We had prayed for months about having a home birth, and both Clay and I separately were led to a place of peace about it. We found a team of two wonderful midwives who just happened to be believers, and at 18 weeks I switched my care over to them.
This pregnancy was a difficult one. Much more so than my pregnancy with Noelle. I was so ready to have this baby out of my body and into my arms. On top of the many challenges, I’d been having Braxton Hicks contractions all throughout my third trimester that had ramped up in the final few weeks. Literally every time I bent over (hello toddler mom life) I had one!
I had taken A Heavenly Welcome’s Kingdom Childbirth course. In Kiera’s “Jesus Encounter,” the Lord had spoken the words “peace” and “redemption” to me for this birth. I also had been seeing the number 4.3 everywhere. (God often speaks to me in numbers. See our engagement story.) And then I had a dream I went into labor on a Sunday. And as it turned out, April 3 just happened to be a Sunday!
4.3 came, and lo and behold I started having contractions that afternoon. We were so excited! We put Noelle to bed and got everything set up. By 4am the contractions were so intense I climbed out of bed and onto my exercise ball… And then they stopped.
I was so confused.
I had more contractions over the next couple of days and particularly all throughout the night—adding to the already exhaustive list of things keeping me from sleeping. By Wednesday morning I was feeling so drained. The midwives invited me into the office for some emotional encouragement (I mean, seriously how amazing?) And that’s when they uttered the four words no mama past her due date wants to hear—
She’s sunny side up.
What? Just nine days before she had been in the “perfect position.” I was immediately struck with nerves about having a longer, more painful labor with potential complications despite their assurance I would be just fine.
For the next three days I tried everything to get this baby to turn—the Miles Circuit, extra curb walking, and just about every Spinning Babies exercise. And nada.
On Saturday the midwives wrote me the sweetest note to rest and trust that God had me in His loving hands. But I’ll be honest—that felt much easier said than done.
The next day was Palm Sunday, and I couldn’t believe I had basically been in labor for a week—and with a posterior baby no less. I was doubting God’s ability to bring about this “peace” and “redemption” He had promised me. I was physically, emotionally and spiritually drained.
That night I crawled into bed at 10:30, and almost immediately I had a contraction. It was par for the course that week, so I didn’t think much of it. The second contraction was a bit more intense. The third had me texting Clay to come apply some counterpressure to my low back. And the fourth? Well, my water broke.
I leapt out of bed while Clay called the midwives on speaker. I noticed the time on his phone—10:45pm.
I could tell things were picking up quickly. Clay ran back and forth between filling up the birth pool in our bedroom and apply counterpressure to my hips in our bathroom where I labored on a towel-covered bathmat on all fours. All the while he was timing my contractions. And I was praying, “Thank you, Jesus. Please bring her safely,” over and over.
I called out to Clay, “Another one’s starting!” to which he responded, “You never told me the last one stopped!”
“It didn’t!” I yelled. “THEY’RE BACK TO BACK!”
And that’s when it really hit me. It was go time.
Another call to the midwives and we found out they weren’t going to make it due to other births. They were sending another midwife they worked with whom I had briefly met named Chavah (pronounced Hah-vuh) as well as Maggie, their assistant.
I can’t explain it, but I didn’t even care. I just had such a peace about it all.
I climbed into that birth pool, leaning forward against the side, and it felt so nice. The warm water helped my body to relax completely to get the most out of each contraction.
They were intense.
Clay read Scripture to me while I squeezed his hand. Instrumental worship music played softly amid our dimly lit bedroom.
Maggie arrived and began setting up. (She later told me it was the most peaceful birth atmosphere she had seen and that I looked like an angel floating in the tub! I almost laughed out loud because what was going on inside of me felt anything but!) I calmly asked her to come closer and asked her why it had to hurt so badly.
A few contractions later and Chavah arrived. That’s when I decided to see what it felt like to turn over face up and have Clay support me from behind, his arms linked under mine.
I immediatley felt like pushing.
I had barely been in labor! I hadn’t even been checked! Chavah offered, but I declined. No time for that!
I started pushing, and it was truly the most intense feeling I’ve ever felt. I both wanted to push her out gently so I wouldn’t tear yet also wanted her out as quickly as possible! And then the Ring of Fire came. I never felt it with Noelle. I suppose after 18 hours of unmedicated labor my body went partially numb?! Let me tell you–it’s no joke. I felt like my body was going to split apart.
Chavah coached me through the pushing while Clay encouraged me from behind. After about 4 contractions, her head came out (the right way!) And there was so much relief. One more push and out slid her body. I reached down and scooped my baby girl right onto my chest.
She was here.
A moment of awe, and then Chavah asked if she could hold her to stimulate her for a few seconds. (I mean, the midwives literally ask you before they do anything! It’s just so wonderful.) It hadn’t even crossed my mind there may be something wrong. But I didn’t worry even then. She soon began to cry, and Chavah placed her back onto my chest.
She settled quickly, and Clay and I took a few minutes to just be still and admire her. It was so unlike our prior chaotic and stressful hospital birth.
Maggie suggested a shot of pitocin since my labor was so quick, and I agreed. I quickly delivered the placenta, and then they all helped Norah and I onto the bed. Clay got to cut the cord—which he didn’t get to do with Noelle.
I opted for a week of bedrest instead of two stitches.
I was in a lot of pain for about 30 minutes which I was surprised about. After delivering Noelle I felt nothing short of euphoria. I also had the aftershock chatters like I did with Noelle.
Norah got a 10 on her APGAR test while I then got settled onto my side of the bed. The midwives cleaned up and headed out a little before 3am, and we got that 5 hour stretch of sleep they said we could expect.
There was nothing better than the three of us, cozied up in our bed that night. (Though I didn’t sleep much after all that adrenaline!)
The next morning, Noelle got to come in and meet her long-awaited Baby Sister! It was the absolute sweetest moment.
Norah and I snuggled in bed for a week while we had help with Noelle from Clay’s and my parents.
Norah Rose Collier was born at 12:09am on April 11, 2022 – the very day Clay asked me to be his girlfriend 7 years ago. It’s a day I associate with God’s faithfulness and goodness.
There was a few things I had prayed for specifically about this birth:
- That I would go into labor after a decent night’s sleep, or at least not lose an entire night’s sleep like I did the previous time.
- That my labor would be 3 hours and 20 minutes or less. (After a long season of singleness, Clay’s and my first date was on March 20 which always makes me think of Ephesians 3:20.) I believed God could do it but prayed He would help me with my unbelief!
- That the midwives would get there in time.
- That it woudn’t hurt as much as the time before.
- That I wouldn’t tear.
- I got great rest that night, unbothered by medical staff.
- God literally took that amount of time I prayed for, and cut.it.in.HALF!
- They did.
- It didn’t. Or least it didn’t feel like it did since it was so short!
- That tiny tear ended up actually being a blessing of rest for someone who struggles to sit still!
He is such a good and faithful God. He delivered on His promise for peace and redemption surrounding this labor despite my doubts. All that pre-labor labor (not quite sure what to call it!) hadn’t been for nothing. I suppose it was God helping my body to prepare to give me the fast labor I wanted! And He turned her! Not by any doing of my own.
One verse I had up next to my birthing pool was Psalm 4:3—
“Know that the Lord has set apart his faithful servant for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him.”
And well, I didn’t mention this before, but I was quite literally calling out to Jesus for help when pushing! He carried me through that fast and furious labor. He heard my cries of pain then and He heard my cries of tears before when I pleaded with Him to turn her. He delivered me miracles, and He delivered us this miracle—our sweet Norah Rose.
In that “Jesus Encounter” I also saw the Lord give me a red rose—a symbol of redemption made possible through the blood of Jesus. And thus we have Norah’s middle name. (Her first name is after my great great grandmother.)
I feel so silly that I ever doubted this great God. But I will take this lesson in faith with me as I press on in this journey of life, remembering that He is the author of the greatest Redemption Story ever told.
Praise be to Him who gave His life—the ultimate sacrifice, the greatest pain—that we would have new life and rebirth.
Birth is such a beautiful picture of the gospel…
May we live in anticipation of the day when we get to experience the ultimate fulfillment of the greatest promise we have been given. For now, I will bask in these early days with this gift of new life in my arms.
My sweet Norah Rose, we did it!