I was very much reassured that it really was real labor :).
Once transition hit, I labored in the bath tub (where Elias also was born), and to sum up the next half hour of transition and the half hour of pushing that followed, let me quote my dear sister-in-law Jackie, who had her baby only 4 nights later: “Man, that hurt. A lot.”
But alas, the bliss and emotional high of holding my newborn baby in my arms after so much pain… PRICELESS.
Everything went so smoothly and we are so very, very, very grateful for a beautiful birth experience and for being blessed with another new life.
Thank you to everyone who prayed for us, thought of us, wrote to us, brought us meals, and rejoiced with us. I’m especially thankful for the amazingly supportive MTC community around us, who have been taking such good care of us while we’re far away from home and family.
Some pictures of Elias’s first week of life: