Well, the waiting is over. The Stork has come at last. And according to Anna, at looong last.
The first thing I did is take copious amounts of pictures of Maia and send them to people via email, Twitter and Facebook using my cell phone. In my haste, I neglected to tell anyone the stats. Likewise you, my faithful reader, will have to read all the way through if you want that oddly gratifying sensation of hearing details of weight and labor time...
A lot has happened since my last post, obviously. Anna had a second baby shower at a friend's house. Good times.
After the two baby showers we had plenty of girl clothes. The baby had no choice at that point, she had to be a girl...or a boy that liked pink, to the point of nausea.
After these showers Anna went into "nesting mode" over time. She had washed all of Maia's clothes a few times just to make sure. The crib was up and decorated a few times over. Anna wanted to go all out and turn my manly cave/computer room to the baby room. I won that argument for the time being. I don't know how I managed to get the edge over a pregnant nesting woman, so I quietly walked out of the room backwards allowing anything else Anna wanted. I didn't want to stir the hornet's nest, as I'd pushed my fate and came out on top.
Anna's mom came on May 2 at 4am. She was stuck in customs for over an hour. My mother-in-law took English classes and learned how to fill out the customs forms. But when she was on the plane, they gave her a Japanese form. So, she sat with her luggage in Customs holding her illegible Japanese form just waiting for someone to figure out that she was lost. Had she been discarded luggage she would have been noticed and escorted out of the facility in 2 minutes flat. Perhaps next time we should have a sticker on her forehead that reads "Fragile" as she navigates the airport.
Since Anna's mom speaks no English, can't drive, and is staying with us in Yigo where there is nowhere to walk to, Anna had to take off work to babysit her mother until she could babysit the baby. A few days into her stay she noted that she'd been in Guam for some time and never seen the ocean. I took a day off to show her around.
The week of Anna's due date was hectic for me. I had Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the quorum of the Twelve Apostles come to my office. We had a new chapel open up in Chuuk. I had to do some big annual fleet work. We had district conference which my calling of District Executive Secretary keep me involved. And I had to get everything ready for the baby.
Anna's due date came and went like passing gas in the wind. You think you catch a hint of something, but then it's gone.
We waited until Anna was 6 days overdue and scheduled induction for the 9th day past the due date (Monday, May 24). But late night May 23, Maia started to make her move. By midnight Anna was feeling intense contractions. They were still 10 or so minutes apart, so we just tried to sleep it off, which resulted in being waken up every 10 minutes. It's like sleeping with an alarm clock in snooze mode all night long. Only this alarm wakes you by noise and squeezing your hand so tight that your fingernails turn blue.
The morning finally came. We were planing on using a birthing center, but getting induced at the hospital. After calling both facilities we decided to skip induction and go natural. By noon the contractions were close enough and intense enough that we were admitted to the birthing center.
As soon as we checked in I plugged in my laptop, camera battery charger, set up my tripods and spare memory cards...oh, and I think Anna was around there somewhere. One strong contraction later there was no doubt that Anna was in the room.
We tried everything to get through the contractions. Bouncing on big exercise balls, leaning and swaying, walking, sitting, focal points, counting, and the obligatory "who who who heeee" thing.
By 3pm, Anna was about 5cm and her water broke. The baby was super low, so that pushing urge was strong. Anna had to fight it with every contraction. It got to the point where no one in the room could speak, move or even think too loudly. She needed total quiet and concentration just to keep from pushing. A warm bath helped to keep her calm while we waited for that darn cervix to open up. I recommended the jaws of life. No one seemed to get my joke. Note to self, birthing mothers and analytical midwives make a tough audience.
By 5pm her cervix was firmly planted at 8-9cm, which is at least one shy of where she should be. But with each contraction, Anna couldn't help but push a bit, and that was starting to cause swelling. After an hour of no improvement, the doctor decided to do something I didn't know was possible. She was going to allow Anna to push, and as the baby came, she would help tuck the cervix behind the head. I'm sure that was less than pleasant for Anna, the baby and the doctor. But it worked.
For half an hour Anna pushed with a fire and fury that I've only seen when I forget to leave the toilet seat down before I go to bed at night. I have to admit that I am very proud of Anna. The strength and control that she exhibited that night was like I've never seen before. You'd never know it to look at her, but she is a woman that can really take on any challenge and come out victorious.
After some tearing, blood and some other gross stuff I won't describe in detail, the baby, now to be known as Maia Lani Bodine, appeared at 6:43pm on the nose. This birthing center is big on the "golden hour" where baby goes straight to mom's chest and does not leave until the first feeding is complete.
I've seen plenty of birthing footage in biology class, Lamaze®, Discovery Chanel, and even my sisters' home videos. The blood and gross factor of what was happening really didn't phase me at all. And once the baby was out, and I looked at her, and my wife holding her, I was overcome with emotions. Visiting my sisters at the hospital a number of times before don't compare. It was truly a surreal moment for me. It's not often that I'm at a loss of words, but I really have no way to express the moment. I suppose it's one of those things that you can only know when you have been there yourself. And now I have.
I had some challenges calling both her family and mine due to a telecom fiasco (a whole 'nother story there). But after a quick call to my parents using a borrowed cell phone and uploading some quick cell phone pics, I got us all some food.
By the time I returned we had the stats that everybody wants to hear. She was a hefty 8.5 pounds and 21 inches long. That's big for a regular woman, but for someone with a frame like Anna that's like pulling an orange through a straw, only harder.
Before I knew it, it was after 11pm. Anna, my mother-in-law and I were all exhausted. We all slept at some point, but the details are as foggy as back stage at a Bob Marley festival.
The next morning I had to literally carry Anna to the bathroom. Use of her limbs is still slowly coming back. Mom and Baby had to continue to work out the breast feeding mechanics. This is something that you think of as natural and therefore, simple to do. We've perfected planes refueling in the air at hundreds of miles an hour, certainly breast feeding would be child's play in comparison. I've seen monkeys hurl dung at zoo patrons with more precision than Anna and Maia have been able to manage. Apparently, it's not always as simple as it would seem. I'm sure they will improve with practice.
After about 24 hours from birth, we washed up Anna, put a giant size diaper on her, bundled our Bundle of Joy into her car seat and headed to our happy home that was now truly housing a family.