Joshua's Birth Story

Before Amanda and I were even married, we had decided against using birth control methods. Both of us want children, and we were excited to get started. It was wonderful to learn we were expecting when we found out in May 2005. We decided early on that we wanted to have the baby at home, and we wanted to try having a natural birth. This decision was more Amanda’s than mine, and has been hailed as common sense by a small minority, brave by some, and very risky by others. But Amanda did her homework so that she would be mentally and physically prepared, we had support where it counted, and we had a wonderful doctor. Now that it is passed, we are still convinced it was a good decision.

Our due date was January 18th, and we naively thought our son would arrive slightly before that. Surely he wouldn’t wait until the 18th! But wait he did—and so did we. After the eighteenth came and went, for the next several days, Amanda showed signs of what we thought was imminent labor, and we did everything we could to encourage that—walking briskly all around our neighborhood, jogging up and down every staircase in our apartment complex, even hiking all the way to the top of Multnomah Falls! But it wasn’t until Monday night, January 23rd, that serious labor started.

We had settled into bed, and had just drifted off to sleep, when, at just after ten, Amanda’s water broke. Very excited, we first used the test strip to see if the liquid truly was amniotic fluid. The strip turned a deep blue. It was true! Next, we called Karen, Amanda’s mother, for instructions, and after that our doctor (Ed Hoffman-Smith). Finally, my mother, Patricia, was informed. The contractions from then on were more uncomfortable than anything Amanda had yet experienced, but we managed to rest until the doctor and our mothers all arrived over the next hour or so.

After that, labor simply progressed. Around two in the morning, Amanda decided she wanted to take a bath, and that seemed to make her more comfortable. During that time, the doctor’s students arrived, and they quickly took charge of checking vitals, and setting up for delivery. Amanda enjoyed the bath for quite a while: it alleviated a lot of her pain—so much so that the doctor thought the contractions had slowed down. But when she climbed out of the tub, the doctor checked and she had progressed steadily. Contractions continued but nothing else happened for the next several hours. Amanda joined everyone in the living room, sitting in her recliner, all bundled up with blankets. We all tried to relax, and listened to music; the students studied while Doctor Ed read the book of Job. I tried to help by holding Amanda’s hand, sometimes rubbing her back and getting her drinks of water and juice. Every hour, one of the students would come check the baby’s heartbeat, and they consistently said everything was fine. Amanda was incredibly calm, to the point that the doctor at one point thought that things had slowed down too much. They hadn’t—but Amanda is tougher than I had ever given her credit for, and she stayed more relaxed than anyone had expected.

Then, around nine thirty, transition started. This was more like I had expected labor to be like. Amanda began to look like she was in (and indeed she felt) intense pain. That was where the process began to be hard for me. It’s very difficult to watch the person you love most hurting so badly, while knowing she must go through it, and that there’s nothing you can do to soften it. At that point we had moved from the living room back to the bedroom, and Amanda was surrounded with support: one of the students rubbed her back, Karen rubbed her legs, I held Amanda’s hands, and my mother observed, praying and offering essential advice about breathing. Since we hadn’t taken any birth classes, this proved to be extremely helpful.

Finally, it was time to push and we moved to the birth chair. The doctor and students sat at Amanda’s feet, our moms were on both sides, and I stood at her back. This was the most intense hour of our lives. Amanda did so well: she had great instinct, and followed instructions perfectly. But I knew this was also the most pain she had ever experienced. She showed her true beautiful character throughout—at the point when the doctor says he commonly hears swearing, the worst she said was a shrieked, “ow, ow, OW!”

The baby was born at eleven fifteen, January 24th, 2006. I am not a typically emotional person, and as the head was born, I watched with an almost passive “scientific interest.” But as the rest of his body came out, and the thought struck me that he was truly here and that he was my son(!), I admit that I cried. They asked if I wanted to hold him, and I had to say no, as I was trembling and didn’t think I could handle it (or even see him—my glasses were all wet). The baby was handed to Amanda first thing and she held him for the next fifteen minutes as the umbilical cord and placenta were birthed. As the cord came out, we learned how close we had been to giving birth to a stillborn—there was a knot in the cord, which, if pulled tight, would have killed him. So we are reminded that God is sovereign and we are thankful for His mercy!

Both mother and baby are doing well. We named our son Joshua Robert Resolve, and we look forward to seeing what God has in store for him. We, now as a family rather than just a couple, thank you all for your prayers and support.