It really is. Sure, I've been experiencing some major hormonal shifts right now, but that's a natural part of the postpartum period. The first month after having a baby is NOT fun as far as how my body feels, but it has almost been a month since Julien arrived and that means things are quickly going back to normal! A new normal, that is. No more anxious thoughts about being pregnant and no more poking obsessively at my baby to feel movement. It's freeing. Of course I still worry about my baby's safety and we constantly check to make sure he's breathing, but I think that's a normal "new parent" thing to do.
Julien is very healthy and is gaining lots of weight. He was born 8 lbs. 3 oz, but went down to 7 lbs. at his checkup a few days after birth. Then two weeks later he was at 8 and a half lbs. So he's doing very well.
During the Thanksgiving weekend we went to Sidney and stopped by the cemetery to visit Jonas. It was a quick visit and I didn't bring anything for him. I felt a little guilty about that, but it's harder to do those things with a new baby. My mind is all over the place lately. But of course I'm sure he's forgiving. :) In a few years, my boys will be able to pick something out to bring to their brother. I think they will enjoy doing that for holidays/birthdays.
Josiah loves his new brother! At first he was a little confused and sometimes called him Jonas. But now he's beginning to understand that the painting on our wall is Jonas, and this baby is Julien. I don't think he'll fully understand for a few years, though. Whenever we drive by a cemetery, he always says, "Look at all these Jonases!" haha...it's cute--and funny seeing how a 3 year old understands things.
Well, baby calls so I've got to wrap this up quickly. I'm not sure what direction this blog will be heading in. It is still meant for Jonas, so I will focus on him as much as I can.
Well, he's here! Born November 4th at 9:18 pm, weighing 8 lbs. 3 oz. and measuring 20 inches. He's absolutely perfect, and we can't stop staring at him. He's got light brown hair--my first brunette baby! We'll see if it stays brown. His eyes could possibly turn hazel like Zac's. He's so beautiful.
The labor/birth of Julien was very long and traumatic at the end. Everyone expected him to come quickly, since he's my third. Things progressed slowly, even though I demanded to be able to get up and walk around and move through the labor. That's what helped things go smoothly and easily with Jonas, so I knew I had to have that again. I did move a lot, but I was still uncomfortable. It was a typical hospital birth--hooked up to tubes and monitors and looking like a sick patient. I kept saying over and over that this is just wrong! Births weren't meant to be this way. I just wanted him here, though, so I was willing to do anything. I was induced slowly Wednesday night and was even having regular contractions before they started anything. But we found out later that Julien's head was laying sideways against the cervix, so only part of it was dilating. That's why it was taking so long. When I was about 8 cm, the nurses became frantic and were calling people in. Julien's heartrate was dropping after each contraction. They said it wasn't too serious as long as it didn't keep happening. Well, it did keep dropping and so they actually "refilled" the amniotic fluid inside me, which had broken earlier that afternoon. They wanted to keep him suspended so it would help the heart rate somehow. I'm so glad I refused to have them break the water first thing that morning. Knowledge is power and I knew that rupturing the membranes could possibly slow things down, and in my case Julien could have been in further danger. Then they attached a heart monitor to his head so they could get a more accurate reading. It began dropping lower...and lower...and they were panicking and started moving me around onto my sides trying to get it up again. Zac and I were unbelievably terrified. They put an oxygen mask on me. I came close to hyperventilating out of fear. The sound of Julien's heart slowing down to almost silence was the worst thing I've ever heard with one exception--the silence I heard on the heart monitor when they were searching for Jonas' heartbeat. I prayed and prayed and kept begging God, "Don't do this to us! This was supposed to be a safe and uneventful birth!" (But God doesn't DO things like this to us...that's another topic, though). I begged the nurse to do a c-section--get him out of me! I was about 9 cm and so very close, which is why I think they were waiting. I didn't care though. I prayed that I would feel the urge to push, and God answered me. I felt Julien descending and began to push. I pushed so hard that I almost passed out. I wanted him out NOW because his life depended on it. Finally he was born and when they put him on my chest, I cried out with joy.
Joy! It's something I haven't truly felt in awhile! It's been almost 2 weeks since he arrived (even though the date of this post says the 10th--it has taken me awhile to get this written out!). He is melting my heart. Breastfeeding has gone fairly well, besides the initial pain that comes with it. He has made it way easier on me than Josiah did. He has such a happy look on his face and doesn't cry too often. Not that crying is bad or anything, but this baby seems very peaceful. *knock on wood* Of course it IS only the second week, so we'll see how it goes.
Giving birth again definitely brought back many emotions and memories of Jonas. It's those little things that I remember. The smell of witch hazel pads will always remind me of birth. It has always made me feel sad, but I'm hoping I can now find peace in the memories of all three of my sons' births. I feel sad thinking that Jonas never got a chance at life besides the 9 months I carried him. But then I feel peaceful knowing that he was only making room for Julien's arrival. I see both Josiah and Jonas in Julien's face. He definitely has his own distinct features, though--different from the other two. He's beautiful. He is the perfect gift from God.
I will never be able to say that the hole in my heart has been filled. If Jonas were here, it'd be filled. That can never happen, though. But I can say that God has overflowed the rest of my heart with so much joy and love by bringing this baby here safely. I will always feel sad when I think of my baby boy who was too beautiful for Earth. His coming and going has shaped me into the person I was meant to be. But so has the births of Josiah and Julien. Everything falls into place eventually.
Welcome to our family, baby Julien Reese! We are now complete, and our empty arms are now filled. Just as Josiah lit up when he saw you, I know that Jonas was just as happy to become a big brother. You and Josiah are very lucky boys--you've got your own guardian angel up there.
This agonizing week is officially over at 8pm tomorrow night! I'm so ready. I've got a few nesting urges to clean tomorrow, but other than that, it's definitely time.
I told Zac today that I don't care about the fact that I will be up all night feeding Julien and that sleep-deprivation is right around the corner. Don't care about the poopy diapers. I don't care about the physical pain I'll be in after the birth. I don't care that I gained 40 lbs. on top of the 20 lbs. I wasn't able to lose after having Jonas. All I really care about is being able to hold a live baby in my arms. A pink baby screaming and crying and needing me!
I have been more paranoid the past few days than I have any other time during this pregnancy. I'm so scared. I constantly poke my little guy until he moves. He's probably irritated because I keep waking him up and won't let him sleep. I use my doppler every night just to be sure his heart is still beating. One more day. Just one more day, sweet baby!
My mind is a wandering mess lately. I can't focus on anything. I didn't vote because I don't know who any of the candidates are, which is unusual for me. If any of them could get my baby here safely, I'd vote for them. ;) When I look in the mirror, I can see how much I've aged over the past year and a half. It's sad, but that's what life and death does to you. Unfortunately, it happened earlier for me. I am confident that I will gain my youth back again.
Well, I will keep everyone updated! And I will share a picture of my rainbow baby as soon as I can. Thanks for keeping me and Julien in your prayers.
Also--I had to share these sculptures made by a woman on Etsy.com. They are very powerful and they make me cry every time I look at them. I'm definitely going to collect these someday.These can be found at http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheMidnightOrange?page=1
This page has been written in loving memory of our baby boy, Jonas Elliot, who was born quietly into the arms of Jesus on March 12th, 2009-a day after his due date-in Wittlich, Germany. He will forever be in our hearts.
Zac and I are also blessed with our son, Josiah Liam, who keeps us entertained and busy! On 11.04.2010, we were blessed with our rainbow baby Julien Reese! Our little comedian. :)