Hi, I’m Rachel and you can find me blogging about my juicing adventures at underjuiced.blogspot.com. I am so grateful to Kelley for allowing me to share my 4th baby’s birth story. It’s been great reading everyone else’s stories, and I feel privileged being part of this series.
The news of baby number four came as a surprise to my husband and me. We had both begun long-term projects (a Master’s degree and certification for me, and grant applications to do research abroad for him) that we thought were best completed between babies. But, as always, God knows best and everything happens for a reason. ‘At least,’ I thought, ‘we can give a brother to our son.’
What is it that people say about making plans and God laughing? When we found out that I was pregnant with my third daughter, all we had was pity for our poor son, still the only boy, still alone amongst bossy sisters!
My pregnancy was great. I drove into the city of Pittsburgh (an hour away) for my prenatal appointments with a group of midwives who deliver in a free-standing birth center. My mother is also a CNM, and had been present at the births of my three previous children.
I was busy taking classes, both on campus and online, and LOVING them. In the spring I was careful to only take online courses that were eight weeks long. The official end date of the classes was my due date, March 4. Now for another surprise: one of the classes I was taking was the hardest class I have ever taken: Master’s level Statistics, online. (Oh, so many tears of frustration shed that semester!)
I bumbled my way through this course (it actually made my third trimester go faster) and before I knew it, I was full term. I had my 40-week appointment in the morning on March 3, the date of my final exam. Kara was the midwife on call that day. I told her I felt kind of crampy. She said I looked kind of “labor-ish.” After she checked me, she recommended that I walk around the city, do some shopping and come back to have her check me again in a few hours. But I had to get home and take my final exam!
Contractions continued mildly the rest of the day, but I didn’t take them seriously, since in other births I have had the tendency to stall labor. I got some laundry done, cleaned the kitchen and sat down for my Statistics exam. I began with a prayer: a desperate, begging, pleading prayer. One hour later, I finished and my grade popped up … 100%! A miracle!
After the school, dinner and bedtime routine, I walked on the treadmill at my in-law’s to stimulate labor. After a mile it got very uncomfortable. Arriving home, my husband was excited that I might be in labor, but was more excited to watch the previous night’s LOST episode online. I don’t remember much from that episode; we left right after that to drive to the midwife center.
We arrived at 11pm. I was dilated to 7cm already and my bag of waters was bulging. My mom arrived around midnight. Kara broke my water and I transitioned.
Pushing was awful. There was something funny about her head position. She didn’t quite turn her head the way babies do as they’re being born. I remember stiffening my legs straight and the midwives coaching me to relax and bend my knees, but it seemed impossible! I also remember grasping the wrought iron headboard and seriously thinking that if I could just climb through the openings in the headboard that I could get away from the pain. (It didn’t seem that silly in the moment!) I pushed for about 20 minutes and Elizabeth Marcella was born at 1:20 am on March 4, 2010.
She was my biggest at 9 pounds, 8 ounces! She is also my fairest, with white blonde hair and light blue eyes. We call her Libby, and she has just celebrated her second birthday! We love you dear Libby and don’t know what we ever would have done without you.
Thanks for sharing your story Rachel! Look at the beautiful baby girl!
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