Andrew and I are proud to announce the birth of our precious new daughter, Miss Julianna Claire Van Kirk, born on Tuesday, April 6th, 2010 at 12:27pm at Northwest Medical Center. She weighed in at 7lbs. 12oz. and measured 19in. long. As many of you know, we had been planning a midwife-attended home water birth, but God had other plans for us!
Beginning around 2 a.m. on Monday, April 5th (my due date!) I began having regular contractions ranging from 10-15 minutes apart. As the day wore on, and my contractions stayed regular and consistent, it became apparent that baby was on her way! By 6 p.m. the contractions were coming every 5 minutes and we called our midwife, who lives 2 hours away. She and her assistant arrived at our house at 9:30 p.m., at which point my contractions were 3-4 minutes apart. With everything set up and ready, it was just a matter of waiting for labor to progress. Around 1 a.m. the intensity of the contractions had significantly increased and I was about 7cm dilated, so I decided to enter the pool of warm water for relief....and aaaahhhh, was it a relief!!! Andrew and I were both getting excited at this point (albeit tired!) because we thought that she would be arriving soon. Unfortunately, I kept progressing pretty slowly. Around 6 a.m. we determined that I was fully dilated and able to push if I felt it was time. So, with each contraction, I began the unexplainably painful task of pushing my little girl down and out. My contractions continued to get more and more painful, as I continued to get more and more tired, and I began to feel like it would never end. As Andrew sat next to me, gripping my hands while I braced against my contractions, I repeatedly began to tell him I thought I was going to die, please, PLEASE take me to the hospital. He showed so much strength, courage, and love to me throughout the duration of my labor and delivery - especially given the lack of sleep! After over 4 hours of pushing, I finally felt a bulge begin to emerge and thought initially that it was the head. It turned out, however, to be my bag of waters, which was very healthy and strong, and had not broken yet. I continued with renewed vigor to work on pushing it out in the hopes of soon seeing my little girl. With my midwife monitoring our baby regularly, we knew she was doing great, sustaining a heart rate of 136-142 beats per minute. Continuing as I had for the last several hours, I breathed through my contractions and pushed. Once again, it felt like I was getting nowhere. I was simply not progressing. Finally, at around 11:30 a.m., I gave a big push and my midwife got a funny expression on her face, and looked to her assistant with a probing glance. Calmly she told us, "I think I just saw something in the bag...I think it was a hand. Now I don't want to freak you out, but if it is her hand, that means we have a shoulder presentation and we need to transport to the hospital immediately." Neither Andrew nor I knew what to think, we were both so deliriously tired. With the next contraction I pushed the bulging bag out just enough for the midwife, her assistant, and Andrew to all see that it was indeed our small baby's hand emerging. Immediately we set into action.
Slowly I stood from the pool, dried off, and was wrapped in a towel and taken to the car. At this point, the bag of waters still had not broken, which turned out to be a miraculously amazing thing, given the circumstance. I was instructed not to push with my contractions so I wouldn't risk breaking the bag and getting the baby's arm stuck. We were minutes from the hospital when the bag broke on its own. Andrew and I were both beginning to worry now. When we arrived at the hospital moments later I was placed on a gurney and rolled into the emergency room, which was being prepped for an emergency C-section.With Andrew by my side the entire time I felt a God-given peace that everything was going to be OK, despite the less than ideal circumstances. Once the doctor and nurses had explained to me what was going to happen, the doctor said he needed to check out what our situation was. After examining me, he turned to Andrew and said "Daddy, that's a full head of hair right there - you ready to see your baby?!" It was a miracle! At some point during the transport the baby pulled her arm back up and repositioned herself correctly - we would be able to have her naturally after all!!! As we shifted gears, I began to push my little girl out. After arriving a mere 15 minutes before, Julianna emerged at 12:27, perfect as a princess, and we were all done.
The outcome of our birthing experience was truly nothing short of a miraculous gift from God. He was watching over us all, including Julianna, the entire time, and saw to her safe entrance into the world. After being cleaned up we were all taken up to a postpartum recovery room and finally, we were able to relax and bask in the joy of our amazing accomplishment. Almost two days later, Daddy, Jules, and I are all doing great and ready to go home to our new life together. Thank you all so much for your diligent prayers and support. You are a huge blessing to us and our daughter!
Love Kelsey, Andrew & Julianna xoxo