If you haven’t seen part one of “The Tale of Forest Káel,” click here before you read any further.
To paint this story as best as I can, I try to take pictures of the time as often as possible so that you can see the hours that Jessica spent in labor. Again, remember that Forest Káel was born on August 29th at 3:33 AM. It felt like an eternity at times, and then at times I couldn’t believe how fast time was flying.
Jessica’s poor body was so tired, she could hardly stand. All she could think about was wanting to sleep. The little man in her womb had turned his face a little and his head was catching on her cervix. Her midwives, for about six hours, tried everything they could to get things positioned correctly–adjusting as Jessica would push, having Jessica turn to different sides on her back, standing up with a leg on the bed, kneeling, etc. I have never seen such horrible pain on someone’s face. It was dreadful to watch.
At times I would leave the room, curl up on my husband’s lap and weep a little. Brandon would look at me and smile with only the smile that could calm my heart. Again and again…yells, moans, roars, screams could be heard. At one point Jess laid her head on her bed and cried out, “Jesus, I can’t do this anymore! Your going to have to help me, I’m so tired!”
The most emotional part for me was seeing Samuel (my brother) lean over and kiss her head and hold her hand. Seeing my best friend hurt was rough enough, but seeing my dearest brother see his bride hurt was so emotional for me.
August 28th at 6:26PM, the sun was still up a bit and all the grandparents plus my husband were sitting in the living room chatting, laughing and praying. Jess later told me that the sound of laughter from the other room in between her contractions was so comforting to her, reassuring her that it wouldn’t be like this forever.
Again, Jess went to the tub. (Below is Damaris, one of her midwives)
I want to thank the midwives, Jordan and Damaris. They were so calm throughout the whole process. Having been part of approximately 300 births, their eyes spoke peace to our hearts. Nothing was abnormal, nothing was wrong. This is what it’s like to have a baby without drugs. Samuel’s instrumental CD, “Secret Whispers,” played all day.
Every now and then, we would pour boiling hot water into the tub to warm it up.
I remember many times seeing Jessica’s mom, Rebecca, just sit in a corner and cry while watching her baby girl go through such agony.
Below is one of my favorite photos. Damaris is kissing Jessica’s hand. This photo has so much emotion in it. It’s now around 7:30PM.
Jessica told me later, “The only way I could focus on getting through it all was to take one contraction at a time.” Samuel, Damaris and Molly (Jess’ doula) would hold her arms and place a cool rag on her neck. At this time, I think I thought that there was absolutely no way things could get worse. I was wrong.
This is the part I wish to forget–and I believe Jessica would agree –laying on her bed, holding onto the post or onto her husband’s hands. This was the hardest part of the whole thing for me…seeing a Jessica I had never seen before. I wish I had a stronger word for “pain.” This was off the charts. Our moms are both stunned.
Samuel’s face says it all here.
I wept and wept when I would see him kiss her.
We all felt so helpless.
Can I just say that I posted the extra mild photos of her face in labor. These are probably a 4 on a scale of 1-10.
Meanwhile…the men found a way to watch the Dallas Cowboy’s game. (Jessica’s family is from Dallas.) Ruben would get up and start talking to the guys on the screen, asking them why they did such a stupid thing. We were laughing our butts off. My husband watched a documentary on science or something. (He doesn’t dig sports.) This was my great escape from what was going on 4 feet away behind a closed door. Lifted a load.
Everyone is tired.
So my husband and I took a small walk as Jessica labored with just her midwives, trying to get the head of the baby to clear. I remember walking under the golden street lights in the Dogwood Hills neighborhood, almost crying as I told Brandon all the emotions I was feeling.
We got back to the house, and I laid my head on my husband’s lap. Jess’ parents, my parents and Brandon all sat on the couch feeling so helpless and so frustrated at the circumstance. The cervix had been stuck for around 6-8 hours. Jessica was at 9 cm for 10 hours. The only thing that wasn’t letting the baby come out was the cervix. I remember all of us feeling a little “depressed” if that’s the right word.
All of a sudden, I felt hope, I lifted my head and said, “You guys! This is gonna end well! It’s gonna be awesome! Jessica and Samuel are going to have a baby, and we are all going to be so happy! Jessica is going to be happy! It’s going to end amazingly!” They all kind of smiled at me, and then it was the deep sighs that filled the air. My mom got on her knees and began praying loudly and boldly that Jessica would get a fresh breath of strength to be able to push through.
About and hour later (or so), I hear Samuel and Damaris come out of the room. It’s a rush to get Jess back into the pool. I remember clearly what Samuel said to me: “Grab your camera, Beka, the cervix has cleared. She’s going to start pushing.”
I jumped up off of the couch full of crazy energy. We all got hope again! Jessica had a totally different mindset and energy. When I walked into the room, she was full of hope and was smiling. “We’re gonna push this baby out, right Damaris?” she said, talking to herself. She continued: “Jessica, you can do this!”
I cried again. We put Songs of Water’s CD on and tried to create a mood for tenacity.
Jessica told me later that this part was the best part. Her pushing felt so good. It was like an itch that needed to be scratched. Nevertheless, it was still extremely painful for us all to watch.
Meanwhile… I hear the Grandparents and Brandon from the other room rapping: “Push, push, get behind her.. and push, push…” My dad was playing some kind of drum on his iPhone and Brandon was playing a flute-like app on his iPhone. My dad was beat-boxing while Ruben and Rebecca were dancing and rapping. Talk about feeling some relief when I walked in to see them all having the best time cheering Jessica on! Ha!
And in the other room… Jessica is grabbing the baby crib for support.
Jordan’s looking to see if she sees a head yet. (I love this photo)
Pushing and pushing…
Meanwhile… the Grandmas got the little crib ready for the little man.
So I pretty much love this part. I’ve been waiting to tell it.
Jessica decided that she wanted to get on the floor next to the pool in her baby room. She lay on the ground and leaned into Molly, her doula. At one point she looked up at Samuel and says, “I love you, we’re gonna have a baby!” and then smiles.
I visited the living room again to find my mom so exhausted.
So two hours go by, Jessica is pushing and smiling and pushing and smiling. We start seeing the little man’s head. It was so unbelievable.
And then, it happens! August 29th, 3:33 AM, after 42 weeks of pregnancy, 43 hours of labor, 10 hours at 9 cm and 4 hours of pushing, Forest Káel’s entire head emerges. The midwives have Samuel help pull him out. And yes, it was the most incredible moment! I’ve never seen something so miraculous and perfect. As soon as the baby came out fully, Jessica sees him and grabs him. I cried. (You can see where his head was stuck at the cervix for so long.)
Samuel looks up at me with tears in his eyes. (I love these photos.) Mommy is so content.
I’m crying again, just trying to write this. Ah! The photos speak for themselves.
Jessica had them cover her up, and the Grandpas and Brandon came in to see the little miracle.
Samuel sang Káel a song he wrote him. We were all a mess with tears.
She did it!
A very happy family!
Isn’t she so beautiful with her newfound love?
Not long after the baby was born, they moved Jess into her bedroom, weighed the little man and checked him out.
Rebecca then called my name: “Jessica wants to talk to you!” I remember thinking, “Me?”
I went in and sat next to her in bed, and we began talking about it all. I felt like a little girl at Christmas time. Jess said,”Why didn’t you tell me my face swelled up so much?” I laughed, “Ummm…how would you have liked me to tell you?” I told Jessica how amazing and strong she was, how absolutely incredible she did, and how happy and proud I am of her.
I went home and went to bed. I had been over there for 24 hours. I was happy, but most importantly, Jessica was happy, and the family was happy. When I woke up, Jessica text me, and I went over to take her something. I sat next to her bed as she lay next to her husband and held her new little man. It was so, so beautiful. I cried again. We chatted about the last 48 hours, laughed and recounted the story. I felt so proud to be a part of little Káel’s life.
I spent most of that afternoon just choking up every now and then, feeling really tender and so happy at the beauty of life. I went back over around 6pm that evening just to find mommy looking much better holding her little bundle of joy.
Jessica has inspired all of us, and I think that’s why we’ve all been so attached to her story. Her magnetic personality makes us all feel like we don’t have to live a normal life. She is a rare woman.
Keep up to date with Jessica, Samuel and Káel on her blog, http://bohobabybump.blogspot.com
And if you would, on her blog to the left side is a little box that says, “as seen on top baby blogs.” Click on that and vote for her blog to hit number 1!
Day two of this little life.
In case you wonder, Forest is his first name and Káel is his middle name. They are going to call him by his middle name, Káel pronounced (Kay-El).
I think it’s really quite interesting that on August 28th of 2009, Brandon and I moved from the midwest to come home, and Jessica rode with us to move out here to marry Samuel. They got married September 12th. A year later, baby Káel is born. Who would have thought. So crazy to me.
And so, this is my conclusion after all of that: I love being Auntie Rivkah. I will probably take drugs when I have a baby, and I won’t have one for a little while longer. But until then, I have a little nephew to make my heart grow bigger and fonder.
It was an incredible experience, and I’m so thankful that I was there to witness it all. I love a good story about “life” that makes you cry. I will probably be crying for a while yet.
Káel has changed us all.
To be continued…
If you would like to see part 3 click hereIf you would like to hear more of Samuel and Jessica’s story, click here. If you would like to see the prego pictures I took of Jessica at 24 weeks, click here. If you would like to see the prego pictures I took of Jessica at 41 weeks, click here.