Greetings friends and family! I’m finally getting around to the “more details” post about Rainer’s birth that I promised a week and a half ago! Also, we’ll be posting weekly photos of Rainer just like we did for Jonah, so I’ll include info about the first week in that post coming up shortly after this one.
Rainer Blair Wilsie was born at 3:40pm on July 8th weighing 7 pounds 12 ounces and measuring 20 inches in length. That’s it! Nothing else really happened. Kidding, of course. Here’s the riveting story of Rainer’s birth, told from my (Ross’s) perspective with verification of accuracy provided by my wonderful wife, birther of boys. I’ll try not to go into too much detail, but be forewarned that there will be a fair amount. A child was born after all, and that’s just a messy thing, plain and simple. Beautifully messy, but messy nonetheless.
The adventure began around noon that hot July Tuesday… Jennifer was just leaving a meeting at work when she was surprised to find that her water broke. She wrapped everything up at work and let them know she was heading home. She called me at around 12:30pm just as I was sitting down to eat and said, “Well, it’s go time!” I packed up the leftover pasta I had just heated, did a little wrapping up of my own, and headed home.
We both went to action immediately – tidying up the house, eating lunch, emptying the dishwasher, etc. Jennifer had called Hannah, our midwife, earlier to let her know about the whole water breaking thing, and Hannah said to call her back when contractions started to become regular and intense enough that Jennifer needed to stop what she was doing while they happened. We continued the preparation – we moved any unnecessary furniture out of the living room, covered the couch, covered the bed, and brought out the box full of supplies we would need. It was starting to sink in… we’re about to have our second child!
At around 1:45pm, I noticed Jennifer lying down on Jonah’s bed and asked her if she was ok. She said she was and that she just needed to rest. Shortly after that, she took a quick shower and then let me know that the contractions were intensifying and seemed closer together. I quickly downloaded a contraction timer app (of course there’s an app for that… several, in fact) and started timing them as I continued with preparations. After 4 or 5 rounds of contractions, starting at around 6 minutes apart and quickly decreasing to 3 or 4 minutes apart, I called Hannah and let her know it was probably time to head our way. This was at around 2:15pm, and Hannah would be driving from Roanoke – about 45 minutes to an hour away.
Up until 2:15, Jennifer was her “normal” self. From that point on, however, everything can be summed up with one word: FAST. At around 2:45pm, Jennifer’s contractions were rapidly intensifying and were about 1.5 – 2 minutes apart. We had decided to start the labor in the living room. Jennifer was on the sofa head down and on her knees, but she just couldn’t get comfortable (not that one is ever really comfortable during labor, but you get what I’m saying). She asked me to press my fists into her hips, which helped ease the pain during labor with Jonah. This helped a little, but not quite as much as before. At around 3:00pm, Jennifer needed to use the rest room, so we headed to our 14 square foot half bathroom and never left. The contractions were far too intense for her to even consider moving back to the sofa.
At this point I called Hannah, told her everything that was going on, and asked her what we needed to do. She told me to have Jennifer get on all fours if possible and to have her breathe through the contractions instead of pushing. We did this for a little while, but at around 3:30pm, it was impossible for her to resist. We were both wondering, “Where is Hannah??” but I did my best to reassure Jennifer saying, “I’m sure she’s pulling into the driveway right now.” Two or three rounds of contractions passed during which she was pushing intensely. In between these contractions, Jennifer said, with a rather alarmed tone, “This baby is coming right now!”
It was 3:38pm… the head was crowning… I was anxious but focused and composed… and I decided it was time to get into position to deliver this boy. As I moved to do so, I heard the front door open, and a wave of relief washed over me. “Hannah! Come on! The head is out!” After asking where we were, she rushed towards us and was ready to go (Hannah later mentioned that throughout the entire drive to our house, she was in prayer about our situation, especially that she’d arrive in time). Less than two minutes after she arrived, Rainer was filling his lungs with air and filling the room with the sweet-sounding noise of a baby’s first cries. He was beautiful in every way, clearly made in the image of our Creator.
There was no time to marvel just yet, however. Jennifer was on all fours and holding Rainer underneath her… still very much attached, by the way. I worked with Hannah to help get Jennifer rotated and on her back, all the while providing Hannah with as many towels as I could find. It’s important to reiterate at this point in the story that Jennifer was in a 14 square foot bathroom. Actually, half of her was in the bathroom and half of her was in the tiny hallway. This was the most cramped space in our house that we could have picked to deliver a baby.
Eventually Hannah and I helped get Jennifer on her back, her head awkwardly crammed against the hallway wall. After a few more minutes, Hannah handed me the odd-looking scissor-type instrument used to cut the umbilical cord, and I did the deed just as I had with Jonah. Jennifer delivered the placenta shortly after that without incident (sorry, **graphic detail alert**), and then we worked to move the whole production upstairs to our bedroom. I was given the task of keeping Rainer warm while we moved, so I stuffed him under my t-shirt giving him as much skin-to-skin contact as possible. He was so small and healthy and amazing!
Once upstairs, after getting comfortable, Jennifer attempted to feed Rainer. To our surprise, he ate like a pro his very first time! We had a solid two hours alone with Rainer, which was great bonding time. Jennifer took a quick shower, and then family started arriving to meet the little guy. Even though it was intense and stressful at times, we were both thankful that the whole process had been so quick. Jennifer commented that she felt much better immediately following labor with Rainer when compared to labor with Jonah (all told a 20+ hour affair).
A little bit of info about how we landed on Rainer Blair as a name. A week or so before he was born, I had a dream that Jennifer and I were discussing what to name him (we still hadn’t completely decided), and I suggested Rainer in the dream. I have no idea where my brain pulled that from as I’ve never known someone by that name. As I was telling Jennifer about the dream, I realized I really liked it and suggested that maybe we should consider it as an option. She agreed we should consider it, and the rest is history. The name means “deciding warrior” and “strong counselor”. Blair is a family name on Jennifer’s mother’s side, and we had decided long ago that we would use it as either the first or middle name of our second child, regardless of gender. And then Wilsie just had a certain ring to it, so that’s what we went with.
So that’s our story. Having a home birth for both kids was an awesome experience and something we would strongly recommend to anyone considering it. Feel free to ask us if you’d like to know more about why we chose this route and how it all works. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the adventures of baby Rainer’s welcome home party, and we thank all of our friends and family for your love, support, and selfless service to us during this exciting time in our lives. Now as a treat for reading all of that, enjoy a few photos from his first few hours!