****Please, excuse the terrible composition!****
The Tuesday before John was set to arrive home the boys and I busied ourselves playing with Cicely and Grace. The house had been cleaned, signs were painted with love and I just waited until the boys went to bed for the evening before I prettied myself up.
Of course, there wasn't much sleep to be had. I woke up every hour on the hour until 3:50 a.m. when I decided to just lay awake. At day break I popped out of bed as if I'd had the most restful night. If you know us or have read the blog, you'd understand the humor in this since sleep has evaded the Baggett house since December of last year!
Turner woke up at his usual 7am and, when he saw I was dressed, was interested in what was going on. I brought him to the dining room table and showed him the cooler all packed, his clothes laid out and the signs waiting to be held and it was like 6 months of emotion finally showed on his face. He squealed "We're going to get Daddy today!" I told him we were going to pick Daddy up from the ship and Turner was very concerned that we wouldn't be able to actually bring him home.
Of course, this is the one morning Eli slept until 8am. We made it to the pier right on time and you can check out what went on by visiting my friend, Christy, at Southern Expressions Photography. She came with us to the pier and, honestly, there is no way I would have been able to wrangle the kids in the heat without her! I'd post more on the actual ship's arrival, but, it's pretty boring. Ship comes in waving the ginormous battle ensign, crowd goes nuts and then LOTS of waiting around. That's about it.
We arrived home, with John in tow, to find these signs in our neighbor's yard!
The first thing the boys wanted to do with John was play "tackle-o." It's their word for tackle/tickle. Any way, they got down and dirty while I made a quick lunch from the freezer. The boys were completely exhausted from the morning and soon got cranky so they went down for naps within the hour after we arrived home.
Now, I'm assuming you're wondering how labor started. Well, let's do a little 1 + 1. Daddy at sea for 6 months + mamma without any lovin' = yeah, you got it. A little prostaglandin never did a pregnant woman any harm: just induced labor! John promptly fell asleep on the couch and I sat down for the first time all day to realize I was having contractions that started around 1:40 p.m. Since I had the false alarm the previous Wednesday, I didn't want to jump to any conclusions even thought I knew they were labor contractions AND THEY WERE 2-3 MINUTES APART! Come on, really? Noooooo......
After an hour of contractions I woke John up to tell him I'm 98% positive I was in labor. I called my doula to tell her I thought I might be in labor. She told me to give the midwife a heads up so I called Fruitful Vine Midwifery. Hope, one of the midwives and the person on call that day, told me to give her a ring if the contractions picked up or if, within an hour went away. At any rate, to call and tell her what was going on. No sooner than I hung up the phone I had a more intense contraction. That was about 3:15. Since Hope had never been to the house before, she decided to leave right away to come over and check out the situation.
By 5:30-6pm, my Doula, Kristin (blue shirt), Hope (dark purple shirt), the birth assistant (light purple shirt), and a midwife student (Kristin, grey shirt) had all arrived and prepped the room and bathroom. The prep work really just consisted of opening my box of birth supplies (one particular box is required by the midwife and contains all sterile necessities: gloves, pads, etc), making my bed (layering bed sheets and protective sheets) and getting all set up with drinks and other comfort items. They just, basically, hung out and chatted while I labored and did whatever I wanted.
For me, that meant hanging out with some friends of ours that came over to help John stay occupied. Poor guy, can you imagine? I was able to talk to my husband about his adventures and just catch up on a few conversations we'd missed out on.
Around 7 -8pm contractions picked up. I really did well rocking on my hands and knees and I also liked standing a lot more than I thought. At one point it occurred to me I might deliver the baby like that since my body responded so well to standing and rocking. I just stood with my legs shoulder width and swayed and contractions were nice, steady and strong.
This is a cool shot. It was during a contraction. If you look at my ribs below my breast, you can see the muscles flexed!
Eventually I needed support. So, I wanted John around to hold on to. He was a great sport and did anything I needed him to do.
My Doula, Kristin, was also super. She helped me in and out of the bath, got drinks and did anything I needed her to do. It really took a crew to get this baby here!
By 10 or 11 pm I was sure I HAD to be almost ready. The contractions were intense but not to the point of transition. I knew I still had a long road but I tried to stay positive. Hope was wonderful in that when she did check me, she'd tell me I was moving along. I wasn't given a definitive "6, 7, 8 cm." I'm sure she would have if I asked, but it helped me focus on the labor and not actually dilating. If my mind isn't completely focused, I lose track of my pace. Without knowing I was just 6 cm the entire evening (lets say from 8pm through the early morning hours of about 2am), I kept doing anything to help relieve pain and get through contractions.
Unfortunately, the water stalled my contractions almost completely. I like being in the water because it helps ease pain and tension but, I really wanted to have this baby in my arms and not half way out of my pelvis! It was around the early morning hours when Hope started to give me direction in terms of positions so that I might be able to bring my contractions back to where they were. I was exhausted from the 24 hours prior to labor even beginning so I think that had a lot to do with labor slowing and my contractions falling to 10-15 minutes apart. I used the opportunity to lay down for a bit and try to relax my arms. I had been holding myself up and was starting to exhaust all body parts. My water broke sometime around 3am and that's when some of the fun began. Hope checked me (prior to or right after that, I can't remember) to see, really, where the baby was and if everything was alright since there was a lot of meconium with my water. Shortly after this, I started to feel ill. I was on my hands and knees on my bed hugging a pillow and vomited several times. There was a large gush of meconium and quick conversation among Hope and the Kristins. I was 8 cm and there was enough meconium to make Hope wonder if a transfer to the hospital was going to be necessary. I know ALL situations are different, but, the reason I didn't immediately freak out was because I just had a friend give birth at home to a healthy baby boy with meconium present. AND, Hope would have called 911 if it was so serious. When I heard "transfer to XYZ OB" that Fruitful Vine uses as a back up I said: "I'm not leaving this house and the baby will come out NOW!"
Hope told me if I was going to do this, it was going to be by listening to directions, so... I did. At 8cm, I had to push to move Deacon down. Pushing before you're 10 cm and the baby is at it's preferred pushing station is painful. The feeling of pushing to just push while your body wants to curl up with a contraction is almost indescribable. Even more indescribable is having someones hands inside you while you're contracting and baby is coming out. It was all just too much. But, it had to be done for a safe home delivery and I was willing to do anything for this to happen. Within a few minutes, Deacon had moved down and I was fully dilated, still leaking meconium. When it was time to push and Deacon started to crown, I was able to feel the "ring of fire" and I knew it was almost done. I had been crying for about 10 minutes (beginning when I had to push at 8cm with Hope's hand inside me!) and just couldn't stop. The day finally started to wear on me. I knew I was almost finished because I'm one of those "Ok! I'm done! Get this baby out!" type of people. It was funny, because the only voice I could hear was Kristin, the birth assistant. At one point, I looked at her and just said "You! Talk!" I needed her firm commands. By this point, John had put on his 1MC (loud speaker on the ship) voice. It's this booming, serious voice he uses on the ship and it's different from his normal conversation voice. I needed these people to MAKE me do this. I had zero energy since my meals for the day consisted of half an egg white flat bread and one piece of pizza. Yes, that was it.
Finally, I was able to push his head out and then his tiny little body. Along with my baby I let out 6 months of pent up emotion. My husband was back, I was holding baby after the most intense family day of our life together: I cried and cried and cried. I could NOT believe this was our 24 hours. My baby was healthy, and warm and pink and I just held him for an hour. Unfortunately, because of the meconium, John wasn't able to "catch" his son. It was better that Hope wiped Deacon's mouth and face immediately.
After a bit of a delay, John cut Deacon's cord.
I took off my bra and the little man rooted around until he found what he wanted!
This is my favorite picture of the day: John's HOLY-CRAP-WHAT-JUST-HAPPENED face. Priceless.
Hope was so sweet to tell me that she knew that I was serious when I said I wasn't leaving the house.
I was drunk with over-tiredness and that sweet feeling of your baby nursing for the first time. Wait, back up there... The sweet feeling of your baby with NO TOUNGE TIE nursing for the first time. Yes, folks, after 3 kids, I finally have one with no nursing struggles (yet).
Deacon weighed in at 7 pounds, 3 ounces. The smallest Baggett Baby on record. I blame it on no husband being around to cater to my every need but I'm pretty sure it was running half marathons and marathons until 24 weeks pregnant. Well, running after two toddlers probably did it too.
Finally taking a breather while Deacon got weighed and measured.
20 inches long
Already looking to suck on something!
His first baby burrito.
The A team with their finished product!
Hope and the newest Baggett Boy.
My poor dad was in the living room the entire time. I say "poor dad" because he listened to everything (the end wasn't as quiet and as calm as I had planned). He later told my mom that it drove him crazy to hear me like that but he did do a good job just waiting it out!
Eli was over the moon with his "Baby Bacon."
For the first few days things were just ridiculous. John returned to work immediately following the first weekend. My mom was here helping out and we are so thankful for that! Now, while John is on leave we can just enjoy our time.
I'm SO incredibly thankful that the deployment is over, we're now a family of FIVE and our life together has really begun. Our building stage is over! ...for now...