Bethany Miriam Brave Rodgers was born Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at 9:44 p.m. She weighed 6 lbs 13 0z and was 19 inches long.
I was pretty anxious in the days leading up to her birth. With all the blood clot worries, I was afraid I would go into labor at the "wrong time" (less than 12 hours after taking the Lovenox) and I would bleed too much. I comforted myself with the words from Psalm 71:6, "By You I have been upheld from birth; You are He Who took me out of my mother's womb." I reminded myself that the Lord Himself would take Bethany from my womb and uphold her. But I never dreamed He would do it so perfectly for some reason. Oh, my stubborn, unbelieving heart. Lord help my unbelief.
I was checked in Dr. Kakani's office on Monday by the nurse practitioner I have come to absolutely adore, Ashley. :) I was 3.5 cm and about 50% effaced. I cramped a lot that night and had some brown bloody show, but knew that was pretty normal so I didn't worry. On Tuesday though, the spotting increased a good bit and got redder in color. Early afternoon I passed a small clot of red blood. That really concerned me, so I loaded up the kids and met Brian back at the doctor's office to be checked out again. They hooked me up to a monitor, and during a big contraction Bethany's heart rate went way down, really fast. Like almost to a stop. That was scary. After talking with Dr. Kakani, we decided it would be best not to take our chances and just go ahead and induce.
Brian took the kids to meet up with my parents, who had planned to keep them while I was in the hospital. I went over to L&D and got checked in. That's when I realized Providential Protection number 1: it was 5:15 p.m. Exactly 12 hours since my last Lovenox injection. Only God could have timed that. :) The nurse put me on the monitor for a few minutes, during which time my contractions increased on my own and I dilated another centimeter on my own. This gave me great relief, because in the back of my mind I was wondering if I was just getting impatient and trying to make this happen on my own. I was wondering if I was somehow "messing up God's plan" and rushing into things, and it would all go wrong. Again, my unbelieving heart. God isn't like that. He was working it all out whether I was rushing things or not. I believe He allowed me to progress a little without any intervention just to give me that reassurance. She would have come on April 2 regardless. Providential Protection #2.
Bethany had another rapid heart rate deceleration during this time, so we decided to get things moving. Dr. Kakani came in and broke my water around 7 p.m. My contractions immediately increased in intensity and starting coming 1 to 2 minutes apart. I was still kind of laying back at this time and was starting to get really uncomfortable. At least I could tell myself, well these painful contractions are getting me somewhere, so they are worth it. The nurse checked me again after a few minutes, and I thought she would say I had made lots of progress. Nope. I was about 5 cm and a little more effaced. I was extremely discouraged. This is when I started to feel overwhelmed at the task that lay ahead. That seemed like such slow progress for such intense labor. I decided to change positions to see if getting more comfortable would help. I sat up on the edge of the bed and literally felt Bethany come down. Like instantly. I stood up to hold onto Brian, and felt her come down some more. By the time I got into my next position- up on my knees facing the bed, holding tightly to the rails on either side, I felt like I was fully dilated. No joke. I also started feeling claustrophobic, something I do about this time in labor, so I took my hospital gown off. All I could do was hold tightly to the rails and breathe. My wonderful Brian had found me the Weepies station on Pandora- he knows how incredibly important music is to me- and I heard John Mayer's song "The Heart of Life" playing. It was beautiful. I knew Bethany's birth was so very close. I guess the nurses knew too, because they started wheeling in that blue tray with all their stuff for delivering a baby. My wonderful nurse Marcelle came in to check me, but poor thing I shook my head and waved her away. The contractions were nonstop and intense and the last thing I wanted was someone checking my cervix. She was great about it. A few minutes later though, Dr. Kakani came in to check me, and since I was between contractions, I turned around and let her check. As I already knew, I was fully dilated and it was time to push. Looking back on it now, I should have gotten back up on my knees for the next few minutes, because I wasn't yet feeling the "urge to push" and my contractions slowed waaaaay down. They went back to 4-5 minutes apart. I stayed in the reclined position and tried to figure out what to do next. Dr. Kakani, Marcelle, and Brian were all at the edge of the bed waiting for me to get the urge to push. They told me it was completely up to me and I could get into any position I wanted to. But even during contractions I didn't feel the need to push. I was so used to someone telling me exactly what to do, that I didn't trust myself and didn't think about moving back into a position where gravity would help pull her down. Finally with my next contraction, I pushed a little. They said it was good progress but they still didn't see her head. With the next contraction, I just laid down and closed my eyes and pushed with all my might. One push and out came her head. Another push and the rest of her came out too. I opened my eyes again and there she was, this beautiful baby girl with TONS of dark brown hair!! I was shocked!! She was absolutely perfect. She immediately started crying, showing off her perfectly formed lungs, and raised her head up to look at me. Within minutes she just naturally went to my nipple and started sucking. I felt like I was in the presence of a miracle. She was so alert and her color was perfect.
Looking back at the short video clips Brian got during this labor, I am amazed at the peace and quiet strength God granted me. One nurse even commented that she had never seen anyone with such control during a labor before! Which could have only been God. In my mind it was overwhelming and I was doubting I could handle it. But God brought me through it so faithfully and on the outside there was only peace coming out from me. What a blessing. Providential Protection #3.
Providential Protection #4 was the nurse we had. Marcelle only works once a week, and wasn't even supposed to be working on Tuesday night. She had been called in to help and was literally only there during the time of my labor. She was so supportive of natural birth and so trusting of me and my body's ability to give birth on its own. God knew I needed that. I believe He brought her in that night just for me.
I'm so thankful that after four epidural births, God has now allowed me two natural births. I have learned so much about His natural design and all the ways He provided for a mother to do what her baby needs. He knows what He is doing! If I had had to be chemically induced or given an epidural, I would have had to lie flat on my back and it might have taken all night to get Bethany out. Being allowed to move around was less traumatic for both of us. He literally empowered me and brought her forth from her mother's womb, just as He promised. He is so very, very good.