Disgusted, I hung up and checked another phone number off my list.
“Father, whatever plan you had in mind for this baby, it sure isn’t easy to find!!”
We had been in Tucson less than two months,
and our baby was due in just two more weeks. “Surely, there must be a way!” I thought.
Ever since we moved from Minnesota, I had been shopping the options. Hospitals and physicians required a hefty down payment, which we did not have. My husband’s insurance on his new job would not cover this pregnancy.
I kept hearing, “Thirty-six year old and five children makes you a high risk, lady.” Or even less encouraging, “You aren’t going to find anything!”
The next office I called informed me, “I’m sorry, but you make too much money to qualify for our low-income services.”
“But you don’t understand,” I replied, “We just started this job. We have received only one paycheck so far.”
Already I had been without prenatal care for some time as doors closed one by one, with no progress in sight. In frustration I retorted, “I’m going to end up having this baby at home by myself—I have no history of birth problems. What is this!!”
On down the list I went: Obstetricians would consider me as a patient in spite of that “high-risk” status, but the price tag was prohibitive. General practitioners turned me down because of my age and number of previous births, as well as my late-term status. Midwives said no for similar reasons, plus they didn’t feel they could get the permission from a consulting physician for home delivery that was required by Arizona law.
Call after call, lead after lead had ended in dead ends. But time after time, my gentle Father reminded me, “Blessed is she that believed for there shall be a fulfillment of those things that were told her by the Lord.” God had said that to Mary, but I applied it to my own circumstance. God would do the same for me.
I was in good company, anyway, I told myself; Mary delivered Jesus in a stable with only Joseph for assistance. And Sarah, at 90 years, had birthed Isaac and lived through it. ” I’m only 36—that shouldn’t be hard for God.”
As the days ticked by, finally a midwife I called said, “Call Maureen—she sticks her neck out. She might deliver your baby.”
So a few days later I found myself driving up to a house on the wrong side of town. The lawn was littered with junk and old motorcycles. A big shaggy dog ran out to meet me. “ Is this the place?” I thought, “Well, beggars can’t be choosers, I guess.”
A small blonde woman answered the door and called off the dog, assuring me that he was harmless. Maureen was dressed in sandals, khaki pants, and a loose cotton shirt. Her long straight hair and the Eastern décor inside the house gave me the impression I had stepped back to the 60’s. But when she spoke, Maureen’s light gentle British voice spoke of warmth, experience, and knowledge. She had delivered many babies (700+) both in London and in North Africa. A 36-year-old pregnant woman was no special challenge. I felt I had at last found a friend.
We talked briefly of my medical history, and Maureen let me know that the biggest hurdle would be getting the cooperating doctor’s permission. He must be in agreement by law in order to meet us at the hospital in the event of difficulties. Maureen’s regular medical doctor associate was booked until the week the baby was due. That left us one alternative—a female physician that Maureen didn’t know very well, but who might say yes!
Again, I stood in a strange doctor’s office waiting for my appointment. This is it—my last option…
A young woman in a lab coat sat behind the desk in the plush office as I entered. “Hello,” she greeted me, “so you want to have a home birth…yeah for you!” Cordiality, professionalism, and yet something I couldn’t put my finger on. “Hmmm…well, she sounds encouraging,” I mused.
For the umpteenth time I went through the history of my previous deliveries, rattled off five birth dates, labor times, and vital statistics. I was getting pretty good at this. The doctor examined me and said, “Everything looks normal—it’s a big baby, maybe 10 pounds!” That didn’t sound so encouraging!
Then smiling and innocuously, she began her tirade—all without one hint of a frown or one harsh-sounding word. Condescendingly and patiently, as one would inform a small child, she told me that she did not see how midwives could sleep at night and do what they do—taking the risks that they take. After seeing women nearly bleed to death before her eyes, she could never understand their reasoning. “The hospital is the safest place for having a baby. And what about birth defects? Midwives don’t like to deal with birth defects, you know.”
Methodically, she told me every possible thing that could go wrong in a home delivery. Still smiling, she concluded, “But I am a firm believer that a person should decide for themselves, so I’ll sign my permission, if you still want to do it.”
Numb and still quivering from the unexpected verbal abuse, I went home drained, but with a doctor’s permission for a home delivery in my hand! The doctor had two additional requirements—an ultrasound and a prescription for medication in case of hemorrhage. Reasonable enough!
On the following Monday I met Maureen at the hospital for the ultrasound results, and I handed her the signed contract for her services. Maureen came to see me three days later, and four days later I called to tell her I was in labor. There was only one little glitch. Another woman was in active labor that same day. She would have to bounce back and forth between us—only about 4-5 miles apart. Hopefully, the babies would cooperate, so she and her assistant could be at both deliveries.
Early signs of labor began at 5:15 a.m., but I was able to do daily things around the house until 3 p.m. Then I went to bed to concentrate better on breathing and relaxing. Active labor lasted three hours. The delivery at 5:56 pm was full of peace and relaxation. Many friends were praying;worship music played in the background.
Roger was a great comfort to me, rubbing my back , praying in the Spirit, and stroking my hair and face. Because of the other birth, the midwives arrived only for the last fifteen minutes, but that privacy was really nice. As baby was born, he needed only minimal suctioning. It took a minute or two for a full crying breath, so his face remained just a little bluish until he had cried a few minutes, but his hands and body were pink right away. I lifted him up on my tummy and nursed him. It was interesting that later, when Jonathan was five, I asked him what he remembered about his birth. He said he remembered being wet and cold and said, “Then you put me close to you, and I felt warm.”
April, Andrew, Ben, Isaac, and Jesse all came in right after the baby was born to see him. Afterwards, April went to the store with Dad to buy,( with her own money), a bottle of non-alcoholic wine for a toast with the midwives. It was a special moment, and the other five children were very happy.
The Daily Light devotional for the day of Jonathan’s birth read, “The Lord visited Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did unto Sarah as he had spoken.”
My personal promise for delivery was, “He is faithful that promised—Hath He not said and shall He not do it? Or hath He spoken and shall He not make it good?”
Jonathan was not named until April 26th, 2 days later. Roger and I secluded ourselves in our bedroom away from visiting family to pray and talk. We wanted the mind of the Lord . Tears came to our eyes when we knew we were settled on the name. Jonathan after my brother Jonathan and Jonathan in the Bible, and Paul after both the apostle Paul and Uncle Paul Selin. We chose those two names because of the strong qualities of a loyal friend(Jonathan) and zeal for the Lord(Paul). Grandpa Drown was visiting at our house to see the baby, and he said he had always wanted a grandson with the name of Paul, because he respected the Apostle Paul so much. My mom and Auntie Ardie also had tears in their eyes when we announced the name. When we called my brother Jonathan to tell him he had a namesake, he was pleased, but said in his usual joking manner, “Well, l hope ‘Jonathan’ turns out better the
second time around!”