I just saw this wonderful video by The Honest Company about birth stories. It just warmed my heart to see the many different birth stories and the joy that each one brings. It brought me back to my birth stories and the amazing miracle of life that God has given me.
My birth stories start in 1990 when I got pregnant on my honeymoon. My husband and I wanted to start a family right away and it was a huge blessing that I got pregnant right away. I delivered my first child, a little girl, at a hospital. When she was six months old I found out that, even though I was nursing her full time, I was pregnant. My son was born at home with a midwife. When he was about 11 months old I miscarried a baby at about 8 weeks. Two months later I got pregnant and had a beautiful baby boy at home. Things were busy but wonderful. I loved being a mom and learned how to adjust my schedule to meet the needs of three little babies.
I found that my dreams of being a mom were coming true. It was very challenging and I was tired and trying to find balance in my life but I was in my element. We moved into a bigger house and soon after my midwife delivered baby number four. With two boys and two girls many people commented that I had the “perfect” family. I realized that home births, although they aren’t for everyone, did work for me.
Baby five came 19 days late. After many sonograms making sure all was well my midwife decided my dates must have been wrong!!! After a long slow 17 hour labor my baby girl, was born! The next five years I delivered three very busy boys at home with no complications.
My husband had a new job and our insurance didn’t pay for home births any more so my daughter, baby number nine was born in the birthing center where my midwife worked. It was a very different experience, but like all things new, we learn to adjust our expectations and make do with what needs to be done!
My husband’s small company had new insurance and the representative made a mistake and emailed me saying that we could have a home birth. With that in writing the company had to honor my request and I got to deliver baby number ten in a smooth home birth.
Now with five boys and five girls under 16 things were bustling around here like a three-ring circus. I was 37 and still daily trying to balance being a wife and mother by maintaining my home. My daily life consisted of keeping the house in some order, doing wash, and getting a meal on the table for dinner each night was challenging.
When baby number 11 was due the insurance wouldn’t budge, and would not let us have a home birth. So, our son was born in the birthing center weighing in at 11 lbs! It was pretty interesting delivering such a huge baby naturally. At one point my sister said it looked like I was a Gumby doll and my midwife pretty much had to flip him in the birth canal to get him out.
I was super excited when our insurance approved a home birth for my 12th child. Little did I expect that after 12 hours of labor my midwife and I decided it was time to go to the hospital because we were unable to get him to go down the birth canal. I had pretty much had it and as soon as we walked into the hospital I was ready for a c-section. The hospital midwife and my midwife assured me that my baby was not in distress and I should get an epidural to rest and prepare myself to deliver this baby vaginally. After a quick rest, I was still pretty “done” so I asked for a c-section. Not fully being “all together”, I regret my decision to not try harder to do a vaginal delivery. Not only did I not get to do skin to skin with my son, but I was unable to nurse him immediately. My husband stood next to me with our hungry newborn while they stitched me up. They did a pretty bad job at the entire c-section. My incision was very low, I ended up with a staph infection and some other issues I have had to deal with due to the surgery. Of course, the recovery period is more difficult after a c-section. I decided to sign out of the hospital early after a day. In case you didn't notice hospitals are not my favorite place to be.
I was forty-one now with seven sons and five daughters. I was very happy and many people would ask if we were “done?” I had just lost 37 pounds and was enjoying eating better and working out more regularly. Still in my heart I yearned for another baby. I went to the OB to check on my peri menopausal situation since I was getting older. My doctor sent me to get a sonogram and during the sono the technician asked me why I was here. I mentioned I wanted another baby and the doctor was checking on my physical status. She said, “Well, you are six weeks pregnant!” We were so excited but nervous because I had been spotting. Little “Hope” died when I was 8 weeks pregnant. It was very emotional for us but we moved on taking one day at a time and enjoying our 12 living children.
In late May, we got a phone call from a local pregnancy support network asking us if we would be willing to host a 12-week-old baby boy for about six months while his birth mom got situated. We said yes and due to God’s special blessing we have had him for five years. After a busy couple of weeks with this wonderful new addition I found out I was pregnant again. Again, due to me being 44 there were concerns. After lots of tests the doctor said I was doing great and I could try a V-back at the hospital with midwives who worked there. At about 17 weeks my water broke and I was on bed rest with the warning that there was no way my baby would survive. My wonderful midwife would visit and let me listen to our son’s heartbeat. After almost three weeks I started bleeding pretty hard and the doctor let us know that he had died. I went to the hospital with my husband and we prepared for a different type of delivery. I delivered Steven myself in the bath room. He was almost 20 weeks and absolutely perfect. He had the cutest nose, little finger nails and stole my heart. I had a real hard time for the following month. My friend helped me get motivated to take care of my other 12 children and our foster baby. I am pretty sure the mourning I was dealing with was more the loss of my fertility and the beginning of this new season of my life.
Fast forward about four years and we again were asked to take in another foster baby boy. He wasn’t born yet and we waited for the day to arrive. It was interesting waiting every day wondering if this was the day. Even though I wasn’t actually giving birth, the day to day unknown was very strange. Our family wondered each day if this would be the one. Funny thing was that he was born on the August 1st the day I delivered Steven. We ended up getting this wonderful gift when he was one week old. He is now eight months old and we have been so blessed by him being part of our family.
Each person has their different birth stories. Some beautiful and some difficult. All different labors help us grow and make us the people we are. They let us become the best we can be and use the events in our lives to make us stronger.
Thy Will Be Done!!!