August 12th, 2010

Caleb's Birth Story: Part 3

By noon, I had endured contractions for the past four hours and was really getting antsy (and hungry)! On the hour, the midwife on duty came in to check me and see how dilated I was. When we had first arrived, I was not dilated at all, but surely something had happened over the last four hours.

With the examination over, the midwife sat me down and explained that I was 6 cm dilated and would probably give birth late that afternoon at the earliest, most likely sometime during the evening.

Umm… that was a lot closer than the next day?

Calling Momma, we told her to be prepared for the possibility that the baby might not wait until she got here to come. It was a very sad moment, realizing that my mom wouldn’t be here for “the moment” that our first child was born. But knowing that she would BE here (which almost didn’t happen) eased some of the aching of my heart.

Over the course of the next hour, Micah and I paced the room, talking in between my gritting my teeth, trying to help the time go along. But there wasn’t a topic that could alleviate the weariness of my body. With over 30 hours having passed since I last slept, my body was being pushed past its limit of endurance and I didn’t know how much longer I could last. If I did have hours ahead of me then I was going to need rest of some kind in order to stand, much push.

Paging for the nurse, I asked if there was anything that could help me get some rest in spite of the contractions. Saying that she would have to examine me first, she looked to see how far along I was. All of a sudden she jerked up and said, “Honey, you’re fully dilated and fully thinned out. You’re having this baby now!”

Umm… could you repeat that?

In less than an hour I had dilated to the full 10 cm and gone from roughly 30% effaced to 100% effaced. Baby had moved into the birth canal and was on his way out!

I will admit that at this point, I began to panic. Instead of hours, I had minutes. Was I ready for this? Were we ready for this? It obviously didn’t matter because Baby was ready!

As soon as the nurse told us the news, Micah jumped on the phone and began to call everybody before the action began and we were both too caught up to contact people. Back when the nurses had first checked me, Micah had called to let his brothers know that it was time to make their way to the hospital. Now that it was “the time”, he went out and let them know that this was it… he was about to become a dad.

The next thirty minute were climatic as I could literally feel each and every movement that Baby made as he prepared to make his entrance into the world. The contractions were barely a minute apart and were becoming more and more forceful with each one. Even if the nurse hadn’t told me what to expect, I would have known because it felt so different than before.

By 1:30pm I was ready to jump out of my skin because the need to push was so strong. The nurses had had me move up into the bed and get into whatever position was most comfortable, which ended up being my sitting up, with my legs spread out in front of me. All the other methods and positions that I had research went out the window as we came down to the moment. Baby didn’t care about all my research; he just wanted to get out of that cramped space!

Suddenly, the need to push became I-AM-GOING-TO-PUSH-OR-I-WILL-SPLIT-WIDE-OPEN and began frantically pushing the call button for the nurse. Wouldn’t you know it; the mother in the room right beside mine went into labor at the exact same moment and had the nurses a bit preoccupied. Wild-eyed, I told Micah to go get someone, anyone, but that this baby was going to come!

Our lovely nurse from earlier finally strolled in and I had to try very hard not to yell at her for being so calm. Hurry up, lady, can’t you see I’m having a baby! In the end, her calm was more unnerving than soothing. Thankfully, Micah was as revved up as I was, so that helped balance things out. With the other mom also in the process of delivering, the midwife was busy with her, so the resident OB actually came along with several other nurses to help me give birth to this anxious kid.

Micah stood on one side and a nurse on the other, and I lifted up my feet to push against their raised hands. Curving my back, I began to breathe, just breathe, as I tried to listen to the instructions that they were giving me.

You’re doing great, Megan. You’re having a baby.

*whooo whooo whooo*

Alright, when a contraction comes, I want you to squeeze our hand and push with your abdomen

*whoo whoo* ARGH!

Okay, okay, relax. Don’t strain. Channel all that pressure into pushing. Don’t clench your teeth, don’t try to scream, just breathe. Push. You can do this.

*whoo whoo whoo* whooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo*

That’s it! Great, just keep this up.

The nurse at *the* position broke into a grin and cried out, “I can see the head!” Micah and I looked at each other and smiled big, even as sweat poured off my forehead. The nurse guided my hand so I could reach down and feel the soft baby hair just pushing through.

And it all became real. A baby. We were having a baby. A tiny, little human being.

Micah took a peek and I think was a bit traumatized by the sight. He didn’t look back down there again.
Finally, Baby moved until all that was holding him back was the shoulders. It was time for the final pushes.
With each contraction I felt coming, I squeezed Micah’s and the nurse’s hands, pushed my feet into their palms and exhaled, feeling the little body move a little bit further. Then, I pushed one more time and with a disapproved-yelp, I felt the pressure release as Baby slid from my body. Collapsing back against the bed, I just breathed as the OB held up the squirming, crying baby and proudly announced, “It’s a boy!”

We got our boy….

Micah looked at me with tears in his eyes as the OB quickly wiped the baby off and handed him to Micah who gently laid him against my chest, and together we whispered the name that was held in our hearts for the last nine months:

“Caleb… our son.”
------ Part 4 to come tomorrow!------

Caleb's Birth Story: Part 4

Click HERE to read part 1
Click HERE to read part 2
Click HERE to read part 3

Those first moments that you’re holding your newborn child is unlike any other moment you have ever experienced. Even though your body is physically exhausted, as soon as that squirming baby is laid against your chest a rush of strength, pure and true, flows through your body and you know that you will give your life to protect this tiny child.

Micah and I laid our heads together, just watching our son as he kicked his little arms and legs, wiggling his way straight into our hearts.

Tenderly, Micah left Caleb up and handed him back to the OB who gave him to the nurse to clean up. Even though I was a bit out of it, I motioned for Micah to go take a picture… his first picture… of our little son.

While they finished cleaning Caleb up, the OB helped me pass the placenta, catching it in a large pan. She then asked if I wanted to see it (as apparently some women are crazy enough to want to?), Micah took a peek (another mistake) while I politely passed on that honor. He said that it looked like my guts had come out of my body.

Thank you for that lovely description, I do believe I’ll go back to thinking happy thoughts about my son now.

After weighing him, measuring him, and make sure all the body parts where in the right place, they bundled Caleb up and handed him back to me. Oh, my heart overflowed with love with this little life. I love him so much that my chest literally hurt, even as I brought him close to suckle, his little mouth rooting for that life-giving nourishment. As he latched on for the very first time, I looked at Micah and the tears in his eyes mirrored the tears in mine. It had been a long, hard road, but finally, we were parents. Our family was complete.

As the nurses cleaned up, the OB proudly announced those birth statistics that all the grandmas love to hear and compare.  At 2:14pm on Wednesday March 17th, we gave birth to a healthy boy weighing a surprising 7 lb 4 oz (we had expected him to weight much, much more) and measuring 20.5 inches long. From the brief glimpses we got, it looked as though he had blue eyes with blonde hair to boot.

In other words, perfect.

It was two days before my due date and the baby that we thought was going to be late ended up being a bit early, but none of that matter as we held him in our arms. Micah went out to let his brothers know the news, who in turn would alert the world (i.e. Facebook) that the Peter Boys lived on! (Family joke) As soon as he got back into the room, we got on the phone and called the grandparents, the siblings, my best friend from grade school… we wanted everyone to know the good news. It was so wonderful to hear the laughter, the crying, and the hollering (from my southern family). All these people had prayed for us, encouraged us, and wanted only the best for us, and now they were able to share in our joy.

And what about Momma? We called her as her plane was closing its doors and getting ready to leave non-stop for Chicago to Anchorage. Just a few more minutes and she would have been left with 6 hours of wondering whether or not she was a grandmother yet. Part of my heart truly believes that Caleb hurried up that last hour just for his Grandmom, so she would know.

A few minutes later, Micah’s brothers joined us in the room to hold their newest nephew for the first time. It was so amazing to see the smile on Nathan’s face as he looked into Caleb’s eyes, only to have Caleb look right back at him. That is a moment I won’t forget.

The nurse soon came in and shooed out the boys (making sure we got the baby back first!) and began to get me ready to move to the regular day room. Massaging my stomach, she suddenly pushed down and with an unladylike *BLURP* whatever used to be inside was now outside. Micah and I both agreed that it was very weird to witness. I said, imagine feeling it then. Helping me to the bathroom, the nurse helped me get changed into a clean gown and under things, and so the process of becoming a woman once again began.

Settling into the wheelchair they provided for me, we rolled through the L&D unit to the regular day room. All the private rooms were taken and so they gave us a double room, which was bigger, and just said that we were welcome to use the entire room but we would have to move to my side should some else be placed in the other bed. We were thankful for the additional space, but a little disappointed since it meant that only one person could stay the night at a time.

Lying back in bed, with my pillow behind my head, we watched as Caleb settled in for his first nap of his new life. He had the most perfect features of any baby and I was amazed by every little detail, from his long fingers to his pert little nose, from his rosebud lips to his soft downy hair. Everything about him was simply perfect and I gave thanks to God for blessing us with a healthy child. He had rewarded our faithfulness in such great abundance.


When Caleb woke up it was time for a milestone: his first diaper change. Micah, of course, was blessed with this great honor. And yes, it was the icky, sticky stuff.


By this time it was after 4 o’clock and I felt as though I had run a marathon, swam the English Channel, wrestled with a grizzly, and drove 30-hours non-stop across the country. In other words, I was tired and I was hungry! Ordering dinner, I waited in anticipation, hoping that I would stay long enough for the food to arrive. Thankfully, they were prompt and the food arrived, tasting like manna from Heaven. The best part was that for the first time in nine months, I didn’t throw up after eating!

With my tummy full, I laid back, closed my eyes, and drifted off to sleep with my sleeping peacefully in the bassinet beside me. It was a good thing I slept then because a few hours later, visitors began to arrive! Friends and family (some that we didn’t even know lived in town!) arrived, brining flowers, cards, but best of all, prayers. All the “grandmas” loved on Caleb, exclaiming over his tiny toes and little nose. Our friends, some of whom were leaving for the airport that night, thanked Caleb for coming before they left.

After a while, the visitors waned off, the brothers headed home, and it was just Micah, me, and our baby boy. Our family.

Talking softly, we played with Caleb, marveling over the change in feeling from even just the day before.

Truly, a transformation had taken place. We weren’t just newlyweds any more, we weren’t college students, or even just “kids” … now, we were parents.

Soon, it was 9 o’clock and time for Micah to head to the airport to meet Momma. Caleb fell back asleep in my arms as I laid back and rested while we waited.

It seemed as no sooner did I close my eyes than I opened them to find my mom coming through the doorway, all full of smiles.

“Momma….” I whispered.


And then I cried.

---- Part 5 tomorrow!-----