A BIRTH IN THE MOONLIT DESERT.
I was one of those ladies that rejoiced reading Above Rubies with all the wonderful testimonies and home birth stories only to close the magazine and sigh…
Home birthing was made known to me somewhere along the way in my motherhood journey and I quietly desired to birth at home…but previous birth histories mixed with a lack of confidence and my husband’s disapproval prevented that choice.
4 of my babies were born in Israeli hospitals. I never went into labor with the last 3 – each being induced at 42 weeks according to medical practice in Israel.
However everything changed…
When pregnant with our 5th child we moved from Northern Israel to the Negev desert. This was after years of seeking God’s will for our lives in this intense land. The Negev was calling us. The moment we moved South we felt His peace and a connection to the very stones and open spaces that make up the area.
I still wished to home birth but didn’t worry about the days ahead too much. The whole pregnancy was committed to Him in faith and we had such peace about every detail, even the way the baby would be born!
My husband Yaron, was away weekly, working in Central and Northern Israel to provide for the family while we made connections in the South.
The nearest hospital was 45 minutes away, however I was quite sure that I would have to be induced again. So no reason to rush! I reached my 41st week and was still full of energy. I felt that we had all the time in the world and that the birth was not around the corner. Shabbat passed and I kissed my husband goodbye as he drove off to Tel Aviv for another weeks work.
Tuesday morning I caught a stomach virus that was going around. I was throwing up and having horrible gripes. Finally at the end of the day I recovered and was able to eat a dry cracker. Quickly my strength returned!
By 8.30pm I was chatting on the phone to my husband when I suddenly noticed my Braxton Hicks contractions (which I usually feel all the way through my pregnancies) were coming on stronger. I half joked to him that maybe he should meet me at the hospital in Beersheva for the birth! (2 hour drive for my husband)
I decided to first take a shower and have a cup of tea and see if there was any progression. I also laughingly told our young, bachelor neighbor “Dani” to be on standby and drive me in to the hospital.
Two seconds into the shower I realized that I might not even make it out of the shower! The contractions were coming faster by the minute! I jumped out, dripping and told my eldest daughter to leave the tea she had made and call Dani quickly. At the same time I called my close friend Karen who lives in the community and she offered to come with me. I told her that she had 2 minutes to get ready!
I had been so relaxed that I hadn’t prepared a thing!
I frantically searched for my ID book, some clothes and whatever else I thought necessary.
I rushed to Dani’s car and at the same time called my husband to start driving and meet me at the hospital in Beersheva. We picked up Karen on the way out and she had cleverly grabbed towels and sheets. She immediately started praying and Dani who hadn’t realized we were believers was dunked in the deep end with our “Thank you Yeshua’s” and “Halleluyahs!”
Karen timed the contractions and said they were 2 min apart, one strong and one weak. She, having given birth to her own 5 at home and judging from my behavior thought that I had plenty of time to make it to hospital. I thought if this means I have plenty of time, it will get worse! Could I go through this??
We sped out of the gate with Dani asking how fast he should drive… The car was cluttered with a bachelors mess and all I can remember is that I wanted to get out!
I had about 7 contractions in the car, one easy, one a little harder. I did not feel extreme pain. I remember suffering a little for about 2 of them.
THEN I had one contraction that was TOTALLY different from the rest, the one where you feel you need to push! I begged Dani to stop the car because I needed to go to the toilet (that’s what it feels like!) He screeched to a halt at a bus stop at the Ramat HaNegev junction. Karen told him to call an ambulance while we got out of the car.
The bright and dirty bus stop was unappealing. I couldn’t birth there! I managed to walk down a slope and in the almost full moonlight we found a secluded spot next to a hill. The night was warm and the sky bright, but we were sheltered by the moonlight shadow from the hill.
Karen spread the sheet and for the first time I could finally do what my body always wanted to do… squat! (Before I hadn’t been allowed to do because of hospital machines)
Karen told me to check if I could feel the baby and when I did I felt the baby’s head!
I knew that with the next contraction I was going to push. So I did, while I reached down and eased the head out with my own hands. My waters broke with the second push and Karen caught the baby as it slipped out.
She wrapped it in a towel and cleaned it a little, and mentioned that she thought it was a girl! She then passed her to me, still attached to my body, to hold and to kiss. She indeed was a girl, our fourth daughter and fifth blessing!
I remember praising the Lord aloud that night under the open moonlit skies! He answered my deepest desires and gave me the MOST natural birth, almost pain free and without any intervention! Who would have thought He would have answered my desires to that degree! I desired a NATURAL birth and that is as natural as it gets!
And so fast, from first signs of labor to the time she was born – It was about ONE HOUR!
Meantime Dani had shouted to us from the road several times till we finally heard him only after the birth. He came over in amazement to see the desert baby!
The ambulance came about 10 minutes after the birth and cut the cord. I found out later that it is good for the baby’s health to delay the cutting of the umbilical cord. I called my husband who was still driving to the hospital to tell him to relax and that he had beautiful baby girl!
Adonai gave me the perfect friend to share my birth with. Karen had a strong desire to take part in a birth and He gave her the wish in its entirety.
The birth took place at the entrance to the Upper Negev, a symbolic picture of what He is doing in our lives and other believers in the area. Bringing new life to the Negev, hope and promises to the land which the Bible predicts will blossom and flourish.
So we named our little girl “Naamah”, which means pleasant – as that is what the Negev has been to us since we came. A quiet pleasantness, that is deeply rooted in our souls.