I decided to stay up late and get Maia's pregnacy and birth story written. Here it is!
Written 10/08/2008 12:25 AM - 2:38 AM
"For You created my inmost being. You knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:13, 14
It is fitting that in the wee hours of the 10th birthday of my first child, I should choose to write down what I remember of the birth of my last child. Maia, you are our sixth child. One went early to be with Jesus, so early that there was no sign of him or her by the time we lost her at 12 weeks along. With your birth at 7:45 pm on Saturday, August 30th, we felt the circle of our family was complete.
You are a sweet gift to our family. It is appropriate that we confirmed on Christmas Eve that you were growing inside of me. I used a dollar store test, and found it showed a positive faint line. Of course, daddy and I believed that it might not be accurate, so I went to Safeway to get another fancier one. I couldn't wait to do it, and stopped in at Josie's house. She is my dear friend and daddy's cousin. You will call her Auntie Josie. It was again a postitive test! I called dad to tell him the great news, and he was so happy, but a little sad that I hadn't brought the test home to do with him right there.
I knew that I wanted Charlotte Geddis to be the midwife to help you into the world, and made an appointment with her to confirm the pregnancy. She had helped your cousins Corbin and Sienna, and your sister Saraiah to be born, and all of those births were beautiful, unforgettable experiences. On January 17, 2008, we had yet another positive pregnancy test at Charlotte's house, the very place your big sister Saraiah was born! She was born fast, once the labor decided to advance, and Charlotte had to run into the room to catch her. Based on my last period, we figured that your due date was somewhere between September 3rd and 12th. We thought it would be closer to the earlier date because Saraiah had come 2 weeks early, and I have intense contractions early on towards the end of the pregnancy. We were excited about you, and decided it would be fun to try to see whether you were a boy or a girl, so that I could decide which clothes to save for you. You were to be the tie breaker, since we had 3 boys and 3 girls in our family. When we had the ultrasound at about 20 weeks, the technician told us you were a girl! The girls won! I commented to dad that we'd have a lot of weddings, and when it came time for periods at our house, there would be a lot of emotional women around! How funny that before you were even born, I thought about you growing up! The funnier thing about your ultrasound was that when we read the report we were sent home with, it stated that you were male! The technician had checked the wrong box! I called to confirm that you were indeed a girl, and they went over the video of the ultrasound and said it was true! I laughed, though, whenever people asked what we were having, because I really didn't feel I could be sure until I met you. I had a friend who had been surprised that year by a boy when she was told she was having a girl!
My pregnancy with you went very well and with minimal hardship. I was still nursing Saraiah at the time, and whenever she would nurse, I could feel my uterus contract. I was very early along, and didn't want to risk losing you, so it was time for Saraiah to be done. She still slept cuddled in our bed until the last months of the pregnancy, so she got to enjoy her last little bit as the baby of the family. I suppose my main problem during the pregnancy revolved around problems that weren't there. You'll come to know that I sometimes worry too much, and I did that a lot when I was pregnant with you. I was concerned that I would miscarry you because I felt queasy in the early months, as I had been only when we lost our other baby. I thought about your birth and afraid I would lose you because an acquaintance at church had lost her baby the day I had my first appointment with Charlotte. I was afraid there would be complications in your birth because Josie's twins, Barrett and Liam had come into the world being baked alive by the fever she had, and she had nearly died from later complications. Fear seized me, and I had to daily give it up to God. I loved you so dearly from the moment I knew of you, that I was afraid to ever be parted from you. I slowly came to the understanding that God had a plan for your life, and it would be a blessing, no matter how it progressed. I made up my mind to love you while you were inside and to cherish that time, remembering that we were planning for you to be my last pregnancy. I had some varicose veins that got bigger in my legs, but that was about the only other discomfort I had. Your pregnancy was wonderful.
I began to think of names for you before I knew if you were a boy or a girl. Auntie Emma and I sat in church one day, and I noticed the book Malachi in the Bible, I pointed out that name to her, and thought that if it was a boy, we would have him be named Malachi Stephen, with his middle name being the same as my dad's. We soon found out that you were a girl, and we decided it would be fun to let you share grandma Marcia's middle name, Jo. Because Marcia went so well with Jo, I thought it would be fun for your name to start with M. Dad was supposed to name you, but couldn't think of anything, so he passed the naming rights on to me. I wrote to my aunts and cousins, friends and more family, asking for M names. I liked the names Maile and Miriam, and Maya. Then I saw a television show called "The 4400," where a girl had the name Maia. It was like the name Maya, and so I asked dad if he liked the name Maia Jo. He did. The meanings are sweet. Maia is from the Greek and means "Great Mother." Jo is short for Josephine, meaning "Jehovah Increases." You made me feel fulfulled as a mother, and that my nest was full, so I feel it's very appropriate. Perhaps it means too that you'll be a very nurturing type of person.
About halfway through your pregnancy, I started to seriously consider home birth. I know dad was a little fearful of it, and I had been too. However, Saraiah had been born at Charlotte's house, which was actually a little further from a hospital than ours. I felt that Charlotte was more than competent to deal with an emergency, having aided in thousands of births. We were also close to a fire station and the Interstate if we needed to get you more help fast. I was careful in how I approached the subject with dad, because it was such a sensitive one. I reminded him that I had gone along with some of his plans that I didn't totally agree with, and asked if he would do the same for me. He said yes! He was actually happy that we'd be able to stay home, and that he'd have the chance to maybe go take a breather in his office for a little bit during the birth when he needed.
We planned to have all of my favorite people at the birth: Aunt Josie as doula; Auntie Emma, also as a doula; Daddy, of course; big Sister Eva who felt she could handle it; Grandma Marcia, as long as she could make it from Hawaii; Charlotte and her assistants; and Miss Wendy, one of mom's best friends who had never been at a birth herself. I had very much enjoyed having a "helper for each limb" during contractions with Saraiah's birth, and decided it would be great to have such a large support group.
Throughout the pregnancy, people remarked that I looked very small. In fact, some people never knew I had been pregnant until I met you. Because Saraiah had been so early though, I began watching for you 2 weeks before September 3. I really only wanted you to come a week early, because that's when Grandma Marcia would arrive. She came, and the days passed. I got lots of contractions...false alarms. This happened five times before they finally kicked over into real labor the sixth time. As you'll probably know by the time you read this, what gets the baby in often helps get the baby out. We had caused the contractions, but you wouldn't make your debut until your body and mine both knew you were ready. I had a lot of anxiety in the days leading up to your birth. Your dad had dealt a lot with anxiety in the previous year, and it was the first time I really understood how he felt. This was a gift to me, to be able to really understand his pain, though the anxiety was so scary. My heart raced each night, and I didn't understand why. Sometimes it happened during my false labor. It even woke me up once. I decided to write out all the verses from the Bible that I knew about worry and anxiety, and reading those over and over really helped. One time Grandma Marcia, Uncle Danny and Aunty Emma came over and played scrabble with me while i had the false labor, and it helped keep the anxiety at bay. With the help of God, I had no anxiety when my labor begun on the day you were born.
On the morning of Saturday, August 30, I started to have contractions. It was 9:30, and they were pretty intense. I thought they would go away though, because they had the 5 other times. Grandma Marcia and Grandpa Steve were supposed to go to Deception Pass with great grandpa Don and his wife Fran, who had driven out from Indiana. At first I thought they should go, but by about an hour later, I called grandma up and asked her to stay closer. They all decided to stay home. I had felt like a "watched pot" over the past week, because I kept having so many false labors. I hoped that this wasn't another one, especially since they had to miss their special trip. I know now that they were content just to get to visit with one another, as it had been a long time since the last time they had seen each other. Daddy knows how I get when I am in labor. I always think I am not in labor, but he knows differently. He told me to call my support team, and i hemmed and hawed. Finally I let grandma Marcia know to come on over, as well as Josie and Wendy. I told them they might just be coming to hang out. They thought that was fine. Both Josie and Wendy had built in childcare, as it was Saturday, so they didn't care. Everyone puttered around, cleaning my house with me. We even pinned diapers together that I was working on sewing. We sent Isaac, Levi and Saraiah to grandma Diane and Grandpa Rod's house. Somehow, in my pregnant forgetfulness, I had forgotten to give them their copy of the birth plan, though we had discussed that they would watch the kids while you were born. I was surprised to find that Grandma Diane didn't have a clue that we were planning to have you at home! She and grandpa drove by me and my "entourage" were walking to get contractions going. She asked "aren't you going to the midwife yet?" She knew I had fast births. She was shocked to hear that we weren't going anywhere! I felt so badly that I hadn't told her. I thought I had!
Then we let Amy, my friend and Charlotte's assistant, know what was going on. She had a 2 day check to do in Snohomish, and we were trying to decide whether she should come over to strip my membranes (which is a way of encouraging labor) or not. We decided it was best we have her come afterwards, in case I really got going fast. Aunty Emma finished up work and came on over. Everything was so well orchestrated, it seemed to good to be true. I see now that it was God's great timing!
We went on more walks to encourage the labor, because it was slowing down when I'd sit. Eva and Grandma Marcia kept track of contractions, with eva drawing funny illustrations on the paper. You can see the paper in your baby book. We used Saraiah's way of talking about things, and designated contractions "mommy ones," "daddy ones, "baby ones" or "new ones." Auntie Josie chanted "Walk it out" to help me walk out contractions in a funny way. I guess they say this on the TV show "Dancing with the stars" when people get eliminated. Wendy sang pretty songs. Everyone held me alternatingly during contractions. Contractions were very intense on walks, so much so that Josie encouraged Charlotte to come and check how dilated I was. We had done three walks by now. Charlotte came at about 4:00 and checked me. I was the same i had been a week before-- 2 1/2 cm! Oh dear. I was ready to give up, because i didn't want you to be born if you weren't ready. However, I told myself it was going to be the last time I would put myself through the physical and emotional work of trying to keep labor going if it wasn't real. I told everyone that if nothing happened after my membranes were stripped and we went walking for an hour, I would be done, and i would go to bed. I was very tired and getting a little grouchy. Charlotte told me that sometimes we can torture ourselves keeping labor going when it's not ready to happen.
So Heather, Charlotte's assistant and Amy's friend, stripped my membranes and we went on one last walk. This went from 4:48 to 5:28 pm. The contractions were two and three minutes apart and varied between 30 seconds to almost a minute in length. I knew that when contractions get longer, stronger and closer together, that it is true labor. But I would not believe it. When we got back, i asked Heather to check me again, but contractions were so intense it took a long time for me to get to the bed to be checked! When I finally go there, she checked me, and smiled at me, saying that I was a 5 and could stretch to much more. She told me "You're going to have a baby today!" I started to cry, because I truly hadn't believed it would happen. I still refused to totally believe until Charlotte came and told me herself. I knew she was more stingy in her measurements than other midwives. Things were getting a lot more intense, and someone must have called Charlotte. I noticed at 6:24 pm that it felt like "real" contractions. I was finally admitting to myself that you were about to be born!
Charlotte arrived at 6:55 and she and her assistants were unpacking everything! There was an oxygen tank and the bed was made with a plastic shower curtain under it. The birth kit was pulled out. All their equipment was set up! Charlotte checked me. I asked if i was in labor, and everyone laughed, and she told me I was. She said the cervix was back, but that if she pulled it forward, you'd probably come fast. I said she could, and as she did, I said that it actually felt good to have her do that. She said she had never in her life had a woman say that, because it's normally so painful. It was, but I knew it would help you to come, so it felt good to have progress. She said there was a bulging water bag, and that it was almost going to pop in her face. She asked if she could pop it, and said that you'd likely come soon after that. She popped it, and soon I was pushing and pushing. It was too intense for Eva at this point, so she went out for a little, and after three or four big pushes, your head crowned. I screamed because I could feel the burning sensation, and because I wanted to keep pushing so that you wouldn't go back in! I don't think you would have, but I kept on pushing, and Eva and Grandma came back in just as your head and hand were born. Josie yelled, "you're having a baby, Angie!" and your head came out with the cord wrapped twice around the neck and once around the hand. The cord was loose, and that's why your heartrate was great, and there had been no indication of the cord being around the neck. Your uncle danny had been hearing all of this from the other room, and he said it was so wonderful, it gave him goosebumps! The rest of your body slid out easily. We saw that you were a girl. I can't remember who cut your cord. Your cry was really healthy, and I couldn't wait to hold you. I held you skin to skin with me right away, while your cord still pulsed. You were beautiful. I loved you even more that moment because i knew you were real. A pregnancy had given way to a baby! You had been a baby all along, and I finally got to meet you. I was elated.
I kept asking everyone to check my bleeding, because I had bled a lot with Saraiah. They were all surprised at how little I bled! My placenta was relatively small, so that the wound inside me was smaller than average. Also, you took to nursing immediately, and helped shrink the uterus. I started shaking all over because the adrenaline that normally kicks into gear in labor didn't have time to kick in until afterwards. People had to hold down my legs! You were adorable and your mouth was so big when you cried. You had lots of brown hair and were so cute! You were tiny..smaller than any of your siblings had been. You were 6lbs 13 oz. I had guessed 6 1/2 lbs, so I was close. You were 19.5 inches long, your head was 14.25 inches and your chest was 12.25 inches. Charlotte said you probably were a Sept. 12 due date because of all the white vernix and the difference in size between your head and chest. Your head even looked big. Your placenta was healthy except that it had a few dead spots on it, so it was still probably good that you were born when you were. We all cried and your daddy held you. Your brothers and sisters came in to meet you, and Auntie Josie let them hold you while I went to the bathroom for the first time since you were born. She explained to Levi that I had a scratch inside me, and that he needed to take care of me so my scratch could get better. Today, at 5.5 weeks postpartum, he still prays for my healing. He used to pray for my scratch to get better, then my bleeding mostly stopped, and now he prays for my uterus to go back where it's supposed to, since it's low. He prayed for the first time for Jesus to come into his heart while we were sitting on the recliner one day with you talking about Jesus. Ever since then, he prays all the time. His demeanor seems even more peaceful. You were there when he got Jesus in his heart!
Maia, you are a blessing. We love you dearly, and you are well prayed for. Auntie Josie and Great Aunt Carla held a baby blessing shower for you, where guests each prayed for a special character attribute, or aspect of your life. I cried because it was so beautiful. You are a masterpiece and are everything I could ever have hoped. You have helped complete me as a mommy. You just smiled today one of your first real smiles. I thought, what a sweet and special thing this is, that God created you to smile, to reward me so immensely in such a simple way. I pray that you will grow wise and strong and will trust in Jesus every step of your life. Thank you God for Maia Jo Donnelson!