It’s a boy! This child we have been anticipating all year long finally made his appearance on October 18th! And it was a peaceful, beautiful entry earthside.
I feel like this birth story is so much shorter, partly because it was actually a shorter labor and delivery, but I realize that there is so much more to the story than just when labor started. God had been preparing me for this, and I know that it is because of His Glory and Power and Love that it happened the way it did. So, if you’re the kind of person that wants to know what happened, but you don’t need the narrative, for you I have my son’s birth story in moments. I did this last time with EV, and I think it was well-received, as many are so curious as to what happens when babies are born! I know I am! You are also welcome to skip the prologue portion, but I would recommend you read it all to truly understand how powerful this birth story really is!
So, without further delay, I’ll start the story back before even Samson’s sister, EV, was born. That’s right! Before I had given birth to my first baby, I had nearly decided I wanted a home delivery for the next one. I considered the possibility of a birthing center, since one of my favorite parts about a hospital birth was having staff handle everything, but I also did not like the idea of driving back and forth during or after labor. I also knew that the price points were different. Home delivery would definitely be the least expensive, and yes, that includes TWO insurance plans to cover a hospital birth. After EV was born, I was convinced that, as long as we had a healthy pregnancy, we would avoid a hospital delivery. And once I was pregnant with Samson, we decided: home birth was for us.
Thanks and praise to our Lord that we stayed healthy and peaceful the entire pregnancy. One big decision we had made early on was to have no 20-week ultrasound. It used to sound crazy to me, because I had always thought ultrasounds were life-saving (and sometimes, they are), but the truth is that they present more risk than most people know. I knew this from experience, and I understood that there was so much more to the process of having children than statistics. So Jimmy and I agreed, we would only get ultrasounds if we felt in our hearts that there was a reason to get one. Trusting your gut is one of the best skills that a parent can learn, and the most useful tool in parenthood. Well, at around 8 weeks, I had a bad feeling. I went from one day with terrible nausea and headaches to the next with zero symptoms. I wasn’t even hungry. Sometimes, that can mean the baby is in danger, and when I evaluated my feelings, I was unsure. So we scheduled an ultrasound, and I don’t regret it one bit. From that visit, we discovered that all was well and we nailed down a due date: October 26th!
This was the first exercise in trusting God that we experienced. God was showing me that He provides. He provides help, and He provides knowledge. If there was something I needed to know, He would show me, but until then I needed to trust that I knew everything I needed to and that I’d done all I needed to do in order to get to that moment. So even when I doubted myself having skipped an ultrasound, I recognized that God had brought me to that decision, and He would tell me if I needed one. My gut told me that my baby was perfect. (And he is!)
The second time God really convicted me that I needed to put my trust in Him was when EV broke her arm. I remember praying for strength, and I called a prayer line at the wee hours of the night, when I couldn’t sleep, and she prayed over the financial burden. I was so thankful she did, because God didn’t even put that worry on my heart, but it needed to be prayed over. And just a few days ago, Jimmy checked out her bill and checked our accounts… and we had just enough extra money to cover it. Just enough. Funds that we weren’t expecting to have, but through the circumstances of Jimmy’s job and, I believe, our faithfulness through that difficult season, God provided them. Praise Him!
A lot of the rest of my pregnancy, I just focused on praying for my children and cherishing the time I had left with EV as my only earthside baby. I tried, often, to capture moments with her, because they could be the final ones. When I’d nurse her (briefly), or sing her to sleep, or just sit and watch Curious George with her, it was just me and my firstborn. Samson was there, of course, but I didn’t need to worry about him at all. The biggest challenge was getting bigger and being tired. My ability to meet EV’s demands dwindled, but then, God provided help for me! He sent my brother to stay with us for a little while, and eventually, our house was a little more peaceful.
Then, the third time. At almost 36 weeks, I attended a women’s conference for my church, and it was there that God did some real work in me. He taught me to trust in Him, not only because it was good, but because He is everything I need. I rely so much on my husband for support, every day! I, of course, have spent days and nights without him before, but if i had it my way, he wouldn’t even leave for work! But, I figured I could call or text him anytime, so being away for the weekend would be no problem. Except… There was no cell service! I barely managed to communicate with him, and it was then that God showed me: you don’t need him. You are blessed to have him, but you need Me.
Again, God was convicting my heart, showing me that He is my provider, He is completely trustworthy, and He is all I need.
The Day Labor Began
I knew the timing would be perfect. I was pretty discouraged around week 37 from being so uncomfortable and being so close, but I knew in my heart that God would have to fix my heart before Samson would come. So He did! By week 38, I was very ready, no less uncomfortable, but I was a lot more at peace. I prayed that God would allow us to have everything prepared naturally, and on the day I went into labor, we had just bought the last two pieces of home birth supplies and cleaned our bathroom!
That morning, I was having pretty intense contractions, but they were irregular. Still, I told my midwife about them, but I wasn’t canceling plans! So we decided it was a good day for the pumpkin patch, and we spent some time in the beautiful weather and let our little girl stop around (adorably so, I would add). They stopped, and we relaxed (and prepared) for the rest of the day, until I fell asleep on the couch.
After about an hour of sleep, I woke up with intense contractions again, and they weren’t going away. But this time, they were regular. One minute long every 4 minutes. I ran a bath, Jimmy contacted the midwife, and we proceeded like it was time.
But that’s the thing: I never had a vaginal check. My mucus plug never dropped. My water hadn’t broken. All I had were some contractions that were regular, but that doesn’t always mean anything. Sure, the fact that it was my second time probably meant my body wasn’t faking me out. We’re used to this by now, it tells me. But my head wants me to be concerned that it will be a long, grueling labor, or that it’s not the real thing, or that God heard me asking for a short, easy delivery and had it in His plan to do something different. Something scary.
But God told me something else.
Trust me. Rely on me. I am your strength. I provide what you need. Don’t worry about any of it.
5 hours go by. I was in and out of the birthing pool. I had vomited once or twice, which was more of a relief than anything. It meant I was probably dilating and it was probably real. But, that voice… It said that, if 5 hours passed, we should be worried.
My feelings must have showed on my face, because my midwife suggested a vaginal check even though she rarely ever does them. She said we should see where we stood. See if things were moving along. I had mentioned earlier that I didn’t want to know how dilated I was unless I was past 5 cm. With my last birth, I had been in exhausting labor for 4 hours and the nurse said I was only 2 cm. I was crushed, and with good reason. I had a long way to go with that birth.
But after 5 hours with Samson, I was 8 cm. Little did I know that exactly 3 hours from that moment, I would meet my son.
I groaned and roared and, gosh, I tried so hard to be courageous. Never once was I afraid, though. I knew I could do it. I imagined God’s hands working in me, cradling my baby, and pulling him out in perfect timing. And really, that’s what truly happened.
But I definitely thought, “This is miserable.” It is! Natural labor is so hard! The pain, the exhaustion, the anticipation. It’s no easy task!
When I was out of the pool, I was shivering in my bed. The hormones made me very shaky. It felt good, actually. I wanted to sleep, but my back was hurting so bad that no position was comfortable. I thought being in the warm water would feel better, but that didn’t help my back labor and it made me feel sick. In and out, I went.
My midwife stepped out and took a short nap. I was getting so tired. And my contractions kept up like clockwork. I kept paying attention to my body, and what it was telling me, but I was emotionally done with it. My midwife returned, and she told me that I was spending a lot of energy getting through contractions.
She said it would be better to just let them happen. Let the energy pass through me, instead of resisting it.
So I did.
After about a half hour, she asked if the contractions had totally stopped. But they hadn’t. I just had listened to what she said, and I stopped letting them control me. I breathed, and each time one was over, I asked for water. Once she realized that, she changed her notes. I had been back in the pool, and I let the contraction move, from my front to my back, and out into the water.
I was peaceful, but in no less pain.
Soon, I decided I wanted to try and push. I didn’t feel the urge like I had with EV, but my water also hadn’t broken yet. I could feel a tiny bit of pressure, but it was enough for me to try. I asked Jimmy to pray, and he did. We prayed multiple times in those 7 and a half hours.
I pushed. Nothing happened. My midwife decided to check if there was a lip, and there was. She told me that the contractions would open me fully, and once I was fully dilated, the contractions would function to push the baby out. I relaxed, going back to my tranced breathing with the next couple contractions, and only two later, I felt the difference.
I pushed again! My midwife checked dilation again, and said my waters were bulging. And then, BAM! They broke! My baby fell instantly into the birth canal, and the severe, aching pain of contractions was replaced by the intense burning pain of passing a baby through my body!
As he crowned, my midwife called for me to feel his head. Something profound happened when I did that. It was as if the final connection had been made. A human was about to be born! I was about to meet my child!
One contraction and some serious screaming later, he was born. It was 7:03 am. Covered in vernix, the waxy stuff of the womb, I lifted him up, saw his face, and hugged him. I didn’t know it was a boy at that moment, but I knew he was mine. I felt like the moment I first held him close to me lasted extra long. I’d done it! I gave birth, naturally, in my own bedroom, to my second, perfect child.
I pulled him away to see his gender, and there you have it!
“It’s a boy!” I shouted. I didn’t know it at the time, but my brother sat outside our room in the living room, watching TV with EV, and he heard me. EV had slept nearly the entire time, which was a huge answer to our prayers. We had a plan and a team for her care, but Samson’s birth was so straightforward and easy that she just went to bed and woke up with a baby brother!
After the cord stopped pulsing, Jimmy cut it and laid in bed with his newborn son. I delivered the placenta, and while my midwife and birth assistant took care of me and everything else, I got handed my son as the sun came up. The beautiful moment strikes me now as quite profound, because the name Samson means “Sun.”
I looked at Jimmy and said, “You know what’s stupid?”
He laughed and said, “What?”
“I’d do it again.”
What Happened After
The fact that I said I’d do it all over is crazy, because with my first birth, I would have never said that! Most women wouldn’t. With pain like that fresh in your mind, no one could blame them. But, unlike the first time, I hadn’t felt like I’d accomplished the impossible. I didn’t feel invincible, because I knew I was capable the whole time.
My brand new son lay on my chest, and latched on to my breast like there was nothing else he knew how to do! It was so simple, it happened so easily and naturally. With such an active fetus, I really wasn’t certain the kind of baby he would be, but with a peaceful entry into the world, he was as peaceful as could be.
But that didn’t mean my recovery wouldn’t be somewhat rocky. I bled a lot, which was similar to my experience with my first birth. I needed a pitocin shot to help with the bleeding. All through this pregnancy, I had low blood pressure, and that certainly did not magically disappear. The first time I was guided to the bathroom, I got extremely dizzy, and as I nearly passed out, I prayed for God to sustain me. He did! Peppermint essential oil brought me to consciousness, and their far off voices and the sound of the running toilet (which was a temporary problem in our house) returned. My midwife held me up and helped me retain my composure. So I went back to bed, and vomited, and felt much, much better! Ha!
My midwife and birth assistant cleaned up, and made sure I was well, and left. The next time, Jimmy took me to the bathroom and I passed out completely. But he was there! So he lifted me up and walked me back, but I passed out again on the way. If he hadn’t been there, I would have fallen hard on the floor. I was so tired, I felt like I’d just fallen asleep, and dreamed about my cats, and the next thing I knew I was waking up on the bathroom floor and the hissing sound of the toilet got louder and louder. Then I threw up again. I decided I needed Jimmy to carry me to bed, not even ten feet away, but he did.
I wondered why God had allowed that to happen to me. Why hadn’t He sustained me like the time before? Where was His help? But then I realized, Jimmy was my help. My midwife was my help. My brother was our help for EV. God gave them to me for that delicate time. He had provided all I needed to recover.
And after that, I was fine. Everything since has proceeded quite normally. Samson has given us so much rest, eats like a champ, and is so peaceful in general. He cries so little for a newborn. He’s also thriving! He was 7lbs, 14oz and 20 inches at birth, and at his first appointment at 9 days old, he was 8lbs, 8oz and 21 inches! Phew! Sign this kid up for football, already!
My body is healing well, especially since we got past those first few days. We’ve been resting and staying home mostly, which is a little boring at times, but having Jimmy home for two weeks made a huge difference! We’ve caught up on a LOT of Food Network shows. It’s our thing now, I guess.
EV has been adjusting really well. She’s taken up nursing a lot more, which has helped my supply and been really nice when I’ve felt engorged but Sam doesn’t want to nurse. Plus, it’s so good for her! Antibodies, nutrition, comfort. She still has a lot of teething and tantrums ahead, and I feel like nursing will be a huge help. And the best part is that it doesn’t take anything away from Samson. She seems to really like him, except for being a little jealous when I have to address him. But she loves to say “Hi Baby!” And I even tandem nursed them a few times. Once, she reached over to pat her brother on the back. She’s so sweet, and so strong, and so smart! I’m biased, I know, but we are truly blessed with these kids.
Seeing as it’s been a whole TWO WEEKS already, I can say honestly and with full assurance, God gave me so much of what I asked of Him. I asked: for a good sleeper (how could I not?), a peaceful delivery at home, a short(er) labor, lots of joy, EV to be completely taken care of during the baby’s arrival, strength to feel like I could handle the pain the entire time, fearlessness, to have everything prepared, to be gently humbled before having the baby, for EV to transition into sisterhood smoothly, and for these two kids to get along well. All this has been given to me so far. And more! We’ve had so many random medical bills from the pregnancy and from EV’s broken arm, it would have seemed impossible to pay it all off and have enough left over for all the boy stuff we needed to buy. But… it’s done. We had just enough extra money and tons of lovingly gifted baby boy stuff and meals to take care of all our needs. And the second I doubt it, and think, “Oh, maybe we’re just lucky…” God does something else to prove that it’s not a coincidence.
God provides. I am living the truth of this.
I am so in love with this little boy. My Sammy. He’s a beautiful baby and there is no doubt in my mind he will live up to the name Samson Isaac, which means “sun” and “laughter.” A light and a joy to the world. Yep. So far, so good.