God's timing is perfect

It’s hard to get a straight answer, but as far as I know midwifery is not legal in Kentucky. When we moved here, our midwife D’Ette Nicholson, who had delivered both Jerry and Benjamin at home, offered her services if we ever needed them here. Being a five hour drive away, we thought that was a very generous offer. And when Debbie became pregnant again we decided to take her up on it. Every other month during the pregnancy Debbie would take one or both of the girls and drive to Elizabethton to see D’Ette for a checkup; they were always uneventful.

The original plan was for D’Ette to come out here around Debbie’s due date and induce labor by breaking her water, as she did the last two times. In the final few weeks we began to wonder if it was prudent to do that while being forty-five minutes from a good hospital, in a state where D’Ette wasn’t welcome to practice. D’Ette had always offered her own home as an alternative, only five minutes from a hospital. On Wednesday Debbie drove out for her final appointment, D’Ette pronounced her good and ready, and we decided to come back out on Friday for the birth.

Probably the most difficult part was deciding what to do with the kids, who we had never left on their own. Finally we decided that if an eighteen year old boy and a sixteen year old girl weren’t capable of watching the rest and running the household for forty-eight hours, we had gone seriously wrong in our child rearing. So we set them up for two days on their own, laughingly reminding one another of the episode where Ma and Pa Wilder leave Almanzo and the rest to watch the farm for a week. We packed and loaded Thursday night, planning to be on the road about 6:30am the next day.

Around midnight Debbie woke me up and said it was time to go; early labor had set in. We finished loading the car, called D’Ette to alert her, scribbled a hasty note for the kids, and were on the road by 12:30am. By 1:30am she was having strong 90-second contractions maybe three to five minutes apart. Meanwhile I was running through my mind the three possible routes to Elizabethton. The all-freeway route through Knoxville, which the mapping services often recommended? It was definitely longest by mileage, but possibly fastest at freeway speeds. Through the Cumberland Gap to US 58? That was our usual route, but for exactly the wrong reasons—long sections of road that were peaceful and uninhabited. Through the Cumberland Gap, but stay on US 25 to I-81? Possibly the shortest, but one I’d never taken. I decided on the last.

Past the Cumberland Gap tunnel I spent a lot of time wondering if I had made a mistake. The evening was humid and foggy, the first fifteen or so miles of road were narrow and twisty (a new highway is half-completed), and it began to rain. Still we made good time, especially after I got to the interstate. About 30 minutes out we called D’Ette so she could prepare. All the while Debbie was enduring her contractions quietly, so quietly that I wasn’t especially worried about arriving in time. Just as we were pulling into the subdivision Debbie’s water broke, and she said “This isn’t good.” We pulled into the driveway at 4:48am, got Debbie into the house, and eight minutes later at 4:56am she delivered Peter, 6lb 12oz, 20″ long.

During the drive out I had a lot of time to think, and repeatedly I returned to one question: Why? I mean, what was the point? The pregnancy was uneventful, we had done our best to be prudent, in another eight hours we would have been there anyway. I’d experienced God’s chastisement often enough to wonder if we were being shown that in some way we’d been leaning on our own strength rather than His providence. It wasn’t a good question for the drive, though, because at that point I didn’t have enough information. After everything was squared away and we were all settling in for naps, it occured to me that, looking backwards, it had been a fairly straightforward matter, five hours of labor followed by an easy delivery. The only worrisome thing was the timing, i.e. would we arrive in time or not? We made it in just over four hours, a record; either of the other routes I was considering would have been more than eight minutes longer, though I didn’t know it at the time. There were plenty of opportunities along the way for delays, but there weren’t any. As always, God’s timing was perfect.

Around noon we were rested up and wanting to be home, so we said our goodbyes and headed out, taking our time and arriving home around 6pm.


25 thoughts on “God's timing is perfect

  1. Congratulations Rick. May God bless your family and grant your wife a speedy recovery from delivery.


  2. Congratulations, Rick & Debbie! May the Lord bless you all. Can’t wait to see a picture of little Peter, which is a fine name by the way.

  3. Wow! What a story to tell little Peter as he grows, and a great reminder for the children left at home. So thrilling that everyone is well and to see God at work in the smallest of details. Wow!

  4. I absolutely must de-lurk to wish you, Debbie and the children many, many congratulations! What a wonderful birth story ~ God is indeed good!! Welcome Baby Peter! :o)

  5. Congratulations! Sounds like quite the adventure.

    I know several Kentucky midwives — I’m not sure how close they are to you, but certainly less than 5 hours. :-) Last I heard, direct-entry midwifery is legal in Kentucky if you have a permit from the state. In practice, the state hasn’t given out any permits since 1974. But there’s an active midwifery community in Kentucky, they have a generally good relationship with the medical comunity, and it’s considered a “better” state for midwifery than Ohio (for what that’s worth.)

  6. Rick and Debbie,
    We are praising God for such timing! He is so faithful…I can’t wait to see and hear more about Peter! Debbie has been heavy on my mind for the last week or so…guess this is why!

  7. Congratulations to you and Debbie on the birth of baby Peter! I enjoyed reading about his delivery. So, did the kids do okay at home by themselves? Probably so!

  8. Congratulations to your family on the arrival of Peter. What a great story. I kept waiting to read that you had to pull over and deliver the baby yourself. May the Lord rise up in Peter and bless him mightily!!

  9. Everyone,

    Thanks so much for your encouraging words. It was six years ago that we handed back the job of scheduling blessings. Not only did God show us the wisdom of that by blessing us four more times, He taught us that blessings increase out of all proportion to the children that bring them. We’re very grateful for that.


    I should have looked into this more deeply. I’ll email you soon with some questions, since I still don’t get it.

    Laura A,

    The kids did great. Well, pretty good—they didn’t string the green beans like we told them to before we left.

  10. Rick, congratulations to you and your family. I believe you were just about to have your fourth when my family visited in Bristol. We had just had our second, Abigail. Well, we just had our fourth two weeks ago, Katherine Elisabeth. You have continued to be an encouragement to me through your blog. May God continue to bless you. Peter is a wonderful name.

  11. CONGRATULATIONS Rick and Debbie!

    We can’t wait to see pictures of Peter with the other kids. I’m sure he looks just like them. Handsome, of course!

    God really does have wonderfully perfect timing! Now all we have to do is stay out of the way. :^)

    Lots of Love from the Jackson Family

  12. Dear Rick and Debbie,

    Congratulations on the wonderful little blessing. I still have fond memories of getting to meet Jerry when he was only a couple days old, and I am still amazed at your hospitality then.

    I love the name Peter too (since I have a son, born on my birthday with that name, plus an ‘i’), but I have to warn you that Peters often live up to the meaning of their name. That can be very good when it comes to steadfastness and convictions, and frustrating when it comes to hardheadedness :-).

    I’m glad the birth went well. Steve caught one of ours once when the midwife was 9 minutes late :-). We’ve gone the induction route before, too. I like that you are thinking about next time (in your comment to Sora)…I hope you do get to keep adding to that wonderful quiver.

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