Malachi's Birth Story

From the moment I found out I was pregnant, we prayed for May. May would mean full term. 

When May came our prayers focused on the remaining requests... 
  • that my blood pressure would continue to be normal
  • that I would go into labor before my due date
  • that I would be able to deliver without pitocin or an epidural
  • that Malachi would be born healthy with no complications for him or I 

All that being said, here is the story of how  Malachi was born... one year later because he keeps my hands (but also heart) that full.


Wednesday May 16th | 39 wks 2 days

I went in for my final midwife visit and we discussed our plans for induction. Due to my previous preeclampsia and chronic hypertension, standard procedure would have been induction at 39 weeks. Because I was doing so well and I desperately wanted to go on my own she allowed that I could go up to my due date without requiring induction. We discussed the option of her inducing me the next day because that was her hospital day and she could drive me having a less invasive induction. But in hopes of going on my own over the weekend, I opted for saving that for Monday (with a different midwife) as a last resort. 

Saturday May 19th | 39wks 5days 

I had spent the last 11 days having pretty regular contractions with varying intensity. After living in physical and mental limbo, I could finally take a big deep breath... at least mentally. My mom got into town and I no longer felt the mental stress of wondering if it was time to tell her to jump in the car for the 9 hour journey. It was so relieving to know that if I went into labor before induction, she was already here. She got in that afternoon and we spent the evening shopping and eating and spoiling Levi! 

Sunday May 20th | 39wks 6days

We went to church and enjoyed the last Sunday with Malachi in my belly. I continually asked people to pray me into labor. I truly believe that the power of prayer and the grace of God is what had gotten me to that full term mark of even needing to pray I’d go into labor. 

After church we went out to lunch for one my dearest friend’s birthday. As we left I began asking one of my friends who’s crazy knowledgeable about birth if she had any advice on getting into labor to avoid pitocin and induction. She gave a few suggestions and encouraged me that if my body was ready, castor oil might be just enough to push me into gear. At that point, I was willing to try anything. 

Over the next few hours I tried some positional stuff and also went shopping to get all the makings of a castor oil milkshake. While we were shopping my contractions got pretty intense and were coming every 10 minutes or so. We questioned even getting the supplies but decided we would because this was my last shot at going into active labor on my own. 

By the time we got home they were coming around 6-7 minutes apart but weren’t strong enough that I was having to stop and work through them. My momma made my peanut butter and castor oil shake (which I honestly found pretty tasty) and I began chugging between 8 and 8:30. By 9:30 my contractions were coming every 3 to 3.5 minutes and we were loading up the car to  drop Levi off. 

I was miserable buckled in up front on the way to drop Levi off with dear friends 10 minutes away. He was hysterical dropping him off so late at night and was so confused. It broke my heart but I was so thankful he was with Ms Keinna who snuggles him and comforted him until he got calmed down. 

On the way to the hospital (another 30 minutes away -usually) I rode in the back laid over the seat working through much more painful contractions at this point coming every 2-3 minutes. 

Given that I was induced early with Levi, I had no idea what it was like for my body to progress into active labor on my own. I didn’t know what to expect but I did expect that the next part of the process would go fairly quickly and I even joked that I better be eating chick til a by breakfast time. 

When they got me checked into triage, I was still only at 3-4cm but given my consistent contractions they admitted me. At this point my hospital gang included Joel of course, my mom and my friend Jenn who was photographing. 

Monday May 21st | 40 weeks

They got me transferred upstairs and we got settled in the room. They brought me an exercise ball and another chair/pillow cushion to help me get in positions to work through contractions. I was super thankful that they were respecting my wishes for no epidural and bringing me such things to help cope. 

Through the night my mom and Joel tried to rest as much as possible. I was too giddy to sleep and honestly expected to quickly progress. I was so thankful to have my friend Jenn there to talk to in those wee hours and also have her document that slower, calmer time that I wasn’t really expecting. 

In the morning the midwife on call came in to check me and I was still only at 4… I know I know. I’ve read all the natural progression tips and I shouldn’t have been thinking the words “still” and “only” but after all night of hard contractions I thought surely I would be at least at  5cm. At that point I asked if she thought it would help to break my water. In a perfect world, I’d rather have had no intervention but I’m familiar enough with the hospital setting enough to know that if didn’t start progressing soon, they’d want to do pitocin and that wasn’t a road I wanted to travel again. She broke my water a little before 9am and things definitely picked up some from there. 

Also during the morning as my mom was updating my friends through texts, one of my friends (the one who’d talked me into castor oil and had done two completely natural deliveries) offered to come if I wanted support. At this point, I was tired and in so much pain and none of us had ever been through this so I was like 100% YES! I was so thankful that she was there to push me and encourage me and coach me and Joel through that. Her being able to be there as labor support made such a huge difference. 

I’m not sure of the exact time but around mid day, I was completely exhausted and frustrated that I had to keep getting in bed for long periods to be monitored. At that point I got them to explain what the IV meds would be like. They explained that it would only last for around 45 minutes and that it would essential make me sleepy enough to at least sleep in between contractions. They said I could do up to 3 rounds but she highly suggested I do only one and rest though it and then come back ready to labor. I opted for it. 

I don’t entirely regret it…. but it was pretty tough coming out of it wearing off and right into transition. The next time they checked me was at 3:30. I was 7cm and 100% effaced and shaking in pain. I cried. I moaned. I swayed. I prayed. I used the support of every single person in that room with me… because I needed it. 

I wasn’t nearly as composed as I’d hoped I’d be but I (and others) continued to remind myself to take it one contraction at a time. I was one contraction closer to seeing my baby. 

Unfortunately during this time, my friend and photographer had to leave for work for a couple of hours. As slow as the day had been moving we expected she wouldn’t miss much but she left her camera just in case. We’re thankful she did because transition went fast (at least compared to the rest of my labor).  When it seemed the pressure and urge to push was constant we asked the midwife to come in. At that point I was almost at 10cm and she encouraged me to breathe through the next contraction and then push. 

The next few minutes seem like a blur in my mind but after pushing through two (I think ha) contractions we heard the sweetest little cry and our precious Malachi was laid on my chest. Born at 4:55pm, he snuggled me and nursed and was wide awake for a good bit. THIS was such a beautiful and surreal moment. It was so comforting and crazily joy filled in contrast to the brief time we got with Levi after birth and the 15 hours I waited to hold him. It's amazing how Malachi and I both instantly settled with him there on my chest. 

After a little my mom drove to pick up Levi so he could come meet his baby brother and also pick up some long-awaited Chick-fil-A. In the meantime I scarfed down a turkey sub and little man got cleaned up and measured and we gazed at him in awe. He weighed 7lbs 9oz and was 19 1/4 inches long. 

Levi was so excited to meet his baby brother but was also a little shy initially. He smiled behind that binky and wanted to give him a race car. By the next day he was all in his face with totally unrestrained love. Two days later we took our TWO boys home in the minivan and this momma was on cloud 9. 

The coming days and weeks brought many challenges of their own but my delivery couldn’t have gone smoother. It was the perfect end to a perfect pregnancy with this sweet joy. I don’t write this without knowing their are plenty of you who didn’t get the pregnancy or birth you hoped and planned for. It’s how I felt during my first round. And as hard as that was to accept, it was also the perfect opportunity for God to teach me that His grace really could be enough for me through my experiences letting me down. This pregnancy and delivery were also a wonderful opportunity for Him to remind me that He is not defined by statistics or patterns and He gave me a beautiful (mostly) complication free pregnancy and the natural (though painful) delivery I so desired. He answered every single prayer. 

I’m beyond grateful for God’s sovereign timing, His grace poured out on me, the amazing support of my awesome labor team, the comforting help of friends taking care of Levi, and my dear friend Jenn who captured these beautiful photos to help me remember the details of Malachi’s birth. 

One year later and I’m still left in such awe! 



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