The Birth of Heidi Margaret

  3 days past my due date and the day I’d hoped to have my baby, I woke up with contractions. I’ve always had a day or so of irregular contractions before active labor begins, so I ignored them and went about my day. They diminished in frequency as the day went on, but I knew baby would be here soon!

            I slept well that night until about 2am, when contractions woke me. They were 10-15 minutes apart the rest of the night. I continued to sleep in between contractions. Closer to morning I needed to get out of bed and sit on my exercise ball during them. Meg, my 4 year old, got up around 7:30 and came and crawled in bed. I told her today was the day we’d meet our new baby and she ran upstairs to wake her sisters and tell them. Their enthusiasm was so sweet! 

            I got up around 8 and contractions started coming every 5-6 minutes. Noah was out in the shop getting his employees started for the day and working on a project, and I wanted someone to be here to help care for the girls and offer moral support, so I had my mom come as well as Lydia, a friend from church interested in midwifery and excited for the opportunity to attend her first birth!

            Noah was in and out, checking on me and trying to get things wrapped in the shop. Mom and Lydia read to the girls and took care of them and did counterpressure on my back as contractions got stronger. I always sing during contractions. It helps me stay relaxed and gives me something to focus on. My girls and Mom and Lydia would sing along with me some of the time, which was really special.

            Noah finally came in the house around 11, and I think I was just waiting for him to be able to be with me to settle into active labor. Contractions immediately got stronger and a bit closer. I was sitting on the bathroom floor in Noah’s arms, trying not to throw up like I always do, when I decided we should have the midwives come. I did go ahead and throw up, then, which I absolutely despise doing, but it gave me confirmation that this was definitely active labor. I got into the tub—love that warm water in labor!

            The midwives arrived around noon, and things shifted again into more intense labor (with 3 more puking episodes, but only 3, for which I’m very grateful). Over the next hour, my hymn singing shifted to loud (frantic!) praying for strength, and giving thanks to God for the soon to be born baby and for the contractions that were doing their job and for my body that was working so well and for the faithful saints that I knew were lifting me up in prayer that day. 

            Around one I started to feel that icky cervix pinch that I’ve always had and that I had fervently hoped and prayed to avoid this time around. I checked to see and felt baby’s head, and, yes, that darn lip of cervix getting squished between baby’s head and my pubic bone. I was determined to just breathe through this time and not end up getting a lip held while I pushed again, so I tried that for 20-30 minutes, but the pinched cervix pain was excruciating—excruciating!—even with not pushing at all, and every time I checked it felt exactly the same. I shifted positions and did all the things without making any headway whatsoever. I felt so out of control with the pain during contractions and like I couldn’t possibly handle it anymore. A couple of my poor girls were in tears with the intensity of it and I felt really bad for them and grateful that Mom and Lydia were able to be right there for them. Noah was amazing support for me during this crazy intensity, just being right next to me so I could hang onto him and he could remind me that yes, I could do this and I was doing well.

Finally I asked Jen to hold the lip of cervix because I needed so badly to be done with that pinched cervix pain as soon as possible. It felt like so long before the lip was completely gone, but it was only a handful of contractions with me pushing as Jen held my cervix. My water broke! Yay, progress!            

I was complete at 1:30 and able to just push baby down. I loved this part! It was still intense but I could feel the progress and it just felt so good to be getting somewhere. I was so excited to know how close we were to meeting our baby! I remembered how easy pushing and crowning was with my last birth and was happy to have the hard part of labor and birth behind me.

            Baby moved steadily down, making progress with every push. I asked Jen for more support on my tissues as her head started to come, but as always I kept my hands on my baby’s head to ease it gently out, listening to my body’s cues to breathe and allow time to stretch gently and gradually. I didn’t feel at all afraid of that stretching feeling, being pretty confident in not tearing since I never had before. My girls were all crowded in the bathroom with us, and it was exciting for them to get to see baby’s head!

            Gently and easily her head was born, and I got a little bit in my midwife brain here and asked if the baby had rotated yet. A push for the shoulders and I said, “I knew it was a good-sized baby!” as she was born!

            I brought her up to my chest and she cried and I cried and all 4 big sisters crowded around just cried and cried for joy. What a blessing to have our sweet baby here! Thank You, Father, Giver of every good and perfect gift!

We oohed and aahed over our baby for a few minutes before I asked if it looked like a boy face or a girl face. Meg wanted to be the one to check, so I turned the baby over and we saw that we had another GIRL! Baby Heidi nursed within 15 minutes and we snuggled in the warm tub together and soaked up this sweet brand newness. I called family members while we sat there and nursed. After she was done nursing Noah held her while I got out of the tub and took a quick shower and enjoyed my quiet minutes alone to praise God for the safe and wonderful birth of our baby girl.

Then I got to crawl into my comfy bed, where big sisters had laid out their precious handmade gifts of a beautiful baby quilt and knitted hat for their new baby. I ate my usual post birth meal of a breakfast burrito and grape juice. Baby Heidi was weighed (9#1, just what I expected) and checked over while I ate and family members filtered in to see her.

I loved that she was born in the daytime and all of our immediate family who live locally could come over in the first few hours for a quick peek at the baby. There’s nothing quite so amazing and miraculous as a tiny newborn. The daytime birth also meant I didn’t really miss much sleep and the girls could be awake and hang out and sing with me in labor, which I really loved. 

That cervical lip pinch was definitely the most ouchy this time around, but other than that this labor and birth was just ideal, and even the cervix pinch I would gladly do over for the wonder of a sweet baby. I’m so grateful for the privilege to literally offer my body up as a living sacrifice to the Lord as He gifts His great blessing of children to us. God is so merciful and kind.