I would honestly say that my pregnancy had been very smooth. All my bloodwork had been normal, I had been feeling really good, blood pressure normal, & despite the pregnancy “wide nose” I like to call it ;)” & snoring at night, ha, it wasn’t until the last few weeks (34-37 weeks) that I did start having some visual changes, swelling of feet, hands, and noticed some fluid in my face as well etc. I took it google, which we all know is where you find the answers right? (Ha), & then swore to never do that again because I found out about some things that brought fear into my thoughts. This whole pregnancy had been a prayer and a mindset of “Supernatural Childbirth,” and especially since my miscarriage last year, Josh and I began speaking so much life over my belly. We began declaring God’s promises and truth over this little one inside knowing and believing I was going to carry him/her full term.
I started writing out scriptures all over my house in order to ensure that I wasn’t going to allow the enemy creep into my thoughts. As 2 Timothy 1:7 states, “For God did not give me a spirit of fear, but of a power of love, and of a sound mind,” & 1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…”, Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” I knew that by memorizing these and having them as visual reminders, come time to give birth they were going to be crucial. I had to allow the Lord to take my thoughts captive.
As a back story, & for those who know me well, know that I have always wanted to give birth naturally. No meds, no epidurals, no interventions, and I always visualized a home birth with worship music blasting, essential oils diffusing, a bath tub, me being able to move around freely, letting my body do what it was created to do, and ultimately Josh by my side supporting me during the process. Well, our house that we are renting right now wasn’t ideal for this scenario, so we were so excited when we found out about Baby & Co, a boutique birthing company located only 10 minutes from our house with all of these amazing options at our fingertips. So, now lets bring you guys up to speed ;)
September 21st, I was 36.6 weeks and I had an appointment scheduled at Baby and Co. I got my blood pressure taken, like any other appointment, but this time it was a whopping 160/80. Immediately, the midwife takes it again and starts asking if I have had any visual changes, swelling of the feet etc. I mentioned that at my last appointment I had some of those issues & the midwife starts to get a little more concerned look on her face. All of the blood rushes out of my body as my worst “fear” in reading on google seems to be coming true. Two words I forbid to speak into existence, “Pre-Eeclampsia,.” For those of you who don’t know what this is: “Pre-eclampsia is a disorder of pregnancy characterized by high blood pressure and a large amount of protein in the urine. The disorder usually occurs in the third trimester of pregnancy and worsens over time. In severe disease there may be red blood cell breakdown, a low blood platelet count, impaired liver function, kidney dysfunction, swelling, shortness of breath due to fluid in the lungs, or visual disturbances. Pre-eclampsia increases the risk of poor outcomes for both the mother and the baby. If left untreated, it may result in seizures at which point it is known as eclampsia. The only “cure” is to deliver your baby.
So, now it was being suggested that I head over to Vanderbilt Hospital immediately to get monitored for my blood pressure and check to see if I have any protein in my urine. As I was driving to the hospital I immediately started praying and blasting worship music, while tears were streaming down my face trying not to think of all possible worst scenarios. As I was driving, the Lord reminded me of one of my prayers during my whole pregnancy of me declaring, “I will carry you to full term Baby D.” I was only hours away from 37 weeks.
At 3 o’clock pm, I arrive at Vanderbilt where they put me in one of their cold little rooms, I loose all decency with those gowns they have you put on, & they immediately start hooking me up to monitor my blood pressure. With every squeeze that took place on my arm, I couldn’t help but speak scriptures & begin to play my “Birth Album of worship music” on my phone over this current situation - that no matter the circumstance, and no matter the outcome, I was trusting the Lord, even if that meant I was going to have this baby today. At this point, my heart of course was a little heavy and worried, but I was still overcome with so much peace in the midst of it all. This was a part of the “plan” even if it looked nothing like what I would have thought.
Around 5 o’clock pm, I got the results back for finding out if there was any protein in my urine & my blood work.. Sure enough, there was. The count for protein was actually so scary high that we were told we were going to need to have this baby ASAP, & my bloodwork was all out of whack. Induction. Words I swore to never speak, were being discussed.
So let’s just talk about all the “plans” that we had flying out the window. We were being asked all sorts of questions, and it was coming at us at 100 miles per hour. Of course we knew that God had this all under control, but now it was time for us to release that control. It was time for us to be firm in what we didn’t want to do, and what we wanted, and time for us to partner together and get some sort of game plan in action. All of our expectations of a natural birth were now crumbling. Our hearts were breaking as it was becoming a reality that actions we swore we would never do, were being spoken…possible c-section, pitocin, epidural, and many other forms of intervention.
Immediately, texts started being sent out asking for prayer and clarity on decisions Josh and I were going to need to make! My mom, who is my grandmas full time caretaker, by the grace of God, was able to book a flight by 6 pm, hop in a uber by 6:15 pm to head to the airport, as my Aunt Donna who just so happened to be coming to Dallas anyway landed at 5 pm and had already planned on being in Dallas this week to help with Grandma Lucille! One of our best friends, Michael Grabert works at Vanderbilt, so until Josh was able to get to the hospital, Michael was able to come in to just calm my nerves, make me laugh, & just be in the room with me so I wouldn’t have to be alone! Such a blessing! Even though I was out of Baby & Co’s care, there was a Baby & Co. midwife that happened to be at Vanderbilt where she was able to come in and talk to me about all of my options. Explain to us what the next few days would look like, and preparing us for what could be a hard couple of days.
At around 7 o’clock pm, I got transferred to Room 11, my new home! At this point, I was starting to find out that all my dreams of delivering a baby with the options to walk around, stand up, squat, hop in a tub, whatever I needed to do, was being torn away from me. I was going to be stuck to a bed, and hooked up to every sort of machine you could think of. From a fluid IV, to a catheter, to a blood pressure machine, to a magnesium drip (which is a muscle relaxer to prevent seizer activity, one of the side effects of pre-eclampsia” & also what they give women when they are trying to stop labor), to a tachometer (device that wraps around my belly that monitors baby’s heartbeat & monitors my contractions), and the beloved ET phone home oxygen measure for my finger. Let’s just say there was no way, even if I wanted, to be able to move around the room. So even though I knew that my “dream of labor” was gone, once again, I still had an unimaginable peace. I declared, “I will have a supernatural childbirth.”
One of the side effects of being on Magnesium is that I was told that you are going to feel like you have the flu. Indeed, my brain felt like a huge balloon that wouldn’t pop, and my sinus’ were experiencing so much pressure. On top of that, I wasn't able to eat or drink anything except “ice chips” until 24 hours AFTER baby was born. This definitely made me start to wonder how I would have the energy, but I knew where my strength was going to come from, Jesus!
We didn’t have a baby bag packed, nor did we even have anything ready to be honest for an early baby arrival, but baby was going to be coming no matter what & thankfully I had been blessed with some amazing girlfriends. Sarah & Hannah, stepped right up to the plate to serve our needs while my best friend Hailey (who was our original doula) was texting them and coaching them from afar, “Operation Healthy Baby Ducky & Happy Mama” was underway. They arrived in my room carrying tons of the things I would have had for my birth without me even asking…a diffuser for us to immediately start diffusing all the oils, a speaker so that I could start blasting my birth playlist of worship music, more oils to massage my swollen feet and with specific instructions from Hailey on what oils to use to help induce labor, & with every touch they were praying over us and our situation declaring the love and power of Jesus all throughout that hospital room. There was one prayer in specific that our best friends Hailey and Jeremy texted us. We spoke it out, sent it to friends and family, & were in complete agreement with it!
“We just prayed for a painless supernatural birth. For quick, easy delivery, that every intervention would WORK with zero side effects. In the name of Jesus we command your cervix to OPEN. We pray for a fully developed healthy baby with zero complications postpartum. For supernatural energy and strength for you so that you can bond afterwards easily!“
Little did we know, that this plan was in action!
At 8pm, we got the first recommendation of what intervention should be used first after checking to see where baby was. At this point, I was 1cm, 50% effaced and -1 station. Baby was low, which was great, but obviously there were still a lot of things that needed to happen. Cytotec was offered as our first intervention option to help thin my cervix and try to get labor going. I knew the side effects of this drug and just as Hailey had prayed in that prayer, I started declaring her words that, “every intervention would WORK with ZERO of the side effects.” At this point, I was trying to find out all my options on what natural remedies I could do to start labor. The Foley Bulb was something I asked about, but with my Latex allergy, they had to order one. It was now 2 am and we still didn’t have it. They came in to try and get me start pitocin again, but I still wanted to wait for the Foley Bulb, and go from there. 5 am arrives & now we are told the bulb is back ordered, and wouldn’t be here for another day, so that intervention was out of the question.
I honestly believe that the delay was a blessing because it allowed my body to rest and relax and it gave a long gap between the first intervention, cytocec.. No, I didn’t sleep a wink, & how can you when you have a blood pressure machine squeezing your arm every 30 minutes, your nurses coming in every 2 hours to check your vitals, AND you have cotton mouth? I will say that the sound of my little baby’s heartbeat was the sweetest sound to relax too - knowing that he/she was doing good and was not being put into any sort of distress. Despite the fact that one of my bffs Hailey couldn’t be in Nashville at this moment, that didn’t stop her being there for me at 3 am when I was texting her updating her on what was going on & trying to listen to God’s voice and not base any decisions on fear…
Here are some of the texts that were being sent in being in agreement with God’s plan….
From Hailey: ”Me and Jenny are in agreement that your baby girl is full term and perfectly healthy and READY TO COME! Your body is ready!”
Hailey: “Lucy means LIGHT 🙌🏻 Light - One of the most wonderful, cheering, and useful of all the works of God; called into being on the first of the six days of creation, by his voice: "Let there be light;" and there was light. No object better illustrates whatever is pure, glorious, spiritual, joyful, and beneficent. Hence the beauty and force of the expressions, "God is light," 1 John 1:5, and "the Father of lights," James 1:17; Christ is the "Sun of righteousness," and "the light of the world," John 1:9 8:12. So also the word of God is "a light," Psalm 119:105; truth and Christians are lights, John 3:19 12:36; prosperity is "light," Esther 8:16; and heaven is full of light, Revelation 21:23-25. Lucy is a beacon of light to God's grace and protection over you already!”
Sarah: “In the name of Jesus this medicine (Pitocin) is gonna work at a small amount. You're going to respond so well to it and baby is going to tolerate it wonderfully!”
Talk about declaring the goodness of God and knowing that our little one was fully baked, fully cooked, and just had a little bit of “fomo” ;) I love that during this time my playlist of worship music never stopped, & the diffuser never stopped diffusing Frankincense all throughout that room. As mom and Josh were freezing in the corner of the room trying to sleep, while I was burning up because of the magnesium, I couldn’t help but praise Jesus for the gift of family, life, and His faithfulness. I knew that this baby was coming today, and I was going to declare that to be true.
So at 5:25 am they started the Pitocin. I was very clear that I wanted to start slow with an increase of 1mu per 30 minutes and not at their usual up by 2mu every 30. I did not want any chance of putting baby in distress, and thankfully they were very accommodating to my desires. At this point I couldn’t help but pray for God’s hand to be all over this. I felt so unprepared and not ready to make decisions like this, but I knew that God had this babe and me in His hands and we just had to trust.
7 o’clock am came and in the hospital world, that means shift change. I was now getting two new nurses & a midwife that would be able to fetch me my “ice chips” when I needed to quench my thirst. Rachel and Mckenzie came in introducing themselves, and I immediately felt like I was just blessed with two of the sweetest nurses in the world. It didn’t take long to discover that Mckenzie was also a believer and we also had a couple mutual friends. My heart was immediately filled with joy, and I knew that this was God ordained.
My new midwife came in and it was time to check to see where baby and mama were. I was at 2cm 70% effaced, -1 station, and in her words “cervix was butter.” I remember them asking me if I had been feeling my contractions, and at this point I had not. The ultimate goal was to get my contractions at least 2-3 minutes a apart, and they were maybe 4 minutes apart at this time. The rest of the afternoon everyone was trying to force me to close my eyes, get some rest, because it could be a long haul. At this point there was just a lot of diffusing oils, praying, worshiping, and constant massaging of my feet with oils. I am pretty sure a whole bottle of Clary Sage was used on my feet & put along my spine. The best part was that according to my chart, my “pain management plan” was “oils…” ;)
The midwife came in around 11am explaining to me that we needed to start upping the pitocin by 2mu, instead of 1mu. It was a battle of getting contractions going and them being consistent, but with the magnesium being a muscle relaxer, it was presenting a challenge as it wasn’t allowing the contractions to stay consistent. So at this point, I was at 6mu pit, and I knew that the max pitocin was 20. If we got to 20, we were going to start looking at other options to start inducing labor. Stripping the membranes was the next intervention being discussed…
Now this is where the fun begins ;) I had started to notice that throughout the day that every time Josh came over to me to touch or talk to my belly I would have a contraction. I told him to start speaking out loud to my belly, telling baby to “come out and see us, mommy and daddy want to meet you” He would do it for about 5 minutes and my contractions would start to be consistent, and then someone would walk in and we would get distracted. I remember looking at the clock and asking the Lord for a time of when things would get going. I kept on hearing the time 3 o'clock so I started declaring that there would be a shift at that time. My mom ended up leaving the room and left Josh and I in there alone. With the worship music playing, oils still diffusing, and knowing that Jesus was all up in that place, Josh started speaking scripture over my belly. I noticed that I had reached the max of 20pit and in prayers of not having to do another intervention, we were ready. Ready to meet baby, and ready to get this party going.
How cute is that when Josh looked up what scriptures to read, he looked up “labor scriptures,” so everything he was speaking over me and baby were declaring strength, provision, faithfulness, no fear, perfect love, holy spirit rain down & saturate this place for a smooth & fast delivery. It wasn’t but 15 minutes later, I coughed and I felt a trickle. I had been hooked up to a catheter so I immediately got a confused look on my face wondering if my catheter had leaked. I asked Josh to take a look down there to see what had just happened since I clearly couldn’t ;) I even asked him to take a picture so I could see, and he looked up at me saying “uhh really? Let’s just have the nurse take a look.” He has a tendency to be a little squeamish, but he did it anyway. We paged for our sweet nurse McKenzie to come in. She walks in and I said “Sooo, I'm pretty sure my water just broke.” The midwife then got paged in and it was confirmed that it was my water! Praise the Lord! Now I was 3cm 100% effaced and 0 station! Baby is gearing up ;)
I specifically remember, Rachel, one of my other nurses, coming in and congratulating me that my water broke. I told her “What time do you get off? 7? I could have this baby before your shift is over.” I could tell that with that statement she wasn’t convinced. She replied with “I wouldn’t bank on it, it could still be a little while,” but before she could finish I said, “You never know! All I know is that I am going to declare it that I have this baby before you leave here.”
Contractions started to gear up at around 5 pm to where they were finally closer to 2 min apart, but I was still able to talk through them and have conversation. Mckenzie kept on coming in asking for my pain level and I always had the hardest time trying to put a number on it. I won’t even call it “pain” because it was not painful, I just felt some pressure. I am pretty sure I gave it a 4 on a scale of 1-10 and still didn't know if that was an accurate number. With the worship music playing in the background, I started worshiping and singing a long with each song as each contraction would start. When contractions started to get a little tighter, I did start to focus more, and as Josh was rubbing my back and my mom was down at my feet, they started talking about silly topics and were not paying attention to me to say the least ;). Haha, I laid there wanting to laugh, but then again I was starting to get annoyed because I wanted my labor to progress and I felt like they were distracting me! I finally told them in a very monotone voice, “You guys …are no help at all” & to their defense, they didn’t know that I was actually feeling these contractions so I’ll let it slide.
I laid there on my side and with every contraction I knew from reading “Ina Mays Guide to Childbirth” that I was to make low sounds and keep my jaw relaxed as our continued prayer was for my cervix to OPEN! Never knowing what sound I would make during labor, it surprised me when I felt like I was a mooing cow.
My contractions were longer and getting stronger, but I felt so much control and focus. I don't even know how to put into words that there was never a thought in my mind that I couldn’t do this, or If I had any doubts. I purposely never looked at the clock, Josh was by my side praying over me & making sure my playlist never played a fast song, and I was zoned in on the sound of my baby’s steady heartbeat.
As mentioned before, I knew that my bed was my playground and I had to figure out how I was going to get this baby down even further & out with my limiting ability to move. At around 6 pm I felt the Lord telling me to get on all fours. Just at that time Mackenzie came into the room and I mentioned how I wanted to change positions. Josh helped me get into position as Mckenzie went to grab a peanut ball so I could lean on it and rock back and forth. The second I changed positions I felt an immediate pressure, like baby had literally dropped even further down.
Around 6:35 pm, Mackenzie was the only one in the room. She had mentioned she wanted to pray for us before shift change. The Holy Spirit was already so alive and moving through this birth and hospital room that her prayer started to shift the atmosphere once again.
Shortly after I immediately felt the urge to push and I was going to poop everywhere. No such things as TMI now ;) Mackenzie had told me, if you feel pressure let me know. A couple more contractions went by and the pressure immediately got stronger, to the point where it was becoming uncontrolled. Not knowing at the time, but I was for sure entering transition & I literally went into another world. I started seeing anything that was square related: Square houses, moving boxes, toast, haha yes & three pieces of it to be exact. I remember opening my eyes and wondering “why the heck am I seeing all of these things?” It was helping me to focus and breathe through my contractions so I didn’t question much after that all while I was still “mooing like a cow.”
Another contraction came and I yelled, “I'm about to poop everywhere,” Mckenzie immediately got on her pager and said “I have a patient that is feeling the urge to push.” I could feel the panic in the room because the last time they had checked me, which was not long ago, I was only 3 cm. I hear Rachel yell “Nicole, don’t push, you don’t want to rip through your cervix,” as Josh was in my ear coaching me and helping me control my breathing 1…2….3…breathe…1…2…..3…breathe. The urge subsided as I knew I had a minute to hurry and flip to my back so they could check me. I see a hand flying toward me and she says “She’s 10cm!!” Oh baby, we are so close.
I hear all the chaos in the room as they are trying to prepare the tables for baby, rolling in the carts, and making sure they have everything ready because baby was coming and I knew I wasn’t going to be pushing long. I was still on all fours at this point and starting thinking, “If I am going to bring a baby in this world, I would rather not everyone be checking out my butt, and if I happen to poop and birth baby at the same time, I don’t want to do it like this especially if photos are going to happen” I never thought I would be laying down on my back to give birth to baby, but once again my options were limiting and I was going to make it work.
7 pm came around because it was time for another shift change. I get introduced to my new nurse, and I told her something to the extent of “ Welcome to the mooing party, just moooo with me.” in between my contractions! I laid there knowing that we were so close. I could feel the baby was about crowning and with a couple more contractions this baby was coming out and we were going to find out if it was a boy or girl! I have my best friend Sarah up my by head coaching and encouraging me through each contraction and my husband down at the end, somewhere he swore he would never be because like I mentioned, he is a little sqeemish. I hear my mom got assigned to videoing and taking pictures because our photographer was trying to make it to the hospital. There was a moment here that I heard my mom walk over to the speaker and turning up the song, “Forever” by Kari Jobe. I couldn’t help but declare God’s goodness and faithfulness all over this moment. When the baby started to crown, I was told that Josh got so excited that he threw his hand up to high five me, haha but clearly I wasn’t in no position to do so.. It was now 7:06pm, and I started having a contraction that I told myself I was gonna make it last and get this baby out. By 7:08pm baby was OUT and so many tears streamed down our face.
No words can adequately explain the emotion and feeling of giving birth and bringing new life into the world. After I told everyone that “me and your daddy made you on a cruise,” and that I was so happy that you were “covered in so much vernix, you are so sweet and cheesy,” we realized we had not even discovered what you were yet. We lifted up the hospital swaddle and immediately said, “Awee, It’s our sweet little Lucy Rose.” We had only had a girl name picked out, and our “Daughter of Light” had made it into this world, 3 weeks early and all, but ultimately in perfect time & in perfect health. She was absolutely beautiful. All 6 pounds & 19 inches of her. Although our plans didn’t go as we initially wanted, we wouldn’t have changed it for the world. God is so good and we are forever changed by how this little one entered our lives. She is a testimony to putting our full trust in the Lord and letting go of our plans and allowing the Lord to write our story. We serve such a good good Father. We had so many exceptions when it came to birth, but He showed himself in what was not our ultimate plan, but His ultimate plan.
The remaining days at the hospital we heard we were the talk of the nurses station. They couldn’t believe that we were able to give birth naturally to a sweet baby girl while on 20pit pitocin and magnesium without having an epidural. One nurse even commented that I was only the fourth patient she had ever had in her time that had 20pit pitocin and not an epidural.
But again, HOW GOOD IS OUR GOD! Ultimately, our desire is to show a God who knew the desires of our hearts, but he exceeded our expectations. He brought a joy into our lives a little earlier than expected, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Our level of understanding of who God is, just got bigger. We experienced a peace and comfort in the midst of what we thought was going to crush our dream, but instead, it gave us a glimpse of the true love of the Father and we got to experience it first hand. We are so overwhelmed and honored to have walked this walk with God orchestrating every step of the way and walking before us preparing and laying out this story. This is our story.