Meanwhile, Sarah made herself comfortable at Ina May's home. She took the myrrh she had brought and proceeded to douse herself with the oil. She used much more than usual, and rubbed it all over her tummy. She then lay down and went to sleep a very deep sleep. When Ina May returned, she decided not to disturb Sarah and let her sleep until she woke up on her own
Did you happen to bring the myrrh? I asked Sarah as we headed to Tennessee with our two children, Caleb and Joseph. Got it right here! answered Sarah. We also had with us our unborn baby who was about 36 weeks along, and who happened to be turned breech. (This means that the buttocks or a foot would be born first rather than the head.)
We had been planning all along to have the baby at home, as we had with our two previous children. However, the baby being breech gave us some concern, since certain complications can arise during childbirth with a breech that probably would not happen with a vertex baby.
We had been trying for about a week to turn the baby by using the slant board technique. This is where the mother tilts an ironing board at about a 45 degree angle and lies down with her head toward the floor. Often times the baby will automatically flip around after the mother has lain like this for ten or fifteen minutes. We did this three times a day and also tried playing baroque music with headphones at the area of the abdomen where we wanted the baby's head to be. We prayed. We even talked to the baby trying to convince it to turn on its own. All the while we were applying myrrh to Sarah's abdomen two or three drops at a time.
After about a week the baby still had not turned. We had been in contact with Ina May Gaskin, a midwife who lives on The Farm, a community near Summertown, Tennessee. Ina May is author of the classic book entitled Spiritual Midwifery. She is, perhaps, the most experienced person in the country in successfully dealing with breech babies. Thus, on an early Monday morning, September 17, 2001, we were headed to The Farm, about six and a half hours from where we live, to have Ina May do an external version which is manually turning the baby head down.
When we arrived, Ina May felt around on Sarah's tummy and confirmed that the baby was definitely still breech. Ina May wanted Sarah to be able to relax completely while she was doing the version and not be worried about kids running around. So we brought Caleb and Joseph to one of the guest houses where they laid down for a nap. Sarah then went to Ina May's house.
Before doing the version, Ina May wanted to do an internal exam just to be 100% sure and to assess exactly how the baby was lying in the breech position. I'll be back in a little while, she told Sarah. I need to leave for a few minutes to get a sterile glove from the clinic. Meanwhile, Sarah made herself comfortable at Ina May's home. She took the myrrh she had brought and proceeded to douse herself with the oil. She used much more than usual, and rubbed it all over her tummy. She then lay down and went to sleep a very deep sleep. When Ina May returned, she decided not to disturb Sarah and let her sleep until she woke up on her own about an hour to an hour-and-a-half later.
When Sarah awoke Ina May proceeded with the internal exam. Feeling slowly and carefully, she looked up suddenly and said, I think this feels like a head down here! The baby had apparently turned on its own sometime during Sarah's deep sleep only moments before Ina May would have done the external version! Ina May then felt around on Sarah's abdomen and could easily identify the baby's little butt near Sarah's ribs and the head down low just like it was supposed to be.
It was both a miracle and a relief that the baby turned on its own. We had been trying for some time to get the baby to do this, but without success. Then, only moments before the midwife was going to step in, and shortly after Sarah had applied a generous amount of myrrh, the baby decided to turn.
Did the myrrh assist in the baby's turning? We do know that myrrh was a popular oil used by pregnant and laboring women for many centuries during Biblical times. It was even one of the two oils brought to Mary and the Christ Child by the wise men. For this reason alone, I believe it to be a very important oil for women to have during pregnancy and birth.
The key is that we prayed and followed what we were led to do and we felt guided to apply myrrh which seemed to be just the thing for this very sweet and very stubborn breech baby.
Two weeks after this turn of events, on the morning of October 18, 2001, a tornado swept through our county. As the winds howled and the rains poured down, our Perfect, healthy nine-pound baby boy, Thomas, was born safely in our home. He was fully alert (Apgar 10), born into the loving presence of his parents, his brothers, and his grandparents. Today, March 2003, Thomas is a robust toddler who walks, is just starting to talk, and whose stubbornness and will, manifested while still in the womb, still shows itself daily.
To this day, more than a year later, the scent of Myrrh always brings up the memory in my mind of Sarah's pregnancy and birth of our son, Thomas. It probably will for as long as I live.
Anthony Stewart is a son of David and Lee Stewart, Young Living Master Star Distributors. Anthony and Sarah are Childbirth Educators in the Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth. They live on the same farm as David and Lee in a 100-year-old farm house where Lee was born. All three of Anthony and Sarah's sons, Caleb, Joseph, and Thomas, were born there too. Anthony is also a part-time United Methodist Pastor for two country churches in Southeast Missouri.