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".