Dustin and I are very intentional with most everything we do. And birth is no different. We took the advice of our midwife Cathy and went to an in-person birthing class for our firstborn. My husband attended my prenatal visits so that my concerns and his were both answered. Because of this, my husband was well-equipped to support me throughout the entire process of pregnancy, labor, and delivery. For the second born, we took an online refresher course through Christian Hypnobirthing (no this is not hypnosis) and Dustin attended my prenatal visits as well. So much knowledge and information was given on how to properly breathe through contractions and to stay in the rhythmic breathing stage during labor. Information that gave me a focal point to lead the process of labor on. I, personally, made sure to keep prayer and leaning on The Lord at the center of my mindset. He created me to go through this process and I am forever thankful for the opportunity and gift it is to carry and deliver babies into this world. This peaceful birth was fully credited to The Lord. It has been another opportunity for my flesh to die to self and to press further into The Lord, when things were going good and when things seemed harder than I could bear myself. He sustained me.
One of the best pieces of advice I have received around having babies is, âDo not get married to your âdue dateâ!â And I have followed that advice with both of my babies so far (and I would strongly recommend the same for any expectant mother). Instead, we figure out what the latest date is that I am able to carry my baby safely with my midwife and then I tell myself that is my âdueâ date. Sage was estimated to be due 10/22/23 and the latest date I could carry her was 11/05/23. I carried my first 11 days late, so we were in no way expecting a baby until early Novemberâ¦ at the earliest.
Caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays and my due date quickly approaching, my days focused on my firstborns 2nd birthday party (10/07/23), napping as much as I could, figuring out when I was going to get my exhausted pregnant self to decorate for Christmas (like, is postpartum Rebecca going to want to decorate or should overdue pregnant Rebecca decorate, lol), and what groceries needed to be bought for Thanksgiving to get fully prepared so postpartum Rebecca didnât have to think about it. The week I went into labor, I had created a huge weekend to-do list to knock out on Saturday. It included cutting my husband’s hair, mixing up home-made laundry detergent, hemming 7 pairs of pants for a friend, baking a loaf of sourdough bread and starting a batch of chicken bone broth. God had much bigger and better plans for our family, as He always does.
The evening of Friday, October 13th my husband (Dustin) came home and started whipping up some of his famous chicken fried backstrap for dinner. A full dinner with mashed potatoes, green beans and gravy. As we sat down to eat around 6:30 pm, I started having some more noticeable Braxton Hicks (BH) contractions. This wasnât anything new for me, as I have BH throughout most of my 2nd and 3rd trimesters. These definitely caught my attention though and apparently caught the attention of Dustin as he looked at me with leery eyes as if to ask, âare you in labor?â, without actually asking me. Rememberâ¦. We arent having this baby until November 5th and it is currently October 13th! I softly, but quickly, shook my head ânoâ and continued our dinner conversations with our 2 year old, Wren. We did our normal evening routine and took Wren outside to play in the backyard before the night sky stole the sun completely. We did our normal bath time routine and ended our evening in the giant reading chair in the nursery to put Wren down for the night.
During one of the stories, my BH were getting strong enough that I needed to gently breathe through them, but they werenât painful and they were only 10 minutes apart (contractions need to be about 4 minutes or less apart to consider it âgo-timeâ). Around 9 oâclock, after Wren was asleep, I started to let the reality that I could be in labor sink in. We called our wonderful midwife, Cathy, and told her where I was at in the process. She wanted me to relax a little and gave some instructions for a warm epsom salt bath and Â½ a glass of wine. If this wasnât the real deal, then I would get a good nightâs sleep and continue on with my busy Saturday plans the next day.
Sure enough, my contractions slowed down to 30-45 minutes apart and we went to bed for the night around 10:30 pm in hopes of deep sleep.
Abruptly, at 1:30 am I woke up to the same level of contraction I was having the evening prior, still 10 minutes apart. I decided to lay in bed and continue to sleep between contractions as much as I could until things really started picking up. At 3:30 am, I couldnât lay in bed any longer. Being confined to my bed was not what my body needed. My body was telling me that I needed to get up and move around with these contractions. Mind you, they are still 10 minutes apart. At this point, I am a little frustrated that they arent closer together because Iâd much rather be asleep until the real action got there! Dustin and I both had to have a âcome to Jesusâ with each other at that point. My frustration coupled with his sleep-gazed attitude did not make for a pretty âhusband and wife in labor togetherâ picture that we all so deeply desire. We paused and brought our brains both into the reality that this was the real deal and that we needed to be diligent to choose the kind words in our heart that the Holy Spirit so graciously put there for us. We prayed and asked for Godâs guidance as we moved forward through this next phase.
Upon getting out of bed at 3:30 am, all of sudden, my contractions went from 10 minutes apart to 2 minutes apart! I quickly called Cathy who answered me. I explained how things were going and she said that it was likely I would need to head into the birth center sometime this morning and she started giving instructions on how to monitor things at home myself when I started having another contraction. Immediately, her tone changed and she very happily stated, âRebecca, You just go ahead and head up to the birth center now, Iâll get everything ready for you!â We grabbed our go-bag and called our close friends to come over to stay at the house until Wren woke up and we headed out the door!
We arrived to the birth center around 4:45 am. My contractions had slowed down ranging anywhere from 2-6 minutes apart during the 20 min care ride. I had very little hope that I had made much progress. A small part of my brain believed that this still wasnât the real deal. I truly thought, theyâre going to send us back home to labor more. To my disbelief, I was dilated to a 7 and was 90% effaced! The magical comforting words I had been hoping to hear rang out, âYou can get in the water if you want!â Say no more. Being in the birthing pool takes 90% of the pressure away during contractions. The warm water held me and our precious baby Sage and brought us a magnitude of relief. Worship music played in the background, the twinkle lights dimly lit the room and I was able to sink into a rhythm of deep, relaxed breathing. I could even feel Sage move around between contractions, almost as if she were trying to push her own way out along with each contraction.
Timing contractions had stopped at this point but I could tell mine were getting further and further apart. A small wave of fear ran through my body. Guilt filled my mind for this part of my labor to not being more exciting or intense. I sheepishly apologized for making everyone get to the birth center so early. To which everyone in the room quickly comforted my mind, reassuring that they were there to support us no matter what the stage of labor was. I asked Cathy, âshould i go back home for a while to labor? Is this okay?â She gave me a knowing smile and said, âeverything is going exactly as it should be, Rebecca. You are going to have this baby this morning.â My contractions grew in intensity, but my recovery times were long, allowing my body to fully recover. I feared the long pauses would stall my labor and make the delivery complicated. I now know fear was not warranted here and that the Lord gifted me these moments during this delivery. Between contractions we talked about the excitement of bringing Sage home to meet Wren and all of the sister adventures they would have together. Joy. I snacked on some grapes, my favorite protein bar, electrolyte drink, water, and a few walnuts. Energy. The long pauses brought on moments of deep prayer, thanking The Lord for the new life about to be born earthside. Peace. The gaps of time between each contraction allowed for me to lift my voice in praise as my worship playlist rolled on in the background. Thankfulness.
So much gratitude. So much trust in The Lordâs plan. So much peace flowing through myself and the rest of the room. Truly surrendering each breath to The Lord helped move things along as I left fear to the wayside and fully pressed into the presence of The Lord with me.
Two moments occurred within a 5 minute window where I started losing my breathing rhythm and I could feel the intensity of the contractions move through my body looking for a way out. The Lord had equipped my close friend, Bethany, on exactly how to handle this moment. Having given birth naturally herself and attended many friends and family births, she was quickly at my side very calmly reminding me to breathe the baby down and relax into the contraction. Reminding me that everything that was happening, was how it was supposed to be going. After that, I wanted to be checked again and Cathy announced I was complete and could push when ready. It was about 7 oâclock in the morning.
Dustin had already been in the water with me providing counter pressure on my back and doing pelvic hip squeezes to help my body cope with the intensity of each contraction. At this point, my waters still had not broken which provided me with an extra cushion to fall into.
The time had come. My body was ready and it was telling me to push. Sage was ready to make her way into our arms. I continued to work with my body through the next contraction through deep breaths and gentle bearing down. My waters broke and her head had made its way out. Dustin was gently supporting our sweet baby girl. All I could hear were his calm exclamations that Sage was almost here and that he had our little girl in his hands. My contraction ended and I relaxed, melting into my body. Cathy gently suggested, âYou can give a small push, Rebecca, and she will be here. We donât have to wait for the next contraction if you are ready.â And with a peaceful deep breath, I gave a gentle push and our sweet girl was born! She was immediately caught by her daddy and ushered into my arms to lay on my chest for skin to skin. She was here. The Lordâs hand guiding the entire process. Our sweet Sage Elizabeth was born into the world at 7:10 am.
We recovered at the birth center for about 3-4 hours going through all of the necessary health checks/ screenings we elected for both of us before going home to enjoy our first long sleep together as a new family of four. We enjoyed a warm herbal bath together as her tiny body relaxed into mine. She had a chance to snuggle down in her daddyâs arms. We began our next journey in parenthood but also in our daily walk with Jesus. Parenting isnât easy. Raising little babies isnât easy. Being pregnant and delivering babies isnât easy. But I have learned that if I listen to the whisper and gentle tugs on my heart from the Holy Spirit, it is a sanctifying journey. And how absolutely wonderful and reassuring that is to my weary soul.