I'm listening to a piano Christmas station, while we finally have the snow I've been wishing for. The older kids are out playing in the snow with Winslow and Grandpa, and I am sitting in my cozy bedroom, looking out at the snow covered backyard. Dreamy. And here I sit, almost 2 weeks into life with this absolutely sweet little being nestled on my chest, and I am finally finding the time to write about his coming into the world.
Life with little Wesley Birch has so far been a joy. Perhaps it's the knowledge in the back of my mind that he is our last baby, or perhaps it's already having two previous baby notches on my mama belt, but for some reason, I am just enjoying this period and am wishing for time to slow down.
First I want to start off with the story of Wesley's name. For years, both Winslow and I loved the name Wesley. If Katia had been a boy, her name would have been Wesley, so it was definitely a front runner for a boy's name for us. It wasn't until I was pregnant this time around, that I looked up the meaning of his name, and was pleasantly surprised. The meaning of Wesley's name is: Valley or meadow in the West. And since Wesley was conceived in Beaver Creek (Canada's most Westerly community, which is surrounded by North America's largest mountains), I found it to be quite fitting.
Wesley's second name is Birch, and is in honour of the birch trees that surrounded us in the Yukon (and here too). The First Nations people in Beaver Creek, would harvest birch bark to make all kinds of beautiful and functional items such as baskets, moose callers, baby carriers, toys and more. I have fond memories of learning to make a birch basket, and so that is where Wesley's second name comes from.
And now, Wesley's birth story.
On Dec. 14th, the day before Wesley was born, I began to feel some serious cramping that had not occurred prior. They were kinda sharp period cramps, not the low dull ones I had with Katia, and I knew that things were starting to happen. In my mind, I started to prepare. I began to make mention to Noah and Katia that things could start happening, that baby could decide to come soon. I just wanted them to feel somewhat prepared and not thrown for a loop. To be honest, I think Winslow was in a little bit of denial that things were starting to happen, he insisted that we had a few more days.
The night, I fell asleep early at about 7pm, only to wake up at around 10 pm with continuous cramps. I tried to ignore them and fall back asleep, but I recognized them as "back labour" pains, and couldn't sleep through them. I decided to start texting my friend Leanne back in the Yukon. She was my doula for Katia's birth, and knows a great deal about birthing. I was sad that she couldn't be with me for this birth, but felt connected to her through texts, as she offered me advice and suggestions.
In the middle of the night I had a warm bath which greatly helped with the pain of the back labour. I didn't get back to sleep that night.
Come morning, I filled Winslow in on what happened. My contractions were still 10 minutes apart, as they had been all night, and I was feeling tired and in pain. I began to feel that this labour was very similar to Noah's (which was painful, long and ended up with a posterior baby and a c-section). I recognized the similar pain (in my back) and the I felt a bit disappointed, as my experience with Katia's labour had been so lovely and relatively easy. I really wanted things to pick up, and all the while Winslow was still convinced that things weren't actually happening.
I spent the morning puttering around and stopping for contractions. We were lucky enough to have my Dad with us, and he was helping me during my contractions by applying counter pressure on my back (meanwhile Winslow was running around, dropping Noah off at school, taking the car in for an oil change *ugh!* and charging the batteries for the cameras.)
It was around 9am that my contractions started to pick up. They were anywhere from 8, to 5, to 3 minutes apart (very similar to Noah's labour) and we decided that it might be a good time to get ready for the hospital.
To add to the excitement of an impending baby, it also happened to be Noah's school concert that day (something I had been anticipating for months), and it looked like I was going to miss it. I was terribly sad about missing it, but I knew that it was just going to be that way, so we made arrangements for Grandpa to take Katia to the show.
It was around 10:30 am when we decided to make our way to the hospital. My contractions weren't consistent, but they were about 5 minutes apart, and seeing as this way my third baby, we decided to go ahead. I had a few phone calls from friends (hi Sarah!) and then we made our way there.
I remember as we drove to the hospital, I only had one contraction and was able to walk up the stairs to the maternity unit. I knew that things were slowing down once again and began to feel defeated. I was checked by the nurse and was only 2 cm at that point. She suggested that we walk around and try to get labour going some more, so that's what we did. It was very busy in the hospital and I was not enjoying myself at all. As we walked the halls of the hospital, people would stop and ask us if I was okay. It was distracting and I felt like I was a spectacle. We decided that since things had slowed down, that maybe we should head home for a bit so that I could rest. I was very tired and since we weren't being admitted to a labour room, I wanted to be somewhere more quiet.
On the way out to the car, my contractions came on strong once again. Winslow was reluctant to drive away from the hospital, but I really felt the need to get away from the hospital and decided that a drive might do us good (at least it would be quiet and we could head back to the hospital if need be).
On our drive, Winslow stopped for some food (hey, someone's gotta eat!) and I worked through intense back labour contractions. I remember that during my contractions, I would roll down the windows and as soon as they were done, I would crank the heat up. We must have spent almost an hour and a half, driving around and ultimately parking just next to the hospital, while I worked through my contractions. Finally, when I couldn't handle the pain anymore, we pulled up to the hospital and Winslow got me a wheel chair. The pain at this point was too unbearable to walk.
I remembering covering my self with my big North Face coat, hood over my head, as Winslow pushed me through the busy main entrance.
Once up in labour and delivery, things happened quick.
I was having back to back contractions and began to feel the need to push. It hurt like crazy and I was doing everything I could not to panic and lose sight of what was happening, but at the same time, this was nothing like my previous labour with Katia. It was intense and painful and all I could do was try to breathe through each contraction.
I remember being checked upon our 2nd arrival and now I was 6 cm. I was a bit irritated that things had not progressed quicker, but also knew that this was happening and that soon we'd be having a baby.
From entering the labour room, to when Wesley was born only took 1.5 hours. The pushing part was maybe 10 minutes (a far cry from the 3 hours it took with Noah and Katia- yes- I pushed with Noah even though he was a c-section baby). I remember lying on my back for delivering Wesley (even though I HATE that position) and I remember screaming the loudest I had ever screamed in my life.
As it turns out, the little guy was facing posterior as well (some people call this sunny-side-up) and so that would explain the intense pain. Usually, babies come out crown first, but Wesley was coming out face first (as Noah tried to do as well).
When Wesley was born, he was quickly whisked over to a heated table, as he was examined by the pediatrician and respiratory specialist (he had meconium). I wasn't thrilled about that, as they cut his umbilical cord without letting it pulse (as I had requested), but at that point, I was just happy that he was safely delivered.
One funny memory I have from Wesley's delivery, was that as soon as I saw his gender, I yelled out, "holy shit! it's a boy!". I'm not sure why I felt the need to announce it that way, and I'm not entirely proud of my choice of words, but I think I was truly surprised that he was not as she. I don't want anyone to think that I was disappointed that Wesley is a boy. Infact, I was very happy to learn he was a boy. We have loved having both a boy and girl, and Wesley is the perfect little addition to our family.
And so there it is. If I had to sum up my experience with Wesley's birth, I would use the following two words: FAST and FURIOUS ... oh and CRAZY. In the end, I had an unmedicated VBAC with a posterior baby. Wesley was born at 3:00pm on December 15th, and within an hour, Winslow was out the door and off to Noah's Christmas recital (he had two performances that day).
Having a baby at Christmastime (especially when you have 2 older children) is a little bit crazy. Throw in post partum hormones, healing after birth, and then add excited hyped up children on Christmas vacation and well... you can guess how the mood was here. I think we did our very best to take care of everyone's needs, but still, I must admit, that I kind of floated through Christmas and never quite got in the mood.
We are now 2 weeks into our life as a family of five, and I am happy to say that we are doing well. Winslow is on paternity leave for 8 weeks, and the children have this week off of school. It's been nice for us to just relax and stay close to home. Winslow and Grandpa have been able to take the kids to go skating and play outside, and we've all been enjoying movies, board games and lots of yummy food. It's petty blissful here at our house, and we are beyond in love with little Wesley Birch.