My due date was November the 11th but I started feeling the typical signs—lower achy back pain, on and off cramping and slight contractions-- as early as the 3rd. We thought the baby might make an appearance before the 11th and the thought made me happy but at the same time I really wasn’t ready.
My 3 previous births left me with severe vaginal tearing and I was not looking forward to going through another painful labor and recovery period. Before I became pregnant with Evelyn, I was scared of getting pregnant and giving birth again. But each time I came to God with these feelings I felt Him saying, “Trust me and I will heal you with the next baby.” All throughout my pregnancy Hetee prayed for me and blessed me over and over again. I had a very healthy pregnancy and felt the Holy Spirit guiding me each step of the way. Since I had no one to lean on professionally we read a lot and prayed for wisdom regarding my prenatal care, just like with my previous pregnancies.
On the night of the 7th, after several days of on again off again labor, I confided to Hetee that I was feeling scared and wished that I could just run away. Saying it out loud made me feel so much better. He prayed for me and assured me that he was with me and that I was not alone. This freed me in a way that my body began to accept the idea of labor. That night the contractions continued all night long, unlike before when they would stop during the night.
I got up to urinate with every other contraction or so all night long. The contractions were still pretty far apart and I was very calm and able to sleep most of the night. I got up around 7 in the morning and prayed and read my Bible. God spoke to me through Psalm 139:11, 12 Even if at times I couldn’t see Him, He could still see me.
I labored quietly over my Bible and a cup of coffee. Nate, our oldest son, 7, tiptoed into the kitchen and kept me company for a while. I didn’t tell him or Abi, 5, or Kenny, 3, that I was in labor because I didn’t want to get their hopes up if things suddenly stopped. I decided to visit some uplifting blogs of other women whom I admire and who have given birth naturally multiple times. One of these women happened to be online and very kindly offered me encouragement and advice. I was passing slightly pink tinged mucus with each contraction (they were still far from painful) so I woke Hetee up and told him. He got up and kept trying to shush the kids and keep them quiet. I told him I didn’t mind their chatter. I felt so much love for them and for Hetee. This was such a private and incredibly intimate family time for me. I just wanted to soak it all in. At this point I told the kids that the baby was coming and would probably be here before night.
We had made plans the previous week to send the kids to the neighbors’, but Nate had told me that he wanted to stay home and be with me. He said he wanted to help daddy. He was a bit scared, having been there when his other siblings were born. He remembered vaguely how I had been in pain and he said it made him uncomfortable. I reminded him that he could go to the neighbors’ and play with his friend but he insisted that he wanted to stay. We had talked A LOT throughout my pregnancy about labor and pain and I think it helped prepare me as much as it did him.
Hetee called our nanny/helper and she came over, even though it was Sunday, her day off. She was excited about being here for the big event. By lunchtime I realized that the contractions were indeed the real deal. My helper got the kids their lunch. Hetee and I walked in the hallway (it’s very wide, warm and clean; not typical of apartment bldgs in Mong.) of our apartment building. We went up and down a few flights of stairs and I felt that it helped open things up. I wanted to go back to the be close to the toilet (I had been emptying bowels and bladder all morning and was eating and drinking a lot, too) so we went back inside and my helper, Mungunu, got Kenny and Abi ready to go to our friends’ apartment the next entrance over. It was around 1 pm and the contractions were demanding more concentration. Hetee prayed for me, that the contractions would be effective and that dilation would be swift.
We had called my mom earlier to let her know what was going on and told her to come but not to hurry. Mom had been with me during the other 3 births and I was glad she’d be able to be here for this one, too. She and my dad arrived while Hetee and I were in the bathroom. I was on the toilet up to this point but had just decided to move to the shower. I was very lucid and communicative between the contractions so I thought second stage was still a long way off.
The shower felt good and I got a few hard contractions while sitting on a stool and holding the shower head over my tummy then my back. I felt a lot of pressure but the hot water took the edge off and I felt like I never wanted to leave. At one point I told Hetee, “I don’t want to get out. Please don’t make me get out.” I stayed in there for about 30 minutes.
I began to feel the urge to push and told Hetee, between contractions, that we should go to the bedroom. He had put a lot of thought into making me as comfortable as possible and had come up with the perfect little nest for me to kneel on next to our bed. We moved to the room and I was still very in control when transition hit. It was actually hard to tell exactly when transition happened because I didn’t get the panicky, trembly feeling that comes with transition. My body began to bear down but I was able to suppress the urge to push by breathing and vocalizing through about 4 strong contractions. I wanted my uterus to do all the work and it was doing very good on its own. Hetee said he saw the bag of waters bulge during a contraction but I thought he was wrong because it was just too fast. I had to pee again so I went back to the bathroom, peed and then went back into the room. I was moving fast between contractions and talking to Hetee the whole time. It was unreal!
I got back to my nest and kneeled down with my head resting on the bed. One strong contraction ruptured the bag of waters and I realized that mom and Hetee hadn’t noticed. I was in the middle of telling them when her head started crowning. I supported her head with my hand and mom ran to get some toilet paper to wipe some fecal matter (that’s a mother’s love for ya!). Hetee held the baby’s head and told me to stop pushing, to breathe and wait for another contraction. I did and she shot out so fast that she slipped through his hands and onto the floor and did a little spin. In his mad dash to get my nest ready Hetee accidentally put the chux pads out plastic side up, so when my water broke it didn’t get absorbed and it made everything slippery. I was kneeling/squatting several inches off the floor and I had the feeling she might fall. When I saw that she did I started crying and yelling at him, “You dropped her?! How could you!”
I told Hetee and mom where the receiving blankets were and they wrapped her. Nate came in wide-eyed and so did my dad (dad, always the joker, said it was like giraffe birth, plopping out onto the ground. It really wasn’t that bad, though!). I reminded Hetee to check the time. It was 3:40 in the afternoon. Mom went to boil the scissors and string for the cord. I couldn’t believe how beautiful Evelyn was. She was perfectly peaceful as we sat back to nurse. I felt so good and full of energy. After the about 20 minutes we severed the cord. The placenta took a while to come and Hetee gave me some Advil for the after pains which were infinitely worse than the labor pains. Then he lined the toilet with a garbage bag and I sat down on the toilet and delivered the placenta approximately 2 and a half hours later. I was feeling lightheaded so he took my blood pressure but couldn’t get a reading. He tried again and by this time I was almost falling off the toilet. I started going into shock from blood loss so he got me back in bed and covered me up. I felt like a train was going through my head. He gave me (a LOT of) liquid chlorophyll to drink and after lying in bed for about 10 minutes I started to feel fine again. We decided to call a doctor friend to come and administer something to stop the blood. We live across the street from the hospital so she called someone who was on duty then and they came right over and gave me a shot. Looking back, I may have been ok without the shot but it was Hetee’s call. He was in charge and he did the right thing. I am so happy to have him as my coach and birth partner. I truly couldn’t have done it without him.
Even with the scare we had at the end (with losing blood); God kept His promise to heal me through this birth. I had a tiny tear that’s healing up fine and the labor was nowhere near as painful as the previous 3 were. Emotionally, I feel empowered. I have been given a gift that no one can take away. Besides having been given a healthy baby girl I have been given the gift of confidence that comes from obeying God even in the face of fear.