“We Had a Baby!” — Malachi’s Birth Story

I love birth stories and I really love reflecting on God’s faithfulness to our family in each of our children’s birth stories.

I want to make sure it doesn’t sound like we take “credit” for the outcome of this labor/delivery/birth/postpartum. We have truly felt the prayers of many of you and have covered this time in much prayer. Adding a little one to the family is no small feat and we have cast our anxieties about every detail on the Lord knowing that we cannot control birth. God truly covered us and gave our family the wisdom, discernment and support we needed at just the right time. You can make a zillion plans, but God is sovereign and He has been nothing but kind to us. He would still be a GOOD GOD even if things hadn’t went this way, but I just want to make it clear that by no means do we underestimate birth or anything that took place. Instead, we give God all the glory and rejoice in a healthy birth, healthy mama and healthy baby!

I spent much of the 40th week of pregnancy in what I call “early labor.” It seemed we kept getting another day to enjoy fun, fall things. The fair, the pumpkin patch and several memorable nights together — I knew the day was coming soon and didn’t mind the extra time to get my mind ready. I had a lot of contractions that woke me up during the night, but didn’t necessarily progress to much of anything. I have learned that it’s best to go back to sleep when possible so although I was very excited several of those nights, I would head back to sleep and wake up rested.

Tuesday morning I woke up around 6:00 am with the same type of contraction. Slow and steady, not necessarily repeating any pattern. I had enjoyed some really good sleep. I got up, started making a french toast casserole and heard rain coming down. I was already praying about whether this would be the day and in my mind I didn’t want to birth during the day because of the kids being all over the place. I texted my midwife a little update and she was praying for me, encouraging me that even if the kids were awake “God has a perfect time!! The kids will be in awe of the situation, the Lord will bless them with a beautiful story!!” I was so thankful for that truth.

I spent some more time in the kitchen cutting apples for applesauce which is a new birth tradition for the kids. By 8:00 am I could feel contractions starting to be more consistent. The house felt relaxing, smelled amazing and Drexel fed the kids while I went to the room to rest. I came out when I could, but by 9:15 am I knew I was in labor and contractions were starting to take me to my knees. Drexel mentioned he was going to get some work done in the room and I responded with “Oh no honey, I’m definitely having contractions and I cannot watch the kids.” I guess he just thought I was squatting down for fun, oh I how I love my husband!

I went to the room to labor and things started getting more intense. I asked Drexel to blow up the pool.  We weren’t sure if we would have a water birth and everything depended on the time of day, if we got it blown up and those type of factors. I asked Drexel to do it while they were all watching Spiderman and things were still relatively calm. Around 10:00 am I texted my good friend that it was getting more painful and to pray for me, especially with the kids all awake. I knew she was praying for me!

I spent the next hour laboring in my room. I would call for Drexel during a strong contraction and he would run in to press on my lower back. Other times, my oldest would hold my hand and encourage me or bring me water. I knew each contraction was bringing baby closer to us. My worship music was playing and I prayed through the pain. I asked Drexel if he needed help and he affirmed me that he was good, kids were good and he was going to start filling up the pool. He was so calm and amazing!

By 11:15 Drexel was filling up the pool and I texted my midwife to head over to our house. I knew she had a bit of driving time, it was raining and I didn’t want her to rush. I thought I had a bit more time, but after we got off the phone, the next hour really picked up. I was already feeling the need to bear down. I was still in my room next to the bed. I told Drexel to put a towel underneath me and shortly after my water broke. It was probably 11:40 and I was so encouraged that baby was coming soon!

Drexel designated our 4 and 5 yr old to hold the hose while the pool filled up. He sent the oldest to entertain the little ones in their room. It seemed very quiet around the house and I told Drexel not to leave my side. Around 12:00 he was assessing how much water was in the pool and tending to me. I could feel the baby very low and I was more ready to push. A few minutes later I went to my side on the floor and told Drexel that the baby was coming. I did not want to have the baby on the carpet floor of our rental! I figured I had one to two more pushes. I told Drexel in between the next contraction I was heading to the pool. He said ok and I knew he wanted more water in it for me, but I was going to take whatever was in there.

He helped me up, I waddled into the living room and stepped into the pool. The temperature was absolutely perfect which was a gift from the Lord, because had it been too cold or too hot I would not have been able to enter. I went to my knees and immediately felt a contraction. One push and I knew his head was out. I attempted to tell Drexel to check for the cord, but instead I just looked down and didn’t say anything. I told myself that the next contraction was the body, so I focused in and pushed his body out. He slid underneath me into the water and I scooped him up.

I looked at Drexel and I wish I would have had a picture of his face!! He was quite surprised that baby was already here. The kids were all behind me so I couldn’t see their faces, but they were quiet and calm. They surrounded me to look at baby. Two minutes later the first midwife walked in. Then another and another. The kids kept saying “We had a baby!” The midwives helped keep him and I warm in the water while the cord stopped pulsing. Then we looked to see the gender…and the pictures say it all! We laughed and rejoiced over such an incredible experience!

The midwives, Drexel and the kids cared for my every need. They helped me deliver the placenta and my oldest was willing to learn about how it cares for the baby in the womb. He also helped clean out the pool with the other kiddos. Each child played such a special role and it was amazing to watch them. What an answered prayer!! My 1.5 year old was waking up from a short nap and he looked at Malachi and I on the couch with such tenderness.  Shortly after they helped me to the bathroom and then to my room. The midwives fed us lunch, cleaned up everything and loved on our family in tremendous ways. Drexel and I laid in bed with our sweet, new blessing while everything else was being taken care of. We were beyond thankful for the best birth we have experienced!

Malachi Avis King — Malachi 4:2 “But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall.”
Malachi means Messenger and Avis means Refuge in Battle. His name summarizes our year and call to ministry but beyond us, we pray our son will grow up to be a great warrior for the Lord’s Kingdom! May he unashamedly live for Jesus, fear Him, find refuge in Him and share the message of His righteousness!!
🙌🏼
Born at 12:12 pm
9 lbs
22 inches

The more I reflect on Malachi’s name and the verse we chose for him, he truly brought healing to our year and he nearly leaped out of me. I can’t wait to see how the Lord uses his life and continues to work through the meaning of his name!

We are so thankful for this postpartum time and the support we have received. From meals, to groceries, messages, and people picking up anything we need — we truly appreciate it and see God being glorified through so many of you! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

With All My Love,

Johnna

P.S. I’m happy to answer any specific questions or comments you may have, but if they are negative please send them privately or ask in a loving way. Birth is a sensitive topic and it is something we should value for all in a kind way. Obviously these photos are intimate and I share them to encourage you that children are a blessing, birth is beautiful and life is a privilege from the Creator!

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