Monday, November 4, 2013

Ruth's Birth Story


Do not be afraid.

Be still.

God spoke to me through Ruthie Mae's birth. In His kindness, he gave me peace through scripture, my family, friends, midwives and prayer. He reminded me that I was made for this. I was created for HIS glory and giving birth is part of how I am meant to do that. All of our stories differ and we are each called to our own separate paths of glorifying Him. Still, God meets us in our weakness and carries us through, fulfilling His purposes.

I am blessed with a family who is loving and faithful. We are far from perfect but we love deeply and pursue community with one another. It's only natural that my sisters and mother flew 3,000 miles to be with my as I welcomed my first daughter into the world. Not only that, but they are skilled and passionate about childbirth. I am blessed!!

But, there are downsides to hosting your birth team. Once everyone had landed, I became a watched pot. It's only natural for all of us to be excited and ready to get the show on the road! We kept busy with activity, all while praying it would happen before everyone boarded their planes back home. God answered our prayers. In His graciousness, it all worked perfectly.

Last Saturday night, I was up every 8 minutes with contractions. As a doula (and a third time mama!), I know better than to wake anyone up at this stage. I spent a few hours eating and timing contractions while watching episodes of Nashville. Around 3am, my mom listened to Ruthie with the doppler and I was able to get back to bed, knowing she was safe and sound inside my working womb. After a few hours of fitful but needed sleep, Sunday morning came. Dan went to work early to prepare for the church service and my sisters followed soon after with the boys. It was time for my mom and I to get to work!

On a beautiful fall day, we walked around the neighborhood. I was 2cm dilated at this point and knew I could easily stay that way for some time. After taking some herbs, my contractions became more intense. By the time everyone came home for lunch, I was getting irritated by noise which is a good sign! Friends from church picked up the boys that afternoon for a play date (again, God's provision!!) and my body got into a rhythm. Our Bellingham midwife Alli arrived and gave me the best news : 5-6cm dilated, 80% effaced and baby is quite low! Translation: We're going to meet our daughter tonight!!

The tub was filled and the hardest work began.

I'm a practical person and having been through natural childbirth twice before, I knew I would be okay. Still, each birth story is different and the element of surprise was very much at the front of my mind. My contractions were like nothing I've felt before. They were long and came without warning. There was no "let it build to the peak and ride it down slowly....". These surges came on at full force and stayed for 60-90 seconds straight, one on top of the other. At this point, it was mind over matter.

Matter : "Protect yourself! You're going to split apart!"

Mind : "This pain is productive. You'll be okay."

Matter : "This pain will kill you! Run for your life!"

Mind : "Breath slow and low. Let your body open up. Do not fight it."

I needed support. I needed prayer. I needed to get out of my head and focus at the task at hand, one contraction at a time.

The most encouraging news came to me around 7:30pm. I was 9 cm and so close to meeting my daughter! Determined to be done, I changed positions, working hard to move that last centimeter of cervix. I was incredibly encouraged by the women I work with as a doula. Remembering their hard work and perseverance gave me strength at this point in labor. I'm so thankful for all of those mamas who have taught me so much about birth!

Moments later, my water broke and things got serious. The room got busy as my mom and Alli prepared for the delivery. Gloves were snapping and I was yelling "Cold rag! Face!" as I felt like my skin was melting off. I also knew it would be over soon.

My work was not in vain. The pain was indeed productive. It would not kill me but was bringing forth LIFE.

Breathing becomes a struggle for me at this point. For some reason, I always hyperventilate. I did have more control over the actual delivery though, which has spared me a lot of post partum pain, thank goodness!!

The picture below explains it all. Me in the worst pain of my life with a proud Dan behind me, reminding me these truths:

This is indeed bigger than me.
Submit to this moment.

He was an immense encouragement to me!

After no time at all, Ruth left her cozy home of 9 months. A new soul with a unique identity came into the world and changed my life forever. It was 8:33pm on Sunday night, just a handful of hours since the beginning of active labor. We all rejoiced.

Relief and gratitude.

My prize.

My joy.

We marveled at the miracle of birth and praised our Heavenly Father for this gift.

This pregnancy has been filled with challenges, but not without purpose. I am incredibly thankful for my birth team. They served me well and reminded me once again that childbirth is nothing to be feared. No, women walk into it knowing our bodies were made to bring forth life. We were given this miraculous task by the creator Himself and He is the one who carries us through!
{My sisters Abby and Sarah, my mom, Alli the midwife and not pictured-my dear friend Shannon, the photographer}

Welcome to the world Ruthie Mae. I am honored to be your mama and look forward to serving you as long as the Lord gives me the privilege to do so.

For anyone in the Bellingham area, I highly recommend Allison Watkins with Haven Midwifery as a midwife. We are so thankful to have found her!!!


  1. She's a beauty! And so are you! Wow!

  2. Oh dear...only 3.5 months out and you are making me want to do it again!!!

  3. amazing. congratulations Bethany, great job!

  4. so happy for your bethany. ain't life grand?

  5. Wonderful! Praising the Lord with you all for this new little one!!! I'm so glad your Mom was with you!

  6. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing with us.

  7. precious! I am about to give birth for the third time (37 weeks...hanging in there). It's beautiful to be reminded of the process and the reality of God's goodness in the midst of something so challenging. She's beautiful! Great work, mama.