I love being pregnant, but I have also found pregnancy to be a time of testing. In previous pregnancies I was often tempted to worry. I would fret over where the baby would be born. I worried about having a miscarriage, pre-term labour or unnecessary interventions being done during birth.
It didn’t happen all at once, but gradually in this my six pregnancy, I became aware of a beautiful peace. I felt my fears dissolve in the presence of an Almighty, Sovereign God. I couldn’t control the outcome, but it was in God’s hands and I could rest in that.
I wanted to enjoy this pregnancy. Now more than ever I realized that pregnancy is a brief and fleeting season and I wanted to appreciate the miracle of new life. There were the usual discomforts (nausea, hip pain and heartburn to name a few!) but it was a small price to pay considering the joy and privilege of carrying and bringing forth a precious babe.
I felt that I could go into labour quite early this time. I had so many contractions beginning in the sixth month that I prepared myself for the possibility of having a preemie and having a prolonged stay at the hospital. I was thankful for each week that went by. I felt excited as I approached my 37th week. I hoped to make it to my due date, but at least after the 37th week the baby would be considered term and we wouldn’t need to stay in the hospital.
I had an exhaustingly busy week and on the evening of March sixth I felt a tremendous need to get things ready for the birth. I tried to stay calm and only gathered up the important things. I knew what I really needed was rest, so I tried not to overdo things. I felt relief the next morning when I realized that I had not gone into labour. That night I again felt like I needed to have everything ready. I put the diaper bag, camera and purse by the door, and put the baby clothes with the car seat so we could be ready to run, and then went to bed early.
That night I awoke at 11:20, and minutes later my water broke. “The baby is coming!” I told Kevin. Kevin sat straight up. “It’s too early,” he said startled. I reassured him that the baby was term though still three weeks early and would be fine.
We dashed about wildly and got the children out of bed and into the vehicle. We were headed out the driveway only 20 minutes after waking up. By 12:30 I was having regular contractions and I called the midwife and my friend Miriam (who was going to look after the children) and told them that we would be at the hospital in 30 minutes.
I put my seat back and lay on my side cuddled in a blanket. I wanted to enjoy this labour and experience it. I have found my labours almost too short and this time I decided to focus on what was happening in my body. I felt wonderfully peaceful and joyful as we drove through the night. William was so excited that he was roaring in the back and we all laughed together.
As we approached Prince George the contractions got much stronger and I wondered if we would make it to the hospital. “I’m going to grab a coffee at Tim Horton’s,” Kevin informed me. I told him that there wasn’t time!
We arrived at the hospital at 1:00, but by the time we had got the time card from the parking meter and made our way through the maze of halls to labour and delivery (stopping a couple of times when I had a contraction) it was 1:10. Though I did not look like a woman who was about to give birth, I knew that things would happen quickly now that we had arrived at the hospital and I asked if we could fill up the birthing tub.
The water was very soothing. I rocked on my hands and knees during contractions and sat back between them. I felt ecstatic as I looked around the room at my husband and children and tears of joy came to my eyes. I was surrounded with love and we would soon meet our baby!
In minutes I was pushing. Low, deep sighs coursed through my body and moved my baby down. I had been studying midwifery, so it was fascinating to be so aware of what was happening. I told everyone when the baby crowned and I could see the baby’s head before I gave the final push and caught my precious baby in my own hands. “It’s a boy!” I whispered, filled with awe.
Though our little Joel was born three weeks early, he was a healthy 6 pounds 10 ounces and there were no complications. He was born at 1:26 am, only 16 minutes after arriving in the delivery room! I am so very thankful for how it all turned out and we are praising God for our sweet baby Joel.