As I my pregnancy with Judah is progressing, I have been thinking a lot about childbirth and what that whole experience was like with Roman. Inevitably, it will be a different experience with Judah. I know that there are some things I would like to do differently, and other things that will be different because each birth just has it's own unique circumstances. It is fascinating to me to hear other women talk about their labors and deliveries because, no matter how it happens, it's life changing...and it's beautiful.

I want to tell about Roman's birth here (and Judah's later) so that I (we) can see how different and yet how amazing both were/will be. :)

Psalm 127:3-5
Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.

We found out I was pregnant with Roman in October of 2006. I was lucky enough to feel really great during most of my pregnancy...I wasn't sick and I genuinely loved being pregnant. We decided that I would deliver at the hospital, but with a midwife.

I loved feeling Roman move inside of me. It's such a miracle to have life within you. This is all sounding lovely isn't it?? ;) It was lovely...until about the last 2 weeks of being pregnant.

In case you didn't know, I have a phenomenal husband who made it a priority for me to stay at home with our children. So, as of June 1, 2007, I was officially a stay at home mom. My due date was June 14, so we decided I should just be done with work at the end of May. It was great to have those two weeks to rest, finish preparing our apartment for a new baby, and have some quality time with friends and family. Let's just say, though, that I started to get a little antsy. The nesting instinct had definitely set it. By the end of the first week at home, the house was spotless, all of Roman's clothes were organized and put away, I had done all of the laundry in the house, and I was ready to have a baby. To give you an idea of how neurotic I was, our vacuum was broken a the time...needed a new belt of something? I don't know - all I know is it was not picking anything up. Joe did not see this as a problem...much less an urgent matter as I kept pointing out to him. He came home one day to find me on my hands and knees picking things out of the carpet, and decided he could make the time to get it fixed. :) Seriously, I told you I was neurotic. Who does that??

The last week, I was starting to feel like I really didn't want to be pregnant any more. We tried all the "natural induction" theories...you know...eat a lot of spicy food, etc. Nothing. For some reason, I just really thought that I was going to have the baby before my due date.

June 13 came (the day before my due date) and still nothing...not even 1 contraction, no sign, whatsoever, of Braxton Hicks. Joe was taking a summer class and so we decided that, after dinner, we would go to a coffee shop and I would help him study. As we were sitting at Burgie's, (probably 7 0r 8 pm) I started feeling a lot of pressure. I didn't think too much of it, I just thought Roman must have been laying in a funny position. I excused myself to go to the restroom and realized that I was spotting a little bit. I came back to tell Joe, and we decided that we should head back home so that we could call the midwife and see what she thought and so that I could lie down and rest. My midwife told me that if I wasn't having any contractions and if I wasn't bleeding heavily, I was probably just dilating more (the day before I was already dilated to 4cm) and that it could be the beginning of labor. She recommended that I go home and try to get some sleep so that I would be rested if I did, in fact, go into labor. So, that's what I did.

Right around midnight, I started having contractions...about 1o minutes apart consistently. Of course, I was trying to rest in between them...but come on, how can you rest when you know your baby is on his way??? Sometime in the middle of the night, while I was laying there wide awake and timing contractions, I decided to take a shower and Joe finished packing our suitcase and put it in the car so we would be ready to go. We both layed back down to try to get some more rest. Joe actually slept. I did not. (This was actually a good thing because I needed him to be rested - he was my birthing coach, after all!) I laid there and thought about what Roman would look like and every once in a while I would wake Joe up to time a few contractions. Finally at about 7 am, the contractions were 5 minutes apart and lasting 1 minute each. We called and told the hospital we were on our way.

Now, I wasn't in pain at this point...just a little uncomfortable and ready to get things moving. We checked in at the hospital and around 8 am. The nurse asked me about my pain level - which was minimal at the time - and she told me (thankfully) that she wouldn't ask me about it again. I told her that I appreciated that as my desire was to have a natural, drug-free birth. My midwife came in shortly after that and told me I was dilated to 5 cm. She said that they could break my water for me and that might speed up the process of labor. So, we did that and waited. And waited...and waited. At 2:00 that afternoon I was still only dilated to 5 cm. I kept pacing the halls with Joe doing everything I could to try to speed things up...but it was just not working. So, at 2:00 they started me on an IV of pitocin. (Because a woman needs, for the health of her baby, to deliver within 24 hours of the water breaking, they often give pitocin to make contractions stronger - and hopefully speed up labor in order to avoid performing a C-section). **More on this later...

Anyway, once the pitocin started, the contractions really became difficult. I was in a lot of pain and I was doing my best to cope and remember things that we had talked about in my birthing class. To be honest, I don't even know what we did for the next, oh, NINE HOURS. That's right. Nine. Hours. Excruciating. I remember trying every position we could think of - generally, I was most comfortable standing - but keep in mind, I was going on pretty much no sleep so all I wanted to do was lay down. I did pretty well in front of my nurses, who were AMAZING by the way...I had one that stayed with us from 2 until about 7, just sitting quietly most of the time, but doing anything she could to make me more comfortable. But, poor Joe...

Since I had the IV for pitocin, he would help wheel me into the bathroom every time I needed to go. He would sit on the edge of the bath tub and talk me through the contractions. He was fantastic. The whole time...he was seriously everything I needed him to be. I would cry in the bathroom and tell him I couldn't do it anymore. He would point out how far we had come in just one day, and assure me that we were going to see Roman soon. He was so encouraging - telling me how strong I was and how I was doing the best thing for Roman.

I remember asking my nurse at one point, how long she thought it would take for me to deliver since I had the pitocin. She said "oh, I would say by late this evening. I think 9 would be the latest you would deliver." Sure. Nine o'clock definitely came and went...so did 10 and 11. I talked myself through a lot of labor by telling myself that the pain is normal, it's worth it, and it will be over soon. I would get to see my sweet baby boy!! I think the hardest part for me, was not knowing when it was going to be over.

Finally, at around 11:00 pm (23 hours into labor!) the other midwife (the first midwife left when her shift ended around 7pm) came in to check and see how dilated I was (also, checking to see how dilated you are when you are having contractions = PAIN). Anyway, I was at 9 and a half cm. I told her I wanted to push and she said that during the next contraction I could try and see if the baby's head came down any further. Thank God, it did. They started setting up for delivery.

This, for me, was the light at the end of the tunnel...this was the last stage!! I knew that after this part, the majority of the pain would be over and I would be holding my son. I actually liked pushing because I could feel the progress - I knew we were getting somewhere...namely, the end of labor :). I pushed for about 50 minutes (it seemed like 10) and finally... at 12:10 am on June 15, 2o07, Roman James entered the world. His first cry...seeing his red hair for the first time...and holding that sweet boy...the craziest part, is that it was worth all of the pain. So cliche, I know, but I would do it over everyday just to see his little face and those wide eyes looking up at me. Those precious first moments and days will not be forgotten.

It's definitely a God moment. God created this life - a combination of Joe and of me...but a unique person all his own. God's child, entrusted to our care. It's a moment when you realize what's really important in life. It's a moment when you understand the suffering of the cross and the love that Christ has for his people. Words will never, ever do it justice.

James 1:17
Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights


  1. Well, friend, that is an amazing story! I am AWED that you endured that pain of unnatural, pitocin-intensified contractions naturally, without medicine. I didn't even think that was possible ;) You are a super hero! Much stronger than I! So excited for you to have little boy number 2! We've got to stay in touch, don't you think! Let me know if you're ever going to be in the Chicago area!

  2. i love you! :) and i totally forgot about the vacuum story, which makes me laugh out loud! poor ruth ann!

  3. That is an awesome birth story & I love how it beats the odds. Pit w/out epidural = amazing! I had 2 drug-free births in a birth center w/a midwife & I agree - ALL the pain is SO worth it when you see them. The hardest part for me too was not knowing when it would be over. I, too, like to be in control. What lessons God teaches us through childbirth!