I was pregnant with number five, and I knew I needed to try something different! I had gained enough hospital experiences to last me the rest of my life. I would have been happy to never return.
Ashlyn, who was now 18 months, was a developmentally delayed because of a rare chromosomal abnormality. She was surprisingly healthy and incredibly happy…except when we visited any doctor’s office. They she cried and screamed inconsolably. She had had her fill of hospitals and doctors as well! How different things would have been for her if I would have had the courage to try a home birth.
But this time I was ready! I read and studied. All my research concluded the same thing. Every study ever done comparing hospital births to home-births (assisted by a trained midwife) revealed that home-births were safer! Home-birth labors were faster, less painful and required less intervention. There were fewer chances for infection, injury, and death for both mother and baby. I interviewed the home-birth midwives in Colorado Springs. I found a very experienced midwife named Merrie who I just loved. She thoroughly enjoyed what she did for a living, and she put me at ease. I asked Merrie about what would happen if we had another child like Ashlyn. The doctors had told us that it was a possibility. She was just fine with it and reassured us that she was trained to transport us to the hospital at the very first sign of problems.
The pregnancy began with a bit of fear and trepidation. What if this child was born with problems? I would recognize Ashlyn’s distinctive features as soon as the child was born. I imagined what I would feel; looking into the eyes of another “special” child and wondering if I would be able to handle the strain of it all. Ashlyn was still like a baby. She did not yet sit up or crawl, although she had started to scoot herself around on her belly in a funny one-legged pattern. Who knew what the future held for her? Yet, her smile brought so much joy, her sweet spirit ministered to me. I knew I wouldn’t trade her for the world! She was the perfect baby for me! I didn’t know how her life would unfold, but God did, and He said it was good! I realized that even if this unborn child had problems, I would love him or her just as much!
Slowly and steadily, as the baby grew in my belly, so did my peace and trust in God. I knew that having a home-birth was the right decision. I knew that this baby would be fine. We found out that the baby was a boy, and Chris and I searched for a name that would bring redemption to all of the problems that Ashlyn had been having. We chose Chai Erik which meant, “Healthy and Powerful!” Every time called him by his name, we were prophesying to him that he was healthy and powerful!
If you read my last post, Birth Story: Part 3, you will remember our bad church situation. When Ashlyn was four months old, our family was kicked out of that church. It was the best thing that could have happened to us! We were now being reunited with truth and love and had rediscovered the joy of our salvation! We also realized that where we really wanted to live was back in our hometown in Pennsylvania. Life Center, the church we had grown up in and had been married in, wanted to hire Chris! God was working out all the amazing details for us to move back home! We were full of deep, deep gratitude!
Three and a half weeks before my due date, Life Center flew Chris out to Pennsylvania for the final interview. He was having a wonderful time reconnecting with dear friends. I was at home taking care of four young children and throwing up every few hours with contractions that tightened my very huge belly! The ladies at Life Center thought I was going into labor! I reassured them that it was only a stomach bug. I had never thrown up in labor before, and I wasn’t going to start now!
Chris returned home the next day and I was feeling better! We were so excited about packing and moving across the country to our new lives! We just had to wait for this baby to be born.
We didn’t have to wait long. The very next night around two in the morning, I rolled over in bed and my water broke. At first a wave of fear washed over me. This was how it had all started with Ahslyn. First my water had broken, then no contractions, then the hospital, then lots of rude people, then Pitocin, then birth defects, then…on and on my mind churned. What if this labor was like the last time? I tried to get some sleep, but I couldn’t. When the sun rose, I quietly got out of bed and sat at the kitchen table with my Bible and notebook.
“OK God, I really need to hear your voice now. I do not want to listen to the voice of fear,” I prayed.
God put verses Isaiah 66:7-9 into my mind. I looked them up and as I read, peace and joy washed over my spirit in healing waves. I couldn’t hold back my worship and love for this God who had just given me the best verses that any pregnant woman could ever hope to receive!
“Before she goes into labor, she gives birth; before the pains come upon her, she delivers a son. Who has ever heard of such a thing? Who has ever seen such things? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children. ‘Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?’ says the LORD.”
God spoke to the very depth of my fears; that labor wouldn’t start for days and this baby wouldn’t be born. Yet God was saying that he would be born in a day and that I would give birth before the pains came upon me! I was so relieved and thankful!
Then I became a bit agitated. This baby was coming fast and nothing was ready! Chris was still sleeping; the birthing pool wasn’t set up; the midwife wasn’t there. I started having contractions, and I woke Chris up.
“I think we need to set up the birthing pool!” I said. He seemed to take his good old time! He didn’t feel the same urgency that I did. When I was having contractions about every five minutes, we called Merrie to come over. She arrived with another midwife. I slipped into the warm birthing pool which was really just a kiddie pool with brightly colored fish decorating the sides. I was so comfortable that my contractions completely stopped.
“I am in no hurry. I will stay here for as long as it takes,” Merrie said. “Although, you do need to have contractions if you want to have a baby. I have a homeopathic remedy that could start the contractions coming more regularly, if you want it.”
I said that would be great. It was a tiny dose of minuscule white pills. Sure enough, soon those contractions were coming again. The pain was not bad at all, but I was feeling it in my back. Pretty soon I had gotten onto my knees to lean over the side of the pool. Merrie applied pressure to my back with every contraction and that helped immensely.
“I have a feeling that the back pain is being cause by the baby flipped in the wrong direction,” Mary said. “I think if he turns, he will come right out! I have another homeopathic remedy that will turn the baby, but if he is in the correct position now, it won’t change that.”
I took it and a short time later I felt a very funny flipping and flopping feeling inside of me. He turned! Because the pain was so minimal, I was aware of the baby descending into the birth canal. I knew he was coming soon! Chris was casually taking orders for lunch. He was planning on running out to pick up some Chinese food and eating lunch before the baby was born.
“Chris you don’t have time for that. He is coming! I think he is coming now!”
Merrie asked Chris if he wanted to catch the precious bundle.
“Sure!’ Chris said as he knelt on the floor and leaned over the birthing pool. Chai came sliding into the world under the water and into Chris’ waiting hands. It was 11:55am and we were looking at a perfect, beautiful, and normal baby boy!
I sat in the warm water and held him close. We were so cozy and comfortable that we remained in the water for another half an hour and made our excited announcement calls to friends and family.
Finally we both got dried off and transferred to my bed. I felt so incredibly happy and comfortable. I wasn’t even bothered by those pesky after-contractions that had hurt so much the previous times.
God words had proven true! My greatest fears had not been manifested. In fact, just the opposite had been true! I understood that just as God had brought this baby forth so easily, He would also bring us into our promised land. It would be His grace and His favor that would bring us into the new lives we were longing and yearning for with all of our hearts! He had brought us redemption!