Jolene Jean (A Birth Story)
The sun is just about to burst over the horizon when Nicole decides it's a good time for a glass of juice. She rolls out of bed, and heads to the kitchen to quench her thirst. Her body decides that standing over the tile floor would be the perfect place for her water to break. Splash! She stares down in amazement, then catches her breath. She peeks into her room to find Lee sound asleep. In a soft, excited voice, she leans over to tell him that her water broke. Lee's eyes open wide, "Really?" He gives her a hug, cleans up the "spilled" water, and they crawl back into their cozy bed. A few hours of contractions go by before heading over to Lee's parents' house, where everything is set up for their long-awaited home birth.
Nothing is more important than this day. For Lee and Nicole, life stands still. Nicole covers her head to concentrate, breathing slowly through each contraction. Lee's hand is steady, but his heart is pounding. In a soft and gentle voice he would reassure his beloved, "Good breathing. I'm so proud of you."
Nicole's contractions are getting more intense when they hear a knock at the door. Karen, the midwife, has arrived. Immediately she listens for the baby's heartbeat. A beautiful song fills the air. It is the song of life. Buh-bum, buh-bum, buh-bum...Lee's heart beats to the rhythm of his baby's heart. He can't help but smile. He feels his love grow deeper for this little one, the life he helped create.
While Nicole labors, sisters-in-law stand close by. One takes pictures. The other takes video and makes sure Nicole has water. Lee's mom can't contain the excitement and has to stay busy; she makes sure everyone is taken care of and comfortable. The littlest cousin plays her part too--she makes for the sweetest distraction in-between contractions. The morning is going just as planned. The birth they dreamed of for their first-born baby was everything they hoped it would be.
When Lee and Nicole found out they were pregnant, they were excited to learn more about having a home birth. They knew they wanted to do everything naturally. It was also comforting to know they could have their baby in a place they were familiar with. They liked the idea of having a midwife they could trust, someone who would genuinely care for them and their baby. But no one could have known how their plan would change. The birth of their baby would be different then they imagined.
"Do you feel any pressure, Nicole?" "No, I don't feel any pressure." Karen begins to feel for the baby, her eyes meet Nicole's. "This is a foot, not a head." Lee and Nicole's minds begin to spin. Last week the ultrasound showed the baby's head down! We still get to have a home birth, right? Do we have to go to the hospital? Is the baby okay?
In a soft voice, Nicole interrupts their thoughts. "Lee, will you pray?" They turn to their Creator, the One who made their baby. "God, help us make the right decision and keep Nicole and the baby safe."
Within minutes of being greeted by five little toes, Lee and Nicole are rushing to the hospital.
Nicole's sister grips the steering wheel. She is determined to get Nicole to the hospital as quick as possible. It just so happens it is the worst time to go to the hospital. The freeway is jammed with rush hour traffic. As they race along the emergency lane, cars inch towards them to block their way, while other drivers flip them off. In a desperate attempt to clear the lane, Lee sticks his head out the window and yells, "Baby! Baby!"
When they arrive at the hospital, they are taken to the second floor and begin prepping for a C-section.
Nicole's eyes squint under the bright lights. Everything feels so abrupt. She feels an uncomfortable feeling as alcohol wipes are rubbed over her belly during a contraction. What insurance do you have? What blood type? What was the baby's heart rate?" Abrupt...
As uncomfortable, bright, and cold everything felt, they knew this was what was best. They knew that in God's timing, He would bring them to the hospital. And they knew that they would be holding their baby soon.
Lee's eyes lock onto Nicole as they enter the operating room. He sits behind her. A curtain is pulled to cover Nicole's lower half. She begins to feel discomfort as her body is being jerked back and forth. Lee begins to stroke Nicole's hair and forehead. "They're gonna do a great job. You and our baby will be safe." All he can think about is staying calm for her. All Nicole can think about is staying calm for her baby.
And in a moment, they forget about everything. Their eyes well up with tears as they hear their baby's first cry. "You have a daughter!" Nicole watches Lee as he sees their their daughter for the first time. She can't help but fall more in love with her husband as he bursts out, "Oh baby, oh baby!"
The moment when Jolene filled her lungs with air was the moment that changed Lee and Nicole forever. Her first cry made their souls dance, and her little eyes made their hearts leap. They were speechless, in awe of such beauty and perfection. They fell in love with their own flesh and blood.
In the quiet of Lee and Nicole's hospital room, they stare into Jolene's eyes and they begin to dream. What will her personality be like? What will her interests be? Will she like to travel?
Lee cradles his baby girl and draws her close to his face. He thinks aloud... "I wonder who will be the man that will thank me for you--just like I thank your mom's parents for her."
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