Motherhood came with a bang
The summer my husband and I bought a house is the summer my 5th daughter was conceived. By this point, I was expecting to fall pregnant again, sometime around the end of July-beginning of August, as that was the pattern. My then-youngest was about 9 months old when I tested positive for pregnancy. Mercy. And since the last attempt at a home birth was so successful, we were going to plan for that again.
Shortly after discovering I was pregnant, the trial reconciliation for my marriage began to fall apart. Nasty little fights turned into scary incidents, for both me and my young children. It was a struggle to keep the peace, go to prenatal appointments, and manage around 4 young children. I began safety planning.
Fast approaching delivery
Easter and my due date was fast approaching, and I was barely holding on to the remnants of my marriage. Then, at 39 weeks pregnant, a huge storm hit our location. It was a freak spring ice storm, and it was bad. Trees were knocked down, roads nearly impassible, and the electricity was knocked out for huge areas.
Our house was one of the casualties of the storm. Not only did a tree narrowly miss our own roof, landing right on our front steps, but another branch fell on the power line connecting our house to the main lines, and pulled the line right off the house. Even if power was restored to our village quickly, it was going to take more than a few days to repair the damage to our home.
We needed help.
With 4 young children and a baby on the way, we needed to relocate, and fast. We had no heat, no electricity and no running water. My husband’s family lived nearby, and while they didn’t have power or water, they did have a fireplace for heating. We packed up and camped out in their basement with the kids. It was just another small mercy around this baby.
Of course, contractions started. But I was relieved when they stopped after a few hours, though I knew it was only a matter of time. After a couple of days of on-and-off pains, I called my midwife and explained our situation.
We made a plan.
I asked the midwife if we could turn these on-and-off contractions into real labour, and have this baby on our terms, so that we could make more definite plans for our children’s wellbeing. I said I was open to medical intervention, if that’s what it took. She agreed, and so we planned to meet at the hospital later that evening.
We took the kids over to a local community centre. It had power and running water, and was offering shelter, showers and water refills to anyone who needed it. We bathed all the kids, got them into pjs, and settled them at their uncle’s for the night. Then we were off to the hospital for this baby.
No interventions necessary.
While we had been busy with our other young children, I had been ignoring the regular-yet-not-strong pains. I was focused on making sure everyone else was taken care of, so I didn’t pay attention to the signs that labor had started. But by the time we were on our way to the hospital, they were strong enough that I couldn’t ignore them any longer. I was glad for that mercy, because I had wanted a natural birth.
We pulled into the hospital parking lot, and I was having to breathe through the contractions. We walked slowly, pausing every few steps, up to the floor where my midwife was waiting for us. She smiled when she saw me, and quipped that the medical interventions weren’t going to be necessary, obviously. I smirked at her between contractions.
Quiet night for a baby
It was a quiet night, another mercy for which I was thankful. My midwife kept the lights low, and for the 2nd time, I “borrowed a room” at a hospital to have my baby. I put on my music playlist and did my best to just focus through the contractions, which were now fast and furious. It was 12:30 am.
By 1 am, I hit transition, and felt shaky and panicky. This time, mercy rained on me, and I recognized the emotions for what they really were. I was able to regain my focus. I let the midwives know and they began to prepare.
Within 20 minutes, I was ready to push. Or rather, my body was, as there’s really no conscious pushing on my part with any of my deliveries. I tried to relax into it and let my body do what it was designed to do. And at 1:33 am, my beautiful baby girl was here, all 7 lbs 7 oz of her.
Vacation in the hospital
Now that we had a new baby, what could we do? I couldn’t take her home as our home was still uninhabitable. So we arranged that we were going to take all 5 children up to my parents, about 6 hours away, and stay there for a while. That way our house could be repaired, and our children would still be cared for.
The midwife arranged for me to stay in hospital with my new daughter, while my husband packed up clothes for everyone. I gave him a detailed list, and he still called every 5 minutes, but he managed. Fortunately for him, I’d already packed clothes for a few days for the kids to stay with their aunt and uncle, along with all the accessories they needed.
My midwife was amazing, and had left orders that the nighttime nurses were to leave us undisturbed. So my baby and I were able to bond without middle-of-the-night vital sign checks. By the 2nd day, nursing was well established, and despite a slight yellow tinge, we were cleared to go.
Meet the family
We brought our newest little one to meet her siblings and extended family first, before we left on our road trip. Her sisters were delighted over this new baby. My 4th daughter was particularly possessive, and held on tightly, declaring the baby was “hers”. She didn’t want to give her back to me, and pouted when I had to pick her up again!
Off we went on our trip to my parents, where we stayed for the next week. It was a rarity for my mom and dad as well, to meet one of my children before they were more than a few days old. I was able to rest and relax at my parents, and just enjoy the new baby. We did a wellness check midway through the week, and she was declared healthy, despite the yellowing skin showing jaundice. Nursing was well established, and we were told to simply enjoy lots of sunshine. It was mercy and I was happy to do that!
With this princess, despite the many challenges and struggles ahead, I was reminded that the storms can bring mercy too. With every new problem, there was an unexpected favor granted. So we named our princess as a reminder of that mercy! And every day, I am again humbled by the miracles and favors that we are given. Mercy never ends!