July 5, 2013 in Uncategorized
At only 33 weeks and 2 days, on 6/29/13 at 8:42am we welcomed our little Josiah Paul into the world. He was 4 lbs 13.6oz and 18.5 inches long. What an unexpected gift we received last weekend! Here is his birth story (FYI, it is detailed and graphic, so you may not want to read if you don’t want to know that nitty-gritty).
We had planned a home birth with a midwife. No hospital. No doctors. No epidural. No drugs. No unnecessary medical interventions. We wanted to be as natural as possible, as we believe God intended birth to be. We pictured delivering at home, probably in a birthing pool, me in my comfort zone with just my husband, mother, sister-in-law & midwives …but God had other plans.
It all started last Friday while I was at work. I used the restroom around 9:30am and when I wiped, I found mucus/bright red bloody discharge. I immediately called my midwife, but since I had no other symptoms she said that it could just be an irritated capillary and that we would just wait and watch. As the day went by, I continued to have this discharge until it went to more of a brown color and tapered off late that afternoon. By this time I was also having some Braxton Hicks contractions, but this was not abnormal because I had been having those off and on for a couple of weeks. A co-worked mentioned that I was starting to walk like I was pregnant & I thought that was interesting. I had started to have some lower pelvic pressure & when I looked in the mirror, I thought I might have dropped a little. After I got off work, I went home and put my feet up, drank a bunch of water, and the contractions continued sporadically. By 8:00pm, I went to the bathroom and lost what I now believe was the rest of my mucus plug. We continued about our normal nightly activities & went to bed around 10:00pm.
At 1:45am I woke up with more intense contractions. I went to the bathroom & the bright red blood/mucus discharge was back, but this time it was a lot more blood than mucus. At this point I decided there was a really good chance that I was in PTL (preterm labor). I decided to lay down and time the contractions for 30 minutes before I called my midwife. In the next 30 minutes I had 8 contractions that were 3-7 minutes apart, lasting 30-45 seconds each. I called my midwife and gave her the update & she said that it was time for me to go to the hospital and that she would meet me there. I was so upset, but tried to remain calm so as not to progress the labor any further. I woke up my husband and we made our way to the hospital. I called my mom & sister-in-law (who is an OB nurse at a clinic affiliated with the hospital we were going to) because we had planned for them to be at the birth & they both headed towards the hospital. Walking into the hospital, I told Paul that I was trying to trust God, but that I didn’t want to be at the hospital. This wasn’t my plan! I started praying for the Lord to make His will my own will & to calm my heart.
Once we arrived at the hospital around 3:00am, I went to triage, did the standard paperwork and initial requirements & then the nurse checked me. I was 3cm dilated and 90% effaced, baby stationed -1 & definitely contracting. Uh-oh. Thankfully, baby’s heart rate was staying strong in the 150′s. I shared my minimalistic intervention birth plan with the nurse & she put the information in the computer so that everyone would know the plan. They moved me into a delivery room so that I could lay down and they could start giving me some Magnesium to try to stop the contractions. I was also given Ampicillin since we didn’t know my GBS status. I had not intended to use antibiotics if I was GBS positive, but under the circumstances I decided that it was probably best for my preterm baby & that we could work on replenishing our gut flora with probiotics later. I was given a steroid injection to help baby’s lungs develop the surfactant (soapy lung coating) he would need to decrease the respiratory issues that come with being too early. From there, we just tried to wait patiently to see if the contractions would stop. The Lord gave me peace and trust in Him. At this time, the contractions were hard enough that I was having to breath deeply through them. I pictured myself as a surfer, riding the waves. As I would feel one starting up, I would take a deep breath and breath out through the contraction, riding on top of the wave until it diminished. The contractions continued to grow stronger and closer together. By 6:15am, I looked at my OB nurse sister-in-law and said, “Ok, I really need to know. Are we still trying to stop labor, or are we having a baby? Because if we’re having a baby, I need to stop telling my body to stop laboring & just let it do what it needs to do to get this baby here safely.” She looked at me and said, “Yeah… we’re having a baby.” I then prayed, “Lord, Your timing is always perfect. If it’s your will, please keep this baby safe & healthy and allow us a smooth delivery without complications. Thank you for Your Sovereignty & thank You that You are God and I am not. Help me to continue to trust You. Amen.” The doctor was there, they checked me and I was dilated to 4cm, almost 100% effaced, and +2 station.
Shift change happened & the two nurses that took over for the day shift were both people we knew! The main nurse was one of my mom’s friends from Bible Study & the other nurse was one of my friend’s that graduated nursing school with me. Some would say this was a coincidence, but I know that it was the Lord providing these excellent nurses for us. I then started to prepare my heart and my mind for what my body was about to do. I relaxed by meditating on Scripture, praying, and singing hymns in my head. I changed positions to be more comfortable (babies aren’t meant to come out with mom flat on her back). Like a perfectly choreographed dance, with each contraction I could feel my body & my baby working together. My uterus would contract from top to bottom, like an inch worm, slowly pushing the baby down into the birth canal. Between contractions I could feel him push his feet against the top of my uterus, his head moving lower down into position. What an amazing experience to witness God’s design for welcoming His creation! It wasn’t too much longer before I moved into transition. At this point, I was helped over onto my hands and knees, we elevated the head of the bed and I leaned over the top. My mom held my left hand & coached me through breathing as my husband held my right hand and put pressure on my lower back to help open the pelvic area. I was really feeling pelvic pressure at this time and the contractions were strong and hard. I asked my mom to sing songs about Jesus to me & she sweetly obliged. I kept my eyes locked on my mom’s eyes as she sang and continued to encourage me through the laboring. They checked me again and I was dilated 7cm, 100% effaced, and baby still +2 station. They also said that the baby was head facing front (supposed to be facing back), and so I needed to reposition to try to get him to turn. We repositioned me on my side with one knee up, but couldn’t get him to turn. The baby continued to descend until finally I looked at mom and said, “I am feeling intense pressure like I need to have a bowel movement.”
I was then helped up onto bar (arms over the top), but that was a very uncomfortable position & I kept feeling like my feet were slipping out from under me, so the doctor requested for someone to get the birthing stool. I was helped down onto the stool (what a relief!), where I then sat for just a minute longer before I felt my baby press down with such intense pressure that I completely lost my breath for a moment. I heard someone say that the water bag just broke and I felt the infamous “ring of fire” (and yes, at that moment I heard Johnny Cash’s voice singing in my head, haha). I instinctively knew it was time to push and realized all of a sudden that it was going to take every ounce of energy I had to get this baby out. Reassuringly, the doctor told me that it was ok to go ahead and push.
I pushed 3 times. He crowned with the first push. The second push brought out his head and his body down to his behind, but the second push lasted for an entire 2 minutes before my body allowed me to stop contracting and bearing down. All I could think was, “I am not going to keep doing this. This baby is coming OUT!” and then I pushed for a third time and he was born. He was immediately placed into my arms & I just held him, savoring every bit of the moment. We peeked between his knees & his daddy announced that he was a boy and told everyone his name. They clamped & cut the cord almost immediately (the one thing I wasn’t happy about, but apparently it is hospital policy if baby is less than 34 weeks), and took him to assess him. We heard him cry… and cry… and cry! Oh, what joy!! His APGARs were 7 & 9. They brought him back to me all bundled up and let me hold him a minute before taking him to the NICU. His daddy was right by my side the whole time.
I am so thankful to God for his protection of both myself & my sweet baby boy. Our hospital birth experience could not have gone better or been more like a home birth. Even my midwife said that the doctor acted more like a midwife in his care than your average OB/GYN. She also said it was the most beautiful hospital birth that she had ever witnessed. I am also thankful that I was able to have him naturally, without any epidural or pain medication. Although it was not comfortable, I greatly enjoyed being able to feel that my body was in control and birthing him in its own timing. Labor pain for me was definitely not nearly as bad as all of the stories people had told me. I also feel that allowing my body to work in its own time (God’s time) helped to avoid the risk of C-section and also helped to prevent tearing. I did have a small non-vaginal tear up by the labia, but apparently than was because he was facing head up. My recovery has also gone exceptionally better than I expected. I never had pain other than after birth contractions for a couple of days that just felt like heavy menstrual cramps. I have had sore muscles as if I had been in a car wreck, but not much else. I had the perfect support team that I needed. God was my ultimate Rock, the Sovereign & Almighty One who gave me the strength & peace that I needed. My husband was my physical strength, keeping me calm and feeling safe, loved, and protected. My Mom was my focal point, my coach & my encourager, reassuring me that all was well. My sister-in-law & my midwife made me feel well cared for and safe in the hospital setting. I knew that they would not let the medical team do anything without consent. I feel so incredibly blessed to have had these people there for me.
I can hardly believe that this all happened a week ago tomorrow! Time is just FLYING by!!! I have to say that I LOVE being a mommy. I feel complete, like I am fulfilling my purpose in life. I have never felt so incredibly happy and content. What a blessing from God!
My sweet little Si is doing very well. He is actually already on the step down unit and we are just working on learning to feed and allowing him to learn to maintain his temperature. They have no concerns about his health. We are so blessed!
Things may not have gone as we planned, but nothing is a surprise to God. Thank You, Lord, that You are God and we are not.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.”