I lay in my bed, staring at the ceiling. As intense contractions surged through my body, I wanted to cry in defeat.
I was so exhausted from a busy day at church and then housework before bed. It was 10:30 pm and I wanted to sleep. My husband lay asleep peacefully beside me as I pondered in the dark. Instead of repose which I so desperately wanted, I realized I might be preparing for my little boy's entry into the world. I was so confused, not knowing what to think. Was I in labor? Or not? After 12 days past my due date, I was starting to wonder if he would ever come. It would become evident that God's lovely plan for my birth was so much better than I could have imagined, though I couldn't see this as I lay on my bed in pain. I stood up to walk to the bathroom to wade through more contractions and they instantly became worse. I realized that I couldn't hold out by myself any longer and called for my husband, receiving immediate gratification. He assessed the situation and quickly decided a warm bath to see if contractions would maintain or dwindle would be the best mode of action. That way we could determine if this was real or not. Water is well known for slowing labor down.
I sat on the loo in bewilderment as he filled the tub for me. I'd had so many false starts that excitement was absolutely gone and now the control freak in me desperately wanted to know if this was it, once and for all. At last, the tub was full and I sank into it. After what had seemed an eternity of endless breathing on the toilet with my husband patiently coaching by my side, the water proved to be a lovely respite. Supporting me for the next 2 hours, Towbel tirelessly gave me gentle reminders to breathe. He was my rock as the contractions intensified going from 5 minutes apart to 2 minutes apart and averaging 90 seconds long. I started to truly embrace what was happening, focusing on one wave at a time. By now the water was cold and I longed for a change of scenery.
Towbel helped me get out and sit on the toilet once again. He asked me if I was ready for my midwives to come. I just told him I needed him to make that decision for me. I was really delirious at this point from the pain. As he texted them to come, pop! My water broke right over the toilet. I laughed to myself because that's exactly what had happened last time with my first born. To experience that again was good comic relief for me at the time. The laugh was short lived, however, because if you can believe it, my contractions became even more intense. I know I haven't mentioned breathing much throughout this story, which might seem rather strange since it is such a huge part of midwife philosophy. I suppose I've mentioned it so little because if I told you every breath I took and the importance of each one, you'd be here forever.
Breathing was an integral part of my successful births and must be for all mothers who have decided to go natural. Breathing is your way of helping your body progress with contractions. It helps you work with your body, not against it and to realize that the force behind the contractions is you, and not something bigger than you.
Okay, back to my story. Honestly, I can hardly recall the tedious hour before Faith, Rebecca, and Annabelle arrived. All I remember was an intense desire to push. Rebecca arrived 5 minutes ahead of the rest and checked my progress, finding me to be 8 ½ cm dilated. Faith and Annabelle arrived shortly after and suddenly there was busyness surrounding me as the pool was inflated and starting to be filled, I was soothed as I breathed my son down, and all was made ready for the climax of this event: the baby's debut. Finally, I was allowed to get into the pool (while it was still filling). I don't think warm water has ever felt that wonderful! It was the perfect relief. I remember being able to laugh between contractions in the water. I wasn't hallucinating or crying for morphine as I had with my first son. All was peaceful, everyone anticipating my impending arrival of 10 cm.
I was not 10 minutes in the water before I started to push, my husband lovingly coaching me through. In 4 short minutes, my boy was born into Rebecca's comforting hands within a warm abyss of water. The pain was over and joy overwhelmed my soul as I looked into the eyes of Isaac David William Barnette for the first time. He was perfect and he was here. No more doubts, only ecstasy. I was told later that he was born in 5 ½ hours which still amazes me 4 months later. My son Dominic arrived earthside after a 36 hour labor with tearing and complete exhaustion. I had figured that something similar would probably happen again, but God answered my prayers beautifully and my expectations didn't happen. Isaac was healthy and so was I. My labor was not even ¼ of the length of my last one. As I write, I'm continuously amazed at what God designed and empowers a woman's body to accomplish. Never forget–you were made for this and Rebecca can help you do so.