The story of my most recent labour and delivery has been the most difficult to write down. Trying to find fitting words to describe the experience as a whole has been an incredible challenge and even as I write this I don’t know if I will be able to aptly paint the picture that fills my mind and emotions when I reflect.
It isn’t that I’ve never written about my births before. This was my fourth. And it isn’t that this experience was so traumatic that I haven’t been able to vocalize it. Quite the contrary. I think the real reason why it’s so difficult to do justice to my birth experience is because it was filled with so many conflicting emotions. Difficult, yet simply beautiful. Somber, yet filled with so much joy. Stressful, yet incredibly peaceful.
Two weeks before my daughter was born, my husband had a serious medical situation that left him partially sighted. We didn’t know whether he’d ever regain his sight. Terrifying thoughts set in. Would he ever see his beautiful new baby’s face? Would he physically see his children grow up, or only imagine their beautiful faces? With three other young children, what were we going to do for labour and postpartum?
We are a family of faith, and throughout the days leading up to Nyah’s arrival, I leaned heavily on the strength I found in Scripture. I learned, in a way I never had before, how to rely on God for strength, and how to trust that he had everything under control. When I look back, I remember holding onto that faith and finding the strength to surge ahead. This baby had to get born, I had to heal, and then we could work through the rest of our life, one day at a time.
We had planned a home birth. To give a little background, a home birth in the birthing pool was the experience I had always dreamed of, but that had never materialized. My first was a home birth attempt turned crash c-section. My second was a planned VBAC turned scheduled c-section after discovering she was breach. My third was a planned hospital VBAC turned surprise home birth (!!!). This last time we stuck with our original birth plan that we hadn’t yet been able to have. I had amazing midwives and Meg from Sudbury Doula Services agreed to join my birth team at the last minute to support both my husband and I after his health complications.
I woke up with contractions early in the morning and knew I needed to try to continue resting until the kids woke up. I told my husband that I thought things were starting and I started timing contractions. Things moved steadily along as we began the day with the kids. My husband started getting things ready, and blew up the pool while the kids played inside. It was a fun, peaceful morning. We called my in-laws who took the three older girls for lunch and the afternoon. I had packed an overnight bag but they never even opened it.
I called my midwife Christina, who came over to see how I was progressing. I was already 6-7cm. The next hour was spent working through transition with my amazing husband while Christina and Meg filled the pool and made sure it was the right temperature. I got in the pool in time to have one contraction before it was time to push. Nyah was born in only two pushes, in the water, just like I had always wanted!
She was born just before supper, and we were able to welcome our girls back home to meet their baby sister, enjoy our traditional post-labour pizza dinner as a family of six, and tuck the kids into their own beds for the night. It was so perfectly orchestrated! I know that it was God letting me know that he was in full control of even the smallest details, despite the stress and emotions surrounding my husband’s eyesight.
In short, my birth experience was a whirlwind, but a truly perfect storm. Four weeks after Nyah was born, my husband saw her sweet face for the first time following a glowingly successful surgery. By the grace of God, his eyesight was restored. I look back on the last year of our lives knowing that even in the darkest, most difficult times, God is faithful. And truly, He is in control. “Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall; But they that wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings as eagles; They shall run, and not be weary; They shall walk, and not faint.” - Isaiah 40:30