It's been 24 hours since our third baby beautifully came into our lives. I am laying on my bed resting and listening to him make sweet newborn noises. I feel like I'm in heaven.
Nainoa Colton Gomez (Juan likes to call him baby Nai) decided to make us wait a little for his arrival. He was due on April 16th which came and went with no signs of labor. I was fine with that because my in-laws arrived that very day and it was nice to catch up with them and get them settled into our routine with Marcus and Melia. I was very relieved that I didn't go into labor before they came because without their help we are pretty alone here in Texas. We do have a great ward family and neighbors that were ready and willing to step in and help us. But it is nice to have live-ins when you have needy babies running around the house. Melia took to her abuelita (grandma) so nicely. She was shy at first but then it was like she remembered her from her last visit and would not let her go after that. She started call her 'Pia!' and would rather go to her than anyone else. Marcus loves to play with 'Pita', Juan's grandma so it has worked out nicely.
My in-laws were expecting me to go into labor any minute so the days dragged on and everyone started to get very anxious. I had my 41 week appointment with my midwife, Bernadette on Thursday April 23rd. She asked me if I wanted my membranes swept and call me crazy but I just didn't feel right about it. I wasn't ready. I hadn't had enough sleep the night before and to be completely honest I was having some fears. Fear is a very powerful demotivator and women naturally have many things to be fearful of. I knew that I shouldn't be fearful because I had been preparing my whole pregnancy, as well as my last pregnancy, for delivery time. Still, it's like a championship match in sports. Athletes prepare so much and for so long and it all comes down to one short game where they have to prove themselves and perform their very best.
Bernadette told me to go home, rest up, mentally prepare and come back the next morning ready to have a baby. So I did. Well first I went to the grocery store to make sure we had plenty of food in stock (not just for us but also because my brother-in-law had just flown in and boy can he eat! Lol). That afternoon it was hard to rest with all the excitement and kiddos so my Nano (Juan) took me out on a date. We went to a movie (Age of Adaline- great movie by the way) and for a walk in the park. Nano really helped me feel supported and empowered and got me pumped up and ready to give birth.
The next morning, at 3 am I woke up and couldn't get back to sleep. My thoughts were racing and my back was aching. Honestly, I hate being pregnant, it is so hard for me! I am nauseous after every meal, I have anemia and PICA (a condition that makes me crave non-foods like chalk, dirt, and concrete), and my back, hips and pelvis are always sore. But, I'll stop complaining because many women have it worse than me and I always tell myself to be grateful because my babies, though debilitatingly parasitic, are healthy. If I didn't have healthy pregnancies I wouldn't be able to birth the way I choose to so that is a big plus.
When Nano woke up I asked him to give me a blessing (he is a priesthood holder in our faith and can put his hands on my head and give me a blessing through the spirit). He quickly did so and got ready for work and the gym and took off. I was able to fall back asleep but after an hour was awakened by the garage door. I thought to myself, 'oh I really hope he is going to stay with me.' He came upstairs and said, "I don't know what I was thinking, I'm not going to work, I'm going with you to your appointment!" I was so grateful he followed the spirit! I needed him!
We quickly got ready and he woke up his mom and grandma to make us breakfast. Grateful again! I was just going to have a piece of toast. They made us a feast and we took off for the birth center with full bellies. 8:00 am. When we got there my midwife made me drink a strong tea to help soften my cervix and then checked me. I was dilated to a 4. She got things going by separating the bag of waters a little from the uterine wall. She said his head was not in an ideal position so she adjusted my back a little and did some interesting massage on my lower back. Then she told us to go walk for an hour and then come straight back.
There was a nice big park nearby so we stopped there to walk it out. It was a beatiful morning. A little sticky with humidity but there was a nice breeze and the park was full of birds singing and friendly squirrels rastling around. This is my idea of the beginning of a natural childbirth experience. Nano only noticed the mosquitoes. If you know my family you'd know that we all get stupidly optimistic every time we head out into nature. I mean, I was in the middle of a contraction and I saw a bunny rabbit in the bush and I started inching closer to get a good look at it! Nano had been timing my contractions and asked, "so did your contraction stop then?" I was like 'oh yeah, I think so.' Talk about pain management! I called my dad and told him where I was. He told me I couldn't leave until I spotted an armadillo. I know, we are ridiculous. On with the birth story.
My contractions were about 4-5 minutes apart and about 2 minutes long but not strong. Very manageable. I was able to walk through all of them. 10:00 am. When we got back to the birth center they sent us to our room and told us to make ourselves at home. This is the first reason I love birth centers. They make you feel at home. We had a queen size bed in the room, decorations, high ceilings, windows, comfortable chairs and an over-sized tub. We got situated and I laid down to rest up a bit.
Nano just looked at me like now what? I told him I just wanted to rest before my contractions got stronger. I guess he didn't feel totally comfortable because he said, "why don't we just go home and wait until you really go into labor?" Um, honey I am in labor. He argued back that I probably had a good 3 or 4 hours until things would really get going. I told him the last thing I wanted to do was get in the car and go home to messy screaming toddlers just to turn around and come back. He persisted and tried to convince me. Finally, I said, "let's wait till she checks me and see what she says." Nano, "okay, fine."
Bernadette came in minutes later to check my dilation and sure enough I was almost to a 7. Of course being the competitive couple that we are, I looked at Nano like 'see, told ya!' and he rolled his eyes. Bernadette kept checking me and tried to stretch me a bit when, oops! she broke my water. I was a little disappointed because I wanted to try to birth Nainoa in his bag like I did with Melia but, oh well, He would be born in a bigger bag/tub of water. My midwife said, "okay, into the tub you go!" and off we went. It was so relieving to be in the water! I felt weightless and was able to move around freely. Nano sat by the edge of the tub and massaged me through each contraction. The greatest tender mercy of giving birth is the break you get in between surges. We were able to joke around and discuss private things and then go work when a contraction came. Most of the time it was just me and Nano in the room. My nurse, Alexis, came in every now and again to check the baby's heart-rate with the Doppler. The birth center is not open on Fridays so there were only the 4 of us in the building. Nice and quiet.
My pressure waves (contractions) started to get shorter and stronger. I floated on my belly and hung over the side where Nano was, laying my head on his leg while he rubbed my back. It felt so good to have him rub away the pain. My midwife came in and asked if I was ready to push. I didn't think I was that far along. She checked me and said I sure was! Crazy! I told her not yet because my friend hadn't arrived yet. Back-story: I was so fortunate to meet someone a few weeks before my due date that had also given birth in the water AND in the caul (bag of waters). She had been planning to come and help us with her essential oils and photography. Well, she didn't make it (sorry Larissa!) I should have held him in for you ;)
I started to feel tons of pressure and reached down and could feel the baby's head. Time to push. I told Nano to take off his shirt and jump in. With a room full of ladies he said, "are you ready for this?" Haha, funny guy. As he proceeded to enter the tub, my midwife retorted, "uh, actually were not ready for you yet, how much do you weigh? 200?" He replied, "well I recently lost 30 pounds." We had to let some water out before he got in otherwise our teacup would have overflowneth.
Nano really saved me at this point because I started to get light headed and tingly. My contractions were very strong and close together. I was leaning back on him at first but then turned on my side so he could help by rubbing my back. He held me up like a baby and rubbed my pain away. It was incredible to have him right there with me through all the pain. I could not have done it without him.
calm like he didn't know what had just happened. He barely moved at first and that made Juan nervous. My midwife assured him that he was slowly taking it all in, no rush to take his first breath. He was purple and beautiful (this is why purple has been my favorite color since Melia was born). Black hair all over his head. Wrinkly skin and long fingers. Our perfect baby boy.
While Bernadette suctioned him a little and put a towel over him, we were able to get a little more comfortable and check him out. That first interaction with a newborn angel is priceless. It was a perfect moment and I'll never forget it.
After we finished getting acquainted. The nurse let out our water and I birthed the placenta. While I was holding Nainoa in the tub he had his first bowel movement all over me. Nice, thick black meconium. My midwife wrapped up the placenta and carried it with the baby over to the bed. He didn't make a sound, perfect little angel. We cleaned up a bit and they helped me out of the tub and over to the bed too. I got to hold baby Nai and he was able to latch on for the first time. He was so alert and peaceful.
After we bonded for a bit my nurse took Nanioa to be cut, measured and weighed. She did it all right there in front of me on the bed. Nano cut his cord that had been attached the the placenta for about an hour. Then the nurse measured him, 22 inches, long, like his big brother and sister. The moment of truth came, she went to weigh him. Nano was sure he was a 10 pounder but the rest of us guessed around 9. He was an a ounce heavier than his big sister at 8 lbs 13 ounces. Then Bernadette checked to make sure all his body parts were in good working condition.
Then it was back to the tub for me and baby. We would have an herbal bath together. This was such an awesome experience. The herbs help me to heal and help the baby to relax and adjust. It was so awesome to see how calm and comfortable he was in the water.
Nano then took baby away and got him dressed. My midwife asked if I wanted my hair washed. I didn't really want to do it because I was tired but she said, "oh I'm going to wash it for you honey." Well alright then! I felt like the beast on Beauty and the Beast as she scrubbed my scalp and sprayed me down. It felt soooo good though. It was so nice to not have to wash myself or even dress myself. They did it all for me. What a great perk of going to a birth center! Nano even asked when he got his turn. Man, I felt like I was in a spa because my friend arrived a little while after I gave birth and she applied some of her oils to my feet and calves to help me relax and recover. She also took a bunch of pictures for us. Thanks Larissa!
Nainoa fell asleep on his big soft daddy while I rested a bit on the bed. The nurse checked my vitals and went over our discharge information. We were out of there by 5 pm, closing time. I've always hated how long they force you to stay at the hospital so I felt free as a bird to be able to go home.
We arrived in a short 15 minutes and Marcus was so excited to see his baby brother. He wanted to hold him for a long time. When it was time to let abuelita hold him he got mad. Transitions are hard for widdo guys. We let him hold baby Nainoa again and he was so proud. I loved having all my babies around me. Happy moment. Happy day.