Our birth story is a precious one to us and we are delighted to share it with you. The object of our story is a precious little girl, Rebecca Elizabeth, who we proudly call Becky. We think it’s a neat thing that she also shares the name of our midwife, Beth.
For a little background to our story…For the first six months of our pregnancy, we saw a regular obstetrician. Our family has been friends with Beth and her family for years, but we still felt most comfortable with a medical doctor to oversee our delivery. In addition, we live many miles in the country quite far from medical help, so we didn’t feel comfortable with our first birth in our home. We met with Beth and her assistants (including Susan, my husband’s sister!) for lunch after our doctor’s appointments each month and it didn’t take long before we felt sure Beth knew more about our baby than the doctors did. After seeing a doctor(s) for those months and trying to convince them we really desired a natural birth, and Beth offering the use of her home (or office, if it was finished) for the birth, we decided to officially change.
Around came Sunday, April 9th, two weeks before our due date. Beth figured that if the baby came any time after the following Friday, she would have her office basically ready for a birth. That evening about bedtime, I started feeling pretty uncomfortable and achy. I thought that maybe these were the true “Braxton Hicks” contractions that I’d been told and read about and maybe the prior “twinges” I’d had were just that-“twinges”. I felt them off and on all night and thought to myself that I didn’t look forward to having those for the next two weeks. After all, first babies are always supposed to be late!
As my husband left for work early the next morning, I briefly told him how I’d been feeling but that it was probably no big deal. He said as he left, “Don’t you have that baby without me now!” After he left, I went for a walk with the dog in the beautiful country morning, thinking maybe it would help me feel better. It did, although the twinges were a little stronger and more definite. I came in, briefly wrote an e-mail to Beth and Susan telling them how I was feeling, then laid down for a rest. I got a phone call a while later and Susan wanted to know exactly what I was feeling: Beth and she thought I could be in early labor. I said, “You’re kidding! It’s too early!” I guess I was expecting labor to start more like it does in the movies-hard and breath-takingly quick-and it wouldn’t be so early.
Beth told us to head for town (we live about an hour from Beth). The contractions were 5-7 minutes apart, but getting closer together. We went to Beth’s and she checked and I was about 5 cm. (I had been 2-3 cm for several weeks.) About mid-afternoon, we went to Susan’s house where we stayed until after a pizza supper about 7 p.m. Then we went back to Beth’s and I was about 8 cm. Labor was getting more intense and Beth thought we’d have our new little one by midnight.
But Becky wasn’t ready yet! There was a long night of laboring, with my husband by my side and various wonderful hands offering assistance. Someone brought ice cream and that was good (although I never did finish mine!) I spent some time in the tub and the rest of the time walking or sitting. It was fairly slow progress the rest of the night, although it seemed in a way, to go quick, as we measured time in 3-5 minute increments.
About 7 a.m., my bag of waters still had not broken and Beth felt that was all that was holding up the birth. So after 32 hours of laboring (some of it light, of course!) we decided to let her break it. She did that, then everyone but Bill left, and I went right to sleep. About half an hour later, I woke up with my body “pushing”. So began the preparations for the birth. My mother came in equipped with a digital camera and Susan’s two teenage daughters came in to see their cousin born and witness their first birth. I remember hearing at this time the plumbers outside of the window working on Beth’s office. No, it wasn’t quite ready!
After pushing for almost half an hour, the baby started emerging. They provided a mirror so I could see her little head covered with dark hair. We had decided beforehand that I would like to help pull the baby out, if possible. Beth said it was so unusual, because after her head and shoulders came out, Becky basically paused and Beth said, “Lara, reach down and get your baby!” So I did! I pulled her to me and it was such a precious, precious thing! At 8:04 a.m., Rebecca Elizabeth was born! She was 9 lbs. 1 oz. And 22 ½ inches long. She was fully developed and you would never guess she was born two weeks early!
I started having some severe bleeding, but Beth and her assistants were busy working with that while we loved and held our new baby. After many minutes, many glasses of orange juice laced with cholorphyll, prayers, herbs, pressure, and other little efficient acts on Beth’s and her crew’s part, the bleeding stopped.
After some time, we had a wonderful herb bath and as we laid Becky in the water for the first time, her eyes opened wide and we could just see her relax and feel comfortable, like she’d been there before. Becky then started to nurse well for the first time. After the bath, Beth did Becky’s first exam (which she passed with flying colors). Everyone enjoyed a taquito breakfast (and the plumbers were still working away). Beth suggested we rest there for a while before going home, as I was feeling a little weak from the loss of blood.
Mid-afternoon, we wrapped up our little bundle and took her for her first car ride to her home in the country. She’s been doing great ever since, growing and changing so much, so quickly. We’re very thankful to God for giving us such a big blessing wrapped in such a little package and for the beautiful way in which He presented us our gift. And we are thankful for those He chose to do such a fine thing as deliver our baby. God had everything planned so beautifully. It’s a perfect beginning to the precious story of this little life.