Caleb Comes!

Disclaimer:  It has almost been a year since Caleb joined our family, and I can probably count on one hand the number of times I've gotten more than 4 hours of sleep in a stretch. So, dear Cabes, if this account lacks detail because my brain is a little foggy, resist the temptation to find in this a reason to feel slighted. Instead see this muddled account as golden proof of my devotion to you and your constant well-being, day and (especially) night, for months on end.

It took me a long time to settle on a midwife for Caleb's delivery. After Jane's beautiful home birth, I was excited to have a similar experience this time around. Because we had moved further away, my midwife for Jane (and my miscarried pregnancies) felt it best that I find someone closer.  It made sense, but I was disappointed and still a little broken from the miscarriages, so I put off the task for way too long.  I found one in December, and although it didn't seem like the best fit, it really was too late to change.  

She was a very good, kind person.  I can definitely see how many people would just adore her. She would talk to Caleb in my belly and had a strong feeling that his birth would be wonderful.  She was dedicated and very knowledgeable when it came to herbs and natural things. Any ailment or symptom I had could be alleviated with some kind of herb or goat's whey or diet change.  She is good at what she does, very passionate.  But I really just wanted to take TUMS without being made to feel like I was ruining my placenta.  I wanted someone to tell me I had the blood pressure of a 7 year old, and a blood type that loves babies, and that it might help to try upping my water intake in a way that didn't feel like I was in trouble, all things Rebecca, my previous midwife, had done.

Really, I just wanted to have someone who saw my life full of children and recognized that this pregnancy was very important, but that I had so many things to focus on, and I didn't need another reason to feel like I was failing. My baby was growing and nothing was going wrong.  I just needed that to be enough. This midwife had been unable to have children, and had made natural birth and living her passion.  I had not. I just liked having Jane at home and wanted to do that again.  I wasn't driven by a hatred of hospitals, doctors, or medication, or by a love of all things holistic and natural.  I just liked the peaceful feeling that had accompanied Jane's entrance into the world. So while I appreciated her knowledge, I generally left our visits feeling worse than before.

She had two apprentices, and while I liked them both, this caused it's own sort of distress for me.  About 3.5 weeks before my due date, labor really started.  I'd had babies this early before, and Caleb was measuring big, so I was excited! I labored for about an hour as the contractions grew more intense.  Because Jane had arrived so quickly, I wanted to make sure the midwife had enough time to get to our house.  When I was SURE things were progressing, I had Kevin make the call. My midwife said she'd head over and that the assistants might arrive before she did. Within 15 minutes, my labor stopped completely. I'm not sure why, but it really felt like my discomfort with my midwife and my guilt over dragging 3 people out of their beds and away from their families caused me enough stress to just stop labor cold. And that happened twice.  It made for a long last few weeks of pregnancy.

I took several pictures there at the end, hopeful that each one would be the last.


Turns out, this was my last one, taken just a few hours before his birth, though I didn't know it at the time. My current house has awesome carpet and SO. MANY. MIRRORS. Every closet door, several in each bathroom, even an entire wall of my room (exciting, right? ;) ), so as a result, you can see the birth tub in the angle on the right in this picture.

I can't say that I didn't have any clue that Caleb was coming when I took this, though I wasn't having contractions yet.  That morning I was stressed, just a little bit.  My mom had already bought tickets to come for 5 day...I think arriving on the 11th, though I'm not certain about that.  I just know that it was coming up, and I was worried she'd miss the baby entirely.  I was due on the 14th, and as I said earlier, I'd had a lot of labor, but none for several days.  SO...I was worried and stressed and tired.  I just wanted peace and I knelt and prayed for it the morning of the ninth. I prayed that I could stop worrying, that I could let go of trying to control the situation.  I immediately opened my scriptures and read this verse in the Book of Mormon, in 3rd Nephi Chaper 1:

12 And it came to pass that he cried mightily unto the Lord all that day; and behold, the voice of the Lord came unto him, saying:
 13 Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.
I hope this doesn't sound sacrilegious, because I know this verse is about the Savior, but it spoke peace to my soul.  I felt like I knew that my son was coming and that I could just enjoy these last few...hours, days...I wasn't sure how literally to take the scripture, but I did feel at ease.  I did enjoy that day.  I remember reading with Adam and Jane, doing a little laundry, talking to my mom and sisters about my hopes for a baby "on the morrow" and just relaxing about the whole situation.  
Well, in that picture up there it was bedtime, and I didn't know what to think.  I hadn't felt a single contraction and it was after 10.  The kids were all soundly sleeping, so we went to bed, but I couldn't relax and I let myself get worried again.  I went out at around 11:20 and started walking up and down our stairs. After about 5 reps and no progress, I leaned against the wall, feeling discouraged.  But the scripture, "be still, and know that I am God." came to mind.  I felt peaceful again and went back to bed.  At about 11:45, I had a strong contraction. Yay! Then...nothing. Nothing. I prayed for more peace, and it was quickly granted.  I fell asleep within a few minutes.  Then, at 12:20, I woke up to another strong contraction, and my water broke!
Kevin called the midwife and began filling the birth tub.  My contractions came hard and close from then on. Kevin was my person, helping me through the contractions and giving encouragement.  We felt like a team to me.  When Jane was born, he was focused on blowing up and filling the tub, and I just did my thing, calling him to help when I really needed it.  This time, we were more prepared, and we had a little more time, so he was with me and I loved it.  The midwife and assistants all arrived at around 1:12, but it was a few minutes before I wanted them to come in to my room.  I was just really focused and didn't want to talk to anyone.  
They came in and I felt like I wanted to get in the tub.  I did and one of the assistants listened to the baby's heart between contractions.  She wanted me to tell her when another contraction came, so she could hear how the baby was doing during contractions. One started almost immediately, and I told her, but I couldn't stay still.  It was very strong and I needed to turn onto my knees. It didn't let up, and I suddenly felt very irrational.  My thoughts were something like "I can't do this, I hate this, why do I have to do this? I'm done. I can't do this!" Then, I pushed. Caleb's head came out with one push and it took everyone a few seconds to realize it.  I was still in my own zone, but could hear them say, Oh, there's the head! I just wanted to be done, so whether they were ready or not, I pushed again, and out slid the rest of him, into Kevin's waiting arms, as it turns out. It was 1:19 am.
I heard him cry before I saw him and I can't describe my relief. He was alive, and breathing! In all those months of pregnancy, I had worried so very much. I honestly was shocked when they put a healthy, fat, red Caleb in my arms. I looked him over, basically amazed that he was completely fine, but he was. At 8 pounds 10 ounces, he was a full pound bigger than my next biggest baby.  He had fuzzy dark hair, another surprise. We got out of the tub and quickly settled into bed. 

He just seemed so robust and healthy, and I cried tears of gratitude and disbelief. My soul seemed to heal immediately.  The midwife and assistants cleaned everything up, I think they made us a smoothie. They gave Caleb a full examination and everything was great. Honestly, it was a blur.  A happy blur. In the weeks before Caleb's arrival, I'd lay in my bed and picture him nestled next to me, and here he was, just as I'd pictured. He was so familiar to me, even in those first moments. 

They eventually left. We marveled. We slept. Our kids woke up to a new brother! Friends and family rallied around to celebrate, and to make us feel comfortable and loved. My friend Amy came with dinner and a quilt and took pictures of all of us, but they aren't on this computer. Such treasures that I will share when I get them switched over. Here's one:

Kevin's sister, Julie, took Adam and Jane for hours and Nicole picked Austin up from Kindergarten and kept him so we could rest while the other boys were at school.  Mikelle surprised me by driving the 4 hours up from Kanab and arrived in the afternoon. 

The only rough thing was that I had no prescription medication to help ease the afterbirth pain, and it was excruciating for the first 2-3 days. Worse than labor, except for maybe the last 2 minutes. I was so grateful for all of the help during that time so I didn't have to do anything but stay in bed with my sweet baby. The heating pad was my best friend, but when I would nurse Caleb, sometimes the cramping was so intense I'd have to quickly put him down and curl into a ball to try to cope. That, I remember clearly. ;) 

My mom arrived on the eleventh (double checked in Kevin's journal) and was so helpful, as always. No one loves babies like she does and it's been a treasure to share each of mine with her. 

And from there, the days seem to run together. It took us about a week to settle on a name, in the end it was between Henry and Caleb.  We tried Henry first and it felt forced and didn't seem to be the right one. Then we tried Caleb and it was immediately comfortable and just felt like it was who he was. Like I said, He's most often Cabes, Cabey, Cubs, or Cubby to us now, but I love the name Caleb as well.  We love him so much and feel so blessed to have him as our lucky number 7!


  1. Congratulations (late :) )! He is adorable! I love so much to read your blog again. I have about two months left until my #7 is born. So for that reason, I feel so happy that you had a #7 too. :)

  2. I love that you are blogging again and that you shared this story so honestly. I'm sorry he isn't sleeping better for you. I feel your sleep-deprived pain. :)

  3. I love that you are blogging again and that you shared this story so honestly. I'm sorry he isn't sleeping better for you. I feel your sleep-deprived pain. :)

  4. So lovely to find you again! I have thought of you over the years and even checked back on the blog occasionally! A big congrats on your sweet babe...I love reading birth stories! I did let my personal blog go a few years back, but do post personal things on my business blog from time to time! Thanks so much for re-connecting...keep up the blogging...I'll be reading :) - M

  5. I love this story. Just love it! I know I've said this before, but your gift of writing is incredible. So honest and real. I have no idea but I would venture to say that not many 7th babies get their birth story written up in such detail. Caleb will read this as an adult and know how very much he was wanted and loved....and know a bit of what his Mama went through to get him here.


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