Wednesday, September 5, 2012

hal's birth story

It's been almost six weeks since baby Hal joined our family. His birth was a wonderfully, exciting, painful, amazing experience. Do you want to hear about it? Ok. WARNING: This is a story about childbirth. If you don't want to read a story about childbirth, please don't read. I'll try to keep the details and photos family-friendly.
Before we get to the super exciting part of this story, I must share about the moderately exciting days that preceded. Hal was born on a Friday. The Monday before that Friday, I visited the midwife for my 40 week checkup. I had been having frustrating start/stop labor pains for weeks. She took a good long (and slightly invasive) look. This look determined that the baby was in a posterior position... meaning that his face was looking at my belly instead of my back. Babies can only be born naturally if they are looking at your back. She ordered me to lean forward... 24 hours a day... all day... until the baby flipped over. No leaning back on the sofa. So that's what I did. I leaned forward and read every single word of the spinning babies website. Was it comfortable? no. Did it work? yes.
I also spent hours upon hours praying and reading scripture. All of my birth experiences have been very different. Stella Belle's (the most recent... 4 years ago) was very long and emotionally draining. (She was also posterior... but no one bothered to tell me that at the hospital... until after 3 days of labor.) I knew I must be prepared with scripture to fight my desire to sink into despair. I kept writing the words "LOVE, REST, PEACE," in my journal and on the inside of my hand. I begged the Lord to use the birth of our fourth baby to show me the depth of His love while flooding my mind with His restful peace that surpasses all understanding.

On Thursday afternoon, my contractions were starting to feel "real," but I didn't get too excited. I asked my mother in law to take the kids for a while so I could go for a walk and pray and get a few things ready. Charlie picked up the kids on the way home from work, we ate dinner, put the kids to bed... usual things. Contractions were getting closer together and a little stronger. Around 10pm, I told Charlie to go to bed. I tried to lay on the couch and watch a movie, but my contractions were becoming stronger and very distracting. Then I had some bleeding and knew that this was probably the real thing. I walked around, cleaned, packed, got presents ready for the other three kids... stopping every 5 minutes for contractions.
At 4am I took a shower and decided to wait until 6am to wake Charlie up. At this point the contractions were hurting so badly. It took all my concentration and relaxation techniques to keep from crying through each one. 6am finally came. I woke Charlie and told him to call his parents so they could get the kids. I sent a text to my mom telling her to start the 9 hour drive from Mississippi. Then we got in the car and headed to the birthing center.

The birthing center is in Savannah (one hour from our house). I was trying to lean forward in the car and work through the contractions (and by "work through" I mean "scream"). Charlie hadn't had breakfast and knew it would be a long day so naturally he stopped by the McDonald's drive thru... disgusting. He got me a plain biscuit that I took 2 bites of and then almost threw up because of the waxy film it left on the roof of my mouth. Anyhoo, we made it to the birthing center. The midwife checked me and said I was between 7 and 8cm dilated. I just burst out in laughter and said, "that is such good news! Thank you!" Then back to contracting and screaming.
The rooms at the birthing center are beautiful... very cozy. My room had a huge whirlpool tub in the corner. Like, a huge hot tub with jets and warm water. After a few contractions on the bed I said I wanted to get in the tub. So I did. The water did not help with the pain of the contractions, but it was very relaxing for the in between time. After about an hour, my midwife wanted me to get out of the tub so she could check my progress. While she was checking me my water broke. Then she told me to go to the bathroom and have a few contractions standing up. I used the bathroom with Charlie helping me keep my balance and the midwife rubbing my back. I buried my face in my midwife's shirt and said (and by "said" I mean "screamed") "I can't do this!" She calmly replied, "yes you can." To which I replied, "but I don't want to!" She calmly replied, "you have to." I got back in the tub and had a HUGE contraction. After that I asked the midwife to (and I quote), "get a needle and give me something." She handed me what looked like a shot glass filled with some brown liquid and I drank it down. I think it was whisky. Don't know, don't care. Another HUGE contraction. Screaming. Lots of pressure. I informed everyone (and by "everyone" I mean everyone in the room... and in the city of Savannah) that I would be pushing on the next contraction. The nurse told Charlie to get into the tub with me. Charlie had a mild heart attack then stripped down into his boxer briefs and got in the tub.
The next contraction came, I pushed, and out came baby's head! I took a deep breath, pushed again, let out a big tribal woman scream and baby was out! A chubby little boy! I hugged him and cried and fell in love for the 6th time ever in my life (Jesus is my first love, Charlie is my second, Dean, Millie, Stella Belle and now baby Hal). The nurse told me to look at the clock. Only 8 minutes from the time my water broke until I was holding my baby. Unbelievable.
They got me out of the tub covered me with blankets, sewed me up, gave me some herbal tea and something to help with the pain. I kept saying, "I cannot believe that just happened." I nursed Hal then cuddled him while I took the best nap of my life. Charlie went to Target to buy some new underwear and brought back a bag full of my favorite things to eat and drink. I love him.
After my nap I got up and took a shower. The midwife came to make sure everything was o.k. then cleared us to go home. 4 hours after Hal was born we were headed home. My parents met us there with our kids and Charlie's parents. We grilled hamburgers and had a little welcome home party. It was a perfect day... wild... but perfect.
Baby Hal is. the. sweetest. thing. He's everything we ever wanted. Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus!


  1. This is crazy and so encouraging! I plan to have a midwife and hopefully do home births when the day finally comes to be a wife and mother. I loved reading your story. See you at the conference!

  2. Thank you for sharing his birth story. What joy and grace abound!