As soon as I got up and moving around, I felt the contractions get more intense. I texted our friends who were going to watch Lilias, and our friend who was taking us to the hospital. Lilias woke up and came in bed with us to snuggie, and we told her we were going to have the baby today! She did great and was really helpful in getting herself ready, eating breakfast on her own, and watching shows until it was time for her to go hang out with Ben and Jill and Abby. I wanted to eat some breakfast because I wasn’t sure what they would let me do at the hospital, but the contractions were getting so intense, I wasn’t able to. I decided to try to take a shower and slow things down. The shower had the opposite effect, however, and I told James that Lilias needed to get to the Gantts’ immediately, and we needed Amanda to come pick us up. I made it back to bed and tried to lay down and relax. James was getting Lilias’ things together, and then, because we weren’t expecting this to be happening so early, James had to run to the bank to get out the rest of the money for the clinic. I called Shelly and she talked me through the contractions, which were getting closer together and stronger.
James made it back to the house with the money, and as I was talking to Shelly, I heard Ben arrive to pick up Lilias. She came in and kissed me goodbye, and I heard Amanda arrive as well. James came back to our room after he had taken our hospital bags to Amanda’s car, and helped me get out of bed. I wanted to go to the bathroom before we left, so he helped with that. At this point, I couldn’t really move during contractions, so we were going a little ways, then stopping for the contraction, then continuing on our way. We made it downstairs and into Amanda’s car. The drive to the hospital was uncomfortable, but there was very little traffic and it was quick. James called our doctor on the way and he headed to the hospital as well. Amanda pulled up in front of the hospital and James helped me out, and we decided to let Amanda bring up our bags. I remember feeling a little self conscious and feeling like everyone was staring at us as we tried to make it into the hospital.
As soon as we were in the building, a man who worked there brought a wheelchair and had me sit down in it. I was thankful for this and James held on to me as he pushed us towards maternity. Unfortunately, they were not very prepared for a woman this far along in labor, and we spent some time going up and down the hallway of the maternity ward while they debated on where I should go. Finally, the head mid-wife directed us to the delivery bloc. At first she didn’t want James to go with me but he insisted and I held a death grip on his arm, so she relented. We went to a room and she helped me changed into a delivery gown. Again, there was some debate about James staying with me, but he insisted, and they gave him some things to wear over his clothes. They also asked for our letter from the doctor (in our bags, in the car! Ooops!), and they really wanted James to go downstairs and pay. All I remember is him insisting that he was not going to leave my side (my hero J )
In the delivery room I got up on the bed, and the midwives began to do the checks. I remember hearing “complet” in French, and James asking how far dialated I was – 10 centimeters! After the midwives had gotten my iv in, and checked me, and asked James another couple times for the letter that we didn’t have, everyone seemed to clear out of the way as they got the rest of the room ready for the delivery. We decided that James should try to venture back to the waiting room and see if Amanda was there with our bags, so that he could get that all important letter from the doctor that the midwives wanted. While he was gone, the doctor arrived and checked me as well. He also broke my water. I remember feeling pretty nervous because everyone was speaking in French or Arabic and no one told me anything that they were doing before they did it. I was very relieved to see James walk back through the door. There was also a period after he returned, that it seemed like he and I were in the room all by ourselves. I was laying on my side, and starting to feel the need to push, and I remember at one point looking up at James and asking, “who is going to help me? Why aren’t they helping me?!”
I started to really feel the need to push, and there was still no one around. My belly started to shake with every contraction I wanted to push so bad, so I told James and he told a passing midwife. I think at this point, it seemed like everyone came back into the room, along with the doctor. I was really feeling overwhelmed and I think I told James I didn’t know if I could do this. The midwives got me on my back and put my legs way up high in stirrups (not comfortable!) and the doctor started saying something about how I needed to push down low, but up in my chest?! On the next contraction, I gave a push, but not throughout the whole contraction, and he started lecturing me (in French or Arabic I think) about how I needed to push for the whole contraction. So the next one I gave a good push and screamed a lot (I think I scared everyone in the room). Also the head midwife tried to get up on top of me and push on my stomach, so I screamed at her and hit her arm away. Again I think we scared them a little. In between contractions this time, the doctor did an episiotomy (without anesthesia!) and I screamed because I could feel everything. I pushed again during the next contraction, and told James I couldn’t do it, but he said I was almost there. I remember being super confused because with Lilias I pushed for 1 ½ hours, and it had only been 5 or 10 minutes. As it turns out, he had seen Cyprian’s head so he knew I was close. With the next push, he came out! They immediately put him on my chest, and I remember feeling so happy and relieved that he was here, as well as a little shocked since we had only been at the hospital for about an hour. I got to snuggle with him for an hour or more before they took him to get his bath and warm up. I continue to be thankful to the Lord who helped us in every step of this birth overseas. J
~shared by Heather K.