Husband Falls Down To The Floor When Wife Tells Him This About Their New Born.
Story by Nancy Ray
Beaufort William Ray was born on December 13, 2018, at 1:30pm. His birth story is one that shows God’s incredible power as His strength was on mighty display when we were physically, emotionally, and mentally at our weakest. I also feel like it was a bit out of a movie – with all the different elements of the story coming together! It was the wildest day of my life, and I’m excited to share it with you! Because of all the crazy elements leading up to the big surprise, it’s important to include the backstory leading up to his arrival…
This story begins on April 14th, 2018. Milly was 2, Lyndon was 8 months old. I was photographing a beautiful wedding at North Ridge Country Club, and I was reminiscing all day about how the last time I photographed a wedding there, I was pregnant with Milly and no one knew it except for me and Will! So many memories came rushing back to me as I stepped back in that place to photograph another beautiful wedding. Except that this time, I had TWO children, and had to sneak out to my car to pump during the reception! I remember being really hungry that day, and Jen gave me her RX bar to keep me going. When I went to pump, I only pumped 1 ounce, which was not a lot for me at that time. All in all, it was a sweet wedding full of nostalgia for me.
Then I began to put a few things together: I’m super hungry. My milk supply is dropping. And I haven’t gotten my period since having Lyndon. And all I could think about was how I was pregnant the last time I was here. Could it be that I’m pregnant again? Surely not!
The next day as we were driving home from church, I told Will I didn’t want to freak him out, but I think I needed to take a pregnancy test just to rule out a crazy thought I had the day before. I assured him I was NOT pregnant, but since the thought crossed my mind, I needed to know for sure.
Well LET ME TELL YOU – that line popped up SO fast on the pregnancy test there was no denying it. “Um, BABE….” was all I could say, then I showed him the test and we both proceeded to cry and laugh and cry in disbelief. We spent a good hour or two on the bathroom floor together laughing and crying as we wrapped our heads around it. I WAS FOR SURE PREGNANT. And I had no idea how far along I was because I never got my period! I could be 6 weeks or 12 weeks or who knows! Sure enough, after a confirmation of pregnancy at the doctor a few days later, they confirmed I was 6 weeks pregnant! This was NOT in our plans whatsoever, but after the first few days of shock wore off, we began to fall deeply in love with this tiny person and our excitement began to grow.
Fast forward to July 9th – the day of our anatomy scan! We had always had gender surprise babies, and we loved finding out in the delivery room. But after having two girls in a row (both of which we thought were boys), my sweet husband said he just had to know if he was gonna be a girl dad for the third time. He of course has always wanted a son, so he wanted some time to process if we were having a third girl! (Ha! Who could blame him?) So we asked our ultrasound tech to give us an envelope with the gender written inside, so we could take it home and open it together.
Will and I went on a date and sat outside in the summer air. We placed our order and then grabbed the envelope – we didn’t want to wait any longer to find out! I made him open it, and as soon as we read the words “IT’S A GIRL!” I laughed so hard. ANOTHER GIRL! I was thrilled. Will put his head in his hands and couldn’t believe it. He smiled, shook his head, then put his head back in his hands. It was just hilarious, because he comes from a looong line of boys. We didn’t think we’d ever have one girl, much less three!
Many people have asked, “Didn’t you notice it was a boy in other ultrasounds?” Well with each of my pregnancies, I have only had 1 ultra sound – the anatomy scan around 18 weeks. I am incredibly thankful for this, because it means there were no complications or concerns that needed more ultrasounds. However, for this one, since I was giving birth in a birth center, I did have one more ultrasound to make sure the baby was head down. I was around 38 weeks in my midwife’s office, and they simply did the scan very low to confirm the baby was in the head down position. Once confirmed, that was it! It was very quick and only to determine the baby’s location. So there really wasn’t an opportunity for me to see or know anything different than the “It’s a Girl!” sheet of paper that was given to us!
My pregnancy this time around was the most difficult of the three. Not because of sickness – it was actually the best as far as nausea and sickness go! I don’t think I had a day of morning sickness this time around. In my 2nd trimester, my legs and ankles became very swollen, and the varicose veins in my legs went a little crazy. As in – purple and blue and 80 year old grandma looking crazy all up and down my legs. They burned and were sore. I wore compression stockings to the top of my thighs most days of my third trimester. (Do me a favor and don’t imagine me and my giant belly trying to squeeze those sausages into compression stockings every morning!)
Flying to Italy and Utah for family travel took extra care. Some nights when I went to bed it looked like my right ankle had been injured – purple and blue and the size of a tennis ball. I kept getting checked at the doctor to make sure nothing was wrong, and even though I was at a higher risk for blood clots, thankfully everything kept checking out as completely normal. My acid reflux was another level with this one too: I would prop up with 5 pillows every night to sleep and take two Zantac. I’d cut off all food and water at 7pm, and I’d STILL have acid reflux. I also experienced pregnancy insomnia – where I would wake up some nights at 2am and lay in bed for hours and hours, unable to go back to sleep. Just a lot of things I had never dealt with before in pregnancy. (Except the reflux – I’ve always had that!)
Two weeks before my due date, I broke down. Sleep deprived, emotionally exhausted, working extra hours to finish everything. I would cry to Will almost every night. I ended up calling my mom, asking her to fly in to be with us to help with the girls so I could finish work with extra help around the house and with the girls.
I was begging God to speak to me, and to help me. I felt very out of control. I remember praying in church, and feeling like He was telling me that my physical pain and emotional instability would be reversed and I would be healed – that I would be more energetic and lively day by day leading up to the birth. I began to claim that every day as my reality – that all my painful symptoms were being reversed so I would be energetic and stronger than ever for birth! I posted scripture to my mirror and read it out loud every day. My faith was being stretched in a very real way.
My due date was December 10th, 2018. In both of my girls’ pregnancies, I never saw my due date. Milly came one day early, and Lyndon 3 days early. I was expecting this baby to arrive 5-7 days early according to the trend of my girls! I began having cramps and light contractions on December 7th, and made mention of it to Will. They were very sporadic though, so I stayed hydrated and kept on with life as usual.
Well WOULDN’T YOU KNOW that on December 8th, 2 days before my due date, the biggest snow that Raleigh has seen in December in years happened! Here’s what you have to know: Raleigh completely SHUTS DOWN when it snows. Stores close, schools close, people don’t know how to drive, every one clears out the grocery stores days leading up to it. 2 inches of snow is a lot for Raleigh, and we woke up to 7 inches on the ground!! It was beautiful and I was feeling great. We went exploring outside and watched Christmas movies. We had family staying with us, since the roads were so bad and we wanted someone here overnight in case we had to leave. At 3am on December 9, my contractions became regular. I timed them at about 10 minutes apart. After an hour, I woke up Will and we called our midwife.
Typically I labor a long time at home, then head in to the hospital when things are super intense. This time, I was Group B Step Positive and I was having my baby at a birth center, so they wanted me to arrive at least 4 hours prior to when the baby would be born so I could get my antibiotics. When I called at 3am, I was pretty much thinking “This is it! We have to drive to Cary on black ice in a snowstorm to have this baby.”
But my midwife and I both agreed for me to have a tall glass of water and try to sleep one more hour before deciding. Well, after that, I fell asleep for 3 hours and my contractions disappeared! This was after they were 7-10 minutes apart for a couple of hours. I hadn’t had prodromal labor with the girls, but I did with this baby! It was tricky to know when it was the real deal or not!
The funniest part was that on the 9th, we lost power. THE DAY BEFORE MY DUE DATE, we completely lost power in our house. We spent about 4 hours straight packing for ourselves, packing for the girls, packing for Winston, packing for the hospital (thinking we wouldn’t come home without a baby), and moving all of our refrigerated and frozen items into coolers and putting them on our snow covered porch.
We loaded the car completely with our bags, 3 carseats, 2 children, and one giant dog. And on top of that, Milly was crying and crying, saying her tummy hurt. Bless. As Will was manually pulling up our garage door, toddler crying, car full of suitcases, 2 kids and a great dane… the lights came back on. WHAT. We didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry, to stay or to go somewhere that guaranteed power overnight!
We decided to stay. John (Will’s bro) and Sam (John’s wife and my bff) came to stay with us overnight just in case I went into labor. Not so side note: they MOVED that weekend, and came to stay with us. They love us.
The 10th was my due date, and it was a great mama day. There’s not much to say about this day other than it was a blissful, normal day with my girls. I felt strange all day, like “is this really my due date?” But it was life as usual, and it was a gift.
The 11th I had Grammy (Will’s mom) come watch the girls, so I could finish some projects and attend the memorial service of a dear friend’s father in law. I was SO grateful this baby stayed cozy so I could be there that day. God knew I wanted to be there so badly. After having a very busy day of errands and tidying as well, I picked my mom up from the airport that evening! I was SO relieved she made it!
The 12th, I woke up feeling “off.” I always want my coffee, but it didn’t look good to me. My stomach was feeling weird. Milly was crying and begging me to hold her when I had to run to the bathroom to throw up. Thank the LORD for my sweet mama and the timing of her arrival! I’ll spare you the details, but I spent the rest of the day throwing up, in the bathroom, or laying on my bed very weak. Being 40w2d pregnant and throwing up is a unique kind of awful. I had a fever and could hardly keep anything down. I asked for prayer on Instagram and many people responded saying, “your body is clearing out and getting ready!” Well I am sure that this was some kind of awful bug or stomach flu – it was much more than just my body “clearing out.” The fever and weakness and not able to keep anything down or move or even read a book or watch a show… all of it just wiped me out. I could do nothing but lay there and pray.
Will came home from a long day of work around 6pm and said he felt terrible. I had looked forward to him coming home to be with me and care for me, but he was very sick when he arrived. His fever was 102.5, so he went straight back out to the doctor.
He texted me: “I just tested positive for both strains of the flu.”
SERIOUSLY?! Are you serious right now? I’m 2 days overdue with baby #3 and sick as can be and you have 2 strains of the flu?!
We both couldn’t believe it.
We agreed that he should stay at his mom’s house that night to spare me, my mom and the girls from catching it.
I’ll never forget waddling around our bedroom packing his bag for him. “Lord, what is happening?” I had to stop and breathe as I put his pants, shirts, boxers, toothbrush, books, and medicine into his overnight bag. I was so incredibly weak… it was so difficult to just pack the overnight bag for him. I put his bag on the outside steps of our house when he arrived. He had just thrown up in the bush outside our garage. He could barely drive himself, but we had no other choice. We weakly waved goodbye to each other, and off to his mom’s house he went.
I had been having contractions all day. I knew they were due to dehydration and me not keeping fluids in me. I’d have maybe 1-3 an hour, so not super regular.
But that night: they kept coming. I woke up once every hour at least because of my reflux, my fever sweats, and my contractions. It was a terrible night – I was exhausted and alone. But thankfully, I wasn’t really alone, the Lord was right there with me, and I was on the mend. I had stopped my trips to the bathroom and could sip water. I was SO thirsty.
Around midnight, Jess (my best friend and Will’s sister) texted me and Will a link to the song Psalm 91 by Shane and Shane, and I hit play. I think I listened to it four times before falling back asleep around 1am, with tears rolling down my face.
“He will raise you up on eagle’s wings…” I clung to that promise all night long. The vision of soaring like an eagle high above all of this mess and sickness was a vision I clung to all night and all throughout labor.
8:15am – I woke up and the contractions didn’t stop. Every 10 minutes or so they would come, and they were regular now. I called my midwife and we agreed – I needed to come in and get fluids. I told her that Will had the flu and I was terribly sick the day before, and she said that fluids could help slow labor down.
9:00 – I took a bath and got dressed. I realized in the bathtub that I needed to breathe through each contraction. These were getting real. I was moving very slowly, and couldn’t talk through them. I knew I needed to grab my overnight bag – I probably wasn’t coming home.
10:15 – I called Will and he wasn’t answering his phone. I texted and called again – nothing. Praise JESUS Grammy (Will’s mom) was still there! She went in to wake him and tell him to head to the birth center. He called me back and said he’d get dressed and head that way. He took lots of meds and got ready to go.
I’m so thankful – Sam and Michelle (our nanny) both arrived when we called them to come that morning. Sam watched the girls while Michelle washed everything in our house and wiped down all of our surfaces with clorox wipes while my mama drove me to the birth center.
I’ll never forget Milly saying “I want to give one more hug to the baby!” and she ran up and hugged my belly so big. Tears filled my eyes… I hadn’t touched or hugged my girls for the last 48 hours because I didn’t want them to get the stomach bug. That last hug was just what my mama heart needed.
10:40 – The drive to the birth center was about 40 minutes. I texted my wonderful birth photographer and friend Lauren (who lives two hours away) and let her know I was on my way to the birth center. I remember my mom asking me which way to turn at a stoplight and I couldn’t talk through the contraction and just kept pointing to the left. We arrived at 11:15am, and I was still breathing deeply through contractions. My midwife Rebecca was amazing. She was such a calming presence and listening ear. She was the very first midwife I saw at Baby + Co and I was so happy she was there when I arrived. She had a hard time getting the IV situated because my veins were so small from dehydration, but finally she began the fluids and antibiotics.
12:15 – Just after she escorted me and my mom to my room, Will arrived. HEARING HIS VOICE WAS EVERYTHING. I cannot even tell you – the assurance of his voice coaching me through each contraction gave me such peace and confidence, I was so grateful for his presence. He was still sick with the flu, but God gave him such amazing strength that day. He was ready to support me however he needed to, face mask and all.
My midwife checked me (for the first time the entire pregnancy – I always refuse to be checked before I’m in labor! Too many mind games…) and I was 4cm and 85% effaced.
I laid there and labored on the bed. As things began to intensify, I began to break down emotionally, mentally, and physically. The IV was super slow and I was physically at my weakest. After having 2 unmedicated births with my girls, I knew what was ahead of me, and I knew I COULD NOT do it.
I was DONE.
“I want to go to the hospital and get an epidural. I don’t want to be a hero today. I want some help. I can’t do this.”
I’ll never forget saying those words at my weakest. I was dead serious. My midwife said that she wanted to call the hospital to see their flu policy before we made a final decision. I was laying in the bed, Will was by my side, and the combination of being sick for 24 hours with a stomach bug, completely dehydrated, and having intense contractions all felt like too much.
Thank God for His strength, because He gets 100% of the credit for what happened next.
Rebecca came back and told me, “We can transfer you if you want, but your husband cannot go with you. They aren’t allowing anyone with the flu into the hospital.”
Without hesitation I looked at her and said, “Then I’m not going.”
Then I looked straight at Will and said, “I’m not doing this without you. I can’t do this without you.”
My mom started to cry when she heard me say it.
I had been begging God to make my decision clear, and He did. I was not about to have this baby without Will. He has been my rock for all of my babies’ births, and I had to have him with me.
So, I prepared myself mentally for the long haul, for the hardest thing I’d ever do.
1:15 – Things got really intense RIGHT after that decision was made. I was having major contractions in the bed and was pushing the baby down, and I yelled, “I’m sorry I am pushing!” I had JUST been checked and was 4cm so I knew it was too early to be pushing! Rebecca said, “Let your baby move down. It’s okay.” Goodness I needed to hear those words. To just let my body do what it was going to do. Lauren, my birth photographer, arrived and it was so sweet to see her familiar, comforting face and to know she was there.
Rebecca asked, “Do you want to get in the tub?” and I immediately said “YES.” I took off my sweatshirt and had another contraction, which again was a lot of pushing and moaning / yelling and I could literally feel the baby moving down! I made my way into the tub and it felt so wonderful.
I had a super long break between contractions and kept waiting for it to come. I told my mom, “Get the prayer!” It’s a prayer in the back of Supernatural Childbirth that is full of power – a prayer I had been praying the entire pregnancy, a prayer prayed over me when I delivered Lyndon.
Another contraction came on, and it felt massive. But again – I was in the mindset that I’d be there for hours. That this was going to last well into the night, and that I needed to take it one contraction at a time. I could barely hold my head up – I just wanted my body to fully rest between each one to gather strength.
After it subsided, my sweet mama began to read the prayer. Those words were LIFE to my spirit.
“…Baby, in Jesus’ name, you move and place yourself in perfect position for birth: head first, not breech and face down. You rotate properly as God intended you to. I command the umbilical cord to be in proper position as well. Body, you function perfectly during this time. I have perfect peace and am relaxed. All fear must go and stay gone for I have God, Who is perfect love and casts out fear. My body will not be tense but relaxed, at peace…”
1:30 – As my mom was reading those words, I had my final contraction. It was the most incredibly intense experience, but full of God’s great grace. I began yelling, “The baby is coming! The baby is coming now!” and my midwives sprung into action. Without any coaching or pushing, my baby was being born! My body was just doing it! I felt every bit of it and couldn’t believe it was happening SO fast!
Because of my position, the baby’s face hit the air and was not under water completely, which meant that I had to finish the delivery out of the water. WHILE I was in the tub! (Once the baby’s face hits the air, it’s the natural signal for the baby to breathe, so you cannot go back under the water after that happens.) So while the baby was halfway out, my midwives coached me to stand up (!!!) and put a leg on the side of the tub. WHAT THE WHAT.
This is when the crazy supernatural strength happened! Earlier I thought I would collapse because my legs were so shaky. I thought briefly, “I hope I can do this” and sure enough I felt SO strong. I stood up, put my knee on the side of the tub, and they said, “Okay Nancy, one more big push!” I gave it all I had with that push, and sure enough my sweet baby was born! Rebecca caught my baby, passed her to me through my legs, and I pulled her close to my chest tightly.
I looked at Will and was laughing / smiling / yelling “DID THAT JUST HAPPEN? Did that really just happen???” I was at the birth center for about 2 hours total before this baby was born! I was in active labor for probably an hour and a half at the most! I had a total of 2 contractions in the bathtub, then our sweet baby was in my arms!
Disbelief. I could not BELIEVE it happened in such an intense, swift way!
They wrapped her in a blanket as I laughed and Will cried and we couldn’t believe it. The word to best describe the arrival of my sweet baby was RELIEF. After a long, difficult pregnancy, and after 24 hours of sickness and weakness, it was all reversed in a moment! I felt strong and excited and so full of joy!
They had me move to the bed to deliver the placenta, so I laid there snuggling my baby girl. We just kept laughing! All the pain was gone, and as the midwife examined me, I had no tearing. This is always such a huge praise considering my first delivery with Milly, because I tore so severely then. The placenta was delivered, and then the midwife said it was time to cut the umbilical chord.
I turned my snuggly baby over, and saw something interesting between her legs.
“WHAT IS THAT? IS THIS A BOY BABY?!”
I looked at the midwifes with wide eyes and they smiled so big and said, “YES! We have been waiting for you to discover him!”
I looked at Will and he quickly came over and lifted the baby’s leg to see for himself! Then he proceeded to fall on the floor!
“It’s a BOY! We have a SON!”
I kept saying it over and over. I couldn’t believe it!
My sweet sister was going to be my doula, and had a flight scheduled that evening for 6pm. Little did we know our boy would come so fast! We facetimed her immediately, and I love this picture of her. It felt like she was right there with us.
Her name was going to be Rosie, and I had called her Cozy Rosie all week because she was overdue. For a moment, it was a little sad to think that my tribe of 3 girls wasn’t happening, but those feelings quickly disappeared. I kept staring at him thinking, “It was you all along!” I realized we had our Beaufort boy!
We had picked out the name Beaufort William when we were pregnant with Milly, 4 years prior. We had the name ready when Lyndon was born, too. We loved the name, as Beaufort, North Carolina holds some of our fondest memories and a rich family heritage on Will’s side of the family. (Pronounced Bo-fert.) Not to mention… Will had always hoped for a boy! When it all sunk in, we were overwhelmed with JOY. I began to cry because of how sweet God was to hold out on us, to surprise us like He did!
I also realized how sovereign and GOOD He is! I was very nervous about giving birth in a birth center. I don’t know why – I had already had two unmedicated births with my girls, but it was just different. God had put the word “NEW” on my heart for 2018. It was the word I declared over my year, and it was very prophetic in ways I didn’t even anticipate.
A new home.
A new studio space.
A new surprise pregnancy!
A new blog, brand and site…
A new baby.
When I was weighing my options on where to give birth, I knew the hospital was where I was most comfortable. But I had this vision of being overwhelmed with joy with a lot of people in the room when we welcomed our third baby, and it wasn’t in a hospital. Every time I wanted to go back to the hospital, I would think of that vision and the word “new,” and I knew that the birth center was where God was directing me. In my nervousness and doubting, it was the GREATEST GIFT that I chose the birth center so many months prior.
I think about this and am amazed at God’s kind voice and direction in my life. If I had given birth at the hospital, Will wouldn’t have been by my side when we welcomed our third child. I would have had to give birth without him, my biggest support. I would have been devastated. He would have missed the biggest surprise of our lives: finding out we had a son! I loved my experiences with my hospital too, but they are so rigid with their flu policy (and understandably so), it would have prevented him from being in the room with me. Not to mention… if I had been transported to the hospital like I was requesting, I would have totally given birth on the way and wouldn’t have even made it inside. God knew so many months ago to gently direct me to Baby and Co, and to allow circumstances so that I wouldn’t want to be transferred, so that Will could be there for every moment of that insane day!
I just have to stop here and say how amazing Will is. I was having intense contractions, feeling weak and exhausted. He arrived with a facemask on, and immediately started speaking life over me. “You’ve got this babe. Just breathe. You can do this. Relax your forehead.. yep, that’s it. You got this.” His voice made me feel like I could do anything, which is why I knew I needed him next to me. His voice was better than any epidural I could ask for. And he did all of this WHILE HAVING not one but BOTH strains of the flu. He is an incredible husband, and I’m so thankful for him.
We sat there and just LAUGHED. All the pain, weakness, and desperation of the hours leading up to his birth vanished. Will was unbelievably strong, and says that he felt horrible the day before and the day after his birth, but that he felt supernaturally sustained the day Beaufort was born. We rested, I did skin to skin and nursed constantly, Beaufort pooped 5 times in the first two hours of his life (welcome to being a boy mom I guess!), I ate the biggest, most delicious sandwich from Whole Foods, (thank you Lauren for not only being a birth photographer but an amazing friend who went to get us all food), and we called Sam and told her that she can bring the girls to the birth center when they woke up from their naps. It was bliss.
Sam arrived and it was so sweet telling her and the girls the news! Milly had wanted a baby brother from the start. She had asked for a brother, and we had to convince her that God knew it was best to give us a girl. (Her response: “But I already have a sister! I want a brother!”) You can imagine her excitement when we told her the news…
“Milly! The baby came out today! And guess what? It’s a baby BOY. You have a little brother!”
Her eyes got so wide. She smiled so big!! Lyndon, of course, had no idea what was really happening but crawled right up to the baby and said, “BABY!” and gave him several pat-pats.
Will’s sister Jess came, too, and in my mama’s words, “She just about did a back flip” when she found out it was a boy!
Every person we told that evening was overjoyed. It was the craziest surprise for us, but so sweet to see how everyone else was so surprised and excited, too. Facetime calls to each of our Dads, an evening visit from Will’s mom, texts to our dearest friends… the responses were priceless.
Because I was GBS positive and I didn’t get all of my antibiotics, my midwives wanted us to stay a full 12 hours after he was born. (PS. SO much better than the hospital and a big reason why we loved a birth center! We didn’t have to stay overnight!) When all the visitors left and we settled down to rest a bit more, I couldn’t sleep. Will slept next to me, Beaufort kept crying to eat, and I just soaked it all in, wide eyed, staring at my boy. At about midnight, I decided to take a shower (quite possibly the best shower of my entire life), and packed my bag. We went over all the details with our midwives, and we were dismissed at 1:30am.
We arrived home at 2:30am, and I settled into the bed to feed Beaufort again before catching a nap. Will went to sleep in the nursery – his quarantined flu spot for the next 3 days. We did it. We were home.
Beaufort’s birth will always point back to so many truths about my God:
He delights in delighting us!
He knows how to surprise us!
He is the Author of Life and knows exactly what He is doing!
And… when we are desperate, He is there.
When we are weak, He is strong on our behalf.
He points the way in which we should walk.
He takes care of us when we feel hopeless.
He orders every detail of our stories – even, especially when we can’t see how they line up.
Then He writes the most beautiful story we could ever imagine.
And after having 3 babies, there is one thing I know to be very true: He is in our midst in every wave, every breath, every worship song, every moan. In labor and delivery, His presence so very rich and real. He is right there when life enters this world. And that was the greatest gift of all – we welcomed our son into a room full of His presence.