Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in spirit, for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.

Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 5:3-12

Oh Lord,

Teach me to seek You and reveal yourself to me when I seek You.

For I cannot seek You unless You first teach me, nor find You unless You first reveal yourself to me.

Let me seek You in longing, and long for You in seeking.

Let me find You in love, and love You in finding.

~Saint Ambrose of Milan

<< # St. Blog's Parish ? >>

Name: Erin Yonke

Location: Aurora, IL

Info: I'm happily married to my husband and champion pro-life activist, Matt. I stay home with my three small boys; Ambrose (11/06), Peter (3/08), and Joseph (9/10).

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Charlotte's birth story: A Story of Pleasant Surprises, Part II

--Part Two--

I awoke after my deliciously sound sleep at 5:45am on Thursday, July 12 (after almost 9 hours of sleep! Oh, sweet surprise!) with a contraction.  Strong, but not remarkably stronger than the contractions I'd been having the previous days.  I went back to sleep.  An hour later, however, I was growing certain that this was the real deal. Contractions were 5 minutes apart, and they hurt.  It was 7am.

I awoke to a text from Karen (aforementioned midwife) who was checking in, and one from my mom.  After updating them both, my mom said she was on her way to come get the boys, and the midwives and I would be in touch.  Distracted Husband distractedly asks, "So, do you think I should stay home today?"  (He did. and quickly proved himself dedicated, not distracted.)

I went around getting things ready.  I packed a diaper bag and fed kids breakfast.  Contractions were pretty erratic, but strong, and I was quite relieved when my mom's van pulled into the driveway.  As soon as my whiny darlings were on their way, contractions normalized.


Today, though, I had a plan.  I was going to do the laundry (including the rest of the baby clothes), make the bed (birth-style, with my birthy sheets), take a shower, make banana bread, and then go to my so-desired nail appointment at 1:30.  Then I'd  have the baby, with my nails looking awesome.

So off I went.  I folded laundry on the living room floor, kneeling next to a dining room chair during contractions.  I cleaned up the kids' breakfast, and put another load in the wash.  Contractions were definitely stronger now, 3-5 minutes apart.  I ate some toast, but truly couldn't stomach anything else at that point.  I made the bed and double checked all my birth supplies. The house was quiet, and I felt peaceful, purposeful, and strong.

  By the time I got to the kitchen to make banana bread (almost noon at this point), I was vocalizing with contractions and could feel myself slipping into "labor land"- the deepest, darkest part of the black hole.  I wasn't afraid anymore, though, and I let it come and go.

I got my bread into the oven and texted Karen and Christina (the other midwife).  It wasn't time yet, I told them, but it was "very hurty".   Karen called shortly after and we agreed that she should come check things out.  I was still fairly convinced that I was only in early labor at this point.  I expected to get checked at about 4cm, and head out to my nail appointment.

I took a shower as we waited for Karen.  She arrived around 12:30.  We sat on the living room floor and listened to the baby's heartbeat and talked about... ... I don't even know what we talked about.  I mentioned that I didn't think I had progressed very far, and that I wanted to get to my mani-pedi.  I also said that if, by some chance, I was further along, say 7-8cm, that I wanted to have my water broken (this is a decision made based on three previous labors wherein my water has not broken on it's own, and a history of having the baby relatively quickly after breaking the water.)  This discussion took place between contractions which were now flooded with I can't, I can'ts.  Ok.  This was really starting to hurt.

When Karen checked me, she said the only thing she could feel was a bulging sac.  Well, that was a pleasant surprise.  It was baby time.  We called Christina, who promptly headed over to get this show on the road.  I continued laboring on the bed for awhile, leaning against a stack of pillows.

Christina got to our house a few minutes after 1pm.  She broke my water at 1:10.  Things escalated pretty quickly here.  I started bearing down within a few contractions, kneeling on the living room floor, leaning against a chair.  "I don't know, Erin," Karen said after a contraction, "I think you could still make your nail appointment."  My midwives are hilarious enough to make a woman laugh moments before she has a baby.

The next little while felt like an eternity.  Christina suggested that I hold off on pushing for a few contractions.  The baby was stuck behind my pubic bone, which was slowing things down a bit.

Ok.  So I waded through a few contractions.  Those were the very worst, awful minutes of the whole thing.  In my mind, I was doing this for hours, but in reality it couldn't have been more than a few minutes.

At last, a strong urge to push.  Christina directed in me in pushing while kneeling on one knee through a contraction, then kneeling on the other through the next.  This helped the baby descend a bit more.  Still seemed to be lasting an eternity.

What happened next was one of the most awesome moments of my entire life.  (I think the moment that you push a baby out is always one of the most awesome moments, but this was one of the best for me).  Still kneeling one one knee in the living room, I remembered far, far back in my mind,

A full squat can shorten the birth canal by almost 30%.

A 30% off deal has never sounded so good. I pulled myself onto my feet, into a squat, pushing on my knees with my elbows.  With my next push, out came baby's head.  And with the next, shoulders, and all in a blur, there was my baby.   Oh, it was over.  Hallelujah.

And it was a girl.

Born at 2pm, we met our fourth child and our first daughter. 7lbs, 0oz and 19 inches long.  We named her (several days later!) Charlotte Magdalena Marie, after Blessed Sister Charlotte, martyred in the French Revolution, and Saint Mary Magdalene, whose feast day falls just a few days after her birthday.

And that, my friends, is both the end and the beginning.  Thank you for reading.

Comments on "Charlotte's birth story: A Story of Pleasant Surprises, Part II"


Blogger Sarah Faith said ... (December 21, 2012 7:39 AM) : 

What a stunning bit of prose, and the story no less beautiful. You are quite talented, making amazing blog posts and funny, cute children.


Blogger Karen Moon said ... (December 29, 2012 11:45 AM) : 

Really enjoyed reading your blog - great writing!


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