In the last week we had been feverishly trying to wrap up renovations, had closed on the house officially, and had celebrated Christmas and New Years with family. When I say "we" I do not mean simply Hays and I. I mean: Mom, Dad, Laura (mother-in-law), and Mike (father-in-law). That doesn't even count the others who have helped us along the way... Also when I say "we" I don't really mean me. I did "nothing" other than walk around pregnant and take care of the kids mostly.
During the hectic week of New Years I had experienced night after night of sleeplessness and annoying contractions. This of course made the week all the more intense with the threat of going into labor at any moment constant. By Sunday, January 2nd going into labor was no longer a threat... it was happening! Only 3 days after signing our mortgage and before we had finished and moved in, Joshua was arriving...
Hays was of course spending his day at the new house working, so Mom and I stuck close together and went to Target for provisions. By about 4 pm I called Hays to come home and be with me, and it was only about an hour after his return home (6 pm) that I knew it was time to go see the midwife. Contractions had been constant since 12 pm and were intensifying.
We opened the front door to the birth cottage by 6:30 pm and were promptly settled in and assessed by my midwife, Alice. Upon initial assessment Alice wasn't so sure Joshua was really on his way, but in my heart I knew this was it. She let me stay (though I could see in her eyes she didn't think it necessary) and rest for an hour before a reassessment. Mom and Hays stayed by my side comforting me and reassuring me (for the record neither of them doubted me), and after that hour Alice could see for sure I wouldn't be leaving that cottage without my baby in my arms. In fact I remember poignantly declaring that exact sentiment to my friend Rene' via text after Alice's initial skepticism. This momma was serious!
After 4 more hours, the most intense agony I have ever experienced, and repeated cries out to the Lord to spare my life (who knew natural childbirth would feel like dying?)... I again wanted Alice to assess me, I knew I felt different and that it was time to deliver. Despite her repeated skepticism, Alice checked and found that I was absolutely ready to bring another precious human into the world... (thank you momma's instincts: I love being right).
Delivery was intensely uncomfortable, overwhelmingly emotional, and downright quirky. God brought my little boy into this world (with LOTS of help from me, hello!) halfway between one day and another. His head was delievered (and crying!) at 11:59 pm on January 2nd. Then, with a serious scream of encouragement from me (we'll just not reveal WHAT words of encouragement I used) the rest of Joshua was delievered at the stroke of midnight on January 3rd. What a rush. It was my first completely natural childbirth and I had not only survived (despite my own doubts that I would), but at the moment a new day began I personally reached for my child and pulled him into the world and up onto my chest. I had done it. This is one of my most proud moments. I am so grateful to my husband and mother for supporting me every minute of the experience, without them I would have probably never made it through (seriously, I would have run out of that old house screaming for drugs). Thank you Michael Hays and Mom!
Joshua Hays Layerd
6 lbs 5 oz
January 3, 2011