Tuesday, December 29, 2009

One week has passed..

...since this little person arrived at our house. Amazing how someone so small can turn a whole household upside-down! :o)

I was told to rest in bed for a week or two postpartum, and I am finding that the more children I have, the more important that rest period is. There have been times when I was flat on my back, in tears of frustration because I could not rise up and serve my family. But I am learning that time recuperating is time well-spent, and it serves my family well that I rest so that they will have a wife & mother who is strong and well.

And so I am resting.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Birth Story

Jeannette Abigail was born December 22, 2009, in our home in San Juan, Guatemala, weighing 10 lbs and measuring 21.5 inches long.

I was due on December 16, and though I had a few episodes of good, hard and low contractions during that waiting period, I admit I got so discouraged at times. The Lord gave me this verse of encouragement:

"Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD." Psalm 27:14

I sang this verse to myself and the baby several times a day. It was such a blessing to me, and it reminded me to just trust my Father.

Monday night, the 21st, we didn't go to bed until nearly 11 p.m. At 11:15, my eyes popped open to look at the clock. I was having a very good contraction. Another came 15 minutes later.. then another.. I lay there timing them for about an hour. A little after midnight I got up to visit the bathroom. I wrote the following in a notebook we had for the purpose of recording the labor and delivery:

12:15 a.m. Good, strong, low contractions for the last hour or so ~ Went to the bathroom. Seemed like one contraction after another. Couldn't stop trembling ~ It's cold!

I went back to the bedroom and paced around a bit, timing contractions, breathing through them. At 12:40 I got into the birth pool, ready for some relief. It felt wonderful in there and I was able to relax better through the contractions that were growing in intensity. I floated about, talked to and sang to the baby, whose dancing movements seemed to show her excitement about her birth day! It was so quiet, warm and sweet, laboring there in the flickering light of the lamp I had lit earlier. Just me, the baby, and the sweet presence of the Lord.

As soon as I entered the water of the birth pool, my contractions jumped to just 5 minutes apart. They were rather intense, and as each one came I focused on breathing deeply and slowly, while I imagined my cervix relaxed and flapping lazily in a warm breeze like a wind sock. Ha! Sounds funny now, but that is the image that came to my mind, and I locked onto it and it really seemed to help me dilate. Quickly.

At 1:00 a.m. I really felt the need for Daniel's support. I called to him from where I was in the water. As soon as he saw that I was in the pool, he was WIDE awake. I told him that we should probably call the midwife, Asucena. He did, and she said she was on her way. (Asucena and her husband do not have a car, and no buses run that late at night, so they came no short distance on foot. What friends!)

The water of the pool was a bit too hot for me ~ about 102* F. We poured in half a jug of cold colloidal silver (which we used to treat the water while waiting to use it) and I stood up several times to cool myself off, then dipped back down into the water when a contraction came. I got curious about my progress at some point, and tried to check my cervix. I could not feel it at all, but just a squishy soft spot that must have been the bulging amniotic sac! Funny, it still did not dawn on me just how imminent the baby's birth was. I was very calm and went about the business of dealing with each contraction as it came.

At 1:15 a.m. I needed to visit the bathroom again. Daniel helped me in there, then left to go get something. While there, I had another contraction, then all of the sudden - *POP*! - the amniotic sac broke! Daniel heard it from the other room.

"Was that your water??"

"YES, it was!"

I was so excited.. Another contraction came as he rushed back into the bathroom. I breathed through it, trying to just let my uterus do the work. Daniel asked me if I wanted to get back into the pool. I stood up. I knew without a doubt there wasn't time.

"She's coming -- RIGHT NOW!"

Just then she was crowning. Both of us supported the perineum, and Daniel held her head as it eased out. He said, "She's coming... There are her little ears.. her cheeks..."

There was no need to push hard. I eased her out slowly, and allowed my uterus and gravity to do most of the work. Her head was out, then the shoulders, and the rest of her body slid out in a glorious rush of warm water. Joy and Elation!

I sat down, Daniel laid her across my legs and I held her to my chest while we checked her over. Daniel got a towel to put over us, and I gently sucked some mucus from her nose and rubbed her back to stimulate her. She pinked up quickly and gave us a satisfying cry or two. Then Daniel helped us back to the bedroom and into the pool to keep warm while waiting for the placenta to come.

Daniel marked the time of her birth as 1:22 a.m., just over two hours after I first awakened with contractions.

He got me a stool to sit up on so I could nurse her right in the water. She latched on like she'd been practicing for some time. Right about then, Asucena arrived. We filled her in on the birth, and we checked the umbilical cord. Still pulsing. I wanted to wait until the placenta was born before cutting the cord, so we did. Once that occurred, Daniel took his baby girl out of the water to dry her off and dress her, while Asucena tended to me.

I am so thankful to my Father for this wonderful birth! As I relive it over and over again, I see His tender, guiding hand in every detail.

"For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.

I will praise thee: for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth..

How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!

If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee." from Psalm 139

God has been so good to us. We thank Him!

Jeannette's name is a combination of Jean (her grandmother's middle name) and Annette (my middle name). Abigail means "my father's joy".

Monday, December 21, 2009

Okay, I'm ready now!

An-y-time now...

I try so hard not to get discouraged, and just allow labor to come on in God's time. Yesterday I realized that, in spite of my efforts, I had indeed mentally worked out my own time frame for this birth instead of leaving it to the Lord. I was in tears as I got dressed for church, remembering that last week I had put my maternity church dresses aside to wash so that I could put them away, since I would not be needing them anymore. Ha!

So I went to church Sunday morning, to face everyone there who were all certain I would have had this baby by now! It's been raining and cold b/c of a hurricane in the Gulf the past few days, and I thought how lovely it would be to stay warm at home alone, laboring to the sound of rain falling outside... Only thing missing was the contractions.

I took a nap in the afternoon, "patiently" waiting for a good, hard contraction. Nothing significant came. So then it was time to get ready for the afternoon church meeting, and I couldn't think of any reason not to go (besides depression?? Well, that's actually a good reason to GO :o), so I rolled my pregnant self out of bed, dressed again, and went with my family.

I have to admit, both morning and afternoon services I was glad I went (once I got there) and especially enjoyed playing the piano. It was soothing, and it took my mind off myself and the baby, as I played and sang unto the Lord!

After getting home later, I put on my nightgown again and went to bed early, "just in case". I awoke a couple hours later. My brother in Wisconsin had called, so I paced the house while talking with him. That conversation was so refreshing! I didn't mind waking up for that.

Daniel and I were both feeling a bit excited, and had a hard time settling down. We talked until late, then finally went to sleep. I had good, hard, low contractions until around 2:30 a.m., then slept well until the sun came up.

SO.. Here I sit, still craddling this little cuddler in my womb. My mom says she just enjoys the ride. She's certainly in no hurry to find the exit! But there is no doubt she will be born soon. I can't wait to share the news. :o)

Thanks for all your prayers!

Saturday, December 19, 2009


Early this morning I was pondering this word that we use, overdue, referring to pregnancy. Is there any such thing as being overdue? Sometimes I hesitate to tell someone my due date, because people tend to fixate on that date as THE day for a baby to be born, or something is not right. The baby might get too big, or the mama is uncomfortable, or, worse, the doctor is leaving town and the mother must submit to induction if she wants her doctor to be present for the birth.

How impatient we get, and unwilling to submit to God's timing! Is not the time of one's birth just as fixed in the mind of God as the time of one's death?

"My times are in thy hand..." Psalm 31:15

The reason I think patience matters first of all is because God is deserving of our confidence in all circumstances, and not just in the circumstances in which it is convenient to trust Him. Has He not proven Himself faithful in all areas of my life? Then why should I not trust Him with the timing of the birth of a child He created in the first place?

"Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD." Psalm 27:14

Another reason patience matters is because many women, for lack of patience and faith, get anxious and begin to make bad decisions. When a woman gets impatient she starts to take the controls into her own hands (or turns them over to the doctor) instead of leaving them to the Lord. Then she tends to subject herself and her child to unnecessary medical interventions, and one thing leads to another.. Before she knows it, God has been left completely out of the birth process.

"But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother's breasts." Psalm 22:9

In other areas of our lives we say we trust in the Lord, and resign ourselves to wait on Him. Why is it that we isolate pregnancy and birth from this principle, and do everything we can to induce labor and hasten delivery? I am convinced that the timing of a birth can be completely and safely placed in the hands of Jehovah. He is forming this little one in the womb. Let's not disturb the Artist as He completes His masterpiece! His work is never overdue.

"For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.

My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them."

Psalm 139:13-16

Monday, December 14, 2009

"I'm baking cookies..."

That was my answer when my midwife asked me over the phone what I was doing right then. I was expecting my first baby, and wasn't sure what it felt like to really be in labor. When I started having pretty regular contractions, I called her up to ask if it was time to head to the birth center.

"Nope, it's not time," she said. Wise woman. If I still felt like baking cookies, I probably needed to hang out in the kitchen a while longer.

But the baby did come several hours later, and with every baby since then baking cookies has been a sort of ritual for me to prepare for labor. ..Not to mention a pretty funny joke in the family. Any time I am pregnant and baking cookies, they feign nervousness and ask me how I'm feeling!

So what is this thing about baking cookies? Maybe it's the warmth of the oven, the yummy smell in the kitchen, or the therapeutic occupation of the mind with something OTHER than impending labor. Perhaps it's simply knowing that when friends and family come over later to see the baby, there will be homemade goodies in the house to share with them, and I was able to be a hostess ahead of time.

All that is part of the reason for my ritual, I think. It came to my mind tonight because I've had a really strong urge to bake cookies lately, ha ha! Due date is not until tomorrow, and I could never hope to go into labor for real until a few days after.

But the time is really close. I'm excited! And I appreciate your prayers. :o)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Setting up the birth pool

Daniel unpacked the birth pool and set it up in our bedroom in preparation for the birth. Yep, it's really that close!

The children are all excited, and wanted to help out. Here they are assembling the walls.

These two little guys were born in this pool! :o) Behind them is one of the waterbed heating pads that we use to keep the water within the ideal temperature range of 98° to 100° F.

Now they are fitting the permanent liner over the walls of the tub. It's a pretty tight fit, so Daniel shimmies it down the sides little by little.

Before filling it with water, we will put a disposeable liner in. This makes cleanup so easy! After the birth, Daniel simply drains the pool water with an immersible pump, sending it out to the flower garden. (It's nitrogen-rich!) Then he gathers up the disposeable liner and throws it away, while I relax in our clean, dry bed with the newborn.

Giving birth this way is SO nice, for SO many reasons!