The Birth Story of Journey Nicole Lueck

9 September 2006
We had our first out of church revival meeting at another church in Houston. My husband, Benjamin, was in charge of all the preparations. We had not had a revival service since December of 2005 (the month I became pregnant with Journey whom I thought was going to be Israel). The service was long overdue and much needed. Quite a few people showed up from both churches. Without lifting anything heavy, I tried to help set up as much as possible.
The revival was also a baptism service, so immediately they were setting up in the back for baptisms. We had at least seven who were baptized that night. Benjamin and Cesar (both ministers in the church) were in the water. I was asked to take pictures. After the baptisms, I went to the computer and projector to start tearing stuff down. As I was standing there, I felt a watery discharge. I thought I had peed myself again (which happens a lot when you are pregnant). I headed to the bathroom, but Nicole and her son Isaiah got in there before I did. Nicole had just been baptized, so she took about ten minutes! When I got in there and sat down, I wiped myself and there was my mucous plug. It was round and was yellow (about 3inches long 3/4in thick). I kept wiping and more mucous continued to come out. I finally just rolled some toilet paper and stuck it in my panties, because two people had already come knocking to use the potty. Benjamin stopped at a gas station and bought me some pads. We went out to eat that night at Andy Mexican Caf with James, Shana, Cesar, Angie, Debra, & Eric. Benjamin and I started timing my contractions. They were coming about 4-6 every hour. I called Cathy and she told me to call her when they were five minutes apart, lasting more than one minute each time.
Benjamin was so incredible that night! After I lost my mucous plug and was having frequent contractions, he wouldn let me do anything. He told me not to worry about anything because he would take care of everything. He just wanted me to relax. We went to sleep around midnight that night and I didn get out of bed until 2pm.

10 September 2006
Benjamin and I decided that it was best I stay home from church that day and rest. He went to church with my consent; however, I did not realize that he would be gone for nine hours while I was hormonal and in early labor. I only stayed in bed so long because he told me to relax and not to worry. But when he called at 2pm, and made it apparent that he would'nt be home soon, I got up. (Looking back, I think I was attempting to sleep until he got home so that I would not be alone.) Our house was still a mess and I wanted to be up cleaning it, but he told me to rest and not to worry that he would get it taken care of. But after forcing myself to sleep in, I sadly started working around the house alone. I spent a good hour sorting through my baby boy clothes (kind of ironic I know!).
Benjamin finally got home around 5:30pm. He was calm and high spirited. He had just finished building our bed that morning. Immediately when he got home from church, he attached the hose to the kitchen sink, so I could not do dishes. I now planned to do them Monday in the bathtub. (More added stress.) I kept reminding him that there was still a lot to do, but he still moved around sluggishly. He got on the computer for a little bit and made a few phone calls. He had gone out to lunch with James and his family. He brought home a 16in pizza from New York Pizzeria. It was delicious. At about 8pm, he and I left to pick up a few more things at Wal Mart and Blockbuster to try and rent Ong Bak Warrior. We got home around 9pm and I was tired. Benjamin sat at the computer, so I laid on the futon and began timing my contractions again. I was excited but I was beginning to stress out because there was still so much to do. There were about 8 boxes in the living room (my birthing room) that needed to be gone through by Benjamin and for some reason, he kept putting it off. I finally got him to go through boxes at about 10pm. The stuff inside was bringing back memories to him. This caused him to work slower. He filled a 40 gallon trash bag with the things he did not want to keep and he emptied everything else onto the living room floor. As he would empty one box, he would put it outside to be thrown away. I kept thinking how there would be nowhere to stick the stuff once he went through it all. He had a few drinks to relax himself and was kind of tired and out of it that night while he was doing this. Around 12am he claimed how tired he was and went to bed. You cannot begin to imagine how anxious I was at this point. In my mind, almost nothing had been done. I took my vitamins and followed shortly after (12:30am).

11 September 2006
I lay on the bed awake for a while as I usually did every night. For some reason though, tonight was different. My contractions were a lot stronger; so strong that they were keeping me awake. I got out of bed at 2am and purposefully did not wake Benjamin. I knew he had been exhausting himself all week and I did not want to wake him. I grabbed my notebook, a stopwatch, and a clock and began timing my contractions. 5 mins, 5 mins, 5 mins I wanted to be positive that this was it before I woke Benjamin 5 mins, 5 mins, 4 mins, 6 mins, 4 mins, 4 mins, 5 mins, 3 mins, 2 mins, 2 mins, 5 mins…
I woke Benjamin around 3am. Honey? Benjamin? He didn budge at first. Benjamin, I said a little louder, sorry to do this to you, but my contractions are 5 minutes apart. They have been keeping me awake because they hurt and I can't sleep. He groaned a little and got out of bed. He didn't say anything. He had droopy eyes and dragged his feet all the way to the living room. We both continued cleaning and he got the livingroom spotless in a hurry. Then Benjamin went right to blowing up the baby pool. He was using a tiny manual pump that came with our birthing ball. (This pump was not only taking forever, but also was wearing out his muscles legs and arms!) He then attempted to use an electric pump and it failed. He tried to fix it, but it would not work.
I asked Benjamin at 3:30am when I should call Cathy. I did not want to wake her for no reason. I called her at 4am (I think) and told her that my contractions were 5 mins apart lasting for longer than 1 min each time. She asked when I wanted her to come over. I wanted someone right then, but I knew our house still had a lot of work to be done to get ready and I didn't want her to think badly of me. She said I could labor with Benjamin for a while and call her when I was ready for her to come. She recommended that I relax, go for a walk, play a board game, etc. I knew that relaxing was not an option for me. I asked Benjamin and he said to ask the latest possible time. She said, when the contractions are 2 minutes apart, but don't wait that long to call me. Call me when you feel like you need support. I told her to try and rest a little, that I wanted to labor with Benjamin for a while. I decided that I would finish laundry, cut up fruits and vegetables, shower, and then call Cathy.
I completed the first three tasks. All the while, Benjamin leaving and coming back, trying to get the air pump to work. He had to finally give up and manually pump it. Right before I was going to call Cathy (right before 6am), she called to tell me that the other lady in Brenham had gone into labor. This was her second birth, her first went quickly, and she thought hers would be finished before mine. She sent Leah to come to my house now and had the midwife that trained her on standby in case Cathy could not be here. That was a little disappointing, but I knew Leah would be here to support me and another trained midwife was on standby.
At this point, Benjamin was home and not planning on leaving again. I put on comfy clothes and fixed my hair. When I came back to the living room, the pool was set up. Benjamin had set up a constant flow of warm water streaming in and out of the pool. I went to the futon to have my contractions. Benjamin had gotten candles and put on relaxing music for me. He got the camera and took a couple pictures of me between contractions. Every time I had a contraction, he would come and press on the spot on my lower back, and any pain would just become uncomfortable pressure. I spent this time timing my contractions and eating fruits and veggies. I also ate noodles because I needed something with substance.
Leah arrived around 7am and took my vitals. I kept covering my mouth as I talked because the noodles I ate had garlic. I then proceeded to brush my teeth in the bathroom. Benjamin got up to text message his boss. Then he took a couple pictures of Leah and me. While he was up, Leah would press on my back for me. She kept receiving phone calls from Cathy, her mom, and her husband. She decided to check my dilation and effacement when my contractions got to be about 2 minutes apart. I took off my shorts and underwear for her to check me and had my shirt pulled up under my breasts at this point I didn care. I was dilated at 7centimeters and 80% effaced (I think). She tried calling Cathy and Cathy didn't answer. I asked if she was calling Debbie (the midwife on standby), and she said she didn't have Debbie's phone number. That stressed me out a little. She called her mom, and while she was on the phone with her mom, Debbie called her. She told Debbie my vitals, and Debbie responded, guess I won't shower or put on makeup. I guess I'll come straight over. My morning was filled with timing contractions, checking baby heartbeat, and checking my pulse/blood pressure.

When Debbie got there, all my vitals were checked again between contractions, and the baby heartbeat was checked during a contraction. Debbie was commenting on pictures in my house, she thought my Mom was my younger sister. We started telling her about our wedding and how God brought everything together and ended up showing all of our wedding pictures. She thought the flower bouquets were living flowers until she saw them on the TV stand. As they were looking at pictures, Benjamin was sitting with me on the futon, helping me through my contractions. I had Benjamin ask when I could get in the water. Debbie said, we were just waiting on you. I took off my shirt and climbed in. The water was so warm and inviting. It completely took the edge off of the contractions. That was an incredible difference so much so that my contractions slowed down and almost came to a stand still. They had me get out of the pool and walk around and keep moving. My contractions came back a little but nothing like before. Debbie mentioned something about bursting my water bag. I really didn't want that, but I didn't say anything. It had been my dream that the bag would burst when the baby's head was pushing out. Debbie told me that she was going to check me. I knew that she was trying to burst my bag. She couldn't do it. Leah had left to go to Whataburger. Cathy called and told us that the other baby had been born at 9:30am. She said that she was leaving Connie and on her way. (A long drive from Brenham to West Houston.)
The whole time we were waiting, I was up and moving trying to get my contractions back. I was praying in my mind, God, please let my water break. I don't want them to have to burst my bag. I want it to happen naturally. I knew that as soon as Cathy got there she was going to break my water. They continued to check vitals, and the baby was fine. Debbie asked if I wanted some fruits and veggies that I had cut up. I told her no. While I was in the bathroom, she got Benjamin to make me a protein shake. I didn't really want one, but thought, chocolate sounds good right now. When I came out, he gave it to me and I drank. I cringed. I was not expecting fruity. They didn't want to give me milk. I still don't know why, so he mixed vanilla with the juice. I drank 3/4 of it. I just downed it because I knew I needed nourishment, even though it made me sick to my stomach. I was drinking lots of fluids and ended up with diarrhea. Every time I sat to go potty, a contraction would come. I felt so bad for my husband because he was right there with me every time. Any time I needed him, I would call and he was right there.
When Cathy got there, I was laying on the futon. I was tired. She had asked me that morning if I had gotten any sleep that night. I told her that I had because I did not want her to worry. I had not been asleep since 2pm Sunday afternoon.
We went to the bedroom and she burst my bag. It took a couple minutes. Apparently, I had a strong bag. I was really sad. All this water came out, and then I got up to go to the bathroom. The diarrhea hurt so bad. They gave me an herbal tincture to speed up my contractions. I held it under my tongue for 20 seconds and then swallowed. Nothing happened for a few minutes, and I thought, that didn't work very well. Then it hit, and the contractions felt so unnatural. I started crying because it hurt so bad. Cathy asked for her birthing ball, and I leaned over onto it (it was on the bed.) At this point, there was no relaxing during contractions. The contractions were right on top of each and they lasted a really long time. If someone didn't press on the spot on my back, the pain was so excruciating that my cries would turn to whimpering screams. They gave me another herbal tincture that was supposed to help with the pain, but all it did was make me nauseous.
I kept having to go to the bathroom, and I hated it. Sitting on the toilet hurt so bad during contractions! I diarrhead again, and I cried a lot. Benjamin was right there holding me, and I was crying on his shoulder. I apologized.
They asked if I wanted to get in the water. I stood up and immediately had a contraction at the sink. I was still crying. They kept reminding me to breathe and to cry with a deep voice instead of the high pitched noise that I was making. I made it to the pool. I felt like I had to throw up. I said, I feel sick. Debbie motioned for someone to get something. They got a small Tupperware bowl and I puked in that. Then Benjamin brought a 5 gallon bucket and I puked in that. Debbie said, every time you throw up, it is like 10 contractions. They told Benjamin that I needed to drink something. I told him, don't leave me. He said, I'm not, baby. I'm right here. I lay down with my head against the edge. Debbie told me that I just had to surrender to my body and let it do what it was designed to do. So I took a deep breath and with my next contraction, I didn't move or say anything. I just hurt really bad. Benjamin took a picture of me, and I told him, I hate you for that. Leah laughed and Debbie said, he doesn't mean it, God. Benjamin said, I thought you wanted pictures, and I said, yeah, when the baby is coming out not now. Debbie and Cathy prayed in tongues under their breath while I was silent. Cathy fell asleep on the futon; Leah fell asleep on the floor; and Benjamin went to sleep in our bedroom (about an hour). A storm song came on the speakers, and it started to thunder outside also. I didn't really notice the one outside until Debbie said something about it. Storm births, I love storm births. Hearing both sets of thunders at the same time was stressful, though, and that was the last thing I wanted to think about. The pain was excruciating and just kept building. After lying there in silent pain for what seemed like an hour (everyone else was quiet, too), I began to beg God for my baby. I said things like, God please, God please, God please bring this baby out. Bring this baby out in Jesus name. Baby, I need you. Please come out. Jesus loves you. Jesus has a plan for you. Please God. I was crying as I prayed quietly.
Cathy told me, I need you to get out and try to go to the bathroom. I got out, not caring about the pad, and just ran to the bathroom. I had so much pain when I sat down. Benjamin sat in a deep squat in front of me with his left hand pressing on my back and the bowl wrapped in his right arm at his chest. I was leaned forward with my head on his right shoulder. They switched the bowl out for the freshly cleaned 5 gallon bucket. I continued apologizing because I knew it stank and that he was in pain and I felt like it was my fault. He told me to stop. I cried/whimpered as I diarrhead again and peed. I got Benjamin to wipe me clean because the strain was too much for me. I started to have another contraction, and I immediately started yelling, I can feel the baby coming! I'm just going to deliver right here.! Cathy said something like, well come on. Let's get you back into the pool. I questioned her. She asked, you wanted a water birth, right? Hurry! When I stood up, Leah held the blue pad under me. (I had gotten to the point where I no longer cared if I had the baby in the pool.) I tried to run to the pool but was in so much pain with the baby's head dropped that I just kind of waddled. I made it to the pool and climbed in. I sat back in a reclined position. I was under the impression that I was already pushing until Cathy told me, I'm gonna need you to push with your contractions. I could feel the baby coming down (it felt like the baby was already partially out!)

Cathy checked and told me to feel the baby head and to feel as I pushed. The baby head was about 2 inches from the outside. I kept pushing (or started actually pushing) and when the baby head began to really push out, I knew it! The only way I can describe that pain is as if someone were splitting me in two. Cathy had told me that I would feel a ring of fire and to push through that feeling. I wasn't really sure what she was talking about. I pushed and the baby head was completely at the front. She had me reach down and feel again. I could feel the skin all squished and rippled together. It was difficult for me to reach around and feel. Cathy told me to put my hand on the baby's head to feel as the baby was pushing out. I retorted, I already felt it. I was crying and slightly delirious from the pain. The baby head would come out so far and then go back in. It kept bobbing. Finally the head came all the way out but Cathy said the shoulders were lodged on my pelvic bone. She immediately had me turn on my side and then on my hands and knees. I pushed once on my hands and knees and the baby came out. The pushing part was maybe 15-20 minutes long. I flipped and sat down immediately and they handed me the baby. Cathy asked if I checked the baby. I reached down to feel and I didn't feel a penis; I thought, oh oh! I picked up the baby, looked, and said, it's a girl! I asked Benjamin if it was okay that I had a girl and the midwives said, it's not your fault, he's the one who decides that. We sat there for a couple minutes more. Cathy was sucking the mucous out of her nose and mouth with a bulb syringe. I tried to nurse and she wouldn't .

They had me push again for the placenta to come out. They told me that I was still pregnant until it was out. Once it was out, they clamped on two sides of the cord and had Benjamin cut the cord. They had an herbal bath ready for me which they had me get into shortly after the cord was cut. I sat there with Journey and tried to get her to nurse, but she was passed out asleep. She also was holding her umbilical cord. Debbie came in and showed me how Journey would suspend to stretch and relax in the water because that was her home for the past nine months. It was incredible. I was really hot after being in the warm pool water, so I did not want to stay in the bath for long. They took the baby to clean her up and check her out. I proceeded to climb out of the tub and felt a little faint as though I was going to black out. Cathy had me sit on the toilet with my head between my knees. They made me a PB & J sandwich and brought me some juice along with several water bottles. Everyone stayed until about 8pm; I delivered at 3:12pm. Cathy and Benjamin took Journey to the chiropractor and had her adjusted. They asked if I would be ok alone. I said yes and then fell asleep instantly. I stayed asleep until they returned. Cathy left around 9pm. Benjamin and I slept. The baby woke up and I tried nursing her, but she wouldn latch. I found her baby spoon and squeezed colostrum onto it. She was going to receive proper nutrition one way or another. I poured it in her mouth and she loved it! I squeezed some out of my nipple and rubbed it around a little. I stuck my breast in her mouth and she latched at last and began sucking. That was 1:41am.

Journey Nicole Lueck
Born: 11 September 2006, 3:12pm
Weight: 9lbs 14oz
Length: 21 1/4in