A Prayerful Birth

4/15/11

At about 3am on Friday, April 15th, 2011, I began to experience some contractions about 5-6 minutes apart until around 5:30am... then they just totally stopped. I assumed they were probably just Braxton Hicks, but I meditated on the thought of "opening up" to let the baby out through each one anyway.

I had an apt. scheduled with my backup midwife, who has delivery privileges at the local Hospital, for that morning at 9am. I decided to go ahead and keep the apt. and ask her to check and see if the contractions I had earlier that morning had made any progress. When she checked she said my cervix was soft, but I was not dilated at all. I was a bit disappointed and figured the baby probably wouldn't come after all.

At about 5pm some contractions began to come again, but the cramping felt low in my uterus, so I assumed they were just Braxton Hicks again. My friend, Jessica, was due to come spend the weekend with us and would be arriving around supper time, so my daughter, Morgan, and I began to make some homemade french bread for her. At about 5:30pm, my husband, Rob, came home and asked how I was feeling. I said I was having some contractions, but I wasn't sure if they were the REAL thing. He suggested we get the rooms ready with plastic undersheeting, etc. just in case.

At 6 pm, we pull the bread from the oven. The house smells absolutely divine with the aroma of hot bread wafting through the air. I continue to prepare the rooms by getting a small cooler ready. I filled it with 3 small ice packs, each wrapped in a wet washcloth - I always need ice on the back of my neck to stop the nausea I feel during transition. We layered the bed with four disposable, waterproof pads in case I decided to birth the baby on our bed as I figured I would want to, and I put down plastic sheeting on the carpeting in the small hallway between our bathroom and bedroom, as I figured I might be traveling that route back and forth while in labor. At 6:30pm Jessica arrived and began to help Rob wrangle our five other children and get them fed and ready for bedtime.

By 7 pm my contractions were coming about every 2-3 min and were getting pretty intense, so Rob drew a hot bath for me in the tub. I laid down in the tub on my left side, with a nice fluffy yellow baby bath cushion under my shoulders. Rob and Jessica had all the children quietly playing in their bedroom with Morgan, our nine year old, in charge, and had come into the bathroom to apply counter-pressure to my lower back and help me to get to and from the toilet so I could empty my bladder several times which helps keep baby low to keep labor progressing.

Around 7:30pm, Shelie, our CNM friend from a mile down the road, came over with her supper. She ate her dinner at the table while I was in the tub. Fifteen minutes later I asked Rob to see if she would check my dilation. I had been praying and praising God through the intense contractions, but as I did so, the pain would seem to drift right out of my body -- which worried me because I thought that meant the contractions might not be dilating my cervix! The midwife stepped into the bathroom and said she really preferred not to check me because it wouldn't really make any difference -- checking dilation can't speed up or slow down a labor. About 5 minutes later I apologized to her, but requested again to be checked. She was sweet and agreed to check to ease my concerns -- when
she did, she said I was complete. I couldn't believe it!

It was now 7:45 pm and my friends, Emily and Rachel arrived. Emily came to help the other five children quietly watch their brother be born and Rachel came as labor support. She had been present for our previous daughter, Autumn's, birth and was a tremendous help to me then. I was so happy to see Rae had made it, and I was looking forward to her support through the worst of labor, which for me is transition -- when the head and body make their way through the cervix and down the birth canal.
Shelie asked if I wanted to have the baby in the tub or on the bed, explaining that if I had him in the tub, the baby needed to be born either entirely IN the water or entirely OUT of the water -- but our tub was awkward and shallow, and since I didn't really want to have to walk to the bed after the birth, I decided to go ahead and birth on the bed.

At about 7:55 pm I got out of the tub and into the bed, transition hit and Rachel put ice on my neck and started to pray with me and over me. She prayed God would help my body to work efficiently to get the baby out safely, for me to have endurance through the delivery, and thanked God for this child; Rae prayed and thanked God expectantly and excitedly for what God would accomplish through his little life in Jesus' Name. In the course of three intense contractions, my water broke and Koen Storm was born into his Daddy's hands at 8:03pm.

Shelie helped Rob bring the baby up to my chest, and Jessica brought up some warm red towels from the dryer so they could wrap them around the baby and me to keep us warm. The room was filled with my friends and family -- we all spent time in awe of the new little one and took turns kissing and photographing him. Twenty-two minutes later, Rob cut the umbilical cord. And three minutes after that, Rob put gentle traction on my side of the cord to help ease out the placenta, which was small and thick, but complete. Shelie used her baby sling and scale to weigh him: 6lbs and 2 oz. She measured him to be 19.5 inches long. She gave him Img Vit K while I nursed him, and he didn't cry a bit. I was negative for GBS and we didn't give eye ointment. Shelie came back when he was 36 hrs old to do the heel prick for the metabolic screening tests, and again I nursed him and she warmed his heel, so he didn't even cry for that either.

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