I’m going to ignore how long it’s been since I blogged (as in, ahem, it took me a minute to remember my blog address) and just dive back in.
It occurred to me recently that I hadn’t yet written Novie’s birth story. She will be two years old in a few days now and it’s hard to remember life without her. Her middle name is a true descriptor as she brings us a great deal of it and she is quite the sweet spunky monkey. Hmmm…in fact, I’m not sure I’ve blogged about her until now due to my blogging hiatus! Oh, how that will change! That little one is a walking blog post.
Anyway, after Jude’s birth, which you can read about here, I was a bit apprehensive about giving birth again. When we found out we were pregnant with Novaleigh, my emotions ran the gamut and I definitely had to work through my fears that something could go wrong. I know that that isn’t uncommon in most pregnancies anyway, but it was more of a fear than it normally is for me. Even though I knew God was the author of Novie’s story, from day 1 in the womb and onward, and even though I knew that He was just as present at a home birth as He would be in a hospital room, I confess that I struggled with the idea of home birth again. I still completely believe it was partly due to being at home that Jude’s birth was a story of rejoicing rather than mourning, but that idea of being in a hospital “in case something happens” is strong in our culture and we considered our options carefully once more.
After a good deal of talking it through and a great deal of prayer, Will and I agreed once more that home birth was the way to go and prepared again to have our baby at home. After a relatively uneventful pregnancy, we approached her due date. Not to be outdone by her siblings, Novie too knew that the due date was just a suggestion and about a week after it had come and gone, I knew that labor was starting and called my parents who were prepared to come round up the three older siblings. It was the middle of the day, and Will and I decided to take a walk up and down the street to get things moving along at a good pace before contacting our midwife. After our walk, we resumed where we were in our Gilmore Girls marathon (yes, he is a good man) and I did some bouncing on the exercise ball to manage contractions.
Labor grew slowly but progressively more intense as the day went on, and we finally called Olivia, the midwife, around dinnertime to let her know that we were in labor and update her on how things were going. She and one of my favorite birth assistants arrived around 8pm and checked to see how far along I was. I was super excited and encouraged to hear Olivia say that she expected Novaleigh would be born within a couple of hours as I was already 6-7 cm dilated. In fact, she said we should forego setting up the birthing tub as by the time it was filled Novaleigh would likely have arrived! I had not thought I was quite that far along!
While I totally know that a woman’s body is designed for childbirth and I had experienced it myself three times already, I found myself questioning when I was ready to push. I was in and out of the shower like crazy, finding great comfort in the warm water while I was laboring, and I kept feeling like it was time to push. But it wasn’t like the absolute certainty and urgency I had felt with Asher, or even the less intense but clearer indicators with the other two. It was just a gentle but firm pressure, and I remember saying to the birth assistant that I felt like I needed to push but I wasn’t entirely sure, because I was genuinely confused at the lack of strong intensity. As ridiculous as it probably sounds, I think I was waiting for her to give me permission or to confirm that I was ready, but of course she was trained to take her cues from me (and I was managing contractions well and was fairly relaxed, all things considered). So this went on for a bit- shower, out of shower, passing comment from me on thinking I could probably push, reply from birth assistant to just let my body slowly move Novie down and I’ll know when it’s time…and then me thinking, “yep, she is probably right because this doesn’t feel like the others…”. Olivia had gone downstairs for the last 30 minutes of it to take a break and have some coffee (having come off a string of births over the past couple of days that required some additional caffeine input).
Thankfully, my incredible husband, who knows me and understood I was doubting myself, went downstairs to grab Olivia while she was getting some coffee and told her he knew I was ready and that we needed to get ready for Novie to make her entrance. I had been listening to a playlist I had compiled of some of my favorite praise and worship songs and continued to find great comfort in the music. Olivia came in and with her typical bold and forthright personality declared we were going to push now and so we prepared for Novie’s soon-to-be entrance. I was relieved- I think I was so exhausted from labor and trying to make sure I wasn’t trying to push prematurely that I needed someone to come in decisively at that moment.
I felt a renewed sense of purpose and that rush of adrenaline that comes with knowing that the first time you will hold your baby in your arms is imminent. My water hadn’t yet broken (of course this explains in part why I wasn’t feeling that super strong intensity) and as we began to push, it finally broke and Novie was born within 20 minutes of pushing. After a prolonged transition phase, I was extra thankful that pushing was quick! We heard that beautiful cry and there she was. A perfectly pink, 8 lb bundle of sheer preciousness. I remember the immense feelings of joy and relief and seeing Will’s eyes bright with tears as he held her. I remember cradling her close to me and looking down at her bright, alert little eyes. After I held her a bit and once the cord had stopped pulsing, Will cut it and Olivia weighed her and did the usual post-birth health check. Her APGARs were great.
God was and is so good to us, and we were and are so incredibly thankful for His faithfulness as He blessed us at 1:08 am on November 12, 2015 with Novaleigh Joy Adair. We had always wondered if perhaps there was a little Novie in our future, just waiting for the right time to come into being, and now we have the privilege of being part of the story God will tell through her life.