The Birth of Our Fourth Child: What I Never Thought Would Happen to Us

Nearly a week after our fourth baby's due date, I was concerned--mainly because my midwife had expressed concern. According to her, this baby hadn't dropped down at all; instead, he or she was just "floating around" high above my pelvis and showed no signs of being ready to come. I did what I could to help my body prepare for labor: taking long walks, swimming laps at my gym's pool (oh, the temporary joy of weightlessness!), and visiting my chiropractor to make any necessary adjustments.

The day our baby actually arrived, I underwent a non-stress test to ensure baby was staying healthy, then I did what many American families do before a birth: I stocked up on pantry staples at Costco (ha!). Finally, I made dinner for our au pair's parents, who were visiting from France. I was feeling a little tired and emotional, which was odd. By the time dinner was over, however, I was feeling something more physical than emotional--a little cramping, a bit jittery. I knew labor was close.

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Birth, Two Worlds Apart: Part 3 - Julie and Regina's Story

What a joy it is to know Julie Engeman (a former classmate) and follow her journey as an American midwife living in Zambia! Julie's stories have opened my eyes to the realities of birth and maternal care in less developed countries. She has seen the injustice of Zambian hospitals where the care that people receive is entirely based on their income level or tribal group. She has seen the corruption and life-threatening "treatments" that are common there--and yet she chooses to persist in her work, bringing life and encouragement to mothers and babies. Just last week, Julie shared Regina's story:

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Birth, Two Worlds Apart: Part 2 of 3 - My Son's Birth

I've brought two children into the world, births where pain inextricably led to an overwhelming awe in meeting each child face to face. Their births were beautiful, a testament to God's grace, textbook examples of modern hospital birth in America without interventions. Yesterday I shared the story of my daughter's birth; today I share about the second time I became a mother.

My son's birth mimicked the hurtling of a bobsled, all rush and speed and intensity, yet still echoing the beauty of his sister's birth.

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Birth, Two Worlds Apart: Part 1 of 3 - My Daughter's Birth

My first labor began in predawn darkness, burning contractions sweeping over my belly like a brushfire before dissipating into stillness. By evening, my husband and I decided the contractions were frequent enough to drive to the hospital. There I labored through the night, focused on enduring, knowing each contraction brought me closer to a life-changing embrace with our first child. My husband comforted me with gentle coaching, and a series of nurses entered regularly to chart vital signs--particularly since they'd allowed me to forgo an IV lock and internal exams.

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