Shiloh Frederick Near's Birth Story

Shiloh’s Birth Story

Thursday, February 5th, 2015, I woke at 5:20 a.m. with irregular contractions. It was a gorgeous day, bright sunshine all day long. The evening before, we had gone to prayer meeting, where I was very uncomfortable with contractions coming 7 minutes apart. These had subsided when I went to bed, however. By 8:00 the next morning, the contractions were growing in number and intensity. At 10:30 a.m. Patrice suggested Sam come home from work and Grandpa and Grandma come get our four other children as we had planned. From my description on the phone, she thought it sounded like I was progressing into labor. I had regular contractions, through most of which I spent kneeling at the couch, until around 3:30 in the afternoon.

Then they stopped nearly completely. I had been in touch with Patrice, who said that this is often the case with first babies. She was so encouraging and said that I should be thankful for this amazing break my body was giving me before ramping up into hard labor. She suggested a nap and a snack and to store up my energies for later.

From 5:30 until 6:30, I had contractions about 4 minutes apart. Here we go! I thought. We ate supper, then I was feeling tired and chilled, so I took a hot shower and got into my jammies.

Then everything stopped.

Day after day went by with no more contractions. It was very frustrating! My due date, February 8, came and went with just a few small contractions. I was getting more and more uncomfortable, and it was getting harder and harder to do normal, everyday tasks. Fortunately, my mom took off time from work to come every day to homeschool Josiah (9), Andrew & Esther (5), and Christian (3) for me and help me with housework. I couldn’t understand why I had gone through that day of false labor, and now it didn’t seem like I was ever going to have this baby. At my prenatal visit on February 10, Patrice comforted me by saying, “We’ve never yet had a woman be pregnant forever!”

Saturday, February 14th began with something exciting: my water broke around 6:00 a.m. I knew that today would be the day we would meet our long-awaited little one! Mild contractions followed, around 10 minutes apart all morning. We told the children at breakfast that they would be going to Grandpa & Grandma’s and that the baby was coming soon. They were so excited! They quickly packed their overnight bags. Our area was under a Winter Storm Warning, so Sam decided to take the children over and run a few short errands before coming home. He shocked the ladies at the bank by telling them that his wife was in labor at home.

Ironically, Patrice was at the Sweetwater Market that morning, just a few miles away. However, she didn’t have any of her birthing equipment along. She came over around 1:30 after the market closed to check on me, and found that I was 1-2 cm dilated. I was ecstatic! Unfortunately, she had to drive back home to Hesperia to get her supplies and come back for the birth. What normally takes 40 minutes took her 2 hours as she and Dorothy braved the snowdrifted roads. Wind, snow, and ice made traveling pretty treacherous. Someone had told us our baby was waiting until a nasty storm to be born.

By late afternoon, I was having more and more painful contractions until it got to the point where I couldn’t talk or stand through them. I found the most relief kneeling at the couch or the bed. But between contractions, I was feeling chatty and excited. Jen got here around 5:15 and Patrice & Dorothy came just before 6:00. Our dining table became their nurses’ station, and they sat at the table filling out paperwork and talking among themselves in between checking on me, checking the baby’s heartrate, or rubbing my back during a contraction.

To be honest, the next several hours were somewhat of a blur to me. I was shocked to discover that pain on this level even existed. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced before! I am so glad that Sam was there holding my hand and coaching me; without his support, I don’t know how I would have managed the pain.

Around 8 p.m. Patrice suggested I try laboring on the toilet. At first, this felt good, but while there, the pain became so intense that I felt incapable of moving to a different position. When I found words to express my problem to Patrice and Sam, they each got under an arm and helped me into a kneeling position at the bed. After awhile, I remember saying, “I feel like pushing!” Patrice asked if I wanted to get into bed so she could check me. I dreaded this because, after all this work, I didn’t want to hear her say I was only 4 cm dilated or something. But to her surprise and my relief, I was 9+!

The only thing I remember about the next two hours was extreme pain almost constantly! I was coping by screaming, which is totally uncharacteristic of me under normal circumstances. I assumed a side-lying position, at Patrice’s suggestion, and was squeezing Sam’s hand on one side of the bed and Dorothy’s hand on the other. I sincerely hoped I wasn’t causing them paralysis or some other kind of permanent hand injury. The team helped me push by telling me to breathe into the pushes rather than using up my energy screaming. I was amazed at how much this made a difference.

When our baby started to crown, Patrice asked Sam if he wanted to see the top of the head. “Wow, it has a lot of hair!” was his comment. Just hearing this gave me an extra boost of energy to push the head out. The shoulders were so hard to push out, but they came, and with a whoosh, at 10:46 p.m. the rest of the baby was born!

I went from screaming and crying to giggling in a couple seconds’ time as the baby, without a whimper, was placed on my chest. My first words were, “Is it a boy or a girl?” Sam said, “It’s a boy!” and as we gazed at him, we both exclaimed together, “He’s huge!” The relief I was experiencing was indescribable. I greeted our baby, “Hello, Shiloh Frederick!”

What happened in the next few moments there are not words to properly express. We were left to bond with our new precious son. After awhile, the cord was cut and I delivered the placenta. It didn’t seem fair that now that my baby was out I had to deal with yet more contractions, but soon it was over. I was given some tips on breastfeeding, and Shiloh nursed for 30 minutes on one side and 45 minutes on the other.

They examined Shiloh at my bedside, and when Jen went to weigh him, she said, “Any guesses as to how much he weighs?” Sam and I looked at each other and I said, “I’m gonna guess between 9 and 10 pounds.” She held up the scale and said, “Nine pounds, twelve ounces!”

Then, while Sam held him, the midwives gathered round and I heard the ominous words, “Now let’s take a look at you.” Unbeknownst to me, I had 2nd and 3rd degree tears that needed to be stitched up. They decided it best to take me into the hospital to get everything stitched up properly. So, at eight degrees below zero, at 2 a.m. we were braving the icy roads to the emergency room.

During the time at the ER, several people were amazed that I had just delivered a baby without medications and that I was in minimal pain. Still, they wanted to take me into surgery and give me general anesthesia to repair the laceration. After I insisted twice about preferring local anesthesia, they complied. What a blessing to hear that the OB on duty that night had been delivering babies for over 40 years and also knew Patrice! I felt they had a good attitude about me having a home birth. We were back home in about 2 hours… back home to my weary husband and beautiful new baby boy.

I felt sorry for our tired midwives having to drive home on questionable roads. But Sam, Shiloh, and I climbed into bed and let the cares of the day roll away as we basked in the glory of bringing a new life into the world. The next few weeks would be full of rest, relaxation, and happy visitors dropping by to greet our little one, but for now we slept the happy rest of finally receiving the blessing God had for the last nine months been preparing for us. Shiloh Frederick Near had finally come.