Saturday, June 10, 2017

Aslan's Birth

I just entered into my blog again and realized my last post was Phoenix's birth.  I guess the only thing worth logging in anymore is the birth of a child.  Perhaps that has something to do with the fact that I have six young children now.  But I love to write and tell their stories.  I'm not sure why it has taken me years to get back into this but hopefully, I can start blogging more because I love keeping these records of my family.

So, Here is Aslan's Story:

This birth was special to me.  So much of it was carried through with faith and the angels I felt around me.  Yes, I'm a total energy person and Yes, I believe in angels but have never truly felt their presence so much as I did throughout this rough experience.  I call it rough because truly it was one of the more difficult ones I've had.  But before I get into the nitty gritty of it all, I'd like to express how grateful I am for the series of events that led up to this situation.  It has been made clear to both Alex and myself that everything that has taken place this last year has had a purpose even though at the time it seemed like an unexplainable trial of our faith.

I have been known to murmur often and complain.  This usually happens when our finances are tight.  Which for the past year and a half or so, has been our journey.  It seems we're often trying to play catch-up on everything.  And the Lord has somehow always blessed us.  We have never gone without our basic needs being met.  So I can't complain there.  But there's something so dang frustrating about trying to become self-reliant when our commission-based income is not always as consistent as we'd like it to be.

I feel the need to recap the events of the past year or so, to truly show why I feel God and his angels were with us throughout our journey.  After spending two years in Traverse Mountain, a beautiful area in Lehi which we loved and truly did not want to leave, we decided to take a leap of faith and travel again.  In the past, this has always proven to be quite profitable.  And we were in a place where we really wanted to start getting ahead so that we could buy a house soon instead of renting.  It seemed like the right choice.  And so we headed to California in February of 2016 to do more security sales, only to find the market was terrible and quickly, our savings was used up.  

We found no place to stay out there and with no income, we quickly made the decision to return to Utah.  Only we had no place to stay.  My parents' small apartment wasn't quite suitable for our family of 7 at the time.  We ended up staying with Alex's brother and his family for almost 2 months in Sandy, and because the security sales weren't doing well, Alex quickly made shifts to work in the solar industry.  In our efforts to quickly find an apartment so as not to drive Elliot and April insane with our crazy kids made crazier because of all the mischief they wanted to explore together with their cousins (I'm sure our kids were in Heaven at this time btw), we found a place in Sandy around the corner from them instead.  Bless their hearts for taking our whole family under their roof while we figured out how to get out of this mess.  It seemed a bit pricey at first so we figured it would only be short term until we could find a house again since it's hard to find a place cheap enough, that also allows our family because most places ask for 2 people per bedroom.  In my mind, I think, who cares.  I've thrown all my kids into one bedroom because they all like to sleep near each other anyways.  But I stray from the point.  So we moved into this apartment around May.  Signed a 6 month lease.  When I got pregnant in June, our plan became to quickly find a bigger space so that we could move all of our things out of storage which we were paying on top of our rent.  For me, this was all just a big headache.  I hate moving so close to giving birth, but we've been there and done that on several occasions, so we looked and looked.  But as labor grew closer, Alex once again struggled with different solar companies trying to find what worked best for us financially.  It didn't seem doable anymore for us to rent a house because we couldn't save enough for a deposit as well as our rent and midwife payments which we're still in the process of working through.  The stars were not aligning for us, or so we thought.  So, we made the decision to stick around and eventually ended up signing another lease.  On a side note, because our complex switched out their management team, we later recieved a $200 discount on our second lease.  One of God's tender mercies and I'll explain all that in a bit.  Anyways, as I tell my birth story you'll understand why it was so critical that we were where we were because of the fact that I needed to transfer from my beautifully planned homebirth to a hospital again.  Our apartment, is literally just a few blocks from the hospital.  Had we moved to some of the areas we were looking at in Lehi and Bluffdale, where we wanted to be, and the nearest Emergency was a 10-20 minute drive, things might have gone differently.  I don't know.  One can never tell for sure, but my gut tells me, that everything was in place as it should have been because I know God loves me and watches over me and my babies.

So back to the actual birth.  We decided to once again use Sherri Price as our midwife.  I personally loved all her birthing support so much last time with our stubborn little Phoenix that just wouldn't descend into the birth canal properly, that we ended up calling her last minute after we had gotten some finances into place in order to use her services.  She really has a gift for birth and assisting mothers.  Regardless of feeling confident in once again going with Sherri over Suzanne Smith who we also loved for helping us deliver 3 of our babies, I felt the need to express to her that I felt nervous about something.  She gave me several foot zones as we explored what it was I was so emotional about.  I couldn't quite put my finger on it.  Birth doesn't often make me nervous.  I mean, of course there's always a bit of uncertainty each time around, but this felt different.  We explored whether it was my financial anxiety, or stressing over whether anything could have been done differently the last time to avoid being transferred again.  We talked about birthing tubs and the stool being at the right height for me to birth upon because last time I had a lot of pressure in my legs.  We had been a bit confused about whether our conception date was accurate and roughly tried to figure out when this little guy would make his appearance because of trips Sherri had to make roughly around the same time.  We also discussed whether a homebirth was even right for me at this time.  I had been struggling with some other health issues but was still fairly low-risk.  In the end, though I love Sherri, something still made me feel extremely on edge.  Despite her trips she discussed with me the possibility of having one of her other midwives she worked with attend my birth.  I trusted she would leave me in good hands, and in the end, that's exactly what happened.  So I then began to prepare for our baby's birth day as best I could.  This pregnancy got so difficult in the last 6 weeks or so.  I was told I had a lot of fluid and for sure, that and a combination of the fact that I gave birth to another big baby added to the difficulty in moving around towards the end.  Still, I guess I'm a pusher.  So we pushed ahead and got things out of storage, washed loads of baby clothes that had been put away, collected birthing supplies and stuff to clean up the mess.  Even so, nothing seemed to help me feel quite prepared this time.  You'd think I'd have been ready having gone through this 5 times before.

Since my ability to move felt a bit limiting, I found ways to uplift my mind and focus on positive thoughts and ways to raise my energy to a higher vibration.  I printed out a garland of strengthening scriptures I could read and be reminded of as I walked by them.  I printed out more quotes.  I loved the one that says to "Be Still and know that I am God."  It helped to increase my faith and calm my fears.  I happened to choose a theme word for my year and my word was Stillness.  So it's fun to see how this word has shown up in my life this year.  I also really loved John 16:21 which reads, "A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for the joy that a man is born into the world."  These were helpful.  And then, as silly as it may sound, I started watching Moana with my kids.  Disney surely has a way of making you watch their films on repeat and something clicked and spoke to me through one song in particular. 

On a day that was rather rough because my house had become a mess and I felt useless to do anything about it, I heard the song, "I Am Moana (song of the ancestors)" and the lyrics lit up as though someone was speaking to me.  So here are the lyrics in case you wanted to follow along:

Gramma Tala:
I know a girl from an island
She stands apart from the crowd
She loves the sea and her people
She makes her whole family proud
Sometimes the world seems against you
The journey may leave a scar
But scars can heal and reveal just
Where you are
The people you love will change you
The things you have learned will guide you
And nothing on earth can silence
The quiet voice still inside you
And when that voice starts to whisper
Moana you've come so far
Moana listen
Do you know who you are?

Who am I?
I am a girl who loves my island
I'm the girl who loves the sea
It calls me
I am the daughter of the village chief
We are descended from voyagers
Who found their way across the world
They call me
I've delivered us to where we are
I have journeyed farther
I am everything I've learned and more
Still it calls me
And the call isn't out there at all, it's inside me
It's like the tide; always falling and rising
I will carry you here in my heart you'll remind me
That come what may
I know the way
I am Moana!

I watched this particular scene in the movie with tears, surrounded by my children's concerned faces because I never cry for a movie but in that moment I realized who it was.  I realized I had an angel beside me calming my doubts and fears about how this birth would go.  It was my Nona.  This may not mean much to anyone reading this but years ago, when I was about to deliver my second child and my Nona was dying, I interviewed her for a school project and discovered that she too had delivered babies at home.  I developed a connection with her in a way I never felt before.  At a time when the rest of my family always seemed nervous and anxious to insist I go to a hospital because my ideas of home birthing were simply crazy, I felt supported by the strength of her spirit and my doubts ceased during my daughter's birth because of that connection I had with her.  She was my first homebirth.  And then I had two more.  Needless to say, this time, I felt her spirit speak to me and calm me once again.  And though the outcome was not how I envisioned it would happen, I learned so much and wouldn't trade the experience for anything.  I know, without a shadow of a doubt that my grandmother was present during Aslan's birth.  Her spirit kept me at peace throughout the whole ordeal and it wasn't an easy one. 

So, Aslan was born Friday March 10, 2017 at 9:21am.

Thursday, my mother-in-law Cheryl, went with me and the kids to Costco around noon.  I always seem to be doing tons of crazy things the day I go into labor.  I have a hard time doing grocery shopping this far along but this day, she wanted to gift our family something I'd been pining over for a long time so I figured I better make the effort to go.  We were shopping for a Kitchenaid!  It was a dream come true.  I'd wanted one as a Christmas present but then we made different decisions with our finances being so tight.  Cheryl has struggled for a while now with some back problems so the sight must have been a funny one.  A pregnant woman trying to get around with 5 kids in tow and not being able to carry a kitchenaid off the shelf.  Those things are heavy.  Neither could my sweet mother-in-law.  So we flagged down a Costco employee to assist us in the heavy lifting that needed to be done.  Shortly after arriving at Costco though, something in my body definitely shifted and the whole time we were shopping to restock toilet paper and other essentials, along with my new kitchenaid, I kept having to stop every 3-5 minutes to time a surge and just sway through it.  I must have been a sight that day.  My labors are typically days long so I didn't think much of it and figured it was all braxton hicks stuff because I'd been having tons of those for the past 8 weeks.  We went home, unloaded groceries, and then I took my kids to their silks classes.  This was from 4-6pm.  The pressure waves kept coming and going and somehow, after dinner, and putting the kids down, I told Alex I wanted help getting a few more things from Costco that I had forgotten earlier that day because obviously my brain was malfunctioning.  So we went to Costco again at about 8pm.  Talk about nesting. 

After getting back home and organizing our last few items, I considered opening the kitchenaid, excited to try it out, but these surges were really getting the best of me.  So I tried to rest instead, putting the beloved kitchenaid aside for now.  Except, now I found myself somewhat uncomfortable even in my usual sitting and lounging positions.  Surges/waves still about every 3-5 minutes.  At around 11pm. Alex suggests calling Sherri but she had made a house visit just that morning and had actually been attending another birth as well as getting ready for a trip so I hesitated to bother her at this late hour unless I was certain labor was on its way.  But the pressure was definitely building so we finally called her and she showed up at about midnight and I was still not resting very well but doing a lot of rocking and leaning on the couch while kneeling.  I'm always afraid my dilation will get checked and that I will get told I'm only at a 2 like it was with my firstborn.  But everything was going surprisingly well again.  Sherri checked me and said, "You're very dilated my dear," so obviously my body had been doing some hard work this day.  I was at a 7+ and upon hearing that, I got excited.  I knew I was close now and felt positive I could do it at home again.  She called for the tub and assistance, especially since her trip was in the morning.  So Roxanna Maurer was her replacement and the most amazing lady.  It's funny because I'm always somewhat hesitant when I have a new person or nurse attending me that I've never met before.  But somehow, her energy made me feel at peace.  Everything about her presence felt right.  And as much as I would have loved for Sherri to stay, I wasn't as sad or nervous about her leaving me. 
Something about Roxie was familiar to me.  Sherri stayed until about 3am.  I had been in the tub for a few hours and had reached a 9+ and felt very pushy.  So I was progressing quickly.  I did not want to get out of the tub but then my surges began to slow down a bit and it was suggested I maybe walk around and use gravity to help the baby move into position better.  So I sat on the stool and then Roxie took over as Sherri got ready to leave.  After she left, I found myself not quite comfortable sitting for long, so I walked around a bit more and then found a way to sit on the couch comfortably with lots of pillows.  Her assistant kept putting pressure on my knees toward my hips and it was so soothing through each pressure wave (we avoid calling them contractions as much as possible at our house).  I slept for a while in between surges.  And I loved the way nothing seemed rushed.  My water hadn't broken yet and typically in the past I've had it broken for me and then baby arrived within minutes.  Phoenix was the exception.  But with Phoenix, my water broke on its own, so I was confident I could do this again.  Once again, we allowed my body to do things on its own.  Roxie had a way with encouraging words.  She often said to me, "Welcome it, welcome it......"  and then encouraged me to let go of the tension in my shoulders which I didn't realize I was even holding onto until she would touch my shoulder to help me realize I could loosen it up a bit.  I can't even begin to explain how helpful that was in relaxing my body and allowing it to open up.     

At around 5am, I began to develop shaky legs.  I felt strange and cold so we decided to try the birth stool again.  I had a bulging bag of water and Roxie encouraged me to let it break on its own.  I suddenly developed this strange fear of crowning.  I understand most women often get nervous and get that feeling of giving up at about the time of transition, but this felt so different.  After having gone through several natural home-births I knew what the ring of fire would feel like.  I knew what to expect.  Still, I had some nerves I just couldn't shake off.  Later on, I would have Sherri explain to me that I should have listened to that closer because it was my mommy instincts.  I always have such a hard time trusting the voice and the whispers I hear.  But this experience has helped me develop my gifts of the spirit in so many ways.  So as I sat on the stool, I knew I was close to meeting my baby.  I just didn't realize what was to come.  Alex was so encouraging also.  He felt so confident in me.  He always sits behind me and supports my back and becomes my personal arm rest.  Somehow I always feel supported by him there.  He kept saying, "You can do this!  Let's meet our baby so I can hold him instead!"  And that always seems to be the little push I need.  I need to hear that someone else believes in me, I guess.  I was facing a wall hanging that had several family pictures posted on it.  One of which was the photo of my grandparents.  My dad's mom.  My Nonita.  There she was.  With confident shoulders and a firm regal countenance.  I remember her as a short woman but she always stood straight and tall.  She knew who she was it seemed.  A gentle and forgiving soul, but ready to face whatever the adversary threw her way.  I looked into that photograph and stared into her eyes and I knew that I could do hard things.  I have strength beyond what I often think I have and when I feel like giving up, small encouragements often allow me to push beyond and it's surprising to me how empowering that feels.  I felt the tears roll down my cheeks as I suddenly realized I wasn't alone in the pain I felt and I handed myself over to God's will and gave it everything I had.  Another surge began and I allowed my body to ease into it and open fully.  It did.  At that moment, my amniotic sac ruptured and I was thrilled.  I was thrilled because I'd gotten this far on my own again with no meds.  But just for a moment.

Everything turned around in that moment and became quite chaotic.  I immediately felt Roxie shove her hand into me followed by, "Call 911, it's a cord prolapse!"  It took me a moment to realize I once again would not be having the birth I desired but I'm amazed at how quickly everyone worked together to make things happen.  While we waited for the ambulance, Roxie had me move to the floor and get on hands and knees.  She told me not to push anymore, which I must say was terribly difficult because of how much I wanted to push in that moment.  I remember asking "why?" because I had been in the zone for a while and suddenly had to halt my progress.  Once my water is broken the surges are on top of each other and really intense so Roxie tried to get me to push a couple more times to see if baby would just come out quickly but nothing happened at that point.  She urgently kept me on hands and knees as she struggled to push the cord back in.  Her assistant put an oxygen tube into my mouth to get extra oxygen but in my confusion I kept taking it out to breathe better.  What I hadn't realized is what Roxie later told me really had her worried.  The baby's heartbeat had suddenly dropped into the 20's.  I kept asking why I couldn't just push.  Having her hand jammed into such an awkward place made me really want to push.  

The ambulance arrived within minutes and pretty soon, furniture was getting shoved around to make way for a stretcher.  But I couldn't lay down on the stretcher.  I literally had to crawl onto it and ride to the emergency room on hands and knees with my midwife's hand up my crotch.  Forgive the language.  At least my sweet mother had time to drape a bedsheet over me to keep me decent while being carried outside into the ambulance in that awkward position.  Every bump there was excruciating and I was not in my zone anymore.  Never thinking I would ride in an ambulance like that in my life, I practically begged for whatever drug they had lying around for some relief.  I knew this baby wasn't going to come as quickly at this point and that I would have to endure quite possibly a few more hours of this, and perhaps even have a c-section.  Which when contractions are on top of each other seems super impossible.  And it's only made worse when people start telling you, you can't stand up and move around anymore to work with your body.  But those ambulance guys were amazingly supportive.  They kept asking Roxie, "What do you need us to do?" and were so obedient to every request she made about how to stay positioned where she needed to be.   

We arrived at the Alta View hospital within about 5 minutes since it was literally around the corner.  The doctor had just arrived to the ER and helped roll me onto the bed.  The interesting thing that I consider miraculous is that he went in to check my dilation and declared I was at a 6.  Somehow, my body had closed up.  Perhaps it was a fight or flight response but this is where the series of miracles come in.  He then checked for a cord once Roxie had removed her hand.  Nothing to be found.  No cord anymore.  This is the part where I have to thank Roxanna sincerely for all the pain.  She was determined to get that cord back up there somehow so as not to cut off our baby's oxygen supply.  And that's exactly what she did.  The doctor seemed somewhat confused.  So he gave orders to proceed with labor where we had left off.  For me, things got too difficult to continue without pain relief.  I asked for the epidural.  Funny thing was, the anesthesiologist wasn't available for another half hour so I endured several more surges, one at a time, and then was fully dilated again when he finally came in.  I still wanted it.  He worked amazingly quick and gave me a double dose that eased up all the pain almost immediately.  Miracle number 2 there.  Never thought I'd be so grateful for modern medicine in my life.  But I've always known it had a place.  At this point, I just wanted to go to sleep.  But I also didn't want to be pregnant anymore.  So at around 9am, I start to push again.  I knew I would be making little progress because the epidural always makes me feel super drowsy and I never know what to feel for anymore.  This time, doctor suggests we try the vacuum, so after getting the go ahead from me, he uses the vacuum and after a few pushes, our little boy entered the world at 9:21am.  

Miracle number 3: After asking several questions, and wondering if I had made the mistake of trying a homebirth again, I had it explained to me by several nurses, midwife and doctor, that had I been at the hospital already, a cord prolapse would have immediately taken me to the OR for a C-section.  To this day, I can happily say I've avoided a c-section.  I was definitely prepared to get one.  But when I realized I was able to deliver yet another baby vaginally, I was in tears of gratitude.  Not so much because I fear the surgery, but because it's just not something I want to experience.  I will say this: I have full respect for any mother who goes through the recovery process of it.  She is a super woman.  But truly, all mothers are superhuman aren't they?  

Miracle number 4:  Despite the extreme discomfort of this labor, I'm amazed at how much faith and positivity I had within me.  I somehow managed to be at peace with whatever took place and trusted in the many angels assisting me.  I trusted in the nurses, in Roxie, in the good doctor whose name I keep forgetting, in my good husband, who, on the way to the ER looked at me with the most worry I'd ever seen.  He cried for the third time in my life.  I never see this man cry.  That's how I knew the situation was serious.  I felt so at peace because of the angels I couldn't see but felt all around me.  I felt at peace with my mother who never left my side.  I felt at peace with my dad who had fallen asleep on the couch in our living room and was ever so confused when we asked him to call 911.  He obviously hasn't been the same since his stroke and his understanding of what to do as he woke up when my water broke, provided much comical relief for me.  It's good to look back and laugh a little because life is meant to be enjoyed.  As hard as it was, overcoming this obstacle was so rewarding.  

I felt my grandmother's presence as clearly as Moana could see hers in her story.  It was an undeniable energy.  I can't wait to one day be able to hug her again and express my gratitude to her for always following me around and watching over me and my little family.  I don't need scientific proof to know she was there the whole time.  The real kicker for me in telling this story is having Roxanna come to visit me a few days after the birth.  She came by to do the PKU testing as well as gift me a sweet children's book with Aslan's footprints in it.  As we sat and talked about what all had happened, she made mention of how she calls upon angel midwives to assist her.  Keep in mind, I had never met this woman prior to being in labor.  She spoke of how one spirit midwife made itself very clear to her.  She described her as dark and beautiful and of hispanic descent.  I got chills listening to her describe how the veil had gotten thin, and so Alex and I decided to show her the photo of my Nona hanging on the wall to see if it had any familiarity and she said it definitely looked a bit like her.  Of course, the photo I had, she was a bit older.  But I remember looking at several of her more youthful photos and seeing her with long dark hair.  My understanding of angels is that they're usually in their prime.  But Roxie confirmed to me all that I felt was real.  I'm not a crazy energy person who claims to feel angels.  I do feel them.  They're very real.  And I now share this story so that it won't float away and disappear into the universe somewhere.  I don't usually have experiences like this though I've always been in tune with energies and prayed often to have further insight into the realms I cannot see.  And I'm grateful for all that was revealed to me.  I'm grateful that my Father in Heaven sees me fit to develop my intuition in such ways and I know he wants me to continue to seek further knowledge and the hidden treasures he promises to those who engage in seeking it out. 

Welcome to the world baby Aslan!  Life is chaotic, but we're overjoyed that we didn't lose you that morning.  For every mother that endures the tragic loss of a newborn, my heart swells for you and I will thoroughly enjoy my baby boy and strive to endure the hardship of a newborn no matter what it brings.  Yes, I've been known to murmur.  But I truly am grateful for this experience and all it has taught me about life, compassion and nurturing grace.  

Aslan Titus Huntington.  May you live up to your name.  Be fierce and bold.  Be Christ-like.  And hold to that title of honor that belongs to you.  To you and your ancestors.  We love you baby boy!      

Baby Aslan, just born.

A photo of the placenta always seems gruesome to share but I find it amazingly wondrous that we as women can grow an entire organ within the space of 9 months, alongside a new human being.  It truly is a beautiful thing to me to marvel at how perfect God's plan of creation is.  

Alex, shielding the baby's eyes from the harsh and bright lighting of the hospital room.  

Skin to skin with my new baby.

10 lbs. 6 oz.  22 1/2 inches long.  He's a big one! 

Ten year-old big brother holds the baby.  

Daddy and Edison want a turn too. 

One of our sweet nurses washing his hair.

One day old with aunt Tiffany.  

Uncle Mauricio playing with his nephew.

Chrysalis is all over this kid.

And here's the beautiful midwife who saved our baby's life.  Roxanna Maurer.

A truly AMAZING woman!

My dad, the comedian, trying to figure out how to assist at our house with the aftermath. 

Baby's day old smiles.

Just can't resist sharing all these photos.  I'm so lucky.  I get to cuddle with another boy at night.  Isn't he scrumptious?!  Our family is truly so blessed.  Hope you've enjoyed our birth story.  If you've made it this far, thanks for taking this journey with us. 

1 comment:

Amy P said...

Hi Ligia! Congratulations on the birth of a new baby boy! I enjoyed reading your birth story! We seem to have babies about the same time - we just had our number 6 three weeks ago. Your story is faith building and amazing! Thank you for sharing it. ❤️

Our little swimmer