The morning of May 29 dawned sunny and gorgeous. We had blueberry pancakes and eggs for breakfast, and Joel and Cosette planted the rest of the beans in the garden. The big kids wanted to take a walk, so we headed up the road. At this point, I'd been having minor contractions since waking up, but they were just tiny little things, hardly there and not even 'timeable'. I figured they were just more Braxton Hicks. The kids played in the wading pool, and we grilled chicken for dinner. By the time we were sitting down to eat, however, I mentioned to Joel that it might be prudent to bathe the kids and pack everybody's bags, 'just in case'. "I doubt anything will happen, love, but the contractions are coming every 10-12 minutes now, so let's just be safe" He agreed, and we got the big kids to bed on time. We stayed up until about 11:00 watching a funny movie together. By the time we turned the light out, my contractions were a good 9-10 minutes apart, but still not very painful.
Around 1:30, though, they started to get a little more intense, and I needed to get up and walk around. I sent Joel out to the couch to get more sleep, and I walked around our room, re-watching the funny movie ('The Mall Cop'), laughing at it, and groaning every ten minutes or so. By 2:45, the contractions were only 6-8 minutes apart, and I started to not want to be by myself, so I went to get my husband. He came back to the room, and we started to seriously time them. They very quickly went from 8 minutes to about 5 minutes apart.
This is where it got tricky. With previous labors, I've had terrible, and I'm talking terrible, back pain. I would be very serious during a contraction, and then in considerable pain between them. However, there was almost NO back pain with this labor (Praise the LORD!!!) So, in between contractions, I was happy-go-lucky, putting last minutes things in my bag, combing my hair, etc. My poor husband was confused. "Contractions, serious contractions at that, so close together, and yet look at my wife!! She's not giving me the right 'signs' here!"
At 3:45, we called my sister to come up. By the time she and my mom got there, it was almost time to go. I was still completely 'in control', but man, those contractions were tough! Joel decided that since it was our 4th baby, with contractions so close together, we better be leaving, even though I was still protesting whether or not it was time yet! He called the hospital to let them know we were coming, and we headed out. My mom stayed at the house with the big kids.
By the time we got to the hospital, it was light outside, and I knew this baby was coming soon. I refused a wheel chair, though, as it felt better to be up and walking. We made our way up to the 4th floor slowly (stopping every 3-4 minutes for a major contraction, while I leaned on my husband or sister for support).
We were disappointed to hear that our mid-wife was unavailable. All three of my other babies were delivered with a mid-wife. I wondered how it would go with a doctor. However, he walked in the room and said "I'm so sorry your mid-wife couldn't make it. However, I'm going to do my best to take her place and make this your birth, just like you want it" He was wonderful! He checked me and announced me a 'good solid 9', told me to wait a contraction or two, and I'd probably be ready to push.
Some of you may be thinking at this point that we waited almost too long to get to the hospital. Nope. Perfect timing. Long enough to 'gown up', check the babies heart rate, and push her out, but not long enough to be stuck in that room for hours, feeling uncomfortable and wishing to be at home.
At 7:20 or so, I felt the urge to push, and the Dr. okayed it. A mere three contractions later (yep, I'm a good 'pusher' ;), and at 7:26 a.m., Leanna's head emerged------quite purple and swelled because her cord was wrapped around her neck! The doctor calmly snipped the cord, and all color quickly returned to her face.
It was one of the quickest, 'easiest' births I've ever had, if 'easy' can actually be used in the same sentence as 'birth'. Now, grant it, there was that last half hour or so before she was born when the contractions were hard and I informed my husband and sister that "I changed my mind, I dont' want to do this anymore---can't somebody do it for me?" Nobody volunteered :) My sister said that being there for the birth was one of the most amazing things she's ever seen :) In case you're wondering, we do our births with no pain meds---no epidural, no IV's, no anything :) And, while it's serious and hard work, I'm always so glad after it's over that that is the route we take.
When Leanna entered the world, she weighed in at 6 lb, 14 oz, and 21 inches long---my longest, skinniest baby yet :) She had a good head of light brown hair, and dark blue eyes. We were all in love immediately :)
Here are some of her earliest pictures---minus the one's where she's still all gooey and bloody :)
She has been a blessing to us ever since. She's nursing well, has regained her birth weight plus some, and is even sleeping half-decently at night. I love to watch my older children interacting with her, holding her and loving her. Noah gives her great big kisses on her head alllll day long!
There was a point when Joel and I wondered after Noah's birth if 'three' would be our number. Three healthy children----was it enough? His pregnancy was so complicated and full of moments of uncertainty, we just weren't sure if we were ready to do that all over again! However, we gave it some time, we pondered and prayed, and decided in the end that God wasn't finished with us yet :) We're so glad that's what we decided. Of course we needed Leanna Rose! We already wonder how we were ever a family without her :)