Good Friday and Easter Sunday are perhaps the most significant days of the church calendar, and yet, in a real sense, we live our lives on Saturday, the day in between. Philip Yancey

Friday, August 31, 2012

Esther Juliette's Birth Story

Baby Esther was born in the early hours on Friday August 24th. It's her one week birthday already! 

I am just drinking her in around the clock. This is the mama who not too many months ago thought her nurturing ability was irreparably broken by grief. We've had babies that demanded more time in arms than others. Esther hasn't had a chance to express an opinion on being put down, thus the delay in celebrating her birth with a post. Granted, I haven't felt too much pressure since Jason does a pretty thorough job updating through FB. He's shared pics and one liners and now I'm here fill in some details of Esther's whirlwind birth story.

As Lydia's gestation and birth month approached I started to get uncomfortable with the idea of a Lydia part 2 delivery. I even started packing extra birthing aides and calling in reinforcements, in case my labor length was resetting (longer) like my gestation. I need not have been concerned. God gave us, gave Esther, a very different birth story adventure than all the others.

Last Thursday night was my first (and likely only) chance to shop children's consignment for the season. Granted I didn't really know what the big kids even needed. The mere thought of getting mid way through the kind of mess created by pulling everything out of the attic...oh no, couldn't go there. Still I wanted a distraction and my house full of people needed a break from the crazy pregnant woman, so shopping I went. I had a ride, was pampered with a place to take breaks, leave my finds and hydrate. I walked more than I have in a while with relative ease and was able to laugh at the ridiculous comments.
Wide-eyed Stranger: Are you having a boy or a girl? I mean, which gender sticks out THAT much?
Me: 5th baby sticks out this much.
Everyone in earshot was snickering.
After I got home non-painful abdomen tightening followed at great frequency. I drew no labor assumptions. This certainly wasn't the first cluster of Braxton Hicks. We went on to bed and I was almost asleep...

12:27am~I thought "That one hurt and here comes another, maybe I should note the time just in case." Sure enough another harder contraction came so I got out of bed to see if they would continue through a position change. Yep. I breathed through just a few more and the dominoes fell rapidly from there. 
I woke Jason, he the midwife and his mom. As he was gathering items to take to the hospital my water broke, just "solidifying" my conclusion that it was show time. I never looked at the clock again but had three contractions stop me in my tracks from the back door of the house to the van in the driveway. Thankfully the midwife (who delivered my last two as well) believed my "It's just started but I think we need to move" even more than I did and left her farther-away-house immediately. Her faith would prove pivotal for a wonderful birth experience.

As we pulled onto the interstate I found myself wondering whose idea unmedicated birth was again? Always has been a passion of mine but this intensity was going to be quite a challenge to endure for any length of time. (I was in transition, always the "I can't do this" point.) I still hated to make any predictions but was feeling a lot of pressure and voiced that pushing might not be far off. Jason countered that I am not able to complete a thought when I'm super close to the end, so maybe there was still some time. That sentence of mine was uttered during the last break between contractions. Afterwards I couldn't say much or tolerate chatter, actually told my excited, adrenaline-wound dear husband to just shut up. It was taking all I had to focus. He hadn't been afforded his transition time or clues to get in the zone with me during the 15min drive in the dark.

Once we arrived in front of the hospital, response to Jason's call for an after-hours wheelchair took seemingly forever. A security guard eventually came around to unlock them. By that time, hard contractions were on top of each other and pushing was upon me. I couldn't move through the pain to unbuckle my own seat belt, much less exit the van.
Security asked if she should call for help. "We have a lady down here in labor, might need to send someone to get her inside. And sir you know you can't park here for very long." My witnesses didn't get it. The reason Jason called the midwife's cell at this point was that he figured it was going to take a higher authority to talk sense into me and get me in the chair. Blessedly she was there waiting to jump.

Jason retells what a beautiful sight Jeri was to behold, running out to us with a wheelchair of her own, followed by a parade of supply-carrying nurses. She took one look at my face and correctly asked if I felt pushy.
Amen, she got it. Jeri brought peace with her as she embraced me, prayed with me and calmly told me I had to lay back so baby could come out. Jason took a few pics before passing off his phone to one of the dozen (or 6) nurses not busy holding up privacy blankets. He joined me for the big moment from the driver's seat.
I wanted to wait for a labor pause before shifting an inch but there were no breaks anymore, just a crowning baby. Jeri put my flip-flop clad feet on the dashboard as Jason and a nurse fumbled to recline the van seat.

Jason is a stay-at-the-head guy but he got his first business end view of the birth process, like it or not. A nurse wiped sweat from my face from the back seat. The wheelchair served as a surface to hold the clamping, cutting, baby suctioning supplies. One of Lydia's super-duper-cloth-bed pads was under me from the time we left the house because of my ruptured membranes and Caught.It.All. Seriously the van upholstery was completely spared! What a provision.

1:25am, 58min from first timed contraction, Baby Esther came out with one reclined push. She was laid on my chest and the rest of my birth plan requestes were patiently honored.

(I didn't recognize all that dark hair! My bio babies are born basically bald.)
The cord finished pulsing before being cut. There were no bright lights. If the nurses were chatty I couldn't hear them over the water sounds from the fountain just feet away, which subbed in nicely for my mood music. As Jeri pointed out, I even found a way to avoid that IV I didn't want.
A drive-thru delivery sounds terribly stressful and impersonal but it wasn't (once Jeri got there!). In fact it really was more perfect than anything I could have imagined for this baby. As a family with so many medical scars, skipping the frustrations of hallowed hospital protocols was super sweet. Really it is oh so much nicer to answer admission questions and get blood drawn while in new baby bliss rather than end-stage labor.
Jason called his mom to announce "I'm standing outside the hospital holding my daughter."
I finally emerged from the van and got to hold my treasure while being wheeled to recovery. We had the room to ourselves for relaxed nursing, delivery of the placenta, taking in this beautiful new little face and digesting the rush from the experience God had just given us.
Eventually Jason followed Esther to the nursery for her clean up and full assessment, sending me play by play texts and pics from his phone to my iPad, technology win.
I'll never cease to be amazed by how fabulous I feel the first time getting out of the bed after birth. It's such a relief to roll over and walk free of the pressure of baby inside.
Having this little person on the outside is a a source for rejoicing all around. We are unilaterally smitten.
Esther actually has no chub or double chin, yet. This picture does accurately capture her going home blanket made for baby me and flour sack dress made my grandmother for her girls (including my mom). Lydia, Sophie and Amelia all wore the dress as newborns leaving the hospital as well.
Esther Juliette Tripp
7# 14.4oz, 20-3/4"
Born at 1:25am, Aug 24, 2012
Since Providence was out (see #1), the name Esther seemed a fine compromise. Esther was a faithful follower of God's unusual and extraordinary directions for her life in a book of the Bible that is all about God's Sovereignty. Juliette is  a little artistic license taken with my grandmother's name, Jewel. Between Esther, Jewel, Juliette and Lettie I figure she will have an array of good options. We are calling her Esther (and occasionally Lettie) for now.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalms 100:5


  1. Allison, I am blown away by Esther's beauty, God's sovereignty and perfect plan and his amazing love for you all! You are glowing holding your new baby girl and I love the feeling of joy and healing in the picture of Jason and the kids. Congratulations does not even feel adequate but my love and prayers are for you guys! Thinking of you often....

    1. Love your response Robyn. There are so many deep happening going on. Thanks for getting it.

  2. Awwww Allison! I don't think this story could be any more perfect. You and Jason are truly blessed. :)

    -Angela Atkinson

  3. What a wonderful story! I so enjoyed reading it!thanks for sharing. I just LOVE Jeri! She delivered all 3 of ours! She is a special lady for sure. You are one amazing mama! To God be the glory! Love, Susie lovekamp

  4. Beautiful!!! Absolutely beautiful!

  5. Blessings all around. Soak it all in. Love your words-your heart in print. Take care.

  6. Thanks for sharing the story. Love it! We use family names for middle names also, and we have a little Lettie too. Gwyn's middle name is Letitia, after Cliff's "Grandma Lettie."

  7. Marty's comment after I told him that the baby was born in the parking lot was "GOOD! Maybe they won't have to pay for the room!" I thought you'd like to add that one to the baby book. So happy everything went well. Hope to see her soon.

  8. I cried through this whole reading... she is beautiful!