Birth images captured by Elle Boone Photography
Five days past my due date, and though I had been in prodromal labor for a good 48 hours… call it intuition, somehow I knew… We had just gotten home and I figured I’d get a nap in before the big event. A couple hours later, the clock struck ten, the contractions picked up and I presented bloody show.
My contractions were strong, consistent and two minutes apart. I was pretty sure things would go quickly and called my midwife right away. Excitement swept through the house and we began preparing to welcome our miraculous rainbow baby.
We invited a few gals for the occasion, and while on the phone with a friend, she told me about a dream that she had and wanted to pray over. She meant no harm, but the details of the dream brought to surface the fear I harbored that something was wrong with our baby. After multiple miscarriages, and more than during any other pregnancy, I prayed desperately that this child would be healthy. Her dream shook me up, as well as my birth team. One of my regular midwives wasn’t able to attend so two others who I had not previously known took her place. When baby wasn’t fully anterior, and when the heart rate presented strongest higher up on my stomach… despite previous confidence… there was worry that baby might be breech.
As fear flooded my mind… my labor stalled out (our bodies are amazing). My contractions slowed way down… so much so that the midwives almost went home.
Up to this point, Dad had been in and out. The fear that was paralyzing me kept me from connecting with him. I couldn’t look him in the eyes… I didn’t want to admit how much angst and worry were consuming me. The excitement of labor was diminishing and anxiety filled the atmosphere.
One of my girlfriends took the lead and decided to head home. I found myself in the room with only my husband and midwife; who happens to double as my very close and trusted friend. She laid out for us the medical perspective and shared with me her personal thoughts and encouragement. Because one of the other midwives was quite concerned about a breech baby, I reluctantly agreed to a pelvic exam, as well as palpation. Neither gave a definitive answer and I was only at three or four centimeters. Somewhere in the night I spent about thirty minutes on my side and twenty doing pelvic tilts hoping to coax baby into the perfect position (the first half of the evening is somewhat of a blur and I don’t remember the exact progression of things). All the while my contractions all but stopped entierly. Eventually… the midwives suggested that I drink a glass of wine and take a hot shower. If I could relax, we’d know if things were going to pick up or if it just wasn’t the time.
I went into the bathroom around 2:15 AM. It was just me, a glass of pinot noir, hot water sprinkling over my belly, and my husband… who I finally admitted my fears to. I searched his eyes for comfort and assurance and he responded with a confident smile. He wasted no time to pray over me and to remind me that I’ve done this before, “you were made for this,” he encouraged, “This fear is not yours and is not from the Lord.” His words and his prayers flooded my heart with a deep calmness and his unwavering trust in the Lord reminded me that even if my fears were true, God is good and he is in control. The Lord does not desire for me to be troubled, afraid or discouraged. Even if my fears were true, he is the one who knit together this child and as with each of my children, I know that this baby is a blessing and I can rest in the promise of the Lord’s plans for a future and a hope.
Suddenly, the contractions picked up with a fierce intensity. I made my way from the shower to to the side of my bed and began piling pillows; thinking I’d create the perfect situation for big sister to catch the baby. The Lord had other plans though… I didn’t make it up on the bed. The midwives came in after hearing the change in my tone as I moaned in exhale through the profound and unrelenting contractions. I’m not even sure who brought big sister back into the room, but she made it just in time. I remember telling Dad that I felt like I was going to throw up and then I remember the midwives tossing those blue chuck pads underneath me as I stood there at the side of the bed. And then… With my midwife and Daddy and big sister all standing closely by, my water broke with a hefty splash and I immediately reached down and felt the crowning of my baby’s head… and that’s when time stood still… “It’s time” I thought, and with a deep breath and a sizable outcry I birthed my 8 lb. 10 oz. baby with one push at 2:49 AM. When I looked down at the dark hair I had a moment of deja vu and remembered a dream that I had had right before finding out that I was pregnant… In my dream I gave birth, while standing up (which I’ve never done before) to a dark haired healthy baby girl… and I knew… Big sister wasn’t able to catch (luckily, my midwife was quick on her toes), but she observed the whole thing and was happy to look and announce that number eight was another precious little girl.
Unfortunately, our photographer had gone home too and didn’t make it back in time for the birth, but she definitely captured some of my favorite moments, which came after baby’s delivery. There was a point (as I was being led to get up and go to the bathroom precisely) that I looked back and saw my husband holding our infant child. That was the moment I realized that had I not experienced the fear, and had most everyone not left and gone home, I wouldn’t have needed or turned to my husband the way that I did; He pointed me to the Lord, encouraged me, and we connected in a way that I don’t think we had at any previous birth. In fact, I think he has, and was, struggling to find his role in the whole process. I’m kind of a do-it-myselfer (and totally had one in a suburban with virtually no assistance), but this time, we’ll both vastly treasure the dependency I had on him and the beautiful moments and invaluable support and reassurance he gave me to get through our daughters birth.
As I wrapped up the afterbirth stuff, Daddy took his time to wake up each of our children and introduce them one by one to their new sister. The four year old took a bit of time to observe mamma and the new baby… and then, once she engaged she stayed close by our side (and still hasn’t strayed too far away). When baby and I nestled into our herbal bath most of the kiddos tucked back into bed… except for a sweet four year old who before I knew it was naked and climbing into the tub with us. I’m sure that one day the memory will be embarrassing for her, but I absolutely cherish the innocence, sweetness and uninhibited determination to be involved.
Watching them all integrate a new sister into our family has been priceless. Teenage boys affectionately admiring a two week old bundle of sweetness absolutely melts my heart. And little girlies loving a new sister to hold and kiss and help with and caress in awe and wonder is completely precious.
The Lord has been good to us. Eight babies and eight very unique births. In each of our children’s birth stories He has revealed to us more of his character and more of his glory. As we continue to embark on our journey overseas I’m actually thankful to have been faced with fear… and led to overcome it. No doubt we will be confronted with fear while living in South Asia. I’m grateful for the practice in remembering God’s promises and trusting in his goodness and for the confidence in being equipped to overcome fear and doubt. And I am incredibly grateful for the chance to work through a challenge with my hubby; no pastors, no mentors, no friends, just him and I… and I have a feeling that we are going to need to know that we can.
After three boys, and then blessing us with our first daughter; and teaching me through her birth about His forgiveness and his delight in giving me good gifts, he has lavished us with four more daughters. Holding her in his arms, dad expressed to the Lord, “what does this mean, that you have given us five girls?” We don’t know his plans, but what a beautiful opportunity we have as a family to show others His love through our relationships. We are excited for the opportunity that we have to display the Gospel through the ways we love and value our daughters in a nation where women are not esteemed.
… And in a moment, in one day, a new life is birthed. Not according to my plans, but a beautiful story written by a good Father whose ways are higher and whose plans are to prosper us. We could lament over the imperfections, and maybe we do for a time, but we have chosen to see his glory through our deficiencies, and to praise him for his beautiful and miraculous gift. And as life goes on and the birth day fades to a distant memory, we look for the ways that we can bring light to the gospel through this little family that He has named.