Boaz Jude Anderson was born Thursday, May 24, 2018 at 5:38pm, 3 weeks and 1 day before his due date. Based on my charts, by early October I knew that I was pregnant, and I was filled with emotion as I read, "The Lord your God who goes before you will Himself fight for you, just as He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness, where you have seen how the Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his son, all the way that you went until you came to this place." Deuteronomy 1:30-31. When I got home with the pregnancy test to confirm, I didn't mention anything to Tim. He was taking the kids out on a morning hike with their cousins, which gave me a good opportunity to process through things on my own. As soon as they walked out the door, I began to sob, "I need you Jesus!"
Tim and I walked through first trimester rather cautiously, filled with mixed emotions of joy, excitement, hope, fear, and longing. Second trimester came and went. And third trimester was finally here. Somewhere around the beginning of third trimester I had a dream that I was holding a baby girl, and I knew that she was healthy, because she was smiling up at me. But, I could also tell that she had been born very early, because she was "ugly skinny." As I continued to grow bigger, the questions from well intentioned people came more frequently: "What number baby is this?" "Do you want a boy or a girl?" "Well, you have 2 girls and a boy, don't you want another boy?" "How have your previous labors been?" "Will this one be at home too?" "Will you have more scans this time?" I was very sensitive to all of these questions and often didn't want to answer them or didn't even know how to answer them.
Then, my 34 week appointment came and I told my midwife that I had been experiencing some rib pain on my right side. She referred me to a chiropractor who adjusted my ribs and hips. When I went back to my midwife at 36 weeks, she said that the baby was very low, and I might not make it to 40 weeks this time.
The next morning we said goodbye to Tim as he left on his business trip to Taos, New Mexico. I kept busy with the kids so that the days would pass quickly while Tim was away. When we arrived home from swim lessons on Wednesday evening around 6:30pm, the kids went to take showers so that we could eat dinner afterward. However, as I went to hang up my purse, I felt what I thought was a trickle of pee come out. I thought, "That's strange. I didn't think I had to go that bad." So, I went to the toilet, but as I finished and pulled my pants up, a gush of water went uncontrollably down my pant legs. That's when I knew that it wasn't urine after all, but my bag of waters had broken. "Lord have mercy," I prayed again and again, trying not to panic and wondering who to contact first. I texted my Mom, "I need you to come serve the kids dinner and bathe Naomi. My water just broke." Then I texted my midwife, and finally Tim. Then I told the kids, "My water just broke, which basically means that we may get to have our baby sooner than we thought." When my mom arrived I could tell she was rather concerned, had many questions, and things to say, but I told her to please focus on helping me by getting the kids fed and in bed. When I told my midwife that Tim was still out of town she said he needed to get back as soon as possible. Tim said there were no more flights leaving that evening, so his only option was to drive the 10 hours home in the rental car.
My midwife put me on bed rest until Tim could get home. She said then I'd be able to get up and active. My mom and sister hung out in the living room. One of the midwives came over to check baby's heart rate, which she said sounded great. But according to their charts I was not going to be 37 weeks until Saturday. According to mine it was Friday, but with a 24 hour window after my bag of waters broke it would still only put me at Thursday, 6:30pm. So, it looked like I would be delivering at the hospital once again. I was fine with that, knowing that God is in control and maybe there's a good reason that I'm supposed to be at the hospital this time, such as baby's lungs or some other issue. But then, my midwife showed up with her assistant and checked to make sure it was definitely amniotic fluid, which it was. I was only 1 cm dilated, but very soft. We looked over my fertility charts and I showed her when I ovulated, which put my due date on the 15th, but you can also find the estimated date of delivery by the first day of the last period, which would put my due date on the 13th, making me 37 weeks that day. So, I could still possibly have a homebirth, if I had the baby within 24 hours. I prayed that God's will be done and that I trust Him and His plans, not my own.
That night I barely slept. I lay on one side trying to fall asleep, but then felt myself waken as I gasped for breath. So, I'd turn over on the other side and the same would happen. I wasn't sure if I should call my midwife or just assume that it was most likely anxiety over the current circumstances. At 1am I called Tim and we prayed together. It must have been anxiety, because as soon as we prayed, I lay down and was able to sleep soundly for 2 hours before waking again to the anxious feelings. Finally, Tim got home at 4:30am and we both fell fast asleep until about 6am.
We had plenty to do that day, so while my mom watched the kids, I finished some laundry and cleaning. Tim returned his rental car and gathered the rest of the birth supplies. Finally, around 1pm we were finally ready to focus on getting labor going. We went for a brisk walk. Then, we came home and did some very effective nipple stimulation, and I even tried some thumb sucking. I was starting to have some contractions and decided to lay down in the bed. I was so tired that I fell asleep, and that's when the kids returned. Labor completely stalled at that point. It was around 4pm, and I told Tim that he was going to have to tell my mom that she needed to take the kids to the park before their swim class so that we can focus on labor.
Around 4:30pm we got back to work trying to get labor started. We went for a walk in the backyard, then came inside and I told Tim that I wanted to get on the shower. Almost immediately upon feeling the warm, relaxing water, the hard contractions began coming. I felt the baby move down and the contractions quickly became expulsive. I told Tim to call the midwife. He said he will in 3 more contractions, but after another one I said again, "Call her."
At 4:57pm he texted her and let her know that I would be pushing soon. At this point I had come to the realization that Tim was probably going to catch the baby, because things were progressing so fast. The pediatric nurse arrived around 5:28pm and checked, but did not feel the baby's head. So, I stood up from my squat and decided to labor a bit in a semi standing/squat. My midwife came just in time at 5:36pm, checked baby's heartbeat and then told me to face sideways in the tub to give baby more room with a wider stance. She said, "Then baby will come right out." She was right. The next contraction the head was born and with a final contraction the rest of the body shot out. As I reached down to grab our baby, he grabbed my arm and began to cry loud. It was music to our ears, especially since my biggest concern with him coming so early was that his lungs wouldn't be completely developed. Then, I lifted him up and Tim exclaimed, "It's a boy!" And I shouted in surprise, "A boy!" I was convinced we were having a girl. We were so overjoyed at the blessing, "Praise the Lord!" It was especially sweet too that we were given a boy, after having just lost our boy, and just a week prior a mom was given a girl after having just lost her girl. God is so good.
After swim class the kids came home and they were thrilled to meet their new baby brother. They've been so in love with him that they don't ever want to leave his side.
What I Learned This Birth:
1. Just because the first 4 babies are born one way, don't expect the 5th one to be born the same way.
2. Dreams are accurate when it comes to timing of births, but not gender. Just kidding!
3. God is with me and He's in control. Just trust Him.
4. God is not confined by our time parameters. He can fully form and grow a baby by 37 weeks (or less) with fully developed lungs and the ability to nurse well.
5. Short labors are so intense, but I guess I say that after every labor, don't I?