Sunday, November 16, 2014

John Wallace Frame: A Birth Story

To my sweet baby boy,

I sit here, cozy in my bed, with you breathing heavy on my chest, and I try to reflect on the journey it was to get you here. My memory blazes past the highest of high moments, and also some lower than low moments. Some aspects of your birth still make me shiver when I think of them; but then you, asleep on my chest, sigh extra loud, and your heavy, warm breath washes over my neck. And I know that I would do it all over again, as many times as needed, just to ensure that you, my sweet Johnboy, would join my family.

There were a lot of things that went wrong in my pregnancy and labor, but all of the most important things went right. And for that I am forever grateful. I have learned so much in the process of becoming your mother. And, lets be honest, some of those lessons came disguised as trials. But looking back now, I see that every second of becoming your mommy has been laced with grace and beauty and the hand of God.

After Rae was born, we were obviously so thrilled to have a little girl. But both your dad and I felt strongly that we had a little boy named John who was waiting to join our family. Your daddy's Grandpa was named John and he was a wonderful man. He passed away suddenly when your dad was only 5, but he has continued to be a big part of his life. I obviously never got to meet Grandpa John, but after hearing so many stories about him and seeing the way your Dad and Grandpa talk about him, I couldn't help but fall in love with him too. Both your dad and I feel like Grandpa John has been a big part of our lives, even though he's not physically here with us right now.

That begin said, your Dad and I hoped to get pregnant around the beginning of this year. I had taken a couple pregnancy tests, but it was a little early and they came back negative. I decided to wait awhile before taking another test to ensure more accuracy. But then one morning I had a very vivid dream that I gave birth to a perfect baby boy, and we named him John. I woke up and immediately took a pregnancy test because the anticipation was killing me! It came back positive and from then on I was fairly certain that I was pregnant with our little John!

We were so thrilled to be pregnant and had so much fun preparing Rae to be a big sister! Pregnancy is never easy for me, but there were so many good moments that I'll always hold on to. I loved feeling every one of your little kicks, twists, and hiccups. Being pregnant is such a gift, and I felt so blessed to be able to give you a healthy place to grow. Around my third trimester things got pretty tough. So as we drew nearer and nearer to your due date, we got more and more anxious to meet you. At one of our ultrasounds you were measuring 10 days early and the technician commented on what a big head you had. Your dad sarcastically replied, "I bet that's what every pregnant woman wants to hear!"

Since you were so big, my doctor was convinced that you would come one or two weeks early. But the days kept coming, and there was no sign of you. I was pretty much on bed-rest, which was difficult because I felt like it was stalling labor. But every time I tried to be active, I was in too much pain to continue for very long. I was getting pretty discouraged and feeling quite defeated. When your cousin Maddyn was born (just two days before you) I was so happy, but also a little jealous. And then your Uncle Kyle told me something that changed my whole perspective. He told me all about Maddyn's safe arrival and then he said, "She told me that her cousin is ready to go, he just wanted to hang with his Grandparents a little longer!" I knew that you would be comings straight from heaven...from the company of my Grams, Daddy's Grandpa John, and my Grandma and Grandpa Enzler. That image still makes me cry happy tears. I was a little more patient after that.

Two days before your due date, we were called into the hospital to be induced. We got the call around 5am and your dad and I jumped up and raced around to get ready. We were so excited! But before we left, your Dad laid his hands on my head and gave me a blessing. In the blessing I was told that all would be well and that my body would do what it was supposed to do. I wasn't promised that everything would be easy, but that the most important things would go well. And that's exactly what happened.

I had been dilated to a 3 for a few weeks, and my labor with Rae went pretty fast, so we were fairly certain that you would come pretty quickly as well. They started me on pitocin right away and I asked to get the epidural before things got too painful. I felt like I had been in a lot of pain throughout my pregnancy, and I had no desire to feel any pain during labor. Unfortunately, my epidural was kind of a disaster. I remember sitting on the edge of my bed while the doctor tried multiple times to get it right which was really painful. Your dad stood in front of me, letting me squeeze his hand as hard as I needed while I buried my head into his shoulder.

Before Rae's labor, I gave your Dad a really hard time about being a good birth partner. And then her labor went flawlessly and I really didn't end up needing very much from him. My labor with you was very different, and I relied heavily on your Dad and his support. He really proved himself as a birth partner. He spent his morning getting me ice water to drink, heat pads for my back, giving me massages, and holding the trashcan up for me when I was nauseous. His attention never left me and his focus was always on your safe arrival. He was the epitome of love and service and compassion.

Early in the afternoon my nurse checked me and I was dilated to a 9. She told me to let her know when I started to feel pressure, which would indicate that I was ready to start pushing. Within a few minutes I started to feel that pressure, but I was so numb that I wasn't confident that I was really feeling anything. After about 20 minutes I called the nurse. She lifted my leg to check me and immediately slammed it back down. "Oh! Yup! The baby is right there! Don't move, or the baby will come shooting out!" And she ran out to call my doctor. Within minutes the room was buzzing with nurses and doctors getting ready for your arrival. When my doctor was ready, I began to push. We expected the pushing process to take a little while like it did with your sister, but I only pushed through one contraction and the doctor was able to pull you right out. I remember him saying, "Here's the head! The head is coming out! It's stiiiill coming! It's a really big head…..It's almost out! It’s coming….." I couldn’t help but smile as we all realized that you were quite a chunky, healthy baby.

I was so emotional as you were being born. I was so anxious to be done with pregnancy, but mostly I was excited to meet you. I was flooded with every good, spiritual, and maternal emotion there is. It was such a powerful moment for me and I remember laying my head back and saying a quick prayer of gratitude for you. Dr. Erickson held you up and your dad happily exclaimed, "It's a boy!!!" And my doctor followed up with, "He's SO big!" I wasn't surprised by either statement.

They placed you on my chest and you cried and cried. Your dad and I cried too. We examined your dark hair and olive skin, your perfect little lips, and your tiny little hands that grasped immediately onto my fingers. You had the squishiest cheeks and the sweetest eyes. Your dad hovered next to us and we couldn't take our eyes off you. We had always left a little door open for another name, but I instantly wanted to call you John. We both knew that you were our John.

Eventually the nurses took you to weigh and measure you. Everyone was on the edge of their seats to see how your stats came out. First the nurse measured your length, 20 inches (though the doctors would later correct that to be 21 inches). Your head measured 15 inches, and the nurse gawked as she explained to us that 13 inches is more typical. Then they weighed you and everyone watched as the scale tipped just past 10 pounds. The room was full of "ooh's" and "ahh's" but I wasn't surprised in the slightest.

We spent the next few days in the hospital getting to know you, our perfect baby John. It was pretty emotional for all of us as your dad called his Mom, Dad, and Grandma Robin and told them that you were a boy, and that we would name you John Wallace Frame. It was a really special experience and one I will never forget.

After a few hours, your Grandma brought Rae to meet you. I held back tears as your big sister walked in the room, gave me a big hug, and then turned all her attention to you. She pointed out your small fingers, your button nose, and your tiny little ears. She kissed your head and gave you a special giraffe stuffed animal that she had picked out especially for you. She was thrilled to see that you had brought her something too...a Minnie Mouse stuffed animal! That sealed the deal and she was officially your biggest fan.

Because of my epidural, the week after your birth was pretty rough on me. We ended up back in the hospital once and stuck in bed the rest of the week. It wasn't easy, but it was always worth it. And you made it as easy as possible. During that week you were a great eater (gotta keep up that weight!), a great sleeper, and just the dreamiest baby. And then once I started feeling better, you started acting more like a newborn. I always thought that was nice of you to go easy on me while I was recovering.

My sweet Johnny, my heart is so full of love for you. Sometimes I look at you, your sister, and your Daddy and I feel like my heart could burst. I don't know what I did to deserve this beautiful little life, but I'll be forever grateful. Our family is my most prized possession. Nothing matters more to me. Thank you for being my perfect baby boy. I love you to the moon and back, twice.



More details here, here,  here, and here. Video here.


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