My good friend Rebecca is so encouraging when it comes to giving birth. I love hearing her birth stories. (I'm kind of a birth-story/adoption-story junkie) Recently, she sent this story of how her 7th child Zoya Praise came into the world on an email update. I asked her if I could share it on my blog to bless you ladies. Enjoy!
It all started the night of the Alabama vs Tennessee game, 11 days after my due date. In preparation for the game I was making game day chili and busying myself with other cooking as is my custom when I am waiting for a baby to arrive. At my Friday appointment when they were pressing me to set an induction date for the next week, I confidently predicted that I would deliver on Sunday. My only reason to base this on was the general lateness of my previous three babies. Eleven days late seemed to be my number. So while we were gearing up for the big game I decided it was time to put a plan into action.
It’s always hard for me to make the plans for the other children for when the time comes, yet, I’ve always trusted that just as God knows the moment each of us will enter the world He also has a plan for the ones that are already here. I truly believe he laid it on my heart to prepare for Sunday. I made a call to a servant woman at our church asking her to be “on call” to arrive in the morning should I find myself at the hospital. I would have all the kids clothes laid out for church. My dad would be there during the night and she would arrive to help them get ready and out the door to church and then to be sure they had a place to go afterwards. I assured her I had no strong reason to think that it would happen but I wanted to be prepared just in case.
With those plans made and chili consumed I actually followed the game while I threw football passes to my active son. We all went to bed happy that Alabama won strong. Now it’s my usual custom to have a restless sleep the night before it’s baby time. I usually wake up early in the morning knowing “today is the day” based on how my night went. I awoke around 1 am with the familiar contractions which I spent an hour feeling and wondering about. Finally at 2 am I decided to get up and shower. I was swaying through contractions while I blew dry my hair and then slipped back in bed beside my oblivious husband. I thought I would get a little more rest before I woke him up, but five minutes in bed told me that there was no time for that.
I shook Dan and told him we were going to have a baby today. He thought he could buy himself a little more sleep by sending me off to the shower but was surprised to find that I was fully ready to go. A call to my parents got them to our house at 3:30am. Dad stayed behind to be with the children and mom, Dan and myself headed to the hospital.
I was thankful to have my mom walk me down the long sidewalk to the hospital door and then up to the third floor while my husband parked the car. Clearly, it’s not often that a woman in active labor shows up. As I walked out of the elevator onto the labor and delivery floor the front desk directed me to registration. As I reached the desk I stopped to have a contraction and no joke, the woman asked me, “so why are you here?” I think I’m going to have a baby. Because I had called ahead to say that I was coming I expected the hospital to know that this was my 7th baby, all natural births, 3 home births. I know now I should have walked in saying, “number 7, number 7!”
After registering, they took me to triage. I looked at the little room and asked if I could go straight to a delivery room. Procedures are procedures and no matter what, I had to go to triage. When I realized procedure meant they were going to check me I informed the nurse that if she checked me I would quickly have the baby. When she checked me I was 5 cm. I don’t think she believed me. I told her my water broke. She said she didn’t break my water. Nevertheless, it’s broken and that means baby will be here soon. She's still not believing me so much.
With triage done it’s time to go to the room. They wanted to get me a wheel chair but all I could think of was having a strong contraction while stuck in an uncomfortable position in the chair. No thanks. I’d rather walk so I can stop and rock. I might have been a little too far along for that, but I made it to the room that was much further away than I expected.
I was informed that my midwife was tied up in another, difficult birth. So in comes a doctor I’ve never met before. She was kind of pacing like she wasn’t sure what to do. Then I asked if she wanted my records. “Yes!” That is exactly what she needed. Up until that point no one had asked for them and I had been a little preoccupied and Dan and just made it upstairs with the suitcase. So finally they know that this is number seven. I mention that I feel like I’m getting ready to push. Doctor checks me again and I’m at 8 cm. I tell her it will be very soon. Still, she leaves the room to go check on other women in labor.
I must add in right here that during my appointment on Friday it suddenly became very clear to me how I wanted this birth to be. My last two births have been amazing home births, delivering into the water with a skilled and wonderful midwife from Vienna at my side. Knowing that this time I would be back in the hospital I had some apprehensions. I knew, for the most part, that they would let me do my thing and I have successfully delivered naturally in the hospital 3 previous times; however, each time there has been some needless intervention like breaking my water or something slight like that. From my last two experiences, I knew that, for me, this was unnecessary. I began to have a vision of a hospital birth that was completely untouched by intervention.
So here we are in a dimly lit room with the soothing music of Stanton Lanier playing and one nurse who doesn’t seem to be aware of what is going on. I took off the baby monitor, giving her even less to pay attention to on the computer screen. I was at the edge of the bed using the squat bar and my contractions changed to pushing contractions. As I was pushing I kept looking over my shoulder to see if anyone noticed what was happening. But still we were alone in the room and the nurse didn’t seem to realize the difference. I’m pretty sure I said I was pushing, but it wasn’t until Dan said “she’s crowning” that the nurse ran to the hall and called for a cart “right away!”. The doctor came quickly but by the time she entered the room, the baby’s shoulders were out, Dan had checked for the cord and then the rest of her followed. The doctor at first didn’t know if she should rush forward or put on gloves. Instead, she folded her arms and watched my husband expertly deliver his 7th child.
God gave us everything we wanted from this birth experience. Not only did we get a non-intervention hospital birth as I had envisioned, He gave us an unassisted birth in a quiet, dim lit room! He gave us a healthy, beautiful baby. And He showed how much he cared for us by preparing us in advance to have everything lined up for the other children. And one other neat detail was the nurse he gave me in the recovery room. She is probably the only nurse who has ever had a home birth. She was so excited to talk to me and we had fun talking through out the day.
I love having the honor of participating with God in the creation process of his beautiful children. The birth experience is a powerful thing and it is this experience that grows me as a mother and a child of God. We are so thankful for our 7th blessing from God: Miss Zoya Praise! Her name, Zoya, means “life”. We pray that she will grow to praise Him with her life! We praise Him for her life!