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).

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Birth of Victor Anastasios

Sunday afternoon, April 6, I was 38 weeks and 5 days pregnant- a full week before any of my four other babies had been born. I was feeling well, though a little worn out.

Matt and the three boys went out to a family birthday party in the early afternoon and left me home with Charlotte, who was napping.

I soaked up the quiet, savoring it completely. I was preparing for our last school week of the year, making a menu plan, and a list of final projects to tackle in my last remaining days of pregnancy.

I  was having some contractions. At nearly 39 weeks you're always having contractions, though, right? Around 4pm it occurred to me that they were coming pretty regularly-- about every 5 minutes, but they weren't painful. I felt confident that I still had another week of pregnancy left, and went about the evening. Charlotte got up from her nap, and I was enjoying sitting with just her for a bit.

The boys returned home at 5. Peter showed off his new birthday gifts from the party. We had dinner and cleaned up and then went out for a walk. The weather was beautiful-- truly one of the first breaths of spring. By the time we got back home, though, I was definitely more uncomfortable. I felt sort of sick, actually. I worried that maybe I had a UTI or a stomach virus or something. Generally, though, I was still planning for a typical Monday morning the next day. We got kids ready for bed. I poured myself several large glasses of water. Probably dehydrated, I thought. And then, when I was still having contractions an hour later, I poured a big glass of wine and took a hot bath.

I went to bed. Around 10, it started dawning on me that I'd been waiting a really long time for these contractions to fizzle. I did sleep some, but had a hard time getting comfortable. I noticed some contractions, but they seemed erratic. They're going to die down, I thought. I just need to get comfortable.

At 4am, I woke up with the shakes. Nauseated and trembling, I sort of admitted that really, truly, this was happening. I was in labor, and I couldn't sleep through contractions anymore. I stared at Charlotte, snuggled in bed next to me. I stroked her hair and her soft skin, and I felt sad. I felt sad because I knew. I felt sad because I would miss her being my littlest baby very, very much.

A few strong contractions later, I felt a gush! and thought for a minute that my water had broken (which, by the way, has never ever happened to me!). I waddled a very uncomfortable waddle to the bathroom and was a little panicked when I discovered that it wasn't amniotic fluid, but instead a pretty large amount of blood.

Still shakey, and moreso now. I was unsure about what to do next. Going back bed sounded...not right. Should I try to eat? Nothing sounded even remotely palatable. Call the midwife? I wanted wait and see if there was any more bleeding before calling. It was maybe 4:30am, and I decided I would wait until 5. I took another bath, which soothed the trembling some. Contractions were maybe every 4 or 5 minutes, lasting a little less than a minute.

The next few contractions brought several more gushes and I was feeling a bit worried. When I spoke to my midwife, we agreed that she should head over to do an assessment. In the meantime, my littlest two kids woke up (lest anything exciting happen in their absence!) and Matt and I were getting bowls of cereal and changing diapers. I didn't feel well. It was still dark outside and I felt uneasy all-around.

Kay arrived around 6am. She listened to the baby, and he sounded great. We sat at the dining room table, waiting for Beth (the other midwife) while she drank coffee and my older boys straggled out of bed. It grew light outside, and I took a deep breath. "It's going to be fine," I announced out loud, in response to my own inner monologue.

When Beth got here, I had a cervical check. I'd had a sneak-a-peak ultrasound earlier in my pregnancy and was thankful for it now- we new where the placenta was.  Previa was not an issue, and the bleeding was probably just a result of dilation in my cervix. I was 5-6cm, and we all felt that things could proceed as normal with a watchful eye.

So, I did laundry. I made the bed, birth-style. Drank a protein shake. The midwives hung around for a bit, and then decided to go out for some breakfast while I kept on doing my thing. The kids were playing, watching movies, incessantly asking for things. :) I really liked having them there for the most part- I liked feeling normal, whole, ordinary.  The thought of them leaving made me sad. Sometime between 8:30 and 9, though, they started getting under my skin and I started to feel like I needed more space and quiet.

A bit reluctantly, I updated my mom about everything and she was at-the-ready to come get the kids. I packed a diaper bag, and then retreated to the bathroom to deal with a few strong contractions while everyone waited for grandma.

And there I cried. I cried deep, sad tears. Not for the pain, but for the heartache that comes with motherhood. For the constant change and making-room, for the fullness of my heart, and for the joy and pain and happiness and fear that are so intricately wound together that you could never have one without the others. I cried because, when my children returned home again, each of our lives would be forever changed. I would be forever changed. I cried for my baby girl's fleeting babyhood, and for the journey I had to make in the next several hours-- a dark and deep, powerful, painful journey-- a journey that every mother has to make alone.

About 9:30, Grandma came for the kids. I said casual goodbyes, and everyone's excitement gave me a burst of energy, renewed strength. It was time to chim-up. Now was the time to work. For a little while I did some more straightening up. I did dishes. These contractions hurt, but between them, I almost forgot about labor entirely. My thoughts were ordinary.

By 10am, I could feel things changing. I should wash my hair, I thought to myself. It might be a few days before I have time to do that again. And so I did. That shower--the hot water-- felt so good. After, I dried my hair, stopping often to kneel with contractions.

Then, I headed to the kitchen. I had planned to bake something. What was it? Bananas? Oh, right. Banana bread. How do you even make that, again? And it was then that I realized that my thoughts weren't ordinary anymore, and it was time to stop doing ordinary things. The dreamy lull of labor land was pulling me in. It was time to do something extraordinary.

It was 10:30. Contractions came with low, bearing-down groans. I texted the midwives that I was "feeling a little pushy", and they headed back to my house. I was side-lying, resting on the bed, getting on hands and knees during contractions.

On returning, Kay said, "Oh wow. You're looking serious." They each set about getting the birth supplies ready. Kay broke my water. I was 9cm.

I knelt next to my bed. It was 11:03, and as I waded through those awful, quivery, transition contractions, I assured myself- I knew- that I would be holding my new baby before the hour was out. Someone rubbed my back in exactly the right place, and it felt so nice.

I started pushing small pushes, still kneeling, then two stronger pushes semi-squatting, and then moved into a full squat for one push. I climbed into bed for those final pushes. On my hands and knees, in a blur and a rush, came the familiar burning and stretching. Slowly, slowly, breathing through, my baby's head (...and one of his hands) was born. And then, in another rush, he was here. He was born. It was over!

Born with the first breaths of spring after a brutal winter, as we prepared to celebrate the Resurrection, Victor Anastasios was born as a living sign of victory and of new life. At 11:42am on April 7, 2014, 7lbs1oz, 19.5 inches long, with lots of dark hair, and a well-established set of opinions and preferences, we are forever changed. And we are in love.  

And as it's been said before: The end. For the end is just the beginning. Thanks for reading!

Comments on "The Birth of Victor Anastasios"


Blogger Chad Toney said ... (April 25, 2014 10:24 AM) : 

Awesome! You are a great writer! Love the final pic.


Blogger erin said ... (April 25, 2014 10:31 AM) : 

Lol! I didn't think anyone still read this, Chad! Trying to finish up adding photos. Thank you!


Blogger Chad Toney said ... (April 25, 2014 12:15 PM) : 

Oh, I'm an RSS subscriber to the very end!


Anonymous hannah w said ... (April 25, 2014 1:46 PM) : 

Those were my exact thought of Savannah that she would no longer be my baby girl!


Blogger Perpetua Amatia said ... (April 25, 2014 9:22 PM) : 

So beautiful


Blogger Cindy Kester said ... (April 26, 2014 11:29 AM) : 

Wonderfully written. You are a strong, amazing woman.


post a comment

Links to "The Birth of Victor Anastasios"

Create a Link