Tom's birth story: part 3
Shall we continue from part two? Right before Kim left, I was 6 cm dilated. It was really painful, and at one point, I told myself I should just ask for an epidural, but the stubborn part of me responded, "Well, dammit, just out-stubborn yourself and stick too it; it's really no different than your worst period cramps." Which is true. I'm glad it didn't get any worse than that. I kept changing positions depending on what I felt my body needed. I kept breathing slow and low, keeping my jaw slack so as to keep my pelvic area open. It was the hardest work I've ever done. Ever. To give the same amount of energy and concentration to EACH contraction, with the SAME focus, calls for massive amounts of self control and endurance. Yikes. About a half hour or 45 minutes after Kim left, I felt the STRONG urge to bare down. I just felt stuff MOVING. Alex called for a nurse, and she checked me, I was at 9 cm. She called Kim, and Kim said she'd be over within a half hour or so. We're now at around close to 10pm. In the meantime, I'm on the bed, in a crouching position facing back, gripping it as tight as I can. Trying to breathe now was HARD. Alex gave me his arm and hand to hold, and I was surprised he wasn't bruised later. He started praying a Rosary out loud, and that was so helpful. Kim got there around 10:30pm, and checked me, and then she told me to get into whatever position I felt to as long as I stayed on the bed. I'm still trying my best to focus, and realllllllly needed to push. She told me to start pushing. In that time, the "birth team" had gathered. There were about 6 or 7 extra people in the room, and that was annoying because I felt like it was throwing off my groove, even though I know they had to be there. They were all very quiet, which was awesome, and they were also discreet. It's around 10:45pm now, and I start pushing. Kim had me take a couple of deep breathes, hold them, touched this or that spot in the pelvic area, then told me to push with all my might. That was SUPER helpful, since it was similar to what I done with my clients. In between contractions and pushing, Alex would give me a sip of water, or I would just rest and "sleep" for what felt like a few minutes. Crowning took forever. They kept telling me I was doing great, and that I was so close to holding our baby. But baby was STILL CROWNING. At one point, Kim asked me if I wanted to feel our baby's head. I said no and they all chuckled. A while later, she told me I could feel the baby's hair if I wanted to, and I did, and said something along the lines of "Holy cow okay I can do this." It had been about 40 minutes of pushing, and finally our sweet baby's head emerged! Sweet relief! She told me to give another good strong push, and the shoulders were out! Then I heard Kim say, "Okay, pull your baby out." No response from Alex or me, then she said firmly, "Alex, pull your baby out!" I responded, "Wait you mean me?" She laughed, "YES I mean you." So I grabbed the baby under the shoulders, and pulled out our Tom! 11:28pm.
He was so loose and fragile, but managed to pull his first prank on his mother by pooping all over me. The umbilical cord was covering the tell all area, so Kim told Alex to move it over so we could see what we got! Alex did it carefully, and quietly, but excitedly, said, "We have a boy!" We hadn't named him yet, but they wiped him off, and he cried. He had cried when I pulled him out, but stopped as soon as he was on my chest. He was quiet only when on my chest. I melted. We let the placenta drain for about 20 minutes or so, and Tom's gained grained and a beautiful coloring. It was incredible.
Meanwhile, Alex was beaming, and looked at me, "By the way, it is still St Thomas Aquinas' feast day." Growing up I swore I would never name one of my boys Thomas. EVERY Thomas I knew was wild, or above the law, or just high spirited beyond belief. They were/are all great guys, now, haha! But that was my only "never" name.
The parish we attended during our short time in Dallas is called St Thomas Aquinas. As soon as we found out we were expecting, which was right before Father's Day, Alex asked me to PLEASE consider the name Thomas if we were to have a boy. I said no. He said please. Three of his top favorite saints are Sts Thomas More, Thomas Aquinas, and Thomas the Apostle. So I said I'll "pray" about it.
While in Mass in Father's Day, I stared down that statue of St Thomas, and felt like he was staring back. I told him that I'd pray about the name, but if he REALLY wanted it, he'd have to make it happen somehow. A few months before my due date, we had a couple of girl names, and one boy name, Thomas Carl. I still didn't want Thomas, but eventually I think I was more scared of having a Thomas which is why I was so hesitant. I looked up all the saints' days two weeks before and two weeks after my due date, and laughed when I saw Aquinas' feast 15 days before, but swore that was too soon. Anyways... So we named our baby Thomas Carl. I rolled my eyes that we were just a half hour away from missing the feast day. There was no backing out of that name now. Thomas is after the three saints named above, and also after my dad, whose middle name is a Thomas. Carl is a nod to JPII, whose first name was Karol, and is Alex's middle name, his dad's first name, and is also the name of the first Lemke to cross over from Germany. It was a wonderful labor and delivery experience. He weighed 7lbs, 11oz, and was 21 inches long. He took to nursing right away (and hasn't stopped haha), and nuzzled right into our arms. My parents arrived an hour later (Alex had let them know at some point that it was go time, and they drove up as soon as my dad got off work). They needed our apartment key, and needed to see their first grandchild. It was joy all around. We stayed in the hospital until Saturday afternoon and my mom stayed a week to help me out. Mainly to hang out. ;) As soon as we got back from the hospital, Alex made me a gin and tonic. It tasted like heaven. My mom, dad, and little brother had decorated our apartmen with baloons, streamers, flowers, and gifts. It was lovely. We are so blessed with sweet (crazy) Tom. I thank you for taking the time to read this saga! I've been in the car the whole time, so please forgive any errors, and the lack of photos. May the Lord bless you! St Thomas More, pray for us. St Thomas Aquinas, pray for us. St Thomas the Apostle, pray for us. St John Paul the Great, pray for us.