Wednesday, December 23, 2015

And Then There Were Five


James August Spencer
Born December 19, 2015 
8 lbs 5 oz, 22 inches

The Story

It felt like we had been waiting forever to meet this sweet little boy!  After I went on bedrest at 34 weeks for preterm labor, we all expected James to make an early appearance.  But my due date passed, and still no baby.  Every week my doctor said, "I just can't believe you're still pregnant!"  Furthermore, I had frequent, strong contractions daily in the weeks leading up to his birth...more than once I was convinced labor was starting only to have it subside hours later.

On December 18th, my midwife came to check on me and see how things were progressing.  "Sorry," she said, "but it looks like you'll have to wait until next week for this baby.  He'll be a Christmas gift!"  I told Kalan when he got home, then added, "But the good news is, we can go see Star Wars this weekend!"  We booked movie tickets and a babysitter for the following night.

The next morning was clear and sunny.  Kalan got up with the kids and let me sleep in.  Around 8 AM I started having contractions every 5-10 minutes, but I didn't think much of it.  After all, it was similar to what I'd been experiencing for weeks!  Kalan went to the market for groceries while the kids and I read stories and built a train track.

Morning of December 19th
Around 10 we set off together for Daan Park (our church has a monthly kids outreach there).  After just 15 minutes of walking, I told Kalan that I wasn't feeling so well and needed to go home to rest.  He and the kids continued on without me.  On the way home, I had to stop and lean against a road sign during a particularly strong contraction.  Hmmm...could this be it?

At 10:30 I called Mai-Li (our midwife) and told her that "I think I might be in labor."  (Ha!)  She said she'd come right over.  Then I called Kalan.
"Should I come home?"
" and the kids should stay and play.  I'm okay.  We can wait and see how things go."
"How about I leave the kids here with our friends and come home?"
"Well, okay.  That sounds good."

Twenty minutes later, I was so relieved to see Kalan walk through the door.  The contractions were coming quickly and strongly now--this was it, and I needed his support.  He held my hand and helped me breathe.  In between contractions he got things ready and kept me laughing so I wouldn't get too stressed out:  "Of course he finally decides to show up on the day I'm going to see Star Wars!"

I also remember focusing on different Christmas ornaments and listening to this song as I labored.

At 11:30, I said (a bit panicked), "Kalan, I want to push!"
"Okay," he said, appearing completely calm, "I'll go wash my hands."
He called Mai-Li, who was looking for a parking space.  She parked as soon as she could and ran over to our apartment, arriving around 11:45. 

They helped me into the bathtub and James came into the world shortly after at 12:10 PM.  

Our friends brought Keira and Jude home an hour later and they got to meet their new brother for the first time.  Then we all took an afternoon nap.  ;) 

Over the past few days, we've been so blessed by all our friends who have come to help and visit.

 Some of our neighbors have been bringing me traditional postnatal recovery foods nearly every day.  Yum!

Keira: "Mom, can I have the chicken foot?!  Pleeeeeeease?!  It's my favorite!!!"
Our midwife makes regular postpartum visits.  Here she's checking James' weight.
She's the best.  :)
James is eating and sleeping and growing like a champ.

We love you so much already, baby James.  Welcome to our family!