DON'T tell me to shush!!!

This coming week we celebrate my daughter Claire's third birthday. So like any mother, I've been replaying the events of that week in my mind...

After much prayer and research, we decided to remain in Honduras to have our first baby. I found a great OB-GYN in San Pedro Sula (a larger city than Progreso, located about 45 minutes to the west). He was trained at the University of Miami and even practiced in the States for awhile before returning to Honduras, where he grew up. He was able to outline for me the major differences between having a baby in the US and having one in Honduras. He said that the nurses were not as well-trained as the ones in the States; the advantage to that was that my doctor would be with me more, turning less responsibility over to the nurses. We took a tour of the hospital where I would deliver. Although the hospital was old and a little behind the times as far as equipment went (maybe the equivalent of an old country hospital in the States), it was very clean. The infant nursery was on the first floor, just around the corner from the main lobby and much too close to the exit for my liking (no fancy sensors to prevent stolen babies here!), but he assured us that we could keep the baby in our room and opt not to use the nursery.

The doctor also told me that natural births were much more common here, but that if I wanted an epidural, I could get it.

Another advantage to having Claire in Honduras would be that she would have dual citizenship. Having just completed our own lengthy, expensive process to obtain residency in Honduras, we saw this as a huge benefit.

So we eagerly awaited my due date, August 7. I prayed that I would not deliver early...we had a youth group of 34 people coming down from July 31 to August 7! We are extremely busy when we have youth groups down, translating, preparing meals, running Bible Clubs. I hated to have to throw all of that on our partners the Goins. But thankfully, the Lord answered my prayer, and we were able to host the group without a hitch.

A few days after they left, we returned to the hospital for another checkup. The doctor decided to keep me, since I was dilated to 3cm. After I got settled in the room, he gave me some oxytocin to speed things up.

He checked back a half hour later...still at 3cm.

Another half hour later...still 3. He let me eat lunch, much to my surprise. I took that as a bad sign. This was going to take awhile! If they were letting me eat, they didn't plan on seeing this baby any time soon!

A half hour later, he checked me again, and still no progress. This time, he bumped up the oxytocin drip and broke my water. Then things really started going fast!

I began to have very strong contractions that would take my breath away. I thought, I've seen women trying to walk when they were having contractions, maybe that would help. So Robbie helped me to my feet and I started to walk. But when the next contraction hit, I collapsed! We were WAY past the walking stage! My lunch was lost somewhere in the middle of all that.

The contractions starting coming so hard that I begged Robbie and nurses to get the doctor, who had just left minutes before. I thought, I must be at 4 or 5 cm now. What will ten be like? I'll never make it! I need an epidural! The nurses kept saying, "Honey, this is labor, you'll be fine!" But I knew I couldn't do several hours of such intense pain. The contractions were very close together now. Since I wasn't hooked up to a monitor, like they have in the States, no one had any idea how much the labor had progressed in just a few minutes. They thought I was overreacting.

Finally, Robbie got the doctor, who decided to examine me again, even though he had examined me just a few minutes earlier. He took one look and said, "That's it! Get her up to the OR!" I had gone from 3 to 10 centimeters in less than 15 minutes! No time for any pain relief now!

They tried to move me from one bed to another that they could wheel up to the OR, where he would deliver the baby. But my hands seemed to be atrophied around the bed rails! I tried to relax them, but they were frozen in place. Robbie somehow managed to uncurl my fingers and they lifted me onto the other bed.

I was very confused at this point. I had no idea where I was going, and was a little delirious from the pain. I was also trying not to push, because I didn't want to have the baby in the hallway, but not pushing with contractions that hard was nearly impossible! When we finally got to the OR, I thought, Oh good, they're going to do a c-section! Get her OUT! Robbie had disappeared somewhere along the way, and I had no idea where he was. He was the least of my concerns at this point.

He had gone with the doctor to put on scrubs and a mask in a separate room. The doctor got ready faster than he did, and quickly exited. Robbie followed him out the door, but didn't see where he had gone. A few nurse pointed to an open OR, and Robbie rushed inside to see a woman lying on the table in stirrups, ready to deliver. He froze for a moment and realized, That is NOT my wife!!! He said he was SO thankful to be wearing a mask!

He finally found the right room, where I was still screaming in pain. He rushed to my side and tried to calm me down, "Shhh, it's okay, I'm right here."

I looked up at him with fire in my eyes and gasped, "DON'T tell me to shush!" He also claims I had a few other choice words for him, that I will not include! (I'm sure I wouldn't have said such things!) All I could think was that they were going to do the c-section soon, and this would all be over!

To my great surprise, they put my legs into stirrups and told me to start pushing! "Push? I'm supposed to push?"

"Yes! Push now!" the doctor yelled.

They didn't have to tell me twice. Seven minutes later, we had a beautiful baby girl! She weighed in a 6 pounds, 10 ounces, and was 19 inches long. They showed her to me briefly, then rushed her off to be cleaned up and checked by the pediatrician.

I had been in labor for less than 4 hours! Now that it was all over, I felt surprisingly energetic and couldn't wait to hold my baby for the first time. I had no pain medication in my body to make me drowsy, and had not suffered through long hours of labor as some do. After what seemed like an eternity, they finally brought her to my room for me to hold. It was definitely love at first sight.

We took her home the next morning, after being in the hospital less than 24 hours. It's been three years now, since that eventful day, but we have relished our role as parents and have thoroughly enjoyed each stage of our daughter's life so far.

We are so thankful that the Lord has entrusted us with our little girl, and I pray that we walk worthy of this task He has given us. It's the most important one we'll ever have.

Happy Birthday, Claire!
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