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A Blessing Any Day

October 31 came and went -- the due date for Heidi and Jamie Middel's baby.

"I wasn't surprised," says Heidi. "I expected we might have a November baby because our first child, Claire, was born 12 days late."

A November birth in the year 2011? It triggered speculation. Heidi’s mom was the first to mention it. “Wouldn’t 11-11-11 be a cool birthday?” she said to Heidi. “That’s a birthday you’d never forget,” said others.

In fact, any day would've suited Heidi and Jamie for the gift of a baby.

“My heart’s desire was a completely natural birth -- no induced labor, no pain medication,” says Heidi. “The right time for baby would be the right time for us.”

Nature’s way

Nov. 1, 2, 3… The early days of November came and went at the Middel’s peaceful farm home in eastern North Dakota. Still no baby. Heidi diligently cared for herself as she had all along. She ate healthy, exercised safely and stayed active with 2-year-old Claire. Jamie was busy finishing the harvest.

Growing bigger by the day and praying for patience, Heidi occasionally wondered how nature might influence a baby’s arrival. Did weather make a difference? The phase of the moon? She knew a full moon was predicted for Nov. 11 and the barometric pressure was falling.

“Just the week before my dad had told me the cows usually go into labor when a low pressure system moves in,” she says, laughing. “Thanks, Dad.”

On Nov. 10, still no signs of labor. That afternoon Heidi and Claire traveled to Fargo. The two had a special date planned: looking at Christmas lights and shopping, then staying overnight with her parents in Fargo.

“Claire and I had a wonderful time,” says Heidi. “And the evening at my parents was really enjoyable, too -- visiting, watching TV, even an ankle massage from my mom, a massage therapist. We’d read it could encourage contractions. I was skeptical, but thought why not?”

Calm and relaxed, Heidi went to bed at 11. The next day she was to report to Sanford Obstetrics for a non-stress test -- a painless check of an overdue baby’s health. Signs of stress indicate a need to induce labor.

Everything came together

A little after midnight on Nov. 11 Heidi awoke. Her water had broken. She called Jamie at home on the farm. He recalls the moment he made the connection with the date.

“I was driving to Fargo at 2 in the morning, listening to world news on the BBC,” he says. “They were seven hours ahead of us and talking about all the chaos in Asia because of people wanting to get married on 11-11-11.”

But Jamie found no chaos in Fargo. When he picked Heidi up at her parents’ home, her contractions were still mild. When they arrived at Sanford Family Birth Center, her obstetrician Dr. Jeffrey Rondeau was on duty until 7 a.m. His colleague, Dr. Rebekah Tompkins, would take over from there.

“Everything was coming together perfectly,” says Heidi. “Claire was at Nana’s sleeping, Jamie easily arrived in time and I had confidence in all the Sanford obstetricians. And I have to say the time really went fast. It helped so much to have Jamie there. He kept telling jokes and making me laugh.”

Well aware Heidi wanted a natural birth, Dr. Tompkins and the nurses worked hard to make it happen. Heidi tells the result: “No pain medication and I only had to push for six minutes,” she says. “Very rewarding and very special.”

Kate Harper entered the world at 9 a.m. Healthy and breathing well, she was placed on Heidi’s chest for bonding. She began nursing immediately. Measurements followed, with Kate weighing 6 pounds and -- you guessed it -- 11 ounces.

The warmth of family

Today at 1 month old, Kate weighs 9 pounds, 2 ounces; and sleeps contentedly in the arms of her mom. Claire sits next to her on the couch counting Kate’s tiny toes one-by-one.

“She has six toes!” jokes Claire.

“That’s nothing,” Heidi says. “I have 13!” They both laugh.

And Jamie? He’s searching for Claire’s pink party shoes.

One loving family, one healthy baby … a blessing any day of the year.

Posted Date: January 2012