My Almost 20-Hour Marathon
I don’t know about you, but I have never been a marathon runner because I do not like the discipline, energy, endurance, and pain a marathon requires. But beginning Sunday night, June 1, and ending Monday, June 2, I “ran” and completed or endured and succeeded my first one and an almost 20-hour one at that.
You see, on that Sunday night, now almost a whole month ago, at 7:00 p.m. my pregnancy labor officially began with contractions starting every five minutes for a complete hour. As the night progressed, the contractions grew worse so that by midnight or so, I was having intense ones in my lower back and lower abdominal area every three to four minutes.
There to help me through these intervals of the uterine muscle tightening and relaxing–and thereby trying to push my baby out into the world–was my friend and Bright Lights co-leader Katie who arrived around 10:30 p.m. It was such a big blessing to have another woman I knew there with me, especially one who had just gone through a natural childbirth the year before and could relate to what I was going through.
Katie was so gracious too to stay with me until Kristen, my midwife’s assistant arrived to our home around 2:00 a.m. Shortly after Katie left then, my midwife Jeannie arrived and sent me and Micah to bed to get rested up. Believe me though, the contractions soon had me jumping out of bed and up for the rest of the night. There was no way I could stay still, but every movement, even going to the bathroom, became a labor of pain.
Praise the Lord that Kristen was there to so lovingly and patiently encourage and help me through the contractions the rest of the night. I don’t know what I would have done without her! Seeing how we had a home birth, no drugs were available, but that was okay because I was determined to go all natural all the way through until delivery.
A Surprising Sign & Alarming Situation
Well, around mid-morning, I started feeling this urge to “poop,” and when I told Jeannie this, she surprised me by saying that is what she was waiting to hear. Unknownst to me, that desire is a sign of delivery soon approaching, but who would’ve ever guessed that a precious baby’s birth would be associated with waste elimination?! :)
So Jeannie checked my cervix’s dilation and found it to have opened to about nine centimeters. However, it needed to be at 10 centimeters, and my amniotic sac or “water” also had not yet ruptured which indicates as well your baby is about to be born. The sac was so tight that around 10:00 a.m. or so, Jeannie went ahead and broke it, and then she proceeded to go out and get something from her car.
She soon returned to my bedroom horrified though because her car, parked in our driveway, had been broken into overnight, and her purse, including a large amount of cash, was stolen. Understandably, she immediately called the police, but having never had a child before and not knowing what to expect next, I was kind of freaking out inwardly because I thought I could be delivering anytime soon without a midwife on hand possibly.
I really felt that this was just another spiritual attack of our enemy Satan because the whole preceding weekend seemed to dish out to me unexpected conflict situations in regards to my labor as well. They were emotionally difficult for me to deal with most of all, but by God’s grace, I made it through them. This was just another time to trust that God was ultimately in control and working for my good as He did in each of the other situations.
Endurance Is Key
So while Jeannie was distracted and discouraged by a broken car window and stolen goods, I became very distracted and discouraged with an unexpected new level of pain and labor.
You see, after my water was broken, my cervix dilation went back down to seven centimeters because the tight sac made it dilate more than it actually was. Thereby, I had to start exercises–such as squats and rolling my hips in a circular motion while being draped over a yoga ball–to bring the baby’s head down more and more to open up the cervix more so that I could officially “poop” the baby out. And because my water was broken, my contractions became even more painful than they were before.
Now the exercises in and of themselves were not the worst of it though but the increasing urge to “poop,” and not being able do so, was. By this stage, I thought for the first time that I was going to end up in a hospital and have to undergo a C-section which I did not want at all.
I kept asking the midwives if I could quit these tormenting exercises though, but they would not let me. I don’t know how long all of this went on for, but finally, Jeannie said she would check my dilation once again. I was back to nine or nine and a half centimeters, so she finally gave me permission to try pushing.
Well, come to find out, I did not have what it took to push the baby out. I could not believe it, but praise the Lord, Jeannie thought to try pulling up a lip in the cervix. This made a big difference because after doing so I tried pushing again, and much to my relief, she said I had the power needed to push now.
So for the next 30 to 45 minutes (I really have no idea of how long but that is how long it seemed to me), I started pushing with all that I had. I was nearing the finish line and just wanted our baby out no matter the pain. The pushing was nothing though in comparison to the contractions.
Micah, in the meantime, was cooling my face with wet washcloths as I was sweating like no other time in my life probably. Suddenly, at 2:45 p.m., as a thunderstorm was going on outside, our new baby boy Evan Robert suddenly popped out head and all. I was amazed that his whole body came out so quickly but thankful it was all over so soon. And surprisingly, no blood and guts went flowing all over. It really was a rather clean experience overall.
Upon Evan’s arrival though, a new dilemma arose. Seeing how Evan didn’t cry upon coming out, Jeannie began frantically patting him all over and taking a nasal aspirator to his nose and mouth to suck out all of the “gunk.” While she was crying out, “Oh, God! Oh, Jesus!,” Kristen, who had closely monitored Evan’s heartbeat after every period of pushing, was exclaiming that the baby’s heartbeat had been just fine.
You would think that by this time I would be freaking out, but honestly, I wasn’t. I had a peace that I can’t explain because normally I am an easily-fearful person. God is truly so gracious and meets us in our time of need by giving us His gracious strength which is “in quietness and trust” (Isa. 30:15) or waiting upon Him and His goodness and tender care.
As the verses that often comforted me before my labor and delivery state: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” (Isa. 41:10). And “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phil. 4:13).
A Double but Troubling Surprise
Well, another big surprise to top off the whole birth experience was to learn that our little Evan had a twin! Kristen, as she was taking out the placenta and all, found a wee four-week-old baby who had died along with a dead part to the placenta. It would be so interesting to know what caused this little one to die, but we shall never know this side of heaven.
What makes this all so very interesting too is that both of Micah’s brothers have twins, and Micah’s cousin has twins as well. Is that not all so crazy?! And to think that I literally have three children now, although two sadly never lived to see the light of day here on this earth.
My After-Birth Thoughts
Now someone asked me if I’d do a home, natural birth all over again, and my answer was and still is–absolutely YES! First of all, I LOVED having a home birth with a midwife, and I cannot imagine giving birth anywhere else but home now. It was just so much more comfortable because . . .
- I did not have to worry about going anywhere in the middle of the night.
- I did not have to worry about forgetting anything I needed at home.
- I did not have to worry about what doctor I would end up getting at the hospital as there is usually more than one who work together nowadays and usually one that you really do not care for.
- I did not have to worry about going through difficult contractions and groaning in an unfamiliar environment with unfamiliar people.
- I did not have to worry about doctors trying to rush me or nurses trying to give me drugs.
- I did not have to worry about how long the hospital would want to keep me and about a mounting hospital bill.
- I could sleep in my own bed that night with my baby in the same room.
- I could have visitors right away the same day the baby was born.
As far as going all natural, labor and delivery really was not as bad as I might have imagined or as people even described it so I did not even feel a great need for intervening or numbing drugs. Yes, it was hard and painful, but for me at least, it was not “horrible” as one woman described it or a time of screaming or hating my husband as others described it. Those all sound like torture, such as having a body part cut off, but it did not even come close to that.
So in spite of the car being broken into, the extra work to bring the baby down, the baby scare, and the lost baby, it was all in all a positive experience and such a blessing.
I just praise the Lord that I and Evan made it through safe and sound and that women like Jeannie and Kristen dare to be different today. How’s that? Just by their courage to do what they believe God has called them to do and that is simplistic midwifery at its best and home births of all things.
My Hymn of Praise
Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible,
The only wise God, the only wise God,
Be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. Amen.
Be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen
“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Tim. 1:17)