Owen Lazarus's Birth Story

When I woke up on April 4, 2017, I never would’ve thought Owen Lazarus would be joining us that day. Even though I was six days overdue I resolved in my mind that I would eventually have to be induced later that week. He seemed awfully cozy in my belly and the early labor, that was really just a nuisance and exhausting, wasn’t giving any hints. Losing more of my mucus plug and the incessant contractions were a tease since beginning a few weeks prior.

My due date was March 29, and once that came and left us without Owen in our arms we told Travis’s mom, Terri, to come on down from Ohio. It was nice having her here to help with the kids while I rested before the big day.

The morning of the day he came I was so over being pregnant. I really shouldn’t complain. It truly is a blessing, being pregnant and all. But by the end, and especially since I was almost a week late, I was so tired of being uncomfortable and so tired of being tired. I knew nights of interrupted sleep would continue after Owen came but I found solace in knowing I would finally be able to sleep on my stomach and not have to carry 40 extra pounds around my midsection.

As we sat around the breakfast table that morning I asked Terri if I could spend some time with Jesus while she entertained the kids. She was happy to let me go so for the next hour I worshipped and read encouraging scripture. That time with the Lord was so refreshing. I felt His peace envelope me and remind me that He is good and in control no matter if I get the labor and delivery I hope to have or am induced.

To stay busy the rest of the morning Terri and I took the kids to Freedom Park. They played at the playground while I walked around the lake in the hopes it would spur on stronger contractions. It definitely did something. By the second loop my contractions were feeling different than they had over the past few weeks. They weren’t painful yet but they were like waves beginning in my thighs and moving up over my belly. By the time I completed three loops and met up with Terri and the kids my contractions were coming every 8-10 minutes.

Terri was really excited when I told her what was going on but I was still sure the baby wasn’t coming that day. I didn’t want to get my hopes up just yet. We ran a quick errand to Target and then headed home for lunch and naps.

When we got home my contractions were down to 6-7 minutes apart. I sent a text message to Travis  at work to update him on my progress. I also told him I was going to shower and lay down for a bit to see if the contractions would stop.


“But I’m so tired! And don’t rush home. I still don’t know if it’s the real thing,” I wrote back. I knew he was right though. If my contractions really were different and this was the start of something I knew I should keep walking to move things along. While Terri put the kids down for a nap I walked around the neighborhood.

Travis met up with me 15 minutes later to walk next to me. We laughed about how this could be the real thing and how we could meet our new son in just a few hours but most likely tomorrow because I tend to have long labors. We got excited after each contraction ended knowing we were one step closer. Travis asked me how long we needed to walk until it was time to go since my contractions were now down to 2-3 minutes apart. I was so afraid of going in too early—that’s what happened with my other two—so I tried to wait as long as possible until I couldn’t walk or talk through them.

We made it back home after a few contractions in a row stopped me in my tracks. They were tolerable but I had to really concentrate on my breathing in order to get through them. I knew it was time to call my midwife. The nurse told me my midwife would call me back but I told her that we were already on our way. I wasn’t about to wait around when I finally knew this was the real deal, and with Owen sitting so low and being my third baby I had a feeling this was all going to go really quick.

We kissed our napping kids, thanked Terri for being awesome, and headed on our way!

We arrived at the hospital at 3:30 pm. My midwife, Kathy, checked me right away. I was 5 cm dilated.

“You seem to be progressing very nicely so I don’t think it’s necessary to break your water,” she said. I was so thankful. My water was artificially broken with my other two and I stalled for several hours. The pain was excruciating. At one point when I was in labor with Theo I swore I would never get pregnant again. But here I was for the third time.

For the next three hours, that seemed to fly by, I went back and forth between bouncing on a ball and swaying my hips hunched over the bed. This labor was so different than the other two. I’m not sure if it’s because my waters were still intact or if it’s because everything was happening so fast. I could actually feel my body move through the different stages. I looked up at Travis at one point as he held my hands across the bed from me and whispered, “I’m going through transition.” I breathed and relaxed with every wave, and although it hurt like hell, the pain was manageable.

During each contraction I imagined holding Owen. I imagined what he would look like. I imagined how it would feel to push another baby out of me. I told myself I could do it again, and I marveled at my body, the way it carries and grows a human, births a human, and then sustains a human. What a beautiful miracle. I praised God that I could be a part of that.

Two and a half hours after we arrived and not long after my sister, Emily, joined us I felt the urge to push. I was surprised it happened so quickly. Thankfully Kathy walked in right after I told Travis I was ready to push and she checked me. Half expecting her to tell me I was still at 8 cm I was thrilled when she said, “you have a tiny bit of cervix left but I think you can push through it.”

“Praise the Lord!” I exclaimed.

Travis helped me onto the bed as Kathy donned her scrubs and turned on the blinding overhead lamp. Within seconds I was ready for my first push. I bore down and my water immediately burst. It was the weirdest, coolest feeling ever. Kathy asked if I wanted to push again during that contraction but I wasn’t ready. I wanted a few minutes to rest and regain my strength. I was already so exhausted.

I waited for the next one to come. And when it did I took a deep breath, bore down again with all my might, and felt the familiar ring of fire. He was there!

“There’s his head! You’re doing so great, Jess! Keeping pushing!” Kathy said. I could hear Travis and my nurses encouraging me too.

I pushed two more times within that same contraction and his head finally released. I thought he would wiggle himself out at that point but I could feel as if something was caught.

“Push again! One more time and he’s out!” I didn’t want to push again. I wanted him to already be out. I was confused as to why he didn’t just fall out of me. The pain was unbearable. I wanted it all to be over. It was so uncomfortable and hurt so bad. But I collected myself, took the deepest breath I could muster, and pushed. And then his broad shoulders popped through as the rest of him followed.

I lay back in relief, my whole body shaking. I couldn’t believe it was over. I couldn’t believe my body just did that.

Kathy called Travis down to cut the cord because it was too short for Owen to rest on me while still connected. Seconds later she set him on my chest. As I looked down at him and took in the fact that he was on me now and no longer in me, I exclaimed, “I’m not pregnant anymore!” Everyone laughed. I was filled with joy. He looked exactly like his sister and brother, except his entire face was blue. We were reassured it was just bruised from traveling through the birth canal so fast. I couldn’t believe I was a mother for the third time and that he was mine.

It was 6:43 pm. Owen came only three hours after arriving at the hospital. It was absolutely glorious and everything went exactly how you would hope a natural, non-medicated birth would go.

Travis and my sister crowded around my bed as I held and nursed Owen, admiring his little self. He still had gunk all over him that kept him a grayish color and he pooped on me at one point but I didn’t care. He was beautiful.

After holding and gazing at him for an hour or so, he was weighed and cleaned off. He weighed 9 pounds, 4 ounces. I knew then why his shoulders were stuck!

And that’s where I should end my birth story. My sweet family gathered together around my postpartum bed, holding our newborn son, marveling at the works of our Lord and taking in all of His goodness.

But it continues.

Shortly after we settled into the room that would be ours for the next two nights I hemorrhaged.

Travis went to grab our bags from the car while Emily and I chatted in our new room, Owen lying peacefully in my arms. It was only 8 pm or so and I was excited that we would have an entire night to rest.

Two of my nurses walked in a few minutes later and asked if I would like to go to the bathroom. I hadn’t gone since delivering. I agreed that I should try. I handed Owen to Emily and each nurse stood on either side of me as I draped my legs over the side of the bed. I stood to my feet and before I could take a step blood began gushing out of me through my diaper-like pad as if it wasn’t even there. A pool of blood lay at my feet as I looked up at the nurses hoping they would know what to do.

“OK, let’s get you back into bed and lay you flat,” one of the nurses, Haley said. She remained calm but I could see the bewilderment behind her eyes. As the other nurse repositioned my bed so I was laying flat, Haley called my midwife and told her to bring in a team of nurses, including a hematologist.

Within seconds the door swung wide open and a slew of nurses filed into the room. I looked over at Emily who still was holding Owen and she had a very concerning look on her face. She was scared and helpless. But I was so thankful she was there. She was such a comfort to me even if she was in the corner out of the way of the nurses holding my hours-old baby.

I lay flat on my back with my hospital gown up around my still soft belly as one nurse to the left of me continually took my vitals, Haley down at my pelvis exchanged pads every few minutes while my midwife pushed on my abdomen to the right of me. The hematologist was inches from the foot of my bed with a scale weighing the pads as Haley passed them to her. Another nurse inserted an IV into my right arm filled with Pitocin to contract my uterus and pain medication for what was about to take place.

“Your earrings are pretty,” the nurse who was taking my vitals said. I’m not sure if she really thought so or if she was trying to distract me from all the chaos.

Every few seconds I was asked how I was feeling. Despite my blood pressure dropping, not once did I ever feel dizzy or lightheaded. Not once did I ever think I would lose so much blood that I would need a transfusion. Not once did ever it cross my mind that I could actually die.

A short time passed and Travis finally walked in the room. Amidst the frenzy he was informed by one of the nurses of my condition. His face went white as snow when he saw the blood pooled at the side of my bed. He later told me the room looked like a crime scene. Grabbing my hand, he stood to the right of my head and instantly I felt peace. But I could tell he wasn’t doing well. I imagined he had thoughts swirling through his mind of his wife, the mother of his children, dying right there on the bed in front of him. He couldn’t last a few minutes without having to retreat to the bathroom. I reached my hand out for someone, anyone, to take. I needed to be comforted. Kathy held my hand as she waited for the pain medication to take effect.

Travis walked out of the bathroom and back to my side moments later with more color to his face. He took my hand once again. Kathy then proceeded to search inside my uterus with her hand. It’s as bad as it sounds. Thankfully the pain medication did its job and I didn’t really feel much of anything.

There’s nothing like being splayed upon a hospital bed, naked from the waist down, with 16 eyes on you and one hand in you and blood all around you. I was at my most vulnerable, fighting for my life. I didn’t care at that point who saw me and what they saw. I lay there and allowed the nurses and Kathy to do what needed to be done.

“Well, there it is. Would you look at that?” Kathy said as she held the tiniest piece of something that came out of me. Whatever it was rested in the palm of her hand.

“It’s a part of your placenta that broke off inside,” she continued. “Your body was trying to flush it out, that’s why you were hemorrhaging.”

That’s it?! That’s what was causing the blood bath? That’s what almost killed me?!

I could not believe it. In that moment I thought of all the things that could have gone wrong if I was anywhere else with anyone else. If I would have gone into labor at home. If it was 100 years ago. If I didn’t have an amazing team of nurses who cared and didn’t just chock up my bleeding to the usual postpartum flow and a brave midwife who was willing to search inside of me to find the culprit.

It was past midnight by the time my bleeding subsided and the room was scoured and spotless once again. What I once thought was going to be a relaxing night of cuddling my newborn baby turned into a bloody fiasco along with having to be checked every 15-30 minutes until morning to make sure I didn’t bleed out. I didn’t get any rest that night even when Owen was taken to the nursery for a few hours. I was insanely exhausted but my mind could not shut off and my body could not relax.

I saw the sunrise before eventually receiving a Percocet and finally falling asleep.

The Lord is good. He gave me the birth I had always hoped to have. I felt him in every wave that swept over me. After every contraction I praised Him for getting me through another one. The pain was fierce but his presence was fiercer. And then he continued to be with me as my body worked to rid the foreign piece still inside of me. His peace overwhelmed me as I lay on that bed exposed trusting in him and trusting that my midwife and nurses were going to find and fix the problem. I never doubted they knew what they were doing and that I wouldn’t be healed.

Three months later I’m still shocked by the whole day. It’s funny how God makes you forget what labor and delivery feels like because if you asked me today if I’d do it all over again, I would—just without the hemorrhaging. Childbirth truly is a miracle and I feel blessed to have been able to experience it all in its full glory.    


  1. Wow, what a great story of God's peace and provision in the midst of a scary time! Love your birth story, Jess 😊

  2. Sweet, Jess. So thankful you are ok! God is good. Beautiful baby!! Congratulations to you all. <3