It’s taken us a few weeks to send this prayer letter, but we are delighted to announce the arrival of our beautiful baby daughter. Emmanuelle Dawn Inge Prescott was born 2nd July at 7:39 pm, weighing 7 lb 9 oz. Her name is Emmanuelle , because God is with us (Matt.1:23). But you can call her Anu (EmmANUelle), which is an Indian name.
God is faithful. I still can’t believe how different Anu’s birth was from Isaac’s; my heart is bursting with gratitude.
So the due date came, and – nothing.
The next day, I woke up early, feeling disheartened, uncomfortable and impatient. My mum (who has come from India to help look after us) was up too, and I read her Psalm 29, which is my psalm for this year, having just turned 29. ‘The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth’, it says. I told Mum, ‘that’s what I want, for God to speak, at just the right moment, and the baby to be born.’ Pretty soon, everyone else woke up and the Day Which Would Turn Out to be Significant began. I sorted out a misunderstanding with Peter that morning. The rubber wellington boots we had ordered to give to Isaac as a gift (to sweeten the occasion of him meeting his little sister) arrived in the mail. I was particularly hungry at lunchtime and ate quite a lot. I took an afternoon nap. I got to spend some quality time with Isaac in our cosy rocking chair, reading stories and practising counting. All these things meant that I felt rested, physically strong, and, most importantly, assured that all was well between me and my loved ones.
The stage was set, and the action began quite suddenly. At 6:13, I had turned my phone on and seen a text from a close friend of ours. It said: ‘How are you? Praying for you and the little girl.’ And as I saw it, I suddenly had something that felt very much like a contraction. Had the voice of the Lord spoken, was this ‘deer’ about to give birth? We sat down to dinner at 6:15, and I said, hesitantly, not wanting to cause too much of a stir if it wasn’t the real thing, ‘I just had quite a strong cramp’, and we began to eat, but within minutes, another contraction followed and then another in quick succession – maybe three or four minutes apart. I was having to stop eating and concentrate on my breathing. Isaac watched me in fascinated concern: ‘what’s Mummy doing?’ Then, when he discerned that something was obviously up but Peter and Mum didn’t seem to be doing anything about it, decided he would sort me out himself – ‘Come with me to the next room, Mummy.’ I love that kid.
I left my half-eaten dinner and went upstairs, thinking I would need to lie down/get in some warm water and wait it out, because it took days last time and they were reluctant to let me come in to the Rosie Birth Centre. The contractions were coming hard and fast, so Peter called the Birth Centre.
‘Hello, my wife’s gone into labour.’
‘Okay, put her on the line. Now, Taryn, how long ago did these contractions start?’
I was dreading this part, where they try and ascertain over the phone how much pain you are in, but a nice long, strong contraction obligingly showed up, which meant that after squeaking out ‘about half an hour ago’ I was unable to say anything very coherent to the lady. This was precisely what needed to happen.
‘You better bring her in!’ she said.
It took us a while to get down the stairs and into the car because I kept having to throw myself down on all fours to breathe my way through another contraction. Peter managed to be omnipresent, getting the hospital bag, the wellies and the newborn car seat into the car and still be beside me for each contraction. My mum took Isaac out for a walk, and we set off for the hospital.
Things started feeling pretty urgent at this point. It seemed like every time I had a contraction we were at a red light, but they were starting to feel like ‘pushing’ contractions. We pulled up in the Rosie parking lot and a cluster of midwives ran to the car:
‘How far along is she?’
‘Oh, I see.’
‘She’ll need a wheelchair.’
I think it was about 7:30 at this point.
They wheeled me hurriedly in to a birthing room. My waters broke as I entered the room. I just about managed to get on the bed and take a gulp of gas and air (also known as laughing gas! — everything kind of slows down and gets quite surreal as you breathe it in) and then as I pushed again, my mind thought groggily ‘He will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is fixed on Him… no wait, that’s not how it goes… something’s wrong with that sentence… I’m a ‘her’, that’s what it is, ‘he will keep in perfect peace HER whose mind is fixed on him…’ I felt so overwhelmed by a sense of peace and wellbeing and that the midwife actually had to ask me to put the gas and air down and concentrate! One last push, and then there was the sound of a baby crying lustily. It was 7:39 p.m. Before I knew it, I had the most beautiful little girl I have ever seen wrapped in towels and lying on my chest. Peter and I were looking at each other, vision blurred by tears of joy, and he kept saying ‘You did it! You did it!’
Labour started at 6:13 and ended at 7:39. One hour and twenty-six minutes. Apparently 2% of women have an active labour of less than three hours – it’s called ‘precipitate labour’. God cut that in half – mine was less than one and a half hours. We could barely believe it.
Anu came out with one hand raised over her head, apparently. That night, I kept thinking,
‘This is how I want to live and die
With a song of praise and my hands lifted high’.
Thank you for praying and standing with us. Can’t wait for all of you to meet little Anu.
Lots of love,
Peter & Taryn, Isaac and Anu