As I mentioned in the previous post, Rhema's due date of July 20 actually turned out to be pretty good timing after all. Instead of being in the middle of an overseas move, we were already more or less settled into our new home by the time July rolled around. I had even been able to get an additional ultrasound to ensure the placenta had moved (it was quite low initially) and see a new OBGYN a few times before the expected delivery date.
All in all the pregnancy had gone about as well as can be expected, considering I was a 40-year-old! I had experienced quite a bit of nausea in the first 14 weeks or so, but nothing too terrible, and while the varicose veins that appeared all over my right foot and ankle were (and still are, sigh) rather unsightly, the discomfort was minimal when I wore a compression sock.
As we got things in order in our new home, we finally began to feel somewhat "ready" for the arrival of a new wee one. (Do you ever feel completely ready?!)
You'd think we'd have this down "pat" by now, but I freely confess that I always battle anxiety and fear in the days leading up to the birth. God is always faithful, and His mercies flow unceasingly. Here are a few of the precious little ways He showed Himself in the arrival of our sweet girl...perhaps some of them seem insignificant to others, but they are to me an outpouring of my Lord's RHEMA words straight into my heart--numerous specific ways Jesus ministered to my heart and drew me even closer to Himself through His tender care and attention to details that mattered to me.
1. After having an overseas baby, I desired for our parents to have the opportunity to be part of this new little one's arrival. Both grandmas were able to spend time with Rhema and me in the hospital.
2. Since Charis had attended the births of Zaden and Seanin, I desired for her to be present for the birth of her baby sister as well. I will forever hold dear the memory of her bouncing with excitement on the left side of me, bringing me water when I needed a drink and cheering me on. "Oh, Mama! I can see her head! She's almost here!"
3. As always, I felt completely uncomfortable and awkward in those final days. I did NOT want to go past my due date; the previous 4 babies had been anywhere from 4 days to 2 weeks earlier than their due date. Rhema arrived on July 15, five days before due.
4. Related to the above note, the OBGYN had discussed inducing me if Rhema was at all late because of my "advanced age." I am SOOO thankful that was not even an option. God be praised, I have never had an induction!
5. At my 36-week check-up, the swab showed that I was Group Strep-B positive, which meant the "preferred protocol" involved giving me IV antibiotics to "decrease" the chance of infection in the baby. This had happened with Seanin also, but I declined the antibiotics. I planned to do the same thing this time around, despite the AF doctor's stern warnings (she was nice about it but rather stubborn!). Well...even if I had WANTED the antibiotics, the labor and delivery was way too fast for me to have gotten them anyway! Four or more hours of labor while antibiotics drip into my system?! No, thank you!
6. Ted and I often talked about how our babies seemed to choose the dark of night to either arrive or else begin the labor process, resulting in a very tired papa falling asleep by the bed during mom's laboring. We joked, couldn't we just once wake up after a decent night of sleep, have our quiet time and breakfast, and then decide, "Hey, maybe we should head to the hospital" and have a baby in the afternoon! Guess what?! We had a decent night of sleep, had our morning quiet time and breakfast, headed to the hospital just after noon, and Rhema was born before 2:00pm!
7. While I desired a drug-free delivery, I was nervous...Seanin had been 9 pounds and was not at all a quick delivery. It was nighttime before we arrived at the hospital with him, and I had already been contracting for a number of hours, so I was exhausted. Having an epidural with him felt like a necessity to me. But Rhema came quickly, so the decision of whether or not to get an epidural was out of my hands!
8. After having nursing issues with the previous two babies, and learning that lip ties had played a significant role, I wanted to have Rhema checked immediately after birth. Though we couldn't tell initially, after about 24 hours of nursing her and having pain, the lactation consultant agreed with me that Rhema's frenulum was thick enough that it was causing a poor latch. The doctor was able to do a quick little clip about 40 hours after birth, and there was immediate relief. Though we had some nursing issues later on, they were not related to the lip tie, and I really didn't have any nursing pain after this.
9. Related to her nursing problems...again, God's timing was so incredibly perfect. Rhema arrived in the middle of the summer, so we had quite a bit of time before we "needed" to begin our school schedule. This was a blessing, as I had to help Rhema learn to suck properly to get the nutrition she needed to gain weight. The whole process took about 6-7 weeks, and if Rhema had been born at a different time I may have been trying to juggle the full-time job of feeding the baby PLUS trying to keep kids engaged in school...which would not have lasted very long, I'm sure.
10. Rhema's middle name...we went for quite awhile without knowing what to call our sweet girl. I'm not sure exactly when I thought about pairing "Rhema" with "Riyel," but once I did think about it and mentioned it to Ted, it just seemed to fit. Shortly before Rhema was born, I messaged my friend Christine Duncan to ask her about using her singer name Riyel. Her response to me, as well as her joy in responding, confirmed that we should use Riyel as Rhema's middle name. Her words to me were: "Beverly, how incredible! It is actually a misspelling (which for me, when I realized what I had done, was beautifully symbolic to me) the actual word is aRiyel or Ariyel - yes, like Ariel from Little Mermaid. It is Hebrew for "Lioness of God" which is a title for Jerusalem in Scripture."