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Thanking God for a Healthy Delivery of Baby


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Just a few hours after I posted my previous 24-days-late lament, I went into labor.

On December 2nd I tried all the midwife’s suggestions for naturally inducing labor:

1. Drink red raspberry leaf tea all day
2. Drink 2 teaspoons of castor oil mixed in orange juice (I was nervous to drink it, but I couldn’t taste the oil at all)
3. Cuddle with Andy

The day before, I even ate “the salad” that is supposed to make you go into labor within 48 hours, as well as eggplant parmesan.

Something worked! The baby was finally ready.

After I sent out my blog post, I had a few contractions while I read to the kids at bedtime, and a few more as I washed dishes, but I tried not to get too excited in case it wasn’t really labor.

I had to wake Andy to help me at 11 pm. At that point, I had to lean on a chair to breathe through the contractions. We knew it was the real thing when he started timing the contractions and they were 3-5 minutes apart and 1 minute long–I had only been laboring for an hour but we knew we had to get to the hospital quick!

We left at midnight and arrived at the hospital around 12:30 am. The most exciting part about this timing was that the baby was going to arrive on Andy’s birthday. We kept laughing about it, even as my contractions were getting more and more serious.

Two birthdays on December 3.

So we check in at the hospital and this resident doctor walks in and says he is going to deliver my baby. He looks like a movie star. He and Andy start chatting about how they both think each other look like movie stars, and I have another huge contraction.

I didn’t have time to think about the fact that he was good-looking, and at that point it didn’t matter if Jared Leto’s twin was delivering my baby. The baby was coming.

The staff was hesitant to check me in–I guess a lot of women come in who are not really in labor–until they did an exam and saw the baby’s hair. “You are in labor! About five centimeters dilated.”

When we got to the delivery room, I had to use the restroom. I kept thinking, Oh no! The castor oil! I took too much castor oil! because my stomach hurt, and my contractions were so bad–right on top of each other. I was in the bathroom for 15 minutes, trying to breathe through contraction after contraction. I could hear Andy chatting with another doctor in the delivery room, and I could hear her saying they wanted to give me antibiotics.

Finally, I waddled out of the bathroom and approached the bed. “We have to give you antibiotics,” the female doctor said.

I tried not to let it stress me out. It’s hard to explain how you feel when you are about to pop out a baby. It’s like you have to shut out every distraction because your body is working so hard.

“There’s no time,” was all I could whisper. It wasn’t the castor oil. It was the baby’s head moving down.

I sat down, reclined on my side, and immediately started to grunt and push. Andy knew that sound.

Andy lifted the hospital gown and calmly told the nurse, “There’s a head. She’s crowning.”

I heard a dozen feet scurrying into the room, and saw a bright light pointed at my body. “Just wait, just wait!” I begged, because I could feel someone trying to grab the baby’s head. Five seconds later, I gave one more push and she was out.

A healthy baby girl. Thank the Lord!

6 lbs. 12 oz., 19 3/4 inches

Twenty-four days past her due date, just like her big sister–although her big sister was 8 lbs. 15 oz.

So many people were praying for us. I know without a doubt that God heard your prayers and ours.

I didn’t get a midwife, but I got an excellent resident doctor.

Now that I think about it, he was the first male doctor I had had in 5 pregnancies, and he did an excellent job from beginning to end. In fact, he showed that he was impressed that I’d had 4 previous drug-free child births, and that in itself made me feel like he respected me as a human being. He was OK with letting everything happen naturally. He was very respectful of my birth plan and our wishes for how the labor and delivery would go. It was another great experience with a quick delivery at the hospital. Only one or two things caused unnecessary stress, but I can’t complain!

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I am so thankful for a healthy delivery of baby.

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We named her Pearl Alice Emilia, after my sister and my mom.

Thank you for sharing in my pregnancy journey. If you would like to read more posts from this pregnancy, start here.

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Waiting and Waiting

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In my last post, I wrote with confidence that waiting is good for us, and it makes us appreciate what we have. I said it “makes life rich.”
Since that post I have had another 17 days of waiting past my due date, making this 5th baby as late as my 2nd baby. And I can say this with confidence:
I’m sorry I used that phrase lightly.

Waiting is so hard. It’s the worst.
For any of you who have had to wait and wait for test results; or to meet the right person; or to get pregnant; or for anything you have struggled waiting for: I am so sorry. I’m sorry that you have to answer the same questions over and over. I’m so sorry that people don’t understand you and they are worried about you for all kinds of reasons that hurt your feelings. People say weird things and make weird jokes to tell you indirectly what they really think, and some people just straight out give you dirty looks.
Some people treat me like waiting to have the baby naturally is going to kill my baby.
And I have had to second guess myself over and over and over day after day.
What’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with my body? Is there something wrong with my baby? Is it going to die?
Because I’m past my due date.

I have gone in for the non-stress test, NST, which is when they use ultrasound to track the baby’s heart rate for 20 minutes and measure how much amniotic fluid is around the baby.

The baby is great. Everything checked out normal, healthy, and great.

My mom had the most encouraging comment for me, which surprised me, because I thought she would be worried more than anyone. But instead, she said this:
“We never had due dates! The day the baby was born was the day the baby was due!”
Just 35-40 years ago, women did not have to struggle the way I am struggling, with this looming due date and pressure to force labor to begin.

(I do appreciate how medicine has advanced in the past decades and how many women and babies have been saved! I really do! It is amazing and so important to have medical professionals who are saving lives.)

To be honest, I am scared.

I’m scared something is going to go wrong. I’m scared that there is something wrong with the baby. I’m terrified by how long this pregnancy is going, and I’ve done this before!

I am scared to go through contractions and pushing and getting the baby out. You’d think I would be feeling great about it. After all, I’ve done this four times already. My doula friend told me that these fears might actually be preventing me from going into labor, and I should meditate on why I feel afraid and unprepared. So that is what I am doing today.

You might be wondering, “Why don’t you just induce?” or  “Why are you being stubborn?” Well, I have done it this way four times and I have been extremely happy with how nature takes its course, once things get going. It is very gradual, gentle, and manageable. It is the way I have been trained. To me, to interfere with nature is more dangerous than waiting–as long as the baby is checking out to be fine in the NST. It takes so much faith to do it this way. So much faith in God, the baby, and my body. And maybe I am a little stubborn and idealistic too.

I still think it’s true that when we have to wait for things, we appreciate them more. But that is something we learn in retrospect. In the moment we are waiting, it is the most unfair, difficult, character-revealing time. And it goes on and on, unending, seeming to lead only to disappointment.

So we have faith in God alone. Who else knows and sees all things? Who else has the power over life and death?

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

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Overdue Baby

overdue-baby

My second daughter, the one who was my 24-day overdue baby, gave me this picture frame from Ikea for my birthday. When we came across it the other day, she said, “Mom, we can put a picture of the new baby in this frame.”
“Yes, honey, that will be perfect,” I said. I set it on the table where we put our homeschool supplies, thinking it would only be a few more days until we had a baby photo to put in that white frame.

Here I am again. One week past my due date, which was November 9, waiting for another overdue baby.

I have since placed the pretty white frame by the kitchen sink, where I spend a lot of time thinking and listening to the Bible while I do dishes every day. I stare at that empty frame day after day with great anticipation and longing for the baby to arrive. It is anticipation mixed with fears and worries that I won’t be able to take good care of 5 kids. Mixed with love and hope for our family to be a strong unit that takes care of each other no matter what. Mixed with the burden of unfinished projects and not enough time, resources, or space to complete them. Mixed with excitement for the most wonderful time of the year, Thanksgiving and Christmas, which is quickly approaching.

This kind of waiting is what makes life rich, isn’t it? Like waiting for the day you meet the “right one.” Waiting for him to propose. Waiting for your wedding day. Waiting to consummate the marriage. Waiting to get pregnant. And waiting for the baby to arrive. This kind of anticipation is so good for us. Without any anticipation, we might lose a deeper level of appreciation for these things. We await them in humility, giving God control of the timing of these blessings. We wait with a thankful heart, and the knowledge that God has the power to give or take them away at any moment. (Now that I think about it, this is what my book Goodnight to My Thoughts of You is about.)


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Sometimes, after all the anticipation, it’s not quite how we thought it would be. The “right one” is imperfect. He didn’t propose the way you’d imagined, and the ring wasn’t as big as you thought it would be. Lots of things went wrong on the wedding day, and many things went well too. Consummation was, well, not quite the way it is in the movies, and marriage is nothing like a fairy tale ending because, let’s face it, we are not princesses. Sometimes anticipation can lead us to disappointment and unmet expectations. It is no different with the timing of when we get pregnant, when and how we deliver our babies, and the expectations we have for motherhood and the health and well-being of our children.

I think the secret is to be thankful. We need to have a thankful heart and a great attitude, even when life doesn’t go as we expected. We need to find laughter again, the way we did when we were little and we could cheer up with a little bit of love and attention. We need buoyancy. We have to stay afloat so we don’t drag others to the bottom of the ocean with us, even when we feel like we have every excuse to sink down low.

We have to somehow be okay when we have no control.

The only things we can control are our tongue and our attitude–the two things that reveal what’s in our heart.

It’s so hard when things don’t go our way. When we have to wait, and wait, and wait. The days drag by. We keep going because we trust God who knows all things and loves us with perfect love.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.    Psalm 103:11-13

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