Eden Joy Edmonds
August 7, 2011
7 pounds 14 ounces, 20 3/4 inches
We have been blessed with another girl to raise to be a godly young woman for the Lord! I really wanted to have a daughter and companion for my Karis girl, but had fully convinced myself that it had to be a boy, considering it was extremely active in the womb, everyone predicted it was a boy, and I felt the Lord had confirmed the name of a boy in my heart. I had become really excited for a boy too. Well the Lord must have been laughing! Especially when we were confused over the gender for an hour after the birth! Wait till you hear that part…
Waiting for the arrival of my little Eden was a very challenging time for me. Having delivered my first two at least a week early, I struggled with patience over the delay, intense heat of summer, and very difficult physical pain and nausea in the last few weeks of pregnancy. Labor began late Saturday night, August 6th. I was already physically tired from lack of sleep the night before, but I was also eager to have my baby. Contractions were consistent at 5 minutes apart and pretty painful from the start. After two hours they stopped altogether and my husband and I attempted to get some rest. I experienced contractions off and on through the night along with a lingering nauseated feeling.
Sunday morning arrived and I remained sick and tired but nothing was really happening, so we all decided to go to church and conclude that baby was not coming. Surprisingly though, contractions started again as soon as I arrived. They were consistent but mild. I gently swayed back and forth with each contraction as we worshipped. It was a great distraction but difficult to keep my composure. I really didn’t want people to know I was in labor just in case this was not the real thing.
After the service, I quickly called the midwife and headed home. By 1:00pm, my midwife and birth team arrived. I began my normal labor routine of placing my arms around my husband’s neck, hanging limp, and swaying my hips side to side (my favorite labor position), and walking all around the house and yard, and up and down the stairs, letting gravity do its thing. At 3:00 pm, my midwife checked me and discovered that I was 6 cm dilated. We were all excited to see such good progress and were assured that it would be coming soon. In my mind I estimated that baby would arrive around dinner time. Hmm…that was not a good idea.
Contractions increased in intensity but continued at roughly 5 minutes apart. I went into the hot tub, and while it was relaxing it really slowed down my labor. It was a pleasant experience though being outside with midwives and mothers relaxing on our patio furniture while my little ones played in the yard. What more could you ask for? After nearly two hours in the tub without any real progress, trying to relax and rest unsuccessfully, I got out and started aggressively walking up and down the steps (two at a time) and around the house. I loved having the freedom and space to move around as needed. I was determined. But as it lagged on, I began getting pretty discouraged. The pain was extremely intense…more painful than I had ever experienced before with my previous two births. I felt like I went through transition three times with lots of tears and desperation. My midwife tried to check me on two separate occasions but couldn’t reach my cervix. What did this mean? The dinner hour came and went. The mystery of consistent contractions that were still 5 minutes apart but very difficult continued.
I returned to the hot tub around 7pm and experienced the most intense emotions. I was desperate. I came to a place of complete brokenness. I had always been strong and prideful in myself. I was an empowered homebirth mama. I could handle pain. Haha! The Lord really used this birth to humble me in more ways than one. I came to a place of complete desperation and dependence upon the Lord because only He could truly sustain and uphold me. I clung to my husband as I labored on my hands and knees in the hot tub. It was nice being in water but not really helpful in managing the pain as I had hoped. I would look into my husband’s eyes and cry…”I can’t do this!” My sweet husband patiently and graciously held on to me and encouraged me to the best of his ability.
At long last things kicked into gear. It was nearly 9:00 pm. I was so thankful for a quick finale. With two major contractions and several pushes, baby arrived. The pushing stage in water was a refreshing experience.
Baby arrived at 9:05 pm and was placed right into my arms. It turns out baby was delivered with her hand right by her face, which may have caused the extra pain in my labor. I was so incredibly weak at this point that I could barely hold my child. It was dark outside with just one overhead light on and for the first time I was the one appointed to identify the gender. Previously, my husband had always identified.
I looked at the baby…it looked like a boy. I looked down and saw the cord between the legs and swollen parts and mistook it for a boy. Hilariously enough, I had convinced myself it had to be a boy. I didn’t put much thought into it…nor was I really all there mentally after such an exhausting experience. So we all were crying once again thinking we were welcoming a boy. Because it was getting chilly outside they quickly moved us inside to shower off. Baby was wrapped up quickly without a second glance. I actually fainted on the bathroom floor from the quick transition and they carried me to the couch. The afterbirth contractions were very hard. I could hardly feel any part of my body from the loss of blood. Baby’s cord was cut and delivered again into my arms for our first nursing experience. Baby lached on immediately and I felt I had such a sweet bonding experience with my supposed son.
After over an hour from delivery, my mother-in-law offered to get baby dressed. She carried baby upstairs to clean her up a bit more. By this time my husband had announced to the world (via facebook , that it was a boy. As my mother in law cleaned up the baby getting ready to put a diaper on, she discovered that it was really a girl. She called my husband in to show him the reality. Aaron came back downstairs and said, “It’s not Eli, it’s Piper (because those were the names we liked at that point).” I was so frustrated at him since I was in such pain. “That is not funny.” I said in response. “I am in no mood for joking.” “No really…it’s a girl.” He insisted. I was in complete shock. How could I incorrectly identify my child? I felt like I had bonded with my son. For nearly two hours I was in a state of shock. Everyone was laughing. Aaron returned to facebook and announced, “Scratch that…it’s a girl!” All in all, it was an hilarious experience and I can look back now and retell the story with laughter. I had completely convinced myself. I am determined not to be the one to identify again…or maybe we will just get an ultrasound next time to avoid such confusion.
So we had a girl! I’m blessed beyond words. After two days, we finally decided on her name. Eden means “delight, paradise, luxury” and I felt it was such a good reminder of the beauty of God’s creation and His original design for mankind in the garden of Eden. We were fashioned in His image to display His glory. My vision is that my little Eden would passionately adopt God’s design for her and find her “delight” in the Lord and that He would give her the desires of her heart (Psalms 37:4). We chose “Joy” because we want her life to be characterized by a spirit of joy and thankfulness. She has brought such delight and joy to our hearts, but even more so, we pray that she would be a gift of joy and delight to others and pass on the gift. I pray that she would find her complete delight and satisfaction in our great God and Savior and live her life to make His glory known to the ends of the earth.
As I look back, I am thankful for such an intense labor. While it was the most difficult thing I have endured, God was so faithful to me. He broke me. He humbled me. I have been changed. I feel such a greater sympathy and compassion now for others. I rejoice in the fact that it was such a smooth and safe delivery and it was all accomplished in the comfort of my own home and hot tub with wonderful mothers, midwives, and my husband around me. What a huge blessing! The grace has been given to cling ever more to my Savior and Lord. And now my arms are full…three precious gifts. Each given to me to be prepared to send forth as an arrow for the Lord. God is good!
Thank you all again for your thoughts, prayers, and support! It is such a blessing having such a wonderful community of women here to love and care for one another despite the distance.