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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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I am so very happy to share the news that we have another sweet babe on the way! If you know me well, you know that I adore children and having a baby in the home is one of the sweetest joys there is for me.

Just the other day, I got to hold not one, but two dear little babies! The first was a one week old tiny baby boy. I actually forgot how tiny newborns are. Tears came to my eyes as I held this little miracle and wondered at the amazing gift of life.

Less than an hour later we visited another beautiful family with six children here and one dear little boy in heaven. Their newest little treasure is only 2 and a half months old. She has lovely plump cheeks and big beautiful eyes. It was so sweet to see the adoration that all her brothers and sisters have for her.

The oldest daughter is 16 and is working full time for the summer. She entertained the little ones (including my own) and seemed to glow while cuddling and feeding her baby sister.

“Do you enjoy being the oldest in a big family?” I asked her.

“I love it!” she declared emphatically, and I could tell that she did.

There was a reason that God put these families in my path just now. He wants me to treasure the little miracle that I carry, and to remember that each baby is a gift of love from His hands.

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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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