Dear Calvary Daniel,
I woke up around 3am on your due date. Your sister Selah was teething and having a hard time sleeping, so I decided to get her out of her crib and snuggle her. As soon as I stood up, I had my first “real” contraction. I had been contracting regularly for a while, but this one made all the memories of previous labors return. “Oh yes, THIS is a labor contraction!”
After getting Selah settled back to bed around 4am, I laid down and tried to sleep. The contractions were every 10 minutes and woke me from sleeping. I tried to be quiet as to not wake up your daddy or sister Gracelyn, who was sleeping on our floor.
I laid in bed until 7am when I realized today was the day, and I took a shower. I felt giddy and excited that you were coming soon. I prayed in the shower for peace and patience in the early part of labor. The Lord gifted that to me greatly. I knew it would still be a while, so I woke up daddy and told him to go to work but to keep his phone close. We had a friend come to help care for big kids so I could focus and rest. This morning couldn’t have been sweeter. I enjoyed time with my kids, spent time in worship and prayer, and felt peace about however slow or fast this was going to be. I felt such joy!
Around 11am, I got up and made a craft with the big kids to hang up affirmations around the birthing room. I got them to bed for nap around noon and said goodbye to my friend. I told Daddy he’d better plan to come home after lunch, just in case. I still felt totally at peace, but didn’t have anyone else with me the rest of the day, so I thought it would be a good idea not to be alone with the kids.
I laid down on the couch and had a few more contractions. They stayed about every 6-10 minutes apart all morning. I talked to a friend on the phone and planned out how I could still make my massage appointment at 6pm. Massages were a HUGE relief for me the last weeks in pregnancy, and I really want to go. At 12:36pm, I had a contraction on the couch and felt a pop and warm liquid leaking. I hopped up and ran to the toilet. My waters had just broken! I guess the massage wasn’t going to happen after all. Instead, I delivered you at the time we were supposed to leave for the massage!
I texted daddy and told him to get home right away and called our midwife Debbie. I told her not to rush and that I was fine, although I was a little bit nervous to be alone with 3 kids in the house! I also called my friend Dani and our doula Diane to give them a head’s up. While on the phone with Dani, I realized the contractions were now every 2.5 minutes. I sent Debbie a text and she said she was on her way around 1pm.
Daddy arrived home and started filling the birth tub while Papa came to pick up the big kids to take them back to their house. Everyone was so excited and giddy! I said goodbye to the kids, grabbed Selah and gave her extra kisses while bawling knowing this was the last moment I would hold her as my baby.
Even though the contractions were close, I still felt like I was handling them well. Dianne the doula arrived and we realized the tub had a hole. She quickly ran off to pick up a new tub from another midwife close to me.
Dani arrived and the intensity of my contractions was growing. I laid on the couch for a while listening to the Birth for His Glory audio. Tim, Debbie, and Dani gathered around me to pray as the mood shifted into a much more intense labor pattern.
After a little while the new tub was ready, and so was I! I waddled my way into the tub. The support around me was wonderful. I was fed, offered drinks and cool wash cloths. I was continually prayed over and had Scripture Cards read to me by daddy. I remember thinking how amazingly powerful my body was and how perfect God created each and every contraction.
Around 4:30pm, I began to hit transition, 4 hours after my waters breaking. The contractions were very intense, and I felt a lot of pressure. I gave a few pushes and Debbie offered to check me. Even though I didn’t want any vaginal exams, I was glad she did. It saved me from pushing before I was ready and getting myself exhausted for no reason. Debbie said she could feel Cal’s head but I had a bit to go before pushing; I was 7cm.
We decided to move to the bedroom and out of the pool. Once we got there, I began to really lose it. I was so done and so tired. I got into the bed and everyone surrounded me, praying and reading Scripture. I tried my best to breathe through each contraction as the pressure grew. I remember telling everyone that I was done and hearing Dani say to me, “you can be done, let Calvary and God do the rest.”
I thought wanted to push again. Debbie checked me and said I was 8.5-9cm, less than 20 minutes later than the previous check. She offered to use some primrose oil to hold back the last little bit, but I declined. By the next two contractions, I was complete and ready to push.
I felt like I had pushed forever, but in reality it was only about 10-15 minutes. Once the top of your head was out, I kept my hand there with a warm washcloth to help with the pressure. Each contraction I could feel more and more of your head. It burned. It was so important for me to take it slow, though, because I had torn so badly with Selah. I knew I needed to let my tissues stretch.
About 3 or 4 contractions later, I felt your head come out with my hands and Debbie said to me, “pull your baby out!”
You began crying even before you were fully born! I lifted you out and up to my chest and bawled. “It’s over, it’s really, really over. I’m done! Thank you Lord, it’s over!”
Much to everyone’s surprise, you came out OP, or sunny side up. Even though you had never been that way before, you must have switched right before delivery.
I just cried and held you for a few minutes before even looking down at you. As soon as I did, I saw big brother Kade. You were not afraid to quickly clear your lungs and cry. Your cry sounded just like your sister Selah’s.
The placenta came out rather quickly after, and we all examined how big and perfect it looked! Your cord was so plump and fat and long! I had a very small tear (no stitches) which was another answer to prayer after tearing so badly with Selah.
I learned so much with your birth sweet boy. I learned even more how God created the process of birth to unfold as it should, without intervention, even “natural ones”. I learned to be patient at the end of pregnancy as I went a week longer than I had ever been pregnant before. I learned to trust each and every thing my body did before labor to prepare. I trusted myself more and felt more confident in the process during labor. Cal, my prayer is for you to know our Lord as Savior and just how good He is in us, even in pain.
Calvary Daniel Schweitzer born April 20th, 2016 5:35pm, 7lbs 13oz, 20.75 inches long
photography by Dianne Hamre