Part 1: December 4
I’m 38 weeks pregnant today. Nobody in the airport said anything about my due date or whether or not I should be flying. We figured a 1.5 hour flight was better than a 20-hour train ride where I could possibly go into a labor on the train and have to get off at the next available city where we knew no one and had no clue about which hospitals delivered babies.
So we flew.
Then, we headed to the apartment we would be staying in. Oh my word. It’s beautiful. There was much dancing and delight this evening.
We have been overwhelmed by God’s provision for us. Please join us in giving thanks:
1. An apartment was available. A family who is in America for December is allowing us to stay in their home. They have a nice collection of children’s books and toys.
2. A friend, whom I haven’t seen in 10 years, e-mailed the name of a foreign doctor in this city who may be able to give us a reference for an OB.
3. I found a website that has a vocabulary list I can download with words I will need to know in the hospital. The last thing I want to do between contractions is look up something in a dictionary.
4. I found a lactation consultant who is willing to come to the hospital to help me.
5. Some friends of ours have friends who live in this city and who had a great birth experience here last year. We will meet with them soon to get a doctor’s name.
6. A local friend has assisted us in more ways that we probably know. He has set up our appointment on Monday morning and will provide an introduction to the hospital.
7. People we’ve never met before have volunteered to watch our kids.
This evening, I find myself quite thankful to be here. We’re settling in. Come on contractions.
Part 2: Christmas Eve
I woke up having contractions. I was thankful that we were finally going to have our baby after waiting in limbo for two weeks.
The kids got up and had breakfast, but I stayed in the bedroom so I could focus on relaxation.
I got up and tried to eat, but I wanted to get back in bed.
By 9am the contractions started getting more frequent but were still 8-9 minutes apart. My husband decided to take the kids over to a friend’s apartment to play.
For the next three hours, I laid in the bed focusing on relaxation. My husband finished packing the hospital bag, did some laundry and finished translating our birth plan to take to the hospital. Because it was my second birth, we had been told to go to the hospital when the contractions were 4 minutes apart. Our plan was to wait until the contractions were 5 minutes apart and then get dressed , find a taxi, load our bags and make our way to the hospital 20 minutes across town.
Another contraction came, but this time it didn’t stop.
My husband said, “I’ll have our friend go get a taxi for us.”
“When this contraction stops, I will get up and get dressed for the hospital.” I replied.
But the contraction did not stop.
The contraction grew stronger and I had to push.
Meanwhile, our friend was outside losing taxi after taxi because nobody was willing to wait for a pregnant lady. She reminded us that her husband had 20 years ER experience in America. I told my husband, “You’d better call him. I don’t think I’m going to make it to the hospital.”
Another contraction quickly came. On push #5, my husband caught our daughter.
I looked at him never knowing if I’ve ever loved him more.
2:16pm – The American ER nurse arrived and started putting towels around the baby to keep her warm. Before he arrived, he called Dr. C, who arrived 8 minutes later with sterile thread for tying off the umbilical cord.
Once the baby was all wrapped up, I got dressed. We all agreed that we should go to a hospital to make sure everyone was okay.
I took a moment to sit down while we waited for a taxi. Hard to believe I just gave birth 35 minutes ago!
Off to the Hospital. I waited while my husband paid the fee ($3.01) to see a doctor.
While I was being examined, I received a long lecture on how dirty it is to birth at home. I tried to explain that we never planned a home birth.
Then for the next three hours we tried to get a birth certificate. This proved to be much more difficult than we thought it would be.
Everyone agreed that if we could put down a deposit then we would be registered for that hospital. We were willing to do anything to get a birth certificate. Without a birth certificate, we can’t get a passport.
I thought they might want to keep us overnight for observation, but there were no beds available. The nurse said, “Besides it’s your Christmas Eve. You should go home. Come back tomorrow for the birth certificate.”
We were in a taxi back to our apartment. The family the kids were staying with offered to let them spend the night.
8am Christmas morning
We went back to the hospital.
The Director of Pediatrics told us, “We know you Americans like your home births. But I cannot give you a birth certificate because I have no proof that this baby came from you.”
She had copies of my medical records from the day before and despite the fact that I had obviously given birth to someone, she needed absolute proof that it was the baby I was holding in my arms.
Very gently I explained our pathetic story… we never planned to home birth… the baby came so fast… Dr. C arrived…
This is where she perked up.
“Did he catch the baby?”
“No… but he did cut the umbilical cord!”
That seemed to qualify as proof. The fact that Dr. C was a doctor from their hospital and he had seen this baby attached to my placenta was all the proof she needed.
Once we had that taken care of, we took a taxi to pick up our other kids. After all, it was Christmas morning!
I was sitting in the front seat of the taxi with the baby in the sling. Neither of the kids asked where we were or what we were doing or about the baby. They seriously had no clue!
Once home, we all took time to get our layers off before I presented their new baby sister.
Later, as I was thinking about how simple our Christmas was, my son said, “I got more presents than the baby Jesus.”
Well, that sums it up.
We are certainly blessed with our health, family, friendships, and yes, even with new toys.
Christmas 2010 has come and gone. It was so different than I ever imagined.
Editor’s Note: Thank God for a safe delivery! May the Lord bless this mother and baby with excellent health… May this child come to love the Lord Jesus with all her heart and may her life be a living testimony of God’s love and grace…
(names, locations and blog links omitted due to security issues)