Four weeks ago we had the thrill of welcoming T into our family. T is a family name from my husband's side. (T is named after his father's mother's mother's father.) His middle name means "God is gracious." This child has been living proof of God's mercy since his conception. The fact that we were allowed to conceive him at all is a wonder. When his heart was having irregular rhythms in the womb, Jesus again proved his graciousness by guarding his health. T's labor and delivery were an absolute gift from God. Though I would never call it fun, my experience was so much better than my previous birth.
I felt my first contraction as I was finishing up at Bible study with N. A few more followed, but were very short lived and irregular in their timing. The first one came at about 1130.
By 1230 they were still irregular, but were coming a little bit closer together, about 10 minutes apart. I was about 5 minutes from my birth center and 35 minutes from home. My husband and midwife, though, were both at or near my house. So I drove home. Yes, I drove when I was in labor, but the contractions weren't bad and were still pretty far apart.
I got home at about 1300. I put away our lunch boxes and turned on the oven to start heating up the birth linens. My friend, V, arrived at 1330 to take N to her house for his afternoon nap. I wanted to roar through my contractions without worrying about terrifying my son. After they left I went to my sitting room to change into a robe, light candles & turn on worship music. The contractions started getting regular, so my husband started timing them. I was surprised that they were only 1.5 minutes apart. I would have guessed them 5 minutes apart.
At 1345 I notified my midwife that the contractions were 1.5 minutes apart. I could still walk and talk through them, but they were pretty close together. I knew she had an appointment at 1400, so I wanted to keep her posted before she was with someone else. She said she would have her assistant come. About five minutes later, though, I received a text that she was going to go ahead and come over.
My midwife arrived sometime between 1400-1405. About every third contraction was intense by the time she arrived. I was still walking through them, but instead of talking I was squeezing all the blood out of my husband's hands.
By about 1410 I was no longer walking or talking. I was kneeling on the ground, praying for God's help. My husband described it as a "two word psalm." - God help - and - God please -
I went to the restroom where my husband applied counter pressure to my knees while I sat upright. I squeezed his forearms and pushed my forehead against his. My water broke while I was sitting on the toilet (rather convenient).
My midwife told me it was time to get up and I told her no. She tried again. I said, "Sorry Suzanne, not going to do it." She dashed off to get the birth stool and brought it to the restroom. She tried to get me to walk the three feet to the birth stool. Still I refused. But then I found myself walking over. I found out later my dear husband helped me change my mind by gently lifting and guiding me to the birth stool. Good thing he did. T was born about one minute later.
1428. My son was born. My beautiful, purple, limp son. The booger wouldn't breath. My midwife gave him a few rescue breaths, then started to use an ambu bag on him. My husband and I were rubbing, talking, and otherwise trying to irritate him into breathing. After about a minute and a half he started to breath. The umbilical cord was still pulsating, so he had oxygen the whole time. But still, holding a lifeless baby in your arms should be terrifying.
It didn't even occur to me to be afraid. That is the peace that passes understanding. When my midwife asked me if I was scared I said I wasn't, and that it was probably because of my healthcare background. Oh! If only I could take back those words! It had nothing to do with my history of seeing other dead people. Only Jesus can explain why my heart was at such rest as my son flopped in my arms. I still remember the feeling of his warm, moist body resting there without any motion.
So that is the birth story of T.
He weighed 7 pounds, 2 ounces.
He was 19 3/4 inches long.
He had a great pile of black hair, including sideburns and fuzzy shoulders.
I have no idea how my heart survived 32 years without loving this boy.