The week before three years ago, we were busy!
- My dad and stepmother were here for a visit, hoping to meet their grandchild. But the grandchild wasn’t cooperative.
- Our daughter, son-in-law, and our granddaughter were visiting and were getting ready to return home.
- Our oldest son was preparing to leave home for school.
- My husband was preparing to drive him to Florida.
- And we were waiting for our 7th child to be born, not knowing exactly when he would come as my due date was very much a guess. I had been having contractions every night for two weeks, but they would always go away by morning.
- We were getting ready to host a “Great to See You” party for our daughter and son-in-law, combined with a “Going Away” party for our oldest son. We didn’t know who was coming or how many to expect. I had only told them that if I was in labor, the party would be cancelled.
The day before three years ago, I had a midwife appointment. She knew about our busy days and the party we were hosting that night. She suggested that I take some time to go for a walk down by the water and breathe. It was very good advice. I didn’t know how much I needed it until I got there.
Breathing better, feeling much more at ease than I had in a few weeks, I finished my errands and went to the grocery store to shop for the party. I actually don’t remember shopping, only driving home.
I arrived home to find that my oldest daughter blessed me tremendously and cleaned the house from top to bottom, getting it ready for the arrival of the party guests, and the coming-soon-but-we-don’t-know-when arrival of her littlest brother. She also let me know that the latest count showed about 50 people coming that evening. How fun, but oh my! So grateful for good weather that allowed us to use the back deck and yard, I don’t think we could fit that many in our home. I think there were even more at the final count, because my oldest son brought most of his youth group home with him.
We have friends who rent bounce houses, and they gave us one to use for a few days, so that was set up in the front yard. They brought over their popcorn machine, and that was set up in the back yard. We had lots of food, lots of laughter, and lots of questions over when the little one was going to make an appearance. I had been having my standard every-now-and-then contractions, but nothing time-able.
At the end of the evening a few people stayed to help clean up the kitchen. The last guest left at 11:30. My daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter went to bed, and my husband suggested that I go get ready for bed and he’d put the little girls to sleep. (The little girls and the Middles were camping out in the living room that week, so bed time had to wait until the living room was available.) My husband’s habit when he puts the Littles to bed is often to lay down with them, promptly falling asleep himself, and usually staying that way until I wake him to tell him to come to bed.
I got myself ready for bed, finally stretching out and relaxing at the end of a very good but very long day. Suddenly those not at all timeable contractions decided to play catch up, and I had one after another without a break in between. I wasn’t even able to get up to get my husband, and I couldn’t figure out how to get his attention without waking the house. Miraculously, he didn’t fall asleep, or if he did it wasn’t for long. He came into the bedroom around midnight and saw the state I was in. He promptly called the midwife (12:05 according to her records), told our oldest son what was going on, and he (not yet even tired) took the Middles and the Littles to a friend’s house for the rest of the night.
My husband started filling our tub for me, as I had learned several children ago of the wonders of water for labor and birth. Our midwife arrived at some point (I don’t know when exactly, but she lives about 30 minutes away). My husband moved around quickly getting things ready, always returning to my side during a contraction. Our midwife said it was obvious that we had danced this dance before, and we did it well.
When the tub was full, I was finally able to lower myself into it, relaxing into the warmth, finally able to catch my breath and get on top of the never ending contractions. It was just a few moments later that I was able to catch my son, lifting him out of the water onto my chest. The midwife’s assistant arrived about five minutes later.
While I was still in the tub, we thought it wise to let our oldest daughter and son-in-law know what all the commotion was about. It turns out, they had slept through everything, but when my husband asked Cate if she wanted to meet her new little brother, she was wide awake and joined us in greeting this new life.
Silas was my only baby born in the middle of the night. It was so fitting for him to choose the quietest hours to join us, as our lives were so very busy before and after. He is just a blessing to us, loved and spoiled by all his siblings.