On Saturday, April 27, 2013, I received a phone call that my Grandma Joan had passed away. It was somewhat unexpected, however, she had recently turned 80, and her health had not been the best. My mom assured me that she was no longer in pain and discomfort, and I took solace in that. As we discussed her funeral taking place at some point the following week, it dawned on me that I would not be able to attend. I was 39 weeks pregnant with my third child, and there was no way I could fly home to Ohio. The tears fell.
I grew up seeing Grandma Joan often, and felt close to her. And not just because she is my middle name namesake, although I was always proud of that. She was funny, sassy, strong and kind. I remember how much she hated being in pictures, which I always thought was silly because she had a wonderful smile and she was always put together nicely. I am grateful to her for producing a wonderful family, including my wonderful dad.
When I found out her funeral was to take place on Thursday, May 2, 2013, I had a feeling that I might have our baby on that day, even though he would be 6 days early. Or maybe it was just wishful thinking that instead of feeling homesick in Utah on the day of her funeral, I would be busy welcoming our new addition into the world. I started having increased contractions throughout Wednesday night. I called my midwives’ office on Thursday morning, and they advised going to the hospital. At this point I wasn’t certain I would be having a baby that day, but we dropped the kids off at my sister-in-law’s house (which is conveniently right across from the hospital), and headed over to get things checked out. They admitted me. I was having a baby on the same day they laid to rest my dear grandmother.
Throughout this pregnancy I debated on whether or not I wanted to try a natural birth. I had epidurals for my other births, and I was curious if I could do it unmedicated this time. Well, of course I could do it, but did I want to? Yes and no. I had great experiences receiving epidurals with my first two, but I liked the idea of not putting something unnatural into my body that might negatively affect me and the baby. Not to mention the anesthesia bill I wouldn’t have to pay. As I labored at the hospital, I used the breathing techniques from the Hypnobirthing book I had read. My midwife and the nurse both agreed that I was handling labor really well, and thought I could do it naturally. Peter agreed. I wondered if my Grandma was there, too, cheering me on! Without all the support, I probably would have chickened out. But I didn’t, and I am so proud of myself for it! I’m glad I had the experience, even though it was hard. There is power in people believing in you!
I won’t go into too many details, but after laboring for a few hours, our baby was born on May 2, 2013 at 5:04 p.m. He weighed 6 lb 15 oz, and was 19 inches long. He looks a lot like his dad and brother, unsurprisingly. I really wish we had taken more pictures in the delivery room, but we did get a few pictures during our hospital stay (Jack will not yet hold the baby, but we’re working on that, and will document with pictures as soon as it happens). It took us a couple of days to decide on a name. We decided on Wyatt Andrew Neuenswander. We’ve always liked Wyatt, and Andrew was chosen to honor my Grandma. Her middle name and maiden name: Ann Dew = Andrew. It’s a bit of a stretch, but I like the story behind his middle name that we will be able to share with him and remember my Grandma. My dad wondered if they somehow crossed paths before Wyatt was born, and I love to think that they did!
I am so blessed. So blessed to have a wonderful Grandma who is now watching over us, and so blessed to have another sweet, healthy baby in our family. I’m grateful for the knowledge I have of a plan that tells us where we were before we were born, why we are here on earth, where we will go after we die, and how we can be with our families again after death. This talk has been a great reminder for me of that plan during this time: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1992/04/doors-of-death?lang=eng