On Thursday, July 16th, my Doctor did her first check and was surprised to see that I was 1 cm dilated and Asher was in the right position (which he hadn’t been a few weeks prior) – however, because I didn’t get checked until 39 weeks with Kadence, the reality is that I could’ve been at a 1 with her for weeks. Because Kadence moved so quickly, I decided to get checked again the following week (even though I was with a midwife this time and they usually don’t check that early) – I was then 4cm dilated and 60% effaced. AHHHHH! Enter the reality that this child would definitely NOT be making it to his due date.
Interestingly, the few weeks prior to my July 23rd appointment, I had really been thinking about when to pray for his arrival – and couldn’t quite decide on a date that would ‘fit’ (I didn’t even think of praying for a July date with my August 14th due date!). I had also been on major nesting mode throughout the whole summer – rooms had been arranged, clothes organized, all Kalyb’s back to school shopping complete, his birthday party planned (and all decorations made and agenda written out), I’d randomly gotten my hair cut that week (thinking to myself, ‘when will I have the chance to do this?’), we had maternity pictures done that Tuesday (and I’d even questioned having them that early…), we’d paid for someone to come out and clean our bathrooms (I know, I know – I just hate doing them and Josiah and I have a different standard of clean) and I had even gotten a pedicure! I’m telling you, the Lord was definitely preparing us for an early arrival!
Anyways, Thursday proceeded as normal – I took the two kids to the Haggard’s pool party (even telling people that I was moving along quicker than anticipated only to find out later conversations then were had about how I definitely would not be pregnant much longer…), I enjoyed a great nap, and went to EJ’s house to help her with some packing (to move into our house in the interim before buying her own house). I was told at my appointment that Asher was ‘sunnyside up’ and was given some exercises to do to encourage him to flip. That evening, Kalyb and I laid in bed and he finally got to feel Asher move – he even had the hiccups. We then watched a ‘spinning babies’ youtube video and did some exercises together encouraging Asher to flip. Kalyb’s final words that night were, ‘flip over, Asher!’.
I woke up at about 3am just a little bit uncomfortable. I started wondering if I shouldn’t have gotten checked that day because my mind was racing – what if this was it? Or what if I was just overreacting knowing that I was definitely progressing. After hearing Kadence’s birth story, the midwife had told me earlier that day– ‘if you feel any rectal pressure, come in immediately’. Enter TMI here – I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom which then made me go into high gear – what if this was rectal pressure of needing to push and not just a bowel movement?! At that point, I decided to wake up Josiah – he thought I was waking him up to stop him from snoring so he apologized and rolled over – ‘no, no – I think we need to go to the hospital!’. I called into the hospital – and once again, after hearing Kadence’s birth story, they decided it’d be best to come in even though their recommendation is usually if you can’t walk or talk through a contraction. We grabbed my bag (that had also been packed for weeks) and I brought the monitor down to Carrie (who I hadn’t even asked if this could be part of our plan – I’d simply text her on Thursday night, ‘remind me to talk to you about our back up plan’ but never gave her any details!). She answered her phone, ‘IS IT TIME?!’ and immediately opened her door and agreed to be on kid duty (this was her first day that week not having training!).
On the way to the hospital, I called EJ (who had text me at midnight saying, ‘you better call me if you go into labor!’) then I called Lynn to wish her a happy birthday and inform her that a grandson might be joining her birthday. I tried to get ahold of our photographer/doula, but my text earlier that day to her had been, ‘just letting you know I’m at a 4 but I still think we have awhile….’. Contractions were happening every few minutes and lasting only 30 seconds to 1 minute but were VERY steady. Seeing as I hadn’t experienced the pain of any contractions with Kadence, I was unprepared as far as what to expect – and they just kept coming! We got checked in and moved to a triage room where they let me know I was at a 7. I let her know I needed to go to the bathroom (yes, TMI – #2) and she said, okay, let’s take care of that first – ‘NO! I don’t actually need to go, I gave myself an enema – I think I need to push!’. I was still not in a delivery room (and at this point, Lynn and EJ had arrived and Lynn was trying to inform them how fast this was going to go – but they all seemed to be moving at the pace of a baby snail). About this time, I decided I NEEDED an epidural – so I started begging the nurse to get me to a room, call the anesthesiologist, and get the doctor in the room. We had arrived to the hospital at 4:07 and we got into a room about 4:40. The anesthesiologist arrived to get me prepped for the epidural I was begging for (which, reflecting on it, I don’t know why they even agreed to let me get one that late in the game…). He would sterilize my back and I’d have a contraction and need to lay down and he’d say he needed to re-sterilize. By this point, I was really getting close to needing to push so told him to forget it – I needed to have a baby. Lynn and EJ were let back in the room at this time (not sure why they even had to leave) and it was 4:47 (thankful for EJ’s time stamped pictures on her phone!). I was not a happy camper. At 5:05, the doctor finally broke my water (this is the one picture I have during this time where there is a sense of relief – almost a smile – on my face). At 5:07, after one contraction and a few pushes within it, along with a scream of ‘I HATE PUSHING BABIES OUT OF ME’, Asher Josiah was born!
Interestingly, Asher’s umbilical cord was so short, he couldn’t even be laid on me – so Josiah had to cut it earlier than I would’ve liked so that he could get up to my chest. While laying on my chest, Lynn noticed he looked a little blue which they assured us was normal with the altitude – thankfully, she kept pushing it and they finally came to check his oxygen and it was in the 60’s. He was immediately taken to the other side of the room to get a little bit of oxygen. At this point, I text my family with the news (my sister definitely thought it was all a joke since it all happened so fast). My mom called and we chatted while I was getting just a few stitches (haha!). Asher was good and breathing great on his own, so he was brought back to me for the hour that they have the mom and baby (and Dad) have alone – even before getting the stats! He latched well and we rested – and he was so darn cute to me!
EJ was a little bit late to training that day (and proved her whereabouts from all the pictures on her phone), but really, we couldn’t have asked for more perfect timing! We moved to our own room about 2 hours later. I was able to walk myself (I’m SO thankful I didn’t get an epidural after all) and the nurse told me that the doctor had left the delivery saying, ‘Wow – if only every delivery were like that!’ and the nurse let me know that it ‘was just such a joy getting to be a part of that’ – I asked her if she was serious because I felt like I was being a little dramatic (Josiah even informed my family that I was directing doctors, contracting, telling EJ what pictures to take, and bossing everyone around while I pushed him out…). They didn’t think I’d be able to go home Saturday because he was so little and young, but after all of his tests came back with flying colors, I was cleared for release the next day.
Friday was kind of a whirlwind – the photographer called when she woke up so apologetic that she’d missed the whole thing – but was able to come in and get pictures when the kids came to meet Asher a few hours later, so it worked out perfect! We had a lot of visitors – EJ, Carrie, the kiddos, Ashlee and crew, Sarah, and Lynn and Rudy came by again before heading out on Lynn’s birthday retreat. We unfortunately had to cancel our anniversary plans which were scheduled for that Sunday. Although I really wanted to convince myself that I could bring a 2 day old up to Denver for Cirque de Soleil, I was encouraged otherwise. I was able to sell the tickets, cancel our hotel and dinner reservations, and obviously had to cancel my prenatal massage scheduled for that Monday and the chiropractor appointment to get Asher to flip – that was no longer needed!
Saturday was calm – the Simonds watched the two older kids while Josiah took a group from church out on their scheduled shooting day (there were 20 people signed up and it seemed to be more of a hassle to reschedule). Asher and I napped on and off the whole day until Josiah came back to go through our check out procedure (which this time also included getting my placenta to be encapsulated – so far, so good – even if it is a placebo effect, I’m thankful to have energy and feel positive about this whole experience!). We got checked out that afternoon and headed home to our new normal – a life where we, as parents, are outnumbered! It is crazy how different it is from 2 to 3.
We are now approaching almost 4 weeks home with Asher – I don’t even know how that’s possible! A youth student asked for three words that describe him and I think I’d go with content, calm, and sweet – I’m going to add strong, too (he’s been lifting and moving his head for well over two weeks despite being so early). He is such a sweet addition – I really don’t know how we came upon one so mellow (although his vocal cords are warming up the older he gets), but we are so grateful. The older kids are adjusting well – I’m so glad he came early so Kalyb had a chance to get to know him before returning to school. They’re both so helpful and want to do everything they can. Sleeping is still a challenge – we’re waking up every 2 to 3 hours to keep him fed and I just think to myself, ‘FOUR HOURS WOULD FEEL AMAZING!’. Josiah tried to keep him downstairs last night through the first two feedings, but by 1:30am, Asher was really missing his Mama so up they came. We’ll try again in a few weeks. Nursing has been a MUCH better experience and I’m SO THANKFUL for that. Yesterday (so 3 weeks and 2 days), he was weighing in at 8 lbs and 6.5 ounces!!! Kadence took nearly a month to get back to her birth weight of 6 lbs. 7 ounces so he is plumping up quickly!
My mom came in for 9 days the week after he was born and in true fashion was so incredibly helpful. The days are kind of a blur – lots of napping, eating, nonstop cleaning, and running around. It’s amazing the appreciation and understanding and love that you gain for your mom after having kids – it is incredible. Lots of tears leaving up to her departure but Kadence assured me that ‘it’s okay; Mimi will be back real soon’. Awww. Anyways, I could keep going forever – all this to say, we were once again incredibly blessed through the birthing experience. I’m so thankful for answered prayers and a loving, supportive, growing, healthy family. I pray that Asher will continue to live up to his namesake of ‘blessed and happy’. He sure is a joy!