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Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Birth of Marcus: Our Faith Journey- Part Four

Read Part 1 The Dream
Read Part 2 The Impossible Dream?
Read Part 3 Believing the Dream

The Dream Fulfilled

...Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time (Habakkuk 2: 2-3a)

Once I knew that I had the support of my OB we started praying for some specific things for a successful vaginal birth. Through this process I learned to pray specifically... and it was exciting to watch God answer each request one by one. Even when the answer was no, watching God answer in a way beyond my imagination increased my faith.

On June 24th around 4pm I started having contractions. I started to get excited, figuring that I would be holding my little bundle later that night but the contractions never became regular and by 11pm they fizzled out.

I woke up at 6am Friday morning with contractions again.

We got the kids organized and JDF took them to his parents house... surely the baby was on the way and we would be introducing them to their new brother by the end of the day... thankfully I didn't promise them that because although the contractions persisted they never became regular. I'd have them 5 or 6 minutes apart for 30 - 45 mins and then nothing for an hour or so.

JDF went in to work for a couple hours but came home before lunch. We went for a walk on the beach, took a drive and then stopped and picked up lunch before heading home. With the kids out of the house I felt like we were on vacation.. it was a much needed break. I felt rested, and ready to have this baby. By 3 pm I knew that my hopes to have my OB present for the birth were not going to be realized. The on call OB would be on at 5pm. I called the office just to let my OB know that I was in pre labour (just in case she decided she did want to be there) The on call OB was the OB who I saw when my OB was on maternity leave... my best friend's sister!!

By Friday evening the contractions fizzled off again and I woke up on Saturday morning still there. I was starting to get discouraged and disappointed. I started having doubts that I would have the birth that I wanted.

The pain intensified for a brief period on Saturday morning but by lunch time they were only mild and very sporadic contractions. JDF went to hang out with the kids who were still at his parents house (thank God for grandparents!) so I tried to rest as best I could. I couldn't believe I was still at home but I knew God was in control and I continued to pray and thank him that his timing was perfect.

I kept in touch with the doula all day.. she stopped by in the morning for a while (even folded a basket of laundry while she was there!!) and was a real encouragement throughout the day with her phone calls.

By early evening I we decided to go and see the kids and get them ready for bed. On the way home around 8:30, the pain intensified and the contractions seemed like the were getting more regular... 6 or 7 minutes. At 10:15 I told JDF that I was going to start timing the contractions and I would let him know in a half hour what was going on... 15 minutes later I was telling him it was time to leave the house!

We were on the maternity ward with the doula by 11pm and met the midwives that would be assisting us. When they checked my cervix I was at 4cm so they moved me to the birthing room. The next few hours went by... the contractions continued and intensified... I prayed through each contraction. I remember them checking me again and I was at 7 cm... this was great, we were making progress. I lost track of time... minutes seemed like hours... we had praise music playing, I made myself focus on the words through each contraction... during each one I thought I was going to need something for the pain but God seemed to be giving me this inner strength to get me through. As long as I focused on Him, I was able to manage.

The next time the midwife came to check me I was still at 7 cms and now my cervix had gotten "spongy". I remember asking what that meant because that didn't sound good. The midwife told me she was going to call the OB in and she would decide if I would need to go up for a C-section... at that point I lost it. I couldn't accept that we had come this far to end in a c-section. My dear husband calmed me down and prayed... I felt a new wave of determination...I got up off the bed to move around and let gravity help out the situation. When the mid wife came back to check I had progressed to 8 cm and by the time the OB arrived I was almost fully dilated!

I had been worried about stage 2... the pushing stage, as I had never reached this point before. The OB, doula, midwife and JDF were great as the encouraged me through each contraction. I was exhausted but motivated by the fact that I was going to see my baby really soon. And soon it was... after 29 minutes of pushing Marcus Samuel entered the world.
I remember saying over and over.. "I did it! I did it!" I couldn't believe the journey was finally over! I praised God for his faithfulness!!

Here are some of the specific prayer items we prayed for and how God answered them:

· That I would start labour with a soft, stretchy cervix that may also be slightly dilated - I was about 2 cm at my final OB appointment. It was an encouragement to be told that.. I knew that my body was doing what it was designed to do! God is faithful!

· That we have a very supportive midwife. I couldn't have asked for a better midwife. She was so encouraging and supportive. My one concern was that her shift would end midway through my labour and delivery and I would get someone new that wasn't as helpful ( as was the case when I had Micaiah). I asked her when I went in at 11 if her shift would be ending soon.. she said "No I'll be here until 8 tomorrow morning.. you will have this baby by then!" I remember seeing the clock at 6am and thinking that she was going to leave before the baby was here... Marcus was born at 8:01am... she was there with me through the whole thing! God is faithful!

· That my water would not release (break) prior to contractions starting. It did not. God is faithful!

· That I have a short second stage (the pushing stage). I was told this pushing stage for the first time could be 2 to 3 hours long. I knew when I started pushing that I didn't have 2 hours left in me. After 29 minutes of pushing Marcus "flew" out! God is faithful!

.That the doula would be available as she had 3 other births scheduled and 2 were over due. (She also didn't want to miss seeing her son off to his highschool prom on Saturday evening- and I didn't want her to miss that either :) The other babies were all born by Thursday giving her a couple days break. AND by the time we had to go to the hospital she had been able to go one daughter's ballet recital, another one's music recital and then able to see her son dressed in a tux ready for the prom... HIS timing is perfect! God is faithful!

. That I would go into labour on a weekday so I would have my OB there... as it turned out, to have my friend as OB was amazing! She was so encouraging and knowing that she believed that this was the hand of God made it that much more special... so in this case God's answer was no because he had something better! God is faithful!

If you are still reading... thank you for sharing this journey with me! I wrote this to encourage others to believe God when he tells you something.. even when it seems impossible. My faith has grown and even though I still sometimes struggle with periods of doubt and discouragement in other areas of my life, I have this experience to draw on and remind me how much God is in control and that I can totally trust him!

Please note that the purpose of me sharing my story is to encourage others to trust God in seemingly impossible situations. Having a VBA3C did involve some risk and I am in no way encouraging anyone to go against the advice of medical personnel. This was a personal decision and one that I wanted to make with the support of my OB... God made that possible. If you are desiring a VBAC after 2 or more c-sections, my advice would be to become fully informed of the risks, educate yourself, openly communicate with your OB or midwife and seek the face of God, being open to the direction he leads you. Feel free to email me at rusheika at gmail dot com if you want to talk to me further about my preparation for a VBA3C .

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Birth of Marcus: Our Faith Journey- Part Three

Read Part 1 The Dream here
Read Part 2 The Impossible Dream? here

Believing the Dream

...But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt (James 1:6)

A couple of weeks before my appointment with my OB (upon her return from maternity leave) I found myself getting anxious so I decided to enlist the help of some women who have been influential in my life... women who I knew would pray for me. I gave them the background and then asked them to pray specifically for wisdom to know how to approach my OB
  • peace in my heart until I met with her
  • continued confirmation that this was of God, or for major doors to be closed
  • safety for the baby and me if I was allowed to attempt the VBA3C
  • that I would accept whatever answer the LORD gives.
  • I was encouraged by their willingness to pray, words of wisdom and support and I leaned on them often during the next few months.

    JDF accompanied me to the next appointment... I got there still not knowing how I was going to approach the OB with my request. I trusted that God would give me the words to say. I had played the scenario over and over in my mind and I always imagined the same response from my OB..." Are you crazy?! No way will I allow you to do that!" Why wouldn't I think that... I had been told over and over that no one would allow me to.

    God gave me the words to say and the conversation was better than I could ever have imagined! While she didn't say yes immediately, she took the time to hear me out, to state my case and then she agreed to think about it and let me know at my next appointment in 2 weeks her decision.

    I left there with peace in my heart that her answer would be yes! I felt like God had moved a mountain and my faith had grown tremendously in a few short months.

    2 weeks later we returned and sure enough her answer was yes... with some parameters that I could accept. Not only had she agreed, but 2 other doctors had also agreed (this was important because in our hospital the OBs are on rotation on the weekends and you are not guaranteed to get your own OB if you are in labour over the weekend) So 3 out of 5 doctors would let me have a trial of labour, one was undecided and one said no. I could live with that. I prayed that I would go into labour during the week and have my OB... that would make life simple!(keep that in mind later in the story:)

    I contacted the doula as soon as I got home... she could not believe it... she knew it was a miracle and was excited to be a part of what God was doing!

    Stay tuned for Part 4: The Dream Fulfilled

    Please note that the purpose of me sharing my story is to encourage others to trust God in seemingly impossible situations. Having a VBA3C did involve some risk and I am in no way encouraging anyone to go against the advice of medical personnel. This was a personal decision and one that I wanted to make with the support of my OB... God made that possible. If you are desiring a VBAC after 2 or more c-sections, my advice would be to become fully informed of the risks, educate yourself, openly communicate with your OB or midwife and seek the face of God, being open to the direction he leads you. Feel free to email me at rusheika at gmail dot com if you want to talk to me further about my preparation for a VBA3C .

    Friday, July 23, 2010

    The Birth of Marcus: Our Faith Journey- Part Two

    Read Part 1 The Dream here

    An Impossible Dream?

    ...Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.(Matt 7:7)

    We found out we were expecting baby #4 in October and I went to see my OB in late November. I didn't mention to her that I thought I should have this baby vaginally... what was the point, she would never go for it. In my mind, the only way this vaginal birth would happen was if the baby was early and my labour was very quick.. you know, one of those "I had the baby in the car on the way to the hospital" kind of births. My OB scheduled my c-sec for June 21st... 8 days before my due date. I left that first appointment feeling like I was facing a huge mountain but I kept reminding myself that God was in control. I was asking God for it to happen but looking back, I was so limiting God and not trusting that he could do the impossible. The impossible in my mind being having the birth I wanted with the full support of my OB and the hospital staff. Instead of trusting God to be in control, I tried to figure out how it would work and then praying that it would happen that way. So my prayer as I left was "God please help me to go in to labour before June 21st."

    I was going to learn so much on this journey...

    My OB was on maternity leave for part of my pregnancy and in her absence she had another OB covering for her. This OB happened to be the sister of my best friend! Having known her since we were teens, I felt comfortable enough sharing with her my desire to have a vaginal birth. Of course her first response was exactly what I expected..."No one is going to let you have a vaginal birth after 3 c-sections". I had been researching VBACs (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) and more specifically VBA3C's. I told her I knew what the risks were. I asked some questions, but most importantly I shared from my heart that I felt that this was something God had placed in my heart and that if it was of him, He could do the impossible. I left there feeling that although she was not in agreement, she could see my heart and understood where the desire was coming from. It wasn't her decision to make though as my OB would be back from maternity leave a couple months before my due date. I continued to pray that I would go in to labour before June 21st.

    At my next appointment the nurse informed me that my c-section date needed to be changed because the 21st was a public holiday. I saw this as a major door being opened because I was able to have it rescheduled for June 28th... the day before my due date... giving me more time to go into labour and thus a better chance of having a vaginal birth.

    At that point I decided to call a doula that I knew... a Christian... I wanted to talk to someone who would understand from a spiritual perspective where I was coming from, but also who would give me good advice about whether pursuing this was a good idea or not. Her response was much like my friend the OB... that it was highly unlikely that I would be allowed to do that... she herself wasn't sure how she felt about it but she did tell me that she would pray about this for me, that God would give me wisdom. I was a bit discouraged after talking to her but I continued to bring it before the Lord.

    Around the same time a new father at our church was telling the church one Sunday morning about the miracle of his daughter's birth... the doctors said that his wife would not be able to conceive. He said that after he had been praying and begging the Lord for a child for months, he felt the Lord say to him , "Stop begging me and believe that I will do this." That really struck me and gave me a new perspective in prayer. I started thanking God for how he was going to answer my prayer. I had my days that I doubted and got discouraged but I never stopped praying and thanking God that his will would be done.

    Some time went by and it seemed that God was silent on the matter... my OB was not back yet so I could not discuss it with her.. I continued to research and read about other successful vba3cs and I started to feel myself getting obsessed with the subject. I prayed for God to give me enough peace to let go and leave it in his hands. After a few weeks a lady I knew stopped by to bring an invitation for her son's birthday party. We got to chatting about kids and my pregnancy and I found myself telling her about my dream and the journey I was on to have this baby vaginally but that it seemed that I was up against a huge mountain. Without hesitating she asked if she could pray for me.. right then and there... she laid her hands on my head and prayed with such strength and authority... I was so encouraged by the time she left my house.

    The very NEXT day I got a call from the doula I had spoken to previously. She was calling to tell me that she would be emailing me the link to an article that had just been published in the BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. It was a commentary on new research that was soon to be published and was titled " Do we need to revisit VBAC guidelines for women with three or more prior caesareans? "

    so what did the article say??

    “These data suggest that women with three or more prior caesareans who attempt VBAC have similar rates of success and risk for maternal morbidity as those with one or two prior caesareans, and along with other publications, suggest that perhaps it is time to revisit the current recommendations for VBAC attempts for women with more than one prior caesarean”.

    “Many have proposed a ‘conservative’ approach to VBAC attempts, which we agree is prudent. But our evidence does not suggest that a conservative approach, which we interpret as one that aims to reduce morbidity - and specifically the risk of uterine rupture - is necessarily achieved by allowing VBAC attempts only in women with one prior caesarean. Given appropriate patient selection, VBAC following two or even three previous caesareans in certain cases may be reasonably safe.”

    Talk about doors being opened! The doula was encouraged by this as well and told me that if I could get my OB to agree to let me do this she wanted to be my doula... she could see God's hand at work.

    I was so encouraged, but I knew I still faced a major hurdle... my OB would be back from maternity in a few weeks and I had to prepare myself to talk to her... I still couldn't imagine that she would agree but I was convinced that God was going to continue to open doors.

    Stay tuned for Part 3... Believing the Dream.

    Please note that the purpose of me sharing my story is to encourage others to trust God in seemingly impossible situations. Having a VBA3C did involve some risk and I am in no way encouraging anyone to go against the advice of medical personnel. This was a personal decision and one that I wanted to make with the support of my OB... God made that possible. If you are desiring a VBAC after 2 or more c-sections, my advice would be to become fully informed of the risks, educate yourself, openly communicate with your OB or midwife and seek the face of God, being open to the dierction he leads you. Feel free to email me at rusheika at gmail dot com if you want to talk to me further about my preparation for a VBA3C .

    Thursday, July 22, 2010

    The Birth of Marcus: Our Faith Journey- Part One

    The Dream

    ... but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. (Psalm 66:19)
    This journey began six and a half years ago... November 2003. The day Micaiah our first born entered the world. I had a long labour but never fully dilated. After being at 9 cms for several hours, the decision was made to deliver via c-section. I hadn't considered that I wouldn't be able to deliver vaginally but I was thankful for a healthy baby. 21 months later I was in labour again. I wanted to attempt a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) but when I got to the hospital and was told that I was about 1/2cm dilated, I was discouraged and opted for Eli to be born via c-section. I was a little disappointed, but was again happy to have a happy healthy baby boy. A year later when I became pregnant with Eden, I didn't think I had a choice so a c-section was scheduled and again the result was a healthy baby. I was at peace with the fact that I would never experience a vaginal birth...

    or would I?

    We hadn't really been planning a fourth child... but I see each child as a blessing from God. Early in my pregnancy I had a dream that this baby was born vaginally... I woke up feeling like it was so real... but that was crazy, was it safe to have a vaginal birth after 3 c-sections? I shoved the thought out of my mind knowing it was crazy to entertain such a thing. BUT the feeling would not go away... I was prompted to pray. I prayed that God would take this desire away from me... I did not regret having the c-sections. After a few initial thoughts of failure after the first two, I had peace that we had done the best thing for me and for our children. I did not want to start having feelings of inadequacy and to desire something that was not all possible. The feelings did not go away and I became convinced that God had placed this desire in my heart. My prayer became "God if this is not of you, please take this desire away from me."

    I decided to tell JDF how I was feeling and asked him to pray with me. I had his full support to explore this and he also became convinced that this is something that God was asking us to do.

    The next few months became a faith journey for us... I saw God's hand work in ways that I never had before...

    Read Part 2 An Impossible Dream?

    Saturday, July 3, 2010

    Introducing Marcus

    Marcus Samuel was born on Sunday, June 27 at 8:01 am
    He weighed 7lb 2oz and was 18inches long.

    We are thankful to God for his faithfulness and this precious gift. We adjusting to life as a family of 6. Stay tuned for more about the birth of Marcus and our summer adventures.