Thursday, July 31, 2008

Guess it's a video day...

This is one of my favorite love songs. I don't even know how/where I found it originally, but I love it. Enjoy!

BBC Independence Picnic 08

Jonathan found this new nifty free tool (Photo Story 3) a few weeks ago, and I used it to make a video of our chapel picnic. Unfortunately, Blogger didn't like it, and I was unable to get it to load on the blog. So today, I broke down and make a youtube account so that I could post my video here on my blog. The quality is not as high as on the original, but it's passable. Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Another one worth reading

Wow. I need this one over and over. Thanks!

What a Birthday!

Yesterday, I turned 35. Amazing.

I actually have felt like a good portion of the last week has been my birthday celebration. It is such a treat to have Papa, Mama, Beka, and the Byrd Blessings here. And I love birthdays with Beka - because I love her, of course, and because in her family, when it's your birthday, you're Queen (or King) for the day, and so the preceding days are spattered with birthday planning. So fun!

So, yesterday morning I woke up, got dressed, and walked out my bedroom door. Miss Chloe greeted me with, "Elle! Baby!" Which, being interpreted, is "Aunt Elle, you need to get your baby!" Before I went obediently to fetch Stephen, I noticed several boxes on the couch. Papa and Mama's computer had arrived. But I wondered what computer parts would have been packed in such a long box. See what I mean?

A few minutes later, someone asked if I had noticed that one of those boxes was for me. Lo and behold, upon further inspection . .

My dear friend Shawna had sent me these beautiful sunflowers. I love them! It was a wonderful start to the day. Thank you, sweet Shawna!

We had decided to go to Meramac State Park for most of the day. Mama and Beka (and me a bit) had done most of the prep work for dinner the night before, so we had plenty of time. So we picked up some KFC for lunch and headed to the Park.

First we visited Sheep Cave. It's a fun cave that is open to the public (no fees, no guide required). It's not very large, but it's especially great for the kiddos.

Here are the cousins just inside (plus Aunt Elle, who didn't want to take Stephen out of his wrap):

A look back at the mouth:

The children exploring near the rear of the cave:

And returning to the entrance:


Sweet Cousins:

Silly Cousins:

We moved to our favorite pavillion for lunch:

And then went down to play in the river!

We came home and had a fabulous dinner/party with some beloved folks:

That's a lot of candles (and I got them all in one shot!):

There was also an amazing amount of loot, and even better, lots of laughs and love. We finished things off with a fun game of Quiddler with both sets of our folks.

There were some dear ones that I sorely missed, but it was a terrific day. Much more terrific than pictures and words can tell. If you've made it this far, thanks for sharing the day with me!

A Goodie

A great post from a mom of 9 about how little she knows about parenting. Terrific and convicting!

Friday, July 25, 2008


There are so many posts swirling in my head that I could or should write...

I should tell you about my first trip to the Muny with my dear friend Tracy.
I should give you the latest on Katie Bloom, in case you're not checking her progress blog.
I should entreat you to pray for a wonderful friend of mine who needs lots of prayer that God would show her favor and be glorified in the trial she's going through.
I should urge you to pray for two precious beloved people who desperately need God to work a miracle in their life.
I could tell you how the bottom fell out of a part of my world when I was confronted in a heartbreaking way with the fact that people near and dear to me are every bit as much in need of God's grace and sanctification as I am.
I should post pictures (that I should have taken) of our wonderful visit with family - Papa and Mama, Beka and "the cousins" have arrived and we LOVE having them!
I should tell you about the fact that my in-laws have gone, in the space of a month and a half, from having no pets to having a chihuahua and a collie.

But you know what...
We don't have company in the house this morning.
It's been a doozey of a week.
I am exhausted.
And so...
I am settling my Blessings in for some quiet reading time,
And I am Taking a Nap.

Monday, July 21, 2008

My Thoughts Are Not Your Thoughts

God's Purposes and Our Pain - a terrific post by John Piper about why God doesn't fully explain pain. This spoke to me on many levels, one of which concerns our friends the Blooms and Clarksons.

And speaking of the Blooms, here is the new link for the devoted-to-Katie's-progress blog. Please add it to your blog reader/rss feed and keep Katie and her wonderful family in your prayers!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

An Update on Katie - from Davey

From the official source of news on the progress of our friend Katie Bloom:

from davey - 11:45am
Just got this message from Davey:

"We had our little Sawyer on Tuesday, the 8th, and were allowed to go home on the 9th because things were going so well. Over the next week things were normal until this last Wednesday. If you know Katie, headaches are a consistent part of life, so when she began to complain of a headache we were not overly concerned. Her doctor prescribed some heavy painkillers for her (over the phone). After these really didn't have much effect, she went in to see him and he prescribed some other pain meds to deal with the increasing pain and stiffness in her neck. As a precaution Dr wanted her to get a CT scan at Methodist. She went in Thursday afternoon and the CT scan came back clear so she went home. I picked up the new meds for her later that afternoon and she began to take them.

However, around 10pm she woke me up and said something is really wrong. Most of you know, Katie has a very high pain tolerance. I've seen her take a kidney stone before, but this was different. Katie's vision was blurring and she was in intense pain. I rushed her to the ER where they got her in right away and the first thing they did was try to deal with the pain. So basically they started pumping her full of narcotics which did help some with the pain, but did not take it all away.

She started throwing up and her vision continued to blur. In about two hours she slowly drifted off to sleep, which we all assumed was a good thing as she was finally peaceful. An emergency room Dr came to see her after a little while and was concerned that he couldn't get her to wake up. He told me that this is not a drug induced sleep but rather a very deep coma, and he immediately ordered another CT scan. This one was bad. He immediately called in the Neurosurgeon for a consult.

She came in within 30 minutes and after reviewing the CT scan basically gave me two options. 1) let her pass away, 2) do surgery. The Neurosurgeon warned us that even if the surgery was successful in keeping her alive, it would not alter any brain damage that has surly happened. We obviously opted for the surgery which began around 5:30am.

The surgery lasted until about 9:30am and she was then moved to a recovery room as there was no room in the ICU wing. The neurosurgen informed us that the surgery went very well, but still did not give us any hope that she would ultimately recover. However, as Katie began to come out of the anesthetic there was immediately some very good signs. She was responsive to some voice stimulation (i.e.. squeeze my hand Katie, move your toes). In a few hours she was moved to ICU where she is as of now (11:30 Saturday am).

The good news is that Katie continues to advance in all areas. She as said a few words, has kissed my hand, as good strength in her hands and legs (in fact she actually pulled the intubation tubes out of her nose and mouth). She has partially opened her eyes, but that continues to be a concern. The surgeon who initially worked on Katie was in Friday night and was very pleased.

All of this is good, but we still have no real direction regarding the issues in the brain (i.e.. cause of bleeding). However, it really doesn't matter what the issues are as God is at work and is presently healing Katie. Please continue to pray believing prayers as God loves to honor the faith of his children. Hope this helps to put things in perspective and help with any rumors that may be out there. "

Friday, July 18, 2008

Good Source for news on Katie Bloom

This is the blog of a friend of Katie's there in Iowa.

Here's her latest post:
hey all, this verse comes to me as i type this update: "the prayer of a
righteous man is powerful & effective". i don't even know where it's

i just rec'd a quick call from Rob's wife, Ami & she said that while
Davey was in the room, Katie sat up, pulled out her breathing tube & said
"yes". Although she is still not out of the coma, this is tremendous progress!
Praise God!

i just looked on & this is the entire verse &
James 5:16 "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each
other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."

oh man, do i have Holy Spirit chills right now! continue to pray, warriors
of the faith! our God hears & answers the prayers of His children.

i also just got off the phone with a friend and she said, "i bet the
doctors & nurses didn't think they would get that news today after what
happened this morning!"

the most powerful thing we can do as children of God is to pray &
petition God for our sister, Katie. thank you all!

Life is Precious - Updated with Picture

This morning brought one of those stark and painful reminders that life is so very precious and that we should treasure every moment with those we love.

Please pray today for Katie (not our daughter, but a friend of mine from college and wife to a lifelong friend of ours). She had a brain aneurysm that burst this morning at 5am. They have done surgery and stopped the bleeding, but the doctors do not hold out much hope for her. In addition to a 10 day old son, Davey and Katie have two daughters, ages 7 and 5.

Please pray for them.

And be sure those who are precious to you know that you love them!

Update at 12.30pm:
Katie is out of surgery and is responding to voice and touch stimuli. She is still in critical condition, but the doctors are excited about her response.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Things about my 13 month old son which delight me...

~Dimples in his hands, elbows, knees
~Still nursing 2-3 times a day
~Baby talk - most of it doesn't make sense, but the Mama call is getting more distinct
~His precious belly laugh
~He's a flirt
~Watching him toddle on his chubby little legs
~He likes to put on sunglasses
~His hands exploring my face and neck while he nurses
~Watching him hug/tackle his siblings
~His love for his Daddy
~Hearing him knock/slap on my door and call for me
~Seeing him "reading" with his older siblings during siesta time
~Rhythm - he's got it, and he loves to dance to the music
~Getting kisses and hugs

Not knowing if seven will wind up being the perfect number for us has helped me to cherish every moment with this child. I'm not clinging to his babyhood, but I'm savouring every drop of babyhood nectar with enhanced appreciation. Even if the Lord were to choose to bless us with many more children, I think there will always be a special element of delight when I look back on my time with baby Stephen. God is so good!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Googlely-Image-Answer-Meme

Here's the first re-run from my original online journal. I re-did it, and thought it was interesting to see how different my pictures are, though many of the answers are (naturally) the same.

Here's how it works: Figure out your answers for each of the below. Put them into a Google image search. Grab the first interesting image for each answer, and post the images on your blog, along with the meme rules. And please leave a comment or send an email so I'll know you did it.

1. The age you will be on your next birthday
2. A place to which you'd like to travel
3. Your favorite place
4. Your favorite person
5. Your favorite food
6. Your favorite animal
7. The town in which you were born
8. The name of a past pet
9. The first name of a past love
10. Your favorite color
11. Your first name
12. Your middle name
13. Your last name

Here are my answer pictures:
1. The age you will be on your next birthday

2. A place to which you'd like to travel

3. Your favorite place

4. Your favorite person

5. Your favorite food

6. Your favorite animal (okay, I don't have a favorite animal, so I just used the first interesting picture from the google image search "animal")

7. The town in which you were born

8. The name of a past pet

9. The first name of a past love (It didn't say the love had to be returned!)

10. Your favorite color

11. Your first name

12. Your middle name (no clue what this has to do with my middle name... maybe it's the name of the person riding the horse... but it was interesting)

13. Your last name


I've been cleaning out my Favorites-Blogs folder, and happened upon my original online journal. I started it long before anyone I knew in real life had a blog (at least of which I was aware). It was July 18, 2005 - almost three years ago.

I saw several posts that I'd like to re-post here, so I'll be working on that over the coming days. Hopefully it will be interesting for you as well as me. :-)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Katie's Birth Story - Part 6

The final installment in the saga of our dear Katie's birth. We are so very thankful for God's faithfulness and sovereignty.

Part 6 - Looking back

In retrospect, having researched and studied the issues involved, we do not believe that Katie was in any real danger. We think that if we had taken her home at one day old, she would have healthy and happy.

Here are two huge reasons why:
1) The only reason her bilirubin counts were alarming was that she was labeled a preemie. But she wasn't truly a preemie. 37 weeks gestation is not premature. And remember, the one reason they rated her at 34 weeks was because of her loose hips, which were only loose because she was frank breech. We believe she would have been fine going home and bathing in sunshine and soaking up love from her parents and siblings, instead of being stuck in a hospital incubator under artificial lights, away from the loving arms of her family.

2) The other panic factor for the hospital staff was the threat of Group B Strep. We had not studied up on this well enough, and did not know enough to protect our baby from necessary antibiotic use.

As mentioned earlier, we were told that an infant who contracts Group B strep from his or her mother is dealing with a fast-acting, life-threatening infection, though the bacteria is harmless to the mother. However, several months later, we learned from a leading maternal-fetal specialist that the significant risk of transfer of Group B strep occurs when the amniotic sac is broken for at least 18 hours before the birth of the baby. When the window of possible exposure is smaller than 18 hours, risk of transfer is very minimal. Remember the story of Katie's arrival? Her window of exposure was probably less than two seconds. And yes, we think someone should have been knowledgeable enough and honest enough to share this critical information with us.

So What?
The effects of the whole experience surrounding Katie's birth have been significant. I'll touch on a few of them.

Birth Plans
I suppose the most glaring result of our hospital experience is the fact that we have since returned home to Kansas for the births of our subsequent babies in order to have the attendance of a legal midwife. If the Lord blesses us with any more while we are in Missouri, we of course look forward to having a baby in our own home once again with a legal CPM! But for Grace's and Stephen's births, this was not a legal option. Within a couple of weeks after Katie's birth, we were firm in our conviction that we would not subject another of our children to birth in a hospital setting unless there were a legitimate medical reason to do so.

We became involved with Friends of Missouri Midwives within a couple months of our move to the state, and have been actively involved ever since. However, our experience following Katie's birth strengthened our commitment to helping legalize midwives in Missouri. This, coupled with the challenges of having to leave the state to have our babies, has helped us to press on with the efforts of our amazing midwifery advocacy community in Missouri.

Lessons Learned
It is not uncommon for the Lord to allow us experience things to give us the opportunity to become more understanding of those with whom we come in contact. Before our experience following Katie's birth, I tended to be judgmental of folks whom I saw as kowtowing to the medical profession and accepting what doctors said at face value without bothering to do their own research, ask lots of questions, etc. I am more firmly convinced than ever of the importance of being a well-informed consumer, and of remembering that the medical industry's proper role is to provide a service to consumers instead of dictating to them. But I know now from personal experience how gut-wrenching it is when they play the “your loved one could die/suffer irreparable damage if you don't do what we say” card. I know the questioning, the self-doubt, the sense of helplessness to educate yourself adequately under pressure. And I find myself much more understanding of folks who don't do things the way I would do them.

As with all things in life, I pray that the Lord will use this experience as He works to conform us to the image of Christ, and, ultimately more important, to bring glory to Himself.
Blessed be the name of the Lord!

Katie's Birth Story -
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, The Power of a Picture

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Katie's Birth Story - Part 5

I was planning to wait until tomorrow to post this portion of Katie's birth story... draw out the suspense for you and all. But I'm just not patient enough! So here you go. I'll just warn you, though... if I've done a halfway decent job of painting the picture for you, this will be a gut-wrencher. It was certainly gut-wrenching to live it. Writing it out has been quite a process - a helpful and healing one, I think.

Part 5 - After birth

Dr. Pyle (and the rest of the L&D and pediatric contingent) arrived in our room within moments of Elizabeth Katherine's birth. Having arrived a few days shy of 37 weeks gestation, she was a little thing, but oh so perfect! Five pounds and three ounces of preciousness. She was healthy in her tininess and was judged to be at 37 weeks gestation by all tests but one. More on that in a bit.

The hospital staff was actually pretty cooperative with our desire to have mom and baby together as much as possible immediately following her birth. They took her off to the side to weigh her and such, but we got to breastfeed and have bonding time right away, and I think they truly made an effort to get her back in my arms as soon as possible.

Everyone there was in high alert mode because Elizabeth Katherine had decided to join us a bit earlier than is usual. The in house pediatrician had been in while I was laboring to discuss things with us briefly, and the peds department swooped in in full force as soon as she was born. The following days would give us a much more intimate view than we had ever desired of the intense pressure that a hospital staff can put on parents to get them to cooperate.

As Jonathan watched over Kate's newborn examination, he had an interesting discussion with the nurse. She explained to him that the reason that Kate's hips were so loose was because she was born frank breech (bottom first, basically folded in half). In the next breath, she told him that despite the fact that Kate rated a 37 weeks gestation on all other counts, the reason she was going to give her a 34 week gestation rating was because her hips were so loose. How is that for excellent logic?

Now, at last, they had achieved a crisis, because with that little piece of twisted logic, they suddenly had a preemie on their hands!

Katie was born around 11.30pm. Some friends had come up to visit me in labor and instead had to wait for everyone to finish up their post-birth duties and clear out of the room. We were thankful to see them so quickly after the birth, though – thanks Liz and Jeannette!

The next few days are, to be totally frank, a blur of awfulness. The highlights shine through, of course... nursing sweet Kate, enjoying her precious newness. But really, it was a constant fight for what we believed to be best for our much loved baby, and seven years later, I still tear up at what they put her through. Though we had prepared intensively for labor and delivery in the hospital, and felt blessed and thankful for how cooperative folks were during L&D, nothing had prepared us for the degree to which the hospital staff would consider our baby their own once she was born.

Because they had labeled her a preemie, every thing was a big thing. And we gained a whole new understanding of how parents can let doctors and nurses do things to their babies/family members that they don't believe are best. The “your baby might die/be permanently damaged if you don't do what we tell you” card is incredibly powerful. Matters were further complicated by the fact that the pediatrician we had chosen for follow-up care did not have privileges at the hospital where Kate was born. So we dealt with multiple pediatricians, none of whom actually knew us.

Over the course of the next few days, Katie was subjected to untold poking and prodding. She spent most of her time in the hospital nursery in an incubator with “bili lights.” We were also bullied into letting them give her antibiotics because of their fear about Group B strep infection. We saw negative effects from those antibiotics for several years... which would have been worth it if they had been truly necessary. More on that in another post.

Little details from the blur...Kate was not released from the hospital until Wednesday or Thursday (having been born on Saturday night). I would have to walk down the hall to the (freezing cold) nursery to visit, nurse, and hold her. The first few days, it was all I could do to make it down there, from the emotional and physical exhaustion. Jonathan was back and forth from the hospital (an hour away from home, remember?) to take care of our other four children. We had friends who could watch the children part of the time during the day, but after that first night, he went home every night and for many hours of each day to care for them. The hours that he was gone were the worst. I remember one afternoon just sobbing from the exhaustion, the loneliness, the frustration of having to fight for our daughter every step of the way. I very much needed to nurse Kate, and yet I was far too tired to make it to the nursery by myself. I felt so very alone, and cried and cried... for my baby, and for my Mama.

Some happy highlights from our stay at the hospital: 1) Our nurse midwife was wonderful to us and brought us terrific home cooked meals. 2) The hospital provided a “hospitality room” for us to stay in after I was released, just down the hall from where they were (from my perspective) keeping our baby hostage. I was so thankful that I did not have to stay at a motel. 3) God is faithful. Even when times are dark and we cannot see His plans, we can trust His heart.

We finally got to take Katie home with us (equipped with a bili-blanket in which to wrap her most of the time). I was so very glad to be home and in the same room with my precious baby!

Poor Katie's poking and prodding wasn't over yet, though. We had to go to our pediatrician's office every weekday to have her bilirubin levels checked. On Friday morning, July 6, Jonathan left for a business conference in Tennessee, taking the older children with him (his parents were going to meet up with him and watch the children, then come back with them to help us out at home). About a half hour after they left, the pediatrician's office called. Katie's levels from the day before had him concerned, and he wanted her at the hospital for a couple more days of intense light therapy. I wasn't supposed to be driving yet, and called someone from church to see if she would take Katie and I to the hospital. She kindly did, and dropped us off at the door (her own baby was only a few weeks old).

So Katie and I spent two nights alone at another hospital. This time, she at least got to be in the same room as me. We were actually in the pediatric ward, so I got the hospital bed, and she got the latest arrival at the hospital – the bili-bed. It was a rolling cart that had a photo-therapy light under the clear surface of the “bed.” A special blanket reflected the light to the “up” side of the baby. We stayed there Friday, Saturday, and part of Sunday. Katie hated the bili-bed, and I did my best to cuddle her while she lay there. I wanted to nurse her constantly, just so I could hold her, but knew that we would be allowed to leave sooner if I let the lights do their job. Those two days are very vague... I don't even know what or how I ate! At last, Sunday morning arrived, and with it came two wonderful gifts – Papa and Mama Byrd's arrival from Kansas, and Katie's release from the hospital. Praises!

Thankfully, after Katie's second release from the hospital, life settled into a sense of normalcy. We at last got to enjoy seeing our children all together and being as normal a family as our crazy bunch ever manages to be! My next (and last) post in this series will be a reflective look back... why we believe Katie was perfectly healthy at birth, what I've learned from the experience, and good stuff like that.

Katie's Birth Story -
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, The Power of a Picture

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Katie's Birth Story - Part 4

Part 4 - The Gentle Giant
In time, Dr. Pyle arrived. He was huge. Not overweight, but tall and strong. I don't have any legitimate assessment of how tall he was, but he seemed enormous. His hands looked like he could have palmed a basketball without effort. And yet, this huge man was one of the most gentle people I have ever encountered.

One of the first things out of Dr Pyle's mouth was the statement, “I love breech births.” Having spent months researching our childbirth options in the St. Louis area, this comment dropped our jaws. What a reminder of God's sovereignty. He brought us the only doctor we know of in St. Louis who would actually welcome a breech presentation!

Dr. Pyle very respectfully prepared me for an internal exam to see what he could learn about how and what Baby was doing. Ever so gently, he checked for a presenting part (what part of the baby's body is closest to the cervix) and waited through the next contraction to see how Baby was handling things. This confirmed that Baby's bottom was coming down during contractions to help the cervix open. He could feel the umbilical cord before the contraction, but not during, and Baby's heartones were fine during contractions, so it was evident that the cord was being pushed safely out of the way with each contraction.

This gentle giant of a man had obviously been prepared for us. He knew that our desire was to birth this baby vaginally. We talked for several minutes about the possibilities... that if we attempted a vaginal delivery and had a complication, I would have to go under general anesthesia instead of local, because time would be of the essence. I agreed that I was willing to go that route if needed. My comfort is nothing to me in the face of the safety of my child. He assured us that the team would be ready at a moment's notice if they were needed, but strongly impressed on us his belief that we could do this. He obviously respected us as parents and was eager to support us however he could.

Dr. Pyle left the room to give us privacy, and simply asked Cindy to buzz him when she needed him. As he walked out, he noticed my verses on the TV monitor and remarked on how much he liked them. What a blessing. And what a needed reminder at that moment... “In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?” God was making it abundantly clear that He was faithful. How could I do anything other than continue to trust?

I think Dr. Pyle must have given the rest of the staff the signal that we were to be left alone. I don't remember anyone else entering the room until we called for them.

So it was down to business. The plan was simple. Wait, breathe, let my body and Baby do the work. Pray. Wait and breathe past my former definition of “have to push.” Pray. Wait. Breathe. Be thankful beyond measure for my wonderful husband, doula, and midwife. Wait. Breathe. Pray. Repeat until there was no possible way to not push.

I don't know how long this stage lasted. Time was irrelevant. The waves came and went. Embrace them... then let them go. Almost like a dance. A very intense, hardworking dance.

I begin to know, and think I stated out loud, that it wouldn't be long. Cindy decided she needed to check on Baby. In the midst of a contraction, she lifted my leg. My concentration broken, I could no longer resist the urge to push. Pop! The amniotic sack burst... all over. Cindy turned to hit the buzzer for Dr. Pyle, (another irresistible push from me) and turned back to see Baby on the bed. Elizabeth Katherine had decided it was time for her arrival, and her birth was one of the most empowering/trust building events in my life.

And I would need all the faith available for the events of the next couple weeks...

Katie's Birth Story -
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, The Power of a Picture

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Katie's Birth Story - Part 3

I began to post Katie's birth story the night of her birthday... almost two weeks ago. Exciting things broke the next day (the Supreme Court ruling), and I've been distracted ever since. Tonight, I finally have had the opportunity to get the next section ready. And whether this is a warning or a promise depends on how you feel about birth stories, but Katie's will be by far the longest. At least, as best as I can guess!

Part 3 - The Hospital (and Looking Back on Preparation)
As instructed, we entered the hospital via the Emergency Room entrance, something that quite honestly irritated me. I was having a baby, not an emergency. I walked up to the admission desk and informed them that I was there because I was in labor. The woman behind the desk looked at me in astonishment, then announced, “You're not in labor. You're way too happy to be in labor!” I assured her that truly, I was in labor, I had a great deal to be happy about, and that I was to meet my midwife at the hospital. She acquiesced and got things in order for me to be taken up to Labor and Delivery.

An orderly brought out a wheelchair, and I about had a fit. I was indignant – I was not sick, and walking is one of the best things for me to do in labor. They were pretty insistent and Jonathan urged me to go ahead and have ride (the whole “pick your battles” business, I think). So we headed upstairs.

I believe Cindy, our CNM, was waiting for us at L&D. I don't remember being there without her, anyway, for which we were thankful. I don't remember when Barb (our doula) arrived, but I remember being so thankful to see her face! If I recall correctly, Cindy first checked to see if I was dilating. I was 8 ½ centimeters dilated! I remember thinking, “yep, just what I thought... about 8 cm.” I didn't have long to glory in my accurate assessment of what my body was doing (or to wish that someone would go tell that woman at the desk in the ER), though. As Cindy checked me, her face mirrored her concern.
The next step was to palpate for Baby's position. The look of concern increased. I was not surprised when Cindy said that she would like to bring in the ultrasound machine to get a better idea of how Baby was lying. My first ultrasound ever... and sure enough, Baby was lying face up and horizontal across my belly. With contractions, Baby's hiney would drop down toward my cervix.

Cindy's agreements with the hospital and her supervising physician required that a doctor be called in at this point. She told us that her supervising doctor was out of town this weekend, and that it was a good thing, because she would have insisted on an immediate C-Section. Since the supervising doc was out of town, her backup was called in.

While we waited for the doctor to arrive, we relaxed and prayed as best with could with all the activity going on around us. It was during this time that I had one of my few testy moments of the evening. There were (what seemed to me) multitudes of people in and out of our room, ob nurses, peds nurses and doctors, etc, etc. We were in a large, very nice room. But as a woman accustomed to the intimate environment of my home (with only attendees I've chosen) for the very private matter of birthing my babies, there was probably no room big enough! As the room filled with various people trying to do their jobs, I asked in the sweetest voice I could muster, “Do all of you need to be in here at the same time?” Miraculously, the room emptied! And maintained a wonderfully low population for most of the evening.

While we waited for the doctor, we addressed many issues with and signed any number of forms for the hospital staff. We were well informed parents who had obviously researched the issues, and were willing to discuss things rationally and logically. For the most part, we found our decisions honored, though there were disturbing exceptions we discovered later.

One of the key issues for the hospital staff was the question of Group B strep. It's the only issue that I'm going to go address specifically, as it relates to the later story. I had actually tested positive for Group B a month or so earlier, though I'm not certain to this day that it was a clean test. Group B strep can cause serious, life threatening complications when it is passed from a mother to a baby. Though we were not sure of the accuracy of my positive Group B test, we agreed to allow the hospital staff to administer antibiotics to me in order to pass that protection on to the baby.

As we waited, I lay on mostly on my side - my best position for maintaining focus. This was somewhat hampered by the IV antibiotics and by the monitors strapped to my belly. Neither of these were part of our plan, but under the circumstances, we didn't find them wise battles to fight.

One of my preparations for this momentous event was to print out some of my favorite verses to put up in my room. Jonathan taped my verses up for me, and wow, was I thankful for the reminders! God's Word helped me focus amazingly, and reminded me that I and Baby were safe in His loving hands, no matter what circumstances were to come.

One section of verses I felt the Lord had given me for this birth was posted on the TV screen across the room from the bed in large friendly letters.

This I know, that God is for me.
In God, whose word I praise,
In the LORD, whose word I praise,
In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid.
What can man do to me?
Psalm 56.9b-11

God's wisdom and grace in preparing me for this birth astound me till this day.

Remember all that birth story reading I mentioned earlier? I read all kinds of birth stories while I was pregnant. Home births, water births, twin births, breech births, unassisted births, births with midwives, births with doctors, etc. I even read a few hospital birth stories (big grin). My one requirement was that the stories I read reflect a positive outlook on birth, and a belief in the design of the female body for giving birth.

Did you notice “breech births” in that list above? For some reason (also known as Providence) I had read a lot of breech birth stories during this pregnancy. Even as we were on the way to the hospital, I realized that I knew what I needed to do to birth this baby (who, I had admitted to myself by that time, was in some sort of breech position). As I breathed my way through the drive to the hospital, I watched in my mind's eye as my uterus and cervix did their work. I opened myself up to willingly let my body do what God had designed it to do. And I knew that He would help me to be patient and to wait past any point that in previous births I would have labeled as “have to push.” He would help me let my body do its work, and let Baby have the time and opportunity to have the best possible entrance into this world.

As I lay on my left side, breathing and praying, these are the thoughts that went through my head. Jonathan was there praying with me, as was Barb, who was also doing wonderful things with counter-pressure to help relieve my lower back.

Katie's Birth Story -
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, The Power of a Picture

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Interesting Read

Fascinating story of one woman's journey from pro-choice atheist to pro-life Catholic. I've never encountered quite this perspective before, and thought I'd pass it on.

What do you think?