Lucy’s birth story
Lucy Noelle was born on May 9th, 2022, at 2:11 A.M. She was 6 lbs. exactly and 20 inches long. Her due date was May 21st, and while she was unexpected to come 12 days early, she was gladly welcome as she showed up just hours after Mother’s Day ended – what a gift!
Lucy’s conception was a choice that tipped off a cascade of other life-altering choices for our family. We quickly realized in August of 2021 that with the birth of our baby the following May we would outgrow our 3-bedroom Minnesota apartment: already having 3 older kids of various ages, my husband working from home and moving toward full-time homeschooling, we would need a larger home. As we started to entertain the thought of buying our first house, we scouted Zillow for something suitable for our growing family of 6 people. Nothing in the Twin Cities came up desirable to us. Our conversation led to wrapping up our adventures in MN, and considering new places to live.
In the following weeks we entertained thoughts of Montana, Florida, Texas, Colorado, and pretty much anywhere and everywhere in the continuous United States. Because, if you work from home and your kids are homeschooled, well, you can live practically anywhere there is internet. We landed on Tennessee and have never regretted the choice.
The unfolding story of the nine months it took Lucy to grow in the womb was a story of one event after another of researching and problem solving and making things happen to resettle before her birth. Finding a midwife and continuing prenatal care in middle Tennessee was a big and important decision. A close friend of mine recommended I check out Tender Beginnings with Mary Anne Richardson because of the high-quality care, she herself had received, as well as because of the credentials and experience Mary Anne has in childbirth and prenatal care. I was not disappointed in the least!
All my anxieties were calmed after my first appointment with Mary Anne and her amazing assistant, Holly. Their warmth of care and their knowledge of pregnancy brought relief and comfort to my mama heart, knowing that for this beautiful season of bringing another precious child into our family was guided by strong, knowledgeable, and caring hands of experienced women.
Thereafter, every visit to Mary Anne’s beautiful home and clinic was something I looked forward to. I loved my prenatal visits! It very much felt like going to spend an hour with a friend to chat and checkup on me to make sure my baby and I were healthy and thriving. In fact, I loved the checkups so much, that now postpartum, I’m still thinking of ways to go and visit these beautiful friends. Walking out the door at my very last visit of this pregnancy, 6 weeks postpartum, laughing and smiling I turned to Mary Anne and remarked, “Don’t you need me to come back for another checkup in a few weeks?” What a gift to have truly tender and strong hands and compassionate hearts of a midwife and a clinic of women to care for me in a very precious and vulnerable time of life.
Backtracking to the birth story of baby Lucy, I began contractions the morning of May 8th, Mother’s Day. I woke that morning cramping and feeling just “off.” My body told me to go back to bed instead of to church, and it’s a good thing I listened to my body. That day of celebrating motherhood was relaxed and spent with dear friends and neighbors over grilled food and children laughing and running outside on the glorious, sunny Sunday that it was. At around 6 o’clock that evening as my sweet friend walked me home, she paused in my driveway and suggested that I make sure my birthing tub was set up and all my supplies were ready. “I’m not saying that I know or anything, but I’m usually right about when mamas are going to have their baby, and I think you had better be ready tonight. I just have a feeling,” she seriously said to me.
She was right. At 8 o’clock the cramps that had intermittently progressed throughout the day turned into contractions that didn’t stop until sweet baby Lucy was born in the early hours of the following morning.
I called Mary Anne at 11 o’clock to give her a heads up that the birth would be sometime in the next hours today, knowing that my previous labor 2 years prior was only 3 hours in length. The contractions were still 8-10 minutes apart. We agreed that I would call back when they were closer to 5 minutes apart. Personally, I have crazy irregularity on my contraction lengths and regularity, and so as soon as I got off the phone my contractions went to 4 minutes apart and I wasn’t able to talk through them. My husband called Mary Anne right back and she was immediately on her way to our house. 20 minutes later she was standing in my bathroom with us, gentle, tender, and strong as she is, encouraging me through the pain.
Let me stop and say how deeply grateful I am, emotion-filled as I recollect the memory, at how God has gifted some women to be midwives. In those hours Mary Anne and Holly were my coaches, my encouragers, and literally the ones I leaned on physically and leaned into emotionally. They supported me with advice on body movement and positioning for a healthy delivery. They coached me to focus on breathing and relaxing through the contractions, staying calm, and pushing the baby down and out. There is nothing quite like the intensity and challenge of childbirth, and there is nothing more valuable to me in those hours and moments than having my husband’s strength and the support of my midwife’s knowledgeable care.
Joy and laughter ensued that early morning after Lucy joined us in the bedroom. She was born in a warm-water birthing pool at home while my older children slept undisturbed in their bedrooms. What a gracious gift in time. And my sweet neighbor with the on-point intuitions, she came over in the night to listen and care for the older kids, had they woken up.
All the connecting details and the precise timing in the story of Lucy’s growth in utero to her presence in our arms was nothing short of divine. The wonder of how our Heavenly Father cares for our family and lead every step of the way through pregnancy and delivery, in the minuet details to the big-picture needs, is a testimony to His care for us and of His presence in our lives. There is no doubt in our minds that He led us to a good place, that He has plans for each of our lives, that we can trust His guidance, and that He loves us deeply.