You were due January 3; our surprise baby number three and the manifestation of God’s goodness. The week before your due date, your daddy, brother and sister were down with the flu, and I stormed heaven begging for you to stay nestled inside just long enough for the family to regain their wellness.
They ever-so-slowly recovered, and your due date came and went with nary an indication that you might arrive soon. Your brother had been induced 12 days post-date, your sister was induced a day early, so I didn’t know what to expect with you. We’d planned a water birth, and I longed to have you naturally, to experience the physical and emotional intensity of childbirth without medical intervention. Yet, I’d been down this road enough to know that labor (and its host of potential unforeseen factors) is a means to an end. And in the end, all I really wanted was a healthy baby swaddled snugly in my arms.
At 3:15 am on January 6, I awoke and realized my water had broken. It wasn’t much, but it was enough that labor needed to follow. Right there I begged the Lord for contractions, pleaded with Him to let labor start on its own. I’d had a similar amniotic leak with your sister, which had necessitated an induction. The thought of another induction for the same reason broke my heart. I lay down, and felt the first contraction at 3:41. Praying, I waited. Five minutes later, another tightening grip wrapped around my back and into my abdomen. Your sister woke coughing; I soothed her, then woke your daddy.
I wanted to labor at home as long as possible, so I drew a bath and sank into the water. It soothed and ever-so-slightly lessened the intensity of the contractions. By this time your daddy was wide awake, packing the remainder of my bag and alerting the neighbor to come watch your brother and sister.
By 4:45, just an hour after they’d started, the contractions were 4 minutes apart, lasting for a minute and were increasing with intensity. I called the midwife, and she told me to head to the hospital. Your daddy escorted me out of the tub, and in a few minutes we were in the car. The contractions were coming on strong, and I was shivering with chills.
With the hazard lights on, we sped through the inky, quiet blackness of early morning. At the hospital, I crawled out of the truck and sank into a wheelchair.
By 5:15 am, just minutes after arriving, we were in our room, the midwife was en route, and I was dilated to a 7. Forsaking my resolve to have you naturally, I cried out for an epidural. The nurse (that saint of a woman) smiled gently and told me they had to complete my lab work first.
“Let’s get you into the bath for now,” she urged. Looking back, I’m certain she knew that you would be greeting us long before I would ever have the chance to receive any pain relief. And once I’d slipped into that tub, nothing could have pulled me from it.
I sank into the water, and with your daddy and the nurse at each side, I gripped their hands and gasped through the excruciating pain of progressive labor. At 6:01 am, just 35 minutes later, you were born.
The midwife (who rushed in not a minute before you greeted us) laid your 8 pound, 13-ounce body on my tummy. You had a full head of dark hair, and you looked just like your siblings. They clamped the cord and began to rub you dry, but your skin was tinged blue, your breathing labored. My heart sank … Your sister had spent a few hours in NICU due to extra fluid in the lungs, and now it seemed that you too might have the same complication.
Shortly after delivery, they gently informed us that they would like to observe you in NICU. I watched them wheel your tiny body out, and my heart leapt out of my chest and followed along behind you. I will never know HOW the heart has the ability for such instantaneous, exponential growth, but I know that the miracle occurs with every child.
They wheeled us into our postpartum room, and within 40 minutes you were back where you belonged … bundled tightly and nestled in the crook of my arm. In all, your labor and delivery was a record total two hours and 25 minutes, a stark contrast to the 27 hours I spent laboring with your brother. You came in a frenzied hurry once you were ready to greet us, and I had the incredible opportunity of bringing you forth while immersed in water without any medical intervention.
That was a year ago today. You’re now taking timid first steps and you have squeals of laughter that echo through our home. Your first year has brought us immeasurable joy, and our family is rich and full with you in our midst. As we celebrate your first birthday, my heart overflows. Happy birthday, darling girl! We love you!
If you are interested in a water birth or have specific questions pertaining to it, please comment below, and I’ll do my best to answer your questions!