1.06.2015

The Baby Boy Without a Name (Theo Shepherd's Birth Story)

Remember when I was 38 weeks pregnant and I posted how we still hadn't pinned down a name for our little boy and how we'd better figure it out before we arrived at the hospital because we're not like those people who can just wait to see our son and know his name? Well God has a huge sense of humor and wanted to keep us on our toes because that's exactly what happened. I mean we were driving to the hospital exclaiming to one another, "what's his name?!" We were still mulling over it between contractions. We continued to repeat our options over and over after he was born and nothing sounded right. One of us would say "I think it's ____" and the other would say "but I like ____" and it'd go back and forth like that all the way up until we finally arrived at Theo Shepherd 12 hours after he came into this world!

It all started on Thursday, the 16th. Up until this day Juice Drop's back had favored my right side, which according to spinningbabies.com is not an optimal birthing position. I should know because Anna was not in the optimal birthing position and I didn't want to have another labor and delivery like hers! He was on his way to giving me another back labor so all week I had been doing exercises to help him flip. The evening of the 16th we went to a friend's art show fundraiser. While there I started having contractions pretty frequently. Nothing too consistent yet and no pain but I knew they were different than regular braxton hicks. He also felt different. I felt his back on my left side! We walked around the show, admiring all the beautiful art, talking to friends, and every now and then I could feel a contraction come on, and every time I thought this could be the start of something. As we left I told Travis what was going on and he insisted that the baby stay inside of me until we come up with a name. I said, "yeah, ok, I'll let baby boy know". I got through the night still having contractions but again no pain and they were about 10 minutes apart. The next day I had my midwife appointment. I was hoping she'd confirm that he was in the right position and I was also hoping she'd say I was in the early stages of labor because I was still having contractions. Well double bonus, Juice Drop was in the optimal birthing position and I was dilated 3 cm! Being the on-call midwife she said she'd be surprised if she didn't see me back that weekend! Woo HOO! We started letting family and friends who were on standby to watch Anna know things could happen pretty quickly since my contractions were picking up speed after I got home. (Side note: we soon discovered that this would be the worst weekend to have a baby. Travis' mom who was planning on coming down as soon as we told her I was in labor said she couldn't arrive until Sunday--it was Friday. Our friend who lives in our neighborhood who was on standby for a middle-of-the-night trip to the hospital was out of town. Thankfully our dear friend Susan offered to watch Anna for most of the weekend but was unavailable for a few hours on Saturday, along with everyone else! We finally found a family we were just getting to know (so Anna didn't know them) to watch her for those few hours--we were making phone calls just an hour after Theo came and thankfully was able to find this gracious family! We were starting to realize the joys and challenges of having more than one child!)

Later that evening, on the 17th, my contractions started to get more frequent, 5-7 minutes apart. I decided I didn't want to make dinner so we went out for pizza. The whole evening I caught myself staring at Anna. I just knew this was going to be our last night as a family of three. I tried to cherish every moment with her that night. As we went through her bedtime routine we made sure to take pictures and video of her kissing my tummy and talking to her baby brother. We let her know how proud of her we are and how excited we are for her to be a big sister. I continued counting contractions and they got to be 3-5 minutes apart but still no pain. I asked my friend of five children her advice and she said she'd call the midwife if she were me because if she would've waited until her contractions were painful she'd have had 2 of her 5 kids at home! Well I definitely didn't want to have an unplanned home birth, nor did Travis want to deliver our baby so I called my midwife. She told me to come on in! After Susan arrived 15 minutes later we were off to the hospital, still without a name for our son.

After being admitted and getting settled into our room, my midwife checked me. I was hoping she'd say I had progressed to at least 6 cm...but I was barely 4. Well, shoot. I was afraid she was going to send me back home since my contractions didn't hurt either but instead she told me to walk around and try to get something started. I walked for a bit, we put on the movie "Brave" to try and pass the time, and I told Travis he might as well get some sleep since I knew we'd be there for a while and at that time I didn't need him. Around midnight I finally started feeling the contractions. They still weren't too painful. A nurse came to check shortly after and told me I was 9 cm dilated!! We got so excited! Only one more cm to go and my contractions weren't too bad! ... However, my bubble was soon deflated because my midwife checked me just 5 minutes later and she said I was closer to 7. Well shoot (again). She decided to break my water (which I still don't understand why since I was progressing fairly well and my contractions weren't terrible so why couldn't we just keep it that way because as soon as my water broke all hell broke lose!) But seriously, it was like night and day how different my contractions became. And I wasn't ready for them. I figured since he was in the optimal birthing position the pain was going to be more manageable than the contractions I had with Anna. I was wrong. It was difficult for me to focus, relax, and breath like I needed to, and they were coming so fast and strong that some weren't even a minute apart. I didn't even have time to rest. Unfortunately during this labor I didn't want anyone to touch me. With Anna's I needed Travis to push his fist into my back with every contraction and hold my hand with his other. This time Travis felt helpless. At one point I told Travis I didn't think I could make it to 10 cm without relief. I felt so exhausted and I couldn't imagine having to go through another contraction. After slapping me and yelling "get your act together!"--no just kidding ;) he told me I could do this, I was so close, and encouraged me to breath correctly. Up to that point I wasn't breathing how I had learned, and after he reminded me of this it was like a totally different labor. The pain definitely didn't go away but it was more manageable.



Finally, a little before 7:30 am, I felt pressure and asked the nurse to check me. She told me I had a little bit of cervix left but I could try to push through it. Hallelujah! I got myself into the position I wanted to push and within 3 contractions we met our baby boy! He was out and on my chest by 7:44 with me exclaiming, "I love him so much!" and he still without a name. I was hoping as soon as I saw him I would just know his name. However, that didn't happen. And it didn't happen for Travis either.





We decided to give ourselves a deadline. By 7 pm that evening we needed to decide on a name. So for the next several hours we repeated our options. We had two names we were mulling over and both had different middle names to go along with them. We would stare down at him and say "are you a _____? or a ______?" We would switch up the first names with the middle names and see if those worked too. And then right before 7 o'clock something clicked. We decided on the name we originally had chosen for him all along (since before I was pregnant) with the middle name that Travis thought of just a few weeks before. It wasn't like we hadn't tried these two names together before but in that moment it was like "Yes, this is it! This is his name!" We finally had a name for our precious baby boy: Theo Shepherd. The name just fit him perfectly. He even looks like a Theo Shepherd. The meaning of names means a lot to us and we pray that as he grows his name will become more than just a title, it'll become who he is in Christ. Theo, a divine gift--that he is. Shepherd, a guide and protector--our prayer is that he is a guide and protector to all those around him and he will lead the lost to Jesus just as Jesus, our ultimate Shepherd, leads us to our Heavenly Father.


It's been almost three months since Theo entered the world. Every day I fall more and more in love with this sweet boy. His contagious smile, his precious coos, his sweet smell, I can't get over him. His personality is starting to shine through and I'm realizing the name we picked for him is just perfect.

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