by Katie Terry, CLD
My sweet, loving baby boy was born on February 1st at 12:03 AM. His personality has carried through the first year of his life; lively, observant, and precious. I am eternally grateful for this sweet gift of God and am excited to share his birth story. Before I go into details, what I believe is more important about this story is to share some of my pregnancy.
I had a very healthy pregnancy with only a few “your better slow down” precautionary measures. I felt great and loved exercising and doula-ing while pregnant. Even though all the signs were good and I had no reason to worry, I did. I had been a labor doula for 2 years at this point and had seen more, had learned more, had heard more stories.
As a pessimist, I believed a big lie that the odds were stacked against me and something bad was bound to happen. I claimed 2 Timothy 1:7 as my verse for this pregnancy: “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (ESV). Whenever I felt anxious of the unknown, I turned to this truth realizing that fear is not of the Lord and asked Him for His peace through His spirit.
January 1st, 2015 rolled around and I was excited about bringing in the new year with a baby due that month. We made his 3.5yo big brother Levi a “chain” that counted down from Thanksgiving, to Christmas, to Silas’ due date; extra chains were added as precautionary measures. We had finally got to the blue chains representing Silas’ birth month and he was thrilled! We all were! At my last checkup with my OB at 36w, I was 3cm and 50% effaced. She believed my body was preparing for this baby.
In the midst of anticipation, the unexpected happened. On the morning of Martin Luther King Day my sister came to visit me for her day off work. She received a phone call from my husband and was talking to him in the other room. She came into our bedroom as I was blow drying my hair with a look on her face that I’ll never forget. She asked me to sit down and then handed me the phone. My dear husband on the other line said,
“Katie, before I tell you anything. Know there is nothing we could have done. This is part of God’s perfect plan.”
My reply, “Ok… what’s wrong?!”
“Jackson died this morning.”
Jackson was our 20mo nephew whom we were praying fervently for the past year. We prayed for God to protect this boy and He answered this prayer for protection in a different way. We are dealing with regret and grief still but are thankful for the short time we had with this baby.
After his funeral arrangements, I went and visited my midwife for a checkup. She was concerned for me and I didn’t know how to deal. It had completely shook me up and took my focus off my baby and off my birth. I allowed her to check me and I had got from the 3cm, pretty thin to completely closed up and Silas had ascended. She gave valuable advice that I give to my doula clients now: get off social media, go do anything to help you relax, do things that as nostalgic. So I made my post that I was going off the grid… I had an amazing massage with my sweet friend who gently affirmed me that being quiet was okay.. and I watched lots of The Office. I spent quiet hours giving my grief over to the Lord as I felt awkward and selfish bring life into the world. My heart was confused and I believe my body was too. The last days of anticipation and joy turned into confusion and restlessness. I am thankful for my midwife, my doulas, my family and friends that quietly prayed for me during this time or the ones who allowed me to talk to them and process all of this. Thank you always.
My due date given by my OB passed, my due date given by my midwife passed, and here I was just waiting. I never expected to be in the position I was in. I had thought Silas would come early or on time because Levi was born before his due date. But alas, every birth is different, every pregnancy is different, and we cannot expect what happens! Even if we end up having 12 babies (Lord willing!) I will hire a doula for each birth! I need reminders of Truth but for these unexpected things. Oh man. Gimme all the doulas.
I was beginning to feel ready for this baby. We were hoping this whole time he would come on my midwife’s birthday because she had never had a baby born on her birthday and she is very special to us! We had made her a birthday cake just in case. That Friday, on her birthday, she calls me to tell me she was headed to visit the Amish because she received a call from one of her client’s who thought her baby was coming very early. Of course… jealous thoughts instantly. I was huge and bored but appreciated her checking in on me. I reassured her that I would keep in touch if I felt anything. She contacted me later to check in because this baby was definitely coming and there was concern for it coming so early. I half heartedly told her I would pray and asked if I could do anything. I ended up bringing the birthday cake and some McDonald’s (per request of the Amish family) to them. I loved getting to serve her in this way on her birthday but couldn’t help but wish it was me meeting my baby! I gave her a hug and said a quick prayer for them. Thankfully, all went well at this mom’s birth and the baby girl was healthy and well. They named the baby Katie… I think I won them over with the McDonald’s.
The next day I get to go visit my midwife for my weekly checkup. I was excited to see her and thought things were much better since my last checkup. We talked and she asked me good questions. My husband was there as well and we were able to process our emotions even more. We had accepted what had happened with our family and had let go as much as we could for that moment. So she asked if I wanted to be checked again and I agreed to be. And PTL I was 5cm and 70% effaced! I said, “Yup, we’re having this baby tonight!” I told her she better get some rest and go ahead and celebrate her birthday now lol. Of course, she didn’t. She stayed close to her phone waiting for me.
My husband and I had dropped our 3yo off with my mother-in-law and had the rest of the day to ourselves. I was having light contractions during our late lunch at Ricatoni’s but wasn’t quite sure if they were from being checked or the real thing. I decided not to time them but to enjoy my chicken alfredo. The craving for that moment was for a Coke Life (not, no regular Coke. Coke Life.) So off to Publix we went to pick it up. As we were walking around the contractions were still happening. I was getting excited that they hadn’t stopped. We got some other snacks and invited friends over to play cards.
I had started baking cookies and a birthday cake for Silas.The contractions were coming stronger at this point and my husband was questioning our plans. I told him we may not be able to play cards but he could still hang with his friends for a bit while I got ready to meet with my midwife, if need be. As soon as that cake was done, I knew it was time. We said bye to our friends and contacted our birth team. It was for sure baby time!
Once we were all together, my midwife took one look at me and said, “Is that birth tub ready?” I felt he was coming soon. The rest of the labor as far as the time and everything I did was a bit blurry. I remember having a hard time moving even after contractions. I remember continually saying that I could feel him coming down much more than I did with my first birth. I remember hanging on to my husband and wanting his touch continuously. I remember my water breaking in the bathroom. I remember thinking of my nephew and praying to the Lord to protect my baby. I got in the tub at 10cm at it felt so amazing. I hit that “second wind” phase and joked a bit with my doulas… and then fell asleep… and then woke back up.. you know, normal birth demeanor.
I breathed my baby down as I allowed my body to push. I wanted to let him come as my body allowed. That lasted for a few contractions and then I gave in to the pressure and had to bear down. I felt his sweet head and knew it would be any minute. Quickly after, he was born into the water and brought up into my hands. 3 minutes into February my baby came. I laughed thinking of course he wouldn’t be a January baby.. he waited to come at the turn of a new month, leaving the grief of January behind. Instant love. I kissed my husband and felt a whole new sense of joy. He was beautiful and perfect. Our baby boy. Here he was, at the perfect moment!
I am eternally grateful for everything Silas had taught me this year especially to live in joy. To leave the fear behind. To let go of my control and allow learning experiences to happen.
I appreciate the love and support of our family and friends during my pregnancy, this past year as we transitioned to a family of four and still seek answers for our nephew.
We love you, Robert Silas. You will never know how much of a gift you have been in our lives this year. Happy Birthday, Billy Ray!