A Lesson in Flexibility

So one of things I’ve learned as an adult (especially as a parent) is that it is important to stay flexible. Things, PLANS, change. I’m a planner by nature. I like to have a goal to work towards and accomplish. I like lists, I like crossing stuff off and I like feeling like I’m doing something other than spinning my wheels.

This week we met with the oncologist at the request of our surgeon. The PLAN was that Kerry would have surgery Monday and then we would consider a course of chemo after surgery if it was warranted. It really was supposed to be a meet and let’s talk about post-op appointment, but things change.

The MRI Kerry had last week showed that his tumor has grown through the muscle of his bowel up to the fat layer lining the outside of his bowel. This is not what we were expecting. It complicates the surgery. So no major bowel surgery on Monday.

Instead, our meet and greet with the oncologist turned into a meeting about chemo and radiation before surgery and a discussion about chemo after surgery for several months. We talked about getting a “port” (port a cath) to make venous access and chemo administration easier. There was discussion about radiation being used to help shrink the tumor to make surgery easier and the need to follow with chemo to kill any remaining or migrating cancer cells.

The treatment plan would look like this: Kerry would have a chemo infusion pump M-F with daily radiation treatments during the week. Both would be administered over the next 6 weeks, then surgery, then another 2-4 months of chemo. We are thankful Kerry’s work is willing to work with him since daily radiation in Wichita would significantly cut into his work day and having a port will limit his ability at work.

The oncologist would also like some additional scans. The type of cancer Kerry has metastasizes often to the brain and that’s the only part of his body he hasn’t had scanned yet. They would also like him to get a PET scan.

Needless to say it was overwhelming, disheartening and not at all what we wanted or planned on hearing. There are risks with chemo and radiation. There are risks not getting them too. It’s hard to know what to choose and what risks we’re willing to accept. We’ve looked in to some alternative treatments and some complementary treatments that could help with the side effects of chemo and radiation. I told our oncologist I want the best outcome with the least amount of collateral damage.

The oncologist was very kind and patient with us. He was willing to answer our questions and talk about options with us. He also made it clear that he felt strongly chemo and radiation were what Kerry should do. He said if it were him or his family, this is the course of treatment he would recommend for them.

We are praying for wisdom about what comes next. Our plan for this next week tentatively looks like a CT scan, blood work and port placement on Monday. PET scan and meet with the radiation doctor on Tuesday and chat with the oncologist on Thursday again.

Thank you to all who have reached out to us and who are praying. We are encouraged by those prayers and acts of kindness. We are thankful for the Lord’s daily provision of strength and love and the peace of knowing we are not walking this road alone. This cancer was not a surprise to God, though it was a surprise to us. We continue to pray for healing and wisdom in making decisions. We are ever grateful for His new mercies and grace.

A day in August

I’ve wanted to sit and write the story if Lily’s birth several times but I could never find the right words. It was such a sweet day and my labor and her birth were such an answer to prayer I’ve relished the details over and over. 6 months later, I’d better get it written or it won’t happen.

Leading up to my due date (August 4), I was increasingly anxious about the impending labor. I worried that it would be very long and drawn out because this pregnancy had been so very different from my others. There was also an underlying current of anxiety that I had trouble putting words.  I prayed often for her birth and for her safety.

Here are the notes I took from her birth:

Sunday morning. 0715. Woke up feeling not great. Just blah. Stupid irregular contractions. I’m feeling them more in my lower back. I’m starting to wonder if I might be pregnant forever or maybe this is labor. I’m not sure.

0744: Text to Brandi (my midwife). Good morning. I woke up in labor (I think). Contractions every 4 minutes lasting 50 seconds. Membranes intact, lots of low back pressure. Baby moving well.

My contractions all morning would get closer together and then space way out. I wasn’t sure this was really it. I was pretty comfortable and I had time to sleep in between. I told Kerry I wasn’t going to church another week without a baby in my arms. So we stayed home, he wasn’t one to argue.

1044: Text to Brandi. Starting to get a little more uncomfortable. Contractions every couple of minutes lasting 50-60 seconds. Baby moving well.

Brandi and Kathy (my other midwife and Brandi’s mother) had just finished church and were going to see a family member who had been ill. I was totally fine with them not coming yet because I still wasn’t sure this was it. At 1130 they texted to see how things were going. Actually…at that moment they weren’t. After my last message to them, my contractions almost completely stopped. So much so that I’d cat napped. I was so afraid I was going to call them way to early or very much too late and end up having this baby without them (we’ve been there and done that). So they were going to get lunch and then come check on me. That sounded like a great plan to me.

Around 1: Test to Brandi: Not in the tub yet, but it sounds nice. Contractions are every 3-4 minutes and feel very intense. Baby is moving well.

My contractions had changed from being in my back to up front but they were still so irregular. The pool sounded really good, but I didn’t want to get in too early and stall my labor. In the meantime, the little guys went down for nap. My mom had brought lunch and was going to stay until baby was born. I thought we were going to be in for a long day.

Around 1:30 the midwives got here. I was so worried I’d called them too soon and they were going to tell me I was 3cm. The big boys helped carry in equipment and Kerry filled the pool.

Kathy checked me while Brandi started filing out paperwork and setting up. Kathy said the baby was in great position. Then she said the sweetest words I’ve ever heard “You’re a good 8-9cm”. I cried I was so happy. I was so certain this wasn’t the real thing. I may be the first labor patient to cry happy tears about being in labor.

I couldn’t wait to get in the pool and relax a little. It was wonderful! My contractions stayed irregular but were intense when I had them. In between, we talked and joked with our midwives. We had worship music playing and it was perfectly peaceful. Kerry always knows just what to say when I’m in labor. Usually it’s something to make me laugh.

About 2 I started to feel a little more uncomfortable and my contractions were much closer with no breaks. I remember telling Brandi I felt kind of pushy and she told me to go ahead. I felt very calm and collected. Sometimes I have been panicky at the end and I hate feeling so out of control. This time though…it was just serene and wonderful.

Kerry stepped out to let mom know the baby was close. She came down with my second push and I told Brandi “Here she comes” and she was born right after that at 2:18. It was so beautiful. No panic, no rush, just calm and peaceful and perfect. I was on my hands and knees so Brandi passed her up to me. The instant she came out of the water she started wailing. Louder than any of our other babies. She was making her presence known! She was so pink already!

I double (and triple) checked that she was indeed a girl. I was so overjoyed and thankful to have a healthy girl. I was grateful God granted me the privilege of her birth.  There had been so much anxiety that I hadn’t realized. I think deep down that she would die too. That maybe somehow I was unworthy of having a daughter. I surprised myself and was overcome by emotion. I burst into big ugly crying. I am not a crier by any stretch. I just kissed her sweet head and thanked God for his provision and His blessing.

After that Kerry cut the cord and wrapped her up to show her to the boys while I got out of the pool and dried off. Shortly after that the little guys woke up and got to come meet her. The moment big brothers meet a new sibling is one of my favorite moments ever. It was so fun to see them watch Kathy like a hawk as she weighed and measured their baby sister. She weighed in at a BIG 9lbs 5oz! Biggest baby yet.

 

These first 6months have gone fast. I can’t believe how much joy she has brought to our family. Her brothers love her and they tell her how beautiful she is every single day. She has big brother Gabe wrapped around her finger and she saves some of her biggest smiles for him.

I thank God every day for the blessing of our children. Lily’s birth was such a sweet spot for me. I am grateful that God is His infinite wisdom granted us the privilege of having her in our family. We pray that she grows up to love and glorify Him.

Better than I deserve

“And when you ask me how I’m doing, I’m going to tell you that I’m better than I deserve. Because it’s true. I was a sinner destined for hell and God saw fit to save me. So anything and everything He gives me, including this, is already better than I deserve.”

Those were the words my husband used two weeks ago when he told our church family that he had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

The previous Thursday he’d had a colonoscopy because of some vague GI symptoms. We didn’t except to find anything really, but rather checking off a box on the way to another diagnosis…but instead his doctor found a tumor. The biopsy showed the tumor was cancerous and that it hadn’t been completely removed.

The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of appointments, body scans, more appointments and more scans. And lots and lots of prayer.

We meet with an oncologist this week to help determine next steps. The tumor location and growth pattern makes just removing part of his bowel a little tricky. Surgery is tentatively scheduled for Monday February 18 depending what the oncologist recommends. We are hoping that radiation or chemo won’t be necessary, but we are aware that’s a possibility.

While there has been a roller coaster of emotions, thoughts and “what if” scenarios. We rest in God’s sovereignty and that He knows the future and will see us through. There are times that we have been scared about what lies ahead and what a cancer diagnosis means for our family and life as we know it. However, we are at peace knowing that God, in His infinite wisdom has allowed our family to walk through this trial together. We trust that this is being used to refine us and shape us to be more Christlike.

We know that God is good regardless of the outcome and we have been given better than we deserve.

6 years ago

6 years…in many ways it seems a life time ago and it is. So much has changed and yet this day is one I will always stop and reflect on the life and death of our first daughter Lily.

I think of how different our family might be if she had lived and how she never would have existed if Knox had lived. How we could be celebrating the 6th birthday of a son or the half birthday of a daughter who would be 6 in November.

I think about how much I have learned from that experience and the 6 years since. How it grew my faith and understanding of God’s sovereignty. It changed how I care for others.

Today as I turn 29 weeks, expecting our 2nd daughter in August, I think about the blessing of being a mother who has experienced tremendous grief at the loss of a child and who also knows the joy of welcoming a new baby to the family.

We’ve talked about names and how we will honor her memory in the birth of this child, just as we did for Knox when Zeb (Zebediah Knox) was born. We pray that God will lead us to choose the right way to do so without minimizing Lily’s life or her importance in our family.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit anxious as I prepare for her birth. Fear that maybe I won’t be able to hold a little girl at the end of all of this. You see, that’s the crazy thing about grief and losing a baby…you’re never quite sure when it’s “safe” to let your guard down.

I’ve never longed for a daughter like some mothers do, my boys are pretty amazing to be honest. But losing a baby changes your perspective…I don’t care whether I have a daughter or son…instead I long for a live baby. A baby who takes it’s first breath and cries beautiful cries. Who looks at the world with wide eyes and hears her brothers and parents celebrate her birth.

So I pray…I pray for her safety, her life and that whatever happens God will use me in the way He sees fit. I pray that I will surrender to what God has in store. That if He grants me the beautiful privilege of a daughter I will be the mother I need to be for her. That she will grow to love Him and others.

Six years ago, we said hello and goodbye on the same day. We held her for the first time and the last time. We didn’t forget, we won’t ever forget. But we are thankful for her and the way she touched our lives and taught us much about the treasure of life.

Psalm 139: 13-16

13 For You formed my inward parts;

You wove me in my mother’s womb.

14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

Wonderful are Your works,

And my soul knows it very well.

15 My frame was not hidden from You,

When I was made in secret,

And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;

16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;

And in Your book were all written

The days that were ordained for me,

When as yet there was not one of them.

Finding my voice

I’ve been pretty quiet in the blogging world the last few years. Life has been busy and I wasn’t always sure where I’d want to go or what I wanted to share. So I sat quiet…I keep renewing my domain name and hosting plan “just in case” I would ever find my voice again.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure I had much worth sharing anymore. I stopped blogging during a period of extreme hurt and difficulty because I didn’t want it to be my platform to vent. I posted some with brief updates and shared a few thoughts off and on, but it just never felt like things would come together. So, it’s been on the back burner.

This year, my renewal came up, I backed up my files and prepared to let it all expire. I even waited to renew my domain name until the very last day and then didn’t have a hosting site for a long time. But something about it…so much of what I shared…I just didn’t feel right letting it all go. So I found a new (cheaper) hosting plan and transferred my content over.

I’ve found in the process that my images didn’t always come with the content, so while the posts are the same…pictures may be missing. I am still trying to figure it all out, but for now…my posts are here, I am here and I hope to find my voice again enough to post more than twice a year.

 

Rosfeld family update

Things have been quiet on the blogging front for the last few years. As I hope to ease back into posting regularly,  I thought you might like a little update about what’s been going on with our family.

In a nutshell, life is busy. Life with 7 boys is busy. Life homeschooling 7 boys, raising goats and chickens, and working full time is busy. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Our boys are 15, 13, 9,7,4 (almost 5), 3, and 16 months. There is always something going on here! I recently had the opportunity for all of them to visit Grandma’s house for a day while I worked. It was harder than I expected to concentrate without the normal background noise I’m used to.

This last week we had our 20 week sonogram for baby #8. The boys were excited to find out the gender of this little one. A couple of the boys have been wishing for a sister and a couple of them were really hoping for another boy.

They wanted to do egg roulette as a gender reveal. If you’re not familiar with the concept, we boiled 17 eggs and left 1 raw. We dyed half the eggs blue and half pink. The color of the raw egg represented the gender of the baby. Then each boy took a turn smashing the egg on his head to see who got the ‘lucky’ egg.

Here’s the video we shot of the gender reveal…this is truly what’s it is like to live at our house. 🙂 Enjoy!

 

It's been a while

You know, I’ve started this post 100 times in my head. It’s been over a year since I’ve posted. Every year the renewal comes up and I debate about renewing my hosting plan or domain name. There’s something I can’t let go each year.
It’s not that I don’t want to write or that I don’t have tons of posts started in my head. Life has changed so much from when I was posting regularly and it’s been so much busier. We’ve moved, changed jobs and added 3 more children.
I miss writing for fun. I hope to do it a bit more often than I have been.  I don’t know what my blog will look like now. 6 years ago I used it as an outlet to grieve after Knox and Lily were born and to process their loss. We still think of them often but much has changed in 6 years so I’m not sure where this will end up, but this is a start.
Here’s a brief update:
We have 7 boys. Our oldest will be 15 soon and the baby is close to 1. Our lives are busy and we love it.
We are still homeschooling. This year has brought our first adventures into high-school with Gabe and we started kindergarten with Zeb. That leaves us with 5 homeschooling this year and 2 littles tagging along for the ride.
We have 2 dairy goats (plus a visiting goat), 40(ish) chickens, our farm cats and dog Cash. Our beloved dog Jenny died about a month ago. She was a sweet dog whom we loved much. We got her when Otto was 6 months old and she was part of our family for the last 13 years.
We’re living close to family again which has been wonderful. 3 years ago we bought a place in the country near where we grew up. We love it.
I work full time from home. I am transitioning to a new position as strategic operations manager after being involved in staff development for the last year. I’m so thankful for the answer to prayer this job has been for our family. I love my work family and the work I do.
Perhaps another update will be coming again soon. For now, enjoy a picture of Titus with one of our baby goats early this summer.

 

No excuses

As a mom with a larger than normal family, we are used to having friends with fewer children than we have. We don’t mind and usually they don’t either (unless they have to feed us all and then sometimes I sense a slight bit of panic about all these boys to feed).
I’ve noticed a curious thing lately though. I’ve had several conversations with  friends who have less than my 6 children and I’ve heard excuses. Excuses about why they don’t have more children. It usually goes something like this…
“Well, we’d like to have more children but it just isn’t physically possible”
or  “We always wanted a big family, but due to circumstances we only have 2”.
You don’t have to make excuses. And honestly, I’m just really thankful you’re not telling me that my 6 is more than I can handle or “don’t you know what causes that?” I’m thankful you’re excited when we tell you that we are expecting again.
Sure, we have a larger than normal family and we welcome babies as they come into our family, but we also know that the more children we have has no bearing on our holiness or our standing before the Lord. We know that trusting God for family size means trusting God for both large and small families. We also know that trusting God for family size, includes using wisdom and discernment when it comes to health and childbearing.
The point about trusting God for babies, isn’t about having as many babies as possible to show we’re “super duper” favored. It’s not a contest. The point is to view children as the gift and blessing they are…whether you have none, one or 15.
We are delighted to be surrounded by people who rejoice with the announcement of a new life. We believe children are a blessing, regardless of how many are in your quiver. Seeing parents raising children to love and serve God, embracing the task of parenting and celebrating life…no excuses.

Rosfelds by the numbers 2.0

It’s been almost 4 years since I’ve posted to my blog on a regular basis. I keep renewing my domain name with the hopes that I would find my voice again and get back to writing. But the words never seem to come. The things that I want to say never seem to have enough importance to write…so it has been silent.
One of my resolutions this year was to write more. My goal was to publish to my blog regularly again. Here we are 3 months into the year and my first post…but it’s better than 4 years.
A lot has happened in the last 4 years so I thought a Rosfeld by the Numbers would be a great way to get started again. We’ve moved twice, bought a house, added two babies and bought some chickens. Here is the link to my last “Numbers” post 5 years ago.
Number of family members : 8 (so far) The next question that usually follows is “How many are you going to have” …As many as we’re blessed with. We believe in Jesus-full thinking. (Oh yeah…we’re still one of *those* families. I’ll share more about our personal convictions on another post).
Number of times we’ve moved since Kerry and I got married in 2001 : 12!
Number of pets : 2 dogs, 20 chickens, 1 turkey, 2 goats, 10 cats
Number of loads of laundry we do per day : at least 4
Loads of dishes : 2 per day
Vehicles owned : 3
Gallons of milk per week : 7-8 (thankful we get much of our milk from the goats)
Monthly grocery budget : $575.00
Meals eaten out : 3-4 per month always fast food, Sunday afternoons. 🙂
Legos : too numerous to count, but lots of sets and at least two rubbermaid tubs full.
Instruments played : 5 (flute, drums, trombone, piano, guitar — The 3 older boys are taking piano lessons from Grandma and Otto is teaching himself to play guitar.
Diapers changed : 12 per day depending on bowel habits. This number has gone down recently due to a certain almost 3 year old deciding to wear “big boy” undies (and pee on trees).
Outfits : 8 per day. We have at least two kids make one change of clothes each day which is why we do 4 loads of laundry each day. 🙂
Computers : 5. My work computer, Kerry’s computer and 2 for school. The last one is one sitting next to the piano ready for target practice.
Cookbooks : 40 at least. I like them for recreational reading.
Floors swept : 4 times per day. That’s our goal anyway…
Vacuuming : 4 times a week. If I can feel dirt on my feet when I walk I know it’s time to vacuum, I have 6 boys there is always dirt on the floor.
Pairs of shoes : 35-40. The range is because we can’t always find both shoes at the same time.
Hours of sleep : Kids : 11-12, those napping get 14, Grown ups 5-6. This time change is going to be miserable.
Hugs and Kisses : More than we can count, but never enough.
It wasn’t the meatiest post, but it’s good to be back.

Four years ago

Four years ago today I had one of the most amazing and rewarding experiences of my life. I had an awesome homebirth. It was what I needed to heal from some less than ideal birth experiences. It was my first VBAC after 3 c-sections. For those who haven’t heard or read the story, I’ve posted it below the pictures.
Titus has been such a blessing to our family. He is challenging some days with his strong opinions and preferences but he is oh so wonderful in our family. He has a stubborn streak a mile wide but he also loves and cares so deeply for those around him.  I look back at the day he was born and am so thankful for the prayers God answered that day. We continually praise Him for the blessings He’s given us and His provision. We are thankful that God allowed Titus to be born at home (something we prayed for daily from the day we found out we were pregnant)  and so thankful that we have been blessed with 5 happy healthy boys.
Below are a couple pictures from the day he was born and the days following and some more recent pictures too.


The 3 big boys on 8/26/2010
They were amazingly chipper and happy for being up so late the night before. Both Gabe and Otto stayed up until about 2am to watch Titus get checked over by our midwife. Otto couldn’t keep his hands off of his baby brother. We watched the video recently and could hear ourselves asking him to move because his head or his hand was in the way of trying to do the assessment. Zeke was the only one that night who got a good night sleep.

The next morning our birth photographer came to take pictures of our new little addition. He seems so little looking back. We loved getting to know all of his little features as a family. There is just something about a newborn baby that begs to be touched, held, kissed and loved.
He really enjoys waffles for breakfast.
Because what boy could resist mud?
BIRTH STORY (this is the story I posted a few days after Titus was born to Facebook)
We have been so blessed with the addition of Titus this past week! I’ve had several people send me messages asking if his homebirth was “on purpose” so I thought I’d write an abbreviated version of our birth story. In short…yes his homebirth was on purpose and it was awesome!
His birth story begins kind of with Gabe’s almost 8 years ago. I had a c-section with him after a failed induction at 37 weeks. With Otto I had a repeat c-section and when it was time for me to have Zeke, my doctor who had initially been VBAC (vaginal birth after a cesarean) friendly changed his mind and threatened to drop me from his practice. I felt very backed into a corner and consented to my 3rd c-section.
When I became pregnant with Titus, I wanted a different outcome and began researching my options and the current research regarding having a 4th c-section to having a VBAMC (VBAmultipleC). The research is limited, but what there is shows that even VBAMC are relatively safe and the risk of uterine rupture (which is the big fear with VBAC) is still less than 1-2%. The current culture in the hospital is not VBAC friendly even after 1 c/s and is definitely not friendly after 2 or more.  So I began researching a homebirth with a midwife, discussing options and research with Kerry and covering each decision with lots of prayer. I would encourage any woman to do her research and pray before making her birth choices. There is a lot more support for VBAC there than some would have you believe.
We found a midwife , who was also a believer,willing to take me as a client and began our journey. My pregnancy, like all of them, was uneventful and pretty normal. As part of my care, I saw a chiropractor once a month to help align my pelvis and spine and help position baby correctly. One of the reasons I had a c/s with Gabe was because he was malpositioned, so I wanted to avoid that if at all possible.
We prayed regularly as a family for God to honor our desire to have more children (something that would be really frowned upon after having 4-5 c/s) and our desire for a homebirth. Every time fear would creep in, we’d pray and turn it over to God. He has answered so many prayers along the way!
Towards the end of my pregnancy, I started to get nervous that my body wouldn’t know what to do. It had never been asked to actually “get a baby out”. I was wondering if it would know how to go into labor, how to birth a baby, and would I be strong enough to do it?
The day after my due date I started having a few contractions, but they weren’t terribly uncomfortable or regular, although they felt different from the contractions I’d been having for weeks. We spent the day running errands, I made a quick visit to the chiropractor (just in case this was really it) and napped in the afternoon. My contractions kept coming, but were still irregular and relatively comfortable. I called our midwife a couple of times during the day to update her, but felt like it was going to be a long evening/night if this was the real thing.
That evening about 7pm or so we took a mile(ish) walk around our neighborhood. My contractions were still irregular, but I had to stop a couple of times to let them pass. I was still able to talk through them. Being a L&D nurse, I really wasn’t sure this was going to be it or that it would be any time soon, because nothing was textbook. 🙂
I decided to rest and just hang out that evening and talked to our doula and photographer about 10pm. I talked to her through a contraction and told her I wasn’t sure I’d need her yet, but she could come this way just so she’d be here when I did. Mom and I set up the air mattress in our spare room because I was sure they (the doula) would be sleeping here. I also called the midwife and told her I was still doing fine and I’d have Kerry call when we needed her, but not to worry I thought it was going to be a while still.
I laid down on the couch to get some rest, and had one really big contraction that was quite uncomfortable. But the next couple were manageable again. Mom suggested I put a towel under me “in case my water broke”, I was sure that wasn’t going to happen, but though I would humor her anyway. (I was glad for the suggestion, as with the next contraction that’s exactly what happened). My water broke about 10:30 and that’s when things got “fun”. Kerry called the midwife to let her know and she said she’d head down. Kerry and I came upstairs to fill the pool (we had set up a little pool in our bedroom for me to labor in) and my contractions started coming much much faster and stronger. Mom and the big boys (Zeke was asleep) were downstairs watching a movie and had no idea things had really picked up.
I spent about 30 minutes in the pool and then walked to the bathroom. Once I was there my contractions were so intense and my mind was racing. Kerry says I was really pretty calm, but in my mind I was going nuts. At one point I told Kerry “I’m hysterical….I can’t be hysterical”. He said later he didn’t know what I was talking about as I was barely saying anything and appeared really calm to him. He wasn’t (at least he didn’t act like it) scared or panicked at all. About 10:15 I felt my body pushing and I couldn’t stop. In my head I was sure I wasn’t ready to push and was worried I was going to do something that would make my labor go longer.
At that point, Kerry took the cell phone to mom and asked her to call our midwife to let her know I felt like pushing and to hurry. 🙂 The midwife told me to go ahead and push if I needed to and that she was about 15 minutes away. Mom and Kerry stayed in the bathroom with me and the boys kept watching their movie. Kerry suggested I move to the pool again, because he thought I would be more comfortable and it would be easier to birth there. I made it about two steps before I said “I can’t” and kneeled on the floor. (I found out later both mom and Kerry thought I was just having a contraction, not birthing a baby)
The next thing I really remember was telling mom and Kerry “there is his head” and to “check for a nuchal cord” (a cord around the neck). He had a loose one that we could easily slip over and the rest of him was born. I was able to put him right on my chest and we covered him with towels  and dried him off, he was pink right away. I think I kept saying “I did it! I did it!” Kerry was so excited, but still very calm and had the presence of mind to grab the camera and take a few pictures.
He asked the big boys if they wanted to come see their brother and they both ran upstairs. Gabe (***note we later found out that Gabe handed the camera off to Otto) took the camera and took pictures, and he did such a good job! About 10 minutes after he was born our midwife came in. The apprentice midwife came about 10 minutes after that. Titus James was born at 11:32pm on 8/26/10. He was direct OP (which means facing up instead of down, the same position Gabe was in), but I truly think prayer, positioning and the care I received made all the difference. He weighed 7lbs 11oz (my second biggest baby) and was 19 3/4 inches long. The rest of the story is pretty “routine” for postpartum, but it just all happened at home which was awesome!
I didn’t really think I would go that quickly in labor, especially since I hadn’t done it before. I was completely surprised by the whole experience, but it was exactly what we needed.
I fully believe in birth choices. I think women should be able to choose when, where and how to give birth. By in large, those choices are being taken away for many reasons. If a woman wants to birth in a hospital, home or birthing center…let her. If she wants to VBAC or schedule a repeat c/s…let her. I often heard after my c/s that what really mattered was a “healthy mom and healthy baby” which is true…but that health also includes mental health. For some women it is mentally and physically the best choice to have another c/s, for others it is the option to have a VBAC.
For me, this time and every time from now on (Lord willing), homebirth will be my choice. I pass no judgement on whomever chooses something different for their birth. It is important that the risks vs benefits are considered for each option and in each case. And for each woman make the decision that is right for her, her family and her baby.
Each birth and each child is special and a blessing however they come. This birth for me though, has been incredibly healing, empowering and faith building. God is good and we are so thankful for His blessings and His faithfulness. I want to add too, how incredibly important it was for me to know that others were praying for me. My midwife, my doula, our families and friends. I believe God honored those prayers and they brought me so much peace and confidence throughout this whole process. He has blessed us many times over!
Praising Him,
Erin