Jan 23, 2013

Answered Prayer: Anne's Birth Story

Before experiencing childbirth, I didn't know it was possible to experience the opposing emotions of absolute dread and heartfelt desire simultaneously.   In the weeks leading up to Anne's birth, I literally lost sleep as I worried  about how I would manage another labor and birth.  I would likewise daydream wistfully  about the sweet little one that wiggled and hiccuped within my womb, wondering whom her tiny features would resemble and which of her parent's personality quirks she would exhibit. Both of my previous birth experiences had been long, hard, and Grace's birth had been just plain awful.  Ben and I began to pray early in this pregnancy for a faster labor. As we approached my due date, we asked everybody--our church, family, friends, the postman and the lady at the cash register--to pray for a quick delivery and a healthy baby. A verse that I memorized and clung to both before and during labor was Isaiah 41:13, For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.  I am still amazed at how our good God answered those prayers and confirmed the truth of His Word.

My due date was December 10, which came and went as uneventfully as if no one was sitting on pins and needles waiting for a baby's arrival.  My sweet mother arrived that evening to be my personal slave to help out once baby arrived.   Ben really wanted the baby to have a birth date of 12-12-12, but I just wanted her to come NOW. On Wednesday, the 12th, I awoke, contractionless and disconsolate.  With the other two girls, my labor had started about three in the morning and progressed from there, so I figured if this baby was coming that day, I'd already have known it.  I spent some time with the Lord that morning, and I told Him that if this baby was born today and the labor went quickly, it would be so obvious that He had answered prayer and His fingerprints were all over this event.  Honestly, my faith was pretty weak at that point.

I had an appointment with the midwife at 8:30 that morning, so at 7:45 a.m., my mom, the girls and I were all out the door.  Since I was now past my due date, I had to have a non-stress test done.  While I sat, strapped down and monitored, my midwife stopped in and offered me some hot tea, apologizing that she couldn't offer me a pitocin cocktail.  We laughed together, but she did offer to do a thorough exam and hopefully jumpstart some contractions.  After the exam, she said that I was 3 cm dilated, but that she had probably pushed me to 4 cm. She sent me on my way, jokingly adding that she was on call that weekend.  As we walked out into the parking lot a few minutes later, I felt a contraction and then another.  They were about three minutes apart, so I told my mom that maybe we'll have a baby today.

Since we were close to a Jo-Ann's, I asked my mom if she would mind if we stopped in so I could feed my crochet addiction with more yarn.  However, the contractions continued, and my mom asked me if I was sure that I wanted to go.  "Of course!" I replied.  I planned to labor at home as long as possible anyways, so I figured if this were the real deal, we could go somewhere and get my mind off the contractions.  As we walked in the store about 10:00, I told my mom I had to go to the bathroom, but I'd meet her in the yarn department.  I began to feel very no-nonsense like, so as soon as I finished in the bathroom, I bee-lined for the yarn, picked it out, and headed for the check-out line, but not before I felt the need to go to the bathroom again.  At this point, I needed to stop and concentrate to get through the contractions.  My mom started getting a little nervous, so we checked out directly and headed home.  About this time, I decided that we were past the point of no return and labor was definitely progressing.

As we drove the half-hour ride to our home, I called Ben to come home from work.  I began to make the mandatory calls to those who needed to know that labor had started, but by then (around 10:30), I was deep breathing through the contractions, so the phone calls were abbreviated.  We arrived home, and my mom ran in to get the girls' overnight bag to take to our pastor's house.  She left me at home and ran the girls to the Royalty's house, where they were staying.  In the meanwhile, Ben got home and quickly transitioned into his "awesome labor coach" role.  About the only thing I remember saying to Ben at that time was, "If this baby arrives today on 12-12-12, then I get Anne with an E!" We both liked the name Anne, but Ben preferred it without an "e".   I figured I'd better get my dibs in right away.

Sharing the news and savoring the moment
I sat on the exercise ball for a while, but I quickly opted for the bathtub.  The warm water felt awesome, but the small size of the tub made labor a little awkward.  I lost sense of the time, but Ben started getting concerned and called the midwife.  The contractions were about 1-1/2 minutes apart by this time and lasting about a minute.  My mom was getting really antsy (mother knows best), but I was convinced we had hours left.  I asked my mom to make a strong brew of red raspberry leaf tea about that time.  Very shortly thereafter, I felt like I just could not go on.  The labor had become so intense, close and painful, that I decided I was just going to have to go the hospital and have an epidural.  I was sure that I was probably only 5 or 6 cm, and I couldn't figure out why I couldn't handle the labor better.  As we ran out the door, I remember looking at the clock and seeing 12:30.  I told Ben that my mom was driving, because I needed him to help me get through the contractions. We ran to the van, where I kneeled on the floor and immediately started yelling for Ben to push on my back as another contraction hit. I'm sure we must have made a comical picture had anyone been watching.

My mom had never driven the 25-minute route to the hospital before, so Ben was trying to tell her how to get there from the back of the van as well as help me get through these monstrous contractions.  It wasn't a good combination. I was kneeling on the floor of the van with my head buried in the back seat, moaning not-so-quietly through each contraction. I wasn't being very nice by this time.  I remember snapping at Ben, "Quit sitting down!"  I wanted him to kneel behind me, so that he was ready to push when my next contraction came.  I also started pushing a leetle bit, because it felt so much better.  But I wasn't about to tell my mom or Ben that, as I had a feeling they might not be too excited to hear that.  Neither of them had studied up on home delivery as far as I knew.

We arrived at the hospital, where a wheelchair magically appeared.  They wheeled me over to the admittance desk and started the preliminary questions.  As I began to moan...ok, yell, they asked what number baby this was.  I yelled, "Three!"  and they quickly had a nurse come to wheel me to the labor floor, leaving Ben to finish answering questions.  I just wanted Ben, and the nurse insisted he would be with us soon.  I remember her repeatedly telling me to sit back or I would fall off the chair.  I didn't listen or care.  We got to the room and she immediately checked my dilation.  I was 8 cm, almost 9.  I was shocked to hear I was that far along.  I still wanted an epidural though, thinking I still had a while before this baby arrived. Everybody else thought differently, and the room began to buzz with activity.

All dressed up to go home
One of the midwives in the practice, Susan Dornan, arrived and said she was there just in case baby arrived before my midwife got there from the office.  Two or three nurses showed up with all kinds of gear.  Colleen, my midwife, showed up a minute or two later, checked me again and said, "Do you feel like pushing?"  "Yes," was my loud, anguished response.  The nurse was still setting up to get the epidural, but my midwife told her she was wasting her time. She said, "She's not getting an epidural, she's gettin' a baby."

Honestly, pushing has always been an awkward phase of labor for me.  I mean, who ever thought telling a hugely pregnant woman in outrageous pain with a monitor or two strapped to her stomach to "roll up in a ball, grab your legs behind the knees and push!"  obviously has never been in that position before.  It is impossibly uncomfortable and never feels right to me.  I pushed a few times, but I was a little half-hearted because I was just not with it. I was overwhelmed with the contractions and the speed with which everything was happening.  My mom, Ben, and the nurses were all telling me, "C'mon, you're doing it, push harder, keep going..."  After three or so pushes, Colleen said, "All right, if you don't push this baby out with the next contraction, we're going to have to insert the IV and do something different."  At that point, I suddenly realized that the baby must be right there, and avoiding an IV was incentive enough for me.  With the next contraction, I pushed with every ounce of my body.  I remember Colleen telling me, "Little pushes, April, little push, little push." And then she was born.  Her cord was wrapped around her neck, so they unwrapped it, and the rest of her body came out easily after that.

An alien?  Nope, just a blue little baby.  She pinked up a little while later.
They asked me if I wanted to hold her, so they placed her on my chest, totally untouched and fresh from the womb. It was that birth moment that I had always hoped to experience, but as yet had not.  Amazing.  As our eyes met, I was overcome with the beauty of this new life and birth.  A miracle of God-sized proportions that I could hold in my arms.

The only snafu was that I had a retained placenta.  The midwife tried to remove it twice, but eventually they gave me a strong dose of morphine and a doctor came in and delivered it.  After things settled down, I could not get over how quickly and smoothly this labor was.  From first contraction to birth, the whole thing was no more than 4-1/2 hours.  Only about 2 hours were intense labor.  That was a huge answer to prayer and confirmation of the truth of God's faithfulness.

Deborah Anne was born on December 12, 2012 (12-12-12!) at 2:07 p.m.  We are calling her Anne.  She weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces and was 19 inches long.

12 lovely comments:

Nathan and Kel said... Best Blogger Tips

I loved this story! You have such a knack for telling things in an interesting way. :-) Praise the Lord for His goodness and blessings!

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

Great story and love (like I said on facebook) Anne with an "E"! Praise God for His goodness!

cindy said... Best Blogger Tips

So happy you finally got your much hoped for delivery! Your story is so...so similar to Turo's birth. Lasting just about the same time and coming on so quickly(and pushing while being at home still,without no one knowing:))So happy for ya'll! Thanks for sharing such a beautiful story about this marvelous miracle.

Penny said... Best Blogger Tips

Wonderful! Praise the Lord for all His mercy!

Unknown said... Best Blogger Tips

April, beautiful story, beautiful baby, beautiful niece.

Jennifer B said... Best Blogger Tips

April, I am STILL so thrilled whenever I think of how the Lord answered our prayers with Anne's birth!!! I loved reading all the details of how it happened, and esp. laughed at the pushing in the car but not telling your mom or Ben. I'm always teasing Josh about delivering one of ours, and I'm guessing Ben's reaction would have been about the same as Josh's would be... AAAAHHHHH!!!!!! ;-) So excited for you all!!!

Debbie said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you so much for not telling me about pushing! And Praise the Lord we didn't run into a traffic jam!

Debbie Barth said... Best Blogger Tips

April, I just read your birth story and was laughing and nearly crying both! I'm so thankful and delighted at how the Lord answered our prayers for your labor and delivery! Thank you for posting the pictures...I enjoyed them all so much! Anne is so beautiful! Thank you for writing out the story of how it all happened. It was a joy to read! :-)
I love you, Debbie

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

What a blessing...from kristy

Rebecca said... Best Blogger Tips

Such a beautiful story, April, of answered prayer.

Thanks for sharing.

I honestly haven't watched much of that TLC show "Baby Story." However, the few times I've seen it, I get teared up right when the baby is born. Same thing when reading your story....birth is such a miraculous thing -- so God-given!

Alisa said... Best Blogger Tips

Oh, April, I am so happy for you!! I laughed and cried through the whole story. It reminds me so much of Titus' birth (my midwife's name was Colleen too). :) So thankful God worked out all the little details and blessed you with another beautiful, healthy little girl.

I'm a little partial to Anne with an "e" since it's my middle name. :)

April said... Best Blogger Tips

Congrats and she (along with the other 2), is a very pretty little girl!! You are blessed!