Ezra Jonah Eyre
February 4, 2014
8 pounds 1 ounce
21 inches long
As Po said this morning,
"It's good to have a baby!"
Scroll down for writings on:
The Long Labor Story, by Aja
Labor and Baby, by Jonah
So far, Ezra is about as laid-back as they come. He was that way in utero too. He reminds us of Cam, who was also incredibly laid back. He also looks almost exactly like Cam at this age. It's the first time we've had two of our kids look alike as newborns! He's got Cam's manly nose and small lips and wide-spread big eyes. He also has Cam's long, bony legs and arms. His weight was all in his head. They differ in that Ezra has darker hair and eyes than Cam and has a longer torse, where Cam was/is more barrel chested (like a 1920s boxer).
Ezra's an amazing nurser, which is a huge relief after the horrible five weeks of cracks and pain with Po. I used to think it was the mom that made good nursers, but after five babies, I declare that some babies are much better at it than others. He's a tad gassy/burpy, but not to the point that he's ever uncomfortable for more than a few moments. BUT, as Jonah points out, this is the honeymoon stage and he'll get his lungs in a few weeks. I'm not so sure though... with three older sisters, there's always someone willing to sooth a crying baby.
For the first time ever, we knew exactly what the baby's name would be. In 2012, when the cabin at New Harmony, Utah burned down with all of our heirlooms, journals, photos, and memorabilia inside, we made a trip to see what, if anything survived. There were probably 30 boxes of written material, from journals to yearbooks to baby books to college theses to our favorite novels and books. None of it was legible anymore. Any of the paper that was recognizable was devoid of its ink, which burned right off the page. We found old journals now bleached completely white, which crumbled to dust as we tried to flip the pages.
But in all of the devastation, we found three crucibles of writing. First, we found Ana's baby announcement, completely burned white except for her middle name, "Ruth". And we found two legible sections of the ancient leather-bound family Bible. One section was the few pages about Christ's visit to Bethany. The other part, which was the largest surviving section of writing in the whole house, was the entire book of Ezra from the Old Testament. Although it transformed to dust as we handled it, we were able to take the above photo of the first page before it wafted away in the wind. Jonah suggested that we would have one more child, and his name would be Ezra. And thus is happened.
Ezra's middle name is Jonah, after his dad of course. Not only was it important to us to pass on Jonah's heritage, but both Jonah and Ezra are the fifth in their family with three older sisters and one older brother. Plus, we liked the middle initial J. Ezra J.
The Long Labor Story, by Aja
(probably longer than the actual labor)
Baby Ezra arrived easily on the afternoon of Tuesday, February 4th. Although his due date wasn't until February 15th, we were anxious for his birth since all of my previous babies were born 2-3 weeks early and usually after only a few hours of labor. On January 25th (Cam's birthday), three weeks early, I had a few hours of first stage labor, so I though this baby would follow suit. Fast forward a week and a half and six more nights of 3-4 hours of first stage labor that would suddenly stop whenever it would start raining (we'd had a couple weeks of torrential downpours), and I was ready to just get it done! Plus, my mom arrived Sunday morning and she was only going to be here a week, so I definitely wanted to get the baby out while she was on island. On Monday, the 3rd, I was 80% effaced and dilated to a four, which didn't mean much since I was dilated to a three the week before. We asked the doctor to strip my membranes, which he did, but not very vigorously. I put all my labor tricks into force on Monday night and still by Tuesday morning they felt effective but not yet painful or close enough together to warrant going to the hospital. I woke Jonah up at 4:15 am and made him take me on a long walk in the dark. Still nothing. Finally I got myself into a hot bath in our outdoor bathtub and I at least got the contractions to move from 15 minutes apart to 7 minutes apart. I started getting ready to go the hospital around 11am, and then again, the contractions stopped! I said, Jonah, forget this, let's just go to the hospital (I'm usually about ready to push before we leave). This is not what I recommend to anyone... I really recommend waiting until you can barely talk until you go, but I was too tired to go through a few more days of stalling labor, so we went.
Once we got to the hospital, they put us in a purple delivery room. The doctor on call from the practice was Dr. Ausbeck, and she was one of our favorites. She is very calm and non-interventionist. She just had her first baby three months ago-- a natural posterior birth-- so I was glad to have her there, knowing she would be relaxed and sympathetic if I had another posterior baby.
When I got there, I was dilated to 6-7 cms. I was mad because I've never showed up to the hospital/birth center less than an eight, but the nurses made me feel better when they said I was more dilated than anyone else there. ALSO, weird, the nurses said something must be going on because they hadn't busy at all for the last week and a half and then BOOM! they were totally full when I got there. I think I got the last room in labor and delivery. In fact, they started turning maternity recovery rooms into delivery rooms later that day. It must have been the rain.... as soon as the sun came out after the week and half of downpours, everyone on the island went into labor!
I got all settled and received my least favorite things about hospital births-- the stupid gowns and the painful stupid saline drip (I still have a lump in my wrist from it a week later!). Oh, and I also usually hate the fetal monitors, but they weren't that bad this time. I've only had one birth with the saline drip (Ana's) and two with the gowns and monitors (Ana's and Cam's).
Again, my contractions pretty much stopped. Well, they went back to 15 minutes apart and not very painful, though I could tell they were somewhat effective. However, at this rate, I was probably four more hours out according to my previous labors. Once the painful contractions start, I have about 40 minutes, but with this minor ones, I knew it would be awhile. So, when the doctor came back in around 1:20, we had her try to rupture my amniotic sac to get things moving since I was still only at an 8 but 100% effaced. She tried, but I make some seriously tough sacs and she was only able to knick it, so she left again. About 15 minutes later (about 1:40... Jonah broke the wall clock when he tried to adjust the time to be correct, so I'm going off of what they told me later), those hard, painful, 1 minute apart contractions started and I was kicking myself for again opting out of pain relief because there was no turning back now! After about ten minutes of contractions, I started feeling a slight urge to push, so we called the nurses in to get ready. At this point, I become a deranged lunatic and start sweating profusely and can't move. Jonah was an excellent coach as usual and helped me get into a better pushing position and held my leg nice and firm (he should be a male doula... he LOVES labor and delivery and is very calm yet commanding) and got me through the worst of it until I finally started pushing around 2:00. FINALLY, I got that noggin out at 2:13-2:14 and then the doctor yanked a little too hard to get the shoulders out and I got my first tear ever (four other big babies with no tears... sheesh), but he was out! It's the best feeling in the whole entire world to finally push the whole baby out.
And it was a boy! What a relief. I've always worried that we'd get a surprise, but he was as he was expected. We made sure to text Cam a photo straight away so he wouldn't be worried about the baby surprising him as another sister.
Baby was healthy, and he didn't even have a major cone head. He looked great. The nurses and doctor got me all cleaned up and we spent some time with baby until they took him to the nursery to get scrubbed squeaky clean, which my favorite part of hospital births vs. home births because those nursery nurses are pros at cleaning babies. Eventually, they moved me into my recovery room and brought me some food (yay! I was SO hungry... another least favorite part of labor) and I drank loads of coconut water with lime (my favorite drink... Jonah got me a 12-pack) and felt so relieved.
For the first time ever, I was in a shared room (it couldn't be helped... the entire place was booked solid) with a sweet Tongan woman who unfortunately had a c-section (so she was hooked up to five monitors with alarms that went off every 15 minutes) and had a very severe snoring problem (which set off a separate alarm for low oxygen every time she fell into a deep sleep... but she was snoring so loud, she could never hear it, so I'd have to call the nurses). I was giggling all night because it was so classic that the only hospital roommate I'd ever had was so incredibly loud. The one good thing was that she didn't have her baby room in with her at night, so we didn't also have a crying baby. Oh, and at 4:30 am, she also made a long distance call to Tonga for 45 minutes.
Later, when I checked out, I suggested to the nurses that they not give her a new roommate because someone else may not find the humor in the situation. My nurse said they had thought I would be the one person who could handle rooming with her, plus they knew I wouldn't be there long. That was true.
I also want to remind myself of the little baby across the hall whose cry sounded EXACTLY like a kitten's mew. It was uncanny. I've never heard anything like it, well, except for kittens.
My mom brought the kids to visit around 7 pm and they were delighted. Well, Po and Ana were delighted, and Cam and Elsie were a little indifferent. But, they've warmed up to him since we got home.
I spent a boring 24 hours in the hospital watching TV and having some choice friends come visit. The food was actually pretty good, and I love having other people clean up after me. Plus, I love having the mechanical bed. But, it is a hospital, so I was glad to get home and have a normal night's sleep.
And now, it's been a week. We were lucky to have my mom here for the first five days, so I was able to have lots and lots of naps. It was so great to have her here to take care of all the little things and give the other kids much needed attention, especially since Jonah was finally able to get some work done on the West Side and was gone for two full days, which I had prohibited until after the baby was born since I didn't want him so far away when I could go into labor at any time.
All in all, this has probably been my easiest recovery so far. I'm actually able to get up and walk around without much pain! Plus, nursing is SO much better than it was with Po and Elsie, who were both tongue-tied. I am incredibly exhausted most of the time, but that's expected. Jonah's also been loading me up on iron so I won't get the shivers, which can cause me to get mastitis if I'm not careful. Jonah is also recovering well. He gets severe sympathy pains. I "tease" him that I never get to be the only one sick because he is so sensitive he takes all my pains upon himself. He really enjoys labor and delivery, but he also has a lot of underlying worry, which doesn't really release until afterwards. But, he's coming around now and is sleeping more calmly. Thanks everyone for your prayers and concern... I've powerfully felt them through all of this excitement.
Labor and Baby, by Jonah
(copied from an email to his mom)
Thanks so much for writing to me. His name is Ezra Jonah and he is sleeping on my chest just now. Aja's milk came in. Aja said he nurses like a champion which I hope means she won't have as much soreness as old crappy-latcher Poem. We had a bit of an uneventful labor though for which I think we have gratitude. Aja psyched herself out numerous times and felt like she was in labor for almost two weeks. She had nice consistent contractions for five hours at a time that would get closer together and more painful, then stop abruptly for one or two or three days. Some worry and frustration were involved as her mom was coming and we never really knew what the due date was. It's pretty silly how they assign due dates and stick to them like gospel. Even after he was born at 8lbs1oz pink and healthy, they were calling him premature. Luvy (Aja's mom's grandma name) arrived Sunday last so the pressure was on. We went on middle of the night walks and she jumped on the trampoline. We went on bumpy dirt roads in bumpy cars. Small contractions and falsity prevailed. The blur of days and nights until Tuesday morning was ...blurry. Our Tuesday morning walk at 4:15 stopped her regular contractions once again. We walked up Olinda Road and down around, peaceful and slow if nothing else. I got the kids to school and then Aja in the outdoor tub in her tent of a swimming suit. Po, of course, needed to join her and made herself a space. My anticipation took over and I told her "time to go to the hospital get this baby out." At 11 AM we left the house and slowly drove to the hospital with Luvy worried that the supposed "he" would be born in Rusty Rust. As we were in no rush, all of the lights were green except that last one. I nearly talked Aja into letting me stay at the light even after it was green so she could have a contraction at her despised location (its a notoriously long red light). We found a parking space at distance from the entrance and walked. Organized Aja with her folder of check-in already neatly filled out paperwork got checked in and entered the maze of the Maui Memorial Hospital. Grammy would be proud, the room they put us in was completely purple. The nurses were kind and assured Aja she was there at the right time and called Dr. Ausbeck to check her progress. As of her appointment the day before, Monday, she was dilated to a four and 80% effaced. Doc calmly proclaimed "you are absolutely in labor, there are six other women in labor and you are much farther along than any of them. You are at at a 6/7 and 90 percent effaced." Some questioning later she informed Aja that the baby was still at -1. I as the husband could tell there was more progress to be made since she had to reach to feel baby in there. Aja and I were left alone to joke. I paced and worried. Over the course of 2 hours the Doc came back twice. Two different nurses came back and forth strapping and adjusting monitors. The baby's heart rate stayed consistent at 133bpm and the waiting continued. On the Doctor's third visit to the room I had talked Aja into allowing the breaking of her water. This turned out to be an undertaking like none the Doc had experienced as Aja makes some strong stuff. No water emerged so it was assumed that he was engaged enough and his head was acting as a cork. Aja started walking around the room and tearing down the levelor shades as she got more uncomfortable. Calmness prevailed. Thirty-three minutes passed and she calmly told me "I feel like i am going to have to push soon". I slowly walked to the nurses station looking at the great photographs of happy babies in the hallway and relayed the message. Once the nurses entered the room and saw Aja started saying "I don't know if I can do this" they knew that the time was at hand. When Dr. Ausbeck checked Aja again she was surprised to find that there was more breaking that needed to be done on that rhino skin. At this point we had Aja on the bed and were trying to get her positioned. She was hard to move around and not hearing anything we were saying since she was in the other world...the world of pain. With one nurse on each side and the other attending and with the Dr. in receiving position we coached her for 20 minutes and the room became decidedly un-calm. Aja can yell. She didn't say anything mean to me which i think is admirable. She let me hold her leg up and push a bit on her belly. Once his smashed head came out I told Aja to "not push" at the same time as the Dr. told her to "push hard". Aja listened to the Dr. and got the baby out. He...Yes it was a he, looked as purple as the guy from Earth Ernie. Aja gave cord blood in honor of Millie and Cami.
He Is a great baby. I am afraid that we are in the easy stage right now as he is eating and peeing in the toilet and being content and getting enough food and enough sleep. I am trying not to get my hopes up about the future of a quiet house but have really been basking in the newness of him and his alienness.