Miracle #2

As promised, the story of Judah Gerard:

We found out that we were expecting our second miracle in October of 2008 - almost exactly two years after finding out we were pregnant with Roman. I wouldn't say that we were "trying" really hard to conceive, but we are always open to new life. We practice NFP, which has been an incredible blessing to our marriage. If you don't know much about it, you should seriously consider reading up on it a bit. Needless to say, we had been praying and had discerned that anytime during or after September would be a good time to get pregnant. We feel very blessed that conception came so easily with both boys.

I knew that there was a small chance that we had conceived, but I just didn't consider it to be a very likely scenario. In fact, I hadn't really been thinking about it at all until I realized I was a little "late". I decided I wouldn't say anything to Joe just yet. I waited a few days and then I started feeling pregnant. Tired. Slightly nauseous. One day while he was at work I thought I would go get a pregnancy test just to rule out the possibility. Ha ha! Well, naturally, it was positive. For the record, the second pregnancy test was also positive. :) I was so excited!!

Now I had to figure out how to tell Joe the big news. He was there when I took the pregnancy test when I was pregnant with Roman, so I was excited to surprise him a little. I remembered that Suellen had given us a T-shirt that Joe wore when Mary was born that said "Big Brother", remember? So, I dug it out, and put it on Roman before Joe came home.

Joe walked in, said hello to Roman and to me, sat down, loosened his tie, and asked how our day was.


He honestly didn't say anything about it for several minutes. Finally, he said "that's kind of a funny shirt, isn't it?" I laughed and replied, "well, you know what that means don't you?"

He stopped, smiled, and said "are you serious!?"

He got up and hugged me and Roman...he was really excited! It was a great moment with our little growing family.

My pregnancy was much the same as it was with Roman. I was tired, and sometimes felt a little queasy, but I was SO blessed to never be sick. Joe and Tony might tell you that I was more irritable or moody. They might tell you that I was increasingly anal about cleanliness, that I craved oreos, that I fell asleep mid sentence and cried about pretty much everything. They might say I was a little unpredictable. The important thing, though, is that I loved being pregnant just as much as I did the first time, although there were different circumstances that had different pros and cons. For example, I wasn't working which was awesome because that meant I could nap with Roman in the afternoon. On the other hand, I was chasing a little guy around the entire day, which was a lot more exhausting than sitting behind a desk.

It was so much fun to get to experience a life inside of me again. And this time, I not only had Joe to share it with, but I also had Roman. It was awesome to get to attempt to explain that there was a baby growing inside my belly. He came to a couple of doctor's appointments with us to hear the baby's heartbeat, which he loved. When we asked him what the baby's heart said he would reply "boom, boom, boom".

We had our first ultrasound when I was about 20 weeks pregnant. We didn't care if we got a boy or girl this time, but we were anxious to know which it was. We really enjoyed knowing that Roman was a boy and felt that it helped us "get to know him better" before he was born. We were super excited to learn that we were expecting another boy! He was looking healthy. Well, I guess I should say, what we could see of the baby was looking healthy. He insisted on laying face down on the placenta with his legs tucked in "indian style" and his hands by his head the whole time. Since the ultrasound technician couldn't get good pictures of his heart or his face, she asked us to come back for a second ultrasound so they could be certain everything was developing normally. We were excited because it meant we would get to see our little buddy again. And, we got to take Roman with us for the second ultrasound.

Before the second ultrasound, we decided on the name Judah Gerard. (See the book of Genesis to read up on Judah!) Judah was one of Jacob's sons and, therefore, became the patriarch of the tribe of Judah, through which the whole Messianic line descended. The name Judah means "praise". Christ is often referred to as "the Lion of Judah". (Actually we went with a lion theme in our nursery for that reason!) Gerard is Joe's middle name, after Saint Gerard Majella (the patron of expectant mothers).

Anyway, Roman LOVED seeing Judah on the "movie". :) He watched very intently, listened to his heartbeat, and kept saying "watch Judah again" after we left! I was so glad he got to experience that with us.

The rest of my pregnancy went very smoothly. I was surprised that I started feeling nervous about childbirth as we approached our due date. I guess with Roman, I had no expectations. I knew that delivering would probably be the worst pain of my life but, obviously, I had no way to quantify that. This time, I would have something to compare it to. I knew that I could do it. I had done it before.

It's easy to get excited for a baby. Not as easy to get yourself pumped up for excruciating pain. :)
So, I nested and waited. Was scared and excited. I tried to enjoy every moment I had with just Joe and Roman. I knew life was about to change drastically. It would never again just be the three of us. It would be better, but it would be different.

Similar to my pregnancy with Roman, I started dilating fairly early. Three weeks before my due date, I was at 2 cm. The last week I was at 4 cm. On Saturday (May 30), I passed my mucus plug. Too bad that doesn't mean much. :) Kind of like dilating, I knew it could still be weeks before I went into labor. Although, I was hoping that the combination of the two might mean that labor would start soon! I was ready.

So, Tuesday morning (June 2) I woke up with contractions starting at about 4:45 am. They were about 7 minutes apart to start with. Yay! I waited about an hour before I woke Joe up and told him I didn't think he should go to work that day. I got up and showered and started doing some last minute cleaning. I called my mom to tell her Judah was on the way. I ate breakfast and watched Veggie Tales with Roman.

Tony was so hilariously nervous. He came upstairs when I was in the kitchen making my breakfast. He peeked around the corner at me and said "are you ok?" To which I replied, "Yes! Remember, I told you, it's not like the movies. I am fine. I am having a contraction right now. See? Not scary." He was a little baffled by all of it. :)

Around 9 or 10 my mom came over to hang out with us. Joe brought some more boxes of baby clothes up from the basement for me to sort and wash and put away. (This is his idea of nesting...give me something to do while I'm in labor. :) It was actually perfect. It kept me busy!) Joe went and washed and cleaned out the cars. Mary came over around 11 or 12 to stay with Roman when we went to the hospital. Tony went to work. We had lunch and put Roman down for a nap.

A little after noon, I decided we should probably start timing contractions again. (My mom was so awesome to help us do that part!) They weren't hurting, but I hadn't really been paying attention to how far apart they were. They were very inconsistent for the next couple of hours. They would be 10 minutes apart....then 5...then 8...then 4.


I did more laundry. Adam came over. I Swept and mopped the floors. Vacuumed. Talked to my brother on the phone (in Iraq). I asked him how he was doing. He said "not in labor so better than you." Typical Jim. Love him so much. Roman woke up from his nap. We played with squirt guns outside.

Around 3:00 my contractions were coming 3 minutes apart. I was still not in pain, but was starting to feel a little more uncomfortable - i.e. I preferred to stand through the contractions. We waited about a half an hour to be sure they would stay consistent. Finally, about 3:45, we started packing our things into the car, said our good-byes to Roman and Mary and Adam, and headed to Ames. My mom followed us so she could be there too.

By the time we got to the hospital and got checked in and settled in our room, it was about 4:45. Jenny Atzen was the midwife on call that night. I had only seen her for a couple of appointments but really liked her. She came in and checked me right away and I was at 6 cm. Pretty decent progress. I was bleeding quite a bit, a good sign that I was dilating more. She said she thought I would have the baby by 10:00 that night.

I was hesitant to believe that. I didn't want to get my hopes up, considering they told me that I would definitely have Roman by 9 pm and he was born after midnight. Joe was also hesitant to believe it. He even made a bet with my mom. Joe said Judah woulnd't be born until after midnight. I am happy to say he owes her dinner. :)

I decided I would get into the whirlpool for a while to relax before things got too painful. My mom went to get Joe a drink and they hung out while I was in the tub. Then we decided to walk the halls for a bit to keep things moving along. We came back to the room and Joe and my mom ordered some dinner. We watched some of Evan Almighty. Jenny came back in and sat with us for about a half an hour. I so appreciated that she took the time to get to know us better and hear what we wanted our birth experience to be like. She was very laid back and made us feel super comfortable. I usually see Donna Deardorf (she was out of town), but Joe and I decided we liked Jenny just as much. She was fantastic.

The contractions started getting painful a little after 6. This time, I really liked sitting in the rocking chair. Without pitocin, the contractions weren't so intense and I had more of a break between them. The chair was perfect to keep me moving during the contractions and then rest between them.

I was so glad to have my mom with us this time. She was great. She was in the room and offered to help occasionally - rubbing my back and getting us whatever we needed. But, she stayed very low key and was quietly reassuring me the whole time. I so appreciated her being there.

A little after 7, I told Joe I was starting to feel more pressure and I thought maybe Jenny should check me again. He thought maybe I should wait longer. He reminded me how discouraged I got when I was in labor with Roman and they would come check me, only to tell me I hadn't made any progress. And, after all, we had only been at the hospital a couple of hours.

I decided maybe he was right. But, then, a few minutes later, Jenny came back in to see how we were doing, and I changed my mind. To our great surprise (and great JOY), I was at 9 cm!!!

We were shocked! In fact, Joe made the comment that he didn't even think we were in transition yet, because I wasn't "acting like I was dying". Ha ha. I knew I was graceful and all, but, come on... :) He was right, though. I was prepared to deal with a lot more pain. Dare I say, it had been a piece of cake thus far. I mean, it was painful, but it was nothing compared to contractions with pitocin...for 10 hours.

So, Jenny went ahead and broke my water. Almost immediately I had the urge to push, and they told me to go ahead and do whatever I felt like. My mom left the room for the pushing so we could have our first few minutes with Judah alone. Pushing seemed more painful to me this time. Maybe it's because the contractions were easier so the pushing seemed harder? Maybe because I didn't have an episiotomy and therefore, didn't have any local anesthetic? Whatever the case, that was the hardest, most painful part. But, praise God, it was only about 25 minutes until our sweet Judah arrived!

With that last freeing push, I felt instant relief sweep over me, and overwhelming joy as they placed our little boy on my chest. The first thing I said was "You look so much like your brother!" Judah definitely has his own distinct features, but the resemblance between our two babes is striking. He was beautiful and healthy and amazing. There are no words to describe the love.

Judah got checked by the nurses, and then we enjoyed some skin to skin time. My mom came in to see us. Soon, we decided to give breastfeeding a try. I was nervous because Roman wouldn't latch on at all, but Judah latched on right away and nursed for forty minutes that first night. I am sure the nurses thought I was absolutely insane because I was beyond ecstatic and kept saying really intelligent things like "I can't believe how good he is at this!!". Yeah.

Remember this post? That is what I call answered prayer. :)

I remember my mom telling me that when she got pregnant with Jim she didn't know if she could love another baby as much as she loved him. I thought that I was kind of silly...until I got pregnant. I knew I loved both of my kids...but the love I had for Roman when he was born was so overwhelming...I didn't know if I could feel like that again. I understood what my mom meant.

Lindsay asked me the other day what I thought about that now....if it the love was different. I think the love for the second child is different. It was different because I had felt that intensity before. It was definitely not less - it was just familiar this time.

1 comment:

  1. Love, love, love reading your birth story! What a fantastic birth & you tell it really well. God is awesome! What a beautiful family you have!