Papa’s Birth Story

272/365 - Aoibheann

I shouldn’t have been that surprised Aoibheann came early; the other three came early. I guess I was hoping for just a couple more days.

That morning, Mary and I visited the Cardston temple. We attended a session, ate dinner in the cafeteria, and headed back to Lethbridge. We arrived home about 16:30, got changed, and picked up the children from my mother-in-law’s.

We drove to Little Caesar’s to pick up six large pizzas for an elders quorum pizza party. We arrived at the church and set things up for the party, which started at 18:30. We had a good time visiting with everyone.

Things started dying down around 20:30, so we started cleaning up. We were the last ones to go, and by the time we got to our van, it was 20:45. As I closed the back door, Mary whispered to me that she thought she was in labour.

After we arrived home, we got the children ready for bed. Once they were all asleep, we cuddled in bed watching an episode of “My Name is Earl” on the laptop. Mary soaked in a hot bath after the show, and I tried to get some sleep afraid of when the baby would arrive.

About 23:30, Sinéad woke up to vomit all over her pillow and sheet. I went downstairs, got her out of bed to clean up and brush her teeth, and I stripped her bed, replacing her bedding with that from the bottom bunk. I put in a load of wash, and tried going back to sleep. For most people, this might not be a problem, but I don’t usually fall asleep quickly.

She got back into bed, but not more than 1.5 hours later, she was at it again. I got out of bed, sent her upstairs to clean up again, and put in a second load of wash. Mary told Sinéad to sleep on the chesterfield in the living room. Initially, I was apprehensive about this because I didn’t want to keep Sinéad up with Mary’s labour.

Again I attempted to sleep, but Mary awakened me about 03:00 Sunday morning to tell me she was transitioning.

She was in the washroom, labouring on the toilet. Every time she had a contraction, she leaned on me. I asked her a few times if she wanted to move to the bed, but she seemed content on staying there. That didn’t bother me too much since that meant I wouldn’t have third set of bedding to change that night.

As labour progressed, Mary switched to standing instead of sitting. It’s harder supporting a standing woman leaning on you than a sitting woman leaning on you. I kept trying to be encouraging by massaging her shoulders and telling her she was doing a great job.

It wasn’t long before the baby’s head started emerging, and within a few short moments, (at 03:38) she came all the way out. Traditionally, Mary has been on all four when birthing, and I have been the one to catch the babies. With her kneeling, catching the baby was easier for Mary, so we both had our hands in there once Aoibheann came out.

We both noticed she was a girl at the same time. We worked together to unwrap her cord, which had snaked her way around her arms and back like a backpack (like Sinéad’s). It was a short cord, just like Aisling’s.

Sinéad had been awake during the labour and hadn’t said anything, but once she hear Aoibheann crying, she poked her head into the washroom. We introduced her to her baby sister, and she went to get Aisling, who was stirring. After the estrogen party was done, we went downstairs to get Regan.

Aoibheann nursed wrapped in a towel while the rest of us crowded around to admire the baby who rounded out our family’s number. I phoned my parents to let them know she had arrived, and Sinéad phoned Mary’s mum. I also posted on Twitter and Facebook announcing her arrival.

After the cord stopped pulsing, I clamped and cut it. I took her to the bedroom to put a diaper and sleeper on. Once I got her to sleep, I took a photo of her with all her siblings.

It was after 5 by the time we all went to bed. we would be up in 4 hours to get ready for church. I didn’t really get that much sleep. Aisling was stirring a bit, and Aoibheann was still catching on to this whole nursing thing.

I would have been tempted to stay home, but I was scheduled to teach elders quorum that day. Mary’s mum came over to help while we were gone. By the time I and the children arrived home from church, I was beat. I went to bed, where I slept for close to two hours. When I woke, it felt as if it were a brand new day.

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