Today was baby D’s due date so it seems only appropriate to post his birth story today. As I’ve reflected on it over the last week, I’m struck by how good God is. So many things came together just perfectly and his hand is so evident in all the details.
His birth story actually starts a week before his birthday. At my 38 week OB appointment I learned that he had become breech just a week after having a “everything looks good, he’s head down” confirmation the week before. So, I got a c-section primer from the doctor and was sent home. I reached out to a number of friends and family members and asked for prayer that he would flip back and we waited. Though I wasn’t scared or anxious about a c-section, I really wanted to avoid the recovery that would be required particularly because I wanted life to be back to normal for little J quickly.
I was serving in Sunday school childcare at church a few days later and I started to have contractions. They continued through the service hour with regularity and I was pretty sure upon leaving church that he had flipped but I followed the OB’s instructions that if I was start to feel signs of labor I needed to get to the hospital because of the c-section possibility. So, we went home, had lunch, called a babysitter, put little J down from a nap and went to the hospital. Once there, the OB did confirm that he had flipped so once again – we waited. After a few hours, nothing was changing so they sent me home – no baby.
The contractions continued on-and-off for the remainder of the night and the next day as my parents made their way back to Illinois from California where they had been visiting my brother. A number of people were on standby for me for childcare and as I think back through Monday and Tuesday knowing that I had a so many people checking in and so many that I could count on is a huge blessing. My parents arrived in Williamsburg late Tuesday night and we spent Wednesday doing normal things.
Thursday morning – induction morning – I woke up around 5:20am. I took a shower, ate breakfast, got little J up and Alex and I left the house a few minutes after 6:00 armed with reading materials and promising little J we’d see him in the afternoon once baby was born.
When we got to the hospital, we expected the induction would start pretty quickly and we’d have a baby by mid-afternoon. Instead, when we arrived there were three other women in further stages of labor than I was and so we had to wait until those babies delivered to start our delivery. Which made the experience sooooo different from delivering little J. In hindsight, I wish I would have brought more to read and eaten a bigger breakfast.
When they did start the Pitocin at about 1:30pm, my contractions had resumed on their own so they started slow. At 5:00pm, the doctor decided to break my water but things were still progressing slowly. We walked the halls and waited, Alex went to go get dinner. At 7:00pm when the afternoon nurse clocked out, I was only at 4.5cm dilated and I remember feeling frustrated that it wasn’t going faster. At this point we realized we weren’t going to be able to see little J again that day.
And then when the night nurse came in to introduce herself, I realized why we had had to wait so long that morning and why things had been going so slowly that afternoon. Because the nurse who had been assigned to carry me as her patient through my inevitable delivery was the very same one who so lovingly eased me through little J’s delivery almost three years ago. I’m getting weepy even now as I reflect on how well the Lord cared for this desire of my heart in this delivery. He knew that I wanted her again. I had vocalized it many times during my pregnancy and the fact that it happened was an almost indescribably amazing blessing.
I labored for a few more hours assisted by Alex, playoff hockey, some of the greatest hits of the 70’s, and some squats and then around 9:15 the nurse came into check on me and we were getting close. She asked if I wanted her to stay, I said yes. At 9:40, the doctor (once again the same one that delivered little J) came in and sat in the room. They both encouraged me. They enjoyed our 70’s music as I worked through my final contractions.
I told them I need to push around 9:55 and they got ready. Alex put on “Beautiful Life” by Tripp Lee and I remember looking at him and shedding a few tears. I screamed through my first attempt at pushing and remember hearing the doctor said “don’t scream…just push on your next one”. I know she helped ease him out some but when I was ready to push again, she encouraged me to look at her and I saw baby D entered the world 10:05pm. As soon as the babe was handed off to the pediatric nurse, the doctor and my nurse high-fived each other…as if to say, “we did it right this time”…tear free and with gloves on.
How thankful I am that we got to wait for 10:05pm so that I could have another birthing experience with these two very special women.
The rest of the night is a little bit of blur to me but after baby D was sponged off, I was able to hold him for an hour and feed him. We didn’t take any pictures of him on his actual birthday but Alex and I got special time with him. My mom popped in around 11:30 to bring Alex a few things to spend the night and meet baby D. Alex went to IHOP to get me dinner, I ate, and went to bed. Little J and my parents arrived around 9:00am the next morning. He was more interested in the hospital than the baby but it did my heart good to see him.
Just as it’s done my heart good to reflect on the whole experience through this narrative. Baby D’s birth will be another metaphorical stone of remembrance forever reminding me that God loves me and delights in giving his children good gifts like the same beloved birthing team. As I ease further into my role as mother of two, it’s my prayer that His love for me will motivate my love for my children.