The morning is full of hope, and this morning especially so. On Thursday, June 11, 2009, I awoke knowing that by the end of the day, I would be holding my new baby. I had spent an hour or two in and out of sleep with waves of contractions. When I got out of bed it was just after 4:00 a.m., so I told David to keep sleeping, and I went downstairs. I warmed up a rose and neroli aromatherapy oil. I had for a few days wrestled with some anxious thoughts, but this morning, alone with the Lord, I felt clear and uplifted, empowered and embraced. For the next couple of hours, I listened to praise music by Phil Wickham, ate a little strawberry yogurt, started some laundry, listened to Hypnobabies birthing affirmations while timing contractions on the birth ball, peeled carrots for the birth day cake, and walked around the still-dark house. Just before 6:00 a.m., I felt the intensity of my pressure waves increasing, so I decided to call my midwife, Debbie. Since the contractions were lasting about a minute and coming every five, she said that she would leave her home in Marietta right away.
I heard some activity upstairs, and soon John David and Elliot were coming down to find some toys that they had gotten from the dentist the day before. Elliot wondered why I was awake, and I told them that my belly was squeezing, and we would be going to bed that night with a new baby. I lit some candles in the den, and they sat with me in the dim light for a while. They were full of excitement and ready to eat breakfast, so I decided it was time, about 6:45, to wake up my mom and David. I stayed upstairs and walked around with a pillow. When the pressure peaked, I bent over on our bed and rode the wave. As I continued to pace around my room, the sun came up, and I contemplated the purpose of this day, the end of this long pregnancy, and the beginning of this new life. I focused on the words: peace, release, and open. David prayed for me and massaged my back through a few of the contractions, but mostly stayed downstairs with the boys until about 7:45, at which time he brought them upstairs. I took my pillows down to the learning room, sat on the birth ball, and leaned over the table while listening to Fernando Ortega through some strong waves. The curtains were open, and the sun was softly shining on our quiet road and spring gardens. I remained hopeful and inspired by the morning, even as I waited on the midwife and permission to enter the birth tub.
Debbie and two apprentices, Tanya and Natalie, arrived at 8:30 during a contraction. As it ended and I opened my eyes, I expressed my desire to get into the tub. After an internal check, she encouraged me with the news that my cervix was about 7 cm dilated. I waited as they checked the baby's heart tones and filled the birth tub with some more water. I noticed my contractions were spacing out. I went to the bathroom, came back, then drew a long breath of clary sage essential oil before finally stepping into the birth tub. I think I had two more powerful pressure waves and asked for more water in the tub, then I got onto my knees and gave a deep moan, which instinctively lead right away to a push. Natalie ran upstairs to get the boys and my mom.
I discovered the baby was crowning by the expressions of “all that hair.” I breathed deeply and heard John David say that he saw the baby's nose. I was not pushing, just leaning forward and listening as the mouth, then chin were observed. I then gave a push to slide the shoulders out. I asked if I had a baby then turned around. David handed the baby to me and said, “You're not going to believe it.” I held her, and couldn't believe--first--all the dark hair! Then I saw that I had a daughter, a gorgeous wide-eyed baby girl with rose-red lips, cute curved-up little nose, and waves of dark brown hair. I held her for a while against me in the water. She was still and quiet, and we looked at each other. Once she began to nurse, she continued for almost an hour. When they weighed her, she was 8 pounds, 15 ounces. Her length was 21 and a half inches, and the time of birth is recorded as 9:04 a.m.
Debbie remarked that it couldn't have been a more gentle birth. She also told me that she thought Raine smiled at her. I'm sure she did because she has been very generous with those smiles since the day of her birth. Raine is a delightful soul, and we are captivated. John David and Elliot compose songs for her.
Killian's refrain is “I want baby. I want baby.” All three of her big brothers love to hold her and hug her; she is very snuggly! We are so grateful that she has made her entry into our world.