by Buddy Rushing, Tree of Life dad
"Baby, it's starting." I glanced at the clock: Midnight. Kimberly grabbed her stomach and doubled over in pain as the first of what would be more than 350 contractions over the next 18 hours seized her body. I doubled up my fists and ground them into her lower back as I'd been taught, bringing her relief as the pain subsided, only to be replaced 5 minutes later with another, more intense contraction. We looked into each other's eyes and laughed with a mixture of excitement and nervousness. It was going to be a very long night...⏰
When we realized Kimberly was pregnant with our first baby we were jubilant. 🎉 She'd been told her whole life that her body would never be able to sustain a healthy pregnancy, and after an early miscarriage we had already braced ourselves for the fact that we may never have children of our own. But God had other plans, so when we got the wonderful news we started doing research! After consulting with tons of doctors, nurses, midwives, doulas and friends, we decided a natural birth in a certified birthing center was the healthiest option for Kimberly and for our baby girl. 👨👩👧 So that would be the eventual destination, but the first stage of labor we knew would take place in the comfort of our home, so we lit a fire, put on some music and began timing the contractions.
"Here we go!" I snapped out of my four minute nap, instinctively jammed my finger into the button on my phone that started the contraction timer, and I noticed the clock staring back at me - 5:43am. It had already been almost six hours of constant labor. I couldn't believe what Kimberly did next...after the contraction she sat back down on the couch and smiled a tired smile. "Take another nap, we've got about four or five minutes until the next one" she said.
I laid my head back against the couch and marveled at her physical stamina, but also the powerful sense of control she seemed to exude. I vividly remember closing my eyes and thinking to myself, "this isn't going to be so bad after all. I don't know what all the fuss is about."
I had no idea that three hours later a 9-minute trip to the birthing center would change everything.