Boaz’s Birth Story:
A Thanksgiving Surprise
In November 2020 we hosted all of Tim’s extended family for thanksgiving. My 6th baby Reuben was 10 months old and I decided on a whim to take a pregnancy test. I had had a chemical pregnancy a few months before but still didn’t think I’d be pregnant this time. I had never gotten pregnant this soon after a baby and just fully expected it to be negative. So much so that I took the test, and someone needed me so I left it on the counter in the bathroom and went to continue hosting/cooking for our family. Tim later had gone into the bathroom and saw the positive test on the counter and came and whispered in my ear, “congratulations!” I looked at him shocked and ran to the bathroom to look at the test. It was very much positive and I was just so surprised! God had done some work on my heart since my chemical pregnancy and I was overjoyed with this news, even though it was surprising. I wondered how I’d be able to have my 7th baby so close to my last. I had no idea the actual challenges that would come with this pregnancy but God. He was so faithful to meet me in the challenges and supply for what we needed, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t hard.
One decision we made early on in Boaz’s pregnancy was that we would formula feed him. I’ve nursed the last 5 babies and have had significant struggles every time. Latch issues, lip/tongue ties, mastitis 2-6x EACH baby, thrush, bleeding and cracked nipples, failure to thrive, feeding tubes, etc. God had allowed each baby and each experience to grow me and teach me. After pumping exclusively for Reuben for 10 months because he could not transfer any milk, and cutting out the top 8 allergens from my diet, he struggled and had failure to thrive and was very close to needing a feeding tube like 2 of my other children did. We switched him to formula at around 10 months old and he turned into a new baby within a week. This made it obvious to Tim and I that although we do believe breastmilk was created by God and is best, it isn’t what my he seemed to do well on. So we wanted to try formula from the start for Bo and see how he did. We didn’t realize how providential that decision would end up being.
July 2nd, 2021 34 weeks 4 days: Car Accident
We had someone come to clean our house. The kids and I dropped my oldest son off at a friend’s place for a playdate and we went to do some errands while the house was being cleaned. On our way home we were hit by a wrong way driver in a stolen vehicle going over 115 MPH. I remember hearing my oldest, Gracelyn (10) scream “Mom, Selah!” and I wondered if she was still in the van or if she had been flown out. I got out and began telling people to call 911, that I was pregnant and had 5 children in the van. I hobbled to the other side of the van and opened the door. I couldn’t climb up into the van because of my injured foot but strangers began running from all around and formed an assembly line getting kids out one by one and to the side of the road. My youngest daughter Selah (6) was in the car, but was bleeding badly from her eye. We sat on the side of the road waiting for the police to come and it felt like forever. It was 115 degrees that day in Arizona and it was so hot. Strangers were bringing water and pouring them on us to try to keep us cool.
Arrow (3) and Reuben (18 months) were crying and I was holding them both. Finally a woman said, “mam, your foot is broken, you must sit down.” She helped me to the curb with the boys in my arms. I felt little pain at this point but knew my belly was contracting. Selah went in the first ambulance and Calvary (5) and Arrow went into the next two. The hardest part for me was having to pass Reuben to Gracelyn and leave them with a stranger while they transported me in the ambulance. As soon as I was in the ambulance and my kids weren’t with me, the pain began. I knew my foot was bad. I knew my arm was broken. I just prayed Boaz would stay inside and that he was alive. I spent the next few days in the hospital and contractions died down and was discharged on the night of July 4th.
I was still completely unable to walk, and could barely move my arm. I had burns and bruises all over my body and was in so much pain. Those first few days home were so hard. Tim had to do everything to care for me. I wasn’t sure how we were going to do this and what the future held but God continued to remind me that He was my rock and He was near. He saved us all in what easily could have killed us and He knew the details in which we were facing. Every time I got overwhelmed with figuring out help with our 6 kids, He graciously reminded me that I still had 6 kids alive that needed caring for. God used so many people; strangers, friends, family, to encourage us and serve us. I didn’t know how we were going to make it through each day, but each day He gave us what we needed for that day and asked us to trust Him for the days to come.
July 28th 38 weeks 2 days: Labor Begins, 4 weeks after car accident
9:00 am: My husband Tim left in the morning to go get our new van. He came home with the van and I was still feeling guarded that this would actually work out. I was struggling to believe God would make it possible to get such a good gift. My best friend Dani lovingly told me my attitude was sinful and I needed to praise God for giving us this gift and answering our prayers. I needed to stop doubting that God was a good Father who was able to give us good gifts and who cared about the details of all this. I definitely felt convicted over my attitude and how I wasn’t trusting the Lord to provide for this need. This theme of God being a good father carried out throughout the whole next 24 hours.
4:00 pm: Tim came in our bedroom, where I had been bed bound for over a month, to help me take a shower. Instead of actually getting into the shower I spent the hour crying to him about feeling like this was all too much. I didn’t know how I could continue on in this pain waiting for Bo to come, stuck in bed. At this point the doctors told me there was nothing else they could do for my injuries until after I delivered. I knew my “normal” without intervention was to have my babies on or the day before their due date. The end of pregnancy is already challenging to wait but this felt like such a harder trial than other pregnancies. Tim listened to me and let me cry and we had decided we would discuss our new “birth plan” that evening since we decided at the last minute to change our plans and birth in the hospital instead of at home like we usually do. I told Tim we no longer had time to shower me as he needed to start warming up dinner. He left to do that and I layed in bed crying and listening to worship music. Shane & Shane is one of my favorite worship bands and they had JUST released their new album. I put on the song “Only There” and wept in bed.
“Oh, how long my heart has struggled
With its fear and unbelief
Though my heavy-laden spirit
At the cross would find relief
I have wandered in this darkness
Not a ray of light within
But my faith at last has led me
To the cross with all my sin
Only there, only there
Love and mercy flow for me
Only there, only there
Can I find my rest in Thee”
5:30 pm: I wrote this in my journal: “Had an emotional afternoon of crying a lot. Started having more cramping and one mild contraction around 5:30pm. Laying in bed listening to music and crying, some lower back pain. Shane and Shane’s new album is blessing me so much. I know this is all normal, and I’m sure it’ll still be another 10/12 days before he comes. But I also know God you can make him come sooner. Help me to trust you and your timing.”
6:00 pm: Tim comes into my room and gives me a bowl of soup. I sit up and begin to feel wetness pouring out. I call Tim back in because I can’t move and ask him to take the bowl and help me into my wheelchair to go to the bathroom. As soon as I got up water began pouring down my legs. I told him my water broke and he got me to the toilet. I am shocked. No way could this be happening 12 days before my due date. I called Dani and let her know and she came over. I ask her to call our babysitter and Tim helped me into the shower and began packing up our stuff for the hospital. While I’m in the shower Tim starts asking me questions on what we are doing. We obviously were not going to get to have our birth plan conversation later and I just told Tim that at this point, God obviously didn’t want us to try to figure out a new plan. I told Tim that going to the hospital and planning an epidural was new for us both and that I honestly didn’t know what to expect and that at this point we just needed to be really prayerful over decisions and have the Lord lead us. I confessed to Tim that I am struggling to believe that God would allow us to have a good experience. Being educated about birth, I know all the risks and things that can happen, especially when you introduce interventions and was worried about all that could go wrong. I asked Tim to pray for me and immediately thought of my conversation earlier with Dani about the van. God is a good Father who is able to give us good things, and if not, He is still good and will be with me. The phrase “His peace rules my heart” was ongoing in my mind. (Colossians 3:15)
Leave for the Hospital
8:30pm: Tim and I leave for the hospital. At this point I am crampy and having some contractions but they are short and only every 10 minutes or so. Because of my inability to move one of the reasons we decided to have Bo in the hospital was to get an epidural. I knew I wouldn’t be able to move with contractions and would be stuck on my back and honestly, I was also just wanting some relief from the constant pain in my foot. Although we have had 2 hospital births and 4 home births, we have never delivered with an epidural and didn’t really know what to expect. I knew my “typical” was for my baby to come around 5 hours after my water breaks and contractions are going strong. I didn’t want to get to the hospital too late since that was the main reason we were going. I felt a bit silly for going in so soon but after praying about it, felt like we should head in. Dani said that maybe this was just a grace of the Lord to not have me in hard labor trying to get checked in. I’m so thankful we went when we did!
9pm: We got to the hospital and they skipped triage and brought me right into my room. They started my IV and got me all checked in. I was still only contracting every 6 minutes or so which was so nice to be able to talk to the nurse between contractions and everything felt very calm and manageable. I was 4cm.
10:30pm: A nurse manager comes in to tell me that they don’t do VBACs at that hospital and I wouldn’t be allowed to stay. I was so confused and thrown off guard since my midwife had said I could go there at my last appointment and I even called ahead of time to tell them I was coming. I had my first as a C-section almost 11 years ago and although I had 5 vaginal births since then they were still saying I could not deliver there. I asked to speak with a supervisor because I really did not want to transfer to another hospital. There was some back and forth with the midwife, nurse, and OB. Ultimately they came in and said that they couldn’t make me leave but that interventions like pitocin could not be done for me there. I knew they really didn’t want me to stay. I asked for them to allow Tim and I to talk and pray about the choice. They left and we prayed. After praying it was pretty clear to us that although we did not want to transfer, it was the decision the Lord was leading us both to. I’m so thankful it was!
Transfer to a New Hospital
11:30 pm: Paramedics loaded me onto a stretcher and put me into an ambulance. Tim packed our car back up with our stuff and he drove to the new hospital while I road in the ambulance. I enjoyed making the paramedics uncomfortable with my moans and noises during contractions as they made it VERY clear that they DID NOT want to deliver my baby enroute.
12:30am: We got settled into our new room at Banner Desert Hospital. Contractions were getting more intense and were about every 3-4 minutes now. It was much harder to deal with them on my back but I was doing great between them still. I was struggling to know when to get the epidural because I didn’t want to get it too late but also felt like I was coping okay. I prayed and asked God to make that clear. Boaz moved like crazy and then next contraction was very intense. I asked that they start my fluid bolus to prepare for an epidural.
1:30am I got the epidural and it was painless. I was checked to be 6cm and soft. The relief for my foot was immediate and it was so amazing. For the first time in weeks I couldn’t feel the pain in my foot and I was so thankful. We decided to try to rest, Tim napped and I laid there praying for Bo and watching contractions on the monitor.
3:15am I was checked again to be 8cm and began to feel nauseous.
4:30am I was complete and I began pushing. I knew Bo was posterior (sunny side up) like a lot of my babies have been but the midwife said he wasn’t. I pushed, and it was SO weird. I’ve never pushed with an epidural before and it was so bizarre to feel nothing. After about 30 minutes I began to get discouraged because I felt nothing and so it felt like nothing was happening. I asked Tim to pray and I prayed aloud that He would give me what I needed to get Bo out even though I couldn’t feel anything. The next contraction I pushed and the midwife told me to stop to let myself stretch.
5:11am I paused and then I reached down and pulled him out. He came out crying right away and sounded JUST like Reuben. I had asked the nurses to let me wipe and stimulate him and to give us some space and they were so good at respecting that. I wiped his little face and told him how happy we were that he was safe. I was SO happy he was out and that everything went well without any complications. It was definitely a TOTALLY different experience not being able to feel much of anything. The best way to describe it was “anticlimactic”. While we were SO happy we was out, I wouldn’t say I enjoyed being numb. I didn’t like feeling like I was not an active participant in birthing him.
Honestly, the worst part of my birth experience was not being able to crawl into my own bed after birth and not getting to introduce the new baby to their siblings. We only stayed in the hospital for 28 hours after birth but it felt like FOREVER. We were SO ready to be home and back with our kids. We practically begged our nurse to help get us out as soon as possible. Thankfully she did and we were able to leave the next morning. It was SO good to be home. Ever since the birth (and maybe somehow the epidural?) the pain in my foot went down significantly to the point where I was able to have it down and it didn’t turn as purple or swell quite so much. There were pretty immediate improvements and I was SO thankful. It still took another 3 weeks after birth to be able to begin bearing any weight on my foot. Those three weeks of staying snuggled in bed with Bo were SO much more enjoyable than when he was in my womb!
Boaz Michael Schweitzer
July 29th, 2021
7lbs 11oz, 20 inches