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Introducing our pearl, our gift of God, our Margaret Love!

On Sunday morning, I got up with the tinies to let Brian sleep in a bit before church. It was International Women’s Day and I decided that instead of laying around feeling sorry for myself because I was nine – NINE! – days overdue, I would make my tea and my toast, get the tinies started on the day with joy, and even take the time to do a bit of writing or social media work around the day’s significance. I had just posted a jokey tweet saying that I was hoping that this wee girl had been waiting for IWD all along when I had my first contraction. I hardly dared to hope this was it. I waited an hour to start the labouring process. I cleaned up the kitchen, woke up Brian, puttered around. My contractions quickly went to 4 minutes apart and Brian called the midwife, my parents, and my sister.

By the time the tinies were on their way to Granny’s house, my contractions were three minutes apart and growing in intensity. I got into the birthing tub and we laboured well there. Then our midwife offered to break my water. I wasn’t progressing as fast as usual which ended up being a blessing. When she broke my water, it was filled with meconium. This wasn’t a huge surprise since I was so far overdue but it meant that we needed to go to the hospital instead of having another home birth. Instead of risking a car ride, we called an ambulance but it wasn’t panic time or anything, simply a safety precaution.

I took a bit of laughing gas at the hospital which seemed to make me a bit loopy. I wouldn’t do that again. It seemed to take away my ability to focus which is so key to this process. I’ll be honest and say that some parts of this story I’m keeping to myself and my people right now, not out of shame or anything but because they are still so tender and precious, complicated and hard. I just don’t know how or even if I’ll talk about those parts of the delivery until I finish sorting it out.

But labour moved quickly and less than an hour after arriving at the hospital, she was safely delivered by our midwife at 2:16 p.m. after 5 hours of labour. She had some minor complications due to the meconium so I was very thankful that we had moved to the hospital when we did. After ten very long minutes, she was safe and sound and restored to me. And again, I know the truth: our most human, most raw, moments are our most sacred moments, too.

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She was 10 lbs 7 oz, 22 inches long, 22 inches long, her head was 38 cms. Then they brought her to me at last. She is beautiful and strong.

When they placed her in my arms, I began to cry from the centre of myself. I always laugh when I have babies but now was my time for tears.  She is the desire of my heart baby, my miracle baby, and it was such a battle in every way to bring her life. And now here she was in my arms. I sobbed and held her to my body, covering her bloodied hair with my tears. I clutched her and howled like we had survived a war together. Brian cried over me and I just kept saying, we made it we made it we made it.

After that, it was beautiful. We were cleaned up and left in peace. Physically, I feel okay but I am still reeling a bit from a few parts of the day, struggling with what it means or if it means anything, yet feeling like a warrior at the same time.

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I feel profoundly grateful and relieved. It’s never not a miracle, I know that. It’s never not the worst and the best at the same time. It might have been different or more difficult or a few wrong turns, but I did what needed to be done and we got her here safe and sound. I feel proud of that even in the midst of the gap between expectations/past experiences and this experience but here she is, beautiful and strong.

We named her Margaret Love. Margaret means ‘pearl’ or bringer of light and gift of God. She was a gift from God right from the start and now I know that she is my pearl of great price, too. Pearls are for tears, too, some people find them a sad reference but my tears when I finally had her safely in my arms tell me something so different and deep about our tears and the way we are baptized in them, too, even in the grief and the pain blending with the most powerful love and strength.

And of course we named her Love because she was created in love, by love, for love, and we believe love wins, always and forever. Love is our calling card, our permanent residence, our home.

We call her Maggie Love.

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All of the tinies are over the moon. They have all shuffled to make room for her. They have decided that Joe is now the “middlest” child – a combo of “middle oldest” and Evelynn Joan gets to be “middle” child. Anne is convinced that the oldest and the youngest girls always have a very special bond because her Granny has that kind of bond with her big sister.

Nursing is going beautifully. Some of the most precious moments of my life have been spent nursing all of my babies and yet somehow I have next to no pictures of that time. It makes me sad and so with Maggie Love, we’ve decided to take more pictures of those moments, too. There is nothing like a milk-drunk blissed out baby, is there?

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I couldn’t have asked for a better family. My mother and father looked after the older tinies for most of the week to give me space to heal and establish nursing well. My mum and sister are here every day, helping and listening. Brian has cared for me so tenderly. My church has brought over such good meals to us. Our friends and family have celebrated with us so beautifully. I feel heart-full at the community and life and family that is now Maggie Love’s inheritance, too.

Brian and I have been in awe of our girl. She’s had a very peaceful start to her life. We have just quieted everything down and spent our time loving her, nursing her, holding her. She is sleeping well at this point and is nursing like a champ – well, or like a gigantic 10 lbs 7 oz baby! Big babies are hard to carry there at the end and hard to deliver but man, am I ever glad for how they are such good eaters and sleepers. She is so content and bright-eyed.

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We are drinking her in. Brian’s favourite thing is to lay with her on his chest, right on his heart, and just let her sleep. Her head is so delicate and fragile, he is so strong and yet so tender with her. And of course, she looks so tiny in his arms. I love having babies with this man but this wee girl in particular and her delivery was a milestone day for us and our love story. I feel like I could live for the rest of my life on what we experienced that day – that, or write a whole “Love looks like” book about it!

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And so our new normal is beginning. Thank you so much for your prayers and support, your congratulations and joy on our behalf. We are so grateful for each message and prayer.

Thank you for welcoming our new Maggie Love to the world with such joy.

 

A call to pray for the persecuted church
Here we are again
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  • Elisabeth Grunert

    Thank you Sarah, for this gift of honest beauty!
    Also, my ovaries have just leaped out of my body, but that’s not your problem, is it?
    God bless your darling family. And help you to heal smoothly in these sacred days.

  • Sweet blessings over you all as you soak deeply in this new, beautiful “normal.” xoxox

  • rachel blazer

    so happy for you all! margaret love… welcome to the world!

  • Teary-eyed here in Oregon, sweet friend. You walked a tender place with me even as this beautiful & strong girl was seeded within. You spoke hope when I needed it most. So yeah, weeping with you at “Love” embodied

    • Tears in my eyes for us both, Karen. What a year we’ve walked alongside. Rejoicing every time I think of your sweet daughter and her wee one. xo

  • lndwhr

    Congratulations and much love to you, Sarah! She is beautiful!

  • Jory Peterson

    Sarah – so beautifully raw! I so desire to write a post like this in my near future. Hubby and I had a miscarriage last year and put baby making plans on hold due to me having chronic headaches and needing medication right now. I am working on getting off meds this year totally and this post has even further motivated me. Thank you for sharing. I have so enjoyed getting to know you online! 😉 -Jory Micah

    • So sorry about your miscarriage, Jory – we’ve walked that road many times, too, and it’s complicated to hope again, I know. Glad to know you, too!

  • Christina

    Sarah, you are such a treasure, and now partly responsible for an influx of babies in the next year! It is so fitting that you brought a true gift of love into the world on IWD, and she is a beauty. Thank you for sharing this time with us, and may God continue to richly bless your beautiful family.

    • No better way to celebrate womanhood than giving birth, I guess! 🙂 Thank you so much for this, Christina!

  • I was so excited to see you had had her – 10 pounds! It makes sense for her being overdue, but yeesh! I am in awe, woman – I had an eensy little six-pounder and it felt like I’d never worked so hard in my life.

    I know the hospital birth wasn’t your plan necessarily, but she’s so beautiful and so are you and everything happened just right in the end. I know what you mean about keeping things to yourself – there are aspects of my daughter’s birth story I have yet to tell anyone but my mom, my sister, and my husband Jason and may not tell anyone else at all. Some secrets aren’t so bad to keep.

    Welcome to the world, Maggie Love!

    • Exactly, Katie! The processing and talking is happening, it’s just not everything is for everyone. At least not until it’s healed anyway. You get it.

  • Alexandra Kuykendall

    Sarah, our fourth is a precious gift. The new normal is wonderful. I think with the fourth you give up a little. Resign to the fact that you’re not in control. And you let the chaos swirl and love every second. Congratulations. Babies are just the best (to make the biggest understatement ever.)

    • That is so true, Alexandra! Even the pregnancy was an entire exercise in releasing control.

  • “It’s never not a miracle, ” – just tears. SO grateful she is here. Safe and here.

  • So sweet! I knew there would be a story when that first FB picture was in a hospital bed…. My second son had a perfectly round 38 cm head, so I know that one! Thanks for sharing your sweet pearl with the world. We Margaret’s have to stick together. Rejoicing in your time of blessed adjusting.

    • Oh, girl, you know it then! That’s a head all right. 🙂

  • Welcome Maggie Love and congratulations to all of you Sarah. I have been reading your blog since I found you via Joe’s birth story all those years ago now and again I’m crying happy tears over the miracle. New mamas and new babies are holy ground. Blessings on you all.

  • fiona lynne

    So happy for the new pearl of great price in your family. She is precious. Thank you for sharing your story, the rawness of it, the hard, the beauty. My girl’s birth last summer was so not what I expected, and it took me time and so much love to embrace it. They are sacred moments in the most inexplicable of ways. May these first weeks be such a healing and joyful time! x

  • Jen P

    Beautiful, Sarah… you, and her and all of it. Welcome to the world, Maggie Love.

  • LRZ

    Congratulations to you all! I am so grateful she and you are safe and sound post-delivery – and so thankful that you shared your birth story. The hospital bed was a give-away that something had not gone according to plan but again this post will be such a blessing for other Mom’s whose birth plans are different than their actual birth experience. Thank you also for gracing us with pictures of your precious new daughter and her family. She’s beautiful!

  • Karrilee Aggett

    Beautiful… simply breathtaking – and life giving and isn’t that just how He show up and shows off every single time? Love this! Praying for grace in the transition, joy, and rest… (and a little sleep now and then, too!)

  • I am a single woman who has never birthed a child. I am convinced thoroughly that if more of us were brought into this world with the love your family has for Margaret Love there would be no wars; addictions or abuse of any kind.
    I started sobbing uncontrollably reading this when the sister picture scrolled through my computer. It is even hard to think about how to write what I am feeling through such tears…
    I feel like an unknown part of me is healed somehow. I know I didn’t come to this world in that love; I know that was Gods plan and sometimes we humans have a way…
    anyway congratulations TO ALL. And may sisters bond in a way that is not humanly possible.
    You look great by the way. Congratulations from my heart and may God bless you all!!
    Your miracle baby..whew…such love..

    • Donna-Jean Brown

      Single women without children are a huge gift to those of us married moms who are often overwhelmed by family responsibilities. And you can minister to the world is so many ways that we cannot. Sarah’s love-filled life tempts me to envy since I, like you, was denied such support, so it’s good to read about your healing, Lisa. God is faithful.

      • Thank you for reminding me Donna~Jean. God uses all of us in so many different ways it blows my mind. Thank you.

    • Oh, Lisa, this is so precious to me. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. Thankful to the Spirit for the sneaky ways we are healed piece by piece! Love to you. xoxo

      • Oh thank you so much Sarah. Sending love & the Sleep Fairy 😉

  • Lizzi Klassen

    I think Anne has it right, if my relationship with Ellie is anything to go by 🙂

  • Love it. And congratulations. This is so beautiful, and so right. Thank you for putting it into words in this precious, fragile time.

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  • Kim

    Do not waste time comparing your expectations for delivery to how it actually went. All that matters is that beautiful girl safe at the end (and you, too!!+)

  • Jemelene

    Sarah, Thank you for sharing your sacred moments. They bring such hope and beauty. Maggie Love is such a beautiful addition to an even larger family than just the six of you. She is part of a sisterhood that reaches beyond our comprehension.
    I’m so glad you are soaking in every breath.
    XOXOXO

  • Jill

    Welcome Maggie Love! You are so loved!

  • So happy for you Sarah!!!!! Congratulations. She is absolutely beautiful. (And I love both of the names!)

  • Vicki Judd

    She’s beautiful like her Mama! Thank you for sharing your life with us. Praying for you as you adjust, heal and settle in to life with FOUR tinies!

  • Jean

    I love your “Bruitful” picture of holding her. I am so, so, so happy that you and your family are doing well – adjusting to your new normal and enjoying this newest, unforeseen, blessed, wonderful, little Pearl baby. My husband and I are considering expanding our tribe…and while I’ve been hesitant what with starting a new job and paying off loans -your pictures make me want to jump back into ‘Life machine’ mode! Carry on, Warrior-Mom!!

    • I love that word “brutiful” too, Jean! I think Glennon Melton gave us all a gift with that one – so describes most of our lives.

  • I have to say, I think Miss Maggie Love is one of the most beautiful babies I have ever seen. Congratulations!

    • Well, I think that, too! 😉 Thanks, Michelle!

  • Heather Deeming

    Huge huge congratulations to you and your family, Sarah. So pleased for you all, and welcome to the world, Maggie Love!

  • Sarah

    Congratulations Sarah! What a gift Maggie Love is to you and your family!

  • gorgeous love, pure and simple.

    cherish your own private sacred moments …

    blessings, Sarah …

  • Joy Geaslen

    Oh congratulations! My youngest sister is named Margaret, so I have always loved that name (and knew it means pearl). I love how real your post is about your heart and life and expectations and things not going quite the way you had hoped. So much of our lives is like that…and I love how God meets us in the middle of these times and the miracles that God does there! Love to you! I pray that you will continue to be surrounded with love as you care for Margaret Love and your other lovely children!

  • Abby

    Oh this was a joy to read. Happy tears were shed as it made me recall my own births. Each different and each with their own story. The nursing picture is precious and the everyone is obviously over the moon happy. Enjoy this blissful time.

  • Congrats, mama! Maggie is so very precious, and your family looks so blissfully happy to have her home. Praying for you guys as you ease into your new normal!

  • Anne

    So much love in this story! So happy she’s here safe and sound. And prayers for you as you sort through the story of her birth – I’m sorry it wasn’t as peaceful as you had hoped.
    Congratulations to all the Besseys. xo

  • She is so beautiful. Congratulations, Sarah.

  • Sara Rooney

    I was just thinking this morning about your first post about “Tiny #4” and how the beginnings of our pregnancies were so similar… I was wondering if/when you were going to post a birth story for her. And then, here it is! (Hey! Lucky me! 🙂 ) So glad to see that you, she and the family are doing well. I, too, am still processing the story of my little one’s birth. Grace and peace and insight be yours as you do the same. What a beauty! She is definitely loved!

    • Thanks, Sara – appreciate that! I think sometimes the processing happens now and again at a distance as the days go by. No rush for either of us, eh?

  • helen

    First of all, heartiest congratulations to you all. And I adore the little pink cardigan she’s wearing in the photo with you.

    Second of all, I’ve written here before about how I have had losses and no births, and now never will, so reading birth stories is always moving, always affecting in some way, but this one just took the prize for hitting me hardest.

    We were driving along and I was reading and I wept so deeply while reading, particularly the later paragraphs. My husband checked in with me and I said it was a good birth story and I was ok, but just feeling it deeply. Meanwhile the six year old niece we help raise with and for my sister was in the back of the car, singing along to Frozen songs and your words “She is the desire of my heart baby, my miracle baby, and it was such a battle in every way to bring her life,” ran through me like a powerful truth. My niece is not my baby but her accidental arrival, her presence in our lives as someone who spends a lot of time with us and who came to us at the moment we knew there would be no babies for us makes life feel whole and real and full of the love we thought we’d never have. Mothering comes in all forms and when it comes to you like the enormous gift and tender precious joy these ‘heart desires’ bring to our lives, then, well, life is full and rich indeed.

    • Donna-Jean Brown

      Just wanting to bless you, Helen, for mothering your niece in spite of your own pain. This world is full of children who need more mother-love.

    • That is so beautiful, it brought tears to my eyes. Helen, thank you for loving your niece so beautifully. You are so right – mothering comes in so many forms and you are mother! xoxo

  • Francie

    I’ve been awaiting your birth story with great anticipation (such a midwife, I know) and loved reading it. It was obvious from the first photo you posted after the birth that you were at the hospital, which I know wasn’t part of your plan. Praying you find peace in the complicated and hard parts of your birth. A happy ending doesn’t erase the need to process the experience, especially when it isn’t what you anticipated. Am thrilled Maggie Love is here safe and that you are both doing well. Brian and the tinies’ love for her is palpable and precious in the photos. Love being a part of your babymoon from afar. Much love to you.

    • Thanks, Francie! So thankful for how our midwife handled the situation. Midwifery is so dear to my own heart just from the receiving end. xo

  • Beth Anderson

    Congratulations, and thank you for sharing your birth story! Maggie Love is so lovely, and so very precious, and I love that you have given her such an inheritance of love from yourself, Brian, and your larger community. I know I don’t have to tell you to enjoy this part, but thank you for sharing your enjoyment of it with us!

  • Congratulations! Maggie Love is the most perfect name ever.

  • Shannon

    She is lovely! Thank you for sharing your story with all of us.

  • She’s beautiful. <3 Congratulations!

  • Congratulations, Sarah! So joyful for you and your family. And you are in my prayers tonight, too (because I’m not sure what happened during your labor, but I do know what it’s like to have labor not go according to plan – twice! I’m still unpacking my first one now, almost 5 years later).

  • Pat Emmons

    So happy for you and your family. Thanks for sharing . Maggie Love is beautiful!!!

  • Congratulations! She’s just beautiful.

  • Megan Gahan

    Congratulations again, my friend. After I saw the beautiful photo of you and Margaret in the hospital, I wondered if you might be experiencing a bit of a jumble of feelings, knowing it wasn’t quite part of plan. Thinking of you as you process and find a new rhythm as a Six Family . . . goodness that sounds wonderful on you! I swear God could not rest until he delivered a fourth to you and Brian. Surely more loving parents could not be found. Looking forward to giving Maggie (and you) a squeeze when you’re a bit more settled. Love you dearly. And so proud of you.

    p.s. My name is a derivative of Margaret . . .so Megan actually has the same meaning. Kindreds already 😉

    • Thanks so much, my friend. Can’t wait to see you soon. We’ll have to meet at the park once I’m on the hoof again.

  • April

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! It’s beautiful! You look beautiful! Sending you loads of doula love 🙂 You are right to keep some bits to yourself while you process…I completely get that and look forward to hearing about your journey and adventure of mothering four tinies…….

  • Donna-Jean Brown

    I hope that taking out time to write about your experience is good for you and yours because it is certainly a treat for the rest of us – such a delight these photos are – thankyou. And thankyou to your husband and extended family because their support must give you much of your strength and we all benefit.

    • Thanks, Donna-Jean! Yes, it’s impossible not to write when my heart is so full! Thankful for napping babies and tinies who enjoy a bit of Wild Kratts so I can quickly get my heart on the page.

  • Susan

    Blessings to you and your sweet family.

  • Tina Kachmar

    Welcome Maggie Love!!! Congratulations Bessey’s!!! Sending love and much happiness <3

  • Yay! Welcome to the world, Margaret “Maggie” Love! What a beautiful day to enter the world! How awesome that she’s here and your family is settling in together so well. Congratulations, Sarah, on another beautiful child to add to the world! 🙂

  • Bawling. I love birth stories and have been waiting for yours! What a beautiful name. I felt so many of the same feelings with the birth of Teddy Brave (+ Maggie Love, oh gosh, they would make a cute couple…ahem) so this hits my heart hard. Wonderful. Thank you for sharing such an intimate story and for even being honest with the tumultuous feelings you carry. I know you love home births, as do I, but I’m so glad your birth ended well and not in an emergency. xo

    • Thank you so much, Michaela – and I’m open to arranged marriages. 😉

  • Congratulations to you and your whole family! Your new daughter is beautiful; thank you for sharing these precious moments with us.

  • She is so beautiful Sarah. Thank you for sharing your heart and her story. May God continue to give you much rest, peace, joy and of course love over the entire family in the days to come. xo

  • Lisa Pulsinelli-Vote

    So sweet! All of you are beautiful. Enjoy this time as you know it goes by very quickly. Blessings!

  • Welcome, Maggie Love! And a heartfelt “eshet chayil” to you, Sarah. Thank you for sharing your story – if even just pieces of it. I hope you know there are parts you are allowed to keep to yourself too, like how Mary hid things in her heart. We’re cheering your sweet family on.

  • Laura

    I am a long time reader and first time commenter – but I just have to congratulate you and your family on the birth of Maggie Love. She is beautiful and your whole family just radiate love and peace in these photos. Thank you so much for what you share and how you encourage. And I look forward to reading the “What love looks like” book one day 😉 Enjoy the blessings of your pearl.

  • Congratulations and many blessings. The pictures of your other kids holding her are priceless! So much joy.

  • There are painful pieces of Joe’s birth that I may never make peace with, but the rawness eventually softened, and what matters most is that he is here on this earth, and I am his mom.

    Praying peace and love over your precious family. Congratulations 🙂

  • emily

    This was so beautiful. Thank you for sharing your heart and your beautiful Margaret Love with us. Congratulations!

  • pastordt

    such gorgeous story-telling. so glad she’s safely here, that you’re recovering, that there was joy amid the tears and that she’s so lovely and BIG. As I said on your FB thread, I LOVE big babies. Enjoy, rest, remember and also? forget what needs to be forgotten. Love you. (And that trio of girls??? Oh, my!!)

  • Margaret Sullivan

    That is the most beautiful birth story ever. Love her name 🙂 Blessing to you and your sweet family!!

  • I’ve been thrilled every time I think about her since I heard. She is beautiful. You all are such a happy-radiating family. xo

  • Monique M

    I am so in love with this article. Absolutely beautiful from beginning to end. Thank you for sharing with us, Sarah. God bless you and your family.

  • Sarah, I looked at your face in the hospital bed and for the first time in my life, I was able to see a woman’s strength in giving birth. Thanks for helping to redeem womanhood for me, bit by bit.

  • Jamie

    Congratulations and welcome Maggie Love! Thanks for sharing the story and all the joy.

  • I’m all teary as I read this, because I reckon you must be doing the world’s longest exhale, after a pregnancy that was so vulnerable. I’m so glad she’s here, birthed in prayer. Praying for you as you process the wonder and trauma of labour. X

  • She is a beauty (lovely name too!).

    I’m glad you included the bit about the laughing gas. I have often wondered what that experience would be like…

  • Margi Nisly

    Be still my beating heart, she is positively gorgeous! After reading this beautiful story of love and joy I just have to say that i am most definitely looking forward to that book 😉

  • Julie

    LOVE this!!! My Miracle 4th is coming in just 7-8weeks, and I’m a beautiful mix of anticipation, joy, some anxiety, and the many other feels that come with the expectation of new life. After 3 incredible little men, we get to experience the blessing of a sweet little miss, and I can’t wait to experience all that means. Like the comment below, resigning myself to just be while allowing myself to enjoy rather than even attempt to control the crazy. Congratulations… she is beautiful!!

  • Tasha

    I just found your blog through a link on Facebook and wanted to say congratulations – and I know how it is to have a birth go quite like you had thought or planned. This has happened to me twice and while I was every so grateful to have healthy children and safe deliveries…there is a little part of me that will forever be sad to have missed out on that other experience.

  • And yes, please please write a book on birth and mothering and all your good heart words that bring so much together so very well here.

  • Congratulations! We have a Maggie, and she is such a gift. I did my best to give her the middle name Love as well, but we agreed on Joy instead…not a bad compromise at all 🙂