“Peace in the Storm”
On the outside, I was like many women, growing up with dreams of marriage, kids and creating fun family memories together. I grew up with a small knit family, so when my husband and I discussed our dreams, we both agreed we wanted a large family. We got married after dating for 6 months, so we agreed to wait a year, then start creating that large family. After our year went by, what we went through for the next six years was not planned. What the doctors eventually diagnosed us as is ‘unexplained infertility,’ which pretty much means every test says you’re ﬁne and they don’t know why you’re not pregnant. Over the years, this diagnoses became a thief, stealing our joy over and over, no matter how much we fought it off. Our faith in Jesus was tested as we cried out for an answer. Eventually our prayers were answered in the Fall of 2015 and with the the help of IVF, we were excited to announce our pregnancy to family and friends. We knew immediately that we wanted to receive our prenatal care with Ellie and deliver at Sierra Natural Birth Center (SNBC). I still giggle when I reﬂect back on the ﬁrst time we toured the facility and my husband looked at me with surprise, “this is like a really nice bed and breakfast.” I couldn’t have agreed more, as the detail in care and thoroughness Ellie provided us with has been unmatched, acting as a guide through this new season in our lives. My pregnancy was what I would label as ‘easy,’ without complications, having experienced some heartburn at times and some edema (but it was summer, so isn’t every pregnant lady a little swollen?). As our due date approached it became concerning as my body was not showing signs of progressing in labor. Again, as she had so faithfully done through our prenatal care, Ellie supported us in trying every natural means possible of inducing labor (yes, you name it, I did it!!). As 42 weeks approached without any dilation, effacement and contractions, my dreams of a labor and birth at SNBC slowly faded and the realization that I’d be heading to the hospital for induction weighed heavy on my heart. I had waited so long for this little miracle baby, made plans for a natural birth in a beautiful environment and was so excited to share this with my husband….but it wan’t meant to be. On the afternoon of 42 weeks we arrived at the hospital birth center to begin what would be a 39 hour process of induction. My husband and I talked about how we wanted to maintain the natural birth and I would not accept any pain medication. The nurse began by putting me on Cytotec overnight without any response, then a Folly Ball was inserted the next morning, pushing me to 3 cm, followed by Pitocin for the next 13 hours. Let me just pause here as this time on Pitocin was one of the most difﬁcult experiences of my life, as I’ve never experienced pain like that before. After 4 hours the contractions were getting really close as the nurse continued to increase the dosage and I dilated to 5 cm, however I still was not effaced. Five hours later, the pain had increased with the contractions, but our little guy still hadn’t ‘dropped’ and I still was only 5cm dilated. Unfortunately, the pain I experienced was more than I was prepared for and I begged for the pain medication. My husband, doula and nurse all continued to encourage me, knowing I wanted a natural birth, but after an hour they gave in to my pleading. This was not an easy decision for me as part of me was mad at my body for not cooperating with moving into labor, while the other half was fearful that I was hurting my baby. I was haunted by thoughts of woman doing this for thousands of years, yet I was falling short. The tears came faster than expected and I lay ﬂoating in the water of a tub after a contraction passed, wondering if I would ever hold my baby in my arms. Ellie continued to check in from time time to time on my progress and reminding us that she would be there for our son’s arrival. Four more hours passed and still by body did not progress, so our next step was breaking my water, which also provided no results. Throughout the induction, our little peanut’s heart rate had been monitored. I remember vividly looking up at
the nurse as she observed the heart rate on the screen and shared that she was concerned and was going to get the doctor. After reviewing the results, we had a decision to make. Our doctor, who we dearly respect and who supported our desire to keep our birth as natural as possible, began to voice her concerns of the health of our baby. His heart rate had been slowly decreasing and I wasn’t progressing in labor, therefore was strongly suggesting we move forward with a cesarean. My husband and I looked at each other and knew if the health of our baby was at risk, there was no question what our answer would be. The next hour was a whirlwind as I was prepped for surgery and within an hour I was holding my son in my arms. Thankfully we had discussed ahead of time some things we would want if a cesarean did occur, creating what some know as a ‘gentle cesarean.’ Joey sat next to me through the surgery and we were so excited as they brought our son over to me and lay him on my chest. No one could have removed that smile from my face nor steal the joy I felt. I remember looking at my husband with tears in his eyes and knowing everything was as it should be. We were now ‘mommy’ and ‘daddy.’ The next 3 days we spent in the hospital being cared for by an amazing team of nurses and staff, supporting both of us as I worked on my physical recovery. Additionally, we were so grateful as Ellie continued to check in on us at the hospital and in the weeks to follow. Again, this wasn’t the birth plan I had written out, nor the plan we had for creating a family, but what God has done in our life can not be denied. We have an amazing son who brings us so much joy and we have the understanding that some of the best gifts in life come with patience.