At about 9:30pm on Thursday evening I received the text I’d been anticipating for over a week. Mrs. S had a history of early deliveries and although her due date was two weeks away we were right in her typical zone of labor. I had just spent 4 days away in Utah with my family, holding my breath that the backup doula would be available at her call and even better she would still be pregnant when I returned. God answered our prayers and she was still pregnant when I returned to Phoenix on Sunday. She then managed to continue to be pregnant until Thursday evening.
Each night I knew the Lord was teaching her patience, trust, SURRENDER. We’d shared conversations about the Lords timing and how we can’t try to control the outcome when it comes to babies. We have to let go, trust His plan and His will. We’d discussed how if I missed it, then the Lord knew that and the backup doula was meant to be all along. There was nothing outside of God’s plans nor anything He would miss or mistake when it came to the time for her baby to arrive.
Fortunately, He had planned for me to be there. And, not just be there, but again orchestrated everything so my children were where they needed to be, taken care of and being loved on, and I could focus on my time with her as she brought her babe into the world. In addition, she managed to go into labor before my husband had to leave town the following week which would have made things exceptionally more difficult. God is so gracious and so faithful. I had prayed each night for the perfect time and He delivered yet again.
I left my house at 10:30pm and arrived to her home at 11:00pm. She was in labor, but I wasn’t full convinced it was active. She was managing really well. Exceptionally well. I spent the next hour or so attempting to silently gauge the best course of action for her. Should she rest and try and sleep or try to stimulate a more consistent labor pattern. Her mother and I walked with her down the street as we chatted and just spent some time together. The contractions seemed to pick up and soon they grew in intensity which was visible.
The hospital was about 30 minutes away so at about 3:30am we headed towards St. Joes. She reported several good contractions in the car on the way. Once she arrived and made it into Triage, they assessed she was approximately 6cm dilated and were preparing a room for her. As a compromise to testing positive for Group B Strep, she accepted an IV and 1 dose of the abx with no intention of taking the second dose. As we moved into the room it was painfully clear her contractions had slowed down and lost some intensity.
We spent some time trying different positions, never stressing about the slow down but attempting to encourage the return of contractions. After the ball, the bed, walking, standing, sitting, pacing…we agreed she should turn down the lights, get comfy and rest if she could. Her mom and husband left the room, I made myself small, and she closed her eyes for a few minutes. Within about 20 minutes she began to have some contractions again. They weren’t anything too difficult for her. She has the most wonderful pain tolerance. It is quite impressive. Some deep, concentrated breaths and she was enduring each contraction with lovely composure.
Not too long after that it was obvious labor was back and she was making progress. In the past, her water had broken at the onset of labor. In this case that would have been troublesome due to the positive GBS (even though she’d been treating the GBS naturally and was confident it had been put to rest.) At this time her water was still intact and the pressure was noticeable but not unbearable.
At 7am there was a shift change and the new nurse and the new midwife entered the room. This midwife was much more willing to discuss the breaking of water, which had come up a few hours prior but been decided against at that time. She hadn’t been checked in many hours so she agreed a quick check to assess to progress would help to confirm whether the breaking of water was a good idea. She was 9cm. It was pretty incredible. She was completely controlled and managing wonderfully yet 9cm and so ready to finish.
The midwife agreed breaking water would be fine and probably end everything in a short amount of time. As soon as her water was broken the contractions gained in intensity and she in obvious “transition” compared to before. But, still so controlled. Within the hour she was complete and making pushing sounds with each contraction, though not fully pushing. She was simply following her body and letting it do all the work. She did several pushed while hugging the bed on her knees before turning and getting comfortable in the most traditional hospital bed position. I handed her mother some scripture cards from www.surrenderbirth.com and through some happy tears she read them to her daughter during those final moments prior to babies birth.
The midwife suggested she lay back further to help baby get under the pelvic bone. Mommy obliged and did only a few pushes in this position before it became obvious baby was coming. In a matter of two more pushes baby was crowing and the head was delivered. Where there had been tearing in the past there was none and her ability to control her pain made it possible for her to push baby out in a seamless and natural way. At 8:45am baby entered the world and took his first breath. Eyes wide open, alert and responding to mommies voice. Baby Soren had come at the perfect time with the most wonderful birth.
He was precious and perfect in every way and God’s timing again was perfect.
I was so blessed to be there to witness his birth and to be able to guide his mama when she needed it. She was so strong. To God be the Glory!
I was able to snag just a few pictures of her birth. Enough to convey the beauty and strength of this woman.
In November a precious, beautiful girl entered the world early in the morning in the presence of her brothers and sister and her brave parents.
It began the night before. I received a call from Andrea that a contraction pattern had set in and things were moving along. A few hours more we checked in and things seemed to be progressing perfectly, slow and steady.
At about midnight I headed their way as labor had picked up some intensity and she felt she needed some additional support. As I entered the house I could tell she was heavy under the presence of labor and concentrating through each contraction, yet not overcome by them.
As the hours ticked by she moved from the couch to hanging from a rebozo around her husbands neck. He was a fortress of encouragement, support, and love for her. They were playing the soundtrack from War Horse giving Mrs. H a strength and power as the instrumental music spoke to her spirit.
We prayed… we invited God to come and be present in this place…to lay a cover of protection over them as they pursued the homebirth they so desired and had taken measures that can only be attributed to faith to make happen. As we prayed the presence of the spirit became evident and I could tell she took rest in inviting him into the sacred space of birth.
The night progressed there was no doubt progress was being made. A few times I noticed the purple line near her bottom was increasing which gave hints that baby was coming down and dilation was occurring. This was simply an observation on my part, with permission, not a medical attempt to gauge progress. In this case, the purple line seemed to indicate progress in her stages of labor and we were pleased.
She moved from the shower to the living room again on all fours. She began feeling some intense pressure in her back seeking refuge in changing positions attempting to divert the distraction. As transition began to rise she drew inward. She used tones, humming, and speaking in french to call out to the Lord with each new wave. She surrendered her body and soul to the process of laboring and it was inspiring to witness.
Slow and steady her inward focus brought the sweet baby down and as she was on all fours her water spontaneously ruptured. She did some light pushes in this position, trusting her body and following her instinct. She never wavered. It wasn’t long before the urge to push became strong and the head began to crown. She was steadfast…
She turned and leaned back on her bottom to try and relieve some pressure from her back. This was unsuccessful. As the head began to fully emerge and was delivered she rolled back over onto her hands and knees carefully, while protecting her baby, and as she was brought to her hands and knees she delivered the rest of her perfect baby girl.
Baby E was born early in the morning. Just an hour prior to delivery her 3 siblings had woken from a full nights sleep, and were there to welcome her into the world.
She was held to the breast within minutes and cozied with mommy. Lord, thank you for this precious life, this arrow to be released into the world by parent who know and love you.
Welcome to the world Baby E.
Sometimes when there is a storm brewing and you can feel it rolling in; changes in the sky, the smell of the Earth, even the sounds tell you something is on the horizon. There can be trepidation, concern, and even questions as to what the storm will bring…but we all know that with the storm comes something beautiful.
We know the storm brings the richness of water for the Earth. The cleaning of the sky. The refreshment of all living things. In the end, a rainbow…a gift.
I would say the birth of baby L was similar to a storm like this. Her parents were being so patient. They could see the storm brewing on the horizon…they knew soon the storm they were anticipating would be a reality. Sometimes, the waiting becomes unbearable. Mothers talk themselves into actions that force things to happen, often too early.
They were being steadfast…waiting for baby L to come on her own time. Finally the time for waiting had been exhausted and it was time, at 41 weeks 5 days to get things rolling.
As they checked in to the hospital early on Saturday morning I was thinking of them. Confident things would go well, after all they were very educated and confident in their decisions. They had decided to start with a bulb induction. A much more natural way to get things started than say Pitocin or breaking water.
As the day rolled on I was receiving reports of the two of them just hanging out, watching tv and spending their last few moments together before baby arrived.
Around 9pm she called to say the bulb had fallen out and she was 5cm. Such awesome progress for the inconsistent contractions she had been reporting. It was very encouraging for all of us. She had said the Dr. was going to come back in an hour and see how she was feeling and if there was any change. She was going to go take a shower and get refreshed.
Less than an hour or so later her husband called and said I should come on down to help with any decisions that needed to be made. At that time I packed up my stuff and headed to Good Sam.
When I arrived she was on the birthing ball, pressing on the roof of her mouth and her husband was resting. We did some Clary Sage massaging of her hands and started some oils going in the air. Once the Dr. came back in he was fine with her continuing to be patient and ride it out waiting for active labor to pick up. This was a blessing as most of the time there would be a sense of urgency. But, this Dr. was willing to let things happen on their own.
After some changing of positions, walking, and massaging of the ankle and feet pressure points, we all agreed a little push of Pitocin would be a good idea. The hope was it would kick start things just enough to gather a regular pattern of labor. Throughout the night daddy, mommy and I all got some rest as her labor patterns had slowly picked up but not enough to make her too uncomfortable. But, now as the morning approached, they started a small drip of Pitocin to try and initiate her own body’s labor receptors.
She got in the shower again in hopes of the contractions picking up. They were so flexible about her movement and change of location, even being attached. This seemed to pick things up some and as they upped her Pitocin to 4 she was showing signs of increased labor…she was no longer able to talk through them but needed more concentration each time.
The morning also brought in her Dr. Dr. Kennard arrived to check in with her and see how things were going. At this time we all agreed it would be good consider breaking her water since her pattern had increased, to allow the Pitocin to be turned off and her body to take over on its own. I was impressed with the Dr. making the suggestion to encourage her own body to make headway with labor rather than synthetic labor with no end in sight. That was extremely wonderful and rare.
Before they could get in to break her water she was in full on active labor. Moving between the bed and the toilet she was making quick progress. Each contraction brought total concentration on her part. She would surrender to the contractions, with daddy right by her side each moment telling her how strong she was. She was toning and humming to help release the tension during the swells of the storm.
When the storm really hit she went into the zone. She was fully engulfed in it. Allowing her husband to help her, hold her, support her, listening to our voices, relaxing her bottom half. She didn’t waste a single swell.
When they came in to break her water she was 8cm and fully effaced. She’d done amazing work. We expected things to really pick up now that her water was broken and they soon turned off the Pitocin. She was free to go back to the shower and sit on the toilet to finalize her transition.
She did just that. Fully surrendered she went from 8-10 in less than 1 hour and began feeling the urge to push. We saw this in the bathroom during a contraction. Her sounds had changed and her focus shifted. She was beginning to feel urges.
She slowly made it back to the bed where she gripped the birthing bar and managed to hoist herself up with all her might for several contractions, pushing baby down into the birth canal. Her husband was supporting her by sitting behind her on the bed helping her up to the bar each time she felt the need. She was completely following her body’s direction and desire.
I could tell she was getting tired with the bar. She took the suggestion to try hands and knees for some rest on her legs. She made incredible progress on hands and knees and before we knew it the little dark hair of their little girl was peeking through with her pushes.
As she brought the baby down and the baby’s head came in and out, Dr. Kennard asked her to turn over for delivery. She obliged.
She was doing the most incredible pushing. Full body, fully committed pushing was being done and that baby was coming down the birth canal perfectly. Not too fast, to allow for proper stretching, and not too slow as to discourage her.
It wasn’t too many pushes that we could see baby was coming in the next few pushes. They brought over a mirror and Dr. Kennard helped support her stretching as the baby moved in and out a few more times. Momma would rest well in between during her long rests and ramp up as the contractions piggy backed.
Two more pushes and baby’s head was pressing into the ring of fire, making its way out for the last time. Dr. Kennard asked her to slow down just a bit to allow for stretching without tearing. She listened perfectly and then pushed when asked and baby L’s head made its way out with her shoulders and body immediately following.
Dr. Kennard placed her directly onto momma’s chest and they laid eyes on each other for the first time. They breathed each other in, heard each other’s voices, and out came the rainbow after the storm.
She did perfectly. They were patient, steadfast, and resilient in the storm which ended perfectly with a precious baby girl, healthy and strong in her mamma’s arms. Momma held her to the breast and began to allow baby to latch if she desired.
They were all immediately in love and it was a beautiful thing to witness.
7lbs 12oz 20 ¾ inches
Born at 41 week 6 days
Happy Birthday Baby L.
Photos taken this day with camera phone and edited with Photoshop Actions.