We named her Pearl for a few different reasons. The main reason was as a Pearl is something that is made through suffering, the year she was conceived was one of great personal suffering for myself. I had been in a deep pit of depression for a few months (thankfully) due to my thinking being on idols in my life, rather than keeping my focus on Jesus. But through that suffering, the Lord saw fit to bless us with a precious child, that being our Pearl. Another is how the scripture speaks of pearls, as a costly and precious stone, in the parables of the Kingdom of Heaven, and how twelve gates of Heaven were made out of pearls, we just thought that was neat. And lastly, the meaning of my name is a Pearl, so that was also a consideration. Her middle name however was one that we were wanting her to be, a serene child and person. After her rambunctious and strong willed yet wonderful big brother and sister Noble & True, we were ready for a serene child! We’ll see if that comes to pass, either way, we will love her the same!
Pearl is my fifth child, and most of my pregnancy with her I believed her to be a boy. Mainly because I felt I gained more weight, as I do with boys. But mostly because Mark had named a boy child before I became pregnant which seemed prophetic to me (Gideon). He has done this in the past and that is who I ended up having. So maybe it is possible that Gideon is to come in the future? We will see?
There were signs though that she was a girl…for example how I broke out on my forehead towards the middle of the pregnancy really bad, which I remember doing with True as well. But the most obvious sign was going into labor when I did. My boys tend to need more “cooking”, so they have come out within a week or two after their “due” dates. All of my girls have arrived right around their due dates, within a day or two before or after. Pearl came one day before.
One of my biggest fears was that I was going to wake up in active labor in the middle of the night, then take too long to decide that it was time to call Rene’e (midwife) and her not making it as she lives an hour away from us. That was the one thing I continued to bring up to God, as well as asking for a gentle birth in which I would not give in to fear during the labor and delivery.
38 weeks, just set up the birth tub and being silly!
For about 2 weeks before she came, I had a few days of ongoing cramping that came like waves throughout a full day. Nothing uncomfortable or anything, but definitely knowing my cervix was doing something. After the first time that happened Rene’e came for our prenatal appointment and decided to check me. I was 50% effaced and at 1 cm, that was when I was 38 wks. Mark went ahead and set up the birth tub that weekend and was sure that I was having the baby that night. I knew I was not in labor, but I was thankful to have the tub up and ready (though at the time I felt like I would be looking at it for the next four weeks as I had with Noble).
Early Thursday morning around 3 a.m I woke up to a contraction and wondered if it might be starting. I had a couple more after that but more like Braxton Hicks and I was able to go back to sleep. Throughout the day I noticed that I was cramping all day long, just like I had those other days. But since I had the strong ones early in the morning I decided to send a text to Rene’e around 4pm to give her an update on my cramping. She called me while I was out running errands to check up on me, and since I was a day from my due date I guess she took it more seriously than I did. We decided that I would call her before bed to check up and to let her know if anything changed.
Once I got home I decided to sit down and knit so I could time the contractions (though to me at the time they still just seemed like cramps rather than true contractions). After about 6 of them I called Rene’e to let her know they were coming every 4 – 5 minutes and lasting about 40 seconds a piece, plus I was having a little bit of lower back pain. I still did not believe I was in labor, and figured I’d trust her to do whatever she thought was best. She said she would like to come to the house, so we agreed for her to come after I put the children to bed, between 8-9pm. Mark and my mother were relieved that she was coming out, but I still felt like it would be a wasted trip for her as I did not think I was in labor. I had always prided myself (yucky pride!) in that I always knew when I was in true labor and never had the false ones where I felt like I would be a nuisance to my midwife for coming all the way out, then having to go home. I was beginning to think this was a false one and was feeling guilt at her driving out for nothing. That is another issue of mine, worrying about everyone else and how I am being a bother to them. Obviously something that needs to be changed in me.
A few months old
Due to these feelings, I was also feeling pressure from everyone (even though they were not pressuring me at all) to have this baby tonight. Mark and I went on a walk right before she arrived where I was telling him this to which he so kindly encouraged me not to feel that way. Of course Rene’e also never pressured me; it was all in my head.
She arrived at 9pm and we promptly went to my room to check me. I normally do not choose to have my cervix checked until right before I begin pushing (sometimes not at all), but this pregnancy was different. We quickly found out that I was at a 5 and 90% effaced…so that encouraged me greatly in seeing that yes, I was probably in true labor. Rene’e went ahead and called the other midwife to let her know to start making her way over here (Pam Holland, who actually attended Noble’s birth, so that was neat). Once she made that call I figured it must really be happening, though still not 100% convinced!
I was still having a bit of lower back pain (not bad at all, just enough to know she was probably posterior), so I got in the hands and knees position in the living room leaning over my birth ball while Mark massaged my back. She must have flipped pretty quickly after that because it never got any worse and went away after a while.
About 9:30ish Mark and I went and heated up our leftovers from Pei Wei and I ate the rest of my Mongolian beef (yummy!). Rene’e was laughing saying how rarely she ever sees a woman at 5cm eating, but there I was enjoying my meal. Then Mark and I went outside for a bit and he was encouraging me that I was doing what I was created to do, and that my body would do it great. It was so nice to hear those things from my wonderful husband at that point. He is such an awesome birth partner!
We spent most of the time till midnight sitting in the living room visiting, knitting, laughing, me sitting on the birth ball or leaning on it. It wasn’t until close to 12 that I had to breathe through the contractions, but they still were not painful…just something I had to concentrate on and be sure to relax through.
Through this whole time I kept waiting for Rene’e or Pam to look at me and tell me they did not think it would be happening tonight and to go ahead and go to bed, or to go back to the bedroom and use the breast pump to get it to progress which I REALLY did not wanting to do. Or even worse to say they would leave and come back in the morning, at which I was scared they would not make it back in time if indeed I was in labor (they both live about an hour from me). Thankfully none of these things ever happened.
Around midnight I looked at the clock and was surprised to see how late it was and that I was still not in what I consider “active” labor. To me “active” is where the contractions are super close and I have to groan through them. I was bored with laboring in the living room, so then decided to get in the tub. Normally I get in the tub when I believe the contractions are getting difficult and I need help relaxing, but this time it was out of pure boredom and needed a change of scenery.
Rene’e checked me before I got in and saw I was around a 7. I got into the tub and couldn’t believe how amazing it was, so incredibly warm and relaxing! I was a bit nervous that getting in would slow down my labor, but it seemed to pick it up because within two contraction I was having to make the low groaning sound to get through them and they were coming more frequently. This was around 12:30am.
I had scripture verses and prayers for the birth typed out and taped to the wall in front of me that really helped encourage me in between the contractions to trust the Lord for whatever might happen and to stay completely relaxed during the contractions. I remember a contraction would come and I would lower my head, relax my hands so that my arms and hands were floating in the water and just completely let go physically, just allow my body to do what it needed to do to let this baby come down. It was amazing how doing these things really did make the pressure so much less intense and not painful at all. I had done the same with Noble and had similar experience of very little pain, just pressure.
Both Mark and Rene’e were praying over me at this time, though I was completely focused on being relaxed and not much else…I remember hearing them both praying. It brought such peace and calm to the already beautiful setting to bring a new life into. Just another reason I love having the people who are attending me during birth being lovers of Jesus.
At one point I changed positions to hands and knees and had a few contractions that way. I remember those seemed more intense and noticing that during them I would begin to shake my head “no” while my face was down towards the water, but consciously thinking to change that to a “yes”, so I would change and nod “yes”. I did not want to be saying no to what my body was doing and in so doing tense up or fall into fear.
Rene’e said that we would be having the baby soon as she could tell I was bearing down a bit during the contractions by the sound of my moaning, to which I was completely surprised because I had no knowledge that I was doing it! I flipped back over so she could check me (I was beginning to get impatient and wanted to begin to push) and she said I was complete with a bit of a cervical lip on the top and side. This was at 1:13am. I immediately asked for some Arnica to help get rid of the lip, so Mark took it out of my jewelry box to get about 5 out, but he couldn’t open it so he gave it to Pam and she put them in my mouth.
Getting listened to and loved on by Rene'e
The next contraction came and all of the sudden I was pushing and could feel her crowning. It totally took me by surprise as I had no idea she was that far down and I did not feel like I was in control of her coming. Normally when I feel that “ring of fire” I try to stop pushing in order to stretch slowly and not tear, but it just happened so quickly and so intensely I went with it and pushed with my body that was doing the pushing I wasn’t doing (if that makes any sense at all) and out she came! I would say that was the only truly painful part of the whole experience, which I’ll take any day – 15 seconds of pain!
Mark caught her and handed to her to a very shocked momma immediately. A towel was placed on her and the hat with everyone asking what she was. I looked at her face and said that she must be a girl as she was too pretty to be a boy. But Mark lifted the towel to look and declared she was a boy! So the first few minutes of Pearl’s life we thought she was a boy! The midwives must have seen what I saw, a very pretty “boy”, so after giving us a few minutes to cuddle and kiss over her, they asked me to check agin. I did and this confirmed that she was in fact a sweet little girl! Ireland broke down in tears at that point as she had really really wanted another girl apparently! It was very sweet!
Clamping the cord for Ireland to cut
I stayed in the tub about 10 minutes to let the cord finish pulsing, then we had Ireland cut the cord while I was in the tub. Mark and the midwives helped me to get out of the tub and then I went immediately to my bed to begin nursing and letting the midwives do their work delivering the placenta and making sure I was all good. We were so happy to see that even with the crazy fast delivery, I did not tear! Yea for no stitches!!!
Daddy holding baby while I get in bed
My mother and Pam started the herbal bath water for me in the bathroom which was so much fun as I had never taken one with my newborns. In the past, the only bathtub we had at our old house was your standard small one, so getting into it was not an attractive thing to me. This time though, I decided to take advantage of our large tub and I am so glad I did! I got into the tub maybe a half hour after her birth and held her under her neck as Rene’e instructed me, then let her body float. She was so relaxed and focused on me, it was really a beautiful experience. My mom and Pam had lit candles in the room, so it was very calm and peaceful, along with giving me a drink to be sure I was hydrated.
After our bath, we got back into bed and let Rene’e and Pam do the newborn exam. They stayed for a hour or so after that, then left us settle down to sleep. Of course, Mark passed out pretty quickly, but me, with all the hormone raging through me and the beautiful baby girl next to me to distract did not get much sleep at all. Finally about 7 that morning I texted my mom to see about breakfast as I was SO hungry!
About 30 minutes later, Caleb came out of his room and walked over to me as he usually does to greet me for the morning. What a joy it was when I was able to point out his new baby sister next to me…his huge smile and excitement was so sweet! True & Noble came out a little bit later and were also so excited to meet her. All the children were hoping for a girl this time, and so they got their wish!
Their first meeting of Pearl
Mark took the next two weeks off of work as he had done with all the other children after their births. It was truly a wonderful, bonding, quiet, restful two weeks for me as he and the children did all the cooking and cleaning, and let me pretty much stay in our room the whole time. Due to that time of pampering, I healed and recovered very quickly. Isn’t he amazing?
All ready for bed now!
I’m finally finishing this now that Pearl is 10 months and she has been such a wonderful addition to our family! We are just now entering a new season where she is sleeping on her own for her naps and in her own bed at night. It is such a bittersweet time, as I have so enjoyed the past 10 months with her so close to me. But at the same time, I am really enjoying the new freedom of being able to spend more time with the children and my hot husband after she goes to bed! There are many more seasons to look forward to with all these amazing children I’ve been blessed with…I am so thankful God has allowed me to be a mother, praise Jesus!
Pearl Serene Jones
8lb 12 oz.
20 ¼ in.