This is the Christian Birth Testimony of sweet Joanna Ellyn:

The morning of August 10th, I had no idea I would be blessed with the birth of my child later that afternoon. Our first child was due August 14th, and my husband and I had decided we wouldn’t rush or be anxious and that baby would make her way to us when she was ready.

Our pregnancy had gone smoothly, with the usual aches and pains, and first trimester all-day “morning sickness.” Much to some of our family and friends surprise, we decided fairly early on that we desired to have our little girl at home, under the care of a great (CNM) midwife who had her own practice within a local hospital.

Back to the night before our precious girl came earthside, I was feeling extremely heavy and tired, as had been the case for most of July and early August. I took a bath that evening, and relaxed on the couch while my husband read a book. I woke up a few hours later having apparently fallen into a deep sleep for two hours, not my standard practice at 8 PM! Jon was able to get a less than flattering photo of me passed out on the couch, he commented he thought I was cute (true love!). We went to bed and I had noticed some normal lower back pain, akin to when I would be on my menstrual cycle. NO BIG DEAL. Baby girl was up to her usual late night rave in my belly, Jon fell asleep with his hand on my belly too.

The next morning, Jon left for work around 8 and I lay in bed, noticing a slight increase in my back pain. This pain was constant, and I had been experiencing painless but strong contractions for weeks, so back to sleep I went. Around 9:30 I woke back up to back pain that was coming and going, and contractions that were still painless but noticeably closer together. I text the midwife and she told me to take a warm bath and to relax as much as possible. I text my husband that I was in some pain and felt tired, and encouraged him to make sure his work was completed for the weekend in case I needed him to be home. ‘Could this be the real thing?’ I thought but quickly brushed it off. I called to my dog, Jake, and he cuddled up to my side and lay his head on my shoulder-he didn’t move from that spot until I got up later, he must have known something was happening. I on the other hand, was completely calm and in denial that any real change or “progress” was happening. An hour later, I called my husband and asked him to come home, I said that I believed something was happening but that it was probably very early labor and may not even be true labor, but that the pressure in my back I was feeling was getting more intense, and coming and going now. I still felt no pain in my belly or other areas I expected to!

I had taken a hypnobirthing course, and read as much as I could during my pregnancy in order to prepare both physically and mentally. I knew birth could take any course it chose, and I was at peace with the process. My husband knew and was in agreement about our birth plan, but also knew what to do in case of a change of plans, and this was absolutely so essential to the success of our overall experience. We knew that God was in control of the situation and that no matter how things turned out, God was Good and we could trust Him. Knowing this and meditating on this during my pregnancy was the most important thing I did to prepare for this life changing event.

My husband came home around 11 and began text the midwife for me, and to bring me food and water in order that I might rest some more in bed. Shortly thereafter I decided it was no longer comfortable to be in bed, and had no desire for food, so I stood up and decided to make my way to the bathroom. I was still standing on the side of the bed and had begun to vocalize in low, calm sounds with the waves of pressure I was feeling in my back. My water broke. To our surprise, the color was a dark green and black. Something was amiss, perhaps. The midwife believed it was meconium, that the baby had passed her first stool. Oh my! Definitely not what I was expecting to see!

With the help of my husband I moved to the bathroom, where I felt most comfortable on the toilet. My husband spoke with the midwife and she listened to me as I began to get louder with the increasing pressure in my back. I still did not believe I was in true active labor, because I wasn’t experiencing any pain in my stomach or cervix, only dull intense pains in my back. My husband informed me that the midwife was on her way and that he was preparing the birthing pool. “BIRTHING POOL?”, I asked. I was under the impression the birthing pool was only going to be pulled out when I was nearing the 3rd stage of labor! My husband told me to focus on what I was doing and that he would take care of the rest! He assured me that the midwife believed I was progressing quickly in my labor but not to worry about that….just to focus on my breathing.

I continued to ride the waves of pressure, and after what seemed like a very short amount of time (40 minutes later), my midwife appeared from around the door with her assistant and asked how I was doing. I murmured as best as I could that I was doing ok before the next contraction hit. She checked me (my first vaginal check ever, all pregnancy!) and I was 5 CM dilated! With a look of concern on her face, she said that she felt baby’s butt, and felt we needed to get to the hospital. Breech birth wasn’t necessarily a problem for home birth, but she was concerned that her position was unusual and not ideal for delivering at home….I was calm but disappointed, Baby was head down the day before! Nevertheless my awesome husband, midwife, and doula team rallied and helped me to the car and we drove quickly to the hospital where the medical team prepared for our arrival. Our transfer was so smooth, due to the phenomenal work and communication of our midwife and OB. My pain intensified and I got louder, and my doula encouraged me to breath it out and get comfortable however I needed. My husband called close family and friends to notify them that we were on the way to the hospital. The midwife prepared me for the possible birth outcomes that we would be discussing with the OB once we got there. It was likely possible that we would need to deliver baby via c-section. I was not expecting this at all, in fact it was the opposite of what I had hoped for! Even still, I felt at peace and worked with my contractions, knowing that each one brought me closer to my baby. I prayed quietly for the safety of my baby. My body was making quick work of the labor and I had been able to labor peacefully at home for 6 hours with no unnecessary interventions and no medication! I felt invincible! If this was labor, I was and could totally do this!

When we arrived at the hospital, the medical team was waiting for us and helped me in to a wheelchair. We spoke briefly with the OB about our options, after he checked me (I was at a 10, complete in just over 7 hours!). The basic idea was that baby was still breech and her chin was tilted back in such a way that it could be lethal for her if we attempted to deliver breech. Her butt was not completely in my pelvis either, which means it would have been excruciating for me as well, which was of secondary importance but was still notable. We decided to go ahead with the c-section. I began to shake physically and felt sad as they moved me to the table and put in my spinal. My husband held my hand and watched on as I was prepped. I could feel the pressure of the tools being used by the OB and his assistant. A few minutes and a few tugs later, baby was out and we heard her loud and clear! She looked just like her daddy! She was healthy and so small (5 lbs 15 oz). She had a head full of dark hair and a beautiful complexion. We arrived at the hospital, and 17 minutes later our baby was born! I was in awe and still in disbelief at all that had occurred in such a short amount of time! God is so Good!

Baby was cleaned a little and immediately put on my chest, where she remained until we got to our room. I loved how she smelled and I was on cloud 9! My husband beamed with pride. The nurses, our midwife & doula, and OB took the best care of us over the next two days before we decided to go home. I am now and was so thankful then for the prayers of my friends and family, for the support of my husband and medical team, and for God’s provision in turning the what could have been a terrifying and traumatic experience in to a beautiful and peaceful one!

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