Nearly a whole year has passed since the birth of our sweet little girl. In honor of her upcoming birthday I’m finally sharing her birth story (raw details and all) here on the blog. What a difference a year can make! We are incredibly thankful to God for having entrusted us with this bright-headed little lady! Our year together has been a real gift from Him. She brings us such joy!
This story begs for me to give the backdrop and it starts out with me feeling fearful. God used the birth of this child to relieve my fears and redeem my mentality towards the experience of birth. Around ten weeks pregnant I went into my appointment with the midwife kind of hoping they would discover that I had twins so that I could just sign up for a c-section and not have to go through labor again. I was super sick, overwhelmed, weak and discouraged at that point. Throughout my pregnancy I expressed a real fear of labor. The midwives at the birth center were so kind and took extra time with me reassuring me that it would most likely be better the second time, and they would completely support me if at the last minute I decided I wanted to go to the hospital and get an epidural.
I didn’t know what to do. I so loved the midwives and greatly valued their time and support, but I just dreaded going through the painful valley of birth again. I couldn’t pinpoint where the fear exactly came from with my last experience. I didn’t have a horrible first birth. Most people said it was perfectly normal and good for a first time mom. Maybe it was driving to the birth center during transition, maybe it was pushing for 2+ hours, maybe it was the tears, or the excruciating stitches afterwards, maybe it was that I was exhausted for weeks afterwards, maybe it was because I came down with mono (which lasted for six months), maybe it was because I felt weakened by the whole experience, maybe it was the postpartum depression, or maybe it was the feelings of complete exhaustion (and yet still couldn’t sleep at night). Whatever it was, I couldn’t put my finger on the precise thing I dreaded, but the whole process and the aftermath had left a genuine fear on my heart.
The verse I’d chosen to claim for this labor was Isaiah 50:7 “For the Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.” I would quote it again and again when fears would arise. Also, on Elisabeth Elliot’s radio program “Gateway to Joy” she was talking about how a mother cooperates with God to bring life into this world. I loved that word picture. “You’re the only one who can do this.” The Lord would tell me. “You’re the only one who can bring this very unique and special life I’ve created into this world. You can trust me to help you in giving birth to this baby.” How kind of my Savior to whisper these comforts to my heart. I thought on this over and over again as the time for birth drew nearer.
We decided to have this baby at home since leaving the house in labor was stressful last time. (It’s a good thing we made this decision too, or we would have had this baby in the car!) I’d also decided that I didn’t want to find out the gender, I needed that reward of a surprise at the end of labor;though I had a strong feeling this baby was a girl right from the beginning.
Anyway, this brings me to the point in our story where I was past my due date by five days. Since our son was born five days early I felt like I’d been pregnant for 10 months! In those final days I struggled between listening to my feelings and thanking the Lord for His perfect timing. I decided to focus on all the good in my life and thank God for everything I could. That exercise helped me keep my sanity and made me a sweeter person to be around!
By now Hubs and I were trying every trick in the book to try to get this baby out! Spicy foods, red raspberry leaf tea, love making, evening primrose oil, long walks, stairs, pressing acupressure points, you name it we probably did it! I just decided to enjoy life and try to have fun each moment at a time until these contractions would actually turn into the real deal! And Hubs and I were having fun together. We tried to laugh a lot. And thankfully, my sister was here to help with our toddler when Hubs was at work and she really helped make the slow passing days easier.
On Friday, the 24th I awoke at 3:30 AM and started thinking maybe this was the big day! I ate some cheesecake and decided to send some emails. I called the midwife to give her a heads up when I couldn’t type through contractions, but still didn’t think the birth was anytime soon.
I woke hubs up around 4:00 and he sprang into action helping me clean up our room, finding my special hair clips, and filling up the birth pool we had rented. By now I was breathing heavily through the contractions and really trying to surrender to them and the pain. They were still about 5-6 minutes apart though. I kept thinking “stick your stomach out” and that would help me stay relaxed through the contractions.
Then I started feeling this strong nesting urge. I was like “our room is not clean enough to have a baby in” and I started scurrying around in between contractions trying to tidy things up a bit. I began diffusing my favorite oil “Gentle Baby”, my sister brought me some homemade “laborade” and then the ambiance was all set for some action and boy, was it coming!
Through the intense pain of the contractions, I kept hearing a sweet friend’s voice, Molly singing the song “The Potter Knows the Clay”. This brought such comfort to my heart.
I know you are going through the fire
Its getting hard to stand the heat
But even harder is the wondering
Is God’s hand still on me
Its lonely in the flames
When you’re counting days of pain
Chorus: But the Potter knows the clay
How much pressure it can take
How many times around the wheel
‘Til there’s submission to His will
He’s planned a beautiful design
But it’ll take some fire and time
Its gonna be okay
‘Cause the Potter knows the clay
Friend I just came through that fire
Not too very long ago
And looking back I can see why
And that my God was in control
But on the hottest days I’d cry
Oh Lord, isn’t it about time: Chorus:
Around 5:20 AM, Hubs called Lisa, our midwife who lives an hour away. Right after he called her I started shaking uncontrollably and I knew we should have called for her sooner. Within a few more contractions I was feeling the urge to push. I kept asking, “Where’s Lisa? Why isn’t she here already? When is she going to get here?” When Hubs responded with “in about 20 minutes” (and he was kind of fudging on that time) I was like “No, that’s too long! I need her NOW!”
Hubs brought a plate of scrambled eggs in to our room. The smell of those eggs were disgusting to me at that point, and I was so crabby that he had brought those near me, but by now the labor was intense enough that I didn’t have the wherewithal to ask him to get those eggs OUT. We were in the same room, but completely different worlds and I had lost the ability to communicate. All I knew was I was super crabby about that grossly intense egg smell. (You kind of have a right to be crabby when you’re in the middle of pushing a 8.5lb person out of a hole normally the size of a Cheerio! E.g. the cervix.) Just sayin’! 🙂
Hubs was my “calm and steady” through the fast-paced intensity of this birth drama. He was there praying over me, telling me words of scripture and affirmations, assuring me that I could do this. He would rub my back when I wanted and then quickly stop when I’d cry out “don’t touch me.” He was incredibly confident too, fully prepared to deliver this baby. I kept saying, “No you can’t deliver this baby. I need Lisa and I need her NOW!”
When Lisa walked in at 6:14 AM (precisely 14 minutes before our daughter made her debut into this world) I cried out, “Lisa, I need you!!!” I was in absolute agony at this point, but it was short lived. “I know, honey. I’m here to help. I sped the whole way here and I’m ready to help you.” She replied. Her presence brought comfort, and as soon as she arrived I felt the liberty to really bear down and push!
The next instant I felt like I was about to throw up the cheesecake I’d eaten not too long ago. (Oh, why did I do that?) “I’m going to throw up!” I called, and Lisa grabbed a large bowl, sprinkled some peppermint oil in the bottom and set it in front of me. The pungent smell of mint helped me fight the urge to get sick.
Five minutes before our baby emerged, I looked up and saw a woman walk in with towel dried hair. I saw her and her crazy hair and in all the intensity of labor I thought, “who is that crazy lady and why is she here?!” I wanted her to ask her to leave, but I had no ability to form a sentence in that moment. I just told myself, “Stop, worrying about everything else and just get this baby out!!!!!” The “lady with the crazy hair” was the nurse from the birth center whom I just hadn’t met before. She had left her house with her hair wet in her hurry to make it to our fast-moving birth. For the record, nurse Peggy is a beautiful person and a dear soul. I was just very disillusioned in those final moments of labor. Sweet Peggy was so helpful to me after our daughter was born, and I’m very thankful she made it in time to see my baby into this world.
Things were happening so fast. Now down to a couple of minutes before, I began to scream, “I can’t do it, I can’t, I can’t, I can’t! It HURTS, IT HURTS, IT HURTS, I CAN’T DO IT!!!!” Lisa calmly and firmly said, “you’re doing it.” To which I just answered with a deep, heavy moan. I had no other choice than to “bite the bullet” and just do it. Then my water broke. The warm liquid puddled on our bed and around my knees. (I’d never left the all fours position.) Next baby’s head popped out. Then I got a Charlie Horse in my right calf. “My leg, my leg, somebody rub my leg!!!!!” I screamed! I didn’t have time to think that I was going to die like I did with my firstborn, but I did feel completely tortured at this point.
The next thing I knew my baby was out!!! It was 6:28 AM. I took a second of moaning in pain, before I looked down and between my knees was the most beautiful baby girl! She was so pink and chubby, a beautiful redhead child! It all happened so fast. “We have a ginger!” Lisa exclaimed joyfully! Where did this child come from? I wondered. She looked nothing like I’d ever imagined, and was a ton cuter than anything I could imagine. I leaned down and began to kiss her wet head. “Mommy loves you, baby, mommy loves you. I know, it was so hard for mommy too. I know, darling.” And we both cried together. “I like her, I love her! She was worth everything! You were worth everything. Mom’s gonna have to get lots of fun girl clothes.” I cooed on excitedly. 🙂
Daddy said when he saw her little face pop out, he instantly knew she was a girl. Her face was just so feminine. (He had run around to see her head when it popped out.)
I can’t describe the joy of holding our chubby little ginger-haired baby girl! I just thanked God over and over for sending her to our family. I felt guilty for how I had complained during her pregnancy. Suddenly all the nausea, the horrible hip pain, the sleepless nights, the dozens and dozens of stretch marks, the back pain, the pain of labor, it all seemed as nothing. “I can’t believe she’s ours. I love her so much.” I said over and over. For the next couple of weeks, I sort of lived on this joyous high of overwhelming gratitude for this baby girl!
One of my goals with this labor was not to tear and so in the weeks leading to labor, I started using Frankincense oil which helps your skin with elasticity and stretch-ability. Then once I knew this was the real thing, I had hubs put it on heavily again. We were such a team working together for this birth. It was wonderful! And oh, was it a better experience for sure. I survived with only one small tear, and that was only because she had the princess wave thing going as she made her way through the birth canal (her little hand was raised high.) Funny thing is that during that last month of pregnancy I kept saying “It feels like she’s digging her fingernails into my cervix.” I kept feeling these sharp claws causing sudden pains. Now I think it was actually her scratching me with that little hand she had up by her face. Lisa said that if her hand had not been up, Hubs would have delivered her for sure. That little hand slowed us down just enough, and because I was waiting to push until Lisa arrived, it gave me time to stretch. The Lord worked out the timing of everything.
My baby was face down and that helped so much! I largely credit that to the chiropractic adjustments during the last trimester. My pelvis was in near perfect alignment before she was born and so she had the space to move into the correct position. Thank you, Dr. Katie Shay! <3
Lisa left almost an hour after our baby girl’s birth. We told her we were trying to give her the biggest bang for her buck. We wanted to give her a good deal by making it speedy. Just kidding! We never even used the birth pool we had rented. It wasn’t full at the time I wanted to get in.Maybe for the next baby. Below are some pictures of Lisa and baby.
Sweet Peggy stayed with us for several more hours to make sure we were all thriving. She washed our bedding, helped with nursing, and looked after all the little things. We both laughed when I told her my silly first impression of her while I was in the most intense part of labor.
Baby Dear weighed 8lbs, 8oz and was 21 inches long.
Our son was calmly eating his breakfast through all the noise of labor. Mom screaming didn’t phase him one bit. His auntie was amazed at how chill he was. 🙂 She brought him into our room to meet his little sister almost as soon as she was born and then my sister blessed us by taking these pictures for us. Big brother didn’t show too much interest in the baby, but he wanted mommy to hold him, so I held my bigger baby, my precious firstborn while daddy held our little daughter close to his chest to keep her warm. <3 She even tried to nurse off daddy. 🙂
As our little family sat on the front porch that evening, the neighbors walking by couldn’t believe I’d had a baby that day, and they were ultra shocked when we said “Yes, we had her right there in our bedroom.” “On purpose?!?” was the common response. “Yep, on purpose.” 🙂
We gave our daughter a name meaning “Beloved Grace” and she is a testimony of God’s precious grace in our lives. We cherish the time He has entrusted her to our care and we pray that God will use her in a mighty way so she can show others His beloved, precious grace to mankind. We love her so much!
Our happy little family of four!