Monday, December 18, 2017

Part 2: Ira Bailer Ashmore

The week was a happy, summer whirlwind. My sister went to Girl's Camp so Monday we met up half way and I brought her boys home with me until Wednesday when I drove back half way and met up with Peter to give them back. The farm is more fun with a plethora of children and the boys just played nonstop while they were here. Our cousins are our besties. Tuesday Emmett didn't feel well so we took it easy in the morning. He even missed a good buddies birthday so I knew he was unwell. The usual morning chores got done around him and by afternoon he was feeling up to play so we headed over to my parent's pool to cool off and swim. It was a hot week to be pregnant. Wednesday morning, some more of our besties arrived early to hang out with us through the weekend while their parents went to Trek with our church. So Wednesday we hung out at my parents pool. Me, Adelle, all our boys, the boy cousins, and the boy friends. Lucky for her, Adelle's friend picked her up that night for a party at the waterslides. She was ready to be with another girl for a change.

Wednesday night I woke up because I was having contractions. They were about 10 minutes a part and not very intense but the fact that they woke me up, led me to believe that they were something. I tried to sleep through them and waited for them to intensify on my own while Jeff laid next to me sound asleep. They didn't progress to much but in the morning I told him that I had had contractions all night and he assured me that I needed to call my midwife, just to let her know. So I called her and told her the scenario and what was going on and she said that if they continued and if they came closer together to let her know. Jeff offered to cancel his job and stay home from work and I said absolutely not. No use all of us sitting around waiting for a baby to be born.

Thursday was cooler and it was such a breath of fresh air to not be smoldering hot. All month the kids and I have been picking blueberries first thing in the morning to fill our freezer and this morning we had lots of extra hands. I remember being out at the blueberry bushes by myself, early, before the kids came out, and nicely telling my baby to drop. For weeks I had been taking the Hypnobirthing courses and listening to the birthing tracks and aside from my big kids teasing me, I really came to realize the power of my words and thoughts and I got used to talking to my body and my baby regularly. So here I am, up with the sun, in the blueberry bushes (barefoot of course) and repeating outloud, "my baby is in the right position and descending into my pelvis." 

The kids woke up and we had a slow, relaxing morning. They found the human rubberband game and I sat out on the front porch, watching and filming them as they flung each other across the band. They were laughing and having fun and I was running through labor scenarios in my head and watching.  I came inside and made muffins for a friend who I remembered had had a birthday the week before. My contractions were still coming, and they were causing me to stop what I was doing and breath deeply, but they were few and far between so each time Jeff called to see if I was in labor I had to tell him no. I remember him asking if I thought it was happening and I answered him a straightforward, "I'll have him tomorrow."

At 3:30pm Jeff was still at his job and I had a pre-scheduled appointment with my midwife so I took all the kids over to my mom and dad's to hang out and swim while I went to my appointment. I had more contractions on the drive, nothing like I remember with my previous pregnancies. Way more intense, but definitely not the real deal. I told her the details of the day and what I had been feeling and she checked me and confirmed, to my disappointment, that I was still only dilated to a 4 but that I was 90% efaced. She said I could have the baby that night, or in a week. That there was really no telling, but that once labor started... it would go pretty quick. She could feel the baby's head in the -2 position. Things were happening!!

I left the appointment feeling disappointed that I wasn't dilated more, but confident at the progression that was happening. I had the feeling to stop by the grocery store to stock up on a few things before meeting Jeff and all the kids at my parents. I went to Ferndale, stopped by the friend's to drop off the belated birthday muffins, went to the library to return some books, and then to Haggen to grab stuff for dinner and a pineapple because it sounded so good. At my parents I sat and continued to have contractions. My dad told me I would probably have the baby that night. He always tends to know these things.

We got home and I made french dips for dinner.  The boys wanted to sleep in the backyard in the tent with their friends and Adelle wanted to watch Descendants. I sat through the movie contracting the whole time. Gagey wasn't feeling very good so we cuddled and he fell asleep on my belly for a little cat nap. Once the kids all got to bed and situated outside, Jeff and I went to bed. It was just after 10:00pm.
At 11:00pm I still couldn't sleep. I was contracting and restless, and probably more than anything my mind was going 100 mph. I was timing my contractions and they were 10 minutes apart, consistently. Jeff was zonked next to me and his breathing was soothing so I let him be. Then just before midnight during one of the contractions, my water broke in bed and I knew it was time to wake up my sleeping birth partner. I woke Jeff, I called Winnie, and between the time I hung up with her and the time she got to our house, my contractions had intensified and sped up to only 3 minutes in between each one. Timing contractions is one of my favorite parts of the whole process. It's so exciting. Jeff got my phone and laid there while I would say either, "okay," or "contraction," or "start" which were his cues to push start on the timer. As the time between each contraction lessened he was getting nervous that Winnie, my midwife, wasn't going to make it in time. He's so cute when he gets all panicked like that. We turned on my birthing affirmation hypnotrack and it played for the whole duration on birthing. Reaffirming what I had already come to know. That my baby was healthy and ready and that my body knew exactly what to do.

I remember Jeff and I taking turns expressing our wonder to each other and repeating things like, "I can't believe this is happening," and "who would have thought he would come early?" Having never gone into labor before my due date before, we were both pleasantly surprised and excited. It was a whole new game for us, having a baby without begging it for days to, "just come already!"

A big part of Ira's story, that sets it apart from the others, is that I never once sat around and waited for him. And with that, from a temporal standpoint, I was never as ready as I would have chosen to be for him either. That is my favorite part of all of this. Maybe it wasn't about me being ready. Maybe he was ready to join our family and that force overpowered all of the what-if's that I often struggle to control.

The window was open in the bedroom and Jeff was busily taking the dirty, now wet, sheets off the bed and replacing them with the liner and fresh sheets for birth. I stood in front of the window, held onto the side of the bed and followed the cues from my body. Working at just being a tool and doing what the baby and my instincts told me to do. Letting my body progress in it's own time and by it's own means. Trusting it's natural ability and allowing myself open up to birth my baby. Mentally I was so there!!

When Winnie showed up just after 1:00am I was sure the dog would bark and wake up the whole house. He didn't even make a sound. I was dilated to a seven then. She kept herself busily preparing her things for the delivery while Jeff continue to time contractions (because what else was there for him to do?) We laughed in between. Talked about what he was going to look like. Somewhere in between being dialated to a seven, and starting to push, I moved onto the bed in the standard position which has always been my preference. Mary, the assistant, showed up around this time too and I remember her and Winnie talking about the farm and how serene the scene was. It was perfect.

Just before 3:00am the pain became intense. I knew I was close and told everyone that I wanted to push. Like past deliveries I automatically tense up in my neck and shoulders and try to use my upper body strength, to no avail, and this time was no different. Jeff patiently reminded me to "bear down" and once I re-figured where I was pushing from Ira was born. Crying and perfect and covered with vernix. Ira Bailer Ashmore. 7 lbs. 14 oz.  Mary, the assistant, told me it was the most perfect birth and she wished she could model it for all pregnant mommies. I felt amazing.

 I remember holding Ira and him feeling so small. I instantly knew him and felt that he knew me. He was the perfect present that I didn't even realize how bad I wanted. When I looked at Jeff, less than 5 minutes after his delivery, and told him I was ready to do it again his eyes just about bulged out of his head. Never had I experienced anything so wondrous and peaceful. Ira's birth was magical and empowering and simply joyous.

My placenta followed and came out with a couple pushes on the belly and after Ira was weighed and both of our vitals were checked and good, Winnie and Jeff proceeded to re-make the bed, while I was in it. It was amazing actually. Just a little lifting and wiggling, and I was back in clean sheets and the laundry was started downstairs with the dirty ones. When we were comfortable and baby was nursing well, Winnie and Mary went downstairs to finish paperwork. By 5:00am they had both let themselves out the backdoor and Jeff, Ira and I lay in our bed, getting to know each other and blissfully sleeping.

The next thing I heard was Adelle knocking on our door. We had barely slept 2 hours but the adrenaline came back when sissy entered the room. Not noticing the newborn nestled in my chest, she excitedly asked me if she could watch a show since the boys were outside in the tent still she wanted to have first pick. I looked her in the eyes until our eyes met and then I simply pointed to Ira's little head which was the only part of him not swaddled in blankets. The look on her face then I will never forget. Hand automatically covers mouth. Bouncing. And then the most beautiful smile and tears swelling in her eyes. Pure, automatic, love I witnessed that day as Adelle met her most awaited baby brother.

She hopped onto the bed with us and held the baby. Then my mom showed up after awaking and getting the Marco Polo message we sent to the family. Her and Adelle were basking in Ira when we heard the back door open again and the sleepy boys from the tent walked inside, downstairs. We all hushed ourselves and quietly listened to them. Bryce M, "Was that a baby?" Braxton, "What? No! Probably just the alarm." More talking and getting situated. Bryce M, "No, that's a baby crying." And then a mad dash of  young boys running up the stairs to see if it really was a real baby crying. And it was. And it was all better than the best Christmas.

The rest of the day blurs now, after 4 months it's to be assumed I guess. My mom made the kids egg mcmuffins downstairs in my kitchen and then shuttled them all to her place, minus Adelle, to swim for the day. Aunt Angela came over and picked up Adelle for a Costco and lunch date with her and Gramy. Adelle had already had those plans scheduled. Jeff, Ira and I spent most of the day in bed. In and out of sleep and texting photos to everyone during our waking hours. Angela took Adelle to my mom's when they were done shopping and she helped watch all the kids as they swam. Then her and Adelle brought me beautiful roses and groceries (cherries, peanut butter, etc. ) from Costco.

There are other minute details that I won't go into but simply stated, Ira completely redeemed my love for pregnancy and natural childbirth. There are aspects of my pregnancy with him that completely changed my life, my outlook and perception. I trust in God more than I did before. I trust myself more than I ever have. I trust my mind to lead and my body to follow suit. I trust hope. I trust life. I trust fate.

And the week that followed was so stinking hot and hazy.  I remember beaming at the fact of no longer being pregnant!

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