My birth story started about 3 months ago when I first interviewed my doula and she mentioned there was a birth center right by our house. “A birth center?!” I thought. I had 2 other babies in a hospital with an epidural and both were wonderful experiences. I was very close-minded about birth centers, but…..I had started asking questions of my new OB with this pregnancy. Answers led to more questions, questions, questions. I finally decided I’d like to try for a natural “delivery” (you know you say this word in a hospital but say “birth” out-of-hospital). And that’s when I contacted Mandy, our doula. I hinted that I wasn’t thrilled with the new doctor and she suggested I go for a consult at Origins Birth Center just down the road. I knew we were in for it when we walked in and it smelled amazing, not to mention the cozy, inviting atmosphere. Gina talked to us for over an hour, after hours, and answered all our questions.
I had decided on a natural delivery because my previous epidurals were too strong. I never felt the urge to push or anything other than a little pressure. My questions led me to research showing other nuances could be avoided by skipping the epidural- tearing, continuous IV fluids, catheters, baby too sleepy to latch, the list goes on. For me, I had no sensation during pushing with my other babies and the coaching I got from the hospital staff did not reduce tearing. In fact, I had more stitches with my second baby.
Soon after I met with Gina, I got an answer to prayer in the form of a song. We had been wrestling with the decision to birth at Origins or our hospital for about a week and I decided to drive by the birthing center on a whim. As I got closer, Hillsong’s Oceans song came on and I heard the words:
“…Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
Where my faith would be made stronger”
And I knew. I knew my faith would be made stronger here, no matter what fears I had. I knew He was “calling me out on the water” for a water birth. About a week later, I got another confirmation through a song as I was driving near the birth center. God is so good.
As I got nearer my due date, I especially looked forward to each midwife appointment. I met with Kaitlyn on Thursday for my 39 week appointment and she cheered me on, saying she could very well deliver my baby this week as she was on call. Then I got a call on Monday. Beth told me the news that Kaitlyn had lost her 4 year-old son, Paxton Jude, suddenly and they were arranging for another midwife to be on call. We spent the week in a sort of sorrowful anticipation. My husband and I were so sad for the Wages and prayed constantly for them. It was hard to have that anticipation of our new baby without thinking of them and their loss. I knew God had called us here and His timing is perfect, but I also prayed God would tell this baby to wait.
On Thursday, my due date, I woke up feeling crampy. We had tickets to see my brother in Christ Chapel’s production of Mary Poppins for Friday but changed them that night at the last minute. I started having lots of contractions so we left at intermission. My contractions were steady coming home, but not strong enough to make a move to the birth center. Still, I called all hands on deck and told everyone to be ready- my mom to come over and watch the kids, my doula to meet us at the house, and Origins to contact the midwife. Kristine Tadawater was on call for Origins that night. I came to find out later her and her student assistant were filling in on a volunteer basis in honor of Kaitlyn. Kristine was coming from East Dallas so she said she needed 45 minutes heads up. I called her at 3:30am saying we would be at the birth center within the hour. When my husband, doula, and I got to the birth center around 5am it was dark. No one was there. Amazingly, I didn’t panic (but I think my husband did!) The midwife said she was stuck in traffic on 635. Only in DFW, can you have traffic at 4:30am! We were able to get a key and get in, my husband and doula running around and quickly getting everything turned on and ready. Not long after, Kristine arrived and I checked in at 9cm. So close! I got in the water, and contractions seemed to space out a bit. It was impossible to stay relaxed during these last contractions and pushing, but that’s all they tell you! Relax! I had never felt pushing contractions before and those were the worst. I had no control over my body and, although I’ve already forgotten the details of the pain, I remember saying, “I can’t do this!” at each one. My sweet husband and Mandy kept telling me, “you ARE doing this.”
Suddenly, midwife Kristine told me we had to get the baby out. Looking back, I may have just thought she was finally agreeing with me and I didn’t see the seriousness of the situation! She told me to get out of the pool and everyone helped me out quickly. The midwives tried to coach me to push harder and, within seconds, baby’s head was out. My handsome baby boy entered the world at 6:48am just as dawn was breaking, on the floor beside the birth pool at Origins. My husband cradled me as I cradled baby and we sat there in blissful shock for awhile. They helped us get into the bed for the painful 3rd stage. The cord was cut, breastfeeding started, and my contractions were building. About 30 minutes later the placenta was delivered and Ben and I got some sweet alone time to study baby.
By the grace of God and the help of my wonderful birth team, I had a natural BIRTH without any medication, IVs, or stitches! I had a superficial tear from baby’s nuchal hand which was pressed against the cord and his head in the birth canal, which was the reason for the quick exit. Our homecoming was especially sweet as my 2 toddlers didn’t know we had the baby. We just walked in the door with a special delivery and they’ve been amazed and infatuated with him ever since. My husband and I also enjoyed the serenity of going to sleep shortly after arriving home in our own bed with baby. This is something we didn’t get to do in the hospital. The first few days are filled with frequent health checks, procedures, and paperwork. It was nice to get that breath as soon as we got home.
Our little guy has a special name. We didn’t know if we were having a boy or girl so we had amassed a looooong list of possible names for each gender. We didn’t agree on any of them (except for a couple girl names, go figure). After the sad news about Paxton Jude, I looked up the meaning of his name. Jude is a shortened form of Judah which means “praise.” My husband and I both loved it. God reminded me a few days ago that life is but a breath, but we will spend eternity in praise. This name is not only in honor of Paxton, but a sweet reminder of our future Life.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
Four days after his birth, we completed his name:
Micah Jude Leonard Alvarez
Leonard is a family name and Micah means “who is like God?”
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance?