Today is Pioneer Day.
Pioneer Day is an official Utah holiday celebrated on July 24 in commemoration of the first Mormon pioneers that settled in Salt Lake City. It's a big event in Utah, with festivities throughout the State, like parades, rodeos, and firework displays!
Coincidentally, this was also the estimated due date of our third baby.
So, two years ago today, when Pioneer Day rolled through our small town of Cedar City, I was large with child, and ready to pop like a firecracker!
This analogy is no joke, either. This was by far my most difficult pregnancy, as far as explosive emotions and fiery hormones go. I was a walking time-bomb most of the time, spontaneously stressing and crying over everything I could. To further add to the emotional chaos, I was constantly sore, miserable, uncomfortable, and could barely walk. I had gained a considerably huge amount of weight this time, causing my feet to crack from the pressure. My ligaments were stretched to their limits, so I had to wear a tight belly supporter, and to add insult to injury, my husband was working away from home 4 days a week, leaving me with 2 young boys to care for.....alone. Looking back on this time in my life, it's no wonder I found myself later on experiencing some post- traumatic stress and anxiety. This was WAY too much for one person to take on!
I don't think anyone noticed there was a large, pregnant woman, heavily breathing on all fours, next to them. As my boys ran along the curb to collect candy with their friends, I called Micah to tell him I was coming home to have this baby!
However, It wasn't until 11 o'clock that night, and after we put the boys to sleep, that my contractions started up again. But this time they were so strong and so fierce that I was caught by surprise. Like fireworks exploding inside my belly, I erupted over in pain. I screamed hysterically, until Micah came and calmed me down with his gentle voice. He reminded me to allow my uterus do all the work, to let my body relax, and to allow my mind to wander free.
Our midwife arrived at midnight. She took one look at me and said softly, yet quickly,"Maybe it's time to get in the birthing tub..." She had seen enough women in labor to know I was getting closer than she had realized over the phone with my husband. I had been hesitant to get in the tub, as I feared my labor would stop progressing if I was too comfortable, but she reassured me that it was okay now.
I won't lie to you and tell you this home-water birth was gentle and beautiful like the last time. It wasn't. It was hard, and painful, and explosive in every way. By the time Jonah's head started emerging through the "ring of fire", I was emotionally spent, and physically exhausted. I felt that every ounce of my sanity and energy had gone into carrying this child, and after 9 months of hell, I was now forced to go through the most painful experience of my life. I was hunched over the side of the birth tub, screaming out in agony, pushing as hard as I could, and crying out in vain.
No one could help me, and no one could take this burden from me; It was mine alone to experience, as much as I hated it, it was all mine.
Our midwife whispered gently to turn over onto my back and push one, last time. The babies head was already out. I looked down to see this soft, purple, squishy thing with black hair sticking out between my legs. I wondered quickly if it was the little girl I had imagined. One last push, and I screamed our baby out into the world.
A little boy.
I could still feel the burning, I could still feel the pressure and tension at the surface of my skin, then all went numb.
I sat calmly in the pool and held our baby boy for the first time. Micah was beaming down at him, a proud Papa. I picked him up out of the water and felt his soft, new skin against my belly. He was so perfectly beautiful.
Jonah turns 2 tomorrow. He was born one hour after Pioneer Day ended, in Cedar City, Utah. Three weeks after he was born, we had to move our family 5 hours North, which was really stressful for me. But to make things easier, he turned out to be everything I needed a third baby to be! He was peaceful, calm, quiet, and predictable as could be. He ate when he was hungry, slept when he was tired, and rarely cried as I was packing boxes and moving my life around. Our family has thoroughly enjoyed the calm of our sweet, angel baby Jonah. The boys still dote on him every chance they can get, hugging him, kissing him, and calling him their little "Pootie baby."