Have you ever feared something for so long & watched that very fear begin to unfold before your eyes? That is what happened to me on January 11, 2017. That day was the scariest day of my entire life. . . but also one of thee absolute greatest. That is the day my 3rd miracle baby was born. Ezrah Nathaniel Richardson came into this world like a hurricane. . .
But image a hurricane rooting everything in its path up only to reveal the most beautiful Island. This is Ezrah’s birth story.
“Having kids in the future will probably be very difficult, maybe even impossible.” These are the last words I heard from my doctor after giving birth to Uriah. For many reasons, me having kids wasn’t supposed to be easy, but God saw fit to fill my womb 2x already. You can only imagine how surprised & also scared I was when I found out I was pregnant with Ezrah. I was already 13 weeks & Uriah was only 7 months old, Noah was 2.5. When I was 18 weeks they told us Ezrah likely had spinalbifida & prepared me for a long scary journey of mothering this baby. Then, miraculously, he didn’t. When I was about 24 weeks I had some spotting & internal bleeding & was put on bed rest. You can imagine how that went with a 2 year old & 10 month old. Long story short, his entire pregnancy was scary.
In my mind that translated as worst case scenario. I am a worrier naturally & I tend to feel anxious when something poses a threat to the things/people I love. . . in this case, motherhood & my unborn baby. I spent most of my pregnancy fearing I would die in labor or lose my baby, especially since things kept going wrong. The closer I got to my due date the more terrified I became & I constantly prayed God would take this fear from me.
Wednesday January 11, 2017 I woke up at 3am & could not go back to sleep. I tend to pray when I cant sleep & this partcual a.m. I felt a very strong desire to pray. These prayers were different. Instead of asking God to take fears away & make everything go smoothly I was prompted to pray very specifically. . . for the doctor who’d be on shift when I went into labor, for God to give my body strength it had not been possessing through out my pregnancy, for the staff to be alert & wise. I was praying for God to give wisdom to the staff & keep me aware of what I was feeling when the day came to have my baby. A few hours later my friend/mentor/doula, Natasha, sent me a text telling me to read & pray Isaiah 66:9 over myself.
“Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?” says the Lord… Isaiah 66:9
So I prayed, “God, when the day comes to have this baby, will you bring both of us through this.. deliver him into my arms safely, make my body able. Amen”
About 9a.m. that morning I went to a womens ministry brunch that I had planned but just didn’t feel great. The contractions hit & without a doubt it was time. Natasha & I headed to my house to labor a little & wait for Nathaniel. Her husband showed up to take care of the boys, Nathaniel showed up & loaded the car, it was time to head to the hospital. I tend to labor at home until I cant handle it anymore but this time I felt like I should just go to the hospital. When we first got there Natasha let my nurse know I had been spotting but the nurse didn’t think it was out of the ordinary. We walked around the hospital to keep my labor going. Each time I would stop to let a contraction pass, Natasha would pray over me as Nathaniel helped me breathe. My labor was going beautifully & I had so much peace.
Once again, Natasha let my nurse know I still had blood & again, she brushed it off as normal. The walking continued, the contractions got closer, harder, & longer. My friend Hannah showed up to be present during the delivery & pray me through. When I was dilated to a 6 I decided to get an epidural. My friend Courtney showed up to photograph the birth. I was finally feeling settled as the epidural kicked in & I was now at an 8. I was smiling & so happy that this was going to be my shortest labor yet. Noah’s was 30 hours & Uriah’s was 15. It was close to 7pm & the shift change was taking place. Natasha & Nathaniel were eager to tell my next nurse about the bleeding hoping to get some attention on it. I was laying there in bed, laughing with my friends, my husband on the phone with my mom, everything was normal, perfect.
Then all of a sudden a strange feeling hit me hard, I was looking at my friend but I couldnt actually see her. I was trying to touch my head but I couldnt actually feel my hands. “I dont feel good.” I told the nurse. She said my blood pressure was very low & she would get me medicine. “I have to throw up, no I just dont feel good, something isn’t right. ” I said to the nurse. Natasha said something but I couldnt hear. My husband hung up the phone & ran over. At that point the whole world was a spinning blur for me. The nurse said some code & the room flooded with people. I could hear lots of voices, codes, & questions but one thing stood out, “There’s so much blood.”
Next thing I remember was that fear, the fear of dying in labor. I remember asking my friend to please pray & crying out for my sons. “Who was going to mother them?” was the 1 thing I remember thinking the most. I heard the doctor talking to someone & saying they have to get the baby out & try to find my bleeding, they would do everything they could. In that moment I felt something I never felt before, the truest form of worry I had ever known.
Luckily I had an epidural because there was no time to properly medicate me. One moment I was making a joke, the next moment I was being sliced open with some lady holding my head tight, other people holding my arms, & me screaming from the core of my fear. Then I heard his cry, it was beautiful & gave me hope. “Dove, he is perfect. He is going to be ok. You have given us a 3rd son & he is perfect. He will be ok, dont worry. Now you have to relax so the doctors can make sure you will be ok too.” Finally I could hear my husband’s voice & his words gave me the peace I needed. I was crying but managed to close my eyes & be still. The surgery was so long, over 2 hours, but they did it. They found the problem, fixed it, & saved my life. My husband was stroking my hair & saying sweet things to me the whole time. He even reminded me that my lashes were on point because I was serious about getting them done before labor. He said he knew I would be ok because at some point in my surgery I asked for a tummy tuck. Guess I was still thinking about being fly lol.
We later found out I had a placenta abruption & was bleeding out too much, too fast. The days to come were awful. I had severe panic attacks & kept believing I was dying. This led to a lot of high blood pressure, a lot of tears, & even medication to keep me calm. Ezrah had jaundice really bad & it seemed to get worse each day. After almost a week he was fine to leave & we headed home to meet his big brothers.
Ezrah was such a peaceful baby & mothering him has been a constant reminder of my need for God’s peace. The meaning of his name is surely fitting & definitely was from God; Ezrah- helper (helped by God) Nathaniel- the gift of God, God has given.
I have suffered from severe anxiety since giving birth to Ezrah & as we celebrated his 1st birthday yesterday I cried many tears over how hard this year has been. But then I cried more tears over how faithful God has been, how much of a gift Ezzy is to our crew, & how absolutely incredible my wide eyed little guy is.
This was not the birth story I hoped for, but even still, God was faithful. My doctor later told me she was grateful I had the surgeon who performed my c section because he is the best the hospital has ever had. She also told me I had double everything because the nurses & doctors were in shift change but both shifts stayed & were present to assist in my surgery. She told me if there weren’t so many eyes & that specific set of gifted hands, she isn’t sure what would have been the outcome. She was also amazed that Ezrah didn’t have any long term trauma or issues due to the high risk pregnancy & traumatic delivery. When she told me this at my 2 week checkup, I was reminded of all of my prayers & how God had intentionally answered each and every one of them.
Now here I am snuggling my healthy, funny, loving 1 year old son. My precious gift from God.