The story of our Thomas Guenter.
When it all began.
It all began December of 2013. Caleb and I have always dreamt of having our own family, but never wanted to rush right into children, or dare try to put a timeline on when that would be. We know better than to try to tell God our plans! However, after years of that question from every one of “when are you having kids?” we finally starting getting the same burning desire in our hearts of when are we having kids? I work retail, in the ski industry I might add, so December is ALWAYS a crazy time of year, but such a special time to me. Caleb literally calls me Mrs. Claus because I’m just so in love with everything about the Christmas season! It is the birthday of our Lord and Savior after all! Anyways, without getting too in to this part of the story I vividly remember the night of our church Christmas program sitting through the entire service in basically sobbing tears – I just could not get it together! Caleb just kept looking at me and whispering “what in the world is wrong with you, are you okay?” and I just kept saying, “I don’t know I just can’t stop crying.” Well after the program was over we tried to do our best to sneak out since at that point I had streaks of mascara streaming down my face. On our way home Caleb ended up pulling into the Walmart parking lot to find out what was going on and to try and calm me down. And I just kept saying I don’t know what’s wrong, I just can’t stop crying. My heart is burning for a baby. We spent some very special time in that car just talking and pouring our hearts out. Although the desire to be a mommy was always there, God just did something so special in my heart that night. We did decide it was time, that if God willing, we would take the steps to try to have a baby. I was told for many years by doctors that it might be very hard for us to ever have children due to different things with my body. I always knew God had a plan no matter what, even if that meant someday we would adopt a child of our own, that we would in fact be parents one day. So I just always tried to rest on His promises and let it all up to Him. Well, January rolled around and it was a very hectic season. We were having one of the most killer years and I was giving it my all to my job at the time just to keep up. Well, by the time the middle of February rolled around my body essentially shut down and said no more. I ended up spending a good amount of time in and out of the hospital, test after test. I was very ill. I wasn’t able to hold down more than some juice or applesauce for more than a month. At first they thought I was maybe experiencing a complicated pregnancy but after a few tests they were able to quickly say no, there’s something else going on here. Looking back I truly believe it was God’s way of saying “Erin, you need to slow down, stop and rest in me.” God knows me too well to know that unless He truly knocks me on my back, I have a very hard time stopping. Although I could still feel the desire of baby on my heart, it just seemed like it wasn’t the time for any of that right now and I just needed to get my body back together.
The day we found out.
April 18th, it was Good Friday and also the day before my birthday. I woke up kissed Caleb off to work and started to get ready for work myself. I happened to notice the date, but considering the past few months I had I just thought well yeah there’s really essentially no way I could be pregnant, but I have a test in the cabinet, why not. I was also still getting terribly sick everyday, but I was still under going quite a bit of tests to figure out what was going on with my body so I hadn’t really thought oh this is morning sickness. Now let me tell you that every other time I ever took a pregnancy test before I would take it and literally just stare at it until anything would change, not this time. I took the test and laid it on the counter and carried on with getting ready for work. Just as I was about to hop in the shower I glanced over and saw it was different from every other time I ever took that little test. It said I was pregnant!!! I just grabbed my mouth in pure shock and immediately burst into tears! I was so not a creative wife, instead I immediately grabbed my phone and called Caleb (who just left for work no more than 10 minutes before this all happened) to immediately come home. First off, we just kissed goodbye and everything was fine and now I’m calling in a pure shocked crying state. He just kept saying “what’s wrong hunny, what’s wrong?” I finally blurted “I just took a pregnancy test and I need you to come home right now!!!” I don’t think he ever got home so fast in his life! We both stood in that bathroom just staring at the test going is there even any way? We were in pure shock! God answered the desires of my heart! Not only did he answer my prayer, He showed me how He had the perfect timing for it all, not us. It was a very special birthday for me as we were able to share with our parents the next day we were going to have a baby. That Sunday was Easter Sunday and although we were chomping at the bit to shout it to the world, we knew it was still very early and my body wasn’t nearly as healthy as I thought it should have been for this child. But, after talking about it we decided we’d rather have our families know and have their prayer during that sensitive time. What a special Easter we had sharing our big news with our families.
God truly had every detail of this story planned out. Although I had a very sick pregnancy, I just kept leaving it all to God. I would listen to this particular song over and over and it became very dear to me during my pregnancy. Here are just a few of those lyrics.
“The future lies before me now, by faith I will proceed. I know in time You will reveal, the plans You have for me. For You are wise above all God, Your ways are always best. So in Your sovereign will oh Lord my silent heart will rest. Ever faithful, ever true, oh Lord I long to be. Ever faithful, ever true, as You have been to me.”
It was definitely a very hard pregnancy, lots of sickness that never went away, yes even after that first trimester. I quickly learned our baby especially didn’t like me to have meat, even the smell most days would put me over the edge! I also experienced some of the most excruciating back pains that started around 16 weeks, I couldn’t believe my back killed so bad and I barely had a belly to show for it. As the months went on our anticipation for this little miracle grew stronger and stronger! So many nights Caleb and I would just look at each other and say “can you believe we’re going to have a baby?”
It’s a BOY!
At our 20 week ultrasound appointment we were able to learn the gender of our dear baby. Wow, what a special day! We were able to find out our little Baby Landis was a BOY! Everyone, including Caleb was pretty convinced I was having a girl up until that point. I never wanted to think either way and be wrong, so I just waited it out until that moment. As soon as the tech put him up on the screen I immediately looked and thought I have no idea what I’m looking at here, but I’m pretty sure that’s a boy!!! A moment later she goes “you both want to know right? It’s a boy!!” I thought Caleb was going to shoot through that roof with excitement. Although I can guarantee you he would have been just as thrilled if she would have said girl, it was a very special moment! Lots of tears were shared and as soon as we got to the car we started bawling all over again too. Caleb was so thrilled to know the Landis name will live on!! We had so many special people in our lives that we just could no wait to share the news with, but we were also both very over taken by emotion of people that we so desperately wanted to tell but were no longer on this earth for us to share. Yet another time we wished more than ever there was a phone to heaven!
We spent more hours than we could count talking, crying, praying over names. We always had something in our hearts, but it was something extremely hard for us and knew would be hard for many others that we love more than anything too. Caleb wanted to show his honor and love to his best friend and name his son, his first-born son after him. Tommy was one of the most special people in our lives and Caleb just felt as hard as it was, it was truly the biggest way we could ever show our love, respect and honor to him. He truly left one of the greatest impacts on our lives and someone we both deeply miss each and every single day. He is truly forever in our hearts. We pray more than anything he is looking down from heaven with that ever huge grin of his. We also have such a legacy of grandfathers who are no longer with us on this earth that we wanted to share honor to, but it was another very hard and emotional decision as we loved each and every one of them so preciously. We didn’t want it to ever seem like we were choosing one over another to honor, they were all truly the greatest men and so very special to us. We just felt using my grandfather’s name seemed to fit the best. We also loved the nickname of Tommy Gun it had created. We truly spent the entire pregnancy in prayers, tears and talks over such a big decision and although we thought we were set and did make a few things with his name being planned, we both felt it was best for the final decision to be made at his birth when we laid our eyes on our sweet baby boy to determine what his name will be. We needed to see our Baby’s face and let the Lord direct us on what was best.
A few complications.
The way little man was positioned in my body always made my belly measure a lot smaller than normal, but at both my 8 week and 20 week ultrasounds baby seemed to measure just perfectly, so there wasn’t too much concern. I was also very sick every day through-out my entire pregnancy so I wasn’t really able to ever eat for two like everyone says to do! I was happy if I could really eat at all! At my what I think what was about my 30 week visit the doctors just started getting a littler nervous again as I was still measuring quite small to them and it had been more than 10 weeks since they have seen him on the ultrasound. They ordered up another ultrasound and a few other tests just to make sure our little man was doing okay in there. My body was also being a little crazy and they started having talks about them delivering him at 37 weeks. It was all very unnerving. Yet again we just turned to the Lord and knew He was in control. We were quite thrilled to learn at the ultrasound that our baby boy was measuring just perfectly and looked better than ever. They also gave us the coolest sneak peek of his face at that visit. The picture we received from that day became one of my most cherished things as I would spend so much time just staring at his precious face. As things went on I continued to measure small and had a few other complications, but did my best to stay healthy and strong. I listened to the doctors ever so carefully, even when they almost put me on bed rest. Thankfully I did not have to ever go on bed rest, but I did step back and really slow down. I definitely took everything they said very seriously and would do anything they said to keep my baby healthy. I would go in every week to get checked out and appointment after appointment there were still talks of delivering him at 37 weeks. Although my heart’s desire was to go as natural as possible, I continued to let it to the Lord. Although at the very end I’ll admit I started questioning why I just didn’t let them have me deliver then? But let’s not rush there just yet. My 37 week appointment came along with lots of snow, it was the day before Thanksgiving. As I was getting in my car to go not thinking much of it (I work in the ski industry we live for snow! I might not love driving in it, but it doesn’t really faze me) Well, Caleb called and said “it’s really getting bad I don’t think I want you and our unborn son out in this weather.” I quickly called the doctor and they agreed and planned for me to come in the Friday after Thanksgiving instead. We were both pretty thrilled because we originally weren’t quite sure that we would be able to spend Thanksgiving with our families. We both cherish family time more than anything! On black Friday we went in to the doctors, not quite sure on what they were going to say. I had my bags packed, but I wasn’t ready to take them with me just yet. We get to our appointment and things weren’t as peachy as they wanted and they had us hang out at the office for a good hour to watch my body before they sent me over to labor and delivery. Caleb and I again turned to prayer and just prayed through that appointment. We were very relieved to be sent home and not have to go over to labor and delivery after all.
Oh Early Labor.
I had Braxton hicks for quite a while so I didn’t always think too much of contractions and would always put them off to just being Braxton hicks. Until one night early in December when they really started getting consistent. I also started experiencing lots of really bad sickness again, like first trimester all over again!! I went into my doctor and they said I was in the early labor stage and it shouldn’t be much longer now. For the sake of saving the gory details lets just say my body was showing all signs it was ready to go at any minute. Well yet again the weeks continued of me in this in between state but yet no baby. I’ll admit physically, I was pretty miserable, but was trying my best to keep a good attitude and stay patient. At my 38 or 39 week appointment I went in and yet again Caleb said “should I grab your bags?” and as much as I wanted to say YES, I said “no I don’t want to get my hopes up!” Well, at my appointment things yet again didn’t look as they should and I was having quite the contractions. They ended up sending me over to labor and delivery. I was now measuring even smaller at about 29 weeks now, a good 10 weeks behind where I should have been. After spending some time in labor and delivery they monitored our little boy during the contractions and we were able to see that he was doing just fine in there. My body still wasn’t hitting that active labor stage yet, but things looked okay. They sent us home and with papers to get an ultrasound first thing that morning to check on our little boy’s size yet again. Well, praise the Lord his size looked perfect and again it was just the way he positioned himself in my body that had me measuring so small.
I couldn’t believe I actually hit 40 weeks, after weeks of being in early labor and every single appointment being told “oh you are just going to go any minute I can’t believe you haven’t yet,” I still had not! I even spent the those last few days walking the streets of my little town with my baby Bella trying to help encourage this little one to come out! They decided to schedule me for an induction the end of the week if little man didn’t make an appearance before then. That night we left my appointment and I was definitely a little discouraged and just feeling so ready to have this baby! My sweet husband booked a massage for me after the appointment. We never wanted to do any of the old wives tails that could potentially harm the baby i.e. castor oil and everything else we were told to try, but the massage therapist (who happened to be the wife of the client Caleb worked for that day, again God’s timing is perfect) said there were some pressure points she could hit that help induce labor naturally and it wouldn’t cause any harm. I was feeling very off from my appointment so the massage felt pretty wonderful and it was so good to just relax for a little after how the past few weeks had been.
My Labor Story.
Well around 2am on Christmas Eve after not being able to catch a wink of sleep, I started timing my contractions and realized they were yet again getting very consistent. I still didn’t want to get my hopes up, because too many times they would be good and consistent just to eventually fizzle out hours later. Well, by about 5am they were 8 minutes apart and getting stronger, but I still couldn’t believe it could actually be it! Caleb got up to go to work and since he was only working a few minutes away that day I said that was probably best for him to still go in, I did make him promise to keep his phone on him this time though. I spent most of the morning just trying to breath through the contractions and praying that they wouldn’t go away this time. Around 11am my mother in law stopped in to check on me. I walked up and down the stairs as she timed contraction for me. They were finally at 4-5 minutes apart and had been for almost an hour. I called Caleb to come home and called the doctor once he arrived. After talking with the doctor she said to head on down to the hospital! We were surprisingly calm, but very excited. We got to the hospital and my contractions were staying steady and strong, but my body still wasn’t doing exactly what they wanted yet, again saving the gory details! They had us walk the halls a little bit and as we did the contractions got even closer and stronger. It was actually more like sprint the halls a few times thanks to my labor coach, Caleb! They gave me some medication to help ease the pain as the contractions were now every 3 minutes apart and off the charts. Around 11pm my body still was not cooperating and they decided to send me home, even though my contractions were still at 3 minutes apart. I was in tears! I said “when do I know when I’m supposed to come back?” They said “oh you’ll know!” Well, I really didn’t know how I could know considering I was already in such steady labor! Well, we came home and as much as they said to try to get some rest or eat I just couldn’t do either. I tried to stay busy and anything I could to get through the contractions. Finally around 3 am I woke Caleb back up saying “I just can’t do this anymore.” I almost called the doctor back then, but Caleb encouraged me to try to wait a little longer because we didn’t want to be sent home again. My dear mom stayed up and texted me to help keep me distracted and pass the time too! Finally around 4am I called the doctor and said I don’t know if anything has changed, but I can barely take this anymore. I had excruciating back contractions that just wouldn’t quit. She said to head back in so we did. We arrived and thankfully my body did show some progress at that point, but still not a ton for how bad the contractions were. (I eventually found out this all had to do with little man’s position) I had a new doctor on call at 8am so they called him to fill him in on what was going on before he arrived. He told them over the phone as soon as he got there he wanted to break my water upon his arrival. Well 8:05am my new doctor appeared in my room and he broke my water for me. He promised me I would be having a baby that day no matter what! I was so relieved – we were finally going to meet our little boy and on Christmas at that!! Again, God sure knew how much I loved Christmas! I was so excited when I saw the anesthesiologist walk in the room at around 10am to give me an epidural. I didn’t want to say anything or ask about it, but I was BEYOND relieved when I saw him appear. I wasn’t sure if I was going to want an epidural, but after how bad the back labor got I was so thankful for that little relief! I joked with him that it was the second best Christmas present I was receiving that day! He asked “if I wanted my epidural rare, medium well or crispy” and at that point I said “crispy!!” I had a few screamers around me the night before and that morning – needless to say that scared me a little bit! He gave me the epidural, but unfortunately the right side didn’t take. After another “little” shot I started getting relief. Did I mention how thankful I was for a little break at this point? It actually relaxed me enough that we were able to turn on the Disney Christmas parade a little and just catch my breath. The doctor came back to check on me around 11:30am and he said, “well you’re going to be ready to push here in about 30 minutes.” Caleb and I were so excited, after how long this process had been I was expecting to hear that it would be another few hours! Caleb quickly texted our families to let them know they can start heading to the hospital that our baby should be here soon! I also have to add in here that Caleb decided now would be a good time to head to the car to grab some food and to use the bathroom quick. Well, I have to admit at this point I panicked a little and was scared for him to leave me. I was so scared he was going to miss the birth the entire pregnancy (he’s not always the best at keeping his phone on him)! I was so relieved when he walked back into that room! Although, I will admit I had my labor “moment” at that point. He walked in and had a bag of doritos in hand and I just looked at him and said, “you cannot eat those right now, I can’t have those crunching in my ear!” Poor guy hadn’t eaten anything and was starving, but he just said “okay.” I tried to stay as calm and gracious through my labor, but I still had that one moment which we’ll always laugh about. At noon the doctor had me start pushing, but quickly realized Tommy was faced the wrong way. He tried to turn him a couple of times, but of course Tommy had his own plans and turned himself right back to his “sunny side up” way. I also experienced lots of sickness in-between my pushing. Caleb and I joked that of course I have to finish my pregnancy out the way it started! Caleb literally alternated between grabbing my bucket, giving me oxygen and helping to count through the pushes. It was quite the experience. I was so determined to meet my little boy though! The doctor kept saying he had other things he could try to help if I was getting too tired or just couldn’t do it, but I just kept saying as long as my baby is okay I’m not stopping! After two hours of pushing our little Christmas miracle decided to make his entrance into the world at 1:59pm on Christmas day weighing in at 7lbs 6oz 21 inches long. It was a moment Caleb and I will truly never forget! I never knew such a love until I laid my eyes on my precious baby. I never felt more connected to Caleb than I did after that moment too! Caleb said I just kept saying “my baby my baby.” We were both overwhelmed with emotions and so incredibly thankful for this perfect gift.