Thursday, August 22, 2013

the birth story {part 2}

read part 1 here

As I manned my stair post, I realized my contractions were coming so quickly {and that they were so incredibly painful} that they were like the end of labor, yet it still wasn't enough to convince me this was the real thing.

You'd think a mother of almost five would know real labor for sure, but being 11 days late, something in me refused to fully believe this was it

My phone chimed in the other room, and I waddled to the kitchen to see who it was. It was Rob texting me, just a couple of minutes after he'd left to take the kids to my dad's house: "Are you okay? Do you need me to come back?"

Another crazy hard contraction hit and I was back into my plie position, but it wasn't helping it like it had in previous labors- another sign that I was closer to the end than I thought. After it was over, I laid my forehead on the kitchen counter, and prayed out loud over and over, Jesus, I cannot do this without you. I am so weak, and this is happening so fast, and it hurts so much, oh God, please help me.

The pain was finally starting to convince me that this might actually be going somewhere, maybe even tonight.

Instead of my standard I'll be okay, I texted Rob back this time, "meet Dad half way."

Another text back: "Did you call the midwife yet?"

My initial thoughts were "Call the midwife? It's only been a few minutes or something- what would I tell her? I've been in labor for 25 minutes and I think it's time? They're going to think I'm crazy."

But before I could talk myself out of it, I decided {a.k.a. Jesus led me to} go ahead and call her just to see what she thought about my situation.

I pulled out my birthing information card and called her quickly from my squat position as another contraction hit. I told her I'd had lots of really hard contractions, but they were so fast I couldn't time them, at least a handful in the last 15-20 minutes {I was guessing on the conservative side, but I'm pretty sure it was way more thinking back}. I told her I wasn't sure if it was the real thing.

She said she'd have the on-call midwives come, and I {being paranoid about being an overly-panicked laboring woman, and doubting this even was really it} asked if she was sure they should come and what would they do if it all just stopped? They were both driving over 45 minutes to get to me, and I would feel so bad if nothing happened after all. 

But she assured me in her amazingly calming voice if nothing happened, they'd rest on the sofa and go home in the morning. We hung up, and somehow I felt so relieved they were going to be here soon. { I later found out she called the other midwife and said "go now"...apparently I sounded quite like I was in actual labor! :)}

I texted Rob back that they were coming, and found out he was going to meet my dad after all, and would be back soon {thank you, Jesus}.

I made my way to the living room to find something tall to lean on as the contractions were getting tougher and tougher. I used the sofa to support my arms as I squatted deep into the contractions. As they began to be nearly unbearable {and it had only been 30ish minutes total}, I finally let myself believe that this baby was REALLY coming.

Everything was so much more painful than I remembered in my last labor, and I prayed through and after each contraction like a mad woman. I told Jesus how there was no way in the world I could do this without Him and started quoting Psalms 34- and told Him I knew His promises were true and that he would help me through this, and I needed Him for strength.

Each contraction was so intense I could barely stand afterward, and I started to wonder if the baby was going to come before Rob or the midwives made it back. I texted a friend {whom I'd just texted maybe 30 minutes before that I was optimistically hoping the baby would come in the morning} that the baby was coming now and it was hard and fast and please pray for me.

I was shaking and sweating and laying my head down on the back of the sofa in between squat-contractions when Rob came home. I was so happy to see him- at least I wouldn't be completely alone if the midwives weren't here. I told him how these felt like the end of labor contractions and not the beginning ones- that they really, really hurt and they were so fast.

I asked him to bring me the Bible and I flipped through Psalms as he put on our favorite worship CD and rushed to get the bed ready with the shower curtains and plug in the crockpot full of washcloths. 

The contractions were happening only a minute apart or less now, and lasting for 15-20 seconds. It was so intense my legs and hands shook after each one, and I ended up just laying my head on the Bible and praying like crazy- singing the words of the song playing as a prayer- fill me up God, fill me up God, and told Him I needed Him so much, and that I knew He made my body to do this, and I trusted Him to do what He wanted to do, and prayed for less pain.

Rob came to check on me once he was done, and he rubbed my lower back when I was having contractions. I begged him to pray for me, and told him what every woman says I'm sure- that I wasn't sure I ever wanted to do this again. ;) 

I was shaking and getting so tired so quickly, I moved to the bedroom and tried to squat for a few contractions and rest on the pillows in between contractions, but I was so shaky from the pain coming every few seconds- I was trying to think of ways to cope with it in the meantime.

I looked at the clock- it had only been less than one hour since we started this thing- how much did that mean I have left to go? Every contraction became like 15 seconds of deep uttering of Jesus.... Jesus... Jesus.... please help me. When it was over, it was 30-45 seconds of oh Lord, please give me strength for the next one.

I turned my head toward the bathroom door and I remembered hearing the words "the midwife's epidural" in my head. I totally think the Holy Spirit reminded me of it, because the water made all the difference in the world. {is it weird that I love the "coincidence" that the Spirit is the living Water who brings us comfort??}

Rob started filling up the bathtub for me, and I went in and instantly relaxed. The contractions slowed down a bit, and lying back in the hot water made the intense pressure bearable. Instead of squatting and pushing through the pain, I found myself trying to relax into the contraction {a method that never ever worked for me before}, and imagine it working to open everything.

Even after just one contraction in the tub, I couldn't imagine leaving the water. I wasn't there long before the first midwife arrived around 11:20- 11:25, and oh goodness, how glad was I to see her!

She checked the baby's heart rate {perfect}, and quietly asked me a few questions, and a few contractions later around 11:45 {I think- you lose track of time in labor land}, the other midwife arrived, oxygen tank and extra supplies in hand. I remember wondering if she would let me take a whiff to feel better. Surely oxygen was safe, right? But I didn't ask. ;)

The water was such a gift though- I can't imagine how much harder the contractions would have been otherwise. The contractions were still right on top of each other, and I could feel the baby moving down into my pelvis, but I tried not to fight it- just to relax my face and imagine my body opening up, and I sang the words of those worship songs in my head- all to you, I surrender, everything, every part of me

I prayed for a break after the harder ones- and when the easier ones came I could smile through them. I didn't want to talk at all- I had pretty much lost all desire to speak since back at the sofa.

Thankfully, the midwives were PERFECT. They knew exactly how to do this birthing thing- they spoke quietly and softly, and assured me I was doing great, and checked on the baby periodically after contractions. I didn't have to be "checked" thankfully, and there were no bright lights or people coming or going or beeping monitors, or painful IV sticks or blood being taken. 

It was so natural- I was going to have a baby, and they were there to make sure everything was okay, and there was no panicky, rushed feeling EVER. It was everything I was hoping our home birth would be. Once I asked them to pray for an easier one for the next contraction, and one of the midwives, Melina,  waited through a contraction to place her hand on my belly and pray for me. Perfect, I tell you.

Rob was in and out, bringing me water and a fan, and I could tell he was a little nervous. This was such a different situation from the hospital too- he kept asking questions and worrying about preparations and providing refreshments. It was actually really cute, even when I was in labor {most of the time anyway ;)}. He did really good- and he even had the camera ready when the baby was born! :D

The Lord never left me the entire time- it was like His strength was just enough to get through that one contraction, and I couldn't think about how much I had left anymore. It hurt like crazy- it might have been my most painful natural labor even, but I wasn't fearful at all- I knew God made it this way, and I wasn't afraid of the next one coming. When the pain changed again, into my tailbone, right after midnight, I felt the urge to push, and oh my goodness, I was so happy to be close to the end!

A few contraction pushes later, I felt that very distinct fullness, he started to crown, and the other midwife, Diane, softly coached me from the side of the bathtub to relax between contractions and let everything stretch. It felt so good to know I only had a little to go. I was coaching myself mentally too-  breathe him down....he's almost here... you're so close... just let your body stretch, let it open...

When the contractions hit, I pushed with all my might and the head, the rest of the head, then the shoulders came out, and I fully expected the baby to come sliding out like the other four had. No such luck. ;) Keep pushing, she told me, and his body was BIGGER than his head and shoulders! 

I kept pushing until I felt his feet come out, and in one fell swoop the midwife lifted him up on to my chest- and praise the Lord, it was OVER by 12:14, less than 2 hours from when I realized it was happening! :) They brought a towel and quickly dried him off- and he was so perfect and such a manly looking little baby boy! He started crying, and turning red, and I told him I was so glad he was finally here. 

They checked his heartbeat as I held him. I never had to let him go for his first minutes, except to hand him to his daddy.

A few minutes later after the cord cutting, we moved to the bedroom, and had lots of time together before they did his full assessment/weighing. I was eager to see how much he weighed- I knew he was big in the womb, and he looked even bigger when he came out!!

I didn't really think he'd break the double digits- but he did: 10 lbs. 0 ounces!

And at 22.5 inches, he broke all of our baby records by 2.5 inches! He was a crazy big boy even for our extended family. 

The midwives stayed for the next two hours, helping me get up, checking my blood pressure, and checking on and admiring the baby. It was 2 a.m., but I felt great, and couldn't sleep a wink for the next 3 hours. :)

The Lord was so present- so kind to me. It was so painful and quick {I even wanted to back out when it started, ha!}, but it was by far the most amazing birth experience I've had. I loved being able to be at home and to be able to focus on relying on the Lord to get me through, to be able to soak in worship music that sunk deep into my soul, repeating words of praise to God when I couldn't even form a single thought. 

Looking back, I'm so thankful we "randomly" went back to the bookstore the weekend before to pick up that Jesus Culture worship CD. I'm so thankful we had time to take the kids to my dad's house because it started before they went to bed. I'm so thankful the midwives got there at just the right time when I needed them. God is so in the details we don't even think to notice sometimes, you know?

I also think that the Lord urging me to get in the water made me be able to birth a very large child perfectly and quickly without injury, while at the same time relieving the intense pain so much. I still look at Zane and then my belly, now a week later, and wonder how he ever fit inside me. How did I not break something getting him out? It's only by the Lord's mercy.

If anything pregnancy and birthing shows you, it's that God knows what He's doing. It's a miracle that our bodies can grow these amazing mini-humans for 9 months, and then we can be able to push them out- it's almost ridiculous how awesome it is. To believe that could randomly happen by chance is impossible. It's so perfectly, amazingly done that it practically shouts that we have an incredible Creator.

A Creator so good to His children, he gives them the birth that is perfect for them- even if it's 11 days later and faster than they thought. :) 

I know that almost every male scholar out there has a different, general, interpretation of this verse as a parenting promise for women, and they may be right, but I honestly believe that this verse is a specific promise for mamas who have to endure the curse of painful childbirth:
“Yet she will be saved through childbearing--if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.” 1 Timothy 2:15
I believe the Lord gives us strength and saves us through the process of childbirth when we seek Him with faith, knowing He will answer. He brings a peace and a trust in what He is doing that surpasses understanding. It still hurts, but He doesn't allow the spirit of fear to enter, and we can make it through even terrible pain because He gives us strength.

He saved me through another new life being born, bringing me to trust Him even in the worst pain of my life. 

Our God is worthy of all praise, honor, and glory. 

He is so good to us, sweet friends. 

He has been so very good to me. I can't wait to see what He has planned for this little man's life. :)

Psalm 34:1-10
1 I will bless the LORD at all times;

his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

2 My soul makes its boast in the LORD;

let the humble hear and be glad.

3 Oh, magnify the LORD with me,

and let us exalt his name together!

4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me

and delivered me from all my fears.

5 Those who look to him are radiant,

and their faces shall never be ashamed.

6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him

and saved him out of all his troubles.

7 The angel of the LORD encamps

around those who fear him, and delivers them.

8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!

Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

9 Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints,

for those who fear him have no lack!

10 The young lions suffer want and hunger;

but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.

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