Nathaniel’s Birth and First Week

We’re still celebrating and rejoicing in the safe arrival of Nathaniel Valor our eleventh child. These are some notes of his first few days of life.

Before the birth

The days leading up to Nathaniel’s birth were full of God’s grace and peace.

I mentioned the special role that the hymn ‘Amazing Grace’ played in my first cesarean birth (Isabella’s birth). In God’s good providence ‘Amazing Grace’ was the hymn of the month at our church. We have sung and will sing it every Sunday during the month of August.

In that post, I also shared how I struggled with fear and worry in the days (and especially hours) leading up to Isabella’s birth. This time was completely different. Our family enjoyed afternoons at the park, normal days full of reading and school work at home and evenings of reading and family worship.

The evening before the c-section was spent having a nice family dinner and lovely, relaxing time of family worship. We finished up with singing the Doxology: “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow”.

The children went to bed at their normal bedtime and Mark and I visited until my parents arrived then stayed up and had a nice visit with them.

The children and I (minus still-sleeping Nick) just before leaving for the hospital

The next morning the Doxology kept running through my head. As we entered the L&D floor a newborn was crying. I was immediately overwhelmed with God’s goodness to us, realizing that in just a few hours we would be welcoming a precious new life into our lives.

“Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow”

 

The birth

I hope to write up a full birth story, eventually, but I figured I’d share a couple details here.

Once the c-section began, Dr. V discovered that Nathaniel, instead of being breech (as he had been at my last OB visit), was transverse. Mark and I giggle now at the activity that this discovery started. Dr. V and his nurse (?) both got to work. As Mark said later, “You’re going to feel this later.”Evidently they were exerting a lot of force on my belly to get a hold of a part of Nathaniel that they could pull to get him out.

I could tell, by Dr. V’s voice that he was working hard to get this baby out. He told me later that they first tried to get his head, but were unsuccessful so then pushed his head up toward my ribs and were successful with a breech delivery.

The words I remember hearing were, “I have a foot, but can’t find the other one. Can you see a foot?” “There it is.”

Thankfully, the spinal worked wonderfully and I didn’t feel any of this.

My first moments with Nathaniel just seconds old

Nathaniel was placed directly onto my chest, skin-to-skin and was never taken away from Mark and me.

Mark, Nathaniel and me during surgery

Nathaniel Valor

As a matter of fact, Nate was never taken away from us during the entire hospital stay. Every thing happened in our room and in our presence.

The recovery

I’ve always had low blood pressure, but during this recovery it proved to be a bit of an obstacle.

After my last c-section, I was up, showered, dressed and feeling terrific by 4-5 hours after surgery and although I know that every surgery is different, I was hoping for something similar. My parents brought the children to visit, but shortly after lunch the nurse was ready for me to try to get up out of bed. So Mark and the kids headed to the waiting room and the nurse helped me sit up on the edge of the bed.

Nicholas holding his “letter buddy” Nathaniel. Most people think that Nate looks most like Nick.

This is the point that I should have called a halt to the process, but since I always have a tendency to be light-headed even after my regular births and I figured that I could work through this and it would pass.

Um, wrong.

Upon standing up, well let’s just say that there were obviously multiple reasons for my low blood pressure at this point.

We made it into the bathroom and I was certain that things would be better once I sat down.

Wrong, again.

At this point things get a little blurry, literally. More nurses appeared and someone held up some horrible smelling stuff to my nose. For the record, that stuff is gross and, in my opinion, doesn’t help a bit.

Then I was encouraged to put my head down between my legs (I don’t suggest trying that a few hours after having abdominal surgery with the pain meds wearing off).

By this point in time someone decided it was time for a wheel chair. I was pretty confident that there wouldn’t be enough time to wait for a wheel chair, so with 3 nurses helping, we made a dash back for the bed. I’m pretty confident that was the fastest I’ve moved in the past nine months. I’m sure it would have made “America’s Funniest” if we’d gotten it on tape.

My poor older kids were pretty concerned about my pallor when they returned and the nurses refused to allow me to try to get up again without first checking my blood pressure (which was hitting such numbers as 85/39 even after I was able to get up and around by myself).

For the record, it was about 10pm before I was able to stand up assisted. (Bleh!)

Isabella (2) can hardly keep her hands off of Nathaniel

This part is for me: Since I’m allergic to morphine, during the last c-section, my anesthesiologist chose to omit the morphine derivative (which provides about 24 hours of pain relief) from the spinal. Whatever he used, it was a terrific alternative for me. I assumed that they would have a record of this alternative medication in my medical records because I wanted them to use the same thing this time. I was wrong.

After several conversations with the anesthesiologist prior to this c-section, they decided that it was most likely that I had been given Fentanyl (which provides about 2 hours of pain relief) and this is what they opted to use.

(Note to self: It’s not Fentanyl, it’s the other medication that they mentioned). The Fantanyl wasn’t it and it seemed that for the first 48 hours we were a little behind on the pain relief. By Wednesday evening, my nurse contacted Dr. V and he more than doubled my dosage of pain relief. The difference was night and day! (Note to self: Don’t try to tough it out and don’t minimize your pain number.) It only took ONE dose of the higher amount and everything was lovely. I was even able to discontinue the prescription medication by Thursday morning before coming home.

The Baby

His name

Nathaniel is Hebrew in origin and means ‘gift of God’

Valor -Strength of mind in regard to danger; that quality which enables a man to encounter danger with firmness; personal bravery; courage; intrepidity.

Nathaniel Valor’s feet

For months during the pregnancy we called little one Valor because we thought we were going to use that as his first name. As a result, many of the children still call him Valor. The rest of us are calling him ‘Nathaniel’, ‘Nathan’, ‘Nate’ and way too frequently ‘Nick’. I’m just warning you because while I think he’s going to end up being ‘Nate’ or ‘Nathaniel’ there is no telling what we’ll call him in the meantime.

His personality

So far, Nathaniel is one of those textbook perfect babies. He eats, he quietly and contentedly looks around and snuggles, then he falls asleep without any fuss. He doesn’t really fuss even when he’s ready to eat, he just gets a little restless.

Nathaniel

The first night Nathaniel woke and ate around 1:30. Then until 4:30, he was restless.

I tried feeding him, burping him, snuggling him, feeding him, burping him, etc.

Around 4:30am the nurse came in. She’s been a labor and delivery nurse for more than 40 years. She looked at me and sweetly ‘scolded’, “Don’t you try to make that baby eat when he doesn’t want to. You have a big healthy baby who knows what he needs.” She said this as she took him from me and began to swaddle him tightly in a blanket. “If we had a preemie or little, tiny baby, then we might wish to encourage him to eat, but he’s a big healthy boy and knows what he needs. Just let him alone and he’ll be happy.” By this time she had finished swaddling him and he was already nearly asleep.

The boy loves to be swaddled!

Nate has spent many happy hours simply looking around and observing the world around him. Quite a difference from Isabella who was only happy when she was nursing.

Nathaniel

Our friends

Oh, and two of our friends (from our family Bible study) were in the same hospital having babies at the same time Nathaniel was born.

Mark and Nathaniel with Matt and Abigail both babies are less than 24 hours old

We were able to visit, rejoice with and encourage each other. It was a bit like having a party on the L&D floor.

Nathaniel Valor ready for his first Sunday at church

After the first few days, I’ve felt much better, tired, but better. It certainly helps that Nate is sleeping like a champ (8pm-1am on Saturday night and 9pm-4am Sunday night).

“Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow”

Our Blessings!

 

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33 Responses to Nathaniel’s Birth and First Week
  1. vicky
    August 27, 2012 | 9:26 am

    Congratulations! What a precious little cutie pie.

    Victoria

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  2. Michele P
    August 27, 2012 | 9:53 am

    Oh, he is just wonderful. So glad to hear things are going so well, thank you for sharing. The children look so happy! May the Lord continue to bless your sweet family…enjoy this precious time!

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  3. Jennifer D
    August 27, 2012 | 10:50 am

    Congratulations!! Our 5th child (3rd son) is named Nathaniel. He was named thus before he was born, little did we know how much of a gift he truly would be! He had a stroke before he was born, suffered brain damage and strokes. Fast forward 4 1/2 years and he is doing wonderfully! There are some delays, but nothing severe. God is good!!

    Your son is beautiful!!

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  4. Jamie Z
    August 27, 2012 | 10:53 am

    Thank you so much for posting your latest birth story. There is so much I can relate to. I wanted to let you know that my youngest loved to be swaddled. We invested ($25) in a Miracle Blanket from Babies R Us. It really keeps baby snuggled in without letting his arms escape; much better than a blanket and no velcro either: http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3349757
    That adorable picture of Nathaniel’s first Sunday at church, is that a blanket he’s wrapped in? It’s so cute, and I love the color.
    Congratulations!!

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  5. Jennifer
    August 27, 2012 | 12:08 pm

    Absolutely beautiful family you have there! So glad you are all doing well :o)
    We’ll be getting induced with our 5th little miracle on the 13th :o) Another girl :o) This will be our 3rd girl to go along with our 2 adopted boys :o)
    Life is good :o)

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  6. Rachel
    August 27, 2012 | 1:38 pm

    Congratulations! What a lovely story, despite a few hiccups!

    I have always had a fear that someday I would require a c-section. The main issue is that the thought of being awake during major surgery gives me the heeby-jeebies. Did you have to face a similar fear before your first C? How did you cope? And did being awake seem odd during the procedure?

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  7. Emily M.
    August 27, 2012 | 2:43 pm

    So wonderful to read of God’s faithfulness to you and your family as you birthed and welcomed Nathaniel. :) I must ask… HOW DID YOU GET 10 kids to not just LOOK at the camera, but also SMILE such great smiles? I realize a lot of them are older, but even your littles are doing great! I have 5 (ages 8-1) and I cannot for the life of me get them all to take a good picture at once. I even use marshmallows to “reward” (a-hem, bribe) them and it seems like they just can’t all get there at the same time. I’m so impressed! And they all look adorable! You are blessed!

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  8. Heather
    August 27, 2012 | 3:04 pm

    Congratulations!!! He’s adorable. :)

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  9. Mischelle
    August 27, 2012 | 3:31 pm

    Congratulations! He is adorable :-)

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  10. Bambi @ In the Nursery of the Nation
    August 27, 2012 | 4:09 pm

    Oh Kimberly, he is just beautiful!! I know y’all are just praising God for such a precious gift and (mostly) uncomplicated delivery. Congratulations!

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  11. Christina
    August 27, 2012 | 4:40 pm

    Congratulations! You have such a beautiful family. I was just wondering if the hospital you went to was Catholic? Judging from the crucifix on the wall I would assume it was. I only ask because I have heard from many other pregnant women having wonderful l&d experiences at hospitals that were Catholic or run by another denomination (Catholic are just more prevalent). If so, do you think it is worth going out of one’s way to find a religious run hospital.

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  12. BethAnne
    August 27, 2012 | 8:08 pm

    Congrats on your little Nathaniel! I had my son, also a Nathaniel on June 1st. I am curious as to how many c-sections you have had and if you have had any complications with your uterus from them? I have 5 children and they all have been delivered by c-section. With this last one my uterus tore in several places when my OB was stitching me back up. I lost a lot of blood and she actually considered doing a hysterectomy because my uterus was not clamping down. Also, after the c-section my colon completely shut down for a week. It was close to rupture. I had a very scary experience and had to be in the hospital for 8 days. I was told having another baby would not be safe for me. My husband and I had a vasectomy after our 2nd child and had had it reversed, so having a large family was on our hearts. After the reversal we had assumed we would have as many children as the Lord would give us. Now we were having to go back to what we wanted to get away from (a vasectomy). It was devastating and heart breaking to say the least. This is why I am curious as to the number of Cesareans you have had and if you have run into a weakened uterus yet.

    Blessings,
    Beth

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    Annie Reply:

    BethAnne,
    Hi there! I was reading through the comments and stopped at yours! Your story and mine are very similar! My husband also had a vasectomy after our 2nd, but had it reversed just under 2 years later. We also have had to deliver our children via c-section. I am due for my 5th c-section a week from today!! My prayer has always been that the Lord would help us if we were ever put in a situation like yours. I admit my biggest fear has been to hear “well, you should consider no more surgeries.”
    It sounds like yours goes far beyond that! To have a life-threatening situation must have surely been scary. I don’t h e any advice, but I will be praying for you. I would love to hear Kimberly’s thoughts on how she would handle this if put in these shoes. It would be hard for anyone who has given the Lord control over their child-bearing to hear those words!!

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    BethAnne Reply:

    Annie- Thanks for your reply and prayers. It has been so very hard on my husband and I. We never ever wanted to go the sterilization route ever again. I guess we just assumed that since we surrendered our fertility over to the lord that we would to continue to be able to have no babies even if they came by c-section. I had never had any problems with my uterus being thin or fragile with any of my previous c-section. In fact they always said it was in “normal” condition and okayed me for more babies. I didn’t mention this in the last comment, but I actually was going for a VBAC with this last baby. I went 2 weeks past due with no labor and no dilation. I don’t know if the extra time reaped more havoc on my uterus or what, but in a way it was a God send that I did not labor with a uterus that thin and weak. I had planned to labor at home as long as possible and I cannot imagine what could have happened had my uterus ruptured. My baby & I might not be here. As frustrating and dissapointing as it was for me at the time, I see now that God was looking out for us. I don’t understand why things turned out the way they did. I will always feel their our children that are not here now. I had a name for our little girl should we have one and now she will never be here. It makes me sad. I got rid of my little girl things and just cried my heart out afterward. My maternity clothes were equally as hard. I am doing somewhat better now and trying to really focus on the 5 I have as I realize this is it and they sure do grow up fast! Anyway, I pray your uterus is nice and strong at your delivery and that you can have many more babies! Congratulations on that 5th little blessing! ~BethAnne

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    May Peterson Reply:

    Congratulations!

    @Beth
    It’s really nice to know about couples who most likely share the principles that my husband and I also have. Like your other half, my husband also had a vasectomy. He underwent the procedure in order for us to make good with our finances. And that happened. :) When we believed in our hearts that we were ready to have children, we said that it was time for him to have a reversal. We were so lucky that Dr. Wilson, a Christian, was referred to us by a friend. His ministry is to help couples experience the joy of having a baby by offering a vasectomy reversal for only $1700. My husband’s reversal was a success. I would like to share the good doctor’s site as he might help other couples who were in a similar situation with us. it’s at http://www.microvasreversal.com

    As for me, I had three Cesarean sections. And now, my husband and I are doing are best not to add another one as it may be dangerous for me. We also don’t want him to have another vasectomy.

    I think it would be best if you seek the opinion of your OB. :)

    Good luck!

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  13. rachel q
    August 27, 2012 | 10:49 pm

    Congratulations! What a beautiful story…thank you for sharing!

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  14. Jen
    August 27, 2012 | 11:28 pm

    Love his round cheeks! What a blessing. :)

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  15. Miranda
    August 28, 2012 | 12:17 am

    Thank you so much for sharing! What a wonderful blessing to have that skin to skin contact right away :) It’s encouraging to me (who is terrified of ever having a c-seciont)to hear such a positive bonding story.

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  16. Laura O in AK
    August 28, 2012 | 12:56 am

    Congratulations, Kimberly! It is wonderful that you were at peace for the birth and that all went well. He’s a real cutie and I love the name.

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  17. Sarah
    August 28, 2012 | 3:06 pm

    Kim my girl (now 2 yrs old) was a swaddled baby until she was almost 1!! For the first 2 months of her life she was swaddled almost all day, especially while sleeping and eating. She wasn’t colicy, great baby, she just really didn’t want to leave the womb. I have some very creative solutions if you find Nate needs to continue sleeping in a swaddle past the point where he can roll over on his own.

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  18. T.J.
    August 28, 2012 | 7:20 pm

    Hi Kimberly!
    What a beautiful little boy! Congratulations to you and your family.
    Regarding your blood pressure….I remember you mentioning that you suffer from Adrenal Fatigue and Subclinical Hypothyroidism. How is your treatment going for these conditions? Are you on Hydrocortisone or Adrenal Glandulars for your AF? Are you on thyroid medication or just taking iodine?
    I have been suffering from AF for many years along with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I have tried many things and protocols to get well, especially after my 5th child was born when I became almost totally bedridden. I have recently read a remarkable book by Paul Robinson. It is called “Recovering with T3: My Journey from Hypothyroidism to Good Health Using the T3 Thyroid Hormone”. He goes into great detail as to how he helped his adrenals recover using T3 thyroid medication during the “main cortisol production window” of 4 am to 8 am. I can’t possibly give you enough detail here for you to get a real understanding. Let me just say that I have tried glandulars, herbs, and finally succummbed to Hydrocortisone treatment for my adrenals. The problem with these treatments is that they basically put your adrenals to sleep. The premise is that the adrenals should heal with all this rest. Unfortunately, many of us have discovered that this is not so (or it takes a very very long time), all the while our bodies becomming more and more dependent on these forms of treatment. His remedy does not require “putting adrenals to sleep” with meds. He states that by giving the adrenals the main thing that they need to produce cortisol (and ALL their other hormones for that matter), ie. T3, that the adrenals will begin to heal themselves! Many of us are seeing our blood pressure rise, temp rise, energy levels, mood, even sex hormones, and aldosterone return to normal! Not only that, many of us have been able to reduce our thyroid medication drastically! I can’t help but be excited about this, I’ve literally been searching for YEARS for a more holistic approach to healing adrenals/thyroid. There is a Yahoo group through Stop The Thyroid Madness based on Paul’s Circadian Rythmn T3 Method, CT3M for short. There is also a Face Book group. I highly recommend utilizing these gruop’s help and knowledge! I myself belong to the Yahoo CT3M group and they are wonderful.
    I hope you don’t worsen after baby and my fervent prayer is that by God’s grace your body resets itself and functions properly from now on. I did worsen, however, after my last baby. You see, our bodies borrow progesterone from the placenta to help make more cortisol for ourselves. Without the placenta, my adrenals took a nosedive :( Baby also produces a staggering 200 or more mg. of cortisol daily in the few weeks before birth! Our bodies also sometimes borrow from baby. The Lord has been a light to my path and has literally put all this knowledge before me. I want to share it with as many people as possible that suffer from the same ailments.
    Please look into it! The book is available on Amazon. If you have questions feel free to email me.
    Blessings to you and yours! Love your blog!

    In Him, T.J.

    [Reply]

  19. Sherrie
    August 28, 2012 | 8:08 pm

    Congratulations on the birth of your son! He is beautiful!

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  20. Laura
    August 28, 2012 | 9:07 pm

    Congratulations on your beautiful little boy! I am glad you are healing well, and that your little man is sleeping great! Praying that both wil continue.

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  21. Mom as Doctor
    August 29, 2012 | 11:55 am

    Congratulations to you and your family!

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  22. Annie
    August 29, 2012 | 6:41 pm

    Congratulations!!
    What a sweet testimony your family is!
    Glad all is going well and I’m sure your kids are helping a lot this second week home!

    [Reply]

  23. Kelly
    August 29, 2012 | 8:25 pm

    I feel like I know you and your family so well through following your blog! I have learned so much from you and am so grateful I can learn parenting advice, home and recipe ideas, and many other things simply by jumping onto your blog. You have been referenced by me to my friends several times!

    Congrats on your new darling son!! :)

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  24. Judie
    August 30, 2012 | 9:21 pm

    Thanks for sharing your precious new addition! I love following your blog. It brought back special memories of giving birth to my wonderful girls. I had 2 c-sections. One was an emergency and the other was planned. The outcome was still the same–a true miracle and blessing from God! Enjoy your newest little one:) God bless!

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  25. deirdre
    August 31, 2012 | 10:58 pm

    Looking forward to smuggling him at the picnic in Oct.

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  26. Marisa
    September 5, 2012 | 12:00 pm

    hi Kim, I enjoyed reading your story. I’m curious about what your thoughts are on circumcision?

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  27. Anna
    September 5, 2012 | 3:39 pm

    Congratulations! What a little cutie! :)

    I wanted to say “thanks” for posting your story about Nathaniel and Isabella and your choice to have a c-section and for being so open about it. I am praying about what I should be doing with the birth of my next one, and your posts helped to give me some peace about having a c-section if that’s the path God leads us to.

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  28. Brenda
    September 11, 2012 | 12:26 pm

    What a blessing! I am truely in awe of you and your family. I have learned alot from you over the years I have been reading. I don’t know that I have acutally left comments before but I am making an effort to do so more often. I think it is important that you know how possitivly you touch others.
    Thanks for sharing and inspiring. I have only 2 children, twins, that are 26yrs old. But I understand your overwhelming love. Rest and enjoy your new little one.
    your friend,
    Brenda

    [Reply]

  29. otherwiseknownasmom
    September 20, 2012 | 10:00 pm

    What a beautiful baby, and what a beautiful story. As we prepare to become foster parents to newborn babies awaiting adoptions to be finalized I pray that those entrusted to our care sleep as well those first nights as your Nate has.
    He is simply beautiful!

    [Reply]

  30. Rebecca Gardner
    October 12, 2012 | 11:19 am

    My friend suggested this page because she is getting ready home school some of her kids and she knew that I have been for year. I look forward to exploring your site and enjoy what I’ve already checked out. Well done!

    [Reply]

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