Monday, January 7, 2008

God’s Providence - - - A Birth Story

To tell this story, I must begin at the beginning. On April 7th, 2007, Victor and I were married and began praying to the Lord to give us a child. Both of us had a desire planted deep in our hearts for a child. We both knew the blessing that children are. “Lo, children are an heritage from the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is His reward.” Many times in scripture, children were given as a sign of blessing from the Lord on certain individuals. Other times, children were withheld as a curse. Victor and I both understood this, and thus our prayer was “Lord give us a child”. Every night from the first as we would pray together, this would be our prayer.

Our honeymoon week passed, and we were headed home to San Antonio. I wasn’t feeling real great. I was tired and feeling a little sick to my stomach. Once we got home, I all but crashed. Victor returned to work and I tried to muster what little strength and energy I had to finish setting up and organizing the house. However, I started feeling progressively worse and worse. Some people told us that you don’t “know” that early, but we had our guesses.

On April 27th, just 20 short days after our wedding, we discovered the exciting news that I truly was expecting. The next few months were difficult with nausea and fatigue, but God was good and gave sustaining strength and grace to Victor and I both. Victor was such a blessing to me during those months when I was so sick and weak I often times couldn’t get out of bed.

Fast-forward now to the end of December, and it’s time for our little girl to make her appearance. In some ways, I had hoped that she would come earlier (what pregnant woman doesn’t by that timeJ ). But, there were a few last things that needed to be done before she arrived. The last major event was the wedding of a very good friend. That was December 29th. December 31st, Victor and I spent New Year’s eve with my family. We had a delicious meal and did some fireworks, then played Dutch Blitz till just a little before mid-night. Very tired, we headed for home. Once home, we got ready and went to bed around 12:30. I got up twice in the next hour to go to the bathroom, and then began drifting off when I suddenly woke up and grabbed Victor telling him there was a man hanging over me in the bed. I then realized it was simply a strong contraction and laid back down to try to sleep. Not too long after that (at about 1:50) I woke up with a sudden realization that “Victor, my water broke!!”.

The contractions began increasing after that in closeness and intensity. We called my family and my mom and sister came over. Contractions continued and the midwives came around 7:00.

I continued laboring, but was not able to eat or drink much due to nausea from the pain. After a while the midwives checked and told me that my cervix was facing back and left and even though I might be quite dilated, the contractions wouldn’t do any good. In fact, they were more painful because each contraction pushed the baby down to the wall of the cervix only to have her return like a rubber band. Also, since I wasn’t able to eat or drink, they wanted to put me on an IV. I asked if I could try drinking lots of fluids first and see if that would help, and they agreed and gave me an amount of fluids and a time limit to drink them in. Now, for those who don’t know, I HATE needles and will honestly try anything else BEFORE taking a needle. So... I tried drinking and drinking, but with the next contraction and intense pain, it all came back up. By this time, I was very weak, tired and getting frustrated. They had tried all different things to try to get the cervix to move, but all to no avail. The pain was increasing and after trying to insert an IV unsuccessfully (it came back up and swelled up my hand), it was decided that I needed to go to the hospital. That was at about 9:30 p.m. We arrived at Southeast Baptist hospital around 10:00 and they got me in fairly quickly through emergency. They then wheeled me up to the maternity ward where they said that everyone else could have a seat in the waiting room. Victor was insistent, though, and came with me for which I was SO grateful. They took me into a room and began hooking me up to all kinds of machines and checking me, etc. The nurse was extremely rough, though and I was at the point of tears. She obviously didn’t care.

At one point, she told Victor that she would need the paper work from the midwives, so Victor went to the waiting room to retrieve it. When he returned, he had mom and the two midwives in tow. I didn’t know this till later, but when he went out to get the paper work, they said “We come with the paper work.” for which we would be very thankful very soon.

The nurse was not real thrilled with all the “opinionated observers”, but I was thankful to be able to rest and focus on labor without having to make all kinds of decisions. I knew that I could trust the decisions to be made for me. Soon, they had me hooked up to an IV and being monitored. The nurse left the room, only to return a short while later and inform us that “The doctor will be performing a c-section.” I was devastated. I had SO wanted a natural home birth, and now this... The midwives stood firm and insisted that “No, we would really rather not do a c-section, can you ask the doctor to reconsider.” She looked put out, but agreed. Before long she came back and said that “No, the doctor wants to do a c-section.” The midwives then looked at Victor and I and said “You don’t need to stay, we can walk.” Although the idea of “walking” during intense labor was not a pleasant idea, the thought of a c-section was worse. So, we began gathering our items and preparing to go. They brought in some paperwork that I had to sign that would release them from all responsibility. It was very hard to sign with the IV in my hand, but I managed.

Once out of the hospital, we began discussing where to go next. The midwives called Wilford Hall army medical center and asked if we could transfer in as an emergency. They agreed and we headed out. It took about 30 mins to get there, and once there, things started moving fast. Mom had given birth to Matthew in this same labor ward about three years earlier so we were quite familiar with it. The staff met us down at the Emergency entrance and quickly took us up to the maternity ward. There, we began the check-in process all over again. The contractions were increasing in intensity, which made everything more difficult, but since I didn’t have a choice, I just kept taking it one step at a time. They checked me and told me that I was 8 cm /+1 and they planned to give me an epidural and pitocin. However, since I wasn’t a normal patient at that hospital, they had to do some blood work and then wait for the results. So, I continued through contraction after contraction with severe pain, hoping that they would get the results soon. “Soon” came about two hours after I’d been admitted. The anesthesiologist came into the room and began explaining how he would go about things. It would take him about 20 minutes to put it in and 20-30 minutes to start working... As he began telling me all this, I got a really intense look on my face and said “I’ve gotta push!!”. My IV had fallen out, and had to be replaced, and the lady who was putting it in said, “No, don’t push.” I knew what I needed to do, though, and repeated my insistent “I’ve gotta push!!”. They called the doctor, and she calmly told me that she had just checked about 10 minutes ago, and I was not ready to push. Victor requested that she check again, which she did rather reluctantly. To her surprise, as well as everyone else in the room, she said I was fully dilated and ready to push. What followed, was about thirty minutes of intense pushing. Half an hour later, our little Hannah Faith made her appearance in the world. She was placed on my tummy and cleaned off. It was such a wonderful feeling to have her finally in view and so close. Victor was able to cut the cord and then they took her to do all the little checks that they do while the doctor stitched me up. The tear was in a unique place and it took around 30 minutes to do the stitches. After that, they gave Hannah to me, and I was finally able to have some close time with her.

The next few days passed in a blur for me. We got very little sleep as doctors and nurses came in and out regularly to check on mother and baby. There were not any complications, so we were able to go home early. We are now at home and recovering. Hannah is adjusting well, and is such a sweet little baby. The only difficulty so far is that she tends to be very sleepy and so I have a hard time getting her to feed when she should. Other than that, she’s perfectJ

We are very thankful to the Lord that we were able to end up having a natural birth. Looking back, we can clearly see how God orchestrated each seeming difficulty for our good. Had I had Hannah at home, I might have had to go to the hospital any way for the stitches. Had the nurse not sent Victor out for the “paperwork” we might not have known that we could “walk”. Had the blood work come back any sooner, and the IV stayed in my hand, I might not have had a natural birth after all, and there might have been more fears and uncertainties next time. There are countless more instances of God’s guiding hand, but sufficient to say, God is SO good. He gives just the grace and strength we need when we need it. To God be the glory, great things He has done!!

Five things we’re thankful for:

1. For a healthy mom and baby.

2. For a totally natural birth.

3. For the support of Mom, Dad, Angie and the midwives.

4. For wisdom at the right moments.

5. For providing the total cost of the birth through Samaritan Ministries.


Cathy said...

I am reminded of the verse that talks about all the pain a mother goes through to give birth, but that after the birth the pain is forgotten in the joy of holding her healthy child. Those pictures are so beautiful! I especially like the one of the three of you together. Such joy on your faces!

Laura said...

Hi Bethany,
I got directed to your blog through Rebeka's site. I was very interested in the Samaritan Ministries you talked about. Do they help with costs for midwives or is that a separate thing? I would love to know more information. Thanks so much!
By the way, you have a beautiful baby!

Rebekah said...

Oh, Bethany! How wonderful our Lord is! You've gone through so much to hold your precious daughter, but I know it was all worth it once she was in your arms. May God bless you and Victor as you seek to love and train your daughter in the way of truth and rightousness.