[part 5: hard work, but not alone]
Not too long after my water broke, Cindy checked heart tones again—and Jude's heart rate was way too slow. I could tell it didn't sound right, and there was definitely a note of concern/disturbance in her voice as she called out, “90s...80s..” Normal is 120-160 beats per minute. It's typical for the heart rate to drop as the baby is squeezed through the pelvis, I found out later, but it should only drop into the 90s-110s. Jude's got down into the 70s.
Nobody freaked out--Susie especially was so calm and controlled--but she told me that he wasn't tolerating that position well and I needed to move. I shifted onto my back, but his heart rate still didn't come back up. They put an oxygen mask on me and really urged me to push harder. Looking back, it is such a miraculous sign of God's mercy that I was not panicked and fearful at that point. But I wasn't. The pain was unbearable, but I wasn't scared about whether Jude was okay--I had such peace.
It felt like I pushed forever; I don't know how long it really was. Then finally, at 11:58 AM, he was born! Susie placed him in my arms, and we waited for him to pink up. She had warned me that it sometimes takes longer with waterbirths, and it really did. He not only didn't cry; he didn't move at all. His eyes were closed and he was completely still. And I didn't really notice at the time, but looking at the pictures, he was just absolutely gray. They put an oxygen mask on him and worked to get him breathing while I held him. And again, I did not feel worried or scared—I felt such inexplicable peace.
After just a few moments he started breathing, and cried, and I just wept. I experienced that joy, that love—Thank You, Jesus! Steve held me close and rejoiced over our beautiful son, expressed how proud he was of me. Through tears, I announced that his name was Jude and briefly told why. I was just overcome by the faithfulness of God.
It was SO great to be in our own home, to curl up in our own bed...I underestimated how nice that would be. My parents didn't come until the next day, so we were on our own that first night. Steve was better than any nurse :) The way he cared for me so tenderly...having his babies makes me fall in love with him all over again.
So...that's the story of Jude's birth. If you made it this far--thanks for reading. I guess you know by now I can't tell a short story :) An amazing display of God's mercy and grace...more answers to prayer than I can count. An occasion for PRAISE, to be sure. God has been so good, so faithful to me.