What a joy to have a third precious boy in our family.
The Story of Silas David
As you might recall, I wrote about Roman's birth story here and Judah's here. So, it's about time I tell you about Silas. (Buckle up. This could take a while.) We found out that we were pregnant with baby #3 at the end of June, 2010. Usually, we can't contain our excitement about a new baby and we end up telling everyone right away. It was a little different this time because we thought that Joe's family was going to be coming to visit in August. We really wanted to tell them in person and so we decided to wait. However, in July the plans changed. Dad was going to be having surgery and so they weren't coming after all. Since we weren't going to get to share in person, and since I was due in February we decided to send out little valentines. They said something like this: "Dear Grandma and Grandpa, will you be my valentine? Love, Baby Pometto #3 (due February 24). It was fun to have a special way to share the news. First trimester was pretty typical for me. I was feeling tired and a bit nauseated, but all around, everything was going smoothly. I went in for my 9 week appointment and ended up having an early ultrasound because they weren't able to find a heartbeat. They assured me that baby was probably just too small or that he might be in a position that would make it difficult to hear the heartbeat externally. No matter how much reassurance, those few moments felt like hours of waiting. We did finally hear the heartbeat, but they went ahead and did the ultrasound anyway since they had already ordered it and they weren't busy. Once I heard the heartbeat (and wasn't freaking out anymore!) it was fun to see our tiny little babe moving around. Everything continued normally until my 20 week ultrasound in October. For some reason I was really anxious the morning of the ultrasound. My mom was coming over to watch Judah and we were taking Roman with us to see the baby. She was running a little late and I called her kind of in a panic. I'm sure she thought I was losing it. She was only 5 minutes late. I remember being almost shaky as we packed up our things. I remember stopping in the middle of the kitchen to take a deep breath and telling God "I trust you with this baby". And I remember thinking that was a weird thing for me to tell Him at this moment. We knew we wanted to find out the gender and we were really excited about that. We kept going back and forth on whether or not to take Roman with us. I kept telling people "I have no reason to think anything would be wrong at the ultrasound, but I wouldn't want to have him there if that happened". All of this is very strange to think back on. Funny the way God prepares your heart. We got into the room and exchanged pleasantries with the ultrasound tech. We have had the same woman with each pregnancy. Right away we saw baby and a good strong heartbeat. One of the first things she said, though, was "This is your placenta. It is completely covering your cervix. Your doctor will talk more with you about this during your appointment". We had heard the term "placenta previa" but didn't know much about it. We knew that the fact that she wasn't offering more information probably didn't mean anything good. I tried not to worry during the ultrasound. I wanted to enjoy seeing my baby and seeing Roman see the baby. We learned that we were going to have a third boy and we were overjoyed. As the ultrasound progressed there was a bit more talk about the placenta and Joe tried to prod the tech for more information. The most we got was "Since the placenta is completely covering the cervix, baby can't get out that way. If it doesn't move you'll have to have a C-section". Again, we were trying not to worry or over react. She said "if it doesn't move" so maybe it wasn't a huge concern? We went to have our appointment with the midwife and the first thing she said when she came in was "I hear we have a complication". That's when it all really came out. She told us that I would need to take it really easy - no more strenuous activity and no more lifting heavy objects...including my children. If I did anything that was too strenuous I would put undue pressure on the placenta and that could cause early labor or even placental abruption. She told me to come in immediately if I saw any spotting or had any contractions. She told us the biggest concern was me going into labor on my own, causing hemorrhaging, which would be dangerous for the baby and for me. She told us that the fact that the placenta was completely (rather than partially) covering the cervix meant that it was not likely to move, and that we should start preparing for bed rest and a C-section. Um, whoah. I thought we were just coming to see an ultrasound and find out the gender of our baby. That was a lot of information to take in. I was very overwhelmed and left the office in tears. Luckily, I have seen this midwife with each of my boys and so she hugged me and told me to have a good cry. She is so sweet. Anyway, for the next month I did exactly what they told me...which was very difficult given that my children were three years old and 16 months old at the time. I was so blessed with so much help. Joe did all kinds of extra stuff around the house and so did Tony. They wouldn't let me lift any laundry baskets, trash bags, or small redheads. I had friends from church that babysat while I ran errands, helped me clean my house, and brought us meals. We just felt so humbled to experience the love of God through his people in such an extravagant way. Every day, I begged God to let me have a healthy baby. I asked him to move the placenta and allow us to experience natural childbirth again, if He willed it. But more than that, I asked him to have his way with us. I would plead with Him on behalf of my son, but I would tell Him that He was in control (like He didn't already know that?) We had so many people praying for us (including you) and we didn't take any of that for granted. We could feel the peace that filled our hearts because of your prayers. We really can never thank you all enough for the way you lifted our family to the Most High. Because "the prayer of a righteous man is powerful", we started a novena (9 days of prayer) to St Gerard (patron of expectant mothers) on October 15 (his feast day). (That was a lot of parentheses). Joe's middle name is Gerard because, ironically, his mom was diagnosed with Placenta Previa when she was pregnant with him. After a novena to St Gerard, her placenta moved and she was able to have natural labor with no complications. So, shout out to St Gerard for praying for our family. (More on saints here). Anyway, long story even longer :), God is SO SO faithful. In November we learned that the placenta had moved some, and in December that it had moved completely out of the way and we were clear for natural labor. Praise God! We are so thankful that we got to experience all of this and to see God move in such a big way. We are so thankful for friends, for prayer warriors, and for a God who is healer, protector and provider. It is nothing less than a miracle that he so lavishly granted us the desire of our hearts. After the December appointment, I felt back to myself...back to not worrying about every little thing and back to enjoying all the amazing things about pregnancy. I continued feeling great until the last few weeks of inevitable discomfort (and, still, I really had no major complaints!) At my 38 week appointment I was dilated 3 cm and 80% effaced. Same at my 39 week appointment, which was a little discouraging, but I was glad to at least be that far along. On Monday night (Feb 21) I started noticing some spotting. With each pregnancy, this is how I know I'm dilating more and that labor will not be far off. I went to bed early just in case. I woke up Tuesday morning and passed the mucus plug (TMI? Well, it's part of the story...), but still no sign of contractions. I decided I would just try my best to go about my day as usual. Joe headed into work and the boys and I got up and got ourselves ready and went to the library. We had lunch and (miraculously) the boys both took naps, so I took one too. I woke up a little after 3:30 with some contractions. I got up and started some last minute packing and cleaning. Now, I guess I should back up a bit. I tested positive for Group B Strep, so I was told to come to the hospital as soon as I was in labor so they could start my antibiotic. SO, I waited about an hour to make sure the contractions were going to stay and then I called Joe to tell him it was time. I called the hospital and told them we would be on our way as soon as our babysitter arrived. My mom was planning to come over and watch the boys when labor started, but she was about 2 hours away. Tony was at work, so I called our sweet neighbor, Paulette, and she came right over. What a lifesaver!! I got the boys their dinner and got everything packed up. We said goodbye to our boys and headed to the hospital around 6:15. Poor Judah was very sad that Joe came home from work and then left right away. I felt just terrible leaving him while he was upset, but I knew we needed to get going. When we got in the car, Joe asked how far apart the contractions were. They had been coming every 5-7 minutes but, truthfully, I wasn't keeping track very well because I was trying to get everything ready to go. We stopped at McDonalds to get a little snack anticipating that I would have a long labor and would need some energy. (Start to finish, Roman's labor was 24 hours and Judah's was 16 hours). On the way to the hospital, the contractions started coming three minutes apart. I assumed that they wouldn't stay that way because with Judah's labor the contractions would come 3 min, 5 min, 8 min, 4 min...etc. Very inconsistent. I always try to metally prepare for the worst (ie the most hours of labor and the most pain I think of) because then if it's not super long and painful it doesn't seem so bad! :) We got to the hospital and started the check in process. Our sweet nurse got me settled in bed with the fetal heart monitor and started the list of (what seemed like) never ending questions. I kept asking when they were going to start the IV of antibiotics because it takes 4 hours for them to take effect. She told me we would finish check in and then the midwife would come see how dilated I was, and then we would start the IV. About half hour into the check in questions, the nurse started realizing it was getting harder for me to talk through the contractions, so she would stop and let me finish each one before moving on. I was also starting to get to the point where I wanted to stand through contractions. I kept thinking that I was in quite a bit of pain for only being in labor for four hours. About 7:30 we finished checking in and the midwife came in. She checked me and said "Well, you've been busy! You're at 7cm and 100% effaced." I was super excited about that. Especially since the contractions were starting to get pretty painful, I was glad to know I had made that much progress. Then our nurse started my antibiotic drip. They kept telling me that I should have "told them I was serious". They said I was one of the happiest 7 cm they had seen and if they had known I was that far along they would have started the antibiotic earlier. I told them that I try really hard to stay calm because it's a lot easier to deal with the pain if you're calm, but I definitely wasn't expecting to be at 7. So, everyone left and Joe and I spent the next hour and a half just talking, and trying to get through the contractions. Back rub, foot rub, and praying. We talked about this blog post that really helped me through labor. At some point during all of that, Joe told me that I should have the midwife check me again the next time she came in. I wasn't so sure about that. I mean, it hurts when they check you while you're in labor. I wasn't feeling much pressure yet and so I didn't think it was necessary. But, when the midwife came back in at 9:15, she asked if I wanted to be checked. I expressed my indecisiveness, but Joe asked me to do it for his sake. He reasoned that if I didn't think I was at 7 when we got there, then I might be further along than I thought. So, she checked and told me I was at 8cm. She also said that she wanted to break my water because the sack was started to protrude out of the cervix. She said that this would prevent the baby from pushing down and causing me to dilate more, until my water broke. So, at 9:30, she broke my water and then said "okay, now you're at 9". I responded "And now I want to push". She told me I could start whenever I wanted to. And thus began the 25 minutes that felt like 25 hours of pushing. :) There's just no getting around the fact that it's ridiculously painful. They aren't kidding when they call it the ring of fire. Tears and sweat, blood and water...and at 9:55, Silas made his debut. He was placed directly on my chest and...oh, what a miracle! He was just as breathtaking as I imagined he would be. I was so overwhelmed with emotion...after all, I didn't know if I would ever get to have a natural birth again. For a long time, I had feared that there would be complications and that he might not be safe, and yet...yet, here he was. So perfect. Joe and I watched the video the other day (don't worry, completely G rated) and he asked me "How can you go from crying out in intense pain one minute, to laughing and smiling the next minute?" The adrenaline of new life is like nothing else. I love that moment. It's unforgettable.