Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Elijah is born!

Elijah Young Keffer was born on February 12!

To tell the story of Elijah's birth, I have to go back and recap Lorien's and Josiah's, because both of those had a lot of bearing on how this little guy came into the world.

Big Brother and Big Sister

With Lorien, I really wanted to go into labor naturally. I didn't have super strong feelings about natural birth vs. medicated birth, but I did want her to come on her own, in her own time. She decided to arrive about 6 days late. It was 36 hours of labor, more than 2 hours of pushing, and then ... a 9 lb., 6 oz. beautiful baby girl. I am a little too modest to tell you what it did to me, but suffice it to say I had a difficult recovery. 

The funny thing is, we didn't know she was going to be huge. Throughout the pregnancy, she had been measuring very average, and my doc kept telling me I was going to have a 7.5 lb. baby. 

Afterward, he figured that she had been on a steep growth curve in her last month; hence, her unexpected size at birth. 

I don't think I realized at the time how traumatic that experience was for me. It was my only birth experience, and it was still just about the most amazing thing I'd ever done. But by the time Josiah came along, I had gained a little perspective and was anxious to avoid some of the trauma if possible. 

Dr. Stark watched Josiah's growth more closely at the very end, and when he was measuring 7.5 lbs. at 37 weeks, I decided to schedule an induction for 39 weeks. I was nervous, since I had heard how induction can set off a cascade of unwanted interventions, but I figured having a sub-9-pound baby might be helpful. You can read the story of Josiah's birth here. In short, it was 6 hours of labor instead of 36, about 15 minutes of pushing, an 8 lb. 3 oz. baby and a MUCH easier recovery. 

Which Brings Me to the Present....

Throughout this pregnancy, Dr. Stark and I talked about whether Baby #3 would be on the same growth curve as the first 2, and he was keeping an eye on it. This time, baby really was measuring average, but as my due date approached and I (again) showed NO signs of going into labor, I got nervous about going late, since that contributed to the difficulty of Lorien's birth. I decided to schedule another induction for his due date (Feb. 12).

The night before, we dropped Lorien and Josiah off at Mimi and Papa's house and went home to try to get some sleep. I should mention here that I snore terribly when I'm pregnant. This time it's been worse, since I hit my third trimester in winter, so Josh had been sleeping on a twin bed in the baby's room for the last month. 

At 4:15 the morning of the 12th, I was lying alone in bed, awake, but trying desperately to go back to sleep, because I knew this was my last chance to be rested for, oh, about the next 6 months. Unfortunately, I couldn't get back to sleep. At 6:00 in the morning, I was super frustrated about the insomnia, but decided to get up and shower and get things moving, since we were supposed to show up at the hospital for induction at 7:30.

And then the phone rang. 

It was the hospital calling to say that all of their delivery rooms were full, and I should not come in at 7:30. Wait, they said, and we'll call you later to tell you if we can get you in today. 

So I waited. Well, first I had a meltdown and yelled at Josh over something stupid. Then I waited. (In three whole pregnancies, I have not had very many crazy emotional pregnant lady moments, but this was one of them.) 

At 8:00, the hospital called to say we're sorry, we can't take you today. Please come in tomorrow. 

At 8:05, they called again to say we're sorry, your doctor got you mixed up with someone who is being induced with her first baby. Since this is your third, you can come in at 9:30. 

Are. You. Kidding. Me?

Let's talk about emotional roller coasters for a minute...

We went to the hospital at 9:30. 

The rest of the story goes a lot like Josiah's story. 

Pitocin started at 11 and water broken. At the start, I was a "tight 3 cm," so who knows when I would have gone into labor naturally. 

By 1 p.m., the contractions were strong enough that I needed to breathe deeply. By 2:30, they were quite painful, and I needed to have pressure placed on my lower back during each one. My nurse encouraged me to get through a few more before getting an epidural, so I did. 

I requested the epidural at 2:50. It was fully effective by 3:15, and then the nurse checked me and I was at 10 cm., and ready to push. I pushed through 2 contractions with the nurse, and then she stopped me to call the doctor. One more contraction, one more push, and there he was! 3:49 p.m., 7 lbs. 9 oz.: the littlest peanut yet.

Afterward, our nurse Mary, who has been doing labor and delivery for 30 years, says to me, "I think you were at 10 before you got the epidural."

Well now she tells me.

So I will always wonder if I could have done that one without the epidural. And I am pretty sure I could have. But I am not having another baby just to find out.

What's in a Name? 

We chose Elijah's name because we love the character of Elijah in the Bible. He's described as a man of spirit and power. He showed great zeal on Mt. Carmel, and he met with God in an intimate way. Josh and I also have great memories of climbing Mt. Carmel and hearing the Elijah story in a brand new way when we visited Israel in 2007. 

In my family, boys' middle names are often family names, so Elijah's is as well. Young is the maiden name of both my paternal grandmother (Lerline) and Josh's paternal grandmother (Demova). While we're sad that Elijah won't get to meet either of these good women, we're glad he can carry their names. 

And now, here are the pics!

Leaving for the hospital. No cane this time!

Brand new! Elijah was a very cheesy baby. 
Can't even describe this feeling, but I never want to forget it!
Meeting Mimi
Papa introduces Lorien and Josiah to their new brother.

Meeting Uncle Steve
Snuggles in the hospital. I was just amazed how peaceful
it was to have only one baby to attend to and nothing to do for
a few hours but lie in bed and enjoy him. 
I LOVE Lorien's delighted face in this pic. 
Coming home.
Meeting Grandma Beam, who arrived one day after we brought Elijah home.

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