If you’re a sci-fi reader, Thirds usually get the short end of the stick (I’m thinking Ender and Lady Firebird for those of you familiar with the genre). But one year ago yesterday, our family joyfully welcomed the highly anticipated latest addition to our family: William Christopher.
I remember it pretty clearly because Nate was sick and I was on deck with Michael and Gabriel. I woke up early (which was unusual for having gone to bed late the night before), saw Nate was clearly not feeling well and decided to let him sleep. The boys were up at 7, and I made them breakfast. I don’t know was up with them, but they were wrestling, screaming, scrapping, and tossing each other into the walls by about 7:45, and I found myself chanting, “Only 12 more hours till bedtime, only 12 more hours till bedtime.” Unable to bear being locked in the house with two lunatics, who were in desperate need of entertainment, I decided to take them to the grocery store for one or two unimportant items. I figured a change of scenery might calm them down and kill some time.
As soon as I decided to take them out, I got my first contraction. I remember thinking, Oh that one was different. Could it be today? I called our mommies to put them on alert, and both were horrified that I would try to go out shopping at that point and tried to persuade me to stay home (I have a history of delivering pretty quickly). They had just convinced me to stay put, when two children rolled past me in a full on wrestling match and one child chucked the other right into a wall. That was it, I was either going to take the children out of the house or potentially do something I was going to regret later. I promised our moms I would stay in touch and come home if anything else happened.
So out we went to two stores. I figured if loading and unloading children into car seats several times wasn’t going to instigate labor, then nothing was. But it was very quiet and uneventful, all labor stopped for the full 90 minutes we were out. I came home at 10 to find Nate still asleep and nothing out of the ordinary. A few minute later, the contractions started again, and I could feel the familiar squeeze in my back. I called our midwife, who lived 45 minutes away, and my friend, who has been my doula. I called all our parents and asked them to come watch the children as I really didn’t want to deal with their rambunctiousness while in labor.
Then I walked into the bedroom at 10:30, poked a sleeping Nate, and announced, “We’re having a baby today. All our parents and the midwife are on their way.” Poor guy, I probably should have eased him into it, but he rose to the occasion and sprang into action. Kalah and our parents arrived at 11, and we started filling a big tub in our bedroom for a home birth. Parents entertained the little people. Susan, our wonderful midwife came at 12. By 1, I was 7cm dilated and decided to sit in the tub for awhile as the contractions were starting to get harder and painful.
Laboring at home and in a big tub was just fabulous. It’s almost like not laboring at all, except at the very end. Things eased so nicely in the tub that for awhile I was afraid the labor had stopped altogether and didn’t realize that I was hitting the final stages. Our moms were present as they had managed to miss both previous births (I really do birth quickly, the other kids were born while they were still traveling to the hospital). Nate sat next to the tub and did whatever I asked, and Kalah massaged my back during each contraction with her magic hands. Susan monitored everything and let our family enjoy the birthing experience.
William arrived at 2 in the afternoon, only 4 hours after I realized I was really in labor. He was exceptionally purple and squishy, but pinked up right away. My water broke on delivery, and Susan still had to remove the birth caul from his face. I’ve been told that’s good luck, I guess we’ll see. Kalah got to cut the cord. Nate had done the other two and never was a fan.
William was briefly introduced to his grandfathers and brothers and had his name announced (we always save it as a surprise), and then got swaddled up and tucked right into bed with me. He was a champion sleeper. Having a birth at home is fantastic. You get to lie in your own bed, you know where everything is, and your husband gets to order pizza from your favorite place. Susan was absolutely wonderful, a calming, reassuring, and non-obtrusive presence. Grandparents helped Michael and Gabriel make a happy birthday William cake, and the whole affair was a wonderful family day.
William Christopher means “defender” and “Christ-bearer”. Stephen Lawhead has a great quote from the second book of his Pendragon Cycle. He says every man is given two names in life: the one he receives at birth, and the one he earns as a man. We pray that William will live to fulfill all the great destinies that God has for him and that he will grow to earn the name he has been given.
He’s been a great little fellow so far. Despite suffering from digestive discomfort for a number of months, he would still greet you with a smile and has a sweet personality. He is a voracious explorer, and his specialty is tasting things. He is developing nicely, and I am seeing some beautiful neurological development that I did not see with Michael and Gabriel, which is reassuring. He is our blessing from God, and I look forward to the time we have to share with him.