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I’m a birth nut. I love everything about birth, and it’s not because I don’t know any better. I caught my first baby in my own hands, I delivered my second baby in a hotel room after a one hour labour, I birthed twins by Caesarean,  had a VBAC, and had a water birth with my last baby. I caught him too. When I shared my birth stories at a doula course, the instructor jokingly said that maybe I should be teaching the course.

Sometimes I find myself daydreaming  about triplets. After all, I’ve never had triplets before. What’s really funny is a friend’s mom—who hadn’t even met me—dreamt that I had triplets on her bed! People who don’t even know me know that I’m a birth nut.

And watch out—this birth addiction spreads. This same friend, who used to think that I was crazy and laughed at me when I talked about how beautiful birth is, just organized a meeting to discuss birth and shared about natural pain relief. Yep, she’s a birth nut now too.

There was a time (not too long ago) when I wanted 20 children. Seriously. There is nothing on this earth that I find as miraculous and world shaking as the birth of a child. I get the “birth high” so intensely, with all those endorphins coursing through my body, that I can barely sleep for three days after a birth.

My husband—because he loves me—agreed to having 6 children, but he’s really not up to 20. I decided to be thankful for the abundance I have and stop asking for babies. So what does a birth nut do when she stops having children? Becomes a doula of course!

A doula is a woman who supports a mother before, during, and after childbirth. Now that’s a job I can be passionate about! I had the awesome privilege of attending a friend’s labour as a doula almost two years ago. That beautiful experience will stay with me forever.

I’m so excited to be pursuing my doula certification once again! Anyone feel like getting pregnant so you can have me as a doula? 😉

 

 

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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.

 

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Into My Hands

Pregnancy, birth and mothering have had a profound impact on my life, affecting every facet of who I am. These are my stories of pregnancy and birth…

I remember the day, the moment, that I found out I was pregnant for the first time. I was only 19, but I had been longing for a child for 2 years. I was overwhelmed with both excitement and fear. Would I be a good mother?

Those first movements that I felt shook my world. Every morning I would lay in bed focused on my womb and the tiny child growing within. I smiled, I laughed, I cried as I felt the strange feather like stroking from within.

Both my Mother and my Grandmother had given birth to their first babies VERY fast. (My Grandma delivered my Mom all by herself as my Grandpa was trying to get help!) I didn’t fear birth, I looked forward to it. I read every book that I could find on birth and longed for the moment to arrive.

We started going to a midwife in Courtenay, B.C. It took half a day to get there with the 2 ferries and hour long drive, but we loved the care we received. My husband Kevin was at every appointment.

Three weeks before my due date, we towed a little trailer that we had borrowed and left to await the birth of our little one. As the ferry pulled away from the dock I had a very strange feeling, a real mix of emotions. I knew that when I returned I would be very changed, I would be a mother. There was a sense of almost sadness at what I was leaving behind and fear of what was to come.

That time of waiting was hard. It was difficult to be away from home with nothing to do but wait. I’m afraid that we rushed things a bit. We went for very long walks to pass the time. During one of those walks, I felt strong contractions that went away when I stopped walking. I decided to walk through them instead of resting. The contractions came very strong and back to back. I kept this up for a while, but when I stopped, so did the contractions.

That night I awoke to my water breaking. I went back to bed to wait for the contractions to start. It didn’t take long. I phoned the midwife and she told me to rest and call her back when the contractions were 5 min apart. I called her 20 min later to say that they were and we were off to the hospital.

We soon arrived and I remember being so excited and talking really loudly as we walked down the hall. Everyone was trying to shush me as it was the middle of the night!

I took one look at the delivery bed and said that I wasn’t going up there. I felt that I wanted to be near the floor to deliver, so we placed a bunch of pillows on the floor and covered them with a sheet. I also told the midwife that I wanted to deliver the baby myself.

I soon went into transition and wanted to be away from people. Kevin and I went into the large bathroom that adjoined the birthing room. I began to feel frightened at the intensity of the contractions. They started washing over me and I felt that I couldn’t rise above them to breathe. I was up on my toes, clinging to Kevin’s neck. I remember our midwife coming in then. She rested her hand gently on me and told me that I was fighting the contractions. “Relax, put your feet down flat, don’t fight.” What a difference that made. Within minutes I was ready to push.

I was high on excitement. It was like a party in there. Between contractions I was laughing with joy. Then the moment came… Joanne said, “It’s time. Catch your baby.” I felt like she was talking to me through a tunnel. I reached down… and my baby was born into my hands. What ecstasy! I placed my little one on my belly and was completely speechless with joy and wonder. A mother… I’m a mother!

“Is it a girl or boy?” I finally asked.
“You look.”
“A girl!” I cried and tears swept from me. I sobbed with joy!

It was at that moment that my Mom came in. They had got in their little boat and came across the strait in the middle of the night. And there we were, on a pile of pillows in the middle of the floor.

We named our baby Myra Ellen. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. She was so amazingly beautiful.
We gazed into each others eyes and I never wanted to look away.

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When We Were One

We had a friend come and stay with us when Myra was 13 months old. He brought his 2 year old daughter along and Myra made a friend. It was so precious to see the little girls play together. I was suddenly filled with a longing to have another baby, a sibling for Myra.

Very soon… I was expecting again! This time we were able to have a midwife in Campbelle River. This saved us an hour drive each visit. We loved our midwife from the start. She was shorter than I am (and I’m 5’3”), had 7 children and was a real character. Every visit was like getting together with an old friend.

At one point I was measuring very big and we began to suspect twins. I had an ultra-sound and was a little disappointed to find out that there was only one baby in there!

I found myself worrying more in this pregnancy. My last labour had been fast and it was likely that this one would be even faster. Also, Myra had come 2 weeks early. So during the last month we felt that I could go into labour at any moment,and that we wouldn’t have much time to get to Campbelle River.

I had visions of having my baby in an ambulance on the way to the hospital, or on the coast guard boat. God reminded me that Jesus had been born in a stable and that had been God’s perfect will. I could trust God and find rest from my fears.

We decided that we didn’t want to deliver in the hospital, but we couldn’t have a home birth as we lived on a tiny island, 2 ferries away from the nearest hospital or midwife. We started looking for a place to stay and deliver our baby. This turned out to be very, very hard. There were several cabins available in the area, but nobody wanted a baby delivered in one of their rental cabins.

Worry crept in again as there seemed to be nowhere for us to go. I felt like God was saying to me again, “Trust Me.”

When we had almost completely run out of time to find a place to stay, God provided. We found a lovely little motel on the ocean. It was only minutes from our midwife and it was affordable too. A sweet Chinese couple were running the motel. I told them that we would be staying for 1- 3 weeks, until we had our baby. I told them that we would like to have our midwife there to deliver our baby. “Yes, yes!” they said with big smiles.

I didn’t think that they understood me, so I said it again in several different ways. “Yes, yes! Yes, yes!” was their only response. I still don’t think they understood me, but what could I do?

We had a wonderful stay there. We walked along the ocean every day. Myra threw rocks into the water and watched the birds soar above us.

The day before my due date we had to make some decisions. We had been there for 2 weeks and we had to decide whether to rent the suite for another week or not. We could save a lot of money by renting weekly, but if were only going to be there for another couple of days then we didn’t want to pay for a whole week.

We decided to try and bring on labour again and if I went into labour that night then we would just pay for 2 days, otherwise, we would pay for another week. Our funds were getting dangerously low and Kevin was thinking of trying to get some work doing window-washing, or any other odd jobs he could find while we were there.

There was a long set of stairs near the motel, so I marched up and down the stairs for about 20 min. This brought on VERY strong contractions like it had in my first pregnancy, and like before, they went away after I stopped walking.

That evening we put Myra to bed and I started to fill the bath. Suddenly, the lights went off. Within minutes one of the owners of the motel knocked on our door and gave us candles and matches. The power was off in the area, but it would be back on in an hour or so.

I have beautiful memories of that evening. I relaxed in the bath with the warm light from the candles filling the room while Kevin played guitar in the living room. I wanted to enjoy that time. I felt that these would be the last few hours of my pregnancy. I was very much looking forward to seeing our baby, but I was also sad at the thought of this pregnancy coming to an end; that precious time while we were one.

In the night I awoke to contractions. I quietly got out of bed. I had a longing to write a letter to my baby before the birth. I got out some paper and a pen and poured out my love to my little one that I would see so soon.

The contractions were coming faster and harder, so I woke up Kevin and phoned our midwife. She kept me on the phone for a couple of minutes and asked if me if I had had any contractions while we were talking. I told her that I had and she told me that if I was able to talk normally through the contractions that I wasn’t very far along. She arrived about 15 min later and we began setting up everything for the birth.

I had a stronger contraction and leaned against the wall. “That’s the first contraction that I’ve noticed,”
our midwife commented. I was in the washroom for the next contraction. I felt that powerful need to push. Maureen was talking with Kevin. “Sorry to interrupt,” I said, “but I have to push.”

Maureen was very shocked. She checked my cervix and sure enough I was fully dilated. “Just lie on your side and don’t laugh, sneeze, cough or push.” In B.C. midwives are required to have a medical assistant at a home birth in case both the mother and baby needed medical assistance. She phoned the other midwife that she works with. “Be here in 10 min or less or I’m calling the ambulance! Don’t even brush your hair!” she told the other midwife. And she did arrive in 10 minutes! In one push, our second daughter Melanie was born!

My mother and my sister were in the living room with Myra. At 23 months she didn’t fully understand what was happening. When she heard Melanie’s first cry, her eyes grew round like saucers. Where did the baby come from?!

Mom brought Myra in to meet her sister. It was truly amazing how God worked everything out so beautifully!

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Apparently, I have an addiction to babies. When Melanie was one I started longing for another baby, actually two. I was praying for twins! No, twins don’t run in the family. I had about a 1 in 85 chance of conceiving twins, but that didn’t stop me from praying. Soon I was expecting again.

Only a few days after we found out that I was pregnant, a woman stood up in church and announced that she was expecting twins. I felt very disappointed. I was the one that wanted twins and surely there couldn’t be two women expecting twins in our small congregation.

We had moved and for the first time it looked like we would be able to have a home birth. I was very much looking forward to this birth. We wouldn’t need to leave home like with the other births and I had learned that I could trust God and that He would work all things out.

I was measuring big again this pregnancy and our midwife brought up the possibility of twins. I told her that this had happened in the previous pregnancy. I asked her if she thought there might be twins, but she felt that I didn’t seem as wide as would be expected for twins and I put the idea out of my head.

One night, when I was about 20 weeks along, I had my hands on my belly feeling the rolling and kicking within. Suddenly, I was startled with the realization that I could feel two heads. Twins! I was so excited that I had a hard time falling back to sleep.

By morning I was doubting my experience in the night. I scheduled an ultra-sound and waited. Two weeks later I was laying on the ultra-sound table. I waited. Minutes passed and she didn’t say anything. I figured there must only be one baby. “We thought there might be twins,” I finally said. “Well, you were right to think so!” she announced. “There’s definitely two babies.” I wept tears of joy through the rest of the examination and felt like I was floating on clouds during the drive home.

I was soon to learn though, that a “high-risk” pregnancy would be very different then my previous pregnancies and our midwife would not be allowed to attend a homebirth. Also, we would need to see an obstetrician.

At about 30 weeks we had our first appointment with the obstetrician. He told us that he would perform a c-section at 38 weeks as one of the twins was in breech position. We left feeling very anxious. Our midwife informed us that there was another obstetrician that would be more favourable to delivering a breech birth naturally. Unfortunately, I went into labour before that appointment arrived.

I began having braxton hicks contractions very frequently. These were often quite strong, and we were concerned about the possibility of pre-term labour. One of the biggest risks with a twin pregnancy is delivering too early. If I went into labour before 32 weeks, I would need to be flown to Vancouver. It was easy to worry.

I also worried that I wouldn’t have the time to do everything that would need to be done after the twins were born. I started filling up my freezer with dinners. I regret this. I should have been resting, not cooking up a storm!

One day, I decided to make pizzas for the freezer, not 1 or 2, but 6 or 8. It took me all day. I had to cook the meat, chop all the toppings, grate the cheese, knead the dough, make the pizza sauce. The worst was rolling out the dough. The braxton-hicks contractions came back to back and very strong. I would lay down for 15 min and try to roll out the dough for 5. I was deeply regretting ever starting this project and I just wanted it to be over!

I fell into bed that night exhausted, but after sleeping for only 30 min, my water broke. I was trembling and crying. I was only 34 weeks, and I felt afraid for the babies. It wasn’t time yet, and I felt that I had brought on labour by all the work I had done that day. Kevin prayed with me, and I felt better, reminding myself that God was in control.

I hadn’t had any contractions yet, but I phoned the midwife to let her know that my water had broke. She knew that my other labours had been fast and wanted me at the hospital right away. I phoned a friend and asked her to meet us at the hospital. She would look after our 2 daughters. It was only a 20 min drive to the hospital. I had my first contraction on the way there and it was very strong.

The obstetrician checked my cervix and did an ultrasound. One of the babies was coming out foot first; a footling breech. She told me that they needed to perform an emergency c-section. We talked to our midwife and she recommended going ahead with the c-section, as a footling breech birth is a higher risk than a full breech. One of the dangers is that the cord can prolapse and then get pinched off. Another problem is that the baby can descend into the birth canal before the cervix is fully dilated and then get stuck at the head.

It seemed like everyone was panicking at this point. I had only had 2 or 3 contractions, but I was already 6 cm dilated. They felt the need to do the c-section immediately. The anaesthesiologist came in and told me that they were going to put me under general anaesthetic. This is quite rare now. There is a higher risk for mothers and babies than with a local anaesthetic, and it is very disturbing for women to be asleep while their babies are being born.

I told the anaesthsiologist that it was very important for me to be awake and that I declined the general anaesthetic. He told me that they would go ahead with it anyway. I couldn’t believe my ears. I knew that I had the right of refusal; the right to refuse any medical treatment. I told him this too, but he said that the need for immediate action overrode my right of refusal.

I felt very alone and afraid. Things were happening so fast (we’d only been at the hospital about 20 min), and I didn’t know what to do.

The anaesthesiologist and the obstetrician talked quickly and I was relieved that we were going ahead with an epidural. They had an awful time getting in an IV. They tried in both hands and both arms. They talked of trying my feet and legs. Tension was building. There was more trouble with the epidural; I couldn’t bend enough. I was short and carrying twins, so I really stuck out in the front and didn’t have much room to bend. Also the contractions were back to back and it was very difficult for me to bend while my uterus was so tight.

Finally, the epidural had started. The doctor asked if I had any feeling in my abdomen, which I did. He asked if it hurt as he grabbed my abdomen with tongs. I said it didn’t really hurt, but I could feel it. They decided to go ahead with the surgery. As it turned out, the anaesthetic didn’t really work and I had a lot of pain during the surgery.

It didn’t take long for the babies to be delivered. I had 2 little boys! Ethan was delivered first. He was bigger and stronger at 5 lbs. 15 oz. Owen was smaller at 4 lbs. 14 oz. and took much longer to start breathing. I only saw them briefly before they were whisked away to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

It was after Kevin and the boys left, that the surgery became very painful. Everything needed to be put back into place and both my uterus and abdomen needed to be stitched. It was a very strange pain. I tried not to make a sound because I knew they would give me a general.

After the surgery, I went into shock. I began shaking so bad that I thought I would fall off the bed. The nurses covered me with hot sheets. One nurse spoke to me very gently, while stroking my hand. Her kindness made such an impression on me. Actually, she remembered me when we went into to have William even though four and a half years had passed.

Kevin came in and told me that he would be taking our daughters home. For a time, I was alone in that room. It all seemed so very strange. Only a few hours before, I had been asleep in my bed, my babies safely in my womb. Now I was alone, so desperately alone.

I longed to see my babies, but I was told that I wouldn’t be allowed to leave the recovery room until I was able to move my legs. I concentrated on my toes. I imagined moving them. I tried and tried to move my legs. The sheet moved! The midwife was very surprised that I had already re-gained movement. She told me that I would need to be bathed before they could take me though. It seems kind of funny now, but at the time I felt quite upset. I felt like yelling, “Please, just take me to my babies!”

Finally, they wheeled the bed out of the room and into the elevator and up to the NICU. They opened the double doors to make room for the bed, and there were my little ones. They were in separate beds with warming lights over them. I wasn’t allowed to hold them, but I talked and talked to them. Eventually I had to leave. I new that the midwife was eager to get home. I said good-night to my precious babies and was wheeled into a room for the rest of the night. A nurse would later tell me that she had been there in the NICU that night and that everyone knew that I didn’t want to leave.

It must have been about 4:00 am when they settled me into the room. The last thing that I wanted to do was sleep. All I wanted to do was hold my babies. I still hadn’t held my babies. I cried and I waited. The dawn slowly arrived and still I waited.

A nurse finally arrived at about 7:00. “Please take me to see my babies,” I pleaded. The nurses were in the middle of a shift change and visitors weren’t normally allowed into the NICU until after 8:00, but an allowance was made for me. She helped me get into the wheel chair and brought me into the nursery.

Ethan and Owen were in separate incubators, in separate rooms. They had tubes in their noses and wires hooked up to their chests and hands. It all seemed very frightening to me. I still couldn’t hold them, but was able to open a little door into the incubator so I could stroke my babies. I would sit by one of my boys and sing and coo at him and then move into the other room and stroke my other little boy.

Kevin brought Myra and Melanie and we spent the day together. After they left, others came and visited. By that evening, I was finally allowed to hold Ethan, but not nurse him. The doctor felt that Owen was too small to leave the incubator.

At 10:30 that night, I was absolutely exhausted. I had only slept 30 min in the past 40 hours and the past 24 hours had been among the most stressful of my entire life. It was at this point that my roommate wanted to talk! She had delivered a baby girl the day before my twins were born. Her little girl was also born by c-section and in the NICU. We got to know one another for a while before she asked me about my faith.

She had noticed my husband and I praying. A pastor friend and his wife had also visited and prayed with me. She had a catholic background, but didn’t know what it was like to have a personal relationship with God. She asked me many questions.

The irony of the situation was that I had been longing for an opportunity like this. I have a sweet relationship with God and love to share my faith with those who are interested. At this point though, I was just hungry for sleep. I finally got to sleep at about 12:30 that night.

Owen was 2 days old before I was allowed to hold him. This was very upsetting to me. He was small, but otherwise healthy. What made the situation especially frustrating, is they had articles on the wall about the wonderful benefits of kangaroo care. Kangaroo care is the term used to describe the practice of keeping the baby next to the mothers (or fathers) skin for extended periods of time. This article explained that babies as young as 28 weeks gestation, fared significantly better when kangaroo care was used. Owen was 34 weeks, but the doctor was concerned that I might tear his skin if I held him!

The following days and nights were a blur. I spent my time nursing the boys, pumping milk and visiting with Kevin and the girls. I felt terribly torn. When I was with Kevin and the girls, I felt separated from the boys. When I was with Ethan and Owen, I felt like I should be with Kevin, Myra and Melanie. I was running dangerously low on sleep too. The boys were on a 3 hour schedule. During the night, I would nurse them and then pump milk and have 1 to 1 ½ hours to sleep before they would need to be fed again.

It took a long time to feed them, as they were very sleepy and consequently not very good at nursing. They had to be weighed before and after nursing to determine how much milk they received and then we would have to feed them the rest of the milk required through the tubes in their noses. And I never slept at all during the day.

We spent 2 weeks at the hospital. More then once I was told to go home and have a shower or a good nights sleep, but I would burst into tears at the thought of going home without my babies. I was overjoyed when the time came to go home. I knew that there would be many trials ahead, but I just wanted to be together as a family again.

I had thought that this would be such an easy pregnancy. I thought that it would be so peaceful. In my first 2 pregnancies I had learned that I could trust God, but God wanted to teach me how to trust Him even when things don’t work out the way that I would have wanted them too.

About 6 weeks after the boys were born, I realized that I was carrying around some resentment and bitterness. During the end of my pregnancy, Kevin and I talked a lot about how we wanted God to be glorified in this birth. We planned on singing the hymn “To God Be the Glory” immediately after the birth. That isn’t how it turned out though.

“To God Be the Glory,” had been one of my favourite songs, but I found I couldn’t sing it anymore. “We wanted to glorify You God, why did you allow things to turn out the way they did?” I prayed. It was then that God opened my eyes. It was if He was saying, “I was glorified.” I realized that people had seen our faith in the midst of a storm. They saw us turning to God for strength when the going was rough.

In the 2 weeks at the hospital, I spent a lot of time talking with the woman that I shared the room with. Our friendship continued even after I’d left the hospital. I got to know all the nurses that worked in the NICU. They saw me loving my babies, praying with them and singing to them. They saw my faith and that is what God had intended all along. To God be the glory!

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Life was very, very busy for a time. When Ethan and Owen were born, I had 4 children under 5 years old. When they were 6 months old, we moved into a tiny cabin while my husband built us a house. It didn’t take long for my baby addiction to rise to the surface though. By the time the boys were 3, I was longing for another baby in the house. I was praying for a baby and so were Myra and Melanie.

Within a few months I was expecting our fifth child. We had moved and were now over an hour from the hospital that Ethan and Owen were born in. I didn’t have good memories of that hospital and we were hearing a lot of positive feedback, about the hospital in our small town.

We decided to have our baby here in Vanderhoof, but that meant we wouldn’t have a midwife. I was alright with that decision, but it was very important for me to have a female doctor. As far as I knew there was only one woman doctor in our town. I went to the clinic and asked for that doctor, but I was informed that she wasn’t taking prenatal patients. So…. back to square one.

At this time we were really seeking God, asking Him for the right doctor. I was visiting with a friend that I don’t get to see very often. She was pregnant as well, and I was able to see her ultra-sound pictures. It was so much fun to share our excitement. I asked her if she had found a doctor, and she said that God had provided her with a wonderful and caring doctor. This doctor had been highly recommended by a friend of hers. I felt sure that this was the doctor for us and eagerly made my first prenatal appointment. The appointment was made for 10 weeks gestation.

At about 8 weeks I had some spotting. This didn’t concern me too much, as I had had this in all my pregnancies. One day though, there was a blood clot and this was very upsetting to me. I pleaded with God, “Please God, please God, protect my baby. Please don’t let me have a miscarriage.” A miscarriage was one thing that I just didn’t know if I could deal with.

I stayed in bed that day, but I was still bleeding the following day. We decided to go to the hospital. It was Sunday, so we asked some friends to take our children to church with them while my husband and I went to the hospital. The doctor performed an ultra-sound, but he wasn’t able to find a heart-beat. He told us that this didn’t prove anything, as it was still early and the equipment he was using wasn’t very accurate during early pregnancy. I still clung to hope and prayed fervently. This went on for several days, and I stayed in bed during this time.

One evening, I started to have terrible cramping. I knew that I was losing our baby. I had been in labour 3 times before and this seemed much more painful, maybe because it accompanied such grief. The cramps were like contractions and each one felt like it was tearing at my very soul. I have never before or since, experienced such acute agony and anguish. And then it was over, my little one was gone from my womb, into God’s hands.

Our children’s grief was very intense. They loved this baby, they had written him notes and drawn him pictures. It was very difficult, to see the depth of their sorrow.

I knew that I should see a doctor about the miscarriage. I decided to keep the pre-natal appointment that I had made weeks before. It was for the day following the miscarriage. I felt very anxious as I sat in the clinic waiting room. My emotions were very raw. I had just miscarried my precious baby only 12 hours before. Here I was, supposedly for my first pre-natal appointment. I was trembling, afraid I would start wailing in front of all these strangers.

I was called into the office and a nurse soon came in. She started asking me questions about my pregnancy. I began to sob. I managed to say between the sobs that I had had a miscarriage. She looked very uncomfortable. “Um, I can see your very upset,” she said, before running out the door. I was left there alone again. Her reaction made me feel that my grief was inappropriate. I just wanted to leave and curl up in my bed.

In a little while the doctor walked in. I had never met her before, but her eyes, when they met mine were very kind. “I’m so sorry that you lost your baby,” she said, her voice gentle and sorrowful. She asked if she could hug me and then she wept with me. I was so astonished that this woman, who was a stranger to me, and as a doctor had to deal with painful situations every day, would weep with me.

She told me that if she could, she would bear my pain for me. For over an hour she sat with me, rocking me and stroking my arm. She shared with me her own story of loss. She shared about her struggle with infertility and the in vitro fertilization she went through. Of the ups and downs of hope and disappointment. She told me of her own miscarriages, three of them. One of the miscarriages was a little girl, still born at 27 weeks. She told me that God, had used those terribly painful trials, to make her a more compassionate doctor.

After we had talked, she prayed for me. She prayed that God’s peace would rest on me. And it did. At that very moment, God’s peace wrapped around me like a blanket. The pain didn’t go away, but the turmoil was replaced with rest.

One of the most important things that she told me that day, was to grieve. She told me that it was good and right to grieve and that not everyone would be comfortable with my grief, but she encouraged me not to rush it.

I told her that we were going to have a ceremony and bury our baby. She told me that that is something that she really wished that she had been able to do. The hospital policy, where her little girl was born, was to allow parents to bury their babies if they were after 28 weeks gestation and not before. She vividly recalls leaving the hospital empty-handed.

At home we talked about naming our baby. We had chosen the name Jonathan for a boy and Ruth for a girl. Both of these names are in the Bible, and both Jonathan and Ruth had been faithful and self-sacrificing friends; Jonathan to David and Ruth to Naomi. I felt that our baby was a boy, but Kevin felt unsure. After praying though, Kevin also felt that our baby was a boy.

We talked about where to bury Jonathan. The first thought was to bury him on our property. This really began to bother me though. What if we ever moved? I would hate it if I wouldn’t be able to return to his grave. We decided on a place, that is very beautiful and special to our family. It is a place that we can go to at any time.

I wrote Jonathan’s name on a piece of paper to put in his grave. It is something that we gave him. Kevin read some passages from the Bible and we prayed together. Kevin had brought some flat pieces of stone that we put on Jonathan’s grave and then everyone chose a small stone to place there as well. I stayed alone at the grave after everyone had left. I knew that it was time to leave, but it was very difficult to walk away. In a sense, that first step was about moving on and I didn’t feel ready to move on yet.

In the following weeks, we quietly mourned as a family. There were many tears. We wanted our children to be able to talk freely about Jonathan. We wanted them to feel they could come to us at any time for a hug or a cuddle. Slowly, we began to heal. My laughter came back and at first it seemed very strange and out of place. But I knew it was time.

One thing was still very hard for me to deal with though; I would cringe inside when I saw a pregnant woman. It was strange actually. It seemed like there were pregnant women everywhere. I believe that God was opening my eyes up to what was happening within me, the bitter root that was growing in my soul. He wanted to do a complete healing, but I needed to know that I had a need first.

I had always loved seeing a pregnant woman, or a baby and I realized that I didn’t want to lose that. I didn’t want to feel hurt and sadness where I had felt joy before. I asked God to heal that hurt. I asked him to forgive me for letting bitterness creep in, and I made a decision to respond with joy when I saw a pregnant woman or new baby.

I am thankful for God’s healing. A couple months later, the friend who had recommended our doctor to us gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. I was able to hold that sweet baby, talk to her and delight in this precious gift from God. I am so thankful that that moment was not marred by envy.

A few months after my miscarriage, I had a very clear image in my mind, (I hesitate to use the word vision, but it was different than anything else I have experienced.) I saw a little boy with blond hair and blue eyes. He called out to me, “Mama!” and ran to me with his arms stretched open. I wept with joy and I would every time I thought about what I saw. A long time passed before I would share that memory with anyone. It was just too precious to me.

It may seem very strange to those who read this, but looking back over my pregnancy, miscarriage and the time following, I am filled with joy. I never thought that this could be possible, but truly it wasn’t all loss. I am thankful for the time that we had with Jonathan. Though it was brief, that pregnancy is very special to me. And when he left us, he went to be with God, and one day we will be united again.

It was also a time when I powerfully experienced God. He carried me. Isaiah 63:9 says, “In all their affliction He was afflicted , and the Angel of His Presence saved them; in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and he bore them and carried them all the days of old.” He provided a doctor who would weep with me. He gave me peace that passes understanding (Phil 4:6-7) and He gave me joy where I never thought it could be found.

I am a mother of five children here on earth and one in heaven; truly I am blessed.

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After my miscarriage, my arms felt so empty. It took six months to get pregnant again. It seemed like a very long time. I was filled with joy when I found that I was expecting, but we decided against telling others. We chose to wait until after I had an ultra-sound at 8 weeks. We just didn’t want our children to have to go through that excitement and then grief if I were to miscarry again.

There was a strong mix of feelings tumbling within me as I went for the ultra-sound. Kevin and the children waited in the vehicle while I went in. “Is everything all right,” I asked the technician nervously. “Everything looks beautiful,” she answered with a smile. She turned the screen towards me and I could see my tiny little baby, so small that I hadn’t felt any movements yet, but perfect and beautiful. I could see my little one’s head in perfect profile and I could see the heart beating strongly.

When I got back into the vehicle, I nodded to Kevin that everything was fine and we told our children right then. They were so happy and joyous! We then went and visited some close friends and they rejoiced with us too. That day was a celebration. I tried to really enjoy that pregnancy. I never wanted to take that time for granted. It can be a difficult time in many ways. There are many discomforts and sleepless nights, but it is a season, a glorious season and I wanted to treasure it.

My doctor had prayed for this baby and she rejoiced with us. Each appointment was like a visit with a dear friend. As my pregnancy progressed though, I began to feel a lot of apprehension and anxiety about the birth. As dear as this doctor was to me, I came to realize that we felt very differently about the process of birth.

My doctor was quite concerned about, attempting a natural birth because of the c-section that I had had 4 1/2 years earlier. There is some risk of the uterus rupturing during labour and this is very dangerous for the baby. She recommended a repeat c-section, but was willing to go ahead with a trial of labour. She made it very clear to me though, that if anything at all was amiss, she would perform a c-section. Even if everything was fine she might go ahead with a c-section if there was a risk of the operating room being occupied later, as there is only 1 operating room and limited staff. She asked me to trust her to make those decisions.

I left feeling very frightened and confused. Childbirth is so beautiful to me and a c-section seems utterly bizarre. This process of routinely slicing open a woman’s abdomen and uterus, when God had designed a perfectly good way to deliver babies, does not sit well with me. I am thankful that the operation is as safe as it is and it undoubtedly saves the lives of both mothers and babies, but I still feel that it is grossly over used.

I was aware of the increased risk of uterine rupture, but I was also aware of the increased risks of a repeat c-section. A woman is significantly more likely to die after a c-section than after a vaginal birth and there is also some increased risk to the baby, as excess fluid is not pressed out of the babies lungs and the baby can have an adverse reaction to the anaesthetic. The fact that I might also want more children later on weighed heavily on the decision. Each c-section weakens the uterus and puts future babies at increased risk.

I really didn’t feel like I could trust our doctor to make decisions that I would be comfortable with. Our views on childbirth were too different and I would not be able to accept a c-section just because the OR might be full later, or because I wasn’t dilating at the exact rate deemed necessary.

This was a time of great turmoil for me. Undoubtedly, this doctor had been provided by God. Why did I feel so terribly uneasy? I prayed to God and asked Him for His direction and peace. He showed me that this doctor had been provided to help me through my miscarriage and that it was okay to look for another care provider for the rest of this pregnancy and birth. I brought my fears to Kevin and he was astonished that I was thinking of switching doctors this late, (I was 7 months pregnant) and especially when I loved the doctor I had. I told him that the apprehension I had just wasn’t going away. He gave me permission to look for another care provider.

What I really wanted was another midwife, but the possibility of finding one so late in my pregnancy was very small. Midwives are in huge demand here, and if you want a midwife it is recommended that you find one as soon as you find out you are pregnant. It would also mean having our baby in Prince George as there are no midwives in Vanderhoof. I was very willing to do this, if only we could find a midwife. I asked God to bless my search and phoned a practice in Prince George.

I talked to Jane, a midwife that had been practising in Prince George for about 4 years. I told her my story and she said that she would be willing to take me on as a client as she was concerned about the possibility that I might end up with an unnecessary c-section. This was music to my ears! We made an appointment to see her and I felt the anxiety lift off of me.

We brought the whole family to the appointment and had a great time. Jane included all the children and it felt so good to talk everything out. When we left, we felt very at peace in our decision to switch to Jane’s care.

One thing ahead would be very hard though; I would need to tell my doctor that we were leaving her care. It was recommended that I just phone the office and tell the secretary that I was switching care providers. I knew though, that that would be wrong. This doctor had given me so much. I knew that I owed her an explanation and a good-bye. I went for my next appointment and explained the situation.

I honestly believe that she was very happy for me. She knew that I had had midwives in my previous pregnancies and felt that I would be more comfortable with their care. She also felt that the Prince George hospital would be much safer for me to deliver in, as they are much better staffed and because there is a NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) so in the event that I did have a uterine rupture, there would be a much better chance of a good outcome. She told me, that if she thought she could have convinced me to go to Prince George to have the baby, she would have done it. I left the office feeling so wonderfully relieved and peaceful.

The rest of the pregnancy went very well. We loved our visits with Jane and always stayed way longer then we should have! I had one concern though. My labour with Melanie had only been an hour and a half and the hospital was an hour and fifteen minutes away. There was the very real chance, of having the baby on the way there. I read up on unassisted childbirth and that helped me to feel more comfortable about the possibility. I put together a bundle of supplies to use in the event that I would give birth en route. It even included a suction bulb syringe to clear baby’s nasal passage!

I awoke very early one morning with contractions. I was 35 weeks along at the time. They were quite strong and regular; about 5 minutes apart. We decided to head to Prince George. Jane met us at her office. It had been 2 hours since the contractions started and they were about the same strength and frequency as at the beginning. Jane palpated my uterus during a contraction and told us that they were strong, and I was 4 cm dilated. We decided against going to the hospital right away though; labour was not progressing as quickly as was normal for me and there was the chance that the contractions would subside.

By noon, the contractions were irregular and we decided to go home. I really wondered how I was going to know when I was in real labour. Those contractions had been as strong as the ones I had just before giving birth to Melanie. They were more than Braxton Hicks contractions, because they were causing dilation. We just had to trust that God was in control. I felt very thankful that we had switched to Jane’s care. It was quite likely that I would have ended up with another c-section and had our baby delivered 5 weeks early, if we had gone to the Vanderhoof hospital.

Three weeks later, I again awoke with contractions. We got everyone ready to go; we prayed and waited. It was very similar to the previous time. The contractions were strong and regular. I had one strong contraction and it spurred me into action. “Let’s go,” I said, and we got all of our children into the vehicle.

Twenty minutes later, the contractions had subsided some. We decided to keep driving. If the contractions stopped, than we would just go home. We hadn’t phoned Jane yet, we wanted to be sure that I was in labour before we called her. I phoned Jane when we were 20 minutes from Prince George and asked her to meet us at her office. I also called a friend and told her that we might be having the baby and to be ready to meet us at the hospital if I was in labour. The plan was that she would look after our children while I gave birth.

I arrived at the office, but Jane wasn’t there yet. I used the washroom beside her office and had a VERY strong contraction. It was at that moment that I KNEW I was in labour. I wondered if I would give birth right there! I went quickly to the van and we phoned Jane and told her that there was a change of plans and to meet us at the hospital!

It was only a 2 min. drive to the hospital, but was like going through a maze to get from the entrance to the maternity ward of the hospital. I had to rest through a contraction once, on the way to the delivery room. I guess that I didn’t look like a woman only minutes away from giving birth and it was recommended that I try walking around the parking lot to get labour going. I declined, thinking that if I left this building, I was going to give birth IN the parking lot. Jane started taking my blood pressure when I had another contraction.

With that contraction, came that incredible desire to push. My friend had arrived to look after the children and I asked her to take the children out of the room. Our baby boy William, was born 15 min later! The children say that that was the most exciting day of their lives.

William has been a wonderful gift for our whole family. I find it’s a very different thing to have a baby when you have older children too. It’s been so much fun. He’s brought so much joy to our family and everyone delights in him. I’ve also had so much help from my girls who were 7 and 9 when William was born.

William is a year and a half old now. I have tried to enjoy this time to the full. One thing that I have learned, is that children grow so fast. I want to cherish this time.

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